The Russian Revolution And Civil War

 "The proletarian revolution is firmly rooted, the bourgeois counter-revolution is without roots..."

They Are Trying To Frighten Us With Civil War

The bourgeoisie, frightened by the refusal of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries to join a bloc with the Cadets, and by the probability of the democrats being quite capable of forming a government without them and governing Russia against them, are doing their best to intimidate the democrats.

Scare them as much as you can! This is the slogan of the whole bourgeois press. Scare them with all your might! Lie, slander, but frighten them!

Birzhevka does its scaring by fabricating news about Bolshevik activities. Others by spreading rumours about Alexeyev's resignation, and about the imminent German offensive against Petrograd, as if the facts do not prove that it is the Kornilov generals (to whom Alexeyev undoubtedly belongs) who are capable of opening the front to the Germans in Galicia and near Riga and near Petrograd, and that it is the Kornilov generals who are arousing the greatest hatred in the army against the General Staff.

To make this method of intimidating the democrats more "solid" and convincing, they refer to the danger of "civil war". Of all the methods of intimidation, that of scaring with civil war is perhaps the most widespread. Here is the way the Rostov-on-the-Don Committee of the people's freedom party formulated this widespread idea, heartily welcomed in philistine circles, in its resolution of September 1 (Rech No. 210):

"The Committee is convinced that civil war may sweep away all the gains of the revolution and drown in rivers of blood our young, still unstable freedom, and is of the opinion that it is necessary to make an energetic protest against developing the revolution as proposed by the unrealisable socialist utopias if we are to save the gains of the revolution."

Here, the fundamental idea which is to be met with innumerable times in Rech editorials, in the articles of Plekhanov and Potresov, in the editorials of Menshevik papers, etc., etc., is expressed in the clearest, most precise, well considered and substantial form. It will therefore be useful to take up this idea in greater detail.

Let us try to make a more concrete analysis of the civil war question, on the basis of the half year's experience of our revolution, among other things.

This experience, similarly to the experience of all European revolutions, from the end of the eighteenth century on shows that civil war is the sharpest form of the class struggle, it is that point in the class struggle when clashes and battles, economic and political, repeating themselves, growing, broadening, becoming acute, turn into an armed struggle of one class against another. More often than not—one may say almost always—in all more or less free and ~. advanced countries the civil war is between those classes whose antagonistic position towards each other is created and deepened by the entire economic development of capitalism, by the entire history of modern society the world over—civil war is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

During the past half year of our revolution, we have experienced very strong spontaneous outbursts (April 20-21,[1] July 3-4) in which the proletariat came very close to starting a civil war. On the other hand, the Kornilov revolt was a military conspiracy supported by the landowners and capitalists led by the Cadet Party, a conspiracy by which the bourgeoisie has actually begun a civil war.

Such are the facts. Such is the history of our own revolution. More than anything we must learn from this history, we must give a great deal of thought to the course it has taken and to its class significance.

Let us try to compare the germs of the proletarian civil war and the bourgeois civil war in Russia from the standpoint of (1) the spontaneous nature of the movement; (2) its aims; (3) the political consciousness of the masses participating in it; (4) the forces in the movement; (5) its tenacity. We think that if all the parties which are now "unnecessarily throwing about" the words "civil war" were to approach the question in this way, and make a real attempt to study the germs of the civil war, the class-consciousness of the entire Russian revolution would gain a very great deal.

Let us begin with the spontaneous nature of the movement. For the July 3-4 movement we have the testimony of such witnesses as the Menshevik Rabochaya Gazeta and the Socialist-Revolutionary Dyelo Naroda which have recognised the spontaneous origin of the movement. This testimony I quoted in an article published in Proletarskoye Dyelo An Answer. --> and issued as a separate leaflet entitled An Answer. For obvious reasons, however, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who are defending themselves and the part they played in persecuting the Bolsheviks, officially continue to deny the spontaneous nature of the outburst of July 3-4.

Let us put the controversial matter aside for the present. Let us take what is undisputed. No one denies the spontaneous nature of the April 20-21 movement. The Bolshevik Party joined this spontaneous movement under the slogan "All Power to the Soviets"; independently of the Bolsheviks it was joined by the late Linde, who led 30,000 armed soldiers into the street ready to arrest the government. (The action of these troops, let us say in parenthesis, has not been investigated and studied. If it is examined closely, and April 20 is given its place in the historic sequence of events, i.e., if it is seen as a link in the chain which extends from February 28 to August 29, it becomes clear that the fault and the error of the Bolsheviks was the insufficient revolutionism of their tactics, and by no means the excessive revolutionism the philistines accuse us of.)

The spontaneous nature of the movement leading to the proletariat beginning civil war is thus beyond doubt. On the other hand, there is not even a trace of anything resembling spontaneity in the Kornilov revolt; it was merely a conspiracy of generals who hoped by fraud and by the force of military command to carry part of the army with them.

It is beyond all doubt that the spontaneity of the movement is proof that it is deeply rooted in the masses, that its roots are firm and that it is inevitable. The proletarian revolution is firmly rooted, the bourgeois counter-revolution is without roots—this is what the facts prove if examined from the point of view of the spontaneous nature of the movement.

Let us now look at the aims of the movement. The movement of April 20-21 came very close to adopting the Bolshevik slogans, whereas that of July 3-4 was directly connected with them, was under their influence and guidance. The Bolshevik Party spoke quite openly, definitely, clearly, precisely, for all to hear, in its papers and in verbal propaganda of the chief aims of the proletarian civil war—the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poor peasantry, peace and an immediate offer of peace, confiscation of the landed estates.

We all know the aims of the Kornilov revolt, and no one among the democrats disputes that those aims were a dictatorship of the landowners and the bourgeoisie, dispersal of the Soviets, and preparations for the restoration of the monarchy. The Cadet Party, this main Kornilovite party (by the way, it ought to be called from now on the Kornilov party), possesses a larger press and greater forces for propaganda than the Bolsheviks, but it has never dared and still does not dare to tell the people openly either about the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or about the dispersal of the Soviets, or about the Kornilovite aims in general!

As far as the aims of the movement are concerned, the facts tell us that the proletarian civil war can come out with an open exposition of its final aims before the people and win the sympathies of the working people, whereas the bourgeois civil war can attempt to lead part of the masses only by concealing its aims; this is the tremendous difference in them as far as the class-consciousness of the masses is concerned.

The only objective data on this question seem to be those on party affiliation and elections. There do not appear to be any other facts which allow a clear judgment of the class-consciousness of the masses. It is clear that the proletarian-revolutionary movement is represented by the Bolshevik Party, and the bourgeois counter-revolutionary movement by the Cadet Party, and this can hardly be disputed after six months experience of the revolution. Three comparisons of a factual nature can be made that concern the question under consideration. A comparison of the May elections to the local councils in Petrograd with the August elections to the city council shows a decrease in Cadet votes and a tremendous increase in Bolshevik votes. The Cadet press admits that, as a rule, Bolshevism is strong wherever masses of workers or soldiers are concentrated.

In the absence of any statistics concerning the fluctuation of the party membership, attendance at meetings, etc., the conscious support of the party by the masses may be judged only from published data concerning cash collections for the party. These data show a tremendous mass-scale heroism on the part of worker Bolsheviks in collecting money for Pravda for the papers that have been suppressed, etc. The reports of such collections have always been published. Among the Cadets we see nothing of the kind; their party work is obviously being "nourished" by, contributions from the rich. There is no trace of active aid on the part of the masses.

Lastly, a comparison of the movements of April 20-21 and July 3-4 on the one hand, and the Kornilov revolt on the other, shows that the Bolsheviks indicated point-blank to the masses who their enemy in the civil war is, namely, the bourgeoisie, the landowners and capitalists. The Kornilov revolt has already demonstrated that the troops who followed Kornilov did so because they had been completely deceived, a fact made obvious the moment the Savage Division and Kornilov's contingents came up against the Petrograd masses.

Furthermore, what data indicate the strength of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the civil war? The Bolsheviks are strong only in the numbers and class-consciousness of the proletarians, in the sympathy with the Bolshevik slogans displayed by the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik "rank and file" (i.e., workers and poor peasants). It is a fact that these slogans actually won over the majority of the active revolutionary masses in Petrograd on April 20-21,[2] June 18,20 and July 3-4.

A comparison of the data on the "parliamentary" elections and the data on the above-named mass movements fully corroborates, in respect of Russia, an observation often made in the West, namely, that the revolutionary proletariat is incomparably stronger in the extra-parliamentary than in the parliamentary struggle, as far as influencing the masses and drawing them into the struggle is concerned. This is a very important observation in respect of civil war.

It is quite clear why in all the circumstances and the entire situation of parliamentary struggle and elections the strength of the oppressed classes is less than the strength they can actually develop in civil war.

The strength of the Cadets and the Kornilov revolt is the strength of wealth. The press and a long series of political actions show that Anglo-French capital and imperialism are in favor of the Cadets and the Kornilov movement. It is common knowledge that the entire Right wing of the Moscow Conference21 of August 12 gave frantic support to Kornilov and Kaledin. It is common knowledge that the French and British bourgeois press "aided" Kornilov. There are indications of his having been aided by the banks.

All the power of wealth stood behind Kornilov—and What a miserable and rapid failure! There are only two social forces among Kornilov's supporters apart from the wealthy—the Savage Division and the Cossacks. In the case of the former it is only the power of ignorance and deception, and this power is the more formidable the longer the press remains in the hands of the bourgeoisie. After a victory in the civil war, the proletariat would undermine this source of "power" once and for all.

As to the Cossacks, they are a section of the population consisting of rich, small or medium landed proprietors (the average holding is about 50 dessiatines) in one of those outlying regions of Russia that have retained many medieval traits in their way of life, their economy, and their customs. We can regard this as the socio-economic basis for a Russian Vendée [3] But what have the facts of the Kornilov-Kaledin movement proved? Not even Kaledin, the "beloved leader" supported by the Guchkovs, Milyukovs, Ryabushinskys and Co., has succeeded in creating a mass movement!! Kaledin marched towards civil war much more "directly", much more forthrightly than did the Bolsheviks. Kaledin went specifically "to rouse the Don", and still he has not aroused a mass movement in his "home" region, in a Cossack region far removed from Russian democracy in general. On the part of the proletariat, on the contrary, we observe spontaneous outbursts of the movement in the very centre of the influence and power of anti-Bolshevik, all-Russia democracy.

Objective data on the attitude of various strata and economic groups of the Cossacks towards democracy and towards the Kornilov revolt are lacking. There are only indications to the effect that the majority of the poor and middle Cossacks are rather inclined towards democracy and that only the officers and the top layer of the well-to-do Cossacks are entirely in favour of Kornilov.

However that may be, the extreme weakness of a mass Cossack movement in favour of a bourgeois counter-revolution has been historically proved since the experience of August 26-31.

There remains the last question, that of the tenacity of the movement. As far as the Bolshevik, proletarian revolutionary movement is concerned, we have proof that the struggle against Bolshevism has been conducted during the six months existence of a republic in Russia both ideologically, with a gigantic preponderance of press organs and propaganda forces on the side of the opponents of Bolshevism (even if we risk classing the campaign of slander as "ideological" struggle), and by means of repressions, which include hundreds of people arrested, our main printing-plant demolished, and the chief newspaper and a number of other papers suppressed. The result can be seen in the facts—a tremendous growth of support for the Bolsheviks in the August Petrograd elections, and in both the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik' parties, a strengthening of the internationalist and Left trends that are drawing close to Bolshevism. This means that the tenacity of the proletarian revolutionary movement in republican Russia is very great. The facts tell us that the combined efforts of the Cadets, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks have not succeeded in weakening that movement in the least. On the contrary, it was the alliance of the Kornilovites with "democracy" that strengthened Bolshevism. The only possible means of struggle against the proletarian revolutionary trend are ideological influence and repressions.

Data on the tenacity of the Cadet-Kornilov movement are still lacking. The Cadets have suffered no persecution at all. Even Guchkov has been set free and Maklakov and Milyukov were not even arrested. Rech has not been suppressed. The Cadets are being spared. The Kornilovite Cadets are being courted by Kerensky's government. Suppose we put it this way: assuming that the Anglo-French and the Russian Ryabushinskys will give millions and millions more to the Cadets, to Yedinstvo, Dyen, etc., for the new election campaign in Petrograd, is it probable that the number of their votes will now increase, after the Kornilov revolt? Judging by meetings, etc., the answer to this question can hardly be anything but negative.

* * *

Summing up the results of the analysis in which we compared the data furnished by the history of the Russian revolution, we arrive at the conclusion that the beginning of the proletariat's civil war has revealed the strength, the class-consciousness, deep-rootedness, growth, and tenacity of the movement. The beginning of the bourgeoisie's civil war has revealed no strength, no class-consciousness among the masses, no depth whatsoever, no chance of victory.

The alliance of the Cadets with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks against the Bolsheviks, i.e., against the revolutionary proletariat, has been tried in practice for a number of months, and this alliance of the temporarily disguised Kornilovites with the "democrats" has actually strengthened and not weakened the Bolsheviks, and led to the collapse of the "alliance", and to the strengthening of the Left opposition among the Mensheviks.

An alliance of the Bolsheviks with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks against the Cadets, against the bourgeoisie, has not yet been tried; or, to be more precise, such an alliance has been tried on one front only, for five days only, from August 26 to August 31, the period of the Kornilov revolt, and this alliance at that time scored a victory over the counter-revolution with an ease never yet achieved in any revolution; it was such a crushing suppression of the bourgeois, landowners', capitalist, Allied-imperialist and Cadet counter-revolution, that the civil war from that side ceased to exist, was a mere nothing from the very outset, collapsed before any "battle" had taken place.

In the face of this historic fact the entire bourgeois press and all its chorus (the Plekhanovs, Potresovs, Breshko Breshkovskayas, etc.) are shouting with all their might that an alliance of the Bolsheviks with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries "threatens" the horrors of civil war!

This would be funny, if it were not so sad. It is sad indeed that such an open, self-evident, glaring absurdity, such a flouting of the facts of the whole history of our revolution, can still find listeners.... This only proves that the selfish bourgeois lie is still widespread (and this cannot be avoided as long as the press is monopolised by the bourgeoisie), a lie that shouts down and drowns the most undoubted, palpably obvious lessons of the revolution.

If there is an absolutely undisputed lesson of the revolution, one fully proved by facts, it is that only an alliance of the Bolsheviks with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, only an immediate transfer of all power to the Soviets would make civil war in Russia impossible, for a civil war begun by the bourgeoisie against such an alliance, against the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, is inconceivable; such a "war~~ would not last even until the first battle; the bourgeoisie, for the second time since the Kornilov revolt, would not be able to move even the Savage Division, or the former number of Cossack units against the Soviet Government!

The peaceful development of any revolution is, generally speaking, extremely rare and difficult, because revolution is the maximum exacerbation of the sharpest class contradictions; but in a peasant country, at a time when a union of the proletariat with the peasantry can give peace to people worn out by a most unjust and criminal war, when that union can give the peasantry all the land, in that country, at that exceptional moment in history, a peaceful development of the revolution is possible and probable if all power is transferred to the Soviets. The struggle of parties for power within the Soviets may proceed peacefully, if the Soviets are made fully democratic, and "petty thefts" and violations of democratic principles, such as giving the soldiers one representative to every five hundred, while the workers have one representative to every thousand voters, are eliminated. In a democratic republic such petty thefts will have to disappear.

When confronted with Soviets that have given all the land to the peasants without compensation and offer a just peace to all the peoples—when confronted with such Soviets the alliance of the British, French and Russian bourgeoisie, the Kornilovs, Buchanans,[4] Ryabushinskys, Milyukovs, Plekhanovs, and Potresovs is quite impotent and is not to be feared.

The bourgeoisie's resistance to the transfer of the land to the peasants without compensation, to similar reforms in other realms of life, to a just peace and a break with imperialism, is, of course, inevitable. But for such resistance to reach the stage of civil war, masses of some kind are necessary, masses capable of fighting and vanquishing the Soviets. The bourgeoisie does not have these masses, and has nowhere to get them. The sooner and the more resolutely the Soviets take all power, the sooner both Savage Divisions and Cossacks will split into an insignificant minority of politically-conscious Kornilov supporters and a huge majority of those in favour of a democratic and socialist (for it is with socialism that we shall then be dealing) alliance of workers and peasants.

When power passes to the Soviets, the resistance of the bourgeoisie will result in scores and hundreds of workers and peasants "keeping track of", supervising, controlling, and registering every single capitalist, for the interests of the workers and peasants will demand struggle against the capitalists' deception of the people. The forms and methods of this accountancy and control have been developed and simplified by capitalism itself, by such capitalist creations as banks, big factories, trusts, railways, the post office, consumers' societies, and trade unions. If the Soviets punish those capitalists who evade the most detailed accounting or who deceive the people, punish them by confiscating all their property and arresting them for a short time, that will be sufficient to break all the resistance of the bourgeoisie by bloodless means. For it is through the banks, once they are nationalised, through the unions of employees, through t.he post office, the consumers' societies, and the trade unions, that control and the accounting will become universal, all-powerful, and irresistible.

And Russia's Soviets, the alliance of her workers and poor peasants, are not alone in the steps they take towards socialism. If we were alone, we should not be able to accomplish this task peacefully, for it is essentially an international task. But we have enormous reserves, the armies of the most advanced workers in other countries, where Russia's break with imperialism and the imperialist war will inevitably accelerate the workers' socialist revolution that is maturing.

* * *

Some speak about "rivers of blood" in a civil war. This is mentioned in the resolution of the Kornilovite Cadets quoted above. This phrase is repeated in a thousand ways by all the bourgeois and opportunists. Since the Kornilov revolt all the class-conscious workers laugh, will continue to laugh and cannot help laughing at it.

However, the question of "rivers of blood" in the present time of war can and must be studied by an approximate computation of forces, consequences, and results; it must be taken seriously and not as an empty stock phrase, not as simply the hypocrisy of the Cadets, who have done everything in their power to enable Kornilov to drown Russia in "rivers of blood", and to restore the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the power of the landowners, and the monarchy.

"Rivers of blood," they say. Let us analyse this aspect of the question as well.

Let us assume that the vacillations of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries continue; that these parties do not hand over power to the Soviets; that they do not overthrow Kerensky; that they restore the old rotten compromise with the bourgeoisie in a somewhat different form (say, "non-partisan" Kornilovites instead of Cadets); that they do not replace the apparatus of state power by the Soviet apparatus, do not offer peace, do not break with imperialism, and do not confiscate the landed estates. Let us assume that this is the outcome of the present wavering of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, of this present "September 12".

The experience of our own revolution tells us most clearly that the consequence of this would be a still further weakening of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, their further separation from the masses, an incredible growth of indignation and bitterness among the masses, a tremendous growth of sympathy with the revolutionary proletariat, with the Bolsheviks.

Under such conditions, the proletariat of the capital will be still closer to a Commune, to a workers' uprising, to the conquest of power, to a civil war in its highest and most decisive form, than it is at present; after the experience of April 20-21 and July 3-4 such a result must be recognised as historically inevitable.

"Rivers of blood," shout the Cadets. But such rivers of blood would give victory to the proletariat and the poor peasantry, and it is a hundred to one that this victory would bring peace in place of the imperialist war, i.e., that it would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of men who are now shedding their blood for the sake of a division of spoils and seizures (annexations) by the capitalists. If April 20-21 had ended by the transfer of all power to the Soviets, and the Bolsheviks in alliance with the poor peasantry had won in the Soviets, it would have saved the lives of the half million Russian soldiers, who certainly perished in the battles of June 18, even if it had cost "rivers of blood".

This is how every class-conscious Russian worker and soldier figures, this is how he must figure, if he weighs and analyses the question of civil war now being raised everywhere; and, of course, such a worker or soldier, who has experienced many things and given thought to them, will not be frightened by the cries of "rivers of blood" raised by individuals, parties and groups willing to sacrifice more millions of Russian soldiers for the sake of Constantinople, Lvov, Warsaw, and "victory over Germany".

No "rivers of blood" in an internal civil war can even approximately equal those seas of blood which the Russian imperialists have shed since June 19 (in spite of the very great chances they had of avoiding this by handing over power to the Soviets).

All you Milyukovs, Potresovs and Plekhanovs be careful about your arguments against "rivers of blood" in civil war while this present war continues, for the soldiers have seen seas of blood and know what they mean.

The international situation of the Russian revolution now, in 1917, the fourth year of a terrifically burdensome and criminal war, that has worn out the peoples, is such that an offer of a just peace on the part of a Russian proletariat victorious in the civil war would have a hundred to one chance of achieving an armistice and peace without the shedding of further seas of blood.

For a combination of warring Anglo-French and German imperialism against the proletarian socialist Russian Republic is impossible in practice, while a combination of British, Japanese and American imperialism against us is extremely difficult to realise and is not at all dangerous to us, if only because of Russia's geographical position. On the other hand, the existence of revolutionary and socialist proletarian masses in all the European states is a fact; the maturing and the inevitability of the worldwide socialist revolution is beyond doubt, and such a revolution can be seriously aided only by the progress of the Russian revolution and not by delegations and not by playing at Stockholm conferences with the foreign Plekhanovs or Tseretelis.

The bourgeoisie wails about the inevitable defeat of a Commune in Russia, i.e., defeat of the proletariat if it were to conquer power.

These are false, selfish class wailings.

If the proletariat gains power it will have every chance of retaining it and of leading Russia until there is a victorious revolution in the West.

In the first place, we have learned much since the Commune, and we would not repeat its fatal errors, we would not leave the banks in the hands of the bourgeoisie, we would not confine ourselves to defence against the Versaillais (or the Kornilovites) but would take the offensive against them and crush them.

Secondly, the victorious proletariat would give Russia peace, and no power on earth would be able to overthrow a government of peace, a government of an honest, sincere, just peace, after all the horrors of more than three years butchery of the peoples.

Thirdly, the victorious proletariat would give the peasantry the land immediately and without compensation. And a tremendous majority of the peasantry—worn out and embittered by the "playing around with the landowners" practised by our government, particularly the coalition government, particularly the Kerensky government—would support the victorious proletariat absolutely, unreservedly, with every means in its power.

You Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries are all talking about the "heroic efforts" of the people. Only recently I came across this phrase for the nth time in the leading article of your Izvestia of the Central Executive Committee. With you it is a mere phrase. But the workers and peasants read it and think about it, and such deliberation—reinforced by the experience of the Kornilov revolt, by the "experience" of Peshekhonov's ministry, by the "experience" of Chernov's ministry, and so forth—every such deliberation inevitably leads to the conclusion that this "heroic effort" is nothing but confidence of the poor peasantry in the city workers as their most faithful allies and leaders. The heroic effort is nothing but the victory of the Russian proletariat over the bourgeoisie in civil war, for such a victory alone will save the country from painful vacillations, it alone will show the way out, it alone will give land and peace.

If an alliance between the city workers and the poor peasantry can be effected through an immediate transfer of power to the Soviets, so much the better. The Bolsheviks will do everything to secure this peaceful development of the revolution. Without this, even the Constituent Assembly, by itself, will not save the situation, for even there the Socialist-Revolutionaries may continue their "playing" at agreements with the Cadets, with Breshko-Breshkovskaya and Kerensky (in what way are they better than Cadets?), and so on, and so forth.

If even the experience of the Kornilov revolt has taught the "democrats" nothing, and they continue the destructive policy of vacillation and compromise, we say that nothing is more ruinous to the proletarian revolution than these vacillations. That being the case, do not frighten us, gentlemen, with civil war. Civil war is inevitable, if you do not wish to break with Kornilovism and the "coalition" right now, once and for all. This war will bring victory over the exploiters, it will give the land to the peasants, it will give peace to the peoples, it will open the right road to the victorious revolution of the world socialist proletariat.


[1] The reference is to the following facts. On April 20 (May 3), the newspapers carried a note from Foreign Minister Milyukov to the Allied Governments in which the Provisional Government reaffirmed its intention to honour all the treaties of the Tsarist government and to carry on the war to a victorious end. There was massive indignation over this imperialist policy, and on April 21 (May 4), the workers of Petrograd responded to a call issued by the Bolshevik Party and downed tools. They staged a demonstration which demanded peace and was attended by more than 100,000 workers and soldiers. Protest demonstrations were also staged in Moscow, the Urals, the Ukraine, Kronstadt and other towns and districts. Resolutions protesting against Milyukov's note were received by the Petrograd Soviet from many urban Soviets. The April demonstration led to a government crisis. Mass pressure forced Milyukov and Guchkov to resign from the Cabinet. The first coalition government was formed on May 5 (18), and consisted of 10 capitalist ministers and leaders of the parties collaborating with them, namely, Kerensky and Chernov from the Socialist-Revolutionary Party; Tsereteli and Skobelev from the Mensheviks, etc. The bourgeois government was saved by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks who openly sided with the bourgeoisie.

[2] On June 9 (22), 1917, the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets prohibited the demonstration set by the Bolshevik Central Committee for June 10 (23). The decision to stage the demonstration was adopted at an enlarged meeting of the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) together with delegates from the districts, army units, trade unions and factory committees. The demonstration was to have shown the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets that the Petrograd workers and soldiers wanted the Soviets to take all state power. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries decided to prevent the demonstration from taking place and pushed a resolution through congress to that effect. The Bolshevik Central Committee did not wish to oppose the Congress decision and at Lenin's suggestion withdrew its decision on the night of June 9 (22). Members of the Central Committee Petrograd Committee, and Party activists went to the factories and barracks to convince the workers and soldiers to stay in. Their efforts were successful and the workers and soldiers agreed that a demonstration would be badly timed. The Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leadership of the Congress of Soviets decided to stage a demonstration on June 18 (July 30) as an expression of confidence in the Provisional Government . Lenin led the Central and Petrograd Committees in a great effort to prepare a demonstration showing the true feelings of the masses. On the eve of the demonstration, June 17 (30), Pravda carried an appeal from the Central Committee, the Petrograd Committee, the Central Committee's Military Organisation, and the Central Council of Factory Committees calling on the people to demonstrate the strength of the revolution. Some 500,000 workers and soldiers took part in the demonstration on June 18 (July 1), with the overwhelming majority carrying the revolutionary slogans of the Bolshevik Party. Only a small group carried the slogans of the collaborating parties, which urged support for the Provisional Government. The demonstration showed the mounting revolutionary activity of the masses and the Bolshevik Party's growing influence, it was a great victory for the Bolshevik Party. It showed that the masses put no trust in the Provisional Government, and the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary policy of collaborating with the bourgeoisie.

[3] Vendée—a province in France, which was a hotbed of counter-revolution during the French bourgeois revolution at the end of the 18th century. The backward peasants of the Vendée, who were strongly influenced by the Catholic clergy, were a tool in the hands of the counter-revolutionaries in their fight against revolutionary France.

[4] Buchanan—(1855-1924)—British diplomat and ambassador to Russia (1910-1918). He helped the reactionaries in their anti-revolutionary fight and in August 1917 gave support to Kornilov's counter-revolutionary revolt.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.