J. V. Stalin

A Paper Coalition

September 30, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

Economic disruption is talked about. Economic disruption is written about. Economic disruption is used as a bogey, frequently with an allusion to the "anarchistic" sentiments of the workers. But nobody wants to admit openly that the disruption is frequently engineered and deliberately aggravated by the capitalists, who close down factories and doom the workers to unemployment. Birzhovka has some interesting information on this score.

"At the mills of the Russo-French Cotton Spinning Corporation in Pavlovsky Posad, Moscow Gubernia, a conflict arose over non-observance of the contract drawn up by a commission of the Orekhovo-Zuyevo district under the chairmanship of Minister Pro-kopovich. Some four thousand workers are employed at the mills. The workers' committee informed the Ministry of Labour that a grave situation had arisen owing to the refusal of the employers to submit to a decision of the arbitration court, and owing to their deliberate reduction of productivity of labour. Negotiations had been going on for four months, and now there was a danger of the mills being closed down. The management of the Russo-French mills, on its part, made representations to the French Embassy, affirming that the workers refused to obey a decision of the arbitration court and were threatening excesses and destruction of property. The French Embassy requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist in settling the dispute."

And what do we find? It appears that the "management of the mills" and the "French Embassy" have both libelled the workers in an effort to whitewash the lockout capitalists. Listen to this:

"The case was submitted to the Moscow Commissar of the Ministry of Labour, who, after investigating the conflict on the spot, informed the Minister of Labour that the factory management had systematically evaded carrying out decisions of the arbitration court. The report of the Ministry of Labour's Moscow Commissar has been transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

As we see, even a commissar of a counter-revolutionary Ministry had to admit that the workers were right.

Nor is that all. Birzhovka reports another and even more interesting case.

"The Ministry of Labour has been informed from Moscow that the management of the A. V. Smirnov factory had announced that the plant, which employs three thousand workers, would be closed down owing to lack of raw materials and fuel and the need for capital repairs. A commission, consisting of representatives of Moscow Fuel and the Moscow Factory Conference, together with the workers' committee of the factory, instituted an inquiry and found that the reasons given for closing down the factory were baseless, since there was sufficient raw material for operation and the repairs could be effected without suspending work. On the strength of this, the workers arrested the factory owner. The Zem-stvo Assembly has recommended the sequestration of the factory. The Pokrovsky Executive Committee and the Provisional Government's uyezd commissar are assisting in the settlement of the conflict."

Such are the facts.

The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik compromisers cry from the housetops that a coalition with the "virile forces" of the country is essential, and they definitely point to the Moscow industrialists. And they constantly stress that what they mean is not a verbal coalition in the Winter Palace, but a real coalition in the country. . . . We ask:

Is any real coalition possible between factory owners who deliberately swell unemployment and workers who, with the benevolent assistance of Provisional Government commissars, arrest them for this?

Is there any limit to the stupidity of "revolutionary" windbags who never tire of singing the praises of coalition with lockout criminals?

Do not these ridiculous trumpeters of coalition realize that no coalition is possible now except on paper, a coalition concluded within the walls of the Winter Palace and doomed beforehand to failure?


Rabochy Put No. 24, September 30, 1917