J. V. Stalin

Blacklegs of the Revolution

October 15, 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.

"The Soviets and Committees must be abolished," said Kaledin the Kornilovite at the Moscow Conference amidst the thunderous applause of the Cadets.

True, replied Tsereteli the compromiser, but it is too early yet, for "this scaffolding must not be removed before the edifice of the free revolution (i.e., counter-revolution?) is completed."

This was at the Moscow Conference in the beginning of August, when the counter-revolutionary plot of Kornilov and Rodzyanko, Milyukov and Kerensky was first taking shape.

That plot did not "come off"; the political strike of the Moscow workers thwarted it. Nevertheless, a coalition of Tsereteli and Milyukov, Kerensky and Kaledin was formed—a coalition against the Bolshevik workers and soldiers. And it turned out that the coalition was merely a screen behind which a real plot against the Soviets and Committees, against the revolution and its conquests was taking shape, a plot which came to a head at the end of August.

Could the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks have known that in praising a coalition with the "virile forces" of the Moscow Conference they were working for the Kornilov conspirators? Could the petty-bourgeois liberals of Delo Naroda and the trumpeters of the bourgeoisie of Izvestia have known that in "isolating" the Bolsheviks and undermining the Soviets and Committees they were working for counter-revolution and enrolling as blacklegs of the revolution?

The Kornilov revolt exposed all the cards. It exposed the counter-revolutionary nature of the Cadets and of the coalition with the Cadets. It revealed what a danger the alliance of the Cadets and the generals was to the revolution. It convincingly proved that had it not been for the Soviets in the rear and the Committees at the front, against which the defencists were plotting with Kaledin, the revolution would have been crushed.

We know that in the grave hour of the Kornilov revolt the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries had to put themselves under the protection of those very Kronstadt sailors and "Bolshevik" Soviets and Committees against whom they had been forming a coalition with the Kaledins and the other "virile forces."

The lesson was a valuable one, and certainly impressive.

But—the memory of man is short. And particularly short is the memory of the renegades of Izvestia and the spineless Delo Naroda.

Only a little more than a month has elapsed since the Kornilov revolt. One would have thought that Korni-lovism was dead and done with. But by the "will of fate" and of Kerensky we have in this short period entered a new phase of Kornilovism. Kornilov is "under arrest." But the ringleaders of Kornilovism are in power. The old coalition with the "virile forces" was disrupted. But in its stead a new coalition with the Kornilovites has been formed. The Moscow Conference did not become the "Long Parliament" Cossack Ataman Karaulov dreamed of. But in its stead a Kornilov Pre-parliament has been constituted with the mission of "replacing the old Soviet organization." The first conference of the Blacks in Moscow has left the scene. But in its stead a second conference of the Blacks opened in Moscow the other day, and its leader, landlord Rodzyanko, publicly declares that he "would be glad if the Soviets and the navy perished and Petrograd were captured by the Germans." The government makes a pretence of putting Kornilov on trial. Actually, it is paving the way for Kornilov's "advent" by conspiring with Kornilov and Kaledin, working for the withdrawal of the revolutionary troops from Petrograd, preparing to flee to Moscow, making ready to surrender Petrograd, and slobbering over "our gallant Allies," who are looking forward impatiently to the destruction of the Baltic Fleet, the capture of Petrograd by the Germans, and . . . the ascension to the throne of Sir Lavr Kornilov. . . .

Is it not evident that we are on the eve of a new wave of Kornilovism, one more ominous than the first?

Is it not evident that what is required of us now is the utmost vigilance and the fullest readiness for battle?

Is it not evident that the Soviets and revolutionary Committees are needed now more than ever?

Where lies the salvation from Kornilovism, where is the force of the revolution that is capable of crushing the impending counter-revolutionary assault with the full might of a mass movement?

Not in the servile Pre-parliament, surely!

Is it not evident that salvation lies only in the Soviets and the worker and soldier masses who stand behind them?

Is it not evident that the salvation of the revolution from the impending counter-revolution is the mission of the Soviets, and of the Soviets alone?

One would think that it was the duty of revolutionaries to cherish and strengthen these organizations, to rally the worker and peasant masses around them, to link them together in regional and all-Russian congresses.

But the Izvestia and Delo Naroda turncoats have forgotten the "severe ordeal" of the Kornilov days and for several days now have been engaged in discrediting and hounding the Soviets, in torpedoing the regional and all-Russian Soviet Congresses, in disorganizing and wrecking the Soviets.

"The role of the local Soviets is declining," says Izvestia. "The Soviets have ceased to be organizations of the whole democracy. . . .

"We want to substitute for the temporary Soviet organization a permanent, all-round and all-embracing organization of the structure of national and local life. When the autocracy fell and with it the whole bureaucratic system, we erected the Soviets of Deputies as temporary huts in which the entire democracy could find shelter. Now, in place of the huts, the permanent brick building of the new system is being erected, and naturally people are gradually leaving the huts for the more convenient premises as each storey is built."

Thus speaks the shameless Izvestia, organ of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, which is dragging on its wretched existence owing to the infinite tolerance of the Soviets.

And the Lyapkin-Tyapkins* of the spineless Delo Naroda hobble after Izvestia and profoundly opine that the Congress of Soviets must be torpedoed, for in that lies the "salvation" of the revolution and of the Constituent Assembly!

Do you hear? "Temporary organization"—meaning the revolutionary Soviets, which overthrew tsardom and its tyranny. "Permanent and all-embracing organization" —meaning the servile Pre-parliament, which is serving Alexeyev and Kerensky. "Temporary huts"—meaning the revolutionary Soviets, which dispersed Kornilov's detachments. "Permanent brick building"—meaning that Kornilov abortion, the Pre-parliament, whose mission it is to cover up the mobilization of counter-revolution with its prating. Here, the hustle and bustle of virile revolutionary activity. There, the decorum and "comfort" of a counter-revolutionary chancellery. Is it surprising that the Izvestia and Delo Naroda renegades hastened to move from the "huts" of the Smolny Institute to the "brick building" of the Winter Palace, thus reducing themselves from the rank of "leaders of the revolution" to that of orderlies of Sir M. V. Alexeyev?

The Soviets must be abolished, says Sir M. V. Alexeyev.

Glad to be of service, replies Izvestia. You complete the last "storey" in the "brick building" of the Winter Palace, and "we," meanwhile, will tear down the "huts" of the Smolny Institute.

The Soviets must be replaced by the Pre-parliament, says Mr. Adzhemov.

Glad to be of service, comes the reply from Delo Naroda. Only first let us torpedo the Congress of Soviets.

And that is what they are doing now, on the eve of another Kornilov revolt, when the counter-revolutionaries have already convened their congress in Moscow, and when the Kornilovites have already mobilized their forces and are organizing riots in the rural districts, causing starvation and unemployment in the towns, preparing to torpedo the Constituent Assembly, and openly mustering forces in the rear and at the front for another attack on the revolution.

What is that, if not downright betrayal of the revolution and its conquests?

What are they, if not despicable blacklegs of the revolution and its organizations?

How, after this, should the workers and soldiers organized in the Soviets treat these Izvestia and Delo Naroda gentry if they, in the "grave moment" of an impending Kornilov revolt turn to them "as of old" with the "outstretched hand of the beggar," pleading for protection from counter-revolution? . . .

Workers, in time of a strike, usually ride blacklegs on a wheelbarrow.

Peasants usually put blacklegs of the common cause in the pillory.

We do not doubt that the Soviets will find proper means of stigmatizing the contemptible blacklegs of the revolution and its organizations.


Rabochy Put, No. 37, October 15, 1917


* Lyapkin-Tyapkin — a character in Gogol's Inspector-General.—Tr.