In Defence of October

Study the lessons of the Russian Revolution

About us 1917 Live

Theses for a Law on the Confiscation of Apartment and Tenement Houses

Written: December 3 (November 20), 1917.

1) All land (urban) shall become the property of the nation.

2) Houses which are systematically let to tenants shall be confiscated and become the property of the nation.

3) Owners of houses that are not let to tenants shall, pending the decision of the Constituent Assembly, remain in possession without any change in their rights of ownership.

4) Several-months compensation (2 to 3 months) to owners of confiscated houses who can prove their …{1}

5) Rent shall be collected by (whom?) the Soviets (paid into the current accounts of the Soviets).

6) Building committees (the trade unions + building offices) shall take charge also of house supplies (fuel, etc.).

7) Rent payment to come in force immediately.

8) The building and house committees shall come into force gradually as and when they are set up by the trade unions and the Soviets.

9) The heating of the houses and their normal upkeep shall be the duty of the house committees and other institutions (trade unions, Soviets, fuel departments of the town council, etc.).


{1} The sentence is unfinished.—Ed.

{2} These theses were written by Lenin in connection with the draft- ing of a decree for the nationalisation of urban real estate. The draft was endorsed at a meeting of the C.P.C. on November 23 (December 6), 2927, and published on November 25 (December 8) in Gazeta Vremennogo Rabochego i Krestyanskogo Pravitelstva No. 28 under the heading “Draft Decree Abolishing Private Owner- ship of Urban Real. Estate (Adopted by the Council of People’s Commissars)”. The decree was endorsed on August 20, 2928 at a meeting of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and published in Izvestia No. 282 on August 24.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
  • V. I. Lenin

    V. I. Lenin

    "The dominating trait of his character, the feature which constituted half his make-up, was his will..."
  • L. Trotsky

    L. Trotsky

    “Astounding speeches, fanfares of orders, the unceasing electrifier of a weakening army.”
  • G. Plekhanov

    G. Plekhanov

    "In the final analysis the brilliant aspects of Plekhanov’s character will endure forever."
  • G. O. Zinoviev

    G. O. Zinoviev

    "Zinoviev has won the reputation of being one of the most remarkable orators – a difficult feat."
  • Y. M. Sverdlov

    Y. M. Sverdlov

    “He did not die on the field of battle, but we are right to see him as a man who gave his life for the cause.”
  • V. Volodarsky

    V. Volodarsky

    “He was always to be seen in the front row, the on-the-spot leader. So, they killed him.”
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Reading Guides

  • The 1917 February Revolution

    The 1917 February Revolution

    The February Revolution saw a mass strike develop from below at a furious pace which posed the question of state power within a week of its inception. Workers in Petrograd took to the streets against intolerable bread shortages, the slaughter
  • Lenin Returns in April

    Lenin Returns in April

    This reading guide contains some of Lenin’s most important writings and speeches made in the April period, accompanied by works which provide further details of events at that stage of the Revolution.
  • The June Days 1917

    The June Days 1917

    This reading guide informs the May-June period of the Revolution with analysis, accounts of those who were involved and important speeches and writings of the time.
  • The July Days 1917

    The July Days 1917

    This selection of texts covers the background, events and consequences of the July Days. Next, we will turn our attention to one of those consequences – the Kornilov putsch in late August.
  • The Kornilov affair

    The Kornilov affair

    Kornilov’s failed coup brought the direct action of the masses into play again, and proved to them once and for all that they were the only force in society capable of transforming their own living conditions. For the first time,
  • The October Insurrection 1917

    The October Insurrection 1917

    The following series of articles provides in-depth analyses and first-hand accounts of the events immediately preceding, during and after the greatest event in human history: the October Revolution, in addition to reflections on its aftermath.
  • 1