Speeches at a Meeting of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) November 14 (1), 1917

"There must be no vacillation. We are backed by the majority of the workers and peasants and of the army."

Comrade Lenin considers that Kamenev’s policy must be checked at once. There is now no point in negotiating with the Vikzhel.[1] Troops must be dispatched to Moscow. He proposes a resolution on the Vikzhel. The Vikzhel is not represented on the Soviet, and must not be admitted to it; the Soviets are voluntary organisations, and the Vikzhel has no support among the people.

Comrade Lenin considers that the negotiations were to serve as diplomatic cover for military operations. The only correct solution would be to put an end to the wavering of the waverers and to become firm ourselves. Assistance must be given to the Muscovites, and our victory will be assured.

Comrade Lenin considers the question a fundamental one, and thinks it is time to put an end to wavering. It is obvious that the Vikzhel sides with the Kaledins and Kornilovs. There must be no vacillation. We are backed by the majority of the workers and peasants and of the army. Nobody here has proved that the rank and file are against us. Either with the agents of Kaledin, or with the rank and file. We must rely on the people, we must send propagandists into the countryside. The Vikzhel was called upon to transport troops to Moscow; it refused, we must appeal to the people, and they will overthrow it.


[1] The reference is to the Bolsheviks’ participation in a conference called by the Vikzhel for talks on the composition of the government.

Vikzhel, the All-Russia Central Committee of the Railwaymen’s Trade Union which was dominated by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, was one of the bulwarks of the counter-revolution after the victory of the October insurrection in Petrograd. On October 29 (November 11), 1917 it adopted a resolution calling for a so-called “uniform socialist government”, consisting of representatives of all parties, from the Bolsheviks to the Popular Socialists. The Conference on the composition of the government opened on the same day and was attended by Menshevik defencists, Menshevik internationalists, Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, and members of the Postal Union, the Petrograd Duma, the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants’ Deputies, etc. The Bolshevik Central Committee decided to attend stating that any talks on the enlargement of the government and the All-Russia Central Executive Committee could take place only on the basis of the programme for Soviet power adopted by the Second Congress of Soviets. Kamenev and Sokolnikov were authorised by the Central Committee to attend. The All-Russia Central Executive Committee also sent its representatives to the Conference, among whom was Ryazanov.

The Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries expected to play the leading part in any coalition government and to use it to fight the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the Co-ordinating Committee set up by the Conference, they demanded that resistance to Kerensky’s troops be stopped and insisted that the All Russia Central Executive Committee should be replaced by a People’s Council which would have a majority of members representing the Executive Committee of the All-Russia Soviet of Peasants’ Deputies City councils and other organisations which they had under control They proposed the establishment of a new government headed by Chernov or Avksentyev. The Bolshevik delegates who attended took a conciliatory attitude and did not object to discussing the proposals tabled by the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries.

The Bolshevik Central Committee discussed the question of negotiations with the Vikzhel and the behaviour of the Bolshevik delegates on November 1 (14). The majority censured the policy of conciliation and proposed that the talks should either be broken off or formulated as an ultimatum. Kamenev, Milyutin, Rykov and Ryazanov insisted on a continuation of the talks. A C.C. resolution said the parties of conciliation were negotiating to subvert Soviet power, and the C.C. therefore authorised Bolshevik representatives to attend the talks with the sole aim of exposing the futile attempts to set up a coalition government, and terminating the talks. The All-Russia Executive Committee discussed the progress of the talks on the night of November 1 (14) and adopted a Bolshevik resolution drawn up in the spirit of the C.C. decision of November 1 (14). However, the opposition group of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov, Milyutin, Larin, Ryazanov and others, who took a Right-wing opportunist stand, opposed their line to that of the Central Committee and fought against the C.C. decision. On November 2 (15), the C.C. adopted a resolution on the opposition within the C.C. (see pp. 277-79) At the All-Russia Central Executive Committee meeting on the night of November 2 (15), following the speeches of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries who demanded a review of the Committee’s decision on the terms of an agreement, Kamenev and Zinoviev pushed through a resolution which clashed with that of the Central Committee adopted earlier. Their resolution provided for a change in the composition of the government and gave the Bolsheviks only half the government posts. The opposition voted for this resolution. Following the ultimatum which the majority of the Central Committee presented to the opposition minority (see pp. 280-82 on November 3 (16), Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov, Milyutin and Nogin withdrew from the Central Committee, while the last three and Teodorovich resigned from their posts of People’s Commissars. They were joined by Ryazanov, Larin and several others. On November 5 or 6 (18 or 19), the Central Committee once again demanded in the form of an ultimatum that Kamenev, Zinoviev, Ryazanov and Larin should stop their disrupting tactics (they had come out against the C.C. decisions in non-Party organisations) (see p. 301 On November 7 (20), the Central Committee published in Pravda an appeal to all members of the Party and all working classes of Russia, branding the opposition as deserters of the revolution who had abandoned the principles of Bolshevism (see pp. 303-07)


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.