The March 1917 Party Conference
The All-Russian Conference of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was convened at the end of March 1917. Simultaneously with this Conference the Bureau of the Bolshevik central Committee issued a call for the All-Russian Conference of party workers for March 28, the first one held after the February revolution.
The agenda planned for the Conference was as follows:
- Local reports.
- Report of the Bureau of the central Committee.
- SDLPR and the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
- The attitude towards the Provisional Government.
- The attitude to the war.
- The organization of the counter-revolutionary forces and the struggle against the counter-revolution.
- Preparation for the Constituent Assembly.
- The Agrarian question.
- The Eight-Hour day.
The following organizations and comrades took part in the conference:
|Organization||Names of Delegates|
|1) Archangel||Maryan Verzhhitsky*|
|2) Alexandrovsk-Gruschevsk||P.V. Novov-Okhlonin*|
|6) V. Volochek||V.F. Sokolov*|
|7) Vitebs||J. Abolin|
|8) Vologda||Shalva Zurab Eliava & Ivan A. Sammer|
|10) Gamel||P.N. Sevruk*|
|11) Helsingfors-Sviborg||S.A. Garin*|
|12) Grozny||Bogdanov* & H. E. Bugai*|
|13) Ekaterinodar||A. A. Limansky*|
|14) Ekaterinoslav||G. V. Golovko*|
|15) Ekaterinburg||L. S. Sosnovsky & P. Bykov8|
|16) Enakievo (Petrovsky |
mines and mills)
|Speransky* & K.P. Susenkov*|
|17) Ivanov-Voznesensk||Vera A. Karovaikova|
|18) Irkutsk||Peter I. Starostin* & Robert J. Dukur*|
|19) Kiev||Maximilian A. Saveliev* & Alexandrov|
|20) Kostroma||Leonid P. Serebnakov*, Vassili A. Krapivin & |
Nicolai I. Vorobiev
|21) Kursk||Alexander N. Grigoriev|
|22) Kenavino||S. Levitt|
|26) Lysivensky Factory||Savchenko*, Danilenko|
|27) Moscow||Victor P. Nogin*, E.N. Ignatov*|
|28) Minsk||Boris P. Pozern*, Yakhontov|
|30) Morshansk||Nicolai A. Skrypnik*|
|31) Minyarsk (Ufa Goubernia)||Vakhterov*|
|32) Nikolayev||Nicolai M. Mandelstam*, Alexander G. Ovchinniko, |
S.I. Kanatchikov*, Adolf Klepner*
|34) Nikitovka||Jacob Grosfin*, N. Akimov*|
|36) Omsk||Peter A. Kravtsov|
|38) Revel||I. E. Kuzmin*, A. Balevsky|
|40) Samara||N. Teplov, Gersimov*, Robert Bauza|
|41) Saratov||M.I. Vassiliev*, V.P. Miliutin , K.I. Plaxin|
|42) Syzran||N.D. Vozdvizhensky*|
|43) Sormovo||Nicolai E. Miroshin|
|44) Simferopol||T. Fedoseyev*, T. Kravchenko*|
|45) Tomsk||Ivan N. Smirnov*, Nakhanovich*|
|46) Taganro||Paul M. Berman*|
|47) Tula||Nikita G. Brigadirov|
|48) Ufa||Boris M. Eltsia*|
|49) Kharkov||Gregory A. Romanovich*|
|50) Kherson||Ivan F. Sorokin|
|51) Tsaritsin||Weinzweig*, Sergei K. Minin, D.A. Sagareishvili|
|52) Chelyabinsk||S.M. Tsvilling|
|58) Seherbinovka||Nahum Dubovoi*|
|54) Yuriev||A.K. Rozov|
|55) Yaroslavl||Ivan I. Korotkov|
|56) Stavropol-Kavkaz||Vassili, F. Tolstov|
|57) Petropavlovsk||Alexander M. Povolotsky|
|58) 180th Regiment||Kutuzov|
* The asterisk denotes those participants who were delegates to the Soviet Conference.
In addition to those listed above, the following organizations whose delegates failed to report to the Secretariat participated in the Conference
- 1st Reserve Infantry
- 112th Infantry Regiment
- 729th Infantry Regiment
Present from the Central Committee were Stalin, Helena D. Stassova, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, Shliapnikov, Peter A. Zalutsky
Participating personally were Ivan T. Smilga Stuchka, member of the G., F. Fedorov Latvian Central Committee, M.S. Olminsky, A.I. Elizarova Kollontai, member of the Finnish CC
Present from the Petrograd Committee were Leon M. Mikhailov, Badayev, Vladimir N. Zalezhsky, Yakovlenko (Sergei) Bagdatiev, Enukidze, Boki Epstein,Shagov Krestinsky, Goloschekin
The sessions were first held at the Kshesinskaia Palace and later transferred to the Tauride Palace, in the gallery.
The original protocols were destroyed by Kerensky’s gangs during the July days in a raid on the Kshesinskaia Palace, at that time the headquarters of the Central Committee of our party.
Fortunately, I have preserved the original drafts of the protocols and the records of the sessions, with the exception of the sessions for March 27 and March 28, when the war question was under discussion. From these documents it was possible to restore the protocols of the sessions.
These records do not of course represent stenographic minutes – our small party, poor in resources, did not even dare dream of such luxury at that time. These are merely notes as taken down during the sessions; and they are more or less complete, depending upon the individual peculiarities of the particular speaker (the speed and lucidity of his delivery, etc.). In any case, there is nothing in them that is “personally interpolated.” Everything in the notes represents an exact, even though incomplete, reproduction of what the speakers said. – L.T.
SESSION OF MARCH 29, 1917
Chairman: comrade Nogin.
Secretaries: comrades Boki and Drabkina.
The order of the day: The question of the attitude toward the Provisional Government.
After the session was called to order, all the delegates of the Conference were divided into sections in accordance with the projected Conference of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
Soldiers’ Section: comrades Pozern, Borisov, Shashkin, Vengerov, Panshin, Verzhbitsky, I.N. Smirnov, Ter-Gahrye Ian, Klepner, Syrkin, Shklovsky, Paderin, Garin, Serebriakov.
Workers’ Section: comrades Starostin, Vassiliev, Kanat chikoy, Kravtsov, Okhlonin, Ter-Gabryelan, Speransky, Sosnovsky, Yakhontov, Romanovich, Nakhanovich, Sammer, Sorokin.
Organizational Section: comrades Sevruk, Saveliev, Skrypnik, Pozern, Mandelstam.
Section of Local Affairs: comrades Dukur, Teploukhov, Tsvilling, Drobnis.
Agrarian Section: comrades Romanovich, Miliutin, V.P. Lebed.
Mandate Commission: comrades Sevruk, Skrypnik.
The resolution of the Praesidium of the Soviet Conference dealing with the manner in which the work would be divided was read: At 6 p.m. elections to the Mandate Commission; division into sections; report by Tseretelli.
Reporters: On War-Tseretelli; On the Organization of Power – Steklov.
DELEGATE: Has an agreement been reached on the question of reporters?
NOGIN: Proposes that the representatives of the various sections come to an agreement on the question of the speakers.
SKRYPNIK: Proposes to suggest to the representatives of all factions that they insist on co-reports.
ON THE ATTITUDE TO THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
Report by Comrade Stalin
STALIN: The Russian Revolution unfolded not under ordinary circumstances, but against the background of the imperialist war. This fact has left a peculiar mark on the development of the revolution. Due to the fact of the war, the revolutionary crisis, aggravated by a food crisis, was resolved very rapidly. Owing to the war, the army has played a rôle which it never played in any other revolution due to the fact that the entire adult population was mobilized and that the army joined the insurrectionary people. Due to the fact of the war, Czarism has been isolated even from imperialist bourgeois circles. Czarism, by its betrayals, repelled the bourgeoisie from itself. Even the imperialist circles of the West, England and France, turned their backs on Czarism, because they wanted to have at the head of the Russian government people capable of waging the war to the end. There are four forces in the revolution. The two basic ones are the workers and the soldiers. And, in addition, there are two secondary ones: the imperialist circles, both our own and the Anglo-French. These forces, having united, prepared the soil for such an easy and rapid overthrow of Czarism. But since the forces are heterogeneous, therefore their aims are likewise heterogeneous. The tops, the bourgeoisie, both our own and those of Western Europe, have united in order to effect a change in the decorative scenery; they have united in order to replace one Czar by another. They wanted an easy revolution, like the Turkish, with very little freedom, so as to wage the war. A tiny revolution for a big victory. But the lower ranks – the workers and the soldiers – have deepened the revolution, having destroyed the props of the old system. Thus, it is as if we had two currents “ one from below, the other from abovo “ which have brought forward two governments, two forces: 1) the Provisional Government, supported by Anglo-French capitalism; 2) the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The power has been divided between two organs, of which neither one possesses full power. There is and there ought to be friction and struggle between them. The roles have been divided. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies has in fact taken the initiative in effecting revolutionary transformations. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies is the revolutionary leader of the insurrectionary people; an organ of control over the Provisional Government. On the other hand, the Provisional Government has in fact taken the rôle of fortifier of the conquests of the revolutionary people. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Dep uties mobi!izes the forces and exercizes control, while the Provisional Government, balking and muddling, takes the role of the fortifier of those conquests by the people which they have already seized as a fact. Such a situation has disadvantageous, but also advantageous sides. It is not to our advantage at present to force events, hastening the process of repelling the bourgeois layers, who will in the future inevitably withdraw from us. It is necessary for us to gain time by putting a brake on the splitting away of the middle-bourgeois layers so that we may prepare ourselves for the struggle against the Provisional Government. But such a situation will not endure endlessly. The revolution is deepening. From the political questions there will be a transition to the social questions. The social demands will cause the middle-bourgeois layers to split away.
It is silly to think that it will be possible to bring the revolution to its completion without a split with the bourgeoisie. When that time comes, in so far as the split grows, the Provisional Government will become transformed from an organ for fortifying the conquests of the revolution into an organ for organizing the counter-revolution. A strug gle is already being conducted against the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies; an agitation is being carried on against it among the troops. Clashes are beginning to occur over the questions of the [loyalty] oath, the democratization of the army, the change of the Supreme Commanding Staff. The mobilization of the counter-revolutionary forces has as its banner: “War to a victorious conclusion!” This offensive is being carried on not only from within but also from without – from the side of England and France. Their semi-official organs have launched a veritable offensive against the revolution. The offensive against dual power has begun, and in proportion as the revolution develops the Provisional Government must (it must objectively) become transformed into the bulwark of counter-revolution, not a Czarist counter-revo lution – we face no danger from that side –but an imperialist counter-revolution. To prepare for repelling it – that is our task. In view of this, the question becomes more complex. The question of support – let us even allow that support is not permissible. In so far as the Provisional Government fortifies the steps of the revolution, to that extent we must support it; but in so far as it is counter-revolutionary, support to the Provisional Government is not permissible. Many comrades who have arrived from the provinces ask whether we shouldn’t immediately pose the question of the seizure of power. But it is untimely to pose the question now. The Provisional Government is not so weak. The strength of the Provisional Government lies in the support of Anglo-French capitalism, in the inertia of the provinces and in the [widespread] sympathy for it. It is being showered with telegrams [of congratulation]. We must bide our time until the Provisional Government exhausts itself, until the time when in the process of fulfilling the revolutionary program it discredits itself. The only organ capable of taking power is the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on an All-Russian scale. We, on the other band, must bide our time until the moment when the events will reveal the hollowness of the Provisional Government; we must be prepared, when the time comes, when the events have matured, and until then we must organize the center – the Soviet of Workers’ and Sol diers’ Deputies – and strengthen it. Therein lies the task of the moment.
Comrade Stalin reads the resolution on the Provisional Government adopted by the Bureau of the Central Committee, but states that he is not in complete agreement with it, but is rather in accord with the resolution of the Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
THE RESOLUTION OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
“The Provisional Government, brought forward by the moderate bourgeois classes of our society and linked through all its interests with Angl-French capitalism, is incapable of solving the tasks posed by the revolution. Its resistance to the further development and deepening of the revolution is being paralyzed only by the growth of the revolutionary forces and their own organizations. The focal point for their consolidation must be the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies in the cities and the Soviet of Peasants’ and Farmhands’ Deputies in the country, which, as the embryos of revolutionary power, are prepared, in the course of the further development and at a given moment in the development of the revolution, to realize in full the power of the proletariat in an alliance with the revolutionary democracy, so that the demands of the insurrectionary people may be wholly put into effect. Even at the present moment these Soviets shou!d exercize the most decisive control over all the actions of the Provisional Government and its agents both in the center and in the provinces; and they should themselves assume a number of functions cf state and of an economic character arising from the complete disorganization of economic life in the country and from the urgent necessity to apply the most resolute measures for safeguarding the famine-stricken population whom war has ruined. Therefore the task of the day is: The consolidation of all forces around the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies as the embryo of revolutionary power, alone capable both of repelling the attempts on the part of the Czarist and bourgeois counter-revolution as well as of realizing the demands of revolutionary democracy and of explaining the true class nature of the present government.
“The most urgent and important task of the Sovicts, the fulfillment of which will alone guarantee the victory over all the forces of counter-revolution and the further development and deepening of the revolution, is, in the opinion of the party, the universal arming of the people, and, in particular, the immediate creation of Workers’ Red Guards throughout the entire land.”
RESOLUTION OF THE KRASNOYARSK SOVIET OF WORKERS’, SOLDIERS’ AND COSSACKS’ DEPUTIES
“1) the revolutionary overturn has been achieved by the working class and the Army representing the revolutionary peasantry,
“2) the Provisional Government expresses the demands of the Russian imperialist belligerent bourgeoisie and not the demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry,
“3) the clash between the demands of the imperialist bourgeosie and the demands of the working class and the peasantry in the revolution is inevitable in the future inasmuch as the bourgeoisie will seek to defend its own interests against the interests of the working class and the revolutionary peasantry,
“The Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Cossacks’ Deputies resolves:
“1) to recognize as urgent that it be made clear to the broad layers of the working class, the Army and the peasantry that the Provisional Government in its composition expresses the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie and not those of the people; that it is incapable of cooperating in carrying the present revolution through to the fulfillment of the basic demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry;
“2) to make entirely clear that the only source of the power and the authority of the Provisional Government is the will of the people who have accomplished this revolution and to whom the Provisional GovernmeDt is obliged wholly to submit;
“3) to make likewise clear that the submission of the Provisional Government to the basic demands of the revolution can be secured only by the unrelaxing pressure of the proletariat, the peasantry and the revolutionary Army, who must with unremitting energy maintain their organization around the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies born out of the revolution, in order to transform the latter into the ter rible force of the revolutionary people;
“4) to support the Provisional Government in its activities only in so far as it follows a course of satisfying the demands of the working ejass and the revolutionary peasantry in the revolution that is taking place.”
The resolution of the Moscow District Committee is next read. It was not among the documents.
VOITINSKY (co-reporter): Leaving aside the contradictions, all three resolutions express one and the same view of the Provisional Government: The monarchist Guchkov arrests the monarch; the monarchist Miliukov becomes a member of the republican Provisional Government. Among the members of the Provisional Government there is not a single supporter of the Constituent Assembly with the exception of Kerensky – but notwithstanding this, it organizes the Constituent Assembly. While being counter-revolutionary to the core, being counter-revolutionary in all respects – in the program of the parties represented in it, and in their aims – it is nevertheless revolutionary in its activities. The contradicticn between its counter-revolutionary nature and its revolution ary activities is a basic contradiction. The reporter has called our attention to the support of Anglo-French capitalism. But that is absolutely wrong. Recall the almost threatening tone of Buchanan’s speech: We will support you only to the extent that you fulfill the promises of the Czarist government. Recall the speeches of Bonar Law and others in the House of Commons. Anglo-French capitalism is protesting, of course, not against Miliukov and not against the Government but against its activities. They are in sympathy with the Government but they are opposed to its activities and they demand that “an end be put to agitation,” in the guise of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. All the sympathies of the parties that have formed the Provisional Government were inclined not to the side of participating in the revolution but of resisting it. The Octobrists and the Cadets took no part in the revolution, remaining counter-revolutionists, till the moment when the revolution conquered. The Provisional Government received the power from the hands of the people. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies could have refused to recognize it – and it would never have come into existence. But I ask, why then are the counter-revolutionary forces fulfilling the work of the revolution? Why didn’t the revolutionary democracy take power into its own hands instead of passing it into the hands of the moderate and liberal bourgeoisie? The answer to the second question will at the same time provide an answer to the first.
It is as clear as noonday that to take the power into our own hands at the moment when it was possible to realize the dictatorship of the democracy would have meant to ruin the bourgeois democratic revolution. The proletariat would have been unable to cope with the anarchy. The revolutionary proletariat halted at the threshold and transferred the power into other hands. We had no revolutionary democratic bourgeois parties in our country. It was impossible for the socialists to take the power into their own hands. Only one thing remained – to hand the power over to the moderate elements, but on the condition that they fulfill a revolutionary program inimical to themselves. The Cadet-Monarchists were attached to the republican Government. They are fulfilling, with hatred towards us, and without disguising their hatred, our revolutionary program. It was thus that there arose this incongruity between the activities and the inner essence of the Provisional Government which we are now witnessing. The Government is in its majority comprised of moderate bourgeois layers, but it received the power from the hands of the revolutionary people, after it had pledged to the latter to fulfill the revolutionary program of the people – to destroy the monarchy, to convene the Constituent Assembly, to democratize autonomous local rule, etc. But precisely because of this internal contradiction there must be control on the part of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. So long as this control exists, it [the Government] will put the program into effect. It [the Government] does not want to solve, but under the control of the revolutionary democracy it is able to solve problems of the revolution. The Cadets and the Octobrists turned to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies with the request: “Give us Ministers.” It is objectively inevitable for the power to pass from the less revolutionary into the more revolutionary hands, but this transfer will be effected gradually, through the resignation of the more moderate Ministers and their replacement by more radical ones, but not in a revolutionary way through their violent overthrow. I ask you to consider attentively the following detail: Miliukov came with the slate of Ministers to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies for confirmation; the threat of resignation was likewise submitted to the Soviet, that is to say, they turned to the Soviet in very much the same way as is usually done in the case of monarchs in the countries of constitutional monarchy. It is not true that the Soviet is an embryo of power. The Soviet is the power, dictating its own terms, while the Provisional Government is a clerk of the Soviet. It is impossible for us to take the power entirely into our own hands under the bourgeois system.
While recognizing the counter-revolutionary essence of the Provisional Government we must at the same time recognize that it is fulfilling revolutionary work. We must support each and every revolutionary step on its part and fight against any of its attempts to evade control, viewing that as a betrayal of and as mutiny against democracy. But in the meantime our task is to organize the forces, to prepare for the transfer of power into our own hands. Therefore not the Red Guard, but the attraction to us of the Army, the fulfillment of the socialist program, the preparation for the trans fer of power into our hands – these are our immediate tasks.
SAVELIEV: Comrade Stalin has pointed out absolutely correctly the meaning of the rôle of the bourgeoisie in the present war and of the position occupied by the proletariat. It is impossible to agree with comrade Voitinsky that Anglo-French capitalism has played no rôle. To be sure, it did not expect the revolution to attain such a sweep. The revolutionary democracy mixed all the cards. The paths of the imperialist bourgeoisie and of the revolutionary democracy momentarily crossed each other. Due to entirely different reasons, to entirely different motives, the two forces crisscrossed in such a manner as to coincide during the moment of the overthrow of the autocracy. In any case, having crossed, having taken to this path, the Russian bourgeoisie has had to follow in the wake of the proletariat, i.e., it found the path already closed to any compromise with the autocracy that was in process of liquidation. It made the pretense of join ing the insurrectionary people. But why did we get such a situation? Because the relation of forces in the country was not such as wooud allow the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Comrade Saveliev moves the following resolution for adoption:
”1) Whereas the Provisional Government brought forward by the moderate bourgeois classes had to take upon itself the fulfillment of a number of demands advanced by the insur rectionary people;
“2) this Provisional Government is incapable of solving all the tasks which have been posed by the present revolution;
“3) the concentration of the revolutionary forces and the focal point of their consolidation are the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies – in the cities, together with the Soviets of Peasants’ and Farmhands’ Deputies now being organized in the villages – as the organs of revolutionary power;
“4) in the subsequent development of the process, and at a certain point of this development, the revolution will realize the full measure of the power of the proletariat in an alliance with the democratic section of the peasantry and the revolutionary Army for the full realization of the demands of the insurrectionary people,
“We recognize that at the present moment it is necessary:
“1) to maintain unrelaxing control over the Provisional Government and to conduct a struggle against all inclinations on its part to manifest its counter-revolutionary tendencies;
“2) to consolidate all the forces around the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies – as the organs of revolutionary power which are alone capable both of repelling the attempts of the Czarist and bourgeois counter-revolution as well as of realizing the demands of the revolutionary democracy; and
“3) to clarify the true class nature of the present Government.”
GARIN: I do not believe, comrades, that there is anybody here who would agitate for undermining the confidence in the Provisional Government in so far as its activity is directed toward the benefit of the people. But naturally we must issue a declaration to the effect that the revolution has been accomplished by the people, that the Provisional Govern ment has given the people an IOU which it must pay. But if it should fail to fulfill its obligations, then the people will demand not only full payment, but collect the interest too.
The Helsingfors Committee of the SDLPR has adopted the following resolution:
“To support the Provisional Government, in so far as it fulfills its obligations as proclaimed to the whole nation, and so long as the Provisional Government is inclined to follow the path of the revolutionary conquests for the benefit of Free Russia. While so doing, we, social democrats, must use all means to eliminate among the people those trivial demands which prior to the convocation of the Constituent Assembly might raise a wall between the people and the Provisional Government.”
MILIUTIN: We are all agreed that the Provisional Government is counter-revolutionary in essence. Then why are there disagreements on the question of our attitude toward it? Voitinsky says that the Provisional Government is bourgeois, but that it received the power from the hands of the people and is carrying through the people’s program. The power is in our hands and we must give active support to the Government in carrying through the measures aimed to fortify the conquests of the revolution. Stalin, on the other hand, speaks of the broadening of the tasks of the revolution. The difference lies not in the conclusions but in the tactics. We proceed from different basic assumptions. Voitinsky has caught the technical side but missed the socio-political side. The fact that the Provisional Government submitted the ministerial slate is meaningless. Our revolution is not only a political but also a social revolution. A government consisting of the rep resentatives of the bourgeoisie is therefore counter-revolu tionary. The most important things that the Provisional Government must realize are: the war question, the social questions. In this sphere we can place no confidence in it. We must extend and fortify the conquests of the revolution but not solidarize with the steps of the Provisional Government.
STAROSTIN: Voitinsky has missed the social side of the revolution, hut he has grasped the political side. What has compelled the Provisional Government to take the power into its hands? The fear lest it lose the possibility of attaining its imperialist plans. On the other hand, the working class was unable at that time to advance its own slate, and we ourselves didn’t know what was going to happen. Petrograd could not sit and wait for a number of Vendees. Had we known here that the whole of Russia would join in, then per haps we might have taken power into our own hands.
An offensive against democracy is already in progress. Novoye Vrema writes that the soldiers have to stay in the trenches 24 hours at a stretch, but the workers are introducing the eight-hour day. In some places, outright pogrom agitation is being conducted. It is necessary to make a definite declaration as to the extent of our support to the Provisional Government. The speaker is not in agreement with the point on the “Red Guard.” This might be construed as mistrust of the Red Army and engender discord. If the revolutionary Army does not back us up, then dozens of Red Guard detachments will not be able to accomplish anything. Our task therefore must be to do our utmost to strengthen our influence on the revolutionary Army.
GOLOSCHEKIN: Should the Provisional Government take revolutionary steps – for instance, proclaim the confiscation of the lands – we will support it. But we cannot vote it complete confidence. Everybody is agreed that the Provisional Government is counter-revolutionary both in its personnel and in its essence. Under the pressure of the masses it is accomplishing revolutionary tasks, and to this extent, it intrenches itself. We must not overlook that the masses are saying that the Provisional Government has done everything. Voitinsky envisions a parliamentary method of the struggle for power! The government will depart of its own accord, and no struggle for power will be necessary. We forget that for the time being it is hiding its claws, and we ourselves are strengthening it. If we want to struggle against the counter-revolution, we must aim for the seizure of power, but without forcing events. How? By grouping around the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies so that gradually the Soviet assumes all functions, and dominates all spheres of activity. It is necessary to teach the people to see that they are getting everything from the Soviet.
The speaker concludes with a proposal to proclaim an All-National Militia.
VASSILIEV: We all have the same attitude to the Provisional Government. But that is not the task of the moment. On the agenda is the creation of a revolutionary provisional government. Having accomplished the revolution, the people have created the Provisional Government, but this government is non-revolutionary not because Miliukov and Guchkov sit in it – no; even if they should go away – the others likewise will not prove any more revolutionary. Our task, therefore, is to prepare a revolutionary government. All government consists of executive and controlling power. We have an organ of revolutionary control in the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, but the executive power has not yet been created among us. The longer it exists, the more powerful the Provisional Government will become, for at its disposal are enormous resources, the entire state machinery. Our task is the formation of a provisional revolutionary parliament which will put forth executive power. There must be created as quickly as possible a permanent organ comprised of the representatives of the proletariat and of the revolutionary Army of all Russia which would function as the provisional revolutionary parliament up to the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The Provisional Government must be viewed as the executive organ of the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament. It must not initiate a single important measure without the knowledge and approval of the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament. The Provisional Revolutionary Parliament must be empowered to issue, in agreement with the Provisional Government, decrees on all vital questions.
Such a correlation between the Provisional Government and the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament would decisively do away with the question of dual power.
Will we go there? – In 1905, we said that we will participate in a revolutionary government. There can be talk not of giving support but of subordinating the Provisional Government to the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament.
The speaker proposes the following draft resolution:
”1) Placing above all else the international solidarity of the working class, we heartily hail and support the Manifesto of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies to the people of the whole world, and its appeal to all proletarians that they put an end to imperialism and to the debauch of predatory passions in their own respective countries, and that they cooperate with might and main for the most rapid termination of the bloody slaughter. Only the peoples themselves can conclude an honest and a stable peace.
“2) Revolutionary democratic Russia does not seek an inch of foreign soil, or a penny of foreign property. But not an inch of our own soil or a penny of our own property can be taken away from us. The fate of disputed regions, the fate of oppressed nationalities in all belligerent countries and in the entire world must be left to the free decision of the subject nationalities. No annexations, no contributions, and the free self-determination of all nations – that is our platform of peace!
“3) Considering that the European war, which has convulsed the socio-economic life of the entire terrestrial globe, has been engendered by the predatory urge of the rulers in all countries; and that the earliest possible termination of this war which is ruining the best forces and the culture of the states involved in it will be in the interests of the proletariat and the democracy of the whole world, we urge the Provisional Government to turn both to the Allies as well as their foes with a proclamation to open peace negotiations on the above-stated basis.
“4) But so long as peace is not concluded we must stand fully armed; and in guarding the interests of new democratic Russia we must increase tenfold our efforts, for we are now defending our budding liberties. The revolutionary army must be powerful and unconquerable. It must be provided by the workers and by the Provisional Government with everything necessary to strengthen its forces. Discipline in the ranks, being the necessary condition of an army’s strength, must be sustained not out of fear but out of free will, and based upon mutual confidence between the democratic officer staff and the revolutionary soldiers.
“5) If the summons of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and our revolution find an echo in the midst of the European proletariat and democracy, if in Western Europe a revolution breaks out against predatory capitalism, we will support our international comrades with all our might, and we will struggle for a social revolution.”
SKRYPNIK: What is understood by the term “support”? So far as I was able to gather, everybody said that the Provisional Government has been undertaking these or those revolutionary measures under the pressure of the revolutionary proletariat. But this is not the support of the Government but of those measures which we ourselves demanded and which it has been putting into effect. On the other hand, the question of support obviously has another meaning, namely not the support of measures, but a declaration of confidence in it [the Government] before the eyes of Russia, and the rest of the world. We cannot extend such confidence to it. The Government is not fortifying but checking the course of the revolution. For instance, let us take the replacement of the old power. The Government has replaced it, but in a half hearted manner in order to restrain the further development of the revolution. It has transferred power to the local city administrations and the representatives of Zemstvos, entrusting power not to the revolution but to those elements that were mobilizing for counter-revolution. On the war question, it has prepared a loophole for itself; on the agrarian question – it has not solved it, but declares that it is preparing measures for its solution. In view of this, we will support the measures introduced by the Government in the interests of the revolution, hut we will not declare confidence in it.
YAKHONTOY: In speaking of the Provisional Government, it is necessary to bear in mind the Government as it exists at the present moment. We should not prejudge what it will become. Comrade Stalin is correct in saying that the Provisional Government fortifies the conquests of the revolution. We are accustomed to look at events objectively. From the objective standpoint – it [the Government] is revolutionary. It is the captive of the revolution. While being counter-revolutionary in essence, it convokes the Constituent Assembly, it replaces the old ruling power, in short, it clears the path for the revolution. Everybody speaks of the counter-revolutionary nature of the Government but nobody adduces facts to prove its counter-revolutionary activity. In speaking of the attitude to the Government, we are concerned not with an expression of confidence but with the support of measures aimed to fortify the conquests of the revolution.
Those who talk about the immediate replacement of the Government forget one thing. The war has called forth devastation, and there are no objective forces able to direct the mechanism. Had the democracy taken power in its own hands, it would have meant the defeat of the revolution. The democracy must strive to this, that it prepare itself for the moment when it will take power into its own hands. But striving toward this new power, it must support the Provisional Government.
SEVRUK: Comrade Miliutin has correctly pointed out that the divergence between the resolutions presented by the Bureau and by comrade Voitinsky is conditioned upon different principled postulates. In the resolution of the Bureau no mention is made of the support of the Provisional Government. But what does it generally say about the attitude to the Provisional Government? It speaks of what not to do; the conclusions must be read between the lines; but that is not enough for a political program. Some say: How to support the Government? The answer to that is contained in our party program: “To support every oppositionist step directed to ... etc.” I agree with Miliutin that Voitinsky has overlooked the socio-political side. The final point in Voitinsky’s resolution must be amplified in two directions: (1) to mobilize the forces around the Soviet, unfolding the agitation for the struggle against the counter-revolutionary propaganda aimed at the Soviet; (2) to organize the agitation among the troops on the agrarian question.
KANATCHIKOV: If, as comrade Voitinsky says, the provinces lagged behind at the moment when the Government was formed in Petrograd, then it follows logically that when the provinces have become organized, the executive power which does not correspond to the demands of the country must withdraw. In such a moment as demands the maximum exertion of forces, the power not only fails to organize but it even puts a brake on the development of the revolution. The executive power must be brought into harmony with the mood of the country. In the further development of the revolution the power must pass to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies which must be precisely the one to put forth the executive power.
KRESTINSKY: As to practical action there is no disagreement between Stalin and Voitinsky. We will not immediately overthrow the Provisional Government. How do I envisage the current situation of the Provisional Government? The Provisional Government is the clerk of the Soviet. At the apex of the revolution the supreme organ of power will be the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies and Peasants’ or Army Deputies. As yet, the Soviets are only embryos of power. So long as that power is not organized we will tolerate the Provisional Government, even if it parts company with us. What will happen then? It is schematically possible, that the Provisional Government by renewing its personnel will faithfully serve us. Then we will not replace it. The most probable initiator of the clash between the present Government and the revolutionary people will not be ourselves but the Provisional Government itself, and then we shall have to take power into our own hands. Finally, there is a third possible course. When our strength grows and we know that the provinces are with us and that they remain uninfluenced by the lure of names, we will ourselves assume the offensive. And it is for that moment that we must prepare ourselves. The resolution of Voitinsky is far too mild, it does not point out the inevitability of a clash. It is strange to talk of supporting one’s own clerk. We must underscore in our resolution that the Provisional Government and ourselves represent two hostile forces.
SVERDLOV: Introduces a motion to close the discussion, elect a committee and give the floor to the reporters for summaries.
VOITINSKY: Speaks against the motion, inasmuch as he fears that the same thing will happen as with the resolution on war.
Sverdlov’s motion is carried.
The discussion is closed. The reporter and co-reporter are given the floor to sum up.
VOITINSKY: Comrades have said that in my resolution I paid too much attention to the political side of the Government’s activity and missed the social side. But those who argued against me overlook that at the present moment special legislation is being energetically introduced not in the shape of legal enactments but in the shape of agreements with the Soviet and that here the Government under our pressure is doing not what it would have liked to do, and that here, too, it is putting our program into effect. A vote of confidence [from the party] cannot be given, but support to it can be shown. We must not forget that on various questions the Government will be unable to cope with a whole number of tasks facing it. A defeat on the food supply question would be not only a defeat for the Government but also a defeat for us, because we, too, will be unable to cope with the disruption of the transport system. We need the Government as a technical clerk. We must prepare the apparatus; by entering into all the organs, into all the departments. If Petrograd or the Army are left without bread, the indignation will be directed not against the Provisional Government but against us. Without our support the Government will be unable to cope with a number of technical tasks. If you say that you will support certain measures – then you must express this in the resolution. You must point out that the moment that the Provisional Government steps from under our control and takes counter-revolutionary steps, we will go head on against it. But when it fulfills our program, we support it. We will come out against it because it betrays the revolution. The people must know that we are revolution ary not for the sake of revolution, that we have our own program ...
STALIN: I will speak on the first point which has aroused disagreement. Up to now the revolutionary initiative has come from the Soviet. The Soviet of Workers’ Deputies has issued declarations, broached issues and made threats, while the Provisional Government has balked, struggled only finally to agree. In such a situation can one speak of supporting such a Government? One can rather speak of the Government supporting us. It is not logical to speak of the support of the Provisional Government, on the contrary, it is more proper to speak of the Government not hindering us from putting our program into effect.
The speaker proposes that a resolution which does not support the Provisional Government be accepted as a basis. The Government is organizing the army, it is arousing the hostility of the soldiers against the workers, and leaning on the strength of Anglo-French capitalism, it is already organizing the counter-revolution.
VOITINSKY: Speaks in favor of theses being prepared for the Committee. Is it not necessary to point out in the resolution that we give support to steps directed toward the development of the revolution?
(For – 38; against – 26.)
Election of a committee to draft the resolution.
The following elected: Voitinsky, Miliutin, Stalin, Sammer, Sevruk, Krestinsky, Kamenev, Eliava, Teodorovich.
SESSION OF MARCH 30
Secretarie8: Comrades Boki and Drabkina.
KAMENEV: Reports that he has entered into negotiations with the internationalist SR’s and Mensheviks. Inasmuch as it is clear that an absolutely inacceptable resolution of the Executive Committee [of the Soviets] will be passed, it is necessary to counterpose to it a joint resolution of the internationalists. The SR’s (22) are a national minority. They will not vote against the resolution of the Bolsheviks and will withdraw their resolution. The Mensheviks are seeking to introduce a single resolution and are for uniting on a joint resolution. Should factional discipline be imposed to compel the minority to submit to the majority, the internationalists will come out in favor of our resolution.
The plan of action is as follows: If we do not obtain a majority, then at least to constitute a compact internationalist minority. And to vote against the resolution of the Executive Committee. After the adoption of the resolution of the Executive Committee, to introduce the following four amendments:
- The Executive Committee demands of the Provisional Government as its next step that it proclaim openly to the whole world the readiness of the peoples of emancipated Russia to enter into peace negotiations on the basis of the right of all nations to self-determination without annexations and contributions.
- The Conference, rejecting all hopes in the secret diplo matic game of the imperialist governments that plunged the world into war, proclaims that the Only ally of revolutionary Russia in her struggle for the liquidation of the imperialist war is the international proletariat.
- Demands from the Provisional Government that it break with secret diplomacy and make public the treaties of Czarism, concluded behind the back of the people.
- Rejects the principle of class peace, advantageous Only to the bourgeoisie and the landlords who make profits out of the war.
The amendments are intended not for the purpose of improving the resolution but to demonstrate a point of view. In Tseretelli’s resolution there is no mention of peace, hence insertion: 1) the Conference demands from the European governments the open assumption of peace negotiations; 2) makes no mention of the only ally in the struggle for peace – the international proletariat; 3) to insert: “Demands a break with secret diplomacy”; 4) to add at the end – ”Rejects ...
VOITINSKY: Considers that the amendments are unquestionably acceptable but proposes that they be first introduced in the Executive Committee, and that all measures be taken to have them accepted there. All the comrades who are in agreement with it should vote for the resolution of comrade Kamenev.
KRASSIKOV: The gist of the matter is not in the amendments and not in a demonstrative presentation of social-democratic slogans, but in the current moment. If we recognize the Soviets of Deputies as the organs that express the will of the people, then the question before us is not the consideration of what concrete measures must be taken on this or that issue. If we think that the time has now come to realize the dictatorship of the proletariat, then we ought to pose the question that way. We unquestionably have the physical force for a seizure of power. I believe that we will have sufficient physical force both in Petrograd as well as in other cities. [Comotion in the hall. Shouts: ’Not true.”] I was present.
THE CHAIRMAN (interrupting): The question under discussion involves the practical steps for today. The question of the dictatorship of the proletariat is not under discussion.
KRASSIKOV (continues): If we do not pose the question that way then ought we to take steps in relation to the Provisional Government which.
THE CHAIRMAN deprives him of the floor.
NOGIN: Comrade Voitinsky’s declaration that we should act contrary to the customary procedure of party organizations is not subject to discussion. We consider our sessions as party sessions, the decisions of which are binding on all.
SEVRUK: Moves that a vote be taken first on the amendments and then on the resolution. If the resolution as amended is adopted, then the other resolutions will not be read. To safeguard against this, and to have the battle take place, I propose that the Bureau of the internationalists comes to an agreement with the Prasidium, that the vote is taken first as to which one of the resolutions is accepted as the basis.
As to the question of being bound – all those present are duty bound to submit to the majority].
BAGDATIEV: If the amendments are not accepted then what will we do? Will we vote for? [KAMENEV: Against!] Is that the opinion of comrade Kamenev, or is it the opinion of all the internationalists? [KAMENEV: The question was not discussed.]
SKRYPNIK: Moves to vote on the amendments drafted by the Committee and if they meet with no objections, to proceed to a vote without a discussion.
ELTSIN: So far as the party statutes are concerned, those who are in the minority may abstain at the Conference but they cannot vote against the decision.
A vote is taken as to whether this question should be dis cussed. Defeated by all votes against three.
Comrade Kamenev’s amendments are put to a vote.
BAGDATIEV: It is necessary to discuss whether we should introduce the amendments at all.
The majority is against discussion.
Amendment 1 is voted on.
VOITINSKY proposes an amendment to the amendment.
SKRYPNIK: Opposed to amendments as we have before us a compromise platform and any changes would require a reconsideration of the whole.
Motion to accept amendments adopted.
QUESTION: Who has amendments to introduce?
DELEGATE: Proposes to close the list of speakers and to designate individuals representing all factions.
SAVELIEV: Moves that the matter be put in such a way as would not create the impression that we are in agreement with the resolution. Therefore, I propose that the amendments are not introduced officially in the name of our faction.
KAMENEV: The speakers will make that clear. Ought we go to the meeting with the Mensheviks?
KRESTINSKY: It is meaningless to go to such a meeting.
NOGIN: We ought to discuss and seek to arrive at an agreement but it is impermissible to arrange such meetings on personal initiative.
THE JOINT SESSION OF THE BOLSHEVIKS AND THE MENSHEVIKS
Time: 3:30 a.m.
Present: In addition to the Bolshevik faction – Khinchuk, Rozanov, Ehrlich, Lieber, Ermansky, Kopelinsky, N.D. Sokolov.
Comrade Ehinchuk is added to the Prasidium, and he takes the chair to conduct the meeting.
NOGIN: At a gathering which represents the party Conference, it has been decided to discuss jointly the question of the attitude to the war.
KHINCHUK: What is of importance is not to determine upon whose initiative this was done hut the attitude to the war. There are three resolutions – that of the Executive Committee, that of the Mensheviks and that of the Bolsheviks.
KAMENEV: At a private conference between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks we arrived at an agreement about the resolution. But the Bolsheviks have been elected to this Con ference, while the Mensheviks have not. That is why it is necessary for this meeting to approve this draft.
EHRLICH: We ought not only discuss the resolution on the attitude toward the war, but also decide the tactical question as to our attitude toward the text of the manifesto drafted by the Executive Committee. If we consider the draft acceptable to us, then we should declare our own point of view; but if it is acceptable, then we should make our viewpoint known without sharpening the issue.
KHINCHUK: Is the draft final in character or can changes be introduced?
EHRLICH: Does the Executive Committee consider it pos sible to introduce changes?
SEVRUK: All the faction conferences held up to now have made clear that within both tendencies there are two points of view: 1) the anti-defensist or, as it is called, the internationalist viewpoint; and 2) the viewpoint of revolutionary defensism. To the extent that these viewpoints exist in the conferences, to the same extent they will manifest themselves at the Soviet Conference too. I believe that when comrade Tseretelli put the question of the social democrats’ supporting the position of the Executive Committee, he took as his starting point the fact that everybody was in fundamental agreement with the position of the Executive Committee. It is therefore necessary to clarify the question as to whether the social democratic delegation will vote for or against the draft of the Executive Committee. It is necessary to clarify the position of the majority and then to decide the question of the minority. I move that each group elaborate its own resolution and come out at the Conference in the name of the majority and of the minority. I welcome this meeting because instead of four points of view, we will have two: that of the majority and that of the minority.
KAMENEV: To pose here the question of defensism and anti-defensism is to repeat the discussion which we have already had. We have come to the conclusion that it is imper missible to vote for the resolution of the Executive Committee. It is not a socialist resolution. The Executive Committee assumes in it the viewpoint of Henderson and Thomas. It is impossible to vote for a resolution which says nothing about peace, about the abrogation of the secret treaties left over from Czarism. Another resolution must be counterposed to it. Our task is to fuse the socialist-internationalists around the resolution. [Reads the resolution.]
ROZANOV: I take part in this private conference, empowered by nobody. At the present time, in many places in the provinces, there is taking place the spontaneous unification of the masses of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Every time that party activity is revived, such a unification takes place. I consider this to be a Sign of a healthy instinct on the part of the working class masses who strive with all their might for the creation of a united social democratic party. I consider it necessary that whenever possible all public state ments generally should be made in solidarity. And I appeal to all those comrades who are not satisfied with the resolution to make concessions. In particular, I appeal to those comrades who are defensists and who are dissatisfied with the resolution. Comrades, do not stress the disagreements, for this will cause a split.
As regards the text of the resolution, it underscores, as has already been said at the Menshevik conference, that the Provisional Government is not revolutionary in itself, that the proletariat of all countries has a common basis for solidarity, and that it is necessary to exert all our strength to re-enforce this basis of solidarity. The masses lacked this basis, so long as the revolution did not break out. Only when the democratic idea triumphed, did this solidarity manifest itself.
With respect to the last point, I foresee objections on the part of the defensists. The compromise will satisfy neither the comrades Bolsheviks nor the comrades Defensists. But, nevertheless, both sides can arrive at an agreement. After all, it is impossible to satisfy at one and the same time both sides, because we have two different viewpoints here, and it is impossible not to fool anybody and to have a single resolu tion. The appeal to remain at the posts cannot be interpreted as primitively as is being done by some soldiers, namely:
Neither to advance nor retreat. While the defensists do not look upon the Bolsheviks and the internationalist-Mensheviks as people upon whom one could spit – and I hope there is nothing of the sort here – you should consider whether or not it is expedient, while remaining socialists, to cause a large section of the party to split off, merely because this does not correspond to the mood of the soldier and peasant masses – and all the more so, of the bourgeoisie! [Applause]
To us you are valuable as representatives of the working class masses, and you defensists will be drawn into a single socialist party. For the sake of this future, I call upon you to unite on the resolution.
Motion is made to have two reporters for the second tendency: Lieber and Voitinsky.
LIEBER: Comrade Rozanov is absolutely wrong in posing the question of the prospects of our future party structure in dependence upon the attitude on the question of defensism. As far as I know, within the Bolshevik tendency there is taking place the same struggle around the question of the attitude to defensism. In consequence, we must do away with the old division between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and speak only of our attitude toward the war. Comrade Rozanov correctly said that precisely at the moment when the question of the unity of the social democracy is especially vital, we are being threatened with a split in the party. But he forgot another great danger: That the proletariat may become isolated from the rest of the democracy at such a moment as we are now living through, and the social democracy in its turn may become isolated from the proletariat. And I appeal to you not to forget the enormous task facing us, and not to substitute for this problem, the dominant role of the social democracy.
Every attempt to evade giving an answer to the question of our attitude to defensism is doomed to failure, because the bourgeoisie is conducting a forthright agitation. It is politi cally more advantageous to renounce defensism altogether than to come out with a compromise. For we cannot face unarmed the bourgeoisie which is conducting an agitation. In the resolution we speak of: Soldiers, Workers. But up to now it has been our habit to operate with the class. Where is the place of the class? Where is its post? [VOICE: ”Remain at your post!”]
The formula of the resolution, you must agree, is not an answer, but an evasion. It is inacceptable both to you and to ourselves. For the sake of the urgent need of the unity of the proletarian front, in order that the victory of the revolution may be made secure, and bearing in mind that we have not yet conquered – we ought to remember that we cannot adopt a resolution which isolates the proletariat from the democracy, while isolating the social democracy from the proletariat. The delegates from the provinces report that the moods locally are quite different from the mood prevailing here. If we do not stand in a majority on a position opposed in principle to that of the Executive Committee.
KAMENEV: We do so stand.
LIEBER: ... then there was no need to carry on any discussion. But we are facing an abyss, not a party, but an abyss into which we are plunging the proletariat. Can the social democracy permit itself the luxury of digging an abyss between itself and the workers and the soldiers who have gathered for the Conference? If the question involved the triumph of the chauvinist moods expressed at the Conference by a few soldiers, then of course I would be in favor of an abyss, because this mood of the soldiery can lead the proletariat into the abyss. But the question is whether we should strive to break away the more conscious section of the delegation, or repel them towards the less conscious. This, of course, does not do away with the necessity of advancing those sides which we think necessary to advance. The line of conduct, dictated by political tact, speaks for the necessity of uniting the majority of the Conference on a platform which, though less illuminating, will be acceptable to all. We will vote for the resolution of the Executive Committee, but this will not hinder us from coming forward with our own, more illuminating declaration.
VOITINSKY: I am ready to put my signature to every word of comrade Lieber. In both factions there are both tendencies. There are two viewpoints that are far removed from each other. The representatives of both factions are on the Executive Committee. The entire work of the Soviet has been conducted under our banner. If we engage in a battle over the resolution, we will discredit our representatives on the Executive Committee not only at the present session but in the future as well. The Executive Committee must be far more cautious in its actions than a political party. It is impermissible to thrust socialist views upon this body. This is the business of parties, but as the representatives of factions and parties we are duty bound to come out independently with a demonstrative declaration of our own point of view. Kamenev has made such a declaration, and we must continue to do likewise in the future. Our public appearance must be a fighting, not a theoretical one, but adapted to the level of the understanding of the masses; for this reason we must cede certain theoretical postulates in return for practical effects. Our coming out with an independent resolution would weaken the forces of the Executive Committee, and thereby deal a heavy blow to the cause of revolution. We must announce that the resolution does not satisfy us, but when it comes to voting on the resolution, then we must vote unanimously [applause] in favor of the resolution, without introducing any amendments, and without raising any objections.
ERMANSEY: Comrade Lieber has declared that the resolution gives only a negative answer, and not a positive one. This is not true. The resolution does give an answer: Peace on an international scale.
What has happened to make the comrades who previously stood on the internationalist viewpoint, speak now of the necessity of changing our attitude toward the war? – 1) The Russian Revolution; 2) The proclamation of the Provisional Government. But in essence there has been no change in the situation, and therefore there are no reasons for a change of attitude toward defensism. Has the imperialist content of the war actually changed because of the fact that Russia has become a republic? After all, France and America are republics too, and this notwithstanding, they are conducting imperialist policies. As regards the proclamation of the Provisional Government, only the Russian Government has renounced annexations; everything else depends on what England and France say. I am certain nothing will come of it. We know that a government headed by Miliukov, who did not resign, knows that France and England who have invested colossal resources in the enterprise called war, will not allow this. The intent of the proclamation is to weaken German imperialism by disrupting civil peace. If we change our attitude to the war before there is a change in the situation itself – what will be said abroad? That we are utilizing a superficial pretext in order to conduct an imperialist war under the cover of beautiful slogans. Within certain limits we are falling into the position which is being taken by the semi-official organs. We conduct the war only in order to defend the country.
The soldiers will understand the slogan if we develop it. After all, the Germans can say that they have long stood for peace, that their government has even come out with peace proposals, but that our coalition has replied with a refusal.
KAPELANSKY: The question must be discussed on two planes: What is our principled attitude to the resolution of the Executive Committee, and what is our own resolution. If we were to come out in the sense of not supporting the resolution of the Executive Committee this would weaken the Executive Committee and the Soviet, who have great work ahead of them, and thereby we would cause enormous harm. The resolution of Kamenev is not an internationalist resolution. What does it mean: “Remain at your posts”? We must give a clear answer to the soldier as to what he must do until the time when an insurrection breaks out in Western Europe.
The following motions are put to a vote:
“1) To come out with an absolutely independent joint compromise resolution.
“2) To announce that we support the resolution of the Executive Committee, and make a demonstrative declaration of our own resolution.
“3) To introduce amendments to the resolution of the Executive Committee.
”4) To try to come to an agreement beforehand with the Executive Committee on the amendments.
”5) To discard all resolutions and wholly to adhere to the appeal of the Executive Committee.”
NOGIN: There are two sharply different lines: To adhere to the resolution of the Executive Committee, or to accept Kamenev’s resolution as the basis.
KROKHMAL: Moves that the following be put to a vote:
- To accept the appeal of the EC;
- Whether to introduce amendments.
KRESTINSKY: Who is eligible to vote? In the Bolshevik conference only delegates with decisive votes could vote.
KHINCHUV: The same holds true for the Mensheviks. The decision is not unconditionally binding because the faction Conference has still to take place.
SEVRUK: Inasmuch as the question discussed is the collective position to be taken at the Conference, I move that we allow only those elected to the Conference to vote.
CHAIRMAN: Those will vote who voted at the faction Conference.
The vote is taken.
Motion 5 is put to a vote. (Defeated by all votes against 29.)
Motion 1 is put to a vote. (After three ballots: For – 74; against – 66.) The motion to come out against the resolution of the Executive Committee is adopted. (Commotion in the hall. Shouts.)
Motion 4 is put to a vote. (For – 62 – 68; against – 66 – 70.)
Motion carried: To come out with an independent resolution, taking as the basis the text of the Executive Committee.
Election of conciliationist committee.
Elections to this committee to be according to tendencies.
The following elected: Kamenev, Voitinsky, Lieber, Ermansky.
This committee is also entrusted to carry on negotiations with the Executive Committee.
The Mensheviks leave for a faction session to discuss the question of their future conduct.
THE SESSION OF THE BOLSHEVKS (Continued)
KRESTINSKY: If no agreement is reached, what will we do?
VOITINSKY: Proposes that the Bolsheviks who disagree with Kamenev’s resolution leave and vote with the Menshevik Defensists.
Seven men leave the hall, amoug them: Voitinsky, Sevrtik, Eliava, Yakhontov.
LUGANOVSKY: Moves that a joint plan of action be worked out, for instance, that they abstain during the voting. Moves to call back those who left and try to come to an agreement with them.
GOLOSOREKIN: Speaks against, in view of the fact that negotiations have been carried on with the defensists for several days already, and have brought no agreement. It is useless to keep this game up.
SVERDLOV: Agrees with Philip. We must have party discipline.
TSVILLING: That’s a false interpretation. Nobody knew that the Mensheviks and the. SR’s have the same disagreements as there are among ourselves. It is necessary to call them back.
TER-GABRYELAN: Announces that his mandate binds him to fight for unification. Blame for the split on our shoulders.
POZERN: Announces that he belongs to the tendency of revolutionary defensism but that he did not walk out because he considers himself bound by the Conference. He reserves the right to abstain.
ZALUTSKY: Moves that those who left be invited to return and that it be proposed to them that they abstain.
TEPLOV: Announces that he had always been a Bolshevik, and feels now obliged to declare that if things go on this way, the Army will be left without a staff. The Samara resolution differs fundamentally from the one adopted here.
A vote is taken on the motion to invite those who walked out. (The majority in favor.)
Voitinsky on his return is informed of the proposal to abstain.
VOITINSKY: Will there be objections made to the resolution?
VOITINSKY: In that case I refuse to abstain. Delegates Dan and Lieber have announced that they are withdrawing their resolution, and even though they are not at all points in agreement with the resolution of the Executive Committee, they will support it. Voitinsky declares in the name of the group of the Bolsheviks, that they too will support it.
SESSION OF MARCH 31
Secretaries: Comrades Boki and Drabkina.
STALIN: Inquires whether it is permissible to allow the defensists who split last night to be present.
MILIUTIN: The question of the splitter must be settled at a general conference of the faction.
The question is tabled until there is a fuller attendance of the faction.
The Question of the Provisional Government
MILIUTIN: Reports that the Committee of Eight, actually of five, assigned to draft a resolution on the attitude to the Provisional Government was unable to arrive at any agreement. On the first point: Voitinsky remained on his original position that the Provisional Government is revolutionary, and is ours, and that therefore we have to support it. We, on the other hand, proceeded from the standpoint that the Government is not ours, but bourgeois, and strives to confine the development of the revolution. For this reason we were unable to arrive at any agreement. We will support the measures in so far as they are directed toward fortifying the conquests of the revolution. We support the revolution but we do not support the Provisional Government as such.
In the last analysis, Voitinsky’s resolution comes down to a vote of confidence.
He reads the resolution of Voitinsky and the resolution of Kamenev – Stalin, which is appended [see page 300].
VASSILIEV: Cannot understand why an agreement was not reached. After all, the majority has already expressed itself in favor of supporting the measures aimed to further the development of the revolution. In essence, I am in agreement with the second text, but am unable to see any difference between the two. After all, in question here is not the support of the Government, but of certain measures-the support and strengthening of steps taken by the Provisional Government.
KAMENEV: Inquires whether the question has been settled of counterposing his resolution to Steklov’s resolution.
NOGIN: We must first formulate our own opinion.
KAMENEV: In Steklov’s resolution the point dealing with support is absolutely inacceptable. It is impermissible to have any expression of support, even to hint at it. We can not support the Government because it is an imperialist gov ernment, because, despite its own declaration, it remains in an alliance with the Anglo-French bourgeoisie. In the Communist Manifesto there is a statement to the effect that we give support to the liberal bourgeoisie, but only in the event of its being attacked. But from Steklov’s report it is obvious that it is not they who are being attacked, but rather it is they themselves who are attacking the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. In yesterday’s amendments to the resolution we stated that support at the present time is impossible. In view of the dual power, the will of the revolutionary people is embodied not in the Provisonal Government but in the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies; and also that the latter must be strengthened and that they must come to a clash with the Provisional Government. Our task is to point out that the only organ worthy of our support is the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. The task of the Congress is to proclaim to all Russia that the sole expresser of the will of the revolutionary people is the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and that we must strengthen and support them and not the Provisional Government.
At the Conference, all the Bolshevik speakers must point out that our task is to support the Soviets. Whether or not we should introduce our own resolution or major amendments to the resolution of the Executive Committee – that is the question which we ought to discuss here.
FEDOROV: The cardinal issue is the question of our attitude to the Provisional Government. In order to express our attitude to the Provisional Government we must first know what it represents. At the head of the Government are the representatives of the landlord class and of the big bour geoisie. The policy of these classes is the exploitation of the proletariat and the peasantry and the pursuance of imperial ist aims in the war. But whether or not the Government puts this policy into effect – that depends on the relation of forces. In order that this relationship of forces be favorable to the proletariat and the peasantry, it is necessary to strengthen the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. It is impermissible to support and place our confidence in a Government which does not merit it. Life itself demands a clear-cut answer. It is necessary that the proletariat and the peasantry be informed of our attitude to the Provisional Government. For this reason we must say that we do not oppose it. If it will fortify the revolution we shall not oppose it; but as soon as counter-revolutionary machinations are begun behind the backs of the people, we shall proclaim a decisive struggle against it.
MILIUTIN: Nobody on the committee will protest if the point on support is deleted from the resolution. But the majority of the Conference has decided to include the point on support. Should the present session find it possible to change its decision, it will undoubtedly take a progressive step. If after our resolution on war and the speech made by Steklov, the meeting should decide to reconsider, we would welcome this step. On points 1, 3 and 4, there was agreement reached in the committee, but on point 2, the committee felt unable to say that the Provisional Government is a revolutionary government, and we remained intransigent. I move that we exclude the point on support.
NOGIN: For those who have held the viewpoint against support, the speech of Steklov has introduced one new thought: It is clear that we ought not now talk about support but about resistance.
SKRYPNIK: Since yesterday’s speech many things have changed. There can be no more talk of supporting the Gov ernment. There is a conspiracy of the Provisional Government against the people and the revolution, and it is necessary to prepare for a struggle against it. We must present a separate resolution. The reporter speaks of danger, of the organization of the counter-revolution, hut the resolution speaks of support. At the present moment we must take one of the resolutions as the basis and proceed to a vote.
NOGIN: Moves the election of a committee consisting of three people.
STALIN: Moves to instruct the committee to change the point on support.
Comrade Stalin’s motion is voted on.
Adopted by a majority of all votes against four. The point on support is deleted from the resolution. Elections to the committtee to draft the resolution: Miliutin, Kamenev, Stalin, Teodorovich.
NOGIN: Shall we introduce our own separate resolution?
Unanimously adopted: To introduce a separate resolution.
NOGIN: There are almost 100 speakers already on the list. The list is being made up chaotically; the order is being violated. We succeeded only with difficulty in getting Kamenev placed on the list.
Our names which were among the first to be presented were found, after considerable difficulty, on the bottom. The members of the Executive Committee will speak against Steklov (Sukhanov is a co-reporter). It would be well for the committee to prepare not only the resolution but also amendments.
POZERN: Did the Mensheviks draft a resolution?
NOGIN: Proposes that we get information about the Menshevik resolution.
(Shouts: “They tricked us. Don’t bother!”)
NOGIN: This evening a solemn session will be held. I move that we propose Kamenev as a reporter. If we are refused – we do not go.
STUCHKA: (Special announcement.) In the agrarian section I am the only social democrat, the remaining fifteen are all SR’s. Other comrades must come in.
A motion is introduced to draft a resolution on the agrarian question. The following are elected on the committee to draft this resolution: Stuchka, Pozern, Teodorovich, Miliu tin, Skrypnik.
Nogin reads the resolution of Moscow Regional Conference: On the organizational tasks in the village.
NOGIN: The resolution contains a proposal to organize the seizure of lands without waiting for the Constituent Assembly. The SR’s did not dare to raise such a slogan, but proposed rather to wait for the Constituent Assembly. Upon learning of the decision of the Moscow Conference they said, “Woe to us! Now the peasants will elect the Bolsheviks.”
Session of April 1
Chairman: Comrade Teodorovich.
Secretaries: Comrades Boki and F. I. Drabkina.
Order of the day: Tseretelli’s proposal for unification.
STALIN: We ought to go. It is necessary to define our proposals as to the terms of unification. Unification is possible along the lines of Zimmerwald-Kienthal.
LUGANOVSKY: The Kharkov Committee is carrying on negotiations precisely along these lines.
MOLOTOV: Tseretelli wants to unite heterogeneous elements. Tseretelli calls himself a Zimmerwaldist and a Kienthalist, and for this reason unification along these lines is incorrect both politically and organizationally. It would be more correct to advance a definite internationalist socialist platform. We will unite a compact minority.
LUGANOVSKY (in refuting comrade Molotov) says: At the present time we are unaware of any disagreements. The Mensheviks abstained in the Soviet and spoke more strongly than did ... the Bolsheviks who came out against. Many disagreements have been outlived. It is out of place to underscore tactical differences. We can have a joint Congress with the Mensheviks, the Zimmerwaldists and Kienthalists.
SKRYPNIK: This debate is purely a verbal one. Unification is possible only with those who reject revolutionary defensism and who share our attitude toward the Provisional Government.
ZALUTSKY: If we enter into negotiations with the Mensheviks, we must put forward our own views. We proceed from a definite position. Only a petty bourgeois and not a social democrat can proceed from a mere desire for unification. There is disagreement between us on the following questions:
- the attitude to war;
- the evaluation and role of the capitalist forces in the revolution.
If we now slur over them, we will have a split within a week just the same. It is impossible to unite on the basis of a superficial Zimmerwald-Kienthal token. Teplovsky’s argument that the “provinces will compel us to go to the Right” – is wrong. He is a poor social democrat who will allow himself to become dissolved in the mass. It is necessary to lead the masses behind us. It is necessary to advance a definite program.
LAZURKINA: On the order of the day is the question whether or not we go to the meeting.
TEODOROVICH: There is nothing for us “to go with.”
STALIN: There is no use running ahead and anticipating disagreements. There is no party life without disagreements. We will live down trivial disagreements within the party. But there is one question – it is impossible to unite what cannot be united. We will have a single party with those who agree on Zimmerwald and Kienthal, i.e., those who are against revolutionary defensism. That is the line of demarcation. We must inform the Mensheviks that our desire is only the desire of the group meeting here and that it is not binding upon all Bolsheviks. We ought to go to the meeting, but not advance any platforms. Within the framework of what we desire is the convocation of a Conference on the basis of anti-defensism.
The discussion is closed.
The motions of comrades Stalin and Molotov are voted upon.
The motion of comrade Stalin:
“1) To announce that we can unite only with those who hold the standpoint of Zimmerwald and Kienthal, i.e., anti-defensism;
“2) That the meeting be informative in character. Those participating in it are expressing the views of the group of the Bolsheviks, and is not binding on all.”
The motion of comrade Molotov:
“1) It is necessary to come out with a platform;
“2) Same as comrade Stalin’s.”
“1) To go to the meeting.
“2) To recognize the meeting as informative.”
LUGANOVSKY: Speaks in favor of creating a committee for the organization of a unity Congress.
MILIUTIN: Moves the creation of a Bureau for contact with the centers.
STALIN: Moves that we elect no Bureau for the convocation of a Conference of internationalists but instead propose to the Central Executive Committee that it communicate with the leaders of the internationalist-Mensheviks on the question of calling such a conference.
The motion of comrade Stalin is adopted by a majority of all votes against one.
LUGANOVSKY: Moves to convene a joint meeting of the Zimmerwaldists. (For – 14; against – l3.)
The following committee to carry on negotiations is elected: Comrades Stalin, Kamenev, Teodorovich, Nogin. Comrade Stalin is assigned to make the report at the joint session.
Session of April 2
Chairman: Comrade Shliapnikov.
Secretaries: Comrades G.E. Boki and F.I. Drabkina.
The session opens with a discussion on the question of prolonging the Conference. The comrades from the provinces speak in favor of their earliest possible departure, since matters locally “have been left to the whim of fate.” The decision as expressed by the vote is to continue the Conference until the close of the Soviet Conference.
The agenda is next discussed: Which should be considered first, the questions involving the agenda as published in Pravda,or the questions which are being taken up at the Conference of Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and in particular the question of the coalition government.
STASSOVA: Reports that Buryanov had sent telegrams far and wide with a proposal to demand the inclusion of Plekhanov in the ministry.
SHLIAPNIKOV: There is no need for us to occupy ourselves with a question raised by Buryanov.
The agenda is put to a vote.
Decided to take up first the questions that are being discussed at the Soviet Conference.
I. The Organization Question.
The Organization of the Revolutionary Forces and the Struggle Against Counter-Revolution.
MANDELSTAM: The section has narrowed down the scope of its work and has taken up the question of the organization of the Soviets and of calling the Congress [of the Soviets].
In the section, the question was posed in the following man ner: At the second sitting, Voitinsky reviewed the discussion and proposed the following plan for the organization of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
- A merged organization of soldiers and workers in the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. (Yoitinsky insisted on changing the name from “Soldiers’ “ to “Military” because the latter name corresponds more closely to the actual make-up of the Soviets, but the majority was not in agree ment with this.) The merger must take place all along the line of activities. The separation of activities can be made only on special questions of soldiers’ and workers’ life. But their political work must be carried out only jointly.
- Regional organizations through Regional Congresses, and the creation of a Regional Bureau of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
- The All-Russian Congress.
The first Congress to be called on April 25.
Voitinsky has proposed joint representation for workers and soldiers. As regards the officer staff, the question was raised whether a separate officers’ organization ought to exist alongside of the workers’ and soldiers’ organization. This question was settled negatively: the progressive officers must enter into the existing Soviets, as is already being done locally. The Army organizations will have representation as small district organizations, and then as central organizations, but in the large working class centers a close tie-up between them and the workers’ organizations is desirable. The peasant organizations are to be created on the initiative of the peasantry, but in the district organs there must be the participation of peasant organizations.
The delegates of the local Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the organizations of toiling peasantry are to participate in the regional Congresses.
Voitinsky proposed representation on the basis of 1 to 25,000; Bogdanov, proportional representation. The following decision was adopted: Up to 100,000, one representative for each 25,000; five from 150,000; above 200,000, six. In addition, the Congress will include the representatives of the organizations of the toiling peasantry from among the socialist parties. Voitinsky proposed to convene the Congress for the Russian May 1, but the representatives of the Army objected, feeling it desirable to arrange a demonstration on that day. It was decided that the Congress must be convened before the close of the season of bad roads, so that the Army is organized for the beginning of military activities. The Congress will elect an All-Russian Center which will be supplemented from time to time at the regional conferences. It is possible that a permanent body will be established – the Executive Committee. The composition of this Executive Committee has not been decided beforehand, the decision is left to the Congress. The calling of the Congress is entrusted to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, which is to be supplemented with 10 delegates from the present Conference (Voitinsky insists on 5). This Organization Bureau is instructed to draw up the agenda and to transmit it to the organizations. Up to the convocation of the Congress, the Bureau will perform all the political work. This Bureau represents at the present time the entire revolutionary democracy.
I should like to explain the question of binding mandates. The Army representatives have arrived with binding man dates, which hinders the work. I consider this impermissible. I had a conversation with Voitinsky who considers this a debatable question. He is personally of the opinion that it is permissible.
DROBNIS (supplementary report): At the last session of the organizational section, the following question arose:
Inasmuch as the Government heads the democratic revolutionary Russia, the question arises that this Government should reflect the opinion of all Russia. A desire was expressed that those who are elected to the Central Executive Commit tee take up this question. In addition, a desire was expressed that the Executive Committee be supplemented with representatives from the oblosts.The army representatives expressed the desire that representatives from each army should be included (all told, about 20 men); others were in favor of representatives from each front (since there are four fronts, that would be 4 men). The question was left open.
TSVILLING: Is it the opinion of the section that representatives of officers should be elected?
MANDELSTAM: There must be no separate representatives from the officers. Should an officer be elected by the soldiers, he will be seated; otherwise, no.
NEVSEV: It has been decided that the Executive Committee will direct the political work in the country. But how?
MANDELSTAM: This question was raised and settled in the sense that the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, as represented by the Executive Committee, is deserving of complete confidence.
KOROVAIKOVA: Was the question of the reorganization of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies raised? For instance, in Ivanov-Voznesensk are seated representatives of cooperatives, of the committee for literacy and other non-working class organizations. As a result, in the Ivanovo-Voznesensk Soviet the workers are in a minority.
DELEGATE: Was the question raised of a goubernia organ?
MANDELSTAM: Not of a goubernia organ, only of an oblast organ.
ANOTHER DELEGATE: Our faction should introduce a motion to reorganize the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. Since the majority regards the scope of the revolution as an embryo of the international revolution, was the question raised of inviting the representatives of the international proletariat?
TSVILLING: I am entirely unable to agree with the decision of the section that the officers’ collective has no right to delegate its own representatives to the Congress. This may arouse friction in the provinces. In Chelyabinsk the officers were allotted one fifth of the seats. If this decision is enforced, there will not be a single representative of the officers in the Soviet.
I move that we support another point of view, namely, that of giving the officers the right to elect directly into the Soviet of Deputies. Such a situation is being created as will compel the officers to organize their own Soviet of Deputies, which will he worse. In Chelyabinsk has been formed a Committee for Social Security. When it began to issue resolutions contrary to the decisions of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, the latter resolved not to permit it in its midst. There is no need to make enemies.
ZELIGSON: There are inadequacies in the plan. The organ ization is along goubernia lines at the present time. Our plan of organization should be made to correspond to that. In the provinces, within the goubernia committees, it is not we who function but absolutely alien elements. This can be over come only in the event that the revolutionary democracy is organized in goubernias. The organization must begin not with the oblast but with the goubernia.
KOMISSAROV: It seems to me that people here are unacquainted with the structure in the provinces. An important question has been overlooked the inclusion of representatives from the provinces, and this is very important. The legislative organ is – the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies of Petrograd. Since our Soviet of Workers’ Deputies represents a legislative organ for ourselves and for the Provisional Government to which it prescribes the laws, it is necessary to include in it the representatives from the provinces.
SMIRNOV (IVAN N.): In the military commission the opinion also prevailed that the officers should be seated in the Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies. The speaker is against the participation of the officers in the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Let them organize themselves separately. Owing to this, in Tomsk the Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies plays the decisive role. The Soviet consists of social democrats. Among the officers there are not more than 20 socialists. We have introduced the election of the representatives among the detachments. No orders are valid without the signature of the representatives of the soldiers. Among us the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies have taken all the power. Things are being managed magnificently. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies decided to release 12,000 men for work in the fields, having calculated beforehand how many could be sent. When the head of the Omsk Military District began to put a spoke in the wheels, the Soviet demanded categorically that not a single order touching local conditions, should be issued without the sanction of the Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies. It turned out that he was entirely uninformed about local conditions. The officers might be formed into special sections in party organizations and through them the entire remaining mass might be influenced. The Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies decided not to send out companies into the field until discipline was established. The officers were in favor of sending them; despite this, the head of the military district revoked the order, pending special disposition.
Unfortunately the question of separating out the officers will not be passed at the Conference. And yet, observing the officers at the Congress, it is necessary to state: Who is a chauvinist? – The officer. Who is an opportunist? – The officer.
In Siberia, at the beginning of April, elections took place to the city Dumas on the basis of Khvostki. We managed to get for the soldiers the right of participating in the elections on equal rights with the rest of the population. In Omsk for example there are 70,000 soldiers to the 50,000 adult population. Thus, in the Duma the soldiers turned out in majority.
As for the proposal to call the Congress on April 25, the speaker expresses himself in opposition. We will hardly manage to get back when we shall have to prepare for the All-Russian Congress. Why is this called for? The need to fortify the organizition? This can be done without a Congress. This will create a bad impression on the provinces and the disorganization will be aggravated.
VOZDVIZHENSKY: I also conclude from practical experience, although among us the officers are socialists, that it is necessary to separate out the officers. If we are to elect one to every 25,000, why should they, a minority, be specially allotted one-fifth of the seats? There are separate military committees into which officers also enter.
OKHLONIN: Is in favor of giving the officers a vote on an equal footing with the soldiers. If the officers are revolutionary, the soldiers themselves will elect them. Sees no reason for separating out the officers into a special caste.
As regards the date set for the calling of the Congress, it should be postponed: Russia is an enormous country and it is impossible to get a congress together quickly. The provinces will underscore that the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies deserves confidence and this will fortify its influence. If there is a postponement for two weeks or a month, we shall be able to determine whether it is feasible to hold a Congress.
Motion: To close the speakers’ list on the general discussion.
DELEGATE: I move that discussion on this question be closed and that we proceed to the general political discussion on the attitude to the Provisional Government.
SKRYPNIK: Our attitude to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies is expressed in the resolution which we adopted.
TEONOROVICH: At the Congress the organizational question will be discussed. It is therefore necessary to close discussion and take up the resolution of the organizational section, take it up article by article, and introduce changes and amendments.
Discussion on the agenda closed.
The following two motions are put to a vote:
- To open the discussion on the question of the attitude of the party to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies; or
- to refer these general discussions to the question of the organization of the struggle against the counter-revolutionary forces and to proceed with the reading of the resolution article by article.
The second motion is carried.
The Resolution of the Organizational Section
MANDELSTAM: This question is closely bound up with the question of the participation of the officers. The officers are undoubtedly opportunist and reactionary. If they are allowed to organize separately, they will organize into a hostile organization. If organized jointly with the Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies, their influence will be nullified by the influence of the class conscious elements.
TSVILLING: I emphatically disagree with comrade Smirnov. In the nature of things, if there is a separate officers’ organization, a Soviet of Officers’ Deputies alongside of the Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies, it will engender friction. I do not know why the officers are a reactionary element. These are the self-same service men and not a special caste. The officers, of course, are not the proletariat, but neither are the soldiers. It is stated that among the officers there are opportunists. But there are any number of opportunists among other groups as well. If we were to come to Chelyabinsk with such a decision, the representatives of the party would have to leave the Soviets. In most of the cities, in the provinces, the same mood prevails. The formal argument that this is a Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies and that therefore the officers have no place there, is unsound. It is necessary to give the officers the right to delegate their representatives to the Soviets.
Motion: One speaker for, one speaker against, on each amendment.
SMIRNOV: The more officers there will be, the more opportunist will be the Soviets. In our Bolshevik Conference there is not a single officer but many soldiers. The conciliationist moods will predominate. It is necessary to play on the democratic feelings of the officers – they must not be given a special number of seats.
TEODOROVICH: We ought not to raise the question of a separate organization of officers. New directives for reconstruction in the provinces ought not to be issued.
TSVILLING: Introduces a motion that the officers send in delegates according to a fixed proportion.
For – 2
SMIRNOV: The officers send delegates on an equal basis.
For – 13
Against – 12
TEODOROVICH: Moves that the matter be left as is in article 1.
For – 11
Against – 15
Article 1 is put to a vote and is adopted by a majority.
KOROVAIKOVA: Moves for the reorganization of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies in such a manner as will not allow the representatives of non-proletarian elements more seats than the workers, in the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies.
TOLSTOV: In favor of this motion because in Stavropol a resolution was passed against giving socialists seats on the ground that they obstruct the work and that there are many provocateurs among them. Comrade Tolstov moves to instruct the center to work out a definite plan, and to effect reorganization in accordance with this plan.
MANDELSTAM: Opposed to closing the doors to the representatives of non-proletarian organizations inasmuch as the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies are the organs of revolutionary democracy.
Korovaikova’s motion is withdrawn.
Article 2 is adopted unanimously.
ZELIGSON: Proposes an amendment: To create goubernia Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. It will then be possible to exert an influence on the goubernia organs.
For – 3; against – 6. Rejected.
Article 3 is adopted.
TEODOROVICH: Introduces an amendment: Small organizations numbering less than 25,000 members are combined during elections.
Article 4 adopted.
Article 5 is adopted with the following amendment: To call the Congress not later than May 15, and not earlier than May 1.
VASSILCHENKO: Introduces an amendment: “This Executive Committee is to act in close contact with the central bodies of the socialist parties.”
TEODOROVICH: Is opposed to the amendment, not because I disagree with it in essence, but because such things are carried out in practise but not made public. To broadcast such a declaration is to give grist to the mill of all those who are conducting an agitation against the Soviets.
The amendment is rejected.
Article 6 is adopted.
Article 7 is adopted.
OKHLONIN and MANDELSTAM: Move that we fight for increasing the number of representatives from the provinces – even if only up to 15. For example, to include the representatives of the oblast organizations.
TEODOROVICH: Moves to elect a Committee entrusted with carrying on negotiations in the name of the faction with the Presidium of the Conference as to the number and composition of the representatives from the provinces.
Teodoronich’s motion adopted.
Article 8 adopted.
Article 9 adopted with the following amendment: “Immediately and in agreement with the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies.”
SMIRNOV: Introduces a supplementary amendment: “That a central organ of the Soviets be issued by the Bureau.”
We are electing a Bureau to serve for a whole month, but we have no organ. “The Petrograd Izvestia of Soviet of Workers’ Deputies” is not authoritative.
TSVILLING: The composition of the Conference is an accidental one and we might get an accidental editorial board; therefore it is possible that undesirable views might be advanced.
The amendment was rejected.
The draft as a whole is accepted.
A committee is elected to negotiate with the Presidium:
Stalin, Skrypnik, Teodorovich.
A question is raised concerning the candidates to the Organization Committee for convoking the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Candidates to be elected from each oblast, and two representatives from each party.
LUGANOVSKY: Moves that we fight for tabling the election to the next day, when the organizational centers will be selected, and not to have elections now.
SAVELIEV: Moves that the representatives of the oblasts be left to designate their own candidates.
STASSOVA: The Bureau of the Central Committee proposes to designate two comrades representing the oblasts and one candidate comrade Teodorovich.
ELIAVA: I can understand a proposal to elect two representatives from the provinces. But I do not understand how we can elect representatives from the oblast.
TEODOROVICH: The organizational section has worked out a draft of a resolution to be presented to the Conference of the Soviet Deputies. The articles have been discussed and adopted as a whole. We are interested in the last article:
The organizational section proposes to elect from the Conference a body of ten to enter into the Executive Committee and to participate in the calling of the Congress, to direct its convening, and to strengthen its influence. The question is how many and whom to elect. We are entitled to two places out of ten (the Bolshevik faction represents one-fourth of the Congress). We must designate these two. We have already decided that the Committee of 3 that has been elected will insist on elections not taking place on an oblast basis. But even should elections take place according to oblasts, the candidates will in every case be from some oblast. Right now the immediate task is to designate two candidates. The same committee will try to increase the number of representatives from 10 to 15; we will then have 4 seats.
The following are elected: Teodorovich, Serebriakov.
Session of April 4
On the order of the day: The Question of Unification and Report of comrade Lenin.
Chairman: Comrade Zinoviev.
Secretaries: G.E. Boki and F. I. Drabkina.
LENIN: My report and the question of unification may be combined. I apologize for coming late.
AVILOV: The general meeting of the social democrats is scheduled for one o’clock. It is therefore necessary to set the minimum time for the session of the Bolshevik faction.
(Shouts: “Up to three o’clock.”)
DELEGATE: The delegates from the provinces have especially remained to be present at this session which will either unite or disunite.
ZINOVIEV: Moves to get in touch with the organizers of the joint meeting.
VOITINSKY: Moves to refer the report to the joint meeting.
Comrade Teodorovich is designated to get in touch with the organizers of the joint meeting.
Report by comrade Lenin.
I have outlined several theses which I will supply with some brief comments. I was unable, because of the lack of time, to prepare a thorough and systematized report.
The fundamental question is our attitude to the war. The essential thing that confronts one when reading the papers in Russia and observing conditions here, is the triumph of defensism, the victory of the traitors to socialism, the deception of the masses by the bourgeoisie. One is hit between the eyes by the fact that here in Russia the same situation exists in the socialist movement as in other countries: defensism, “the defense of the Fatherland.” The difference is this, that nowhere is there the degree of freedom we have, and upon us, therefore, falls the responsibility before the whole inter national proletariat. The new Government, like the preceding one, is imperialist, despite the promise of a republic. It is imperialist through and through.
Thesis I. In our attitude to the war, which on Russia’s part, even under the new Government of Lvov and Co., unconditionally remains a predatory imperialist war, owing to the capitalist nature of this Government, it is impermissible to make the slightest concession to “revolutionary defensism.”
The conscious proletariat may give its assent to a revolutionary war actually justifying revolutionary defensism only under the following conditions: a) the transfer of power into the hands of the proletariat and its ally, the poorest section of the peasantry; b) the renunciation of all annexations in deeds and not merely in words; c) a complete break, in practice, with all interests of capitalism.
In view of the indubitable honesty of the mass of the rank and file representatives of revolutionary defensism who accept the war only out of necessity and not for the sake of conquests, in view of their being duped by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with especial detail, persistence and patience, to explain to them their mistake, to explain the indissoluble tie between capitalism and imperialist war, to prove that, without the overthrow of capitalism, it is impossible to conclude the war with a really democratic, non-oppressive peace.
This view must be widely propagated among the army units in the field.
In our attitude toward the war even under the new Government, which remains an imperialist government, it is impermissible for us to make the slightest concession to defensism. The masses regard this thing from a practical, not a theoretical, standpoint. They say: “We want to defend the Fatherland, but not to seize foreign territory.” When may we consider a war as our own? When there is a complete renunciation of annexations.
The masses approach this question not theoretically but practically. Our mistake lies in our theoretical approach. The class-conscious proletariat may give its consent to a revolutionary war that really justifies revolutionary defensism. To the representatives of the mass of the soldiers the question must be put in a practical way, for there is no other way. We are not at all pacifists. But the fundamental question is: Which class is waging the war? The capitalist class, tied to the banks, cannot wage any but an imperialist war. The working class can. Steklov, Chkheidze, have forgotten everything. In reading the resolution of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, one is amazed that people who call themselves socialists could have adopted such a resolution.
What is peculiar in Russia is the gigantically swift transition from savage violence to the most delicate deceit. The fundamental condition is the renunciation of annexation of in words but in action. Rech is yowling over the declaration of the Sotsial-Democrat that the incorporation of Courland into Russia is annexation. But annexation is the act of incorporating any country distinguished by national peculiarities every incorporation of a nation against its will, regardless of whether it has a language of its own, so long as it feels itself to be a distinct nation. This is a prejudice of the Great Russians, cultivated for centuries.
The war can be terminated only through a complete break with international capitalism. The war was caused not by separate individuals but by international finance capita!. To break with international capitalism is no easy matter, but neither is it an easy matter to put an end to the war. It is infantile and naive to suppose that the war can be stopped at will by one side ... Zimmerwald, Kienthal ... Upon us more than upon anybody else devolves the duty of defending the honor of international socialism. The difficulty of the approach ...
In view of the unquestionable prevalence of defensist moods among wide layers of the masses who accept the war only out of necessity and not for the sake of conquests, we must explain to them in special detail, patiently, insistently, that it is impossible to terminate the war by a non-oppressive peace, unless capitalism is overthrown. It is necessary to develop this idea widely, in broadest possible scope. The soldiers demand a concrete answer to the question – how to end the war. But to promise the people that we can end the war solely through the good intentions of a few individuals – that is political charlatanism. We must warn the masses. The revolution is a difficult thing. Mistakes are unavoidable. Our mistake is that we have not exposed revolutionary defensism to its very roots. Revolutionary defensism is treason to socialism. It is not enough to limit ourselves to ... The mistake must be admitted. What to do? We must explain. How give to those who do not understand what socialism is ... We are no charlatans. We must base ourselves only on the consciousness of the masses. Even if it is necessary to remain in a minority – so he it. It is a good thing to give up for a time the position of leadership; we must not be afraid to remain in the minority. When the masses announce that they do not want conquests, I believe them. When Guchkov and Lvov say they do not want conquests, they are deceivers! When a worker says that he wants the defense of the country, what speaks in him is the instinct of the oppressed.
Thesis II. The peculiarity of the present moment in Russia consists in the transition from the first stage of the revolution, which gave power to the bourgeoisie on account of the inadequate organization of the proletariat, to its second stage, which must give power to the proletariat and the poorest layers of the peasantry.
This transition is characterized, on the one hand, by a maximum of legality (Russia is now the freest of all the belligerent countries in the world); and, on the other hand, by the absence of oppression of the masses, and finally, by their trusting and not class-conscious attitude to the government of the capitalists, the worst enemies of peace and socialism. This peculiarity of the present moment demands of us an ability to adapt ourselves to the special conditions of party work among the unprecedently vast masses of the proletariat just awakened to political life.
Why didn’t you seize power? Steklov says it was because of this and that, and something or other. That’s nonsense. The reason is that the proletariat is not sufficiently conscious and sufficiently organized. That we have to acknowledge. The material force is in the hands of the proletariat, but the bourgeoisie was conscious and ready. That is the monstrous fact. But it is necessary to acknowledge frankly, and say to the people straight out that we did not seize power because we were unorganized and not conscious.
Millions are being impoverished; millions killed. The most advanced countries are perishing, and in consequence they will be confronted with the question.
The transition from the first stage to the second – the transition of power to the proletariat and the peasantry is characterized, on the one hand, by a maximum of legality (Russia is now the freest, the most advanced country in the world); and, on the other, by a trusting and not conscious attitude of the masses toward the Government. Even our Bolsheviks show confidence in the Government. That can only be explained by intoxication incidental to revolution. That is the death of socialism. You, comrades, have confidence in the government. If that’s your position, our ways part. I prefer to remain in the minority. One Liebknecht is worth more than 110 defensists of the Steklov and Chkeidze type. If you are in sympathy with Liebknecht and extend even a finger to the defensists – this will be a betrayal of international socialism. We must speak to the people without using Latin words. We must speak simply, intelligibly. They have the right ... we must adapt ourselves ... we must make the transition ... but we must do it. Our line will prove right. If we draw away from these people, all the oppressed will come to us, because the war will bring them to us. They have no other way out.
Thesis III. No support whatever to the Provisional Government. We must explain the utter falsity of all its promises, particularly its renunciation of annexations. There must be exposure instead of the impermissible illusion – breeding “demand” that this Government, the government of the capitalists, cease being imperialistic.
Pravda demands of the Government that it renounce annexations. To demand of the government of the capitalists that it renounce annexations – nonsense! Flagrant mockery of ...
From the scientific standpoint, it is such a fog of deceit, which the entire international proletariat, the entire ... It is high time to admit the mistake. Have done with greetings and resolutions! It’s time to get down to business. We must proceed with a business-like, sober ...
Thesis IV. Recognition of the fact that in the majority of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies our party constitutes a minority, and as yet a weak minority, in the face of the bloc of all the petty bourgeois opportunist elements, from the Populist socialists and the SR’s down to the Organization Committee, Steklov, etc., etc. (Chkheidze, Tseretelli, etc.) – who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie, and have been extending this influence to the proletariat.
We must explain to the masses that the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies is the only possible form of revolutionary government; and that, therefore, our task is, while this Government is submitting to the influence of the bourgeoisie, a patient, systematic and persistent explanation to the masses of the error of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses.
So long as we remain in the minority, we carry on the work of criticism and of explaining errors, advocating all along the necessity of transferring the entire state power to the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, so that the masses may learn from experience how to rid themselves of their errors.
We Bolsheviks are in the habit of adopting a maximum of revolutionism. But that is not enough. It is necessary to analyze ... The real government is the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. To think otherwise is to lapse into anarchism. It is conceded that in the Soviet our party is in the minority. We must explain to the masses that the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies is the only possible government, never seen in the world before, except for the Commune. What if the majority in the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies holds the defensist point of view? That cannot be helped. For us there remains only to explain patiently, insistently, systematically the error of their tactics.
So long as we are in the minority, we carry on the work of criticism, in order to free the masses from deceit. We do not want the masses to believe us just on our say-so; we are not charlatans. We want the masses to he freed by experience from their mistakes.
The Manifesto of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies – there isn’t a word in it imbued with class-consciousness. There is nothing to it but phrases. The one thing that can ruin everything revolutionary is the phrase this flattery of the revolutionary people. All of Marxism teaches us not to succumb to the revolutionary phrase, especially at the moment when it is particularly current.
Thesis V. Not a parliamentary republic – a return to it from the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies would be a step back ward – but a Republic of Soviets of Workers’, Farmhands’ and Peasants’ Deputies, from top to bottom.
Abolition of the police, the army and the officialdom.
Salaries of all functionaries not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker; all functionaries to be elected and to be subject to recall at any time.
This is the lesson taught us by the French Commune, a lesson forgotten by Kautsky, but taught by the workers in the years 1905 and 1917. The experience of these years teaches us that ... we must not permit the re-establishment of the police, we must not permit the re-establishment of the old army. We must change our program; it is antiquated. The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies is a step toward socialism. No police, no army, no officialdom. The Constituent Assembly must be convoked – but by whom? Resolutions are written to be filed or scrapped. I would be glad to see the Constituent Assembly convened tomorrow, but it is naive to believe that Guchkov will convoke the Constituent Assembly. All this prattle about compelling the Provisional Government to convoke the Constituent Assembly is hollow, wholesale deception. There were revolutions in the past, but the police has remained; there were revolutions in the past, but all the functionaries and the rest have remained. Therein lies the reason for the ruin of revolutions. The Soviets of Workers’ Deputies is the only government that can convoke this Assembly. We have all embraced the Soviets but we have failed to grasp their meaning. From this form of government we are pulling back to the International, which drags at the tail of the bourgeoisie.
A bourgeois republic cannot solve the question [of war], because the latter can be settled only on an international scale. We do not promise to emancipate, but we say that only under this form (Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies) can this be done. No other government but that of the Soviet of Workers’ and Farmhands’ Deputies. If we talk about the Commune, we will not make ourselves understood. But if we say: Replace the police by the Soviets of Workers’ and Farmhands’ Deputies, learn how to rule, there is no one to stop you – (this will be understood). The art of ruling cannot be gleaned from any books. You must experiment, make mistakes and learn how to rule.
Thesis VI. In the agrarian program – the center of gravity must be shifted to the Soviets of Farmhands’ Deputies. The confiscation of all landlord estates. Nationalization of all lands in the country. The management of the lands to be in the hands of the local Soviets of Farmhands’ and Peasants’ Deputies. Creation of Soviets of Deputies from among the poorest peasantry. Creation of model establishments out of large estates (from 100 to 300 dessiatins, depending on local and other conditions and in accordance with the estimates of local institutions) under the control of the Soviet of Farmhands’ Deputies and at public expense.
What is the peasantry? We do not know. There are no statistics, but we do know that it is a force.
If they take the land, rest assured that they will not give it up to you, nor will they ask your permission. The axis of the program has shifted. The center of gravity is the Soviets of Farmhands’ Deputies. If the revolution is not settled by the Russian peasant, it will be settled by the German worker.
The mouzhik from Tambov.
No payment for one dessiatin; one ruble for the second; two rubles for the third. We will take the land, and the landlord will never be able to get it back.
Agriculture on a communal basis.
It is necessary to create separate Soviets of Deputies from among the poorest peasants. There is the mouzhik, the middle peasant and the agricultural laborer. Even if the latter is given land, he will be unable to build up a farm anyway. It is necessary to create model establishments out of large estates, run on a communal basis, with the management in the hands of the Soviets of Farmhands’ Deputies.
There are large estates.
Thesis VII. Immediate merger of all the banks in the country into one general national bank, over which the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies must have control.
“A bank is a form of social accounting” (Marx). The war teaches economics. Everybody knows that the banks plunder the national forces. Banks are the nervous system, the focal point of national economic life. We cannot take the banks into our own hands, but we advocate their merger under the control of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies.
Thesis VIII. Not the “introduction” of socialism as our immediate task, but the immediate placing of social production and the distribution of goods under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.
Life and the revolution are pushing the Constituent Assembly into the background. It is not important who writes the laws down on paper, but it is important who puts them into effect. A dictatorship of the proletariat exists, but nobody knows what to do with it (Marx ... only that which has matured into actuality). Capitalism has become state capitalism.
Thesis IX. The party tasks:
1. Immediate party Congress.
2. Change the party program, chiefly:
- on imperialism,
- on the attitude to the state, and our demand for a “Commune-State,”*
- amend our outdated minimum program.
3. Change the party name.
Thesis X. Rebuilding of the International.
We must take the initiative in the creation of a revolutionary International, an International against the social-chauvinists and against the “center.”
The Soviet of Workers’ Deputies has been created; it wields enormous influence. Everyone instinctively sympathizes with it. In this instinct there is more revolutionary thought than in all the revolutionary phrases. If the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies prove able to take the reins into their own hands – the cause of freedom is secure. Even if you write the most ideal laws – who will execute them? The self-same functionaries, but they are connected with the bourgeoisie.
We must not say to the masses “realize socialism”, but “adopt” socialism. Capitalism has advanced; war capitalism is different from pre-war capitalism.
On the basis of tactical conclusions it is necessary to turn to practical measures. It is necessary to call a party Congress immediately; it is necessary to revise the program. A great deal in it is antiquated. It is necessary to change the minimum program.
Personally and speaking for myself alone, I propose that we change the name of the party, that we call it the Communist Party. The people will understand the name “Communist.”The majority of the official social democrats have betrayed socialism. Liebknecht is the only social democrat. You are afraid to go back on your old memories? But to change our linen, we ’ve got to take off the dirty shirt and put on a clean one.
Why reject the entire experience of the world struggle?
The majority of the social democrats all over the world have betrayed socialism and have gone over to the side of their governments (Scheidemann, Plekhanov, Guesde). What to do to get Scheidemann to agree? This point of view is the death of socialism. To send a radio telegram to Scheidemann [proposing] the termination of the war ... is deceit.
The name social democrat is inaccurate. Don’t hang on to an old name which is rotten through and through. Have the will to build a new party ... and all the oppressed will come to you.
In Zimmerwald and Kienthal the Center, Rabochaya Gazeta, predominated. We shall prove to you what the entire experience has shown. We declare that we have formed a left and have broken with the center. Either you talk of the International, and then you must carry on ... or you ...
The Left Zimmerwald tendency exists in all countries of the world. The masses must realize that socialism has split throughout the world. The defensists have renounced socialism. Liebknecht alone ... the future is his.
I hear that in Russia there is a trend toward unification. Unification with the defensists – that is a betrayal of socialism. I think that it is better to stand alone like Liebknecht – one against a hundred and ten.
BAGDATIEV: Proposes not to open discussion but to settle the question of the meeting that is now taking place, and if it is decided not to go, then the meeting can continue.
SKRYPNIK: The report of comrade Lenin must provide the answer to the question as to whether we should go there or not.
VOITINSKY: In the report of comrade Lenin a mass of questions were touched upon that were not touched at the conference of the Bolsheviks. A discussion is taking place both among the Bolsheviks as well as among the Mensheviks; it would he interesting therefore to place the theses for discussion before the joint meeting. I propose that we go to the joint meeting, which binds nobody.
The discussion is of importance to the delegates from the provinces.
The proposal is adopted.
The faction proceeds to the meeting hall in the Tauride Palace.
The Resolution on the Provisional Government
“Whereas the Provisional Government is composed of the representatives of moderate bourgeois classes, hound up with the interests of Anglo-French imperialism;
“The program it has proclaimed is being only partially realized by it and only under the pressure of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies;
“The organizing forces of the counter-revolution, covering themselves with the banner of the Provisional Government, with the open toleration on the part of the latter, have already launched an attack against the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies;
“The Soviets of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies are the only organs of the will of the revolutionary people;
“The Conference calls upon the revolutionary democracy:
“1) To exercise a vigilant control over the activities of the Provisional Government in the center and in the prov inces, urging it on toward a most energetic struggle for the complete liquidation of the old regime;
“2) To fuse around the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, the only ones capable, in an alliance with other progressive forces, of repelling the attempts of Czarist and bourgeois counter-revolution, and of intrenching and extend ing the conquests of the revolutionary movement.”