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Title: Bolshevism - The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy
Author: Spargo, John, 1876-1966
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy



Author of
"Social Democracy Explained" "Socialism, a Summary and Interpretation of
Socialist Principles" "Applied Socialism" etc.

Harper & Brothers Publishers
New York and London


     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

      BOOKS BY




      ESTABLISHED 1817

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
















In the following pages I have tried to make a plain and easily
understandable outline of the origin, history, and meaning of Bolshevism. I
have attempted to provide the average American reader with a fair and
reliable statement of the philosophy, program, and policies of the Russian
Bolsheviki. In order to avoid confusion, and to keep the matter as simple
and clear as possible, I have not tried to deal with the numerous
manifestations of Bolshevism in other lands, but have confined myself
strictly to the Russian example. With some detail--too much, some of my
readers may think!--I have sketched the historical background in order that
the Bolsheviki may be seen in proper perspective and fairly judged in
connection with the whole revolutionary movement in Russia.

Whoever turns to these pages in the expectation of finding a sensational
"exposure" of Bolshevism and the Bolsheviki will be disappointed. It has
been my aim to make a deliberate and scientific study, not an _ex-parte_
indictment. A great many lurid and sensational stories about the Bolsheviki
have been published, the net result of which is to make the leaders of this
phase of the great universal war of the classes appear as brutal and
depraved monsters of iniquity. There is not a crime known to mankind,
apparently, of which they have not been loudly declared to be guilty. My
long experience in the Socialist movement has furnished me with too much
understanding of the manner and extent to which working-class movements are
abused and slandered to permit me to accept these stories as gospel truth.
That experience has forced me to assume that most of the terrible stories
told about the Bolsheviki are either untrue and without any foundation in
fact or greatly exaggerated. The "rumor factories" in Geneva, Stockholm,
Copenhagen, The Hague, and other European capitals, which were so busy
during the war fabricating and exploiting for profit stories of massacres,
victories, assassinations, revolutions, peace treaties, and other momentous
events, which subsequent information proved never to have happened at all,
seem now to have turned their attention to the Bolsheviki.

However little of a cynic one may be, it is almost impossible to refrain
from wondering at the fact that so many writers and journals that in the
quite recent past maintained absolute silence when the czar and his minions
were committing their infamous outrages against the working-people and
their leaders, and that were never known to protest against the many crimes
committed by our own industrial czars against our working-people and their
leaders--that these writers and journals are now so violently denouncing
the Bolsheviki for alleged inhumanities. When the same journals that
defended or apologized for the brutal lynchings of I.W.W. agitators and the
savage assaults committed upon other peaceful citizens whose only crime was
exercising their lawful and moral right to organize and strike for better
wages, denounce the Bolsheviki for their "brutality" and their
"lawlessness" and cry for vengeance upon them, honest and sincere men
become bitter and scornful.

I am not a Bolshevik or a defender of the Bolsheviki. As a Social Democrat
and Internationalist of many years' standing--and therefore loyal to
America and American ideals--I am absolutely opposed to the principles and
practices of the Bolsheviki, which, from the very first, I have regarded
and denounced as an inverted form of Czarism. It is quite clear to my mind,
however, that there can be no good result from wild abuse or from
misrepresentation of facts and motives. I am convinced that the stupid
campaign of calumny which has been waged against the Bolsheviki has won for
them the sympathy of many intelligent Americans who love fairness and hate
injustice. In this way lying and abuse react against those who indulge in

In this study I have completely ignored the flood of newspaper stories of
Bolshevist "outrages" and "crimes" which has poured forth during the past
year. I have ignored, too, the remarkable collection of documents edited
and annotated by Mr. Sisson and published by the United States Committee on
Public Information. I do not doubt that there is much that is true in that
collection of documents--indeed, there is some corroboration of some of
them--but the means of determining what is true and what false are not yet
available to the student. So much doubt and suspicion is reasonably and
properly attached to some of the documents that the value of the whole mass
is greatly impaired. To rely upon these documents to make a case against
the Bolsheviki, unless and until they have been more fully investigated and
authenticated than they appear to have been as yet, and corroborated, would
be like relying upon the testimony of an unreliable witness to convict a
man serious crime.

That the Bolsheviki have been guilty of many crimes is certain. Ample
evidence of that fact will be found in the following pages. They have
committed many crimes against men and women whose splendid service to the
Russian revolutionary movement serves only to accentuate the crimes in
question. But their worst crimes have been against political and social
democracy, which they have shamefully betrayed and opposed with as little
scruple, and as much brutal injustice, as was ever manifested by the
Romanovs. This is a terrible charge, I know, but I believe that the most
sympathetic toward the Bolsheviki among my readers will, if they are
candid, admit that it is amply sustained by the evidence.

Concerning that evidence it is perhaps necessary to say that I have
confined myself to the following: official documents issued by the
Bolshevist government; the writings and addresses of accredited Bolshevik
leaders and officials--in the form in which they have been published by the
Bolsheviki themselves; the declarations of Russian Socialist organizations
of long and honorable standing in the international Socialist movement; the
statements of equally well-known and trusted Russian Socialists, and of
responsible Russian Socialist journals.

While I have indicated the sources of most of the evidence against the
Bolsheviki, either in the text itself or in the foot-notes and references,
I have not thought it advisable to burden my pages with such foot-notes and
references concerning matters of general knowledge. To have given
references and authorities for all the facts summarized in the historical
outlines, for example, would have been simply a show of pedantry and served
only to frighten away the ordinary reader.

I have been deeply indebted to the works of other writers, among which I
may mention the following: Peter Kropotkin's _Memoirs of a Revolutionist_
and _Ideals and Realities of Russian Literature_; S. Stepniak's
_Underground Russia_; Leo Deutsch's _Sixteen Years in Siberia_; Alexander
Ular's _Russia from Within_; William English Walling's _Russia's Message_;
Zinovy N. Preev's _The Russian Riddle_; Maxim Litvinov's _The Bolshevik
Revolution: Its Rise and Meaning_; M.J. Olgin's _The Soul of the Russian
Revolution_; A.J. Sack's _The Birth of Russian Democracy_; E.A. Ross's
_Russia in Upheaval_; Isaac Don Levine's _The Russian Revolution_; Bessie
Beatty's _The Red Heart of Russia_; Louise Bryant's _Six Red Months in
Russia_; Leon Trotzky's _Our Revolution_ and _The Bolsheviki and World
Peace_; Gabriel Domergue's _La Russe Rouge_; Nikolai Lenine's _The Soviets
at Work_; Zinoviev and Lenine's _Sozialismus und Krieg_; Emile
Vandervelde's _Trois Aspects de la Révolution Russe_; P.G. Chesnais's _La
Révolution et la Paix_ and _Les Bolsheviks_. I have also freely availed
myself of the many admirable translations of official Bolshevist documents
published in _The Class Struggle_, of New York, a pro-Bolshevist magazine;
the collection of documents published by _The Nation_, of New York, a
journal exceedingly generous in its treatment of Bolshevism and the
Bolsheviki; and of the mass of material published in its excellent
"International Notes" by _Justice_, of London, the oldest Socialist
newspaper in the English language, I believe, and one of the most ably

Grateful acknowledgment is hereby made of friendly service rendered and
valuable information given by Mr. Alexander Kerensky, former Premier of
Russia; Mr. Henry L. Slobodin, of New York; Mr. A.J. Sack, Director of the
Russian Information Bureau in the United States; Dr. Boris Takavenko,
editor of _La Russia Nuova_, Rome, Italy; Mr. William English Walling, New
York; and my friend, Father Cahill, of Bennington.

Among the Appendices at the end of the volume will be found some important
documents containing some contemporary Russian Socialist judgments of
Bolshevism. These documents are, I venture to suggest, of the utmost
possible value and importance to the student and general reader.


        _End of January, 1919_.





For almost a full century Russia has been the theater of a great
revolutionary movement. In the light of Russian history we read with
cynical amusement that in 1848, when all Europe was in a revolutionary
ferment, a German economist confidently predicted that revolutionary
agitation could not live in the peculiar soil of Russian civilization.
August Franz von Haxthausen was in many respects a competent and even a
profound student of Russian politics, but he was wrong in his belief that
the amount of rural communism existing in Russia, particularly the _mir_,
would make it impossible for storms of revolutionary agitation to arise and
stir the national life.

As a matter of historical fact, the ferment of revolution had appeared in
the land of the Czars long before the German economist made his remarkably
ill-judged forecast. At the end of the Napoleonic wars many young officers
of the Russian army returned to their native land full of revolutionary
ideas and ideals acquired in France, Italy, and Germany, and intent upon
action. At first their intention was simply to make an appeal to Alexander
I to grant self-government to Russia, which at one time he had seemed
disposed to do. Soon they found themselves engaged in a secret conspiratory
movement having for its object the overthrow of Czarism. The story of the
failure of these romanticists, the manner in which the abortive attempt at
revolution in December, 1825, was suppressed, and how the leaders were
punished by Nicholas I--these things are well known to most students of
Russian history. The Decembrists, as they came to be called, failed, as
they were bound to do, but it would be a mistake to suppose that their
efforts were altogether vain. On the contrary, their inspiration was felt
throughout the next thirty years and was reflected in the literature of the
period. During that period Russian literature was tinged with the faith in
social regeneration held by most of the cultured intellectual classes. The
Decembrists were the spiritual progenitors of the Russian revolutionary
movement of our time. In the writings of Pushkin--himself a
Decembrist--Lermontoff, Gogol, Turgeniev, Dostoyevsky, and many others less
well known, the influence of the Decembrist movement is clearly manifested.

If we are to select a single figure as the founder of the modern social
revolutionary movement in Russia, that title can be applied to Alexander
Herzen with greater fitness than to any other. His influence upon the
movement during many years was enormous. Herzen was half-German, his mother
being German. He was born at Moscow in 1812, shortly before the French
occupation of the city. His parents were very rich and he enjoyed the
advantages of a splendid education, as well as great luxury. At twenty-two
years of age he was banished to a small town in the Urals, where he spent
six years, returning to Moscow in 1840. It is noteworthy that the offense
for which he had been sent into exile was the singing of songs in praise of
the Decembrist martyrs. This occurred at a meeting of one of the "Students'
Circles" founded by Herzen for the dissemination of revolutionary Socialist
ideals among the students.

Upon his return to Moscow in 1840 Herzen, together with Bakunin and other
friends, again engaged in revolutionary propaganda and in 1842 he was again
exiled. In 1847, through the influence of powerful friends, he received
permission to leave Russia for travel abroad. He never again saw his native
land, all the remaining years of life being spent in exile. After a tour of
Italy, Herzen arrived in Paris on the eve of the Revolution of 1848,
joining there his friends, Bakunin and Turgeniev, and many other
revolutionary leaders. It was impossible for him to participate actively in
the 1848 uprising, owing to the activity of the Paris police, but he
watched the Revolution with the profoundest sympathy. And when it failed
and was followed by the terrible reaction his distress was almost
unbounded. For a brief period he was the victim of the most appalling
pessimism, but after a time his faith returned and he joined with Proudhon
in issuing a radical revolutionary paper, _L'Ami du Peuple_, of which,
Kropotkin tells us in his admirable study of Russian literature, "almost
every number was confiscated by the police of Napoleon the Third." The
paper had a very brief life, and Herzen himself was soon expelled from
France, going to Switzerland, of which country he became a citizen.

In 1857 Herzen settled in London, where he published for some years a
remarkable paper, called _Kolokol (The Bell)_, in which he exposed the
iniquities and shortcomings of Czarism and inspired the youth of Russia
with his revolutionary ideals. The paper had to be smuggled into Russia, of
course, and the manner in which the smuggling was done is one of the most
absorbing stories in all the tragic history of the vast land of the Czars.
Herzen was a charming writer and a keen thinker, and it is impossible to
exaggerate the extent of his influence. But when the freedom of the serfs,
for which he so vigorously contended, was promulgated by Alexander II, and
other extensive reforms were granted, his influence waned. He died in 1870
in Switzerland.


Alexander II was not alone in hoping that the Act of Liberation would usher
in a new era of prosperity and tranquillity for Russia. Many of the most
radical of the Intelligentsia, followers of Herzen, believed that Russia
was destined to outstrip the older nations of western Europe in its
democracy and its culture. It was not long before disillusionment came: the
serfs were set free, but the manner in which the land question had been
dealt with made their freedom almost a mockery. As a result there were
numerous uprisings of peasants--riots which the government suppressed in
the most sanguinary manner. From that time until the present the land
question has been the core of the Russian problem. Every revolutionary
movement has been essentially concerned with giving the land to the

Within a few months after the liberation of the serfs the revolutionary
unrest was so wide-spread that the government became alarmed and instituted
a policy of vigorous repression. Progressive papers, which had sprung up as
a result of the liberal tendencies characterizing the reign of Alexander
II thus far, were suppressed and many of the leading writers were
imprisoned and exiled. Among those thus punished was that brilliant writer,
Tchernyshevsky, to whom the Russian movement owes so much. His
_Contemporary Review_ was, during the four critical years 1858-62 the
principal forum for the discussion of the problems most vital to the life
of Russia. In it the greatest leaders of Russian thought discussed the land
question, co-operation, communism, popular education, and similar subjects.
This served a twofold purpose: in the first place, it brought to the study
of the pressing problems of the time the ablest and best minds of the
country; secondly, it provided these Intellectuals with a bond of union and
stimulus to serve the poor and the oppressed. That Alexander II had been
influenced to sign the Emancipation Act by Tchernyshevsky and his friends
did not cause the authorities to spare Tchernyshevsky when, in 1863, he
engaged in active Socialist propaganda. He was arrested and imprisoned in a
fortress, where he wrote the novel which has so profoundly influenced two
generations of discontented and protesting Russians--_What is to Be Done?_
In form a novel of thrilling interest, this work was really an elaborate
treatise upon Russian social conditions. It dealt with the vexed problems
of marriage and divorce, the land question, co-operative production, and
other similar matters, and the solutions it suggested for these problems
became widely accepted as the program of revolutionary Russia. Few books in
any literature have ever produced such a profound impression, or exerted as
much influence upon the life of a nation. In the following year, 1864,
Tchernyshevsky was exiled to hard labor in Siberia, remaining there until
1883, when he returned to Russia. He lived only six years longer, dying in

The attempt made by a young student to assassinate Alexander II, on April
4, 1866, was seized upon by the Czar and his advisers as an excuse for
instituting a policy of terrible reaction. The most repressive measures
were taken against the Intelligentsia and all the liberal reforms which had
been introduced were practically destroyed. It was impossible to restore
serfdom, of course, but the condition of the peasants without land was even
worse than if they had remained serfs. Excessive taxation, heavy redemption
charges, famine, crop failures, and other ills drove the people to
desperation. Large numbers of students espoused the cause of the peasants
and a new popular literature appeared in which the sufferings of the people
were portrayed with fervor and passion. In 1868-69 there were numerous
demonstrations and riots by way of protest against the reactionary policy
of the government.

It was at this time that Michael Bakunin, from his exile in Switzerland,
conspired with Nechaiev to bring about a great uprising of the peasants,
through the Society for the Liberation of the People. Bakunin advised the
students to leave the universities and to go among the people to teach them
and, at the same time, arouse them to revolt. It was at this time, too,
that Nicholas Tchaykovsky and his friends, the famous Circle of
Tchaykovsky, began to distribute among students in all parts of the Empire
books dealing with the condition of the peasants and proposing remedies
therefor. This work greatly influenced the young Intelligentsia, but the
immediate results among the peasants were not very encouraging. Even the
return from Switzerland, by order of the government, of hundreds of
students who were disciples of Bakunin and Peter Lavrov did not produce any
great success.

Very soon a new organization appeared. The remnant of the Circle
Tchaykovsky, together with some followers of Bakunin, formed a society
called the Land and Freedom Society. This society, which was destined to
exert a marked influence upon revolutionary Russia, was the most ambitious
revolutionary effort Russia had known. The society had a constitution and a
carefully worked out program. It had one special group to carry on
propaganda among students; another to agitate among the peasants; and a
third to employ armed force against the government and against those guilty
of treachery toward the society. The basis of the society was the
conviction that Russia needed an economic revolution; that only an economic
revolution, starting with the producers, could overthrow Czarism and
establish the ideal state of society.

The members of this Land and Freedom Society divided their work into four
main divisions: (1) Agitation--passive and active. Passive agitation
included strikes, petitions for reforms, refusal to pay taxes, and so on.
Active agitation meant riots and uprisings. (2) Organization--the formation
of a fighting force prepared to bring about a general uprising. (3)
Education--the spreading of revolutionary knowledge and ideas, a
continuation of the work of the Tchaykovsky Circle. (4) Secularization--the
carrying on of systematic work against the Orthodox Church through special
channels. One of the early leaders of this society was George Plechanov,
who later founded the Russian Social Democracy and gave to the Russian
revolutionary movement its Marxian character, inspiring such men as Nikolai
Lenine and Leon Trotzky, among many others. The society did not attain any
very great amount of success in its efforts to reach the peasants, and it
was that fact more than any other which determined Plechanov's future


When the failure of the Land and Freedom methods became evident, and the
government became more and more oppressive, desperate individuals and
groups resorted to acts of terrorism. It was thus that Vera Zasulich
attempted the assassination of the infamous Chief of Police Trepov. The
movement to temper Czarism by assassination systematically pursued was
beginning. In 1879 the Land and Freedom Society held a conference for the
purpose of discussing its program. A majority favored resorting to
terroristic tactics; Plechanov and a few other well-known revolutionists
were opposed--favoring the old methods. The society split, the majority
becoming known as the Will of the People and adopting a terroristic
program. This organization sentenced Czar Alexander II to death and several
unsuccessful attempts were made to carry out the sentence. The leaders
believed that the assassination of the Czar would give rise to a general
revolution throughout the whole of Russia. In February, 1880, occurred the
famous attempt to blow up the Winter Palace. For a time it seemed that the
Czar had learned the lesson the Will of the People sought to teach him, and
that he would institute far-reaching reforms. Pursuing a policy of
vacillation and fear, however, Alexander II soon fell back into the old
attitude. On March 1, 1881, a group of revolutionists, among them Sophia
Perovskaya, made another attempt upon his life, succeeding, at first, only
in damaging the bottom of the Czar's carriage and wounding a number of
Cossack soldiers. "Thank God, I am untouched," said the Czar, in response
to the inquiry of an officer of his guard. "It's too soon to thank God!"
cried N.I. Grinevitsky, hurling a bomb at the Czar. Within a short time
Alexander II and his assailant were both dead.

The assassination of Alexander II was a tragic event for Russia. On the
very morning of his death the ill-fated monarch had approved a plan for
extensive reforms presented by the liberal Minister, Loris-Melikoff. It had
been decided to call a conference three days later and to invite a number
of well-known public men to co-operate in introducing the reforms. These
reforms would not have been far-reaching enough to satisfy the
revolutionists, but they would certainly have improved the situation and
given Russia a new hope. That hope died with Alexander II. His son,
Alexander III, had always been a pronounced reactionary and had advised his
father against making any concessions to the agitators. It was not
surprising, therefore, that he permitted himself to be advised against the
liberals by the most reactionary bureaucrats in the Empire, and to adopt
the most oppressive policies.

The new Czar was greatly influenced by his former tutor, the reactionary
bureaucrat Pobiedonostzev. At first it was believed that out of respect for
his father's memory Alexander III would carry out the program of reforms
formulated by Loris-Melikoff, as his father had promised to do. In a
Manifesto issued on the 29th of April, 1881, Alexander III promised to do
this, but in the same document there were passages which could only be
interpreted as meaning that all demands for constitutional reform would be
resisted and Absolutism upheld at all cost. Doubtless it was due to the
influence of Pobiedonostzev, Procurator of the Holy Synod, that Alexander
III soon abandoned all intention of carrying out his father's wishes in the
matter of reform and instituted such reactionary policies that the peasants
feared that serfdom was to be restored. A terrible persecution of the Jews
was begun, lasting for several years. The Poles, too, felt the oppressive
hand of Pobiedonostzev. The latter was mastered by the Slavophil philosophy
that the revolutionary unrest in Russia was traceable to the diversity of
races, languages, and religions. He believed that Nihilism, Anarchism, and
Socialism flourished because the people were cosmopolitan rather than
nationalistic in experience and feeling, and that peace and stability could
come only from the persistent and vigorous development of the three
principles of Nationality, Orthodoxy, and Autocracy as the basis of the

In this doctrine we have the whole explanation of the reactionary policy of
Alexander III. In the Manifesto of April 29th was announced the Czar's
determination to strengthen and uphold autocracy. That was the foundation
stone. To uphold orthodoxy was the next logical necessity, for autocracy
and orthodoxy were, in Russia, closely related. Hence the non-orthodox
sects--such as the Finnish Protestants, German Lutherans, Polish Roman
Catholics, the Jews, and the Mohammedans--were increasingly restricted in
the observance of their religion. They might not build new places of
worship; their children could not be educated in the faith of their
parents. In many cases children were taken away from their parents in order
to be sent to schools where they would be inculcated with the orthodox
faith. In a similar way, every attempt was made to suppress the use of
languages other than Russian.

Along with this attempt to force the whole population into a single mold
went a determined resistance to liberalism in all its forms. All this was
accompanied by a degree of efficiency in the police service quite unusual
in Russia, with the result that the terroristic tactics of the Will of the
People party were unavailing, except in the cases of a few minor officials.
Plots to assassinate the Czar were laid, but they were generally betrayed
to the police. The most serious of these plots, in March, 1887, led to the
arrest of all the conspirators.

In the mean time there had appeared the first definite Marxian Social
Democratic group in Russia. Plechanov, Vera Zasulich, Leo Deutsch, and
other Russian revolutionists in Switzerland formed the organization known
as the Group for the Emancipation of Labor. This organization was based
upon the principles and tactics of Marxian Socialism and sought to create a
purely proletarian movement. As we have seen, when revolutionary terrorism
was at its height Plechanov and his disciples had proclaimed its futility
and pinned their faith to the nascent class of industrial wage-workers. In
the early 'eighties this class was so small in Russia that it seemed to
many of the best and clearest minds of the revolutionary movement quite
hopeless to rely upon it. Plechanov was derided as a mere theorist and
closet philosopher, but he never wavered in his conviction that Socialism
must come in Russia as the natural outcome of capitalist development. By
means of a number of scholarly polemics against the principles and tactics
of the Will of the People party, Plechanov gathered to his side of the
controversy a group of very brilliant and able disciples, and so laid the
basis for the Social Democratic Labor party. With the relatively rapid
expansion of capitalism, beginning with the year 1888, and the inevitable
increase of the city proletariat, the Marxian movement made great progress.
A strong labor-union movement and a strong political Socialist movement
were thus developed side by side.

At the same time there was a revival of terrorism, the one available reply
of the oppressed to brutal autocracy. While the Marxian movement made
headway among the industrial workers, the older terroristic movement made
headway among the peasants. Various groups appeared in different parts of
the country. When Alexander III died, at the end of 1894, both movements
had developed considerable strength. Working in secret and subject to
terrible measures of repression, their leaders being constantly imprisoned
and exiled, these two wings of the Russian revolutionary movement were
gathering strength in preparation for an uprising more extensive and
serious than anything that had hitherto been attempted.

Whenever a new Czar ascended the throne in Russia it was the fashion to
hope for some measure of reform and for a degree of liberality. Frequently,
as in the case of Alexander III, all such hopes were speedily killed, but
repeated experiences of the kind did not prevent the birth of new hopes
with the death of successive Czars. When, therefore, Alexander III was
succeeded by his son, Nicholas II, liberal Russia expectantly awaited the
promulgation of constitutional reforms. In this they were doomed to
disappointment, just as they had been on the occasion of the accession of
the new Czar's immediate predecessor. Nicholas II was evidently going to be
quite as reactionary as his father was. This was made manifest in a number
of ways. When a deputation from one of the zemstvos, which congratulated
him upon his ascension to the throne, expressed the hope that he would
listen to "the voice of the people and the expression of its desires," the
reply of the new Czar was a grim warning of what was to come. Nicholas II
told the zemstvos that he intended to follow the example of his father and
uphold the principles of Absolutism, and that any thought of participation
by the zemstvos or other organizations of the people in state affairs was a
senseless dream. More significant still, perhaps, was the fact that the
hated Pobiedonostzev was retained in power.

The revolutionists were roused as they had not been for a decade or more.
Some of the leaders believed that the new reign of reaction would prove to
be the occasion and the opportunity for bringing about a union of all the
revolutionary forces, Anarchists and Socialists alike, peasants and
industrial workers. This hope was destined to fail, but there was an
unmistakable revolutionary awakening. In the latter part of January, 1895,
an open letter to Nicholas II was smuggled into the country from
Switzerland and widely distributed. It informed the Czar that the
Socialists would fight to the bitter end the hateful order of things which
he was responsible for creating, and menacingly said, "It will not be long
before you find yourself entangled by it."


In one respect Nicholas II differed from Alexander III--he was by nature
more humane and sentimental. Like his father, he was thoroughly dominated
by Pobiedonostzev's theory that Russia, in order to be secure and stable,
must be based upon Nationality, Orthodoxy, and Autocracy. He wanted to see
Holy Russia homogeneous and free from revolutionary disturbances. But his
sensitive nature shrank from the systematic persecution of the non-orthodox
sects and the Jews, and he quietly intimated to the officials that he would
not approve its continuance. At the same time, he was not willing to face
the issue squarely and openly announce a change of policy or restore
religious freedom. That would have meant the overthrow of Pobiedonostzev
and the Czar's emancipation from his sinister influence, and for that
Nicholas II lacked the necessary courage and stamina. Cowardice and
weakness of the will characterized his reign from the very beginning.

When the officials, in obedience to their ruler's wishes, relaxed the
severity which had marked the treatment of the Jews and the non-orthodox
Christian sects, the change was soon noted by the victims and once more
there was a revival of hope. But the efforts of the Finns to secure a
modification of the Russification policy were quite fruitless. When a
deputation was sent from Finland to represent to the Czar that the rights
and privileges solemnly reserved to them at the time of the annexation were
being denied to the people of Finland, Nicholas II refused to grant the
deputation an audience. Instead of getting relief, the people of Finland
soon found that the oppression steadily increased. It was evident that
Finnish nationality was to be crushed out, if possible, in the interest of
Russian homogeneity.

It soon became apparent, moreover, that Pobiedonostzev was to enjoy even
more power than he had under Alexander III. In proportion as the character
of Nicholas II was weaker than that of his father, the power of the
Procurator of the Holy Synod was greater. And there was a superstitious
element in the mentality of the new Czar which Pobiedonostzev played upon
with infinite cunning. He ruled the weak-willed Czar and filled the
ministries with men who shared his views and upon whom he could rely.
Notwithstanding the Czar's expressed wishes, he soon found ways and means
to add to the persecutions of the Jews and the various non-orthodox
Christian sects. In his determination to hammer the varied racial groups
into a homogeneous nation, he adopted terrible measures and so roused the
hatred of the Finns, Armenians, Georgians, and other subject peoples,
stirring among them passionate resentment and desire for revolutionary
action. It is impossible to conceive of a policy more dangerous to the
dynasty than was conceived and followed by this fanatical Russophil. The
Poles were persecuted and forced, in sheer despair, and by self-interest,
into the revolutionary movement. Armenians were persecuted and their church
lands and church funds confiscated; so they, too, were forced into the
revolutionary current.

Worse than all else was the cruel persecution of the Jews. Not only were
they compelled to live within the Pale of Settlement, but this was so
reduced that abominable congestion and poverty resulted. Intolerable
restrictions were placed upon the facilities for education in the secondary
schools, the gymnasia, and in the universities. It was hoped in this way to
destroy the intellectual leadership of the Jews. Pogroms were instigated,
stirring the civilized world to protest at the horrible outrages. The
Minister of the Interior, Von Plehve, proclaimed his intention to "drown
the Revolution in Jewish blood," while Pobiedonostzev's ambition was "to
force one-third of the Jews to conversion, another third to emigrate"--to
escape persecution. The other third he expected to die of hunger and
misery. When Leo Tolstoy challenged these infamies, and called upon the
civilized world on behalf of the victims, the Holy Synod denounced Tolstoy
and his followers as a sect "especially dangerous for the Orthodox Church
and the state." Later, in 1900, the Holy Synod excommunicated Tolstoy from
the Orthodox Church.

The fatal logic of fanatical fury led to attacks upon the zemstvos. These
local organizations had been instituted in 1864, by Alexander II, in the
liberal years of his reign. Elected mainly by the landlords and the
peasants, they were a vital part of the life of the nation. Possessing no
political powers or functions, having nothing to do with legislation, they
were important agencies of local government. The representatives of each
county constituted a county-zemstvo and the representatives elected by all
the county-zemstvos in a province constituted a province-zemstvo. Both
types concerned themselves with much the same range of activities. They
built roads and telegraph stations; they maintained model farms and
agricultural experiment stations similar to those maintained by our state
governments. They maintained schools, bookstores, and libraries:
co-operative stores; hospitals and banks. They provided the peasants with
cheap credit, good seeds, fertilizers, agricultural implements, and so
forth. In many cases they provided for free medical aid to the peasants. In
some instances they published newspapers and magazines.

It must be remembered that the zemstvos were the only representative public
bodies elected by any large part of the people. While the suffrage was
quite undemocratic, being so arranged that the landlords were assured a
majority over the peasants at all times, nevertheless they did perform a
great democratic service. But for them, life would have been well-nigh
impossible for the peasant. In addition to the services already enumerated,
these civic bodies were the relief agencies of the Empire, and when crop
failures brought famine to the peasants it was always the zemstvos which
undertook the work of relief. Hampered at every point, denied the right to
control the schools they created and maintained, inhibited by law from
discussing political questions, the zemstvos, nevertheless, became the
natural channels for the spreading of discontent and opposition to the
régime through private communication and discussion.

To bureaucrats of the type of Pobiedonostzev and Von Plehve, with their
fanatical belief in autocracy, these organizations of the people were so
many plague spots. Not daring to suppress them altogether, they determined
to restrict them at every opportunity. Some of the zemstvos were suspended
and disbanded for certain periods of time. Individual members were exiled
for utterances which Von Plehve regarded as dangerous. The power of the
zemstvos themselves was lessened by taking from them such important
functions as the provisioning of famine-stricken districts and by limiting
in the most arbitrary manner the amount of the budget permitted to each
zemstvo. Since every decision of the zemstvos was subject to veto by the
governors of the respective provinces, the government had at all times a
formidable weapon at hand to use in its fight against the zemstvos. This
weapon Von Plehve used with great effect; the most reasonable actions of
the zemstvos were vetoed for no other reason than hatred of any sort of
representative government.


The result of all this was to drive the zemstvos toward the revolutionary
movements of the peasants and the city workers. That the zemstvos were not
naturally inclined to radicalism and revolution needs no demonstration.
Economic interest, tradition, and environment all conspired to keep these
popular bodies conservative. Landowners were always in the majority and in
general the zemstvos reflected the ideas and ideals of the enlightened
wealthy and cultivated classes. The peasant representatives in the zemstvos
were generally peasants of the most successful and prosperous type, hating
the revolutionists and all their works. By means of a policy incredibly
insane these conservatively inclined elements of the population were goaded
to revolt. The newspapers and magazines of the zemstvos became more and
more critical of the government, more and more outspoken in denunciation of
existing conditions. Presently, the leaders of the zemstvos followed the
example of the revolutionists and held a secret convention at which a
program for common action was agreed upon. Thus they were resorting to
illegal methods, exactly as the Socialists had done. Finally, many of the
liberal zemstvo leaders formed themselves into a political party--the Union
of Liberation--with a special organ of its own, called _Emancipation_. This
organ, edited by the brilliant and courageous Peter Struve, was published
in Stuttgart, Germany, and, since its circulation in Russia was forbidden,
it had to be smuggled into the country and secretly circulated, just as the
revolutionary Socialist journals were. Thus another bond was established
between two very different movements.

As was inevitable, revolutionary terrorism enormously increased. In the
cities the working-men were drawn mainly into the Social Democratic
Working-men's party, founded by Plechanov and others in 1898, but the
peasants, in so far as they were aroused at all, rallied around the
standard of the Socialist-Revolutionists, successors to the Will of the
People party. This party was peculiarly a party of the peasants, just as
the party of Plechanov was peculiarly a party of industrial workers. It
emphasized the land question above all else. It naturally scorned the view,
largely held by the Marxists in the other party, that Russia must wait
until her industrial development was perfected before attempting to realize
Socialism. It scorned the slow, legalistic methods and resolutely answered
the terrorism of Czarism by a terrorism of the people. It maintained a
special department for carrying on this grim work. Its Central Committee
passed sentences of death upon certain officials, and its decrees were
carried out by the members of its Fighting Organization. To this
organization within the party belonged many of the ablest and most
consecrated men and women in Russia.

A few illustrations will suffice to make clear the nature of this
terroristic retaliation: In March, 1902, Sypiagin, the Minister of the
Interior, was shot down as he entered his office by a member of the
Fighting Organization, Stephen Balmashev, who was disguised as an officer.
Sypiagin had been duly sentenced to death by the Central Committee. He had
been responsible for upward of sixty thousand political arrests and for the
suffering of many exiles. Balmashev went to his death with heroic
fortitude. In May, 1903, Gregory Gershuni and two associates executed the
reactionary Governor of Ufa. Early in June, 1904, Borikov, Governor-General
of Finland, was assassinated by a revolutionist. A month later, July 15th,
the infamous Von Plehve, who had been judged by the Central Committee and
held responsible for the Kishinev pogrom, was killed by a bomb thrown under
the wheels of his carriage by Sazanov, a member of the Fighting Force. The
death of this cruel tyrant thrilled the world. In February, 1905, Ivan
Kaliaiev executed the death sentence which had been passed upon the
ruthless Governor-General of Moscow, the Grand-Duke Serghei Alexandrovich.

There was war in Russia--war between two systems of organized terrorism.
Sometimes the Czar and his Ministers weakened and promised concessions, but
always there was speedy reaction and, usually, an increased vigor of
oppression. The assassination of Von Plehve, however, for the first time
really weakened the government. Czarism was, in fact, already toppling. The
new Minister of the Interior, Von Plehve's successor, Prince
Svyatpolk-Mirski, sought to meet the situation by a policy of compromise.
While he maintained Von Plehve's methods of suppressing the radical
organizations and their press, and using provocative agents to entrap
revolutionary leaders, he granted a certain degree of freedom to the
moderate press and adopted a relatively liberal attitude toward the
zemstvos. By this means he hoped to avert the impending revolution.

Taking advantage of the new conditions, the leaders of the zemstvos
organized a national convention. This the government forbade, but it had
lost much of its power and the leaders of the movement ignored the order
and proceeded to hold the convention. At this convention, held at St.
Petersburg, November 6, 1904, attended by many of the ablest lawyers,
doctors, professors, scientists, and publicists in Russia, a resolution was
adopted demanding that the government at once call representatives of the
people together for the purpose of setting up a constitutional government
in Russia. It was a revolutionary act, a challenge to the autocracy, which
the latter dared not accept. On the contrary, in December the Czar issued
an ambiguous ukase in which a number of concessions and reforms were
promised, but carefully avoiding the fundamental issues at stake.


Meanwhile the war with Japan, unpopular from the first, had proved to be an
unbroken series of military defeats and disasters for Russia. From the
opening of the war in February to the end of the year the press had been
permitted to publish very little real news concerning it, but it was not
possible to hide for long the bitter truth. Taxes mounted higher and
higher, prices rose, and there was intense suffering, while the loss of
life was enormous. News of the utter failure and incompetence of the army
and the navy seeped through. Here was Russia with a population three times
as large as that of Japan, and with an annual budget of two billions as
against Japan's paltry sixty millions, defeated at every turn. What did
this failure signify? In the first place, it signified the weakness and
utter incompetence of the régime. It meant that imperialist expansion, with
a corresponding strengthening of the old régime, was out of the question.
Most intelligent Russians, with no lack of real patriotism, rejoiced at the
succession of defeats because it proved to the masses the unfitness of the

It signified something else, also. There were many who remembered the
scandals of the Turkish War, in 1877, when Bessarabia was recovered. At
that time there was a perfect riot of graft, corruption, and treachery,
much of which came under the observation of the zemstvos of the border.
High military officials trafficked in munitions and food-supplies. Food
intended for the army was stolen and sold--sometimes, it was said, to the
enemy. Materials were paid for, but never delivered to the army at all. The
army was demoralized and the Turks repulsed the Russians again and again.
Now similar stories began to be circulated. Returning victims told stories
of brutal treatment of the troops by officers; of wounded and dying men
neglected; of lack of hospital care and medical attention. They told worse
stories, too, of open treachery by military officials and others; of army
supplies stolen; of shells ordered which would fit no guns the Russian army
ever had, and so on. It was suggested, and widely believed, that Germany
had connived at the systematic corruption of the Russian bureaucracy and
the Russian army, to serve its own imperialistic and economic ends.

Such was the state of Russia at the end of the year 1904. Then came the
tragic events of January, 1905, which marked the opening of the Revolution.
In order to counteract the agitation of the Social Democrats among the city
workers, and the formation by them of trades-unions, the government had
caused to be formed "legal" unions--that is, organizations of workmen
approved by the government. In order to give these organizations some
semblance to real labor-unions, and thereby the better to deceive the
workers, strikes were actually inspired by agents of the government from
time to time. On more than one occasion strikes thus instigated by the
government spread beyond control and caused great alarm. The Czar and his
agents were playing with fire.

Among such unions was the Gathering of Industrial Working-men of St.
Petersburg, which had for its program such innocent and non-revolutionary
objects as "sober and reasonable pastimes, aimed at physical, intellectual,
and moral improvement; strengthening of Russian national ideas; development
of sensible views concerning the rights and duties of working-men and
improvement of labor conditions and mutual assistance." It was founded by
Father Gapon, who was opposed to the revolutionary movement, and was
regarded by the Socialists as a Czarist tool.

On January 3d--Russian calendar--several thousand men belonging to the
Gathering of Industrial Workin-gmen of St. Petersburg went out on strike.
By the 6th the strike had assumed the dimensions of a general strike. It
was estimated that on the latter date fully one hundred and forty thousand
men were out on strike, practically paralyzing the industrial life of the
city. At meetings of the strikers speeches were made which had as much to
do with the political demands for constitutional government as with the
original grievances of the strikers. The strike was fast becoming a
revolution. On the 9th Father Gapon led the hosts to the Winter Palace, to
present a petition to the Czar asking for reforms. The text of the petition
was widely circulated beforehand. It begged the Czar to order immediately
"that representatives of all the Russian land, of all classes and groups,
convene." It outlined a moderate program which had the support of almost
the entire nation with the exception of the bureaucracy:

    Let every one be equal and free in the right of election; order to
    this end that election for the Constituent Assembly be based on
    general, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. This is our main
    request; in it and upon it everything is founded; this is the only
    ointment for our painful wounds; and in the absence of this our
    blood will continue to flow constantly, carrying us swiftly toward

    But this measure alone cannot remedy all our wounds. Many others
    are necessary, and we tell them to you, Sire, directly and openly,
    as to our Father. We need:

    _I. Measures to counteract the ignorance and legal oppression of
    the Russian people_:

    (1) Personal freedom and inviolability, freedom of speech and the
    press, freedom of assemblage, freedom in religious affairs;

    (2) General and compulsory public education at the expense of the

    (3) Responsibility of the Ministers to the people, and guaranties
    of lawfulness in administration;

    (4) Equality before the law for all without exemption;

    (5) Immediate rehabilitation of those punished for their

    (6) Separation of the Church from the state.

    _II. Measures against the poverty of the people_:

    (1) Abolition of indirect taxes and introduction of direct income
    taxes on a progressive scale;

    (2) Abolition of the redemption payments, cheap credit, and
    gradual transferring of the land to the people;

    (3) The orders for the naval and military Ministers should be
    filled in Russia and not abroad;

    (4) The cessation of the war by the will of the people.

    _III. Measures against oppression of labor by capital_:

    (1) Protection of labor by legislation;

    (2) Freedom of consumers' and producers' leagues and

    (3) An eight-hour workday and a regulation of overtime;

    (4) Freedom of struggle against capital (freedom of labor

    (5) Participation of labor representatives in the framing of a
    bill concerning state insurance of working-men;

    (6) Normal wages.

    Those are, Sire, the principal wants with which we have come to
    you. Let your decree be known, swear that you will satisfy them,
    and you will make Russia happy and glorious, and your name will be
    branded in our hearts and in the hearts of our posterity for ever
    and ever. If, however, you will not reply to our prayer, we shall
    die here, on the place before your palace. We have no other refuge
    and no other means. We have two roads before us, one to freedom
    and happiness, the other to the grave. Tell us, Sire, which, and
    we will follow obediently, and if it be the road of death, let our
    lives be a sacrifice for suffering-wearied Russia. We do not
    regret the sacrifice; we bring it willingly.

Led on by the strange, hypnotic power of the mystical Father Gapon, who was
clad in the robes of his office, tens of thousands of working-people
marched that day to the Winter Palace, confident that the Czar would see
them, receive their petitions, and harken to their prayers. It was not a
revolutionary demonstration in the accepted sense of that term; the
marchers did not carry red flags nor sing Socialist songs of revolt.
Instead, they bore pictures of the Czar and other members of the royal
family and sang "God Save the Czar" and other well-known religious hymns.
No attempt was made to prevent the procession from reaching the square in
front of the Winter Palace. Suddenly, without a word of warning, troops
appeared from the courtyards, where they were hidden, and fired into the
crowded mass of human beings, killing more than five hundred and wounding
nearly three thousand. All who were able to do so turned and fled, among
them Father Gapon.

Bloody Sunday, as the day is known in Russian annals, is generally regarded
as the beginning of the First Revolution. Immediately people began to talk
of armed resistance. On the evening of the day of the tragedy there was a
meeting of more than seven hundred Intellectuals at which the means for
carrying on revolution was the topic discussed. This was the first of many
similar gatherings which took place all over Russia. Soon the Intellectuals
began to organize unions, ostensibly for the protection of their
professional interests, but in reality for political purposes. There were
unions of doctors, writers, lawyers, engineers, professors, editors, and so
on. Quietly, and almost without design, there was being effected another
and more important union, namely, the union of all classes against
autocracy and despotism.

The Czar gave from his private purse fifty thousand rubles for the relief
of the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday. On the 19th of January he
received a deputation of carefully selected "loyal" working-men and
delivered to them a characteristic homily, which infuriated the masses by
its stupid perversion of the facts connected with the wanton massacre of
Bloody Sunday. Then, at the end of the month, he proclaimed the appointment
of a commission to "investigate the causes of labor unrest in St.
Petersburg and its suburbs and to find means of avoiding them in the
future." This commission was to consist of representatives of capital and
labor. The working-men thereupon made the following demands:

(1) That labor be given an equal number of members in the commission with

(2) That the working-men be permitted to freely elect their own

(3) That the sessions of the commission be open to the public;

(4) That there be complete freedom of speech for the representatives of
labor in the commission;

(5) That all the working-people arrested on January 9th be released.

These demands of the working-men's organizations were rejected by the
government, whereupon the workers agreed to boycott the commission and
refuse to have anything to do with it. At last it became evident to the
government that, in the circumstances, the commission could not accomplish
any good, and it was therefore abandoned. The Czar and his advisers were
desperate and vacillating. One day they would adopt a conciliatory attitude
toward the workers, and the next day follow it up with fresh measures of
repression and punishment.

Little heeding the stupid charge by the Holy Synod that the revolutionary
leaders were in the pay of the Japanese, the workers went on organizing and
striking. All over Russia there were strikes, the movement had spread far
beyond the bounds of St. Petersburg. General strikes took place in many of
the large cities, such as Riga, Vilna, Libau, Warsaw, Lodz, Batum, Minsk,
Tiflis, and many others. Conflicts between strikers and soldiers and police
were common. Russia was aflame with revolution. The movement spread to the
peasants in a most surprising manner. Numerous extensive and serious
revolts of peasants occurred in different parts of Russia, the peasants
looting the mansions of the landowners, and indulging in savage outbreaks
of rioting.

While this was going on the army was being completely demoralized. The
terrible defeat of the Russian forces by the Japanese--the foe that had
been so lightly regarded--at Mukden was a crushing blow which greatly
impaired the morale of the troops, both those at home and those at the
front. Disaster followed upon disaster. May saw the destruction of the
great Russian fleet. In June rebellion broke out in the navy, and the crew
of the battle-ship _Potyamkin_, which was on the Black Sea, mutinied and
hoisted the red flag. After making prisoners of their officers, the sailors
hastened to lend armed assistance to striking working-men at Odessa who
were in conflict with soldiers and police.


It was a time of turbulent unrest and apparent utter confusion. It was not
easy to discern the underlying significance and purpose of some of the most
important events. On every hand there were strikes and uprisings, many of
them without any sort of leadership or plan. Strikes which began over
questions of wages and hours became political demonstrations in favor of a
Constituent Assembly. On the other hand, political demonstrations became
transformed, without any conscious effort on the part of anybody, into
strikes for immediate economic betterment. There was an intense class
conflict going on in Russia, as the large number of strikes for increased
wages and shorter hours proved, yet the larger political struggle dwarfed
and obscured the class struggle. For the awakened proletariat of the
cities the struggle in which they were engaged was economic as well as
political. They wisely regarded the political struggle as part of the class
struggle, as Plechanov and his friends declared it to be. Yet the fact
remained that the capitalist class against which the proletariat was
fighting on the economic field was, for the most part, fighting against
autocracy, for the overthrow of Czarism and the establishment of political
democracy, as earnestly, if less violently, than the proletariat was. The
reason for this was the recognition by the leading capitalists of Russia of
the fact that industrial progress was retarded by the old régime, and that
capitalist development requires popular education, a relatively high
standard of living, political freedom, and stability and order in
government. It was perfectly natural, therefore, for the great associations
of manufacturers and merchants to unite in urging the government to grant
extensive political reforms so long as the class conflict was merely

What had begun mainly as a class war had become the war of all classes
against autocracy. Of course, in such a merging of classes there
necessarily appeared many shadings and degrees of interest. Not all the
social groups and classes were as radical in their demands as the organized
peasants and city workers, who were the soul of the revolutionary movement.
There were, broadly speaking, two great divisions of social life with which
the Revolution was concerned--the political and the economic. With regard
to the first there was practical unanimity; he would be a blind slave to
theoretical formulæ who sought to maintain the thesis that class interests
divided masses and classes here. All classes, with the exception of the
bureaucracy, wanted the abolition of Czarism and Absolutism and the
establishment of a constitutional government, elected by the people on a
basis of universal suffrage, and directly responsible to the electorate.

Upon the economic issue there was less agreement, though all parties and
classes recognized the need of extensive change. It was universally
recognized that some solution of the land question must be found. There can
never be social peace or political stability in Russia until that problem
is settled. Now, it was easy for the Socialist groups, on the one hand, and
the moderate groups, upon the other, to unite in demanding that the large
estates be divided among the peasants. But while the Socialist
groups--those of the peasants as well as those of city workers--demanded
that the land be taken without compensation, the bourgeois elements,
especially the leaders of the zemstvos, insisted that the state should pay
compensation for the land taken. Judgment upon this vital question has long
been embittered by the experience of the peasants with the "redemption
payments" which were established when serfdom was abolished. During the
period of greatest intensity, the summer of 1905, a federation of the
various revolutionary peasants' organizations was formed and based its
policy upon the middle ground of favoring the payment of compensation _in
some cases_.

All through this trying period the Czar and his advisers were temporizing
and attempting to obtain peace by means of petty concessions. A greater
degree of religious liberty was granted, and a new representative body, the
Imperial Duma, was provided for. This body was not to be a parliament in
any real sense, but a debating society. It could _discuss_ proposed
legislation, but it had no powers to _enact_ legislation of any kind.
Absolutism was dying hard, clinging to its powers with remarkable tenacity.
Of course, the concessions did not satisfy the revolutionists, not even
the most moderate sections, and the net result was to intensify rather than
to diminish the flame.

On the 2d of August--10th, according to the old Russian calendar--the war
with Japan came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth.
Russia had experienced humiliating and disastrous defeat at the hands of a
nation far inferior in population and wealth, but infinitely superior in
military capacity and morale. The news of the conditions of peace
intensified the ardor and determination of the revolting Russian people
and, on the other hand, added to the already great weakness of the
government. September witnessed a great revival of revolutionary agitation,
and by the end of the month a fresh epidemic of strikes had broken out in
various parts of the country. By the middle of October the whole life of
Russia, civil, industrial, and commercial, was a chaos. In some of the
cities the greater part of the population had placed themselves in a state
of siege, under revolutionary leadership.

On the 17th of October--Russian style--the Czar issued the famous Manifesto
which acknowledged the victory of the people and the death of Absolutism.
After the usual amount of pietistic verbiage by way of introduction the
Manifesto said:

    We make it the duty of the government to execute our firm will:

    (1) To grant the people the unshakable foundations of civic
    freedom on the basis of real personal inviolability, freedom of
    conscience, of speech, of assemblage of unions.

    (2) To admit now to participation in the Imperial Duma, without
    stopping the pending elections and in so far as it is feasible in
    the short time remaining before the convening of the Duma, all the
    classes of the population, _leaving the farther development of the
    principle of universal suffrage to the new legislative order._

    (3) _To establish as an unshakable rule that no law can become
    binding without the consent of the Imperial Duma, and that the
    representatives of the people must be guaranteed a real
    participation in the control over the lawfulness of the
    authorities appointed by us_.

    We call upon all faithful sons of Russia to remember their duty to
    their fatherland, to aid in putting an end to the unprecedented
    disturbances, and to exert with us all their power to restore
    quiet and peace in our native land.


The Czar's Manifesto rang through the civilized world. In all lands it was
hailed as the end of despotism and the triumph of democracy and freedom.
The joy of the Russian people was unbounded. At last, after fourscore years
of heroic struggle and sacrifice by countless heroes, named and nameless,
the goal of freedom was attained. Men, women, and children sang in the
streets to express their joy. Red flags were displayed everywhere and
solemnly saluted by the officers and men of the Czar's army. But the
rejoicing was premature, as the events of a few hours clearly proved. With
that fatal vacillation which characterized his whole life, Nicholas II had
no sooner issued his Manifesto than he surrendered once more to the evil
forces by which he was surrounded and harked back to the old ways. The day
following the issuance of the Manifesto, while the people were still
rejoicing, there began a series of terrible pogroms. The cry went forth,
"Kill the Intellectuals and the Jews!"

There had been organized in support of the government, and by its agents,
bodies of so-called "patriots." These were, in the main, recruited from the
underworld, a very large number of them being criminals who were released
from the prison for the purpose. Officially known as the Association of
the Russian People and the Association to Combat the Revolution, these
organizations were popularly nicknamed the Black Hundreds. Most of the
members were paid directly by the government for their services, while
others were rewarded with petty official positions. The Czar himself
accepted membership in these infamous organizations of hired assassins.
Within three weeks after the issuance of the Manifesto more than a hundred
organized pogroms took place, the number of killed amounting to nearly four
thousand; the wounded to more than ten thousand, according to the most
competent authorities. In Odessa alone more than one thousand persons were
killed and many thousands wounded in a four-days' massacre. In all the
bloody pages of the history of the Romanovs there is nothing comparable to
the frightful terror of this period.

Naturally, this brutal vengeance and the deception which Nicholas II and
his advisers had practised upon the people had the immediate effect of
increasing the relative strength and prestige of the Socialists in the
revolutionary movement as against the less radical elements. To meet such
brutality and force only the most extreme measures were deemed adequate.
The Council of Workmen's Deputies, which had been organized by the
proletariat of St. Petersburg a few days before the Czar issued his
Manifesto, now became a great power, the central guiding power of the
Revolution. Similar bodies were organized in other great cities. The
example set by the city workers was followed by the peasants in many places
and Councils of Peasants' Deputies were organized. In a few cases large
numbers of soldiers, making common cause with these bodies representing the
working class, formed Councils of Soldiers' Deputies. Here, then, was a new
phenomenon; betrayed by the state, weary of the struggle to democratize
and liberalize the political state, the workers had established a sort of
revolutionary self-government of a new kind, entirely independent of the
state. We shall never comprehend the later developments in Russia,
especially the phenomenon of Bolshevism, unless we have a sympathetic
understanding of these Soviets--autonomous, non-political units of
working-class self-government, composed of delegates elected directly by
the workers.

As the revolutionary resistance to the Black Hundreds increased, and the
rapidly growing Soviets of workmen's, peasants' and soldiers' delegates
asserted a constantly increasing indifference to the existing political
state, the government again tried to stem the tide by making concessions.
On November 3d--new style--in a vain attempt to appease the incessant
demand for the release of the thousands of political prisoners, and to put
an end to the forcible release of such prisoners by infuriated mobs, a
partial amnesty was declared. On the 16th a sop was thrown to the peasants
in the shape of a decree abolishing all the remaining land-redemption
payments. Had this reform come sooner it might have had the effect of
stemming the tide of revolt among the peasants, but in the circumstances it
was of no avail. Early in December the press censorship was abolished by
decree, but that was of very little importance, for the radical press had
thrown off all its restraints, simply ignoring the censorship. The
government of Nicholas II was quite as helpless as it was tyrannical,
corrupt, and inefficient. The army and navy, demoralized by the defeat
suffered at the hands of Japan, and especially by knowledge of the
corruption in high places which made that defeat inevitable, were no longer
dependable. Tens of thousands of soldiers and marines had joined with the
workmen in the cities in open rebellion. Many more indulged themselves in
purposeless rioting.

The organization of the various councils of delegates representing
factory-workers and peasants, inevitable as it seemed to be, had one
disastrous effect, the seriousness of which cannot be overstated. As we
have seen, the cruel, blundering policy of the government had united all
classes against it in a revolutionary movement of unexampled magnitude.
Given the conditions prevailing in Russia, and especially the lack of
industrial development and the corresponding numerical weakness of the
industrial proletariat, it was evident that the only chance of success in
the Revolution lay in the united effort of all classes against the old
régime. Nothing could have better served the autocracy, and therefore
injured the revolutionary cause, than the creation of a division in the
ranks of the revolutionists.

This was exactly what the separate organizations of the working class
accomplished. All the provocative agents of the Czar could not have
contrived anything so serviceable to the reaction. _Divide et impera_ has
been the guiding principle of cunning despots in all ages, and the astutest
advisers of Nicholas II must have grinned with Satanic glee when they
realized how seriously the forces they were contending against were
dividing. Stupid oppression had driven into one united force the
wage-earning and wage-paying classes. Working-men and manufacturers made
common cause against that stupid oppression. Now, however, as the
inevitable result of the organization of the Soviets, and the predominance
of these in the Revolution, purely economic issues came to the front. In
proportion as the class struggle between employers and employed was
accentuated the common struggle against autocracy was minimized and
obscured. Numerous strikes for increased wages occurred, forcing the
employers to organize resistance. Workers in one city--St. Petersburg, for
example--demanded the immediate introduction of an eight-hour workday, and
proclaimed it to be in force, quite regardless of the fact that longer
hours prevailed elsewhere and that, given the competitive system, their
employers were bound to resist a demand that would be a handicap favoring
their competitors.

As might have been foreseen, the employers were forced to rely upon the
government, the very government they had denounced and conspired to
overthrow. The president of the Council of Workmen's Deputies of St.
Petersburg, Chrustalev-Nosar, in his _History of the Council of Workmen's
Deputies_, quotes the order adopted by acclamation on November 11th--new
style--introducing, from November 13th, an eight-hour workday in all shops
and factories "in a revolutionary way." By way of commentary, he quotes a
further order, adopted November 25, repealing the former order and

    The government, headed by Count Witte, _in its endeavor to break
    the vigor of the revolutionary proletariat, came to the support of
    capital_, thus turning the question of an eight-hour workday in
    St. Petersburg into a national problem. The consequence has been
    that the working-men of St. Petersburg are unable now, apart from
    the working-men of the entire country, to realize the decree of
    the Council. The Council of Workmen's Deputies, therefore, deems
    it necessary to _stop temporarily the immediate and general
    establishment of an eight-hour workday by force_.

The Councils inaugurated general strike after general strike. At first
these strikes were successful from a revolutionary point of view. Soon,
however, it became apparent that the general strike is a weapon which can
only be used effectively on rare occasions. It is impossible to rekindle
frequently and at will the sacrificial passion necessary to make a
successful general strike. This the leaders of the proletariat of Russia
overlooked. They overlooked, also, the fact that the masses of the workers
were exhausted by the long series of strikes in which they had engaged and
were on the verge of starvation. The consequence was that most of the later
strikes failed to accomplish anything like the ends sought.

Naturally, the government was recovering its confidence and its courage in
proportion to the class divisions and antagonisms of the opposition. It
once more suppressed the revolutionary press and prohibited meetings. Once
more it proclaimed martial law in many cities. With all its old-time
assurance it caused the arrest of the leaders of the unions of workmen and
peasants, broke up the organizations and imprisoned their officers. It
issued a decree which made it a crime to participate in strikes. With the
full sanction of the government, as was shown by the publication of
documentary evidence of unquestioned authenticity, the Black Hundreds
renewed their brutality. The strong Council of Workmen's Deputies of St.
Petersburg, with which Witte had dealt as though it were part of the
government itself, was broken up and suppressed. Witte wanted
constitutional government on the basis of the October Manifesto, but he
wanted the orderly development of Russian capitalism. In this attitude he
was supported, of course, by the capitalist organizations. The very men who
in the summer of 1905 had demanded that the government grant the demands of
the workers and so end the strikes, and who worked in unison with the
workers to secure the much-desired political freedom, six months later were
demanding that the government suppress the strikes and exert its force to
end disorder.

Recognition of these facts need not imply any lack of sympathy with the
proletariat in their demands. The class struggle in modern industrial
society is a fact, and there is abundant justification--the justification
of necessity and of achievement--for aggressive class consciousness and
class warfare. But it is quite obvious that there are times when class
interests and class warfare must be set aside in favor of larger social
interests. It is obviously dangerous and reactionary--and therefore
wrong--to insist upon strikes or other forms of class warfare in moments of
great calamity, as, for example, during disasters like the Johnstown flood
and the Messina earthquake, or amid the ravages of a pestilential plague.
Marx, to whom we owe the formulation of the theory of class struggle which
has guided the Socialist movement, would never have questioned this
important truth; he would never have supported class separatism under
conditions such as those prevailing in Russia at the end of 1905. Only
doctrinaires, slaves to formulæ, but blind to reality, could have
sanctioned such separatism. But doctrinaires always abound in times of

By December the government was stronger than it had been at any time since
the Revolution began. The zemstvos were no longer an active part of the
revolutionary movement. Indeed, there had come over these bodies a great
change, and most of them were now dominated by relatively reactionary
landowners who, hitherto apathetic and indifferent, had been stirred to
defensive action by the aggressive class warfare of the workers.
Practically all the bourgeois moderates had been driven to the more or less
open support of the government. December witnessed a new outburst in St.
Petersburg, Moscow, and other cities. Barricades were raised in the streets
in many places. In Moscow, where the most bitter and sanguinary struggles
took place, more than a thousand persons were killed. The government was
better prepared than the workers; the army had recovered no little of its
lost morale and did not refuse to shoot down the workers as it had done on
previous occasions. The strikes and insurrections were put down in bloody
vengeance and there followed a reign of brutal repression indescribably
horrible and savage. By way of protest and retaliation, there were
individual acts of terrorism, such as the execution of the Governor of
Tambov by Marie Spiridonova, but these were of little or no avail. The
First Revolution was drowned in blood and tears.




No struggle for human freedom was ever wholly vain. No matter how vast and
seemingly complete the failure, there is always something of enduring good
achieved. That is the law of progress, universal and immutable. The First
Russian Revolution conformed to the law; it had failed and died in a tragic
way, yet its failure was relative and it left something of substantial
achievement as the foundation for fresh hope, courage, and effort. Czarism
had gathered all its mighty black forces and seemed, at the beginning of
1906, to be stronger than at any time in fifty years. The souls of Russia's
noblest and best sons and daughters were steeped in bitter pessimism. And
yet there was reason for hope and rejoicing; out of the ruin and despair
two great and supremely vital facts stood in bold, challenging relief.

The first of these facts was the new aspect of Czarism, its changed status.
Absolutism as a legal institution was dead. Nothing that Nicholas II and
his advisers were able to do could undo the constitutional changes effected
when the imperial edict made it part of the fundamental law of the nation
that "no law can become binding without the consent of the Imperial Duma,"
and that the Duma, elected by the people, had the right to control the
actions of the officials of the government, even when such officials were
appointed by the Czar himself. Absolutism was illegal now. Attempts might
be made to reintroduce it, and, indeed, that was the real significance of
the policy pursued by the government, but Absolutism could no longer
possess the moral strength that inheres in the sanctity of law. In fighting
it the Russian people now had that strength upon their side.

The second vital and hopeful fact was likewise a moral force. Absolutism
with all its assumed divine prerogatives, in the person of the Czar, had
declared its firm will "to grant the people the unshakable foundations of
civic freedom on the basis of real personal inviolability, freedom of
conscience, of speech, of assemblage and of unions." This civic freedom
Absolutism had sanctioned. By that act it gave the prestige of legality to
such assemblages, discussions, and publications as had always hitherto been
forced to accept risks and disabilities inseparable from illegal conduct.
Civic freedom had long been outlawed, a thing associated with lawlessness
and crime, and so long as that condition remained many who believed in
civic freedom itself, who wanted a free press, freedom of public assemblage
and of conscience in matters pertaining to religion, were kept from
participation in the struggle. Respect for law, as law, is deeply rooted in
civilized mankind--a fact which, while it makes the task of the
revolutionist hard, and at times impedes progress, is, nevertheless, of
immense value to human society.

Civic freedom was not yet a fact. It seemed, as a reality, to be as far
away as ever. Meetings were forbidden by officials and broken up by
soldiers and police; newspapers were suppressed, as of old; labor-unions,
and even the unions of the Intellectuals, were ruthlessly persecuted and
treated as conspiracies against the state. All this and more was true and
discouraging. Yet there was substantial gain: civic freedom as a practical
fact did not exist, but civic freedom as a lawful right lived in the minds
of millions of people--the greatest fact in Russia. The terms of the
Manifesto of October 17th--Absolutism's solemn covenant with the
nation--had not been repealed, and the nation knew that the government did
not dare to repeal it. Not all the Czar's armies and Black Hundreds could
destroy that consciousness of the lawful right to civic freedom. Nothing
could restore the old condition. Whereas in the past the government, in
suppressing the press and popular assemblages, could say to the people, "We
uphold the law!" now when the government attempted these things, the people
defiantly cried out, "You break the law!" Absolutism was no longer a thing
of law.

Nicholas II and all his bureaucrats could not return the chicken to the egg
from which it had been hatched. They could not unsay the fateful words
which called into being the Imperial Duma. The Revolution had put into
their souls a terrible fear of the wrath of the people. The Czar and his
government had to permit the election of the Duma to proceed, and yet,
conscious of the fact that the success of the Duma inevitably meant the end
of the old régime, they were bound, in self-protection, to attempt to kill
the Duma in the hope that thereby they would kill, or at least paralyze,
the Revolution itself. Thus it was, while not daring to forbid the
elections for the Duma to proceed, the government adopted a Machiavellian

The essentials of that policy were these: on the one hand, the Duma was not
to be seriously considered at all, when it should assemble. It would be
ignored, if possible, and no attention paid to any of its deliberations or
attempts to legislate. A certain amount of latitude would be given to it
as a debating society, a sort of safety-valve, but that was all. If this
policy could not be carried out in its entirety, if, for example, it should
prove impossible to completely ignore the Duma, it would be easy enough to
devise a mass of hampering restrictions and regulations which would render
it impotent, and yet necessitate no formal repudiation of the October
Manifesto. On the other hand, there was the possibility that the Duma might
be captured and made a safe ally. The suffrage upon which the elections
were to be based was most undemocratic and unjust, giving to the landlords
and the prosperous peasants, together with the wealthy classes in the
cities, an enormous preponderance in the electorate. By using the Black
Hundreds to work among the electors--bribing, cajoling, threatening, and
coercing, as the occasion might require--it might be possible to bring
about the election of a Duma which would be a pliant and ready tool of the

One of the favorite devices of the Black Hundreds was to send agents among
the workers in the cities and among the peasants to discredit the Duma in
advance, and to spread the idea that it would only represent the
bourgeoisie. Many of the most influential Socialist leaders unfortunately
preached the same doctrine. This was the natural and logical outcome of the
separate action of the classes in the Revolution, and of the manner in
which the proletariat had forced the economic struggle to the front during
the political struggle. In the vanguard of the fight for the Duma were the
Constitutional Democrats, led by Miliukov, Prince Lvov, and many prominent
leaders of the zemstvos. The divorce between the classes represented by
these men and the proletariat represented by the Social Democrats was
absolute. It was not surprising that the leaders of the Social Democratic
party should be suspicious and distrustful of the Constitutional Democrats
and refuse to co-operate with them.

But many of the Social Democrats went much farther than this, and, in the
name of Socialism and proletarian class consciousness, adopted the same
attitude toward the Duma itself as that which the agents of the Black
Hundreds were urging upon the people. Among the Socialist leaders who took
this position was Vladimir Ulyanov, the great propagandist whom the world
knows to-day as Nikolai Lenine, Bolshevik Prime Minister and Dictator.
Lenine urged the workers to boycott the Duma and to refuse to participate
in the elections in any manner whatever. At a time when only a united
effort by all classes could be expected to accomplish anything, and when
such a victory of the people over the autocratic régime as might have been
secured by united action would have meant the triumph of the Revolution,
Lenine preached separatism. Unfortunately, his influence, even at that
time, was very great and his counsels prevailed with a great many Socialist
groups over the wiser counsels of Plechanov and others.

It may be said, in explanation and extenuation of Lenine's course, that the
boycotting of the elections was the logical outcome of the class antagonism
and separatism, and that the bourgeois leaders were just as much
responsible for the separatism as the leaders of the proletariat were. All
this is true. It is quite true to say that wiser leadership of the
manufacturing class in the critical days of 1905 would have made
concessions and granted many of the demands of the striking workmen. By so
doing they might have maintained unity in the political struggle. But, even
if so much be granted, it is poor justification and defense of a Socialist
policy to say that it was neither better nor worse, neither more stupid nor
more wise, than that of the bourgeoisie! In the circumstances, Lenine's
policy was most disastrous for Russia. It is not necessary to believe the
charge that was made at the time and afterward that Lenine was in the pay
of the government and a tool of the Black Hundreds. Subsequent incidents
served to fasten grave suspicion upon him, but no one ever offered proof of
corruption. In all probability, he was then, and throughout the later
years, honest and sincere--a fanatic, often playing a dangerous game,
unmoral rather than immoral, believing that the end he sought justified any


When the elections for the Duma were held, in March, 1906, the failure of
the government's attempt to capture the body was complete. It was
overwhelmingly a progressive parliament that had been elected. The
Constitutional Democrats, upon a radical program, had elected the largest
number of members, 178. Next came the representatives of the peasants'
organizations, with a program of moderate Socialism, numbering 116. This
group became known in the Duma as the Labor Group. A third group consisted
of 63 representatives of border provinces, mostly advanced Liberals, called
Autonomists, on account of their special interest in questions concerning
local autonomy. There were only 28 avowed supporters of the government.
Finally, despite the Socialist boycott of the elections, there were almost
as many Socialists elected as there were supporters of the government.

Once more Russia had spoken for democracy in no uncertain voice. And once
more Czarism committed the incredible folly of attempting to stem the tide
of democracy by erecting further measures of autocracy as a dam. Shortly
before the time came for the assembling of the newly elected Duma, the
Czar's government announced new fundamental laws which limited the powers
of the Duma and practically reduced it to a farce. In the first place, the
Imperial Council was to be reconstituted and set over the Duma as an upper
chamber, or Senate, having equal rights with the Duma. Half of the members
of the Imperial Council were to be appointed by the Czar and the other half
elected from universities, zemstvos, bourses, and by the clergy and the
nobility. In other words, over the Duma was to be set a body which could
always be so manipulated as to insure the defeat of any measure displeasing
to the old régime. And the Czar reserved to himself the power to summon or
dissolve the Duma at will, as well as the power to declare war and to make
peace and to enter into treaties with other nations. What a farce was this
considered as a fulfilment of the solemn assurances given in October, 1905!

But the reactionary madness went even farther; believing the revolutionary
movement to have been crushed to such a degree that it might act with
impunity, autocracy took other measures. Three days before the assembling
of the Duma the Czar replaced his old Ministry by one still more
reactionary. At the head of the Cabinet, as Prime Minister, he appointed
the notorious reactionary bureaucrat, Goremykin. With full regard for the
bloody traditions of the office, the infamous Stolypin, former Governor of
Saratov, was made Minister of the Interior. At the head of the Department
of Agriculture, which was charged with responsibility for dealing with
agrarian problems, was placed Stishinsky, a large landowner, bitterly
hostile to, and hated by, the peasants. The composition of the new Ministry
was a defiance of the popular will and sentiment, and was so interpreted.

The Duma opened on April 27th, at the Taurida Palace. St. Petersburg was a
vast armed camp that day. Tens of thousands of soldiers, fully armed, were
massed at different points in readiness to suppress any demonstrations by
the populace. It was said that provocateurs moved among the people, trying
to stir an uprising which would afford a pretext for action by the
soldiers. The members of the Duma were first received by the Czar at the
Winter Palace and addressed by him in a pompous speech which carefully
avoided all the vital questions in which the Russian people were so keenly
interested. It was a speech which might as well have been made by the first
Czar Nicholas. But there was no need of words to tell what was in the mind
of Nicholas II; that had been made quite evident by the new laws and the
new Ministry. Before the Duma lay the heavy task of continuing the
Revolution, despite the fact that the revolutionary army had been scattered
as chaff is scattered before the winds.

The first formal act of the Duma, after the opening ceremonies were
finished, was to demand amnesty for all the political prisoners. The
members of the Duma had come to the Taurida Palace that day through streets
crowded with people who chanted in monotonous chorus the word "Amnesty."
The oldest man in the assembly, I.I. Petrunkevitch, was cheered again and
again as he voiced the popular demand on behalf of "those who have
sacrificed their freedom to free our dear fatherland." There were some
seventy-five thousand political prisoners in Russia at that time, the
flower of Russian manhood and womanhood, treated as common criminals and,
in many instances, subject to terrible torture. Well might Petrunkevitch
proclaim: "All the prisons of our country are full. Thousands of hands are
being stretched out to us in hope and supplication, and I think that the
duty of our conscience compels us to use all the influence our position
gives us to see that the freedom that Russia has won costs no more
sacrifices ... I think, gentlemen ... we cannot refrain just now from
expressing our deepest feelings, the cry of our heart--that free Russia
demands the liberation of all prisoners." At the end of the eloquent appeal
there was an answering cry of: "Amnesty!" "Amnesty!" The chorus of the
streets was echoed in the Duma itself.

There was no lack of courage in the Duma. One of its first acts was the
adoption of an address in response to the speech delivered by the Czar to
the members at the reception at the Winter Palace. The address was in
reality a statement of the objects and needs of the Russian people, their
program. It was a radical document, but moderately couched. It demanded
full political freedom; amnesty for all who had been imprisoned for
political reasons or for violations of laws in restriction of religious
liberty; the abolition of martial law and other extraordinary measures;
abolition of capital punishment; the abolition of the Imperial Council and
democratization of the laws governing elections to the Duma; autonomy for
Finland and Poland; the expropriation of state and private lands in the
interest of the peasants; a comprehensive body of social legislation
designed to protect the industrial workers. In a word, the program of the
Duma was a broad and comprehensive program of political and social
democracy, which, if enacted, would have placed Russia among the foremost
democracies of the world.

The boldness of the Duma program was a direct challenge to the government
and was so interpreted by the Czar and his Ministers. By the reactionary
press it was denounced as a conspiracy to hand the nation over to the
Socialists. That it should have passed the Duma almost unanimously was an
indication of the extent to which the liberal bourgeoisie represented by
the Constitutional Democrats was prepared to go in order to destroy
autocracy. No wonder that some of the most trusted Marxian Socialists in
Russia were urging that it was the duty of the Socialists to co-operate
with the Duma! Yet there was a section of the Marxists engaged in a
constant agitation against the Duma, preaching the doctrine of the class
struggle, but blind to the actual fact that the dominant issue was in the
conflict between the democracy of the Duma and the autocracy of Czarism.

The class consciousness of the old régime was much clearer and more
intelligent. The Czar refused to receive the committee of the Duma,
appointed to make formal presentation of the address. Then, on May 12th,
Goremykin, the Prime Minister, addressed the Duma, making answer to its
demands. On behalf of the government he rebuked the Duma for its
unpatriotic conduct in a speech full of studied insult and contemptuous
defiance. He made it quite clear that the government was not going to grant
any reforms worthy of mention. More than that, he made it plain to the
entire nation that Nicholas II and his bureaucracy would never recognize
the Duma as an independent parliamentary body. Thus the old régime answered
the challenge of the Duma.

For seventy-two days the Duma worked and fought, seventy-two days of
parliamentary history for which there is no parallel in the annals of
parliamentary government. For the sake of the larger aims before it, the
Duma carried out the demands of the government that it approve certain
petty measures placed before it for the formality of its approval. On the
other hand, it formulated and passed numerous measures upon its own
initiative and demanded that they be recognized as laws of the land. Among
the measures thus adopted were laws guaranteeing freedom of assemblage;
equality of all citizens before the law; the right of labor organizations
to exist and to conduct strikes; reform of judicial procedure in the
courts; state aid for peasants suffering from crop failure and other
agrarian reforms; the abolition of capital punishment. In addition to
pursuing its legislative program, the Duma members voiced the country's
protest against the shortcomings of the government, subjecting the various
Ministers to searching interpellation, day after day.

Not a single one of the measures adopted by the Duma received the support
of the Imperial Council. This body was effectively performing the task for
which it had been created. To the interpellations of the Duma the Czar's
Ministers made the most insulting replies, when they happened to take any
notice of them at all. All the old iniquities were resorted to by the
government, supported, as always, by the reactionary press. The homes of
members of the Duma were entered and searched by the police and every
parliamentary right and privilege was flouted. Even the publication of the
speeches delivered in the Duma was forbidden.

The Duma had from the first maintained a vigorous protest against "the
infamy of executions without trial, pogroms, bombardment, and
imprisonment." Again and again it had been charged that pogroms were
carried out under the protection of the government, in accordance with the
old policy of killing the Jews and the Intellectuals. The answer of the
government was--another pogrom of merciless savagery. On June 1st, at
Byalostock, upward of eighty men, women, and children were killed, many
more wounded, and scores of women, young and old, brutally outraged. The
Duma promptly sent a commission to Byalostock to investigate and report
upon the facts, and presently the commission made a report which proved
beyond question the responsibility of the government for the whole brutal
and bloody business. It was shown that the inflammatory manifestos calling
upon the "loyal" citizens to make the attack were printed in the office of
the Police Department; that soldiers in the garrison had been told days in
advance when the pogrom would take place; and that in the looting and
sacking of houses and shops, which occurred upon a large scale, officers of
the garrison had participated. These revelations made a profound impression
in Russia and throughout Europe.


The Duma finally brought upon itself the whole weight of Czarism when it
addressed a special appeal to the peasants of the country in which it dealt
with candor and sincerity with the great agrarian problems which bore upon
the peasants so heavily. The appeal outlined the various measures which the
Duma had tried to enact for the relief of the peasants, and the attitude of
the Czar's Ministers. The many strong peasants' organizations, and their
numerous representatives in the Duma, made the circulation of this appeal
an easy matter. The government could not close these channels of
communication, nor prevent the Duma's strong plea for lawful rights and
against lawlessness by government officials from reaching the peasants.
Only one method of defense remained to the Czar and his Ministers: On July
9th, like a thunderbolt from the sky, came a new Manifesto from the Czar,
dissolving the Duma. In the Manifesto all the old arrogance of Absolutism
reappeared. A more striking contrast to the Manifesto of the previous
October could not be readily imagined. The Duma was accused of having
exceeded its rights by "investigating the actions of local authorities
appointed by the Emperor," notwithstanding the fact that in the October
Manifesto it had been solemnly covenanted "that the representatives of the
people must be guaranteed a real participation in the control over the
lawfulness of the authorities appointed by us." The Duma was condemned for
"finding imperfections in the fundamental laws which can be altered only by
the monarch's will" and for its "overtly lawless act of appealing to the
people." The Manifesto charged that the growing unrest and lawlessness of
the peasants were due to the failure of the Duma to ameliorate their
conditions--and this in spite of the record!

When the members of the Duma arrived at the Taurida Palace next day they
found the place filled with troops who prevented their entrance. They were
powerless. Some two hundred-odd members adjourned to Viborg, whence they
issued an appeal to the people to defend their rights. These men were not
Socialists, most of them belonging to the party of the Constitutional
Democrats, but they issued an appeal to the people to meet the dissolution
of the Imperial Duma by a firm refusal to pay taxes, furnish recruits for
the army, or sanction the legality of any loans to the government. This was
practically identical with the policy set forth in the Manifesto of the
Executive Committee of the St. Petersburg Council of Workmen's Deputies at
the beginning of the previous December, before the elections to the Duma.
Now, however, the Socialists in the Duma--both the Social Democrats and the
Socialist-Revolutionists--together with the semi-Socialist Labor Group,
decided that it was not enough to appeal for passive resistance; that only
an armed uprising could accomplish anything. They therefore appealed to
the city proletariat, the peasants, the army, and the navy to rise in armed
strength against the tyrannical régime.

Neither appeal produced any noteworthy result. The response to the Viborg
appeal was far less than that which followed the similar appeal of the St.
Petersburg workmen in December. The signers of the appeal were arrested,
sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and deprived of their electoral
rights. To the appeal of the Duma Socialists there was likewise very little
response, either from city workers, peasants, soldiers, or marines. Russia
was struggle-weary. The appeals fell upon the ears of a cowed and beaten
populace. The two documents served only to emphasize one fact, namely, that
capacity and daring to attempt active and violent resistance was still
largely confined to the working-class representatives. In appealing to the
workers to meet the attacks of the government with armed resistance, the
leaders of the peasants and the city proletariat were ready to take their
places in the vanguard of the fight. On the other hand, the signers of the
Viborg appeal for passive resistance manifested no such determination or
desire, though they must have known that passive resistance could only be a
temporary phase, that any concerted action by the people to resist the
collection of taxes and recruiting for the army would have led to attack
and counter-attack-to a violent revolution.

Feeling perfectly secure, the government, while promising the election of
another Duma, carried on a policy of vigorous repression of all radical and
revolutionary agitation and organization. Executions without trial were
almost daily commonplaces. Prisoners were mercilessly tortured, and, in
many cases, flogged to death. Hundreds of persons, of both sexes, many of
them simple bourgeois-liberals and not revolutionists in any sense of the
word, were exiled to Siberia. The revolutionary organizations of the
workers were filled with spies and provocateurs, an old and effective
method of destroying their morale. In all the provinces of Russia field
court martial was proclaimed. Field court martial is more drastic than
ordinary court martial and practically amounts to condemnation without
trial, for trials under it are simply farcical, since neither defense nor
appeal is granted. Nearly five hundred revolutionists were put to death
under this system, many of them without even the pretense of a trial.

The Black Hundreds were more active than ever, goaded on by the Holy Synod.
Goremykin resigned as Premier and his place was taken by the unspeakably
cruel and bloodthirsty Stolypin, whose "hemp neckties," as the grim jest of
the masses went, circled the necks of scores of revolutionists swinging
from as many gallows. There were many resorts to terrorism on the part of
the revolutionists during the summer of 1906, many officials paying for the
infamies of the government with their lives. How many of these "executions"
were genuine revolutionary protests, and how many simple murders instigated
or committed by provocative agents for the purpose of discrediting the
revolutionists and affording the government excuses for fresh infamies,
will perhaps never be known. Certainly, in many cases, there was no
authorization by any revolutionary body.

In February, 1907, the elections for the Second Duma were held under a
reign of terror. The bureaucracy was determined to have a "safe and sane"
body this time, and resorted to every possible nefarious device to attain
that end. Whole masses of electors whose right to vote had been established
at the previous election were arbitrarily disfranchised. While every
facility was given to candidates openly favoring the government, including
the Octobrists, every possible obstacle was placed in the way of radical
candidates, especially Socialists. The meetings of the latter were, in
hundreds of cases, prohibited; in other hundreds of cases they were broken
up by the Black Hundreds and the police. Many of the most popular
candidates were arrested and imprisoned without trial, as were members of
their campaign committees. Yet, notwithstanding all these things, the
Second Duma was, from the standpoint of the government, worse than the
first. The Socialists, adopting the tactics of Plechanov, against the
advice of Lenine, his former pupil and disciple, had decided not to boycott
the elections this time, but to participate in them. When the returns were
published it was found that the Social Democrats and the
Socialist-Revolutionists had each elected over sixty deputies, the total
being nearly a third of the membership--455. In addition there were some
ninety members in the peasants' Labor Group, which were semi-Socialist.
There were 117 Constitutional Democrats. The government supporters,
including the Octobrists, numbered less than one hundred.

From the first the attitude of the government toward the new Duma was one
of contemptuous arrogance. "The Czar's Hangman," Stolypin, lectured the
members as though they were naughty children, forbidding them to invite
experts to aid them in framing measures, or to communicate with any of the
zemstvos or municipal councils upon any questions whatsoever. "The Duma was
not granted the right to express disapproval, reproach, or mistrust of the
government," he thundered. To the Duma there was left about as much real
power as is enjoyed by the "governments" of our "juvenile republics."

As a natural consequence of these things, the Second Duma paid less
attention to legislation than the First Duma had done, and gave its time
largely to interpellations and protests. Partly because of the absence of
some of the most able leaders they had had in the First Duma, and partly to
the aggressive radicalism of the Socialists, which they could only
half-heartedly approve at best, the Constitutional Democrats were less
influential than in the former parliament. They occupied a middle
ground--always a difficult position. The real fight was between the
Socialists and the reactionaries, supporters of the government. Among the
latter were perhaps a score of members belonging to the Black Hundreds,
constituting the extreme right wing of the reactionary group. Between these
and the Socialists of the extreme left the assembly was kept at fever
pitch. The Black Hundreds, for the most part, indulged in violent tirades
of abuse, often in the most disgusting profanity. The Socialists replied
with proletarian passion and vigor, and riotous scenes were common. The
Second Duma was hardly a deliberative assembly!

On June 1st Stolypin threw a bombshell into the Duma by accusing the Social
Democrats of having conspired to form a military plot for the overthrow of
the government of Nicholas II. Evidence to this effect had been furnished
to the Police Department by the spy and provocative agent, Azev. Of course
there was no secret about the fact that the Social Democrats were always
trying to bring about revolt in the army and the navy. They had openly
proclaimed this, time and again. In the appeal issued at the time of the
dissolution of the First Duma they had called upon the army and navy to
rise in armed revolt. But the betrayal of their plans was a matter of some
consequence. Azev himself had been loudest and most persistent in urging
the work on. Stolypin demanded that all the Social Democrats be excluded
permanently from the Duma and that sixteen of them be handed over to the
government for imprisonment. The demand was a challenge to the whole Duma,
since it called into question the right of the Duma to determine its own
membership. Obviously, if members of parliament are to be dismissed
whenever an autocratic government orders it, there is an end of
parliamentary government. The demand created a tremendous sensation and
gave rise to a long and exciting debate. Before it was ended, however,
Nicholas II ordered the Duma dissolved. On June 3d the Second Duma met the
fate of its predecessor, having lasted one hundred days.


As on the former occasion, arrangements were at once begun to bring about
the election of another and more subservient Duma. It is significant that
throughout Nicholas II and his Cabinet recognized the imperative necessity
of maintaining the institution in form. They dared not abolish it, greatly
as they would have liked to do so. On the day that the Duma was dissolved
the Czar, asserting his divine right to enact and repeal laws at will,
disregarding again the solemn assurances of the October Manifesto, by edict
changed the electoral laws, consulting neither the Duma nor the Imperial
Council. This new law greatly decreased the representation of the city
workers and the peasants in the Duma and correspondingly increased the
representation of the rich landowners and capitalists. A docile and "loyal"
Duma was thus made certain, and no one was very much surprised when the
elections, held in September, resulted in an immense reactionary majority.
When the Third Duma met on December 14, 1907, the reactionaries were as
strong as the Socialist and Labor groups had been in the previous Duma,
and of the reactionaries the group of members of the Black Hundreds was a

In the mean time there had been the familiar rule of brutal reaction. Most
of the Social Democratic members of the Second Duma were arrested and
condemned for high treason, being sent to prison and to Siberia. New laws
and regulations restricting the press were proclaimed and enforced with
increasing severity. By comparison with the next two years, the period from
1905 to 1907 was a period of freedom. After the election of the Third Duma
the bureaucracy grew ever bolder. Books and leaflets which had been
circulated openly and with perfect freedom during 1905 and 1906 were
forbidden, and, moreover, their authors were arrested and sentenced to long
terms of imprisonment. While the law still granted freedom of assemblage
and the right to organize meetings, these rights did not exist as
realities. Everywhere the Black Hundreds held sway, patronized by the Czar,
who wore their emblem and refused to permit the punishment of any of their
members, even though they might be found guilty by the courts.

It is not necessary to dwell upon the work of the Third Duma. This is not a
history of Russia, and a detailed study of the servile parliament of
Nicholas II and Stolypin would take us too far afield from our special
study--the revolutionary movement. Suffice it, therefore, to say that some
very useful legislation, necessary to the economic development of Russia,
was enacted, and that, despite the overwhelming preponderance of
reactionaries, it was not an absolutely docile body. On several occasions
the Third Duma exercised the right of criticism quite vigorously, and on
two or three occasions acted in more or less open defiance of the wishes of
the government. A notable instance of this was the legislation of 1909,
considerably extending freedom of religious organization and worship, which
was, however, greatly curtailed later by the Imperial Council--and then
nullified by the government.

The period 1906-14 was full of despair for sensitive and aspiring souls.
The steady and rapid rise in the suicide-rate bore grim and eloquent
testimony to the character of those years of dark repression. The number of
suicides in St. Petersburg increased during the period 1905-08 more than
400 per cent.; in Moscow about 800 per cent.! In the latter city two-fifths
of the suicides in 1908 were of persons less than twenty years old! And
yet, withal, there was room for hope, the soul of progress was not dead. In
various directions there was a hopeful and promising growth. First among
these hopeful and promising facts was the marvelous growth of the
Consumers' Co-operatives. After 1905 began the astonishing increase in the
number of these important organizations, which continued, year after year,
right up to the Revolution of 1917. In 1905 there were 4,479 such
co-operatives in Russia; in 1911 there were 19,253. Another hopeful sign
was the steadily increasing literacy of the masses. Statistics upon this
point are almost worthless. Russian official statistics are notoriously
defective and the figures relating to literacy are peculiarly so, but the
leaders of Russian Socialism have attested to the fact. In this connection
it is worthy of note that, according to the most authentic official
records, the number of persons subscribing to the public press grew in a
single year, from 1908 to 1909, fully 25 per cent. Education and
organization were going on, hand in hand.

Nor was agitation dead. In the Duma the Socialist and Labor parties and
groups, knowing that they had no chance to enact their program, made the
Duma a rostrum from which to address the masses throughout the nation.
Sometimes, indeed, the newspapers were forbidden to print their speeches,
but as a rule they were published, at least by the liberal papers, and so
disseminated among the masses. In these speeches the Social Democrats,
Socialist-Revolutionaries, Laborites, and more daring of the Constitutional
Democrats mercilessly exposed the bureaucracy, so keeping the fires of
discontent alive.


Of vast significance to mankind was the controversy that was being waged
within the Socialist movement of Russia during these years, for this was
the period in which Bolshevism was shaping itself and becoming articulate.
The words "Bolsheviki" and "Bolshevism" first made their appearance in
1903, but it was not until 1905 that they began to acquire their present
meaning. At the second convention of the Social Democratic party, held in
1903, the party split in two factions. The majority faction, headed by
Lenine, adopted the name Bolsheviki, a word derived from the Russian word
"bolshinstvo," meaning "majority." The minority faction, which followed
Plechanov, though he did not formally join it, was called, in
contradistinction, the "Mensheviki"--that is, the minority. No question of
principle was involved in the split, the question at issue being simply
whether there should be more or less centralization in the organization.
There was no thought on either side of leaving the Social Democratic party.
It was simply a factional division in the party itself and did not prevent
loyal co-operation. Both the Bolsheviki and the Mensheviki remained Social
Democrats--that is, Socialists of the school of Marx.

During the revolutionary struggle of 1905-06 the breach between the two
factions was greatly widened. The two groups held utterly irreconcilable
conceptions of Socialist policy, if not of Socialism as an ideal. The
psychology of the two groups was radically different. By this time the
Lenine faction was no longer the majority, being, in fact, a rather small
minority in the party. The Plechanov faction was greatly in the majority.
But the old names continued to be used. Although a minority, the Lenine
faction was still called the Bolsheviki, and the Plechanov faction called
the Mensheviki, despite the fact that it was the majority. Thus Bolshevism
no longer connoted the principles and tactics of the majority. It came to
be used interchangeably with Leninism, as a synonym. The followers of
Vladimir Ulyanov continued to regard themselves as part of the Social
Democratic party, its radical left wing, and it was not until after the
Second Revolution, in 1917, that they manifested any desire to be
differentiated from the Social Democrats.

Vladimir Ulyanov was born in 1870, at Simbirsk, in central Russia. There is
no mystery about his use of the alias, Nikolai Lenine, which he has made
world-famous and by which he chooses to be known. Almost every Russian
revolutionist has had to adopt various aliases for self-protection and for
the protection of other Russian Socialists. Ulyanov has followed the rule
and lived and worked under several aliases, and his writings under the name
"Nikolai Lenine" made him a great power in the Russian Socialist movement.

Lenine's father was a governmental official employed in the Department of
Public Instruction. It is one of the many anomalies of the life of the
Russian Dictator that he himself belongs by birth, training, culture, and
experience to the bourgeoisie against which he fulminates so furiously.
Even his habits and tastes are of bourgeois and not proletarian origin. He
is an Intellectual of the Intellectuals and has never had the slightest
proletarian experience. As a youth still in his teens he entered the
University of St. Petersburg, but his stay there was exceedingly brief,
owing to a tragedy which greatly embittered his life and gave it its
direction. An older brother, who was also a student in the university, was
condemned to death, in a secret trial, for complicity in a terrorist plot
to assassinate Alexander III. Shortly afterward he was put to death. Lenine
himself was arrested at the same time as his brother, but released for lack
of evidence connecting him with the affair. It is said, however, that the
arrest caused his expulsion from the university. Lenine was not the only
young man to be profoundly impressed by the execution of the youthful
Alexander Ulyanov; another student, destined to play an important rôle in
the great tragedy of revolutionary Russia, was stirred to bitter hatred of
the system. That young student was Alexander Kerensky, whose father and the
father of the Ulyanovs were close friends.

Lenine's activities brought him into conflict with the authorities several
times and forced him to spend a good deal of time in exile. As a youth of
seventeen, at the time of the execution of his brother, he was dismissed
from the Law School in St. Petersburg. A few years later he was sent to
Siberia for a political "crime." Upon various occasions later he was
compelled to flee from the country, living sometimes in Paris, sometimes in
London, but more often in Switzerland. It was through his writings mainly
that he acquired the influence he had in the Russian movement. There is
nothing unusual or remarkable about this, for the Social Democratic party
of Russia was practically directed from Geneva. Lenine was in London when
the Revolution of 1905 broke out and caused him to hurry to St. Petersburg.

As a young man Lenine, like most of the Intelligentsia of the period, gave
up a good deal of his spare time to teaching small groups of uneducated
working-men the somewhat abstract and intricate theories and doctrines of
Socialism. To that excellent practice, no doubt, much of Lenine's skill as
a lucid expositor and successful propagandist is due. He has written a
number of important works, most of them being of a polemical nature and
dealing with party disputations upon questions of theory and tactics. The
work by which he was best known in Socialist circles prior to his
sensational rise to the Premiership is a treatise on _The Development of
Capitalism in Russia_. This work made its appearance in 1899, when the
Marxian Socialist movement was still very weak. In it Lenine defended the
position of the Marxians, Plechanov and his group, that Russia was not an
exception to the general law of capitalist development, as was claimed by
the leaders of the People's party, the _Narodniki_. The book gave Lenine an
assured position among the intellectual leaders of the movement, and was
regarded as a conclusive defense of the position of the Plechanov group, to
which Lenine belonged. Since his overthrow of the Kerensky régime, and his
attempt to establish a new kind of social state in Russia, Lenine has been
frequently confronted by his own earlier reasoning by those who believe his
position to be contrary to the true Marxian position.

From 1903 to 1906 Lenine's views developed farther and farther away from
those of his great teacher, George Plechanov. His position in the period of
the First Duma can best be stated, perhaps, in opposition to the position
of Plechanov and the Mensheviki. Accepting the Marxian theory of historical
development, Plechanov and his followers believed that Russia must pass
through a phase of capitalist development before there could be a
social--as distinguished from a merely political--revolution. Certainly
they believed, an intensive development of industry, bringing into
existence a strong capitalist class, on the one hand, and a strong
proletariat, on the other hand, must precede any attempt to create a Social
Democratic state. They believed, furthermore, that a political revolution,
creating a democratic constitutional system of government, must come before
the social revolution could be achieved. They accepted the traditional
Marxian view that the achievement of this political revolution must be
mainly the task of the bourgeoisie, and that the proletariat, and
especially the Socialists, should co-operate with the enlightened
bourgeoisie in attaining that political revolution without which there
could never be a Socialist commonwealth.

Plechanov was not blind to the dangers of compromise which must be faced in
basing the policy of a movement of the masses upon this reasoning. He
argued, however, that there was no choice in the matter at all; that the
iron law of historical inevitability and necessity determined the matter.
He pointed out that the bourgeoisie, represented by the Constitutional
Democrats in the political struggle, were compelled to wage relentless war
upon Absolutism, the abolition of which was as absolutely essential to the
realization of their class aims as it was to the realization of the class
aims of the proletariat. Hence, in this struggle, the capitalist class, as
yet too weak to accomplish the overthrow of autocracy and Czarism, and the
proletariat, equally dependent for success upon the overthrow of autocracy
and Czarism, and equally too weak to accomplish it unaided, had to face the
fact that historical development had given the two classes which were
destined to wage a long conflict an immediate unity of interest. Their
imperative needs at the moment were not conflicting needs, but identical
ones. To divide their forces, to refuse to co-operate with each other, was
to play the game of the Czar and his associates, argued Plechanov.

The Mensheviki favored participation in the Duma elections and co-operation
with the liberal and radical bourgeoisie parties, in so far as might be
necessary to overthrow the autocracy, and without sacrificing Socialist
principles. They pointed out that this position was evidently feared by the
bureaucracy far more than the position of the extremists among the Social
Democrats and the Socialist-Revolutionists, who refused to consider such
co-operation, and pointed to the fact that provocateurs in large numbers
associated themselves with the latter in their organizations and preached
the same doctrine of absolute isolation and exclusiveness.

It will be seen that the position of the Mensheviki was one of practical
political opportunism, an opportunism, however, that must be sharply
distinguished from what Wilhelm Liebknecht used to call "political
cow-trading." No man in the whole history of international Socialism ever
more thoroughly despised this species of political opportunism than George
Plechanov. To those who are familiar with the literature of international
Socialism it will be unnecessary to say that Plechanov was not the man to
deprecate the importance of sound theory as a guide to the formulation of
party policies. For many years he was rightly regarded as one of the
greatest theoreticians of the movement. Certainly there was only one other
writer in the whole international movement who could be named as having an
equal title to be considered the greatest Socialist theorist since
Marx--Karl Kautsky.

But Plechanov[1]--like Marx himself--set reality above dogma, and regarded
movement as of infinitely greater importance than theory. The Mensheviki
wanted to convene a great mass convention of representatives of the
industrial proletariat during the summer of 1906. "It is a class movement,"
they said, "not a little sectarian movement. How can there be a _class_
movement unless the way is open to all the working class to participate?"
Accordingly, they wanted a convention to which all the factory-workers
would be invited to send representatives. There should be no doctrinal
tests, the sole qualification being membership in the working class. It did
not matter to the advocates of this policy whether a man belonged to the
Social Democratic party or to any party; whether he called himself a
revolutionist or anything else. It was, they said, a movement of the
working class, not the movement of a sect within the working class.

They knew, of course, that in such a great mass movement there would
probably be some theoretical confusion, more or less muddled thinking. They
recognized, too, that in the great mass convention they proposed some
Social Democratic formulations might be rejected and some others adopted
which did not accord with the Marxian doctrines. But, quoting Marx to the
effect that "One step of real movement is worth a thousand programs," they
contended that if there was anything at all in the Marxian theory of
progress through class struggles, and the historic rule of the working
class, it must follow that, while they might make mistakes and go
temporarily astray, the workers could not go far wrong, their class
interests being a surer guide than any amount of intellectualism could

Lenine and his friends, the Bolsheviki, bitterly opposed all this reasoning
and took a diametrically opposite position upon every one of the questions
involved. They absolutely opposed any sort of co-operation with bourgeois
parties of any kind, for any purpose whatever. No matter how progressive a
particular bourgeois party might be, nor how important the reform aimed at,
they believed that Social Democrats should remain in "splendid isolation,"
refusing to make any distinction between more liberal and less liberal,
progressive and reactionary, groups in the bourgeoisie. Trotzky, who did
not at first formally join the Bolsheviki, but was a true Bolshevik in his
intellectual convictions and sympathies, fully shared this view.

Now, Lenine and Trotzky were dogmatic Marxists, and as such they could not
deny the contention that capitalism must attain a certain development
before Socialism could be attained in Russia. Nor could they deny that
Absolutism was an obstacle to the development both of capitalist industry
and of Socialism. They contended, however, that the peculiar conditions in
Russia, resulting from the retardation of her economic development for so
long, made it both possible and necessary to create a revolutionary
movement which would, at one and the same time, overthrow both autocracy
and capitalism. Necessarily, therefore, their warfare must be directed
equally against autocracy and all political parties of the landlord and
capitalist classes. They were guided throughout by this fundamental
conviction. The policy of absolute and unqualified isolation in the Duma,
which they insisted the Social Democrats ought to pursue, was based upon
that conviction.


All this is quite clear and easily intelligible. Granted the premise, the
logic is admirable. It is not so easy, however, to see why, even granting
the soundness of their opposition to _co-operation_ with bourgeois parties
and groups in the Duma, there should be no political _competition_ with
them--which would seem to be logically implied in the boycott of the Duma
elections. Non-participation in the elections, consistently pursued as a
proletarian policy, would leave the proletariat unrepresented in the
legislative body, without one representative to fight its battles on what
the world universally regards as one of the most important battle-fields of
civilization. And yet, here, too, they were entirely logical and
consistent--they did not believe in parliamentary government. As yet, they
were not disposed to emphasize this overmuch, not, apparently, because of
any lack of candor and good faith, but rather because the substitute for
parliamentary government had not sufficiently shaped itself in their minds.
The desire not to be confused with the Anarchists was another reason.
Because the Bolsheviki and the Anarchists both oppose parliamentary
government and the political state, it has been concluded by many writers
on the subject that Bolshevism is simply Anarchism in another guise. This
is a mistake. Bolshevism is quite different from and opposed to Anarchism.
It requires strongly centralized government, which Anarchism abhors.

Parliamentary government cannot exist except upon the basis of the will of
the majority. Whoever enters into the parliamentary struggle, therefore,
must hope and aim to convert the majority. Back of that hope and aim must
be faith in the intellectual and moral capacity of the majority. At the
foundation of Bolshevist theory and practice lies the important fact that
there is no such faith, and, consequently, neither the hope nor the aim to
convert the majority and with its strength make the Revolution. Out of the
adult population of Russia at that time approximately 85 per cent. were
peasants and less than 5 per cent. belonged to the industrial proletariat.
At that time something like 70 per cent. of the people were illiterate.
Even in St. Petersburg--where the standard of literacy was higher than in
any other city--not more than 55 per cent. of the people could sign their
own names in 1905, according to the most authentic government reports. When
we contemplate such facts as these can we wonder that impatient
revolutionaries should shrink from attempting the task of converting a
majority of the population to an intelligent acceptance of Socialism?

There was another reason besides this, however. Lenine--and he personifies
Bolshevism--was, and is, a doctrinaire Marxist of the most dogmatic type
conceivable. As such he believed that the new social order must be the
creation of that class which is the peculiar product of modern capitalism,
the industrial proletariat. To that class alone he and his followers pinned
all their faith and hope, and that class was a small minority of the
population and bound to remain a minority for a very long period of years.
Here, then, we have the key. It cannot be too strongly stressed that the
Bolsheviki did not base their hope upon the working class of Russia, and
did not trust it. The working class of Russia--if we are to use the term
with an intelligent regard to realities--was and is mainly composed of
peasants; the industrial proletariat was and is only a relatively small
part of the great working class of the nation. _But it is upon that small
section, as against the rest of the working class, that Bolshevism relies_.

Lenine has always refused to include the peasants in his definition of the
working class. With almost fanatical intensity he has insisted that the
peasant, together with the petty manufacturer and trader, would soon
disappear; that industrial concentration would have its counterpart in a
great concentration of landownings and agriculture; that the small peasant
holdings would be swallowed up by large, modern agricultural estates, with
the result that there would be an immense mass of landless agricultural
wage-workers. This class would, of course, be a genuinely proletarian
class, and its interests would be identical with those of the industrial
proletariat. Until that time came it would be dangerous to rely upon the
peasants, he urged, because their instincts are bourgeois rather than
proletarian. Naturally, he has looked askance at the peasant Socialist
movements, denying that they were truly Socialist at all. They could not be
Socialist movements in the true sense, he contended, because they lacked
the essential quality of true Socialists, namely, proletarian class

Naturally, too, Lenine and his followers have always regarded movements
which aimed to divide the land among the peasants, and so tend to give
permanence to a class of petty agriculturists, as essentially reactionary.
The exigencies of the struggle have forced them into some compromises, of
course. For example, at first they were not willing to admit that the
peasants could be admitted into their group at all, but later on they
admitted some who belonged to the poorest class of peasants. Throughout,
however, they have insisted that the peasant class as a whole was a class
of petty bourgeoisie and that its instincts and interests would inevitably
lead it to side with the bourgeoisie as against the proletariat. Of course,
this is a very familiar phase of Socialist evolution in every country. It
lasted in Germany many years. In Russia, however, the question assumed an
importance it never had in any other country, owing to the vast
preponderance of peasants in the population. Anything more un-Russian than
this theorizing cannot be well conceived. It runs counter to every fact in
Russian experience, to the very basis of her economic life at this stage of
her history. Lenine is a Russian, but his dogmas are not Russian, but
German. Bolshevism is the product of perverted German scholasticism.

Even the industrial workers as a whole, in their present stage of
development, were not to be trusted, according to the Bolshevist leaders.
They frankly opposed the Mensheviki when the latter proposed to hold their
great convention of industrial workers, giving as their reason the fear
that the convention majority would not consist of class-conscious
revolutionary Marxian Socialists. In other words, they feared that the
majority would not be on their side, and they had not the time or the
patience to convert them. There was no pretense of faith in the majority of
the industrial proletariat, much less of faith in the entire working class
of Russia. The industrial proletariat was a minority of the working class,
and the Bolsheviki pinned their faith to a minority of that minority. They
wanted to establish, not democracy, but dictatorship of Russia by a small,
disciplined, intelligent, and determined minority of working-men.

The lines of cleavage between the Mensheviki and the Bolsheviki were thus
clearly drawn. The former, while ready to join in mass uprisings and armed
insurrections by the masses, believed that the supreme necessity was
education and organization of all the working-people. Still relying upon
the industrial proletariat to lead the struggle, they nevertheless
recognized that the peasants were indispensable. The Bolsheviki, on the
other hand, relied exclusively upon armed insurrection, initiated and
directed by desperate minorities. The Mensheviki contended that the time
for secret, conspiratory action was past; that Russia had outgrown that
earlier method. As far as possible, they carried the struggle openly into
the political field. They organized unions, educational societies, and
co-operatives, confident that through these agencies the workers would
develop cohesion and strength, which, at the right time, they would use as
their class interests dictated. The Bolsheviki, on the other hand, clung to
the old conspiratory methods, always mastered by the idea that a sudden
_coup_ must some day place the reins of power in the hands of a
revolutionary minority of the workers and enable them to set up a
dictatorship. That dictatorship, it must be understood, was not to be
permanent; democracy, possibly even political democracy, would come later.

As we have already noted, into the ranks of the terrorist
Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Bolsheviki spies and provocative agents
wormed their way in large numbers. It is the inevitable fate of secret,
conspiratory movements that this should be so, and also that it should
result in saturating the minds of all engaged in the movements with
distrust and suspicion. More than once the charge of being a provocateur
was leveled at Lenine and at Trotzky, but without justification,
apparently. There was, indeed, one incident which placed Lenine in a bad
light. It belongs to a somewhat later period than we have been discussing,
but it serves admirably to illustrate conditions which obtained throughout
the whole dark period between the two great revolutions. One of Lenine's
close friends and disciples was Roman Malinovsky, a fiery speaker of
considerable power, distinguished for his bitter attacks upon the bourgeois
progressive parties and upon the Mensheviki. The tenor of his speeches was
always the same--only the interest of the proletariat should be considered;
all bourgeois political parties and groups were equally reactionary, and
any co-operation with them, for any purpose, was a betrayal of Socialist

Malinovsky was trusted by the Bolsheviki. He was elected to the Fourth
Duma, where he became the leader of the little group of thirteen Social
Democrats. Like other members of the Bolshevik faction, he entered the
Duma, despite his contempt for parliamentary action, simply because it
afforded him a useful opportunity for agitation and demonstrations. In the
Duma he assailed even a portion of the Social Democratic group as belonging
to the bourgeoisie, succeeding in splitting it in two factions and becoming
the leader of the Bolshevik faction, numbering six. This blatant demagogue,
whom Lenine called "the Russian Bebel," was proposed for membership in the
International Socialist Bureau, the supreme council of the International
Socialist movement, and would have been sent as a delegate to that body as
a representative of Russian Socialist movement but for the discovery of the
fact that he was a secret agent of the Czar's government!

It was proved that Malinovsky was a provocateur in the pay of the Police
Department, and that many, if not all, of his speeches had been prepared
for him in the Police Department by a former director named Beletzky. The
exposure made a great sensation in Russian Socialist circles at the time,
and the fact that it was Nikolai Lenine who had proposed that Malinovsky be
chosen to sit in the International Socialist Bureau naturally caused a
great deal of unfriendly comment. It cannot be denied that the incident
placed Lenine in an unfavorable light, but it must be admitted that
nothing developed to suggest that he was guilty of anything more serious
than permitting himself to be outwitted and deceived by a cunning
trickster. The incident serves to show, however, the ease with which the
extreme fanaticism of the Bolsheviki played into the hands of the


While Bolsheviki and Mensheviki wrangled and disputed, great forces were at
work among the Russian people. By 1910 the terrible pall of depression and
despair which had settled upon the nation as a result of the failure of the
First Revolution began to break. There was a new generation of college
students, youthful and optimistic spirits who were undeterred by the
failure of 1905-06, confident that they were wiser and certain to succeed.
Also there had been an enormous growth of working-class organizations,
large numbers of unions and co-operative societies having been formed in
spite of the efforts of the government. The soul of Russia was once more

The end of 1910 and the beginning of 1911 witnessed a new series of
strikes, such as had not occurred since 1905. The first were students'
strikes, inaugurated in support of their demand for the abolition of
capital punishment. These were quickly followed by important strikes in the
industrial centers for economic ends--better wages and shorter
working-hours. As in the period immediately preceding the First Revolution,
the industrial unrest soon manifested itself in political ways. Without any
conscious leadership at all this would have been inevitable in the existing
circumstances. But there was leadership. Social Democrats of both factions,
and Socialists of other groups as well, moved among the workers, preaching
the old, yet ever new, gospel of revolt. Political strikes followed the
strikes for immediate economic ends. Throughout the latter part of 1911 and
the whole of 1912 the revolutionary movement once more spread among the

The year 1913 was hardly well begun when revolutionary activities assumed
formidable proportions. January 9th--Russian calendar--anniversary of
Bloody Sunday, was celebrated all over the country by great demonstrations
which were really demonstration-strikes. In St. Petersburg fifty-five
thousand workers went out--and there were literally hundreds of other
smaller "strikes" of a similar nature throughout the country. In April
another anniversary of the martyrdom of revolting working-men was similarly
celebrated in most of the industrial centers, hundreds of thousands of
workers striking as a manifestation against the government. The 1st of May
was celebrated as it had not been celebrated since 1905. In the various
industrial cities hundreds of thousands of workmen left their work to march
through the streets and hold mass meetings, and so formidable was the
movement that the government was cowed and dared not attempt to suppress it
by force. There was a defiant note of revolution in this great uprising of
the workers. They demanded an eight-hour day and the right to organize
unions and make collective bargains. In addition to these demands, they
protested against the Balkan War and against militarism in general.

Had the great war not intervened, a tragic interlude in Russia's long
history of struggle, the year 1914 would have seen the greatest struggle
for the overthrow of Czarism in all that history. Whether it would have
been more successful than the effort of 1905 can never be known, but it is
certain that the working-class revolutionary movement was far stronger
than it was nine years before. On the other hand, there would not have been
the same degree of support from the other classes, for in the intervening
period class lines had been more sharply drawn and the class conflict
greatly intensified. Surging through the masses like a mighty tide was the
spirit of revolt, manifesting itself much as it had done nine years before.
All through the early months of the year the revolutionary temper grew. The
workers became openly defiant and the government, held in check, doubtless,
by the delicate balance of the international situation, dared not resort to
force with sufficient vigor to stamp out the agitation. Mass meetings were
held in spite of all regulations to the contrary; political strikes
occurred in all parts of the country. In St. Petersburg and Moscow
barricades were thrown up in the streets as late as July. Then the war
clouds burst. A greater passion than that of revolution swept over the
nation and it turned to present a united front to the external foe.




The war against Austria and Germany was not unpopular. Certainly there was
never an occasion when a declaration of war by their rulers roused so
little resentment among the Russian people. Wars are practically never
popular with the great mass of the people in any country, and this is
especially true of autocratically governed countries. The heavy burdens
which all great wars impose upon the laboring class, as well as upon the
petty bourgeoisie, cause even the most righteous wars to be regarded with
dread and sorrow. The memory of the war with Japan was too fresh and too
bitter to make it possible for the mass of the Russian people to welcome
the thought of another war. It cannot, therefore, in truth be said that the
war with the Central Empires was popular. But it can be said with sincerity
and the fullest sanction that the war was not unpopular; that it was
accepted by the greater part of the people as a just and, moreover, a
necessary war. Opposition to the war was not greater in Russia than in
England or France, or, later, in America. Of course, there were religious
pacifists and Socialists who opposed the war and denounced it, as they
would have denounced any other war, on general principles, no matter what
the issues involved might be, but their number and their influence were
small and quite unimportant.

The one great outstanding fact was the manner in which the sense of peril
to the fatherland rallied to its defense the different races, creeds,
classes, and parties, the great tidal wave of genuine and sincere
patriotism sweeping everything before it, even the mighty, passionate
revolutionary agitation. It can hardly be questioned or doubted that if the
war had been bitterly resented by the masses it would have precipitated
revolution instead of retarding it. From this point of view the war was a
deplorable disaster. That no serious attempt was made to bring about a
revolution at that time is the best possible evidence that the declaration
of war did not enrage the people. If not a popular and welcome event,
therefore, the declaration of war by the Czar was not an unpopular one.
Never before since his accession to the throne had Nicholas II had the
support of the nation to anything like the same extent.

Take the Jews, for example. Bitterly hated and persecuted as they had been,
despised and humiliated beyond description; victims of the knout and the
pogrom; tortured by Cossacks and Black Hundreds; robbed by official
extortions; their women shamed and ravaged and their babies doomed to rot
and die in the noisome Pale--the Jews owed no loyalty to the Czar or even
to the nation. Had they sought revenge in the hour of Russia's crisis, in
howsoever grim a manner, it would have been easy to understand their action
and hard indeed to regard it with condemnation. It is almost unthinkable
that the Czar could have thought of the Jews in his vast Empire in those
days without grave apprehension and fear.

Yet, as all the world knows, the Jews resolutely overcame whatever
suggestion of revenge came to them and, with marvelous solidarity,
responded to Russia's call without hesitation and without political
intrigue or bargaining. As a whole, they were as loyal as any of the
Czar's subjects. How shall we explain this phenomenon?

The explanation is that the leaders of the Jewish people, and practically
the whole body of Jewish Intellectuals, recognized from the first that the
war was more than a war of conflicting dynasties; that it was a war of
conflicting ideals. They recognized that the Entente, as a whole,
notwithstanding that it included the autocracy of Russia, represented the
generous, democratic ideals and principles vital to every Jew in that they
must be securely established before the emancipation of the Jew could be
realized. Their hatred of Czarism was not engulfed by any maudlin
sentiment; they knew that they had no "fatherland" to defend. They were not
swept on a tide of jingoism to forget their tragic history and proclaim
their loyalty to the infamous oppressor. No. Their loyalty was to the
Entente, not to the Czar. They were guided by enlightened self-interest, by
an intelligent understanding of the meaning to them of the great struggle
against Teutonic militarist-imperialism.

Every intelligent and educated Jew in Russia knew that the real source of
the brutal anti-Semitism which characterized the rule of the Romanovs was
Prussian and not Russian. He knew that it had long been one of the main
features of Germany's foreign policy to instigate and stimulate hatred and
fear of the Jews by Russian officialdom. There could not be a more tragic
mistake than to infer from the ruthless oppression of the Jews in Russia
that anti-Semitism is characteristically Russian. Surely, the fact that the
First Duma was practically unanimous in deciding to give equal rights to
the Jews with all the rest of the population proves that the Russian people
did not hate the Jews. The ill-treatment of the Jews was part of the policy
by which Germany, for her own ends, cunningly contrived to weaken Russia
and so prevent the development of her national solidarity. Racial animosity
and conflict was an ideal instrument for attaining that result. Internal
war and abortive revolutionary outbreaks which kept the country unsettled,
and the energies of the government taxed to the uttermost, served the same
end, and were, therefore, the object of Germany's intrigues in Russia,
equally with hostility to the Jews, as we shall have occasion to note.

German intrigue in Russia is an interesting study in economic determinism.
Unless we comprehend it we shall strive in vain to understand Russia's part
in the war and her rôle in the history of the past few decades. A brief
study of the map of Europe by any person who possesses even an elementary
knowledge of the salient principles of economics will reveal Germany's
interest in Russia and make quite plain why German statesmen have so
assiduously aimed to keep Russia in a backward economic condition. As a
great industrial nation it was to Germany's interest to have Russia remain
backward industrially, predominantly an agricultural country, quite as
surely as it was to her interest as a military power to have weakness and
inefficiency, instead of strength and efficiency, in Russia's military
organization. As a highly developed industrial nation Russia would of
necessity have been Germany's formidable rival--perhaps her most formidable
rival--and by her geographical situation would have possessed an enormous
advantage in the exploitation of the vast markets in the far East. As a
feudal agricultural country, on the other hand, Russia would be a great
market for German manufactured goods, and, at the same time, a most
convenient supply-depot for raw materials and granary upon which Germany
could rely for raw materials, wheat, rye, and other staple grains--a
supply-depot and granary, moreover, accessible by overland transportation
not subject to naval attack.

For the Russian Jew the defeat of Germany was a vital necessity. The
victory of Germany and her allies could only serve to strengthen Prussian
influence in Russia and add to the misery and suffering of the Jewish
population. That other factors entered into the determination of the
attitude of the Jews, such as, for example, faith in England as the
traditional friend of the Jew, and abhorrence at the cruel invasion of
Belgium, is quite true. But the great determinant was the well-understood
fact that Germany's rulers had long systematically manipulated Russian
politics and the Russian bureaucracy to the serious injury of the Jewish
race. Germany's militarist-imperialism was the soul and inspiration of the
oppression which cursed every Jew in Russia.


The democratic elements in Russia were led to support the government by
very similar reasoning. The same economic and dynastic motives which had
led Germany to promote racial animosities and struggles in Russia led her
to take every other possible means to uphold autocracy and prevent the
establishment of democracy. This had been long recognized by all liberal
Russians, no matter to what political school or party they might belong. It
was as much part of the common knowledge as the fact that St. Petersburg
was the national capital. It was part of the intellectual creed of
practically every liberal Russian that there was a natural affinity between
the great autocracies of Germany and Russia, and that a revolution in
Russia which seriously endangered the existence of monarchical absolutism
would be suppressed by Prussian guns and bayonets reinforcing those of
loyal Russian troops. It was generally believed by Russian Socialists that
in 1905 the Kaiser had promised to send troops into Russia to crush the
Revolution if called upon for that aid. Many German Socialists, it may be
added, shared that belief. Autocracies have a natural tendency to combine
forces against revolutionary movements. It would have been no more strange
for Wilhelm II to aid Nicholas II in quelling a revolution that menaced his
throne than it was for Alexander I to aid in putting down revolution in
Germany; or than it was for Nicholas I to crush the Hungarian Revolution in
1849, in the interest of Francis Joseph; or than it was for Bismarck to
rush to the aid of Alexander II in putting down the Polish insurrection in

The democrats of Russia knew, moreover, that, in addition to the natural
affinity which served to bind the two autocracies, the Romanov and
Hohenzollern dynasties had been closely knit together in a strong union by
years and years of carefully planned and strongly wrought blood ties. As
Isaac Don Lenine reminds us in his admirable study of the Russian
Revolution, Nicholas II was more than seven-eighths German, less than
one-eighth of his blood heritage being Romanov. Catherine the Great, wife
of Peter III, was a Prussian by birth and heritage and thoroughly
Prussianized her court. After her--from 1796 to 1917--six Czars reigned in
Russia, five of whom married German wives. As was inevitable in such
circumstances, the Russian court had long been notoriously subject to
German influences and strongly pro-German in its sympathies--by no means a
small matter in an autocratic country. Fully aware of their advantage, the
Kaiser and his Ministers increased the German influence and power at the
Russian court by encouraging German nobles to marry into Russian court
circles. The closing decade of the reign of Nicholas II was marked by an
extraordinary increase of Prussian influence in his court, an achievement
in which the Kaiser was greatly assisted by the Czarina, who was, it will
be remembered, a German princess.

Naturally, the German composition and character of the Czar's court was
reflected in the diplomatic service and in the most important departments
of the Russian government, including the army. The Russian Secret Service
was very largely in the hands of Germans and Russians who had married
German wives. The same thing may be said of the Police Department. Many of
the generals and other high officers in the Russian army were either of
German parentage or connected with Germany by marriage ties. In brief, the
whole Russian bureaucracy was honeycombed by German influence.

Outside official circles, much the same condition existed among the great
landowners. Those of the Baltic provinces were largely of Teutonic descent,
of course. Many had married German wives. The result was that the nobility
of these provinces, long peculiarly influential in the political life of
Russia, was, to a very large degree, pro-German. In addition to these,
there were numerous large landowners of German birth, while many, probably
a big majority, of the superintendents of the large industrial
establishments and landed estates were German citizens. It is notorious
that the principal factories upon which Russia had to rely for guns and
munitions were in charge of Germans, who had been introduced because of
their high technical efficiency.

In view of these facts, and a mass of similar facts which might be cited,
it was natural for the democrats of Russia to identify Germany and German
intrigue and influence with the hated bureaucracy. It was as natural as it
was for the German influence to be used against the democratic movement in
Russia, as it invariably was. Practically the entire mass of democratic
opinion in Russia, including, of course, all the Socialist factions,
regarded these royal, aristocratic, and bureaucratic German influences as a
menace to Russia, a cancer that must be cut out. With the exception of a
section of the Socialists, whose position we shall presently examine, the
mass of liberal-thinking, progressive, democratic Russians saw in the war a
welcome breaking of the German yoke. Believing that the victory of Germany
would restore the yoke, and that her defeat by Russia would eliminate the
power which had sustained Czarism, they welcomed the war and rallied with
enthusiasm at the call to arms. They were loyal, but to Russia, not to the
Czar. They felt that in warring against Prussian militarist-imperialism
they were undermining Russian Absolutism.

That the capitalists of Russia should want to see the power of Germany to
hold Russia in chains completely destroyed is easy to understand. To all
intents and purposes, from the purely economic point of view, Russia was
virtually a German colony to be exploited for the benefit of Germany. The
commercial treaties of 1905, which gave Germany such immense trade
advantages, had become exceedingly unpopular. On the other hand, the
immense French loan of 1905, the greater part of which had been used to
develop the industrial life of Russia, had the effect of bringing Russian
capitalists into closer relations with French capitalists. For further
capital Russia could only look to France and England with any confident
hope. Above all, the capitalists of Russia wanted freedom for economic
development; they wanted stability and national unity, the very things
Germany was preventing. They wanted efficient government and the
elimination of the terrible corruption which infested the bureaucracy. The
law of economic evolution was inexorable and inescapable; the capitalist
system could not grow within the narrow confines of Absolutism.

For the Russian capitalist class, therefore, it was of the most vital
importance that Germany's power should not be increased, as it would of
necessity be if the Entente submitted to her threats and permitted Serbia
to be crushed by Austria, and the furtherance of the Pan-German
_Mitteleuropa_ designs. It was vitally necessary to Russian capitalism that
Germany's strangle-hold upon the inner life of Russia should be broken. The
issue was not the competition of capitalism, as that is commonly
understood; it was not the rivalry for markets like that which animates the
capitalist classes of all lands. The Russian capitalist class was animated
by no fear of German competition in the sense in which the nations of the
world have understood that term. They had their own vast home market to
develop. The industrialization of the country must transform a very large
part of the peasantry into factory artisans living in cities, having new
needs and relatively high wages, and, consequently, more money to spend.
For many years to come their chief reliance must be the home market,
constantly expanding as the relative importance of manufacturing increased
and forced improved methods of agriculture upon the nation in the process,
as it was bound to do.

It was Germany as a persistent meddler in Russian government and politics
that the capitalists of Russia resented. It was the unfair advantage that
this underhand political manipulation gave her in their own home field that
stirred up the leaders of the capitalist class of Russia. That, and the
knowledge that German intrigue by promoting divisions in Russia was the
mainstay of the autocracy, solidified the capitalist class of Russia in
support of the war. There was a small section of this class that went much
farther than this and entertained more ambitious hopes. They realized fully
that Turkey had already fallen under the domination of Germany to such a
degree that in the event of a German victory in the war, or, what really
amounted to the same thing, the submission of the Entente to her will,
Germany would become the ruler of the Dardanelles and European Turkey be in
reality, and perhaps in form, part of the German Empire.

Such a development could not fail, they believed, to have the most
disastrous consequences for Russia. Inevitably, it would add to German
prestige and power in the Russian Empire, and weld together the
Hohenzollern, Habsburg, and Romanov autocracies in a solid, reactionary
mass, which, under the efficient leadership of Germany, might easily
dominate the entire world. Moreover, like many of the ablest Russians,
including the foremost Marxian Socialist scholars, they believed that the
normal economic development of Russia required a free outlet to the warm
waters of the Mediterranean, which alone could give her free access to the
great ocean highways. Therefore they hoped that one result of a victorious
war by the Entente against the Central Empires, in which Russia would play
an important part, would be the acquisition of Constantinople by Russia.
Thus the old vision of the Czars had become the vision of an influential
and rising class with a solid basis of economic interest.


As in every other country involved, the Socialist movement was sharply
divided by the war. Paradoxical as it seems, in spite of the great revival
of revolutionary hope and sentiment in the first half of the year, the
Socialist parties and groups were not strong when the war broke out. They
were, indeed, at a very low state. They had not yet recovered from the
reaction. The manipulation of the electoral laws following the dissolution
of the Second Duma, and the systematic oppression and repression of all
radical organizations by the administration, had greatly reduced the
Socialist parties in membership and influence. The masses were, for a long
time, weary of struggle, despondent, and passive. The Socialist factions
meanwhile were engaged in an apparently interminable controversy upon
theoretical and tactical questions in which the masses of the
working-people, when they began to stir at last, took no interest, and
which they could hardly be supposed to understand. The Socialist parties
and groups were subject to a very great disability in that their leaders
were practically all in exile. Had a revolution broken out, as it would
have done but for the war, Socialist leadership would have asserted itself.

As in all other countries, the divisions of opinion created by the war
among the Socialists cut across all previous existing lines of separation
and made it impossible to say that this or that faction adopted a
particular view. Just as in Germany, France, and England, some of the most
revolutionary Socialists joined with the more moderate Socialists in
upholding the war, while extremely moderate Socialists joined with
Socialists of the opposite extreme in opposing it. It is possible, however,
to set forth the principal features of the division with tolerable

A majority of the Socialist-Revolutionary party executive issued an
anti-war Manifesto. There is no means of telling how far the views
expressed represented the attitude of the peasant Socialists as a whole,
owing to the disorganized state of the party and the difficulties of
assembling the members. The Manifesto read:

    There is no doubt that Austrian imperialism is responsible for the
    war with Serbia. But is it not equally criminal on the part of
    Serbs to refuse autonomy to Macedonia and to oppress smaller and
    weaker nations?

    It is the protection of this state that our government considers
    its "sacred duty." What hypocrisy! Imagine the intervention of the
    Czar on behalf of poor Serbia, whilst he martyrizes Poland,
    Finland and the Jews, and behaves like a brigand toward Persia.

    Whatever may be the course of events, the Russian workers and
    peasants will continue their heroic fight to obtain for Russia a
    place among civilized nations.

This Manifesto was issued, as reported in the Socialist press, prior to the
actual declaration of war. It was a threat of revolution made with a view
to preventing the war, if possible, and belongs to the same category as the
similar threats of revolution made by the German Socialists before the war
to the same end. The mildness of manner which characterizes the Manifesto
may be attributed to two causes--weakness of the movement and a resulting
lack of assurance, together with a lack of conviction arising from the fact
that many of the leaders, while they hated the Czar and all his works, and
could not reconcile themselves to the idea of making any kind of truce with
their great enemy, nevertheless were pro-Ally and anxious for the defeat of
German imperialism. In other words, these leaders shared the national
feeling against Germany, and, had they been free citizens of a
democratically governed country, would have loyally supported the war.

When the Duma met, on August 8th, for the purpose of voting the war
credits, the Social Democrats of both factions, Bolsheviki and Mensheviki,
fourteen in number,[2] united upon a policy of abstention from voting.
Valentin Khaustov, on behalf of the two factions, read this statement:

    A terrible and unprecedented calamity has broken upon the people
    of the entire world. Millions of workers have been torn away from
    their labor, ruined, and swept away by a bloody torrent. Millions
    of families have been delivered over to famine.

    War has already begun. While the governments of Europe were
    preparing for it, the proletariat of the entire world, with the
    German workers at the head, unanimously protested.

    The hearts of the Russian workers are with the European
    proletariat. This war is provoked by the policy of expansion for
    which the ruling classes of all countries are responsible.

    The proletariat will defend the civilization of the world against
    this attack.

    The conscious proletariat of the belligerent countries has not
    been sufficiently powerful to prevent this war and the resulting
    return of barbarism.

    But we are convinced that the working class will find in the
    international solidarity of the workers the means to force the
    conclusion of peace at an early date. The terms of that peace will
    be dictated by the people themselves, and not by the diplomats.

    We are convinced that this war will finally open the eyes of the
    great masses of Europe, and show them the real causes of all the
    violence and oppression that they endure, and that therefore this
    new explosion of barbarism will be the last.

As soon as this declaration was read the fourteen members of the Social
Democratic group left the chamber in silence. They were immediately
followed by the Laborites and Socialist-Revolutionists representing the
peasant Socialists, so that none of the Socialists in the Duma voted for
the war credits. As we shall see later on, the Laborites and most of the
Socialist-Revolutionists afterward supported the war. The declaration of
the Social Democrats in the Duma was as weak and as lacking in definiteness
of policy as the Manifesto of the Socialist-Revolutionists already quoted.
We know now that it was a compromise. It was possible to get agreement upon
a statement of general principles which were commonplaces of Socialist
propaganda, and to vaguely expressed hopes that "the working class will
find in the international solidarity of the workers the means to force the
conclusion of peace at an early date." It was easy enough to do this, but
it would have been impossible to unite upon a definite policy of resistance
and opposition to the war. It was easy to agree not to vote for the war
credits, since there was no danger that this would have any practical
effect, the voting of the credits--largely a mere form--being quite
certain. It would have been impossible to get all to agree to vote
_against_ the credits.

Under the strong leadership of Alexander Kerensky the Labor party soon took
a decided stand in support of the war. In the name of the entire group of
the party's representatives in the Duma, Kerensky read at an early session
a statement which pledged the party to defend the fatherland. "We firmly
believe," said Kerensky, "that the great flower of Russian democracy,
together with all the other forces, will throw back the aggressive enemy
and _will defend their native land_." The party had decided, he said, to
support the war "in defense of the land of our birth and of our
civilization created by the blood of our race.... We believe that through
the agony of the battle-field the brotherhood of the Russian people will be
strengthened and a common desire created to free the land from its terrible
internal troubles." Kerensky declared that the workers would take no
responsibility for the suicidal war into which the governments of Europe
had plunged their peoples. He strongly criticized the government, but
ended, nevertheless, in calling upon the peasants and industrial workers to
support the war:

"The Socialists of England, Belgium, France, and Germany have tried to
protest against rushing into war. We Russian Socialists were not able at
the last to raise our voices freely against the war. But, deeply convinced
of the brotherhood of the workers of all lands, we send our brotherly
greetings to all who protested against the preparations for this
fratricidal conflict of peoples. Remember that Russian citizens have no
enemies among the working classes of the belligerents! _Protect your
country to the end against aggression by the states whose governments are
hostile to us, but remember that there would not have been this terrible
war had the great ideals of democracy, freedom, equality, and brotherhood
been directing the activities of those who control the destinies of Russia
and other lands!_ As it is, our authorities, even in this terrible moment,
show no desire to forget internal strife, grant no amnesty to those who
have fought for freedom and the country's happiness, show no desire for
reconciliation with the non-Russian peoples of the Empire.

"And, instead of relieving the condition of the laboring classes of the
people, the government puts on them especially the heaviest load of the war
expenses, by tightening the yoke of indirect taxes.

"Peasants and workers, all who want the happiness and well-being of Russia
in these great trials, harden your spirit! Gather all your strength and,
having defended your land, free it; and to you, our brothers, who are
shedding blood for the fatherland, a profound obeisance and fraternal

Kerensky's statement was of tremendous significance. Made on behalf of the
entire group of which he was leader, it reflected the sober second thought
of the representatives of the peasant Socialists and socialistically
inclined radicals. Their solemnly measured protest against the reactionary
policy of the government was as significant as the announcement that they
would support the war. It was a fact that at the very time when national
unity was of the most vital importance the government was already goading
the people into despairing revolt.

That a section of the Bolsheviki began a secret agitation against the war,
aiming at a revolt among the soldiers, regardless of the fact that it would
mean Russia's defeat and Germany's triumph, is a certainty. The government
soon learned of this movement and promptly took steps to crush it. Many
Russian Socialists have charged that the policy of the Bolsheviki was
inspired by provocateurs in the employ of the police, and by them betrayed.
Others believe that the policy was instigated by German provocateurs, for
very obvious purposes. It was not uncommon for German secret agents to worm
their way into the Russian Socialist ranks, nor for the agents of the
Russian police to keep the German secret service informed of what was going
on in Russian Socialist circles. Whatever truth there may be in the
suspicion that the anti-war Bolshevik faction of the Social Democrats were
the victims of the Russian police espionage system, and were betrayed by
one whom they had trusted, as the Socialist-Revolutionists had been
betrayed by Azev, the fact remains that the government ordered the arrest
of five of the Bolshevist Social Democratic members of the Duma, on
November 17th. Never before had the government disregarded the principle of
parliamentary immunity. When members of the First Duma, belonging to
various parties, and members of the Second Duma, belonging to the Social
Democratic party, were arrested it was only after the Duma had been
formally dissolved. The arrest of the five Social Democrats while the Duma
was still sitting evoked a strong protest, even from the conservatives.

The government based its action upon the following allegations, which
appear to have been substantially correct: in October arrangements were
made to convoke a secret conference of delegates of the Social Democratic
organization to plan for a revolutionary uprising. The police learned of
the plan, and when at last, on November 17th, the conference was held at
Viborg, eight miles from Petrograd--as the national capital was now
called--a detachment of police found eleven persons assembled, including
five members of the Imperial Duma, Messrs. Petrovsky, Badavev, Mouranov,
Samoelov, and Chagov. The police arrested six persons, but did not arrest
the Duma members, on account of their parliamentary position. An examining
magistrate, however, indicted the whole eleven who attended the conference,
under Article No. 102 of the Penal Code, and issued warrants for their
arrest. Among those arrested was Kamanev, one of Lenine's closest friends,
who behaved so badly at his trial, manifesting so much cowardice, that he
was censured by his party.

At this conference, according to the government, arrangements were made to
circulate among the masses a Manifesto which declared that "from the
viewpoint of the working class and of the laboring masses of all the
nations of Russia, the defeat of the monarchy of the Czar and of its armies
would be of extremely little consequence." The Manifesto urged the
imperative necessity of _carrying on on all sides the propaganda of the
social revolution among the army and at the theater of the war, and that
weapons should be directed not against their brothers, the hired slaves of
other countries, but against the reactionary bourgeois governments_. The
Manifesto went on, according to the government, to favor the organization
of a similar propaganda in all languages, among all the armies, with the
aim of creating republics in Russia, Poland, Germany, Austria, and all
other European countries, these to be federated into a republican United
Stares of Europe.

The declaration that the defeat of the Russian armies would be "of
extremely little consequence" to the workers became the key-note of the
anti-war agitation of the Bolsheviki. Lenine and Zinoviev, still in exile,
adopted the view that the defeat of Russia was _actually desirable_ from
the point of view of the Russian working class. "We are Russians, and for
that very reason we want Czarism to be defeated," was the cry.[3] In his
paper, the _Social Democrat_, published in Switzerland, Lenine advocated
Russian defeat, to be brought about through treachery and revolt in the
army, as the best means of furthering revolutionary progress. The majority
of the Bolshevik faction made common cause with the extreme left-wing
Socialists of the Socialist-Revolutionary party, who shared their views and
became known as "Porazhentsi"--that is, advocates of defeat. Naturally, the
charge was made that they were pro-German, and it was even charged that
they were in the pay of Germany. Possibly some of them were, but it by no
means follows that because they desired Russia's defeat they were therefore
consciously pro-German. They were not pro-German, but anti-Czarists. They
believed quite honestly, most of them, that Russia's defeat was the surest
and quickest way of bringing about the Revolution in Russia which would
overthrow Czarism. In many respects their position was quite like that of
those Irish rebels who desired to see England defeated, even though it
meant Germany's triumph, not because of any love for Germany, but because
they hated England and believed that her defeat would be Ireland's
opportunity. However short-sighted and stupid such a policy may be judged
to be, it is quite comprehensible and should not be misrepresented. It is a
remarkable fact that the Bolsheviki, while claiming to be the most radical
and extreme internationalists, were in practice the most narrow
nationalists. They were exactly as narrow in their nationalism as the
Sinn-Feiners of Ireland. They were not blind to the terrible wrongs
inflicted upon Belgium, or to the fact that Germany's victory over Russia
would make it possible for her to crush the western democracies, France and
England. But neither to save Belgium nor to prevent German militarism
crushing French and English workers under its iron heel would they have the
Russian workers make any sacrifice. They saw, and cared only for, what they
believed to be _Russian_ interests.


But during the first months of the war the Porazhentsi--including the
Bolsheviki--were a very small minority. The great majority of the
Socialist-Revolutionists rallied to the support of the Allied cause. Soon
after the war began a Socialist Manifesto to the laboring masses of Russia
was issued. It bore the signature of many of the best-known Russian
Socialists, representing all the Socialist factions and groups except the
Bolsheviki. Among the names were those of George Plechanov, Leo Deutsch,
Gregory Alexinsky, N. Avksentiev, B. Vorovonov, I. Bunakov, and A.
Bach--representing the best thought of the movement in practically all its
phases. This document is of the greatest historical importance, not merely
because it expressed the sentiments of Socialists of so many shades, but
even more because of its carefully reasoned arguments why Socialists should
support the war and why the defeat of Germany was essential to Russian and
international social democracy. Despite its great length, the Manifesto is
here given in its entirety:

    We, the undersigned, belong to the different shades of Russian
    Socialistic thought. We differ on many things, but we firmly agree
    in that the defeat of Russia in her struggle with Germany would
    mean her defeat in her struggle for freedom, and we think that,
    guided by this conviction, our adherents in Russia must come
    together for a common service to their people, in the hour of the
    grave danger the country is now facing.

    We address ourselves to the politically conscious working-men,
    peasants, artisans, clerks--to all of those who earn their bread
    in the sweat of their brow, and who, suffering from the lack of
    means and want of political rights, are struggling for a better
    future for themselves, for their children, and for their brethren.

    We send them our hearty greeting, and persistently say to them:
    Listen to us in this fatal time, when the enemy has conquered the
    Western strongholds of Russia, has occupied an important part of
    our territory and is menacing Kiev, Petrograd, and Moscow, these
    most important centers of our social life.

    Misinformed people may tell you that in defending yourselves from
    German invasion you support our old political régime. These people
    want to see Russia defeated because of their hatred of the Czar's
    government. Like one of the heroes of our genius of satire,
    Shchedrin, they mix fatherland with its temporary bosses. But
    Russia belongs not to the Czar, but to the Russian working-people.
    In defending Russia, the working-people defend themselves, defend
    the road to their freedom. As we said before, the inevitable
    consequences of German victory would be the strengthening of our
    old régime.

    The Russian reactionaries understand this very thoroughly. _In a
    faint, half-hearted manner they are defending Russia from
    Germany_. The Ministers who resigned recently, Maklakov and
    Shcheglovitov, presented a secret report to the Czar, in November,
    1914, in which they explained how advantageous it would be for the
    Czar to make a separate peace with Germany. _They understand that
    the defeat of Germany would be a defeat of the principles of
    monarchism, so dear to all our European reactionaries_.

    Our people will never forget _the failure of the Czar's government
    to defend Russia_. But if the progressive, the politically
    conscious people will not take part in the struggle against
    Germany, the Czar's government will have an excuse for saying: "It
    is not our fault that Germany defeats us; it is the fault of the
    revolutionists who have betrayed their country," and this will
    vindicate the government in the eyes of the people.

    The political situation in Russia is such that only across the
    bridge of national defense can we reach freedom. Remember, _we do
    not tell you, first victory against the external enemy and then
    revolution against the internal, the Czar's government_.

    In the course of events the defeat of the Czar's government may
    serve as a necessary preliminary condition for, and even as a
    guaranty of, the elimination of the German danger. The French
    revolutionists of the end of the eighteenth century would never
    have been able to have overcome the enemy, attacking France on all
    sides, had they not adopted such tactics only when the popular
    movement against the old régime became mature enough to render
    their efforts effective.

    Furthermore, you must not be embarrassed by the arguments of those
    who believe that every one who defends his country refuses thereby
    to take part in the struggle of the classes. These persons do not
    know what they are talking about. In the first place, in order
    that the struggle of the classes in Russia should be successful,
    certain social and political conditions must exist there. _These
    conditions will not exist if Germany wins_.

    In the second place, if the working-man of Russia cannot but
    defend himself against the exploitation of the Russian landed
    aristocrat and capitalist it seems incomprehensible that he should
    remain inactive when the lasso of exploitation is being drawn
    around his neck by the German landed aristocracy (the _Junker_)
    and the German capitalist who are, unfortunately, at the present
    time _supported by a considerable part of the German proletariat
    that has turned traitor to its duty of solidarity with the
    proletariat of other countries_.

    By striving to the utmost to cut this lasso of German
    imperialistic exploitation, the proletariat of Russia will
    continue the struggle of the classes in that form which at the
    present moment is most appropriate, fruitful, and effective.

    It has been our country's fate once before to suffer from the
    bloody horrors of a hostile invasion. But never before did it have
    to defend itself against an enemy so well armed, so skilfully
    organized, so carefully prepared for his plundering enterprise as
    he is now.

    The position of the country is dangerous to the highest degree;
    therefore upon all of you, upon all the politically conscious
    children of the working-people of Russia, lies an enormous

    If you say to yourselves that it is immaterial to you and to your
    less developed brothers as to who wins in this great international
    collision going on now, and if you act accordingly, Russia will be
    crushed by Germany. And when Russia will be crushed by Germany, it
    will fare badly with the Allies. This does not need any

    But if, on the contrary, you become convinced that the defeat of
    Russia will reflect badly upon the interests of the working
    population, and if you will help the self-defense of our country
    with all your forces, our country and her allies will escape the
    terrible danger menacing them.

    Therefore, go deeply into the situation. You make a great mistake
    if you imagine that it is not to the interests of the
    working-people to defend our country. In reality, nobody's
    interests suffer more terribly from the invasion of an enemy than
    the interests of the working-population.

    Take, for instance, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. When the
    Germans besieged Paris and the cost of all the necessaries of life
    rose enormously, it was clear that the poor suffered much more
    than the rich. In the same way, when Germany exacted five billions
    of contribution from vanquished France, this same, in the final
    count, was paid by the poor; for paying that contribution indirect
    taxation was greatly raised, the burden of which nearly entirely
    falls on the lower classes.

    More than that. The most dangerous consequence to France, due to
    her defeat in 1870-71, was the retardation of her economic
    development. In other words, the defeat of France badly reflected
    upon the contemporary interests of her people, and, even more,
    upon her entire subsequent development.

    The defeat of Russia by Germany will much more injure our people
    than the defeat of France injured the French people. The war now
    exacts incredibly large expenditures. It is more difficult for
    Russia, a country economically backward, to bear that expenditure
    than for the wealthy states of western Europe. Russia's back, even
    before the war, was burdened with a heavy state loan. Now this
    debt is growing by the hour, and vast regions of Russia are
    subject to wholesale devastation.

    If the Germans will win the final victory, they will demand from
    us an enormous contribution, in comparison with which the streams
    of gold that poured into victorious Germany from vanquished
    France, after the war of 1871, will seem a mere trifle.

    But that will not be all. The most consequent and outspoken
    heralds of German imperialism are even now saying that it is
    necessary to exact from Russia the cession of important territory,
    which should be cleared from the present population for the
    greater convenience of German settlers. Never before have
    plunderers, dreaming of despoiling a conquered people, displayed
    such cynical heartlessness!

    But for our vanquishers it will not be enough to exact an
    unheard-of enormous contribution and to tear up our western
    borderlands. Already, in 1904, Russia, being in a difficult
    situation, was obliged to conclude a commercial treaty with
    Germany, very disadvantageous to herself. The treaty hindered, at
    the same time, the development of our agriculture and the progress
    of our industries. It affected, with equal disadvantage, the
    interests of the farmers as well as of those engaged in industry.
    It is easy to imagine what kind of a treaty victorious German
    imperialism would impose upon us. In economic matters, Russia
    would become a German colony. Russia's further economic
    development would be greatly hindered if not altogether stopped.
    Degeneration and deprivation would be the result of German victory
    for an important part of the Russian working-people.

    What will German victory bring to western Europe? After all we
    have already said, it is needless to expatiate on how many of the
    unmerited economic calamities it will bring to the people of the
    western countries allied to Russia. We wish to draw your attention
    to the following: England, France, even Belgium and Italy, are, in
    a political sense, far ahead of the German Empire, which has not
    as yet grown up to a parliamentary régime. German victory over
    these countries would be the victory of the old over the new, and
    if the democratic ideal is dear to you, you must wish success to
    our Western Allies.

    Indifference to the result of this war would be, for us, equal to
    political suicide. The most important, the most vital interests of
    the proletariat and of the laboring peasantry demand of you an
    active participation in the defense of the country. Your watchword
    must be victory over the foreign enemy. In an active movement
    toward such victory, the live forces of the people will become
    free and strong.

    Obedient to this watchword, you must be as wise as serpents.
    Although in your hearts may burn the flame of noble indignation,
    in your heads must reign, invariably, cold political reckoning.
    You must know that zeal without reason is sometimes worse than
    complete indifference. Every act of agitation in the rear of the
    army, fighting against the enemy, would be equivalent to high
    treason, as it would be a service to the foreign enemy.

    The thunders of the war certainly cannot make the Russian
    manufacturers and merchants more idealistic than they were in time
    of peace. In the filling of the numerous orders, inevitable during
    the mobilization of industry for war needs, the capitalists will,
    as they are accustomed to, take great care of the interests of
    capital, and will not take care of the interests of hired labor.
    You will be entirely right if you wax indignant at their conduct.
    But in all cases, whenever you desire to answer by a strike, you
    must first think whether such action would not be detrimental to
    the cause of the defense of Russia.

    The private must be subject to the general. The workmen of every
    factory must remember that they would commit, without any doubt,
    the gravest mistake if, considering only their own interests, they
    forget how severely the interests of the entire Russian
    proletariat and peasantry would suffer from German victory.

    The tactics which can be defined by the motto, "All or nothing,"
    are the tactics of anarchy, fully unworthy of the conscious
    representatives of the proletariat and peasantry. The General
    Staff of the German Army would greet with pleasure the news that
    we had adopted such tactics. _Believe us that this Staff is ready
    to help all those who would like to preach it in our country_.
    They want trouble in Russia, they want strikes in England, they
    want everything that would facilitate the achievement of their
    conquering schemes.

    But you will not make them rejoice. You will not forget the words
    of our great fabulist: "What the enemy advises is surely bad." You
    must insist that all your representatives take the most active
    part in all organizations created now, under the pressure of
    public opinion, for the struggle with the foe. Your
    representatives must, if possible, take part not only in the work
    of the special technical organizations, such as the War-Industrial
    Committees which have been created for the needs of the army, but
    also in all other organizations of social and political character.

    The situation is such that we cannot come to freedom in any other
    way than by the war of national defense.

That the foregoing Manifesto expressed the position of the vast majority of
Russian Socialists there can be no doubt whatever. Between this position
and that of the Porazhentsi with their doctrine that Russia's defeat by
Germany was desirable, there was a middle ground, which was taken by a not
inconsiderable number of Socialists, including such able leaders as Paul
Axelrod. Those who took up this intermediate position were both
anti-Czarists and anti-German-imperialists. They were pro-Ally in the large
sense, and desired to see the Allies win over the Central Empires, if not a
"crushing" victory, a very definite and conclusive one. But they regarded
the alliance of Czarism with the Allies as an unnatural marriage. They
believed that autocratic Russia's natural alliance was with autocratic
Germany and Austria. Their hatred of Czarism led them to wish for its
defeat, even by Germany, provided the victory were not so great as to
permit Germany to extend her domain over Russia or any large part of it.
Their position became embodied in the phrase, "Victory by the Allies on the
west and Russia's defeat on the east." This was, of course, utterly
unpractical theorizing and bore no relation to reality.


Thanks in part to the vigorous propaganda of such leaders as Plechanov,
Deutsch, Bourtzev, Tseretelli, Kerensky, and many others, and in part to
the instinctive good sense of the masses, support of the war by Socialists
of all shades and factions--except the extreme Bolsheviki and
the so-called "Internationalist" sections of Mensheviki and
Socialist-Revolutionists--became general. The anti-war minority was
exceedingly small and had no hold upon the masses. Had the government been
both wise and honestly desirous of presenting a united front to the foe,
and to that end made intelligent and generous concessions to the democratic
movement, it is most unlikely that Russia would have collapsed. As it was,
the government adopted a policy which could not fail to weaken the military
force of the nation--a policy admirably suited to German needs.

Extremes meet. On the one hand there were the Porazhentsi Socialists,
contending that the interests of progress would be best served by a German
victory over Russia, and plotting to weaken and corrupt the morale of the
Russian army and to stir up internal strife to that end. On the other hand,
within the royal court, and throughout the bureaucracy, reactionary
pro-German officials were animated by the belief that the victory of
Germany was essential to the permanence of Absolutism and autocratic
government. They, too, like the Socialist "defeatists," aimed to weaken
and corrupt the morale of the army and to divide the nation.

These Germanophiles in places of power realized that they had unconscious
but exceedingly useful allies in the Socialist intransigents. Actuated by
motives however high, the latter played into the hands of the most corrupt
and reactionary force that ever infested the old régime. This force, the
reactionary Germanophiles, had from the very first hoped and believed that
Germany would win the war. They had exerted every ounce of pressure they
could command to keep the Czar from maintaining the treaty with France and
entering into the war on her side against Germany and Austria. When they
failed in this, they bided their time, full of confidence that the superior
efficiency of the German military machine would soon triumph. But when they
witnessed the great victorious onward rush of the Russian army, which for a
time manifested such a degree of efficiency as they had never believed to
be possible, they began to bestir themselves. From this quarter came the
suggestion, very early in the war, as Plechanov and his associates charged
in their Manifesto, that the Czar ought to make an early peace with

They went much farther than this. Through every conceivable channel they
contrived to obstruct Russia's military effort. They conspired to
disorganize the transportation system, the hospital service, the
food-supply, the manufacture of munitions. They, too, in a most effective
manner, were plotting to weaken and corrupt the morale of the army. There
was universal uneasiness. In the Allied chancelleries there was fear of a
treacherous separate peace between Russia and Germany. It was partly to
avert that catastrophe by means of a heavy bribe that England undertook the
forcing of the Dardanelles. All over Russia there was an awakening of the
memories of the graft that ate like a canker-worm at the heart of the
nation. Men told once more the story of the Russian general in Manchuria,
in 1904, who, when asked why fifty thousand men were marching barefoot,
answered that the boots were in the pocket of Grand-Duke Vladimir! They
told again the story of the cases of "shells" for the Manchurian army which
were intercepted in the nation's capital, _en route_ to Moscow, and found
to contain--paving-stones! How General Kuropatkin managed to amass a
fortune of over six million rubles during the war with Japan was
remembered. Fear that the same kind of treason was being perpetrated grew
almost to the panic point.

So bad were conditions in the army, so completely had the Germanophile
reactionaries sabotaged the organization, that the people themselves took
the matter in hand. Municipalities all over the country formed a Union of
Cities to furnish food, clothes, and other necessaries to the army. The
National Union of Zemstvos did the same thing. More than three thousand
institutions were established on the different Russian fronts by the
National Union of Zemstvos. These institutions included hospitals,
ambulance stations, feeding stations for troops on the march, dental
stations, veterinary stations, factories for manufacturing supplies, motor
transportation services, and so on through a long catalogue of things which
the administration absolutely failed to provide. The same great
organization furnished millions of tents and millions of pairs of boots and
socks. Civil Russia was engaged in a great popular struggle to overcome
incompetence, corruption, and sabotage in the bureaucracy. For this work
the civilian agencies were not thanked by the government. Instead, they
were oppressed and hindered. Against them was directed the hate of the
dark forces of the "occult government" and at the same time the fierce
opposition and scorn of men who called themselves Socialists and champions
of proletarian freedom!

There was treachery in the General Staff and throughout the War Department,
at the very head of which was a corrupt traitor, Sukhomlinov. It was
treachery in the General Staff which led to the tragic disasters in East
Prussia. The great drive of the Austrian and German armies in 1915, which
led to the loss of Poland, Lithuania, and large parts of Volhynia and
Courland, and almost entirely eliminated Russia from the war, was
unquestionably brought about by co-operation with the German General Staff
on the part of the sinister "occult government," as the Germanophile
reactionary conspiracy in the highest circles came to be known.

No wonder that Plechanov and his friends in their Manifesto to the Russian
workers declared that the reactionaries were defending Russia from
subjugation by Germany in "a half-hearted way," and that "our people will
never forget the failure of the Czar's government to defend Russia." They
were only saying, in very moderate language, what millions were thinking;
what, a few months later, many of the liberal spokesmen of the country were
ready to say in harsher language. As early as January, 1915, the Duma met
and cautiously expressed its alarm. In July it met again, many of the
members coming directly from the front, in uniform. Only the fear that a
revolution would make the continuance of the war impossible prevented a
revolution at that time. The Duma was in a revolutionary mood. Miliukov,
for example, thundered:

" ... In January we came here with ... the feeling of patriotic alarm. We
then kept this feeling to ourselves. Yet in closed sessions of committees
we told the government all that filled the soul of the people. The answer
we received did not calm us; it amounted to saying that the government
could get along without us, without our co-operation. To-day we have
convened in a grave moment of trial for our fatherland. The patriotic alarm
of the people has proved to be well founded, to the misfortune of our
country. Secret things have become open, and the assertions of half a year
ago have turned out to be mere words. Yet the country cannot be satisfied
with words. _The people wish to take affairs into their own hands and to
correct what has been neglected. The people look upon us as legal executors
of their will_."

Kerensky spoke to the same general effect, adding, "_I appeal to the people
themselves to take into their hands the salvation of the country and fight
for a full right to govern the state_." The key-note of revolution was
being sounded now. For the spirit of revolution breathed in the words, "The
people wish to take affairs into their own hands," and in Kerensky's
challenge, "I appeal to the people themselves to take into their hands the
salvation of the country." The Duma was the logical center around which the
democratic forces of the country could rally. Its moderate character
determined this. Only its example was necessary to the development of a
great national movement to overthrow the old régime with its manifold
treachery, corruption, and incompetence. When, on August 22d, the
Progressive Bloc was formed by a coalition of Constitutional Democrats,
Progressives, Nationalists, and Octobrists--the last-named group having
hitherto generally supported the government--there was a general chorus of
approval throughout the country, If the program of the Bloc was not radical
enough to satisfy the various Socialist groups, even the Laborites, led by
Kerensky, it was, nevertheless, a program which they could support in the
main, as far as it went.

All over the country there was approval of the demand for a responsible
government. The municipal councils of the large cities passed resolutions
in support of it. The great associations of manufacturers supported it. All
over the nation the demand for a responsible government was echoed. It was
generally believed that the Czar and his advisers would accept the
situation and accede to the popular demand. But once more the influence of
the reactionaries triumphed, and on September 3d came the defiant answer of
the government to the people. It was an order suspending the Duma
indefinitely. The gods make mad those whom they would destroy.

Things went from bad to worse. More and more oppressive grew the
government; more and more stupidly brutal and reactionary in its dealings
with the wide-spread popular unrest. Heavier and heavier grew the burden of
unscientific and unjustly distributed taxation. Worse and worse became the
condition of the soldiers at the front; ever more scandalous the neglect of
the sick and wounded. Incompetence, corruption, and treason combined to
hurry the nation onward to a disastrous collapse. The Germanophiles were
still industriously at work in the most important and vital places,
practising sabotage upon a scale never dreamed of before in the history of
any nation. They played upon the fears of the miserable weakling who was
the nominal ruler of the vast Russian Empire, and frightened him into
sanctioning the most suicidal policy of devising new measures of oppression
instead of making generous concessions.

Russia possessed food in abundance, being far better off in this respect
than any other belligerent on either side, yet Russia was in the grip of
famine. There was a vast surplus of food grains and cereals over and above
the requirements of the army and the civilian population, yet there was
wide-spread hunger. Prices rose to impossible levels. The most astonishing
anarchy and disorganization characterized the administration of the
food-supply. It was possible to get fresh butter within an hour's journey
from Moscow for twenty-five cents a pound, but in Moscow the price was two
and a half dollars a pound. Here, as throughout the nation, incompetence
was reinforced by corruption and pro-German treachery. Many writers have
called attention to the fact that even in normal times the enormous
exportation of food grains in Russia went on side by side with per capita
underconsumption by the peasants whose labor produced the great harvests,
amounting to not less than 30 per cent. Now, of course, conditions were far

When the government was urged to call a convention of national leaders to
deal with the food situation it stubbornly refused. More than that, it made
war upon the only organizations which were staving off famine and making it
possible for the nation to endure. Every conceivable obstacle was placed in
the way of the National Union of Zemstvos and the Union of Cities; the
co-operative associations, which were rendering valuable service in meeting
the distress of working-men's families, were obstructed and restricted in
every possible way, their national offices being closed by the police. The
officials of the labor-unions who were co-operating with employers in
substituting arbitration in place of strikes, establishing soup-kitchens
and relief funds, and doing other similar work to keep the nation alive,
were singled out for arrest and imprisonment. The Black Hundreds were
perniciously active in all this oppression and in the treacherous advocacy
of a separate peace with Germany.

In October, 1916, a conference of chairmen of province zemstvos adopted and
published a resolution which declared:

    The tormenting and horrifying suspicion, the sinister rumors of
    perfidy and treason, of dark forces working in favor of Germany to
    destroy the unity of the nation, to sow discord and thus prepare
    conditions for an ignominious peace, have now reached the clear
    certainty that the hand of the enemy secretly influences the
    affairs of our state.


An adequate comprehension of the things set forth in this terrible summary
is of the highest importance to every one who would attempt the task of
reaching an intelligent understanding of the mighty upheaval in Russia and
its far-reaching consequences. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was not
responsible for the disastrous separate peace with Germany. The foundations
for that were laid by the reactionaries of the old régime. It was the
logical outcome of their long-continued efforts. Lenine, Trotzky, and their
Bolshevist associates were mere puppets, simple tools whose visions,
ambitions, and schemes became the channels through which the conspiracy of
the worst reactionaries in Russia realized one part of an iniquitous

The Revolution itself was a genuine and sincere effort on the part of the
Russian people to avert the disaster and shame of a separate peace; to
serve the Allied cause with all the fidelity of which they were capable.
There would have been a separate peace if the old régime had remained in
power a few weeks longer and the Revolution been averted. It is most likely
that it would have been a more shameful peace than was concluded at
Brest-Litovsk, and that it would have resulted in an actual and active
alliance of the Romanov dynasty with the dynasties of the Hohenzollerns and
the Habsburgs. The Russian Revolution of 1917 had this great merit: it so
delayed the separate peace between Russia and Germany that the Allies were
able to prepare for it. It had the merit, also, that it forced the
attainment of the separate peace to come in such a manner as to reduce
Germany's military gain on the western front to a minimum.

The manner in which the Bolsheviki in their wild, groping, and frenzied
efforts to apply theoretical abstractions to the living world, torn as it
was by the wolves of war, famine, treason, oppression, and despair, served
the foes of freedom and progress must not be lost sight of. The Bolshevist,
wherever he may present himself, is the foe of progress and the ally of




When the Duma assembled On November 14, 1916--new style--the approaching
doom of Czar Nicholas II was already manifest. Why the Revolution did not
occur at that time is a puzzle not easy to solve. Perhaps the mere fact
that the Duma was assembling served to postpone resort to drastic measures.
The nation waited for the Duma to lead. It is probable, also, that fear
lest revolution prove disastrous to the military forces exercised a
restraining influence upon the people. Certain it is that it would have
been easy enough to kindle the fires of revolution at that time. Never in
the history of the nation, not even in 1905, were conditions riper for
revolt, and never had there been a more solid array of the nation against
the bureaucracy. Discontent and revolutionary temper were not confined to
Socialists, nor to the lower classes. Landowners, capitalists, military
officials, and Intellectuals were united with the peasants and artisans, to
an even greater extent than in the early stages of the First Revolution.
Conservatives and Moderates joined with Social Democrats and
Socialist-Revolutionists in opposition to the corrupt and oppressive
régime. Even the president of the Duma, Michael Rodzianko, a conservative
landowner, assailed the government.

One of the principal reasons for this unexampled unity against the
government was the wide-spread conviction, based, as we have seen, upon the
most damning evidence, that Premier Sturmer and his Cabinet were not loyal
to the Allies and that they contemplated making a separate peace with
Germany. All factions in the Duma were bitterly opposed to a separate
peace. Rodzianko was loudly cheered when he denounced the intrigues against
the Allies and declared: "Russia gave her word to fight in common with the
Allies till complete and final victory is won. Russia will not betray her
friends, and with contempt refuses any consideration of a separate peace.
Russia will not be a traitor to those who are fighting side by side with
her sons for a great and just cause." Notwithstanding the intensification
of the class conflict naturally resulting from the great industrial
development since 1906, patriotism temporarily overshadowed all class

The cheers that greeted Rodzianko's declaration, and the remarkable ovation
to the Allied ambassadors, who were present, amply demonstrated that, in
spite of the frightful suffering and sacrifice which the nation had
endured, all classes were united in their determination to win the war.
Only a corrupt section of the bureaucracy, at one end of the social scale,
and a small section of extreme left-wing Socialists, at the other end of
the social scale, were at that time anti-war. There was this difference
between the Socialist pacifists and the bureaucratic advocates of peace
with Germany: the former were not pro-German nor anti-Ally, but sincere
internationalists, honest and brave--however mistaken--advocates of peace.
Outside of the bureaucracy there was no hostility to the Allies in Russia.
Except for the insignificant Socialist minority referred to, the masses of
the Russian people realized that the defeat of the Hohenzollern dynasty
was necessary to a realization of the ideal of a free Russia. The new and
greater revolution was already beginning, and determination to defeat the
Hohenzollern bulwark of the Romanov despotism was almost universal. The
whole nation was pervaded by this spirit.

Paul Miliukov, leader of the Constitutional Democrats, popularly known as
the "Cadets," furiously lashed Premier Sturmer and quoted the irrefutable
evidence of his pro-Germanism and of his corruption. Sturmer reeled under
the smashing attack. In his rage he forbade the publication of Miliukov's
speech, but hundreds of thousands of copies of it were secretly printed and
distributed. Every one recognized that there was war between the Duma and
the government, and notwithstanding the criticism of the Socialists, who
naturally regarded it as a bourgeois body, the Duma represented Russia.

Sturmer proposed to his Cabinet the dissolution of the Duma, but failed to
obtain the support of a majority. Then he determined to get the Czar's
signature to a decree of dissolution. But the Czar was at the General
Headquarters of the army at the time and therefore surrounded by army
officers, practically all of whom were with the Duma and inspired by a
bitter resentment of the pro-German intrigues, especially the neglect of
the army organization. The weak will of Nicholas II was thus beyond the
reach of Sturmer's influence for the time being. Meanwhile, the Ministers
of the Army and Navy had appeared before the Duma and declared themselves
to be on the side of the people and their parliament. On his way to visit
the Czar at General Headquarters, Premier Sturmer was met by one of the
Czar's messengers and handed his dismissal from office. The Duma had won.

The evil genius which inspired and controlled him led Nicholas II to
appoint as Sturmer's successor the utterly reactionary bureaucrat,
Alexander Trepov, and to retain in office as Minister of the Interior the
infamous Protopopov, associate of the unsavory Rasputin. When Trepov made
his first appearance as Premier in the Duma he was loudly hissed by the
Socialists. Other factions, while not concealing their disappointment, were
more tolerant and even became more hopeful when they realized that from the
first Trepov was fighting to oust Protopopov. That meant, of course, a
fight against Rasputin as well. Whatever Trepov's motives might be in
fighting Protopopov and Rasputin he was helping the opposition. But Trepov
was no match for such opponents. It soon became evident that as Premier he
was a mere figurehead and that Rasputin and Protopopov held the government
in their hands. Protopopov openly defied the Premier and the Duma.

In December it began to be rumored in political circles that Sturmer, who
was now attached in some not clearly defined capacity to the Foreign
Office, was about to be sent to a neutral country as ambassador. The rumor
created the utmost consternation in liberal circles in Russia and in the
Allied embassies. If true, it could only have one meaning, namely, that
arrangements were being made to negotiate a separate peace with
Germany--and that meant that Russia was to become Germany's economic

The Duma demanded a responsible Ministry, a Cabinet directly responsible
to, and controlled by, the Duma as the people's representative. This demand
had been constantly made since the First Revolution. Even the Imperial
Council, upon which the Czar had always been able to rely for support
against revolutionary movements, now joined forces with the Duma in making
this demand. That traditionally reactionary, bureaucratic body, composed
of former Premiers, Cabinet Ministers, and other high officials, formally
demanded that the Czar take steps to make the government responsible to the
popularly elected assemblage. This was a small revolution in itself. The
fabric of Czarism had cracked.


There can be no doubt in the mind of any student of Russian affairs that
the unity of the Imperial Council and the Duma, like the unity of classes,
was due to the strong pro-Ally sentiment which at that time possessed
practically the entire nation. On December 12th--new style--Germany offered
Russia a separate peace, and three days later the Foreign Minister,
Pokrovsky, visited the Duma and announced that Russia would reject the
offer. The Duma immediately passed a resolution declaring that "the Duma
unanimously favors a categorical refusal by the Allied governments to
enter, under present conditions, into any peace negotiations whatever." On
the 19th a similar resolution was adopted by the Imperial Council, which
continued to follow the leadership of the Duma. Before adjourning for the
Christmas holidays the Duma passed another resolution, aimed chiefly at
Protopopov and Sturmer, protesting against the sinister activities which
were undermining the war-making forces of the nation, and praising the work
of the zemstvos and working-class organizations which had struggled bravely
to sustain the army, feed the people, care for the sick and wounded, and
avert utter chaos.

On December 30th, in the early hours of the morning, the monk Rasputin was
murdered and his body thrown into the Neva. The strangest and most evil of
all the actors in the Russian drama was dead, but the system which made
him what he was lived. Rasputin dead exercised upon the diseased mind of
the Czarina--and, through her, upon the Czar--even a greater influence than
when he was alive. Nicholas II was as powerless to resist the insane
Czarina's influence as he had proved himself to be when he banished the
Grand-Duke Nicholas for pointing out that the Czarina was the tool of evil
and crafty intriguers. Heedless of the warning implied in the murder of
Rasputin, and of the ever-growing opposition to the government and the
throne, the Czar inaugurated, or permitted to be inaugurated, new measures
of reaction and repression.

Trepov was driven from the Premiership and replaced by Prince Golitizin, a
bureaucrat of small brain and less conscience. The best Minister of
Education Russia had ever had, Ignatyev, was replaced by one of the
blackest of all reactionaries. The Czar celebrated the New-Year by issuing
an edict retiring the progressive members of the Imperial Council, who had
supported the Duma, and appointing in their stead the most reactionary men
he could find in the Empire. At the head of the Council as president he
placed the notorious Jew-hating Stcheglovitov. As always, hatred of the Jew
sprang from fear of progress.

As one reads the history of January, 1917, in Russia, as it was reported in
the press day by day, and the numerous accounts of competent and
trustworthy observers, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that
Protopopov deliberately sought to precipitate a revolution. Mad as this
hypothesis seems to be, it is nevertheless the only one which affords a
rational explanation of the policy of the government. No sooner was
Golitizin made Premier than it was announced that the opening of the Duma
would be postponed till the end of January, in order that the Cabinet
might be reorganized. Later it was announced that the Duma opening would be
again postponed--this time till the end of February. In the reorganization
of the Cabinet, Shuvaviev, the War Minister, who had loyally co-operated
with the zemstvos and had supported the Duma in November, was dismissed.
Pokrovsky, the Foreign Minister, who had announced to the Duma in December
the rejection of the German peace offer, was reported to be "sick" and
given "leave of absence." Other changes were made in the Cabinet, in every
case to the advantage of the reactionaries. It was practically impossible
for anyone in Russia to find out who the Ministers of the government were.

Protopopov released Sukhomlinov, the former Minister of War who had been
justly convicted of treason. This action, taken, it was said, at the
direction of the Czarina, added to the already wide-spread belief that the
government was animated by a desire to make peace with Germany. That the
Czar himself was loyal to the Allies was generally believed, but there was
no such belief in the loyalty of Protopopov, Sturmer, and their associates.
The nation meantime was drifting into despair and anarchy. The railway
system was deliberately permitted to become disorganized. Hunger reigned in
the cities and the food reserves for the army were deliberately reduced to
a two days' supply. The terror of hunger spread through the large cities
and through the army at the front like prairie fire.

It became evident that Protopopov was carrying out the plans of the
Germanophiles, deliberately trying to disorganize the life of the nation
and make successful warfare impossible. Socialists and labor leaders
charged that his agents were encouraging the pacifist minority and opposing
the patriotic majority among the workers. The work of the War Industries
Committee which controlled organizations engaged in the manufacture of
war-supplies which employed hundreds of thousands of workers was hampered
in every way. It is the testimony of the best-known and most-trusted
working-class leaders in Russia that the vast majority of the workers,
while anxious for a general democratic peace, were opposed to a separate
peace with Germany and favored the continuation of the war against
Prussianism and the co-operation of all classes to that end. The pacifists
and "defeatist" Socialists represented a minority. To the minority every
possible assistance was given, while the leaders of the working class who
were loyal to the war, and who sought to sustain the morale of the workers
in support of the war, were opposed and thwarted in their efforts and, in
many cases, cast into prison. The Black Hundreds were still at work.

Socialist leaders of the working class issued numerous appeals to the
workers, warning them that Protopopov's secret police agitators were trying
to bring about strikes, and begging them not to lend themselves to such
treacherous designs, which could only aid Germany at the expense of
democracy in Russia and elsewhere. It became known, too, that large numbers
of machine-guns were being distributed among the police in Petrograd and
placed at strategic points throughout the city. It was said that Protopopov
was mad, but it was the methodical madness of a desperate, reactionary,
autocratic régime.


Protopopov and Sturmer and their associates recognized as clearly as the
liberals did the natural kinship and interdependence of the three great
autocracies, the Romanov, Habsburg, and Hohenzollern dynasties. They knew
well that the crushing of autocracy in Austria-Hungary and Germany would
make it impossible to maintain autocracy in Russia. They realized,
furthermore, that while the nation was not willing to attempt revolution
during the war, the end of the war would inevitably bring with it
revolution upon a scale far vaster than had ever been attempted before,
unless, indeed, the revolutionary leaders could be goaded into making a
premature attempt to overthrow the monarchy. In that case, it might be
possible to crush them. Given a rebellion in the cities, which could be
crushed by the police amply provided with machine-guns, and by "loyal"
troops, with a vast army unprovided with food and no means of supplying it,
there would be abundant justification for making a separate peace with
Germany. Thus the Revolution would be crushed and the whole system of
autocracy, Russian, Austrian, and German, preserved.

The morning of the 27th of February--new style--was tense with an ominous
expectancy. In the Allied chancelleries anxious groups were gathered. They
realized that the fate of the Allies hung in the balance. In Petrograd
alone three hundred thousand workers went out on strike that day, and the
police agents did their level best to provoke violence. The large bodies of
troops massed at various points throughout the city, and the police with
their machine-guns, testified to the thoroughness with which the government
had prepared to crush any revolutionary manifestations. Thanks to the
excellent discipline of the workers, and the fine wisdom of the leaders of
the Social Democrats, the Socialist-Revolutionists, and the Labor Group,
who constantly exhorted the workers not to fall into the trap set for them,
there was no violence.

At the opening session of the Duma, Kerensky, leader of the Labor Group,
made a characteristic address in which he denounced the arrest of the Labor
Group members of the War Industries Committee. He directed his attack
against the "system," not against individuals:

"We are living in a state of anarchy unprecedented in our history. In
comparison with it the period of 1613 seems like child's play. Chaos has
enveloped not only the political, but the economic life of the nation as
well. It destroys the very foundations of the nation's social economic

"Things have come to such a pass that recently one of the Ministries,
shipping coal from Petrograd to a neighboring city, had armed the train
with a special guard so that other authorities should not confiscate the
coal on the way! We have arrived already at the primitive stage when each
person defends with all the resources at his command the material in his
possession, ready to enter into mortal combat for it with his neighbor. We
are witnessing the same scenes which France went through at the time of the
Revolution. Then also the products shipped to Paris were accompanied by
special detachments of troops to prevent their being seized by the
provincial authorities....

"Behold the Cabinet of Rittich-Protopopov-Golitizin dragging into the court
the Labor Group of the War Industries Committee, charged with aiming at the
creation of a Russian Social-Democratic republic! They did not even know
that nobody aims at a 'Social-Democratic' republic. One aiming at a
republic labors for popular government. But has the court anything to say
about all these distinctions? We know beforehand what sentences are to be
imposed upon the prisoners....

"I have no desire to criticize the individual members of the Cabinet. The
greatest mistake of all is to seek traitors, German agents, separate
Sturmers. _We have a still greater enemy than the German influence, than
the treachery and treason of individuals. And that enemy is the system--the
system of a medieval form of government_."

How far the conspiracy of the government of Russia against the war of
Russia and her Allies extended is shown by the revelations made in the Duma
on March 3d by one of the members, A. Konovalov. He reported that two days
previously, March 1st, the only two members of the Labor Group of the War
Industries Committee who were not in prison issued an appeal to the workers
not to strike. These two members of the Labor Group of the War Industries
Committee, Anosovsky and Ostapenko, took their exhortation to the bureau of
the War Industries Committee for its approval. But, although approved by
this great and important organization, the appeal was not passed by the
government censor. When Guchkov, president of the War Industries Committee,
attempted to get the appeal printed in the newspapers he was prevented by
action emanating from the office of Protopopov.


Through all the early days of March there was labor unrest in Petrograd, as
well as in some other cities. Petrograd was, naturally, the storm center.
There were small strikes, but, fortunately, not much rioting. The extreme
radicals were agitating for the release of the imprisoned leaders of the
Labor Group and urging drastic action by the workers. Much of this
agitation was sincere and honest, but no little of it was due to the
provocative agents. These, disguised as workmen, seized every opportunity
to urge revolt. Any pretext sufficed them; they stimulated the honest
agitation to revolt as a protest against the imprisonment of the Labor
Group, and the desperate threat that unless food was forthcoming revolution
would be resorted to for sinister purposes. And all the time the police and
the troops were massed to crush the first rising.

The next few days were destined to reveal the fact that the cunning and
guile of Protopopov had overreached itself; that the soldiers could not be
relied upon to crush any uprising of the people. There was some rioting in
Petrograd on March 3d, and the next day the city was placed under martial
law. On March 7th the textile workers went out on strike and were quickly
followed by several thousand workers belonging to other trades. Next day
there was a tremendous popular demonstration at which the workers demanded
food. The strike spread during the next two or three days until there was a
pretty general stoppage of industry. Students from the university joined
with the striking workmen and there were numerous demonstrations, but
little disposition to violence. When the Cossacks and mounted police were
sent to break up the crowds, the Cossacks took great care not to hurt the
people, fraternizing with them and being cheered by them. It was evident
that the army would not let itself be used to crush the uprising of the
people. The police remained "loyal," but they were not adequate in numbers.
Protopopov had set in motion forces which no human agency could control.
The Revolution was well under way.

The Duma remained in constant session. Meantime the situation in the
capital was becoming serious in the extreme. Looting of stores began, and
there were many victims of the police efforts to disperse the crowds. In
the midst of the crisis the Duma repudiated the government and broke off
all relations with it. The resolution of the Duma declared that "The
government which covered its hands with the blood of the people should no
longer be admitted to the Duma. With such a government the Duma breaks all
relations forever." The answer of Czar Nicholas was an order to dissolve
the Duma, which order the Duma voted to ignore, remaining in session as

On Sunday, March 11th, there was a great outpouring of people at a
demonstration. Police established on the roofs of some public buildings
attacked the closely packed throngs with machine-gun fire, killing and
wounding hundreds. One of the famous regiments, the Volynski, revolted,
killed its commander, and joined the people when ordered to fire into the
crowds. Detachments of soldiers belonging to other regiments followed their
example and refused to fire upon the people. One or two detachments of
troops did obey orders and were immediately attacked by the revolutionary
troops. There was civil war in Petrograd.

While the fighting was still going on, the president of the Duma sent the
following telegram to the Czar:

    The situation is grave. Anarchy reigns in the capital. The
    government is paralyzed. The transport of provisions and fuel is
    completely disorganized. General dissatisfaction is growing.
    Irregular rifle-firing is occurring in the streets. It is
    necessary to charge immediately some person enjoying the
    confidence of the people to form a new government. It is
    impossible to linger. Any delay means death. Let us pray to God
    that the responsibility in this hour will not fall upon a crowned


The Duma waited in vain that night for an answer from the Czar. The
bourgeois elements in the Duma were terrified. Only the leaders of the
different Socialist groups appeared to possess any idea of providing the
revolutionary movement with proper direction. While the leaders of the
bourgeois groups were proclaiming their conviction that the Revolution
would be crushed in a few hours by the tens of thousands of troops in
Petrograd who had not yet rebelled, the Socialist leaders were busy
preparing plans to carry on the struggle. Even those Social Democrats who
for various reasons had most earnestly tried to avert the Revolution gave
themselves with whole-hearted enthusiasm to the task of organizing the
revolutionary forces. Following the example set in the 1905 Revolution,
there had been formed a central committee of the working-class
organizations to direct the movement. This body, composed of elected
representatives of the unions and Socialist societies, was later known as
the Council of Workmen's Deputies. It was this body which undertook the
organization of the Revolution. This Revolution, unlike that of 1905, was
initiated by the bourgeoisie, but its originators manifested little desire
and less capacity to lead it.

When Monday morning came there was no longer an unorganized, planless mass
confusedly opposing a carefully organized force, but a compact,
well-organized, and skilfully led movement. Processions were formed, each
under responsible directors with very definite instructions. As on the
previous day, the police stationed upon roofs of buildings, and at various
strategic points, fired upon the people. As on the previous day, also, the
soldiers joined the Revolution and refused to shoot the people. The famous
Guards' Regiment, long the pet and pride of the Czar, was the first to
rebel. The soldiers killed the officer who ordered them to fire, and then
with cheers joined the rebels. When the military authorities sent out
another regiment to suppress the rebel Guards' Regiment they saw the new
force go over to the Revolution in a body. Other regiments deserted in the
same manner. The flower of the Russian army had joined the people in
revolting against the Czar and the system of Czarism.

On the side of the revolutionists were now many thousands of well-trained
soldiers, fully armed. Soon they took possession of the Arsenal, after
killing the commander. The soldiers made organized and systematic warfare
upon the police. Every policeman seen was shot down, police stations were
set on fire, and prisons were broken open and the prisoners released. The
numerous political prisoners were triumphantly liberated and took their
places in the revolutionary ranks. In rapid succession the great bastiles
fell! Peter and Paul Fortress, scene of infinite martyrdom, fell into the
hands of the revolutionary forces, and the prisoners, many of them heroes
and martyrs of other uprisings, were set free amid frenzied cheering. The
great Schlüsselburg Fortress was likewise seized and emptied. With
twenty-five thousand armed troops on their side, the revolutionists were
practically masters of the capital. They attacked the headquarters of the
hated Secret Service and made a vast, significantly symbolical bonfire of
its archives.

Once more Rodzianko appealed to the Czar. It is no reflection upon
Rodzianko's honesty, or upon his loyalty to the people, to say that he was
appalled by the development of the struggle. He sympathized with the people
in their demand for political democracy and would wage war to the end upon
Czarism, but he feared the effect of the Revolution upon the army and the
Allied cause. Moreover, he was a landowner, and he feared Socialism. In
1906 he had joined forces with the government when the Socialists led the
masses--and now the Socialist leaders were again at the head of the masses.
Perhaps the result would have been otherwise if the Duma had followed up
its repudiation of the government by openly and unreservedly placing itself
at the head of the uprising. In any other country than Russia that would
have been done, in all probability, but the Russian bourgeoisie was weak.
This was due, like so much else in Russia, to the backwardness of the
industrial system. There was not a strong middle class and, therefore, the
bourgeoisie left the fighting to the working class. Rodzianko's new appeal
to the Czar was pathetic. When hundreds of dead and dying lay in the
streets and in churches, hospitals, and other public buildings, he could
still imagine that the Czar could save the situation: "The situation is
growing worse. It is necessary to take measures immediately, for to-morrow
it will be too late," he telegraphed. "The last hour has struck to decide
the fate of the country and of the dynasty." Poor, short-sighted bourgeois!
It was already "too late" for "measures" by the weak-minded Nicholas II to
avail. The "fate of the country and of the dynasty" was already determined!
It was just as well that the Czar did not make any reply to the message.

The new ruler of Russia, King Demos, was speaking now. Workers and soldiers
sent deputations to the Taurida Palace, where the Duma was sitting.
Rodzianko read to them the message he had sent to the Czar, but that was
small comfort. Thousands of revolutionists, civilian and military, stormed
the Taurida Palace and clamored to hear what the Socialists in the Duma had
to say. In response to this demand Tchcheidze, Kerensky, Skobelev, and
other Socialists from various groups appeared and addressed the people.
These men had a message to give; they understood the ferment and were part
of it. They were of the Revolution--bone of its bone, flesh of its flesh,
and so they were cheered again and again. And what a triumvirate they made,
these leaders of the people! Tchcheidze, once a university professor, keen,
cool, and as witty as George Bernard Shaw, listened to with the deference
democracy always pays to intellect.

Kerensky, lawyer by profession, matchless as an orator, obviously the
prophet and inspirer rather than the executive type; Skobelev, blunt,
direct, and practical, a man little given to romantic illusions. It was
Skobelev who made the announcement to the crowd outside the Taurida Palace
that the old system was ended forever and that the Duma would create a
Provisional Committee. He begged the workers and the soldiers to keep
order, to refrain from violence against individuals, and to observe strict
discipline. "Freedom demands discipline and order," he said.

That afternoon the Duma selected a temporary committee to restore order.
The committee, called the Duma Committee of Safety, consisted of twelve
members, representing all the parties and groups in the Duma. The hastily
formed committee of the workers met and decided to call on the workmen to
hold immediate elections for the Council of Workmen's Deputies--the first
meeting of which was to be held that evening. That this was a perilous
thing to do the history of the First Revolution clearly showed, but no
other course seemed open to the workers, in view of the attitude of the
bourgeoisie. On behalf of the Duma Committee, Rodzianko issued the
following proclamation:

    The Provisional Committee of the members of the Imperial Duma,
    aware of the grave conditions of internal disorder created by the
    measure of the old government, has found itself compelled to take
    into its hands the re-establishment of political and civil order.
    In full consciousness of the responsibility of its decision, the
    Provisional Committee expresses its trust that the population and
    the army will help it in the difficult task of creating a new
    government which will comply with the wishes of the population,
    and be able to enjoy its confidence.

    MICHAIL RODZIANKO, _Speaker of the Imperial Duma_.
    February 27, 1917.[4]

That night the first formal session of the Council of Workmen's Deputies
was held. Tchcheidze was elected president, Kerensky vice-president. The
deputies had been elected by the working-men of many factories and by the
members of Socialist organizations. It was not until the following day that
soldiers' representatives were added and the words "and Soldiers" added to
the title of the Council. At this first meeting the Council--a most
moderate and capable body--called for a Constituent Assembly on the basis
of equal, direct, and secret universal suffrage. This demand was contained
in an address to the people which read, in part:

    To finish the struggle successfully in the interests of democracy,
    the people must create their own powerful organization.

    The Council of the Workmen's Deputies, holding its session in the
    Imperial Duma, makes it its supreme task to organize the people's
    forces and their struggle for a final securing of political
    freedom and popular government in Russia.

    We appeal to the entire population of the capital to rally around
    the Council, to form local committees in the various boroughs, and
    to take over the management of local affairs.

    All together, with united forces, we will struggle for a final
    abolition of the old system and the calling of a Constituent
    Assembly on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret

This document is of the highest historical importance and merits close
study. As already noted, Tchcheidze, leader of the Mensheviki, was
president of the Council, and this appeal to the people shows how fully the
moderate views of his group prevailed. Indeed, the manner in which the
moderate counsels of the Mensheviki dominated the Council at a time of
great excitement and passion, when extremists might have been expected to
obtain the lead, is one of the most remarkable features of the whole story
of the Second Russian Revolution. It appeared at this time that the
Russian proletariat had fully learned the tragic lessons of 1905-06.

It is evident from the text of the appeal that at the time the Council
looked upon the Revolution as being primarily a political event, not as a
movement to reconstruct the economic and social system. There is no
reference to social democracy. Even the land question is not referred to.
How limited their purpose was at the moment may be gathered from the
statement, "The Council ... makes it its supreme task to organize the
people's forces and their struggle for a final securing of political
freedom and popular government." It is also clearly evident that,
notwithstanding the fact that the Council itself was a working-class
organization, a manifestation of the class consciousness of the workers,
the leaders of the Council did not regard the Revolution as a proletarian
event, nor doubt the necessity of co-operation on the part of all classes.
Proletarian exclusiveness came later, but on March 13th the appeal of the
Council was "to the entire population."

March 14th saw the arrest of many of the leading reactionaries, including
Protopopov and the traitor Sukhomlinov, and an approach to order. All that
day the representatives of the Duma and the representatives of the Council
of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies, as it was now called, embryo of the
first Soviet government, tried to reach an agreement concerning the future
organization of Russia. The representatives of the Duma were pitifully
lacking in comprehension of the situation. They wanted the Czar deposed,
but the monarchy itself retained, subject to constitutional limitations
analogous to those obtaining in England. They wanted the Romanov dynasty
retained, their choice being the Czar's brother, Grand-Duke Michael. The
representatives of the Soviet, on the other hand, would not tolerate the
suggestion that the monarchy be continued. Standing, as yet, only for
political democracy, they insisted that the monarchy must be abolished and
that the new government be republican in form. The statesmanship and
political skill of these representatives of the workers were immeasurably
superior to those possessed by the bourgeois representatives of the Duma.


Thursday, March 15, 1917--new style--was one of the most fateful and
momentous days in the history of mankind. It will always be remembered as
the day on which Czarism ceased to exist in Russia. At three o'clock in the
afternoon Miliukov, leader of the Constitutional Democrats, appeared in
front of the Taurida Palace and announced to the waiting throngs that an
agreement had been reached between the Duma and the Council of Workmen's
and Soldiers' Deputies; that it had been decided to depose the Czar, to
constitute immediately a Provisional Government composed of representatives
of all parties and groups, and to proceed with arrangements for the holding
of a Constituent Assembly at an early date to determine the form of a
permanent democratic government for Russia.

At the head of the Provisional Government, as Premier, had been placed
Prince George E. Lvov, who as president of the Union of Zemstvos had proved
himself to be a democrat of the most liberal school as well as an
extraordinarily capable organizer. The position of Minister of Foreign
Affairs was given to Miliukov, whose strong sympathy with the Allies was
well known. The position of Minister of Justice was given to Alexander
Kerensky, one of the most extraordinary men in Russia, a leader of the
Group of Toil, a party of peasant Socialists, vice-president of the Council
of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies. At the head of the War Department was
placed Alexander Guchkov, a soldier-politician, leader of the Octobrist
party, who had turned against the First Revolution in 1905, when it became
an economic war of the classes, evoking thereby the hatred of the
Socialists, but who as head of the War Industries Committee had achieved
truly wonderful results in the present war in face of the opposition of the
government. The pressing food problem was placed in the hands of Andrei
Shingarev. As Minister of Agriculture Shingarev belonged to the radical
left wing of the Cadets.

It cannot be said that the composition of the Provisional Government was
received with popular satisfaction. It was top-heavy with representatives
of the bourgeoisie. There was only one Socialist, Kerensky. Miliukov's
selection, inevitable though it was, and great as his gifts were, was
condemned by the radical working-men because he was regarded as a dangerous
"imperialist" on account of his advocacy of the annexation of
Constantinople. Guchkov's inclusion was equally unpopular on account of his
record at the time of the First Revolution. The most popular selection was
undoubtedly Kerensky, because he represented more nearly than any of the
others the aspirations of the masses. As a whole, it was the fact that the
Provisional Government was too fully representative of the bourgeois
parties and groups which gave the Bolsheviki and other radicals a chance to
condemn it.

The absence of the name of Tchcheidze from the list was a surprise and a
disappointment to most of the moderate Socialists, for he had come to be
regarded as one of the most capable and trustworthy leaders of the masses.
The fact that he was not included in the new government could hardly fail
to cause uneasy suspicion. It was said later that efforts had been made to
induce him to join the new government, but that he declined to do so.
Tchcheidze's position was a very difficult one. Thoroughly in sympathy with
the plan to form a coalition Provisional Government, and supporting
Kerensky in his position, Tchcheidze nevertheless declined to enter the new
Cabinet himself. In this he was quite honest and not at all the tricky
politician he has been represented as being.

Tchcheidze knew that the Duma had been elected upon a most undemocratic
suffrage and that it did not and could not represent the masses of the
peasants and wage-workers. These classes were represented in the Council of
Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies, which continued to exist as a separate
body, independent of the Duma, but co-operating with it as an equal. From a
Socialist point of view it would have been a mistake to disband the
Council, Tchcheidze believed. He saw Soviet government as the need of the
critical moment, rather than as the permanent, distinctive type of Russian
Social democracy as the critics of Kerensky have alleged.

While the Provisional Government was being created, the Czar, at General
Headquarters, was being forced to recognize the bitter fact that the
Romanov dynasty could no longer live. When he could no more resist the
pressure brought to bear upon him by the representatives of the Duma, he
wrote and signed a formal instrument of abdication of the Russian throne,
naming his brother, Grand-Duke Michael, as his successor. The latter dared
not attempt to assume the imperial rôle. He recognized that the end of
autocracy had been reached and declined to accept the throne unless chosen
by a popular referendum vote. On March 16th, the day after the abdication
of Nicholas II, Michael issued a statement in which he said:

    This heavy responsibility has come to me at the voluntary request
    of my brother, who has transferred the Imperial throne to me
    during a time of warfare which is accompanied by unprecedented
    popular disturbances.

    Moved by the thought, which is in the minds of the entire people,
    that the good of the country is paramount, I have adopted the firm
    resolution to accept the supreme power only if this be the will of
    our great people, who, by a plebiscite organized by their
    representatives in a Constituent Assembly, shall establish a form
    of government and new fundamental laws for the Russian state.

    Consequently, invoking the benediction of our Lord, I urge all
    citizens of Russia to submit to the Provisional Government,
    established upon the initiative of the Duma and invested with full
    plenary powers, until such time which will follow with as little
    delay as possible, as the Constituent Assembly, on a basis of
    universal, direct, equal, and secret suffrage, shall, by its
    decision as to the new form of government, express the will of the

The hated Romanov dynasty was ended at last. It is not likely that
Grand-Duke Michael entertained the faintest hope that he would ever be
called to the throne, either by a Constituent Assembly or by a popular
referendum. Not only was the Romanov dynasty ended, but equally so was
monarchical Absolutism itself. No other dynasty would replace that of the
Romanovs. Russia had thrown off the yoke of autocracy. The Second
Revolution was an accomplished fact; its first phase was complete.
Thoughtful men among the revolutionists recognized that the next phase
would be far more perilous and difficult. "The bigger task is still before
us," said Miliukov, in his address to the crowd that afternoon. A
Constituent Assembly was to be held and that was bound to intensify the
differences which had been temporarily composed during the struggle to
overthrow the system of Absolutism. And the differences which existed
between the capitalist class and the working class were not greater than
those which existed within the latter.




It required no great gift of prophecy to foretell the failure of the
Provisional Government established by the revolutionary coalition headed by
Prince Lvov. From the very first day it was evident that the Cabinet could
never satisfy the Russian people. It was an anomaly in that the Revolution
had been a popular revolution, while the Provisional Government was
overwhelmingly representative of the landowners, manufacturers, bankers,
and merchants--the despised and distrusted bourgeoisie. The very meager
representation given to the working class, through Kerensky, was, in the
circumstances, remarkable for its stupid effrontery and its disregard of
the most obvious realities. Much has been said and written of the
doctrinaire attitude which has characterized the Bolsheviki in the later
phases of the struggle, but if by doctrinairism is meant subservience to
preconceived theories and disregard of realities, it must be said that the
statesmen of the bourgeoisie were as completely its victims as the
Bolsheviki later proved to be. They were subservient to dogma and
indifferent to fact.

The bourgeois leaders of Russia--and those Socialists who co-operated with
them--attempted to ignore the biggest and most vital fact in the whole
situation, namely, the fact that the Revolution was essentially a
Socialist Revolution in the sense that the overwhelming mass of the people
were bent upon the realization of a very comprehensive, though somewhat
crudely conceived, program of socialization. It was not a mere political
Revolution, and political changes which left the essential social structure
unchanged, which did not tend to bring about equality of democratic
opportunity, and which left the control of the nation in the hands of
landowners and capitalists, could never satisfy the masses nor fail to
invite their savage attack. Only the most hopeless and futile of
doctrinaires could have argued themselves into believing anything else. It
was quite idle to argue from the experience of other countries that Russia
must follow the universal rule and establish and maintain bourgeois rule
for a period more or less prolonged. True, that had been the experience of
most nations, but it was foolish in the extreme to suppose that it must be
the experience of Russia, whose conditions were so utterly unlike those
which had obtained in any nation which had by revolution established
constitutional government upon a democratic basis.

To begin with, in every other country revolution by the bourgeoisie itself
had been the main factor in the overthrow of autocracy. Feudalism and
monarchical autocracy fell in western Europe before the might of a powerful
rising class. That this class in every case drew to its side the masses and
benefited by their co-operation must not be allowed to obscure the fact
that in these other countries of all the classes in society the bourgeoisie
was the most powerful. It was that fact which established its right to rule
in place of the deposed rulers. The Russian middle class, however, lacked
that historic right to rule. In consequence of the backwardness of the
nation from the point of view of industrial development, the bourgeoisie
was correspondingly backward and weak. Never in any country had a class so
weak and uninfluential essayed the rôle of the ruling class. To believe
that a class which at the most did not exceed six per cent. of the
population could assert and maintain its rule over a nation of one hundred
and eighty millions of people, when these had been stirred by years of
revolutionary agitation, was at once pedantic and absurd.

The industrial proletariat was as backward and as relatively weak as the
bourgeoisie. Except by armed force and tyranny of the worst kind, this
class could not rule Russia. Its fitness and right to rule are not
appreciably greater than the fitness and right of the bourgeoisie. It
cannot even be said on its behalf that it had waged the revolutionary
struggle of the working class, for in truth its share in the Russian
revolutionary movement had been relatively small, far less than that of the
peasant organizations. With more than one hundred and thirty-five millions
of peasants, from whose discontent and struggle the revolutionary movement
had drawn its main strength, neither the bourgeoisie nor the
class-conscious section of the industrial proletariat could set up its rule
without angry protest and attacks which, soon or late, must overturn it.
Every essential fact in the Russian situation, which was so unique, pointed
to the need for a genuine and sincere co-operation by the intelligent
leaders of all the opposition elements until stability was attained,
together with freedom from the abnormal difficulties due to the war. In any
event, the domination of the Provisional Government by a class so weak and
so narrow in its outlook and aims was a disaster. As soon as time for
reflection had been afforded the masses discontent and distrust were


From the first days there were ominous murmurings. Yet it must be confessed
that the Provisional Government manifested much greater enlightenment than
might have been expected of it and hastened to enact a program--quite
remarkable for its liberality and vision; a program which, had it come from
a government more truly representative in its personnel of revolutionary
Russia, might, with one important addition, have served as the foundation
of an enduring structure. On March 18th the Provisional Government issued a
statement of its program and an appeal to the citizens for support. This
document, which is said to have been the joint work of P.I. Novgorodtzev,
N.V. Nekrasov, and P.N. Miliukov, read as follows:

    CITIZENS: The Executive Committee of the Duma, with the
    aid and support of the garrison of the capital and its
    inhabitants, has succeeded in triumphing over the obnoxious forces
    of the old régime so that we can proceed to a more stable
    organization of the executive power, with men whose past political
    activity assures them the country's confidence.

    The new Cabinet will base its policy upon the following
    principles: _First_.--An immediate and general amnesty for all
    political and religious offenses, including terrorist acts and
    military and agrarian offenses.

    _Second_.--Liberty of speech and of the press; freedom for
    alliances, unions, and strikes, with the extension of these
    liberties to military officials, within the limits admitted by
    military requirements.

    _Third_.--Abolition of all social, religious, and national

    _Fourth_.--To proceed forthwith to the preparation and convocation
    of a Constituent Assembly, based on universal suffrage. This
    Assembly will establish a stable universal régime.

    _Fifth_.--The substitution of the police by a national militia,
    with chiefs to be elected and responsible to the municipalities.

    _Sixth_.--Communal elections to be based on universal, direct,
    equal, and secret suffrage.

    _Seventh_.--The troops which participated in the revolutionary
    movement will not be disarmed, but will remain in Petrograd.

    _Eighth_.--While maintaining strict military discipline for troops
    in active service, it is desirable to abrogate for soldiers all
    restrictions in the enjoyment of civil rights accorded other

    The Provisional Government desires to add that it has no intention
    of taking advantage of war conditions to delay the realization of
    the measures of reform above mentioned.

This address is worthy of especial attention. The generous liberalism of
the program it outlines cannot be denied, but it is political liberalism
only. It is not directly and definitely concerned with the great
fundamental economic issues which so profoundly affect the life and
well-being of the working class, peasants, and factory-workers alike. It is
the program of men who saw in the Revolution only a great epochal political
advance. In this it reflects its bourgeois origin. With the exception of
the right to organize unions and strikes--which is a political measure--not
one of the important economic demands peculiar to the working class is met
in the program. The land question, which was the economic basis of the
Revolution, and without which there could have been no Revolution, was not
even mentioned. And the Manifesto which the Provisional Government
addressed to the nation on March 20th was equally silent with regard to the
land question and the socialization of industry.

Evidently the Provisional Government desired to confine itself as closely
as possible to political democracy, and to leave fundamental economic
reform to be attended to by the Constituent Assembly. If that were its
purpose, it would have helped matters to have had the purpose clearly
stated and not merely left to inference. But whatever the shortcomings of
its first official statements, the actual program of the Provisional
Government during the first weeks was far more satisfactory and afforded
room for great hope. On March 21st the constitution of Finland was
restored. On the following day amnesty was granted to all political and
religious offenders. Within a few days freedom and self-government were
granted to Poland, subject to the ratification of the Constituent Assembly.
At the same time all laws discriminating against the Jews were repealed by
the following decree:

All existing legal restrictions upon the rights of Russian citizens, based
upon faith, religious teaching, or nationality, are revoked. In accordance
with this, we hereby repeal all laws existing in Russia as a whole, as well
as for separate localities, concerning:

    1. Selection of place of residence and change of residence.

    2. Acquiring rights of ownership and other material rights in all
    kinds of movable property and real estate, and likewise in the
    possession of, the use and managing of all property, or receiving
    such for security.

    3. Engaging in all kinds of trades, commerce, and industry, not
    excepting mining; also equal participation in the bidding for
    government contracts, deliveries, and in public auctions.

    4. Participation in joint-stock and other commercial or industrial
    companies and partnerships, and also employment in these companies
    and partnerships in all kinds of positions, either by elections or
    by employment.

    5. Employment of servants, salesmen, foremen, laborers, and trade

    6. Entering the government service, civil as well as military, and
    the grade or condition of such service; participation in the
    elections for the institutions for local self-government, and all
    kinds of public institutions; serving in all kinds of positions of
    government and public establishments, as well as the prosecution
    of the duties connected with such positions.

    7. Admission to all kinds of educational institutions, whether
    private, government, or public, and the pursuing of the courses of
    instruction of these institutions, and receiving scholarships.
    Also the pursuance of teaching and other educational professions.

    8. Performing the duties of guardians, trustees, or jurors.

    9. The use of language and dialects, other than Russian, in the
    proceedings of private societies, or in teaching in all kinds of
    private educational institutions, and in commercial bookkeeping.

Thus all the humiliating restrictions which had been imposed upon the
Jewish people were swept away. Had the Provisional Government done nothing
else than this, it would have justified itself at the bar of history. But
it accomplished much more than this: before it had been in office a month,
in addition to its liberation of Finns, Poles, and Jews, the Provisional
Government abolished the death penalty; removed all the provincial
governors and substituted for them the elected heads of the provincial
county councils; _confiscated the large land holdings of the Imperial
family and of the monasteries_; levied an excess war-profits tax on all war
industries; and fixed the price of food at rates greatly lower than had
prevailed before. The Provisional Government had gone farther, and, while
declaring that these matters must be left to the Constituent Assembly for
settlement, had declared itself in favor of woman suffrage and of _the
distribution of all land among the peasants, the terms and conditions of
expropriation and distribution to be determined by the Constituent

The Provisional Government also established a War Cabinet which introduced
various reforms into the army. All the old oppressive regulations were
repealed and an attempt made to democratize the military system. Some of
these reforms were of the utmost value; others were rather dangerous
experiments. Much criticism has been leveled against the rules providing
for the election of officers by the men in the ranks, for a conciliation
board to act in disputes between men and officers over questions of
discipline, and the abolition of the regulations requiring private soldiers
to address officers by the title "Sir." It must be borne in mind, however,
in discussing these things, that these rules represented a great, honest
effort to restore the morale of an army that had been demoralized, and to
infuse it with democratic faith and zeal in order that it might "carry on."
It is not just to judge the rules without considering the conditions which
called them forth.

Certainly the Provisional Government--which the government of the United
States formally recognized on March 22d, being followed in this by the
other Allied governments next day--could not be accused fairly of being
either slothful or unfaithful. Its accomplishments during those first weeks
were most remarkable. Nevertheless, as the days went by it became evident
that it could not hope to satisfy the masses and that, therefore, it could
not last very long.


The Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates was pursuing its
independent existence, under the leadership of Tchcheidze, Skobelev,
Tseretelli, and other moderate Social Democrats. As yet the Bolsheviki were
a very small and uninfluential faction, lacking capable leadership. There
can be very little doubt that the Council represented the feelings of the
great mass of the organized wage-earners far more satisfactorily than the
Provisional Government did, or that it was trusted to a far greater degree,
alike by the wage-earners of the cities and the peasants. A great
psychological fact existed, a fact which the Provisional Government and the
governments of the Allied nations might well have reckoned with: the
Russian working-people, artisans and peasants alike, were aggressively
class conscious and could trust fully only the leaders of their own class.

The majority of the Social Democratic party was, at the beginning, so far
from anything like Bolshevism, so thoroughly constructive and opportunistic
in its policies, that its official organ, _Pravda_--not yet captured by the
Bolsheviki--put forward a program which might easily have been made the
basis for an effective coalition. It was in some respects disappointingly
moderate: like the program of the Provisional Government, it left the land
question untouched, except in so far as the clause demanding the
confiscation of the property of the royal family and the Church bore upon
it. The Social Democratic party, reflecting the interests of the city
proletariat, had never been enthusiastic about the peasants' claim for
distribution of the land, and there had been much controversy between its
leaders and the leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary party, the party of
the peasants. The program as printed in Pravda read:

    1. A biennial one-house parliament.

    2. Wide extension of the principle of self-government.

    3. Inviolability of person and dwelling.

    4. Unlimited freedom of the press, of speech, and of assembly.

    5. Freedom of movement in business.

    6. Equal rights for all irrespective of sex, religion, and

    7. Abolition of class distinction.

    8. Education in native language; native languages everywhere to
    have equal rights with official language.

    9. Every nationality in the state to have the right of

    10. The right of all persons to prosecute officials before a jury.

    11. Election of magistrates.

    12. A citizen army instead of ordinary troops.

    13. Separation of Church from state and school from Church.

    14. Free compulsory education for both sexes to the age of

    15. State feeding of poor children.

    16. Confiscation of Church property, also that of the royal

    17. Progressive income tax.

    18. An eight-hour day, with six hours for all under eighteen.

    19. Prohibition of female labor where such is harmful to women.

    20. A clear holiday once a week to consist of forty-two hours on

It would be a mistake to suppose that this very moderate program embraced
all that the majority of the Social Democratic party aimed at. It was not
intended to be more than an ameliorative program for immediate adoption by
the Constituent Assembly, for the convocation of which the Social Democrats
were most eager, and which they confidently believed would have a majority
of Socialists of different factions.

In a brilliant and caustic criticism of conditions as they existed in the
pre-Bolshevist period, Trotzky denounced what he called "the farce of dual
authority." In a characteristically clever and biting phrase, he described
it as "The epoch of Dual Impotence, the government not able, and the Soviet
not daring," and predicted its culmination in a "crisis of unheard-of
severity."[5] There was more than a little truth in the scornful phrase. On
the one hand, there was the Provisional Government, to which the Soviet had
given its consent and its allegiance, trying to discharge the functions of
government. On the other hand, there was the Soviet itself, claiming the
right to control the course of the Provisional Government and indulging in
systematic criticism of the latter's actions. It was inevitable that the
Soviet should have been driven irresistibly to the point where it must
either renounce its own existence or oppose the Provisional Government.

The dominating spirit and thought of the Soviet was that of international
social democracy. While most of the delegates believed that it was
necessary to prosecute the war and to defeat the aggressions of the Central
Empires, they were still Socialists, internationalists, fundamental
democrats, and anti-imperialists. Not without good and sufficient reason,
they mistrusted the bourgeois statesmen and believed that some of the most
influential among them were imperialists, actuated by a desire for
territorial expansion, especially the annexation of Constantinople, and
that they were committed to various secret treaties entered into by the old
régime with England, France, and Italy. In the meetings of the Soviet, and
in other assemblages of workers, the ugly suspicion grew that the war was
not simply a war for national defense, for which there was democratic
sanction and justification, but a war of imperialism, and that the
Provisional Government was pursuing the old ways of secret diplomacy.

Strength was given to this feeling when Miliukov, the Foreign Minister, in
an interview championed the annexation of Constantinople as a necessary
safeguard for the outlet to the Mediterranean which Russian economic
development needed. Immediately there was an outcry of protest from the
Soviet, in which, it should be observed, the Bolsheviki were already
gaining strength and confidence, thanks to the leadership of Kamenev,
Lenine's colleague, who had returned from Siberian exile. It was not only
the Bolsheviki, however, who protested against imperialistic tendencies.
Practically the whole body of Socialists, Mensheviki and Bolsheviki alike,
agreed in opposing imperialism and secret diplomacy. Socialists loyal to
the national defense and Socialists who repudiated that policy and deemed
it treason to the cause of Socialism were united in this one thing.

The storm of protest which Miliukov's interview provoked was stilled
temporarily when the Premier, Lvov, announced that the Foreign Minister's
views concerning the annexation of Constantinople were purely personal and
did not represent the policy of the Provisional Government. Assurances were
given that the Provisional Government was in accord with the policy of the
Soviet. On April 16th a national congress of the Councils of Workmen's and
Soldiers' Delegates adopted a series of resolutions in which there was a
distinct menace to the Provisional Government. An earlier proclamation by
the Petrograd Soviet had taken the form of a letter addressed to
"Proletarians and Working-people of all Countries," but being in fact an
appeal to the German working class to rise and refuse to fight against
democratic and free Russia.[6] It declared that the peoples must take the
matter of deciding questions of war and peace into their own hands. The new
declaration was addressed to the Russian people:

    _First_.--The Provisional Government, which constituted itself
    during the Revolution, in agreement with the Council of Workmen's
    and Soldiers' Delegates of Petrograd, published a proclamation
    announcing its program. This Congress records that this program
    contains in principle political demands for Russian democracy, and
    _recognizes that so far the Provisional Government has faithfully
    carried out its promises_.

    _Second_.--This Congress appeals to the whole revolutionary
    democracy of Russia to rally to the support of the Council of
    Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, which is the center of the
    organized democratic forces that are capable, in unison with
    other progressive forces, of counteracting any counter
    revolutionary attempt and of consolidating the conquests of the

    _Third_.--The Congress recognizes the necessity of permanent
    political control, the necessity of exercising an influence over
    the Provisional Government which will keep it up to a more
    energetic struggle against anti-revolutionary forces, and the
    necessity of exercising an influence which will insure its
    democratizing the whole Russian life and paving the way for a
    common _peace without annexations or contributions_, but on a
    basis of free national development of all peoples.

    _Fourth_.--The Congress appeals to the democracy, while declining
    responsibility for any of its acts, to support the Provisional
    Government as long as it continues to consolidate and develop the
    conquest of the Revolution, _and as long as the basis of its
    foreign policy does not rest upon aspirations for territorial

    _Fifth_.--The Congress calls upon the revolutionary democracy of
    Russia, rallying around the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Delegates, to be ready to _vigorously suppress any attempt by the
    government to elude the control of democracy or to renounce the
    carrying out of its pledges_.[7]

On April 27th, acting under pressure from the Soviet, the Provisional
Government published a Manifesto to the Russian people in which it
announced a foreign policy which conformed to that which the Congress of
Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates had adopted. On May 1st
Miliukov, the Foreign Minister, transmitted this Manifesto to the Allied
governments as a preliminary to an invitation to those governments to
restate their war aims. Accompanying the Manifesto was a Note of
explanation, which was interpreted by a great many of the Socialists as an
intimation to the Allies that the Manifesto was intended merely for home
consumption, and that the Provisional Government would be glad to have the
Allies disregard it. It is difficult for any one outside of Russia, whose
sympathies were with the Entente Allies, to gather such an impression from
the text of the Note, which simply set forth that enemy attempts to spread
the belief that Russia was about to make a separate peace with Germany made
it necessary for the Provisional Government to state its "entire agreement"
with the aims of the Allies as set forth by their statesmen, including
President Wilson, and to affirm that "the Provisional Government, in
safeguarding the right acquired for our country, will maintain a strict
regard for its agreement with the allies of Russia."

Although it was explained that the Note had been sent with the knowledge
and approval of the Provisional Government, the storm of fury it produced
was directed against Miliukov and, in less degree, Guchkov. Tremendous
demonstrations of protest against "imperialism" were held. In the Soviet a
vigorous demand for the overthrow of the Provisional Government was made by
the steadily growing Bolshevik faction and by many anti-Bolsheviki
Socialists. To avert the disaster of a vote of the Soviet against it, the
Provisional Government made the following explanation of the so-called
Miliukov Note:

    The Note was subjected to long and detailed examination by the
    Provisional Government, and was unanimously approved. This Note,
    in speaking of a "decisive victory," had in view a solution of the
    problems mentioned in the communication of April 9th, and which
    was thus specified:

    "The government deems it to be its right and duty to declare now
    that free Russia does not aim at the domination of other nations,
    or at depriving them of their national patrimony, or at occupying
    by force foreign territories, but that its object is to establish
    a durable peace on the basis of the rights of nations to decide
    their own destiny.

    "The Russian nation does not lust after the strengthening of its
    power abroad at the expense of other nations. Its aim is not to
    subjugate or humiliate any one. In the name of the higher
    principles of equity, the Russian people have broken the chains
    which fettered the Polish nation, but it will not suffer that its
    own country shall emerge from the great struggle humiliated or
    weakened in its vital forces.

    "In referring to the 'penalties and guarantees' essential to a
    durable peace, the Provisional Government had in view the
    reduction of armaments, the establishment of international
    tribunals, etc.

    "This explanation will be communicated by the Minister of Foreign
    Affairs to the Ambassadors of the Allied Powers."

This assurance satisfied a majority of the delegates to the Soviet meeting
held on the evening of May 4th, and a resolution of confidence in the
Provisional Government was carried, after a very stormy debate. The
majority, however, was a very small one, thirty-five in a total vote of
about twenty-five hundred. It was clearly evident that the political
government and the Soviet, which was increasingly inclined to assume the
functions of government, were nearing a serious breach. With each day the
Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, as the organized expression
of the great mass of wage-workers in Petrograd, grew in power over the
Provisional Government and its influence throughout the whole of Russia. On
May 13th Guchkov resigned, and three days later Miliukov followed his
example. The party of the Constitutional Democrats had come to be
identified in the minds of the revolutionary proletariat with imperialism
and secret diplomacy, and was utterly discredited. The crisis developed an
intensification of the distrust of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat.


The crisis was not due solely to the diplomacy of the Provisional
Government. Indeed, that was a minor cause. Behind all the discussions and
disputes over Miliukov's conduct of the affairs of the Foreign Office there
was the far more serious issue created by the agitation of the Bolsheviki.
Under the leadership of Kamenev, Lenine, and others less well known, who
skillfully exploited the friction with the Provisional Government, the idea
of overthrowing that bourgeois body and of asserting that the Councils of
Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates would rule Russia in the interests of the
working class made steady if not rapid progress.

Late in April Lenine and several other active Bolshevik leaders returned to
Petrograd from Switzerland, together with Martov and other Menshevik
leaders, who, while differing from the Bolsheviki upon practically all
other matters, agreed with them in their bitter and uncompromising
opposition to the war and in demanding an immediate peace.[8] As is well
known, they were granted special facilities by the German Government in
order that they might reach Russia safely. Certain Swiss Socialist leaders,
regarded as strongly pro-German, arranged with the German Government that
the Russian revolutionists should be permitted to travel across Germany by
rail, in closed carriages. Unusual courtesies were extended to the
travelers by the German authorities, and it was quite natural that Lenine
and his associates should have been suspected of being sympathizers with,
if not the paid agents and tools of, the German Government. The manner in
which their actions, when they arrived in Russia, served the ends sought
by the German military authorities naturally strengthened the suspicion so
that it became a strong conviction.

Suspicious as the circumstances undoubtedly were, there is a very simple
explanation of the conduct of Lenine and his companions. It is not at all
necessary to conclude that they were German agents. Let us look at the
facts with full candor: Lenine had long openly advocated the view that the
defeat of Russia, even by Germany, would be good for the Russian
revolutionary movement. But that was in the days before the overthrow of
the Czar. Since that time his position had naturally shifted somewhat; he
had opposed the continuation of the war and urged the Russian workers to
withhold support from it. He had influenced the Soviets to demand a
restatement of war aims by the Allies, and to incessantly agitate for
immediate negotiations looking toward a general and democratic peace. Of
course, the preaching of such a policy in Russia at that time by a leader
so powerful and influential as Lenine, bound as it was to divide Russia and
sow dissension among the Allies, fitted admirably into the German plans.
That Germany would have been glad to pay for the performance of service so
valuable can hardly be doubted.

On his side, Lenine is far too astute a thinker to have failed to
understand that the German Government had its own selfish interests in view
when it arranged for his passage across Germany. But the fact that the
Allies would suffer, and that the Central Empires would gain some
advantage, was of no consequence to him. That was an unavoidable accident
and was purely incidental. His own purpose, to lead the revolutionary
movement into a new phase, in which he believed with fanatical
thoroughness, was the only thing that mattered in the least. If the
conditions had been reversed, and he could only have reached Russia by the
co-operation of the Allies, whose cause would be served, however
unintentionally, by his work, he would have felt exactly the same. On the
other hand, it was of the essence of his faith that his policy would lead
to the overthrow of all capitalist-imperialist governments, those of
Germany and her allies no less than those ranged on the other side. Germany
might reason that a revolutionary uprising led by Lenine would rid her of
one of her enemies and enable her to hurl larger forces against the foe on
the western front. At that reasoning Lenine would smile in derision,
thoroughly believing that any uprising he might bring about in Russia would
sweep westward and destroy the whole fabric of Austro-German
capitalist-imperialism. Lenine knew that he was being used by Germany, but
he believed that he, in turn, was using Germany. He was supremely confident
that he could outplay the German statesmen and military leaders.

It was a dangerous game that Lenine was playing, and he knew it, but the
stakes were high and worth the great risk involved. It was not necessary
for Germany to buy the service he could render to her; that service would
be an unavoidable accompaniment of his mission. He argued that his work
could, at the worst, give only temporary advantage to Germany. So far as
there is any evidence to show, Lenine has been personally incorruptible.
Holding lightly what he scornfully derides as "bourgeois morality," unmoral
rather than immoral, willing to use any and all means to achieve ends which
he sincerely believes to be the very highest and noblest that ever inspired
mankind, he would, doubtless, take German money if he saw that it would
help him to achieve his purposes. He would do so, however, without any
thought of self-aggrandizement. It is probably safe and just to believe
that if Lenine ever took money from the Germans, either at that time or
subsequently, he did so in this spirit, believing that the net result of
his efforts would be equally disastrous to all the capitalist governments
concerned in the war. It must be remembered, moreover, that the
distinctions drawn by most thoughtful men between autocratic governments
like those which ruled Germany and Austria and the more democratic
governments of France, England, and America, have very little meaning or
value to men like Lenine. They regard the political form as relatively
unimportant; what matters is the fundamental economic class interest
represented by the governments. Capitalist governments are all equally

What Lenine's program was when he left Switzerland is easily learned. A few
days before he left Switzerland he delivered a lecture on "The Russian
Revolution," in which he made a careful statement of his position. It gives
a very good idea of Lenine's mental processes. It shows him as a Marxist of
the most dogmatic type--the type which caused Marx himself to rejoice that
he was not a "Marxist":

    As to the revolutionary organization and its task, the conquest of
    the power of the state and militarism: From the praxis of the
    French Commune of 1871, Marx shows that "the working class cannot
    simply take over the governmental machinery as built by the
    bourgeoisie, and use this machinery for its own purposes." The
    proletariat must break down this machinery. And this has been
    either concealed or denied by the opportunists.[9] But it is the
    most valuable lesson of the Paris Commune of 1871 and the
    Revolution in Russia in 1905. The difference between us and the
    Anarchists is, that we admit the state is a necessity in the
    development of our Revolution. The difference with the
    opportunists and the Kautsky[10] disciples is that we claim that
    we do not need the bourgeois state machinery as completed in the
    "democratic" bourgeois republics, but _the direct power of armed
    and organized workers_. Such was the character of the Commune of
    1871 and of the Council of Workmen and Soldiers of 1905 and 1917.
    On this basis we build.[11]

Lenine went on to outline his program of action, which was to begin a new
phase of the Revolution; to carry the revolt against Czarism onward against
the bourgeoisie. Notwithstanding his scorn for democracy, he declared at
that time that his policy included the establishment of a "democratic
republic," confiscation of the landed estates of the nobility in favor of
the peasants, and the opening up of immediate peace negotiations. But the
latter he would take out of the hands of the government entirely. "Peace
negotiations should not be carried on by and with bourgeois governments,
but with the proletariat in each of the warring countries." In his
criticism of Kerensky and Tchcheidze the Bolshevik leader was especially
scornful and bitter.

In a letter which he addressed to the Socialists of Switzerland immediately
after his departure for Russia, Lenine gave a careful statement of his own
position and that of his friends. It shows an opportunistic attitude of
mind which differs from the opportunistic attitude of the moderate
Socialists _in direction only_, not in the _quality of being

    Historic conditions have made the Russians, _perhaps for a short
    period_, the leaders of the revolutionary world proletariat, _but
    Socialism cannot now prevail in Russia_. We can expect only an
    agrarian revolution, which will help to create more favorable
    conditions for further development of the proletarian forces and
    _may result in measures for the control of production and

    The main results of the present Revolution will have to be _the
    creation of more favorable conditions for further revolutionary
    development_, and to influence the more highly developed European
    countries into action.[12]

The Bolsheviki at this period had as their program the following:

(1) The Soviets of Workers, Soldiers, and Peasants to constitute themselves
into the actual revolutionary government and establish the dictatorship of
the proletariat; (2) immediate confiscation of landed estates without
compensation, the seizure to be done by the peasants themselves, without
waiting for legal forms or processes, the peasants to organize into
Soviets; (3) measures for the control of production and distribution by the
revolutionary government, nationalization of monopolies, repudiation of the
national debt; (4) the workers to take possession of factories and operate
them in co-operation with the technical staffs; (5) refusal by the Soviets
to recognize any treaties made by the governments either of the Czar or the
bourgeoisie, and the immediate publication of all such treaties; (6) the
workers to propose at once and publicly an immediate truce and negotiations
of peace, these to be carried on by the proletariat and not by and with the
bourgeoisie; (7) bourgeois war debts to be paid exclusively by the

According to Litvinov, who is certainly not an unfriendly authority, as
soon as Lenine arrived in Russia he submitted a new program to his party
which was so novel, and so far a departure from accepted Socialist
principles, that "Lenine's own closest friends shrank from it and refused
to accept it."[13]

This program involved the abandonment of the plans made for holding the
Constituent Assembly, or, at any rate, such a radical change as to amount
to the abandonment of the accepted plans. _He proposed that universal,
equal, direct, and secret suffrage be frankly abandoned, and that only the
industrial proletariat and the poorest section of the peasantry be
permitted to vote at all!_ Against the traditional Socialist view that
class distinctions must be wiped out and the class war ended by the
victorious proletariat, Lenine proposed to make the class division more
rigid and enduring. He proposed to give the sole control of Russia into the
hands of not more than two hundred thousand workers in a land of one
hundred and eighty millions of people, more than one hundred and
thirty-five millions of whom were peasants!

Of course, there could be no reconciliation between such views as these and
the universally accepted Socialist principle of democratic government.
Lenine did not hesitate to declare that democracy itself was a "bourgeois
conception" which the revolutionary proletariat must overthrow, a
declaration hard to reconcile with his demand for a "democratic republic."
Russia must not become a democratic republic, he argued, for a democratic
republic is a bourgeois republic. Again and again, during the time we are
discussing and later, Lenine assailed the principle of democratic
government. "Since March, 1917, the word 'democracy' is simply a shackle
fastened upon the revolutionary nation," he declared in an article written
after the Bolsheviki had overthrown Kerensky.[14]

When democracy is abolished, parliamentary government goes with it. From
the first days after his return to Russia Lenine advocated, instead of a
parliamentary republic similar to that of France or the United States, what
he called a Soviet republic, which would be formed upon these lines: local
government would be carried on by local Soviets composed of delegates
elected by "the working class and the poorest peasantry," to use a common
Bolshevik phrase which bothers a great many people whose minds insist upon
classifying peasants as "working-people" and part of the working class.
What Lenine means when he uses the phrase, and what Litvinov means[15] is
that the industrial wage-workers--to whom is applied the term "working
class"--must be sharply distinguished from peasants and small farmers,
though the very poorest peasants, not being conservative, as more
prosperous peasants are, can be united with the wage-workers.

These local Soviets functioning in local government would, in Lenine's
Soviet republic, elect delegates to a central committee of all the Soviets
in the country, and that central committee would be the state. Except in
details of organization, this is not materially different from the
fundamental idea of the I.W.W. with which we are familiar.[16] According to
the latter, the labor-unions, organized on industrial lines and federated
through a central council, will take the place of parliamentary government
elected on territorial lines. According to the Bolshevik plan, Soviets
would take the place held by the unions in the plan of the I.W.W. It is not
to be wondered at that, in the words of Litvinov, Lenine's own closest
friends shrank from his scheme and Lenine "was compelled to drop it for a


Bolshevism was greatly strengthened in its leadership by the return of Leon
Trotzky, who arrived in Petrograd on May 17th. Trotzky was born in Moscow
about forty-five years ago. Like Lenine, he is of bourgeois origin, his
father being a wealthy Moscow merchant. He is a Jew and his real name is
Bronstein. To live under an assumed name has always been a common practice
among Russian revolutionists, for very good and cogent reasons. Certainly
all who knew anything at all of the personnel of the Russian revolutionary
movement during the past twenty years knew that Trotzky was Bronstein, and
that he was a Jew. The idea, assiduously disseminated by a section of the
American press, that there must be something discreditable or mysterious
connected with his adoption of an alias is extremely absurd, and can only
be explained by monumental ignorance of Russian revolutionary history.

Trotzky has been a fighter in the ranks of the revolutionary army of Russia
for twenty years. As early as 1900 his activities as a Socialist
propagandist among students had landed him in prison in solitary
confinement. In 1902 he was exiled to eastern Siberia, whence he managed to
escape. During the next three years he lived abroad, except for brief
intervals spent in Russia, devoting himself to Socialist journalism. His
first pamphlet, published in Geneva in 1903, was an attempt to reconcile
the two factions in the Social Democratic party, the Bolsheviki and the
Mensheviki. He was an orthodox Marxist of the most extreme doctrinaire
type, and naturally inclined to the Bolshevik view. Yet he never joined the
Bolsheviki, preferring to remain aloof from both factions and steadfastly
and earnestly striving to unite them.

When the Revolution of 1905 broke out Trotzky had already attained
considerable influence among the Socialists. He was regarded as one of the
ablest of the younger Marxians, and men spoke of him as destined to occupy
the place of Plechanov. He became one of the most influential leaders of
the St. Petersburg Soviet, and was elected its president. In that capacity
he labored with titanic energy and manifested great versatility, as
organizer, writer, speaker, and arbiter of disputes among warring
individuals and groups. When the end came he was arrested and thrown into
prison, where he remained for twelve months. After that he was tried and
sentenced to life-exile in northern Siberia. From this he managed to
escape, however, and from 1907 until the outbreak of the war in 1914 he
lived in Vienna.

The first two years of the war he lived in France, doing editorial work for
a radical Russian Socialist daily paper, the _Nashe Slovo_. His writing,
together with his activity in the Zimmerwald movement of anti-war
Socialists, caused his expulsion from France. The Swiss government having
refused to permit him to enter Switzerland, he sought refuge in Spain,
where he was once more arrested and imprisoned for a short time. Released
through the intervention of Spanish Socialists, he set sail with his family
for New York, where he arrived early in January, 1917. Soon after the news
of the Russian Revolution thrilled the world Trotzky, like many other
Russian exiles, made hasty preparations to return, sailing on March 27th
on a Norwegian steamer. At Halifax he and his family, together with a
number of other Russian revolutionists, were taken from the ship and
interned in a camp for war prisoners, Trotzky resisting violently and
having to be carried off the ship. The British authorities kept them
interned for a month, but finally released them at the urgent demand of the
Foreign Minister of the Russian Provisional Government, Miliukov.

Such, in brief outline, is the history of the man Trotzky. It is a typical
Russian history: the story of a persistent, courageous, and exceedingly
able fighter for an ideal believed in with fanatical devotion. Lenine, in
one of his many disputes with Trotzky, called him "a man who blinds himself
with revolutionary phrases,"[17] and the description is very apt. He
possesses all the usual characteristics of the revolutionary Jewish
Socialists of Russia. To a high-strung, passionate, nervous temperament and
an exceedingly active imagination he unites a keen intellect which finds
its highest satisfaction in theoretical abstractions and subtleties, and
which accepts, phrases as though they were realities.

Understanding of Trotzky's attitude during the recent revolutionary and
counter-revolutionary struggles is made easier by understanding the
development of his thought in the First Revolution, 1905-06. He began as an
extremely orthodox Marxist, and believed that any attempt to establish a
Socialist order in Russia until a more or less protracted intensive
economic development, exhausting the possibilities of capitalism, made
change inevitable, must fail. He accepted the view that a powerful
capitalist class must be developed and perform its indispensable historical
rôle, to be challenged and overthrown in its turn by the proletariat. That
was the essence of his pure and unadulterated faith. To it he clung with
all the tenacity of his nature, deriding as "Utopians" and "dreamers" the
peasant Socialists who refused to accept the Marxian theory of Socialism as
the product of historic necessity as applicable to Russia.

The great upheaval of 1905 changed his viewpoint. The manner in which
revolutionary ideas spread among the masses created in Trotzky, as in many
others, almost unbounded confidence and enthusiasm. In an essay written
soon after the outbreak of the Revolution he wrote: "The Revolution has
come. _One move of hers has lifted the people over scores of steps, up
which in times of peace we would have had to drag ourselves with hardships
and fatigue_." The idea that the Revolution had "lifted the people over
scores of steps" possessed him and changed his whole conception of the
manner in which Socialism was to come. Still calling himself a Marxist, and
believing as strongly as ever in the fundamental Marxian doctrines, as he
understood them, he naturally devoted his keen mind with its peculiar
aptitude for Talmudic hair-splitting to a new interpretation of Marxism. He
declared his belief that in Russia it was possible to change from
Absolutism to Socialism immediately, without the necessity of a prolonged
period of capitalist development. At the same time, he maintained a
scornful attitude toward the "Utopianism" of the peasant Socialists, who
had always made the same contention, because he believed they based their
hopes and their policy upon a wrong conception of Socialism. He had small
patience for their agrarian Socialism with its economic basis in
peasant-proprietorship and voluntary co-operation.

He argued that the Russian bourgeoisie was so thoroughly infected with the
ills of the bureaucratic system that it was itself decadent; not virile
and progressive as a class aiming to possess the future must be. Since it
was thus corrupted and weakened, and therefore incapable of fulfilling any
revolutionary historical rôle, that became the _immediate_ task of the
proletariat. Here was an example of the manner in which lifting over
revolutionary steps was accomplished. Of course, the peasantry was in a
backward and even primitive state which unfitted it for the proletarian
rôle. Nevertheless, it had a class consciousness of its own, and an
irresistible hunger for land. Without this class supporting it, or, at
least, acquiescing in its rule, the proletariat could never hope to seize
and hold the power of government. It would be possible to solve the
difficulty here presented, Trotzky contended, if the enactment of the
peasant program were permitted during the Revolution and accepted by the
proletariat as a _fait accompli_. This would satisfy the peasants and make
them content to acquiesce in a proletarian dictatorship. Once firmly
established in power, it would be possible for the proletariat to gradually
apply the true Socialist solution to the agrarian problem and to convert
the peasants. "Once in power, the proletariat will appear before the
peasantry as its liberator," he wrote.

His imagination fired by the manner in which the Soviet of which he was
president held the loyalty of the masses during the revolutionary uprising,
and the representative character it developed, Trotzky conceived the idea
that it lent itself admirably to the scheme of proletarian dictatorship.
Parliamentary government cannot be used to impose and maintain a
dictatorship, whether of autocracy or oligarchy, bourgeoisie or
proletariat. In the Soviet, as a result of six weeks' experience in
abnormal times, during which it was never for a moment subjected to the
test of maintaining the economic life of the nation, Trotzky saw the ideal
proletarian government. He once described the Soviet as "a true,
unadulterated democracy," but, unless we are to dismiss the description as
idle and vain rhetoric, we must assume that the word "democracy" was used
in an entirely new sense, utterly incompatible with its etymological and
historical meaning. Democracy has always meant absence of class rule;
proletarian dictatorship is class rule.

In the foregoing analysis of the theoretical and tactical views which
Trotzky held during and immediately after the First Revolution, it is easy
to see the genesis of the policies of the Bolshevik government which came
twelve years later. The intervening years served only to deepen his
convictions. At the center of all his thinking during that period was his
belief in the sufficiency of the Soviet, and in the need of proletarian
dictatorship. Throwing aside the first cautious thought that these things
arose from the peculiar conditions existing in Russia as a result of her
retarded economic development, he had come to regard them as applicable to
all nations and to all peoples, except, perhaps, the peoples still living
in barbarism or savagery.


After the crisis which resulted in the resignation of Miliukov and Guchkov,
it was evident that the Lvov government could not long endure. The
situation in the army, as well as in the country, was so bad that the
complete reorganization of the Provisional Government, upon much more
radical lines, was imperative. The question arose among the revolutionary
working-class organizations whether they should consent to co-operation
with the liberal bourgeoisie in a new coalition Cabinet or whether they
should refuse such co-operation and fight exclusively on class lines. This,
of course, opened the entire controversy between Bolsheviki and Mensheviki.

In the mean time the war-weary nation was clamoring for peace. The army was
demoralized and saturated with the defeatism preached by the Porazhentsi.
To deal with this grave situation two important conventions were arranged
for, as follows: the Convention of Soldiers' Delegates from the Front,
which opened on May 10th and lasted for about a week, and the First
All-Russian Congress of Peasants' Delegates, which opened on May 17th and
lasted for about twelve days. Between the two gatherings there was also an
important meeting of the Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
Deputies, which dealt with the same grave situation. The dates here are of
the greatest significance: the first convention was opened three days
before Miliukov's resignation and was in session when that event occurred;
the second convention was opened four days after the resignation of
Miliukov and one day after that of Guchkov. It was Guchkov's unique
experience to address the convention of Soldiers' Delegates from the Front
as Minister of War and Marine, explaining and defending his policy with
great ability, and then, some days later, to address the same assembly as a
private citizen.

Guchkov drew a terrible picture of the seriousness of the military
situation. With truly amazing candor he described conditions and explained
how they had been brought about. He begged the soldiers not to lay down
their arms, but to fight with new courage. Kerensky followed with a long
speech, noble and full of pathos. In some respects, it was the most
powerful of all the appeals it fell to his lot to make to his people, who
were staggering in the too strong sunlight of an unfamiliar freedom. He
did not lack courage to speak plainly: "My heart and soul are uneasy. I am
greatly worried and I must say so openly, no matter what ... the
consequences will be. The process of resurrecting the country's creative
forces for the purpose of establishing the new régime rests on the basis of
liberty and personal responsibility.... A century of slavery has not only
demoralized the government and transformed the old officials into a band of
traitors, _but it has also destroyed in the people themselves the
consciousness of their responsibility for their fate, their country's
destiny_." It was in this address that he cried out in his anguish: "I
regret that I did not die two months ago. I would have died happy with the
dream that the flame of a new life has been kindled in Russia, hopeful of a
time when we could respect one another's right without resorting to the

To the soldiers Kerensky brought this challenge: "You fired on the people
when the government demanded. But now, when it comes to obeying your own
revolutionary government, you can no longer endure further sacrifice! Does
this mean that free Russia is a nation of rebellious slaves?" He closed
with an eloquent peroration: "I came here because I believe in my right to
tell the truth as I understand it. People who even under the old régime
went about their work openly and without fear of death, those people, I
say, will not be terrorized. The fate of our country is in our hands and
the country is in great danger. We have sipped of the cup of liberty and we
are somewhat intoxicated; we are in need of the greatest possible sobriety
and discipline. We must go down in history meriting the epitaph on our
tombstones, 'They died, but they were never slaves.'"

From the Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies came I.G.
Tseretelli, who had just returned from ten years' Siberian exile. A native
of Georgia, a prince, nearly half of his forty-two years had been spent
either in Socialist service or in exile brought about by such service. A
man of education, wise in leadership and a brilliant orator, his leadership
of the Socialist Group in the Second Duma had marked him as one of the
truly great men of Russia. To the Convention of Soldiers' Delegates from
the Front Tseretelli brought the decisions of the Council of Workmen's and
Soldiers' Deputies, in shaping which he had taken an important part with
Tchcheidze, Skobelev, and others. The Council had decided "to send an
appeal to the soldiers at the front, and to explain to them that _in order
to bring about universal peace it is necessary to defend the Revolution and
Russia by defending the front_." This action had been taken despite the
opposition of the Bolsheviki, and showed that the moderate Socialists were
still in control of the Soviet. An Appeal to the Army, drawn up by
Tseretelli, was adopted by the vote of every member except the Bolsheviki,
who refrained from voting. This Appeal to the Army Tseretelli presented to
the Soldiers' Delegates from the Front:

    Comrades, soldiers at the front, in the name of the Revolutionary
    Democracy, we make a fervent appeal to you.

    A hard task has fallen to your lot. You have paid a dear price,
    you have paid with your blood, a dear price indeed, for the crimes
    of the Czar who sent you to fight and left you without arms,
    without ammunition, without bread!

    Why, the privation you now suffer is the work of the Czar and his
    coterie of self-seeking associates who brought the country to
    ruin. And the Revolution will need the efforts of many to overcome
    the disorganization left her as a heritage by these robbers and

    The working class did not need the war. The workers did not begin
    it. It was started by the Czars and capitalists of all countries.
    Each day of war is for the people only a day of unnecessary
    suffering and misfortune. Having dethroned the Czar, the Russian
    people have selected for their first problem the ending of the war
    in the quickest possible manner.

    The Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies has appealed to
    all nations to end the butchery. We have appealed to the French
    and the English, to the Germans and the Austrians.[18] Russia
    wants an answer to this appeal. Remember, however, comrades and
    soldiers, that our appeal will be of no value if the regiments of
    Wilhelm overpower Revolutionary Russia before our brothers, the
    workers and peasants of other countries, will be able to respond.
    Our appeal will become "a scrap of paper" if the whole strength of
    the revolutionary people does not stand behind it, if the triumph
    of Wilhelm Hohenzollern will be established on the ruins of
    Russian freedom. The ruin of free Russia will be a tremendous,
    irreparable misfortune, not only for us, but for the toilers of
    the whole world.

    Comrades, soldiers, defend Revolutionary Russia with all your

    The workers and peasants of Russia desire peace with all their
    soul. But this peace must be universal, a peace for all nations
    based on the agreement of all.

    What would happen if we should agree to a separate peace--a peace
    for ourselves alone! What would happen if the Russian soldiers
    were to stick their bayonets into the ground to-day and say that
    they do not care to fight any longer, that it makes no difference
    to them what happens to the whole world!

    Here is what would happen. Having destroyed our allies in the
    west, German Imperialism would rush in upon us with all the force
    of its arms. Germany's imperialists, her landowners and
    capitalists, would put an iron heel on our necks, would occupy our
    cities, our villages, and our land, and would force us to pay
    tribute to her. Was it to bow down at the feet of Wilhelm that we
    overthrew Nicholas?

    Comrades--soldiers! The Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Deputies leads you to peace by another route. We lead you to peace
    by calling upon the workers and peasants of Serbia and Austria to
    rise and revolt; we lead you to peace by calling an international
    conference of Socialists for a universal and determined revolt
    against war. There is a great necessity, comrades--soldiers, for
    the peoples of the world to awaken. Time is needed in order that
    they should rebel and with an iron hand force their Czars and
    capitalists to peace. Time is needed so that the toilers of all
    lands should join with us for a merciless war upon violators and

    _But remember, comrades--soldiers, this time will never come if
    you do not stop the advance of the enemy at the front, if your
    ranks are crushed and under the feet of Wilhelm falls the
    breathless corpse of the Russian Revolution_.

    Remember, comrades, that at the front, in the trenches, you are
    now standing in defense of Russia's freedom. You defend the
    Revolution, you defend your brothers, the workers and peasants.
    Let this defense be worthy of the great cause and the great
    sacrifices already made by you. _It is impossible to defend the
    front if, as has been decided, the soldiers are not to leave the
    trenches under any circumstances_.[19] At times only an attack can
    repulse and prevent the advance of the enemy. At times awaiting an
    attack means patiently waiting for death. Again, only the change
    to an advance may save you or your brothers, on other sections of
    the front, from destruction.

    Remember this, comrades--soldiers! Having sworn to defend Russian
    freedom, do not refuse to start the offensive the military
    situation may require. The freedom and happiness of Russia are in
    your hands.

    In defending this freedom be on the lookout for betrayal and
    trickery. The fraternization which is developing on the front can
    easily turn into such a trap.

    Revolutionary armies may fraternize, but with whom? With an army
    also revolutionary, which has decided to die for peace and
    freedom. At present, however, not only in the German army, but
    even in the Austro-Hungarian army, in spite of the number of
    individuals politically conscious and honest, there is no
    revolution. In those countries the armies are still blindly
    following Wilhelm and Charles, the landowners and capitalists, and
    agree to annexation of foreign soil, to robberies and violence.
    There the General Staff will make use not only of your credulity,
    but also of the blind obedience of their soldiers. You go out to
    fraternize with open hearts. And to meet you an officer of the
    General Staff leaves the enemies' trenches, disguised as a common
    soldier. You speak with the enemy without any trickery. At that
    very time he photographs the surrounding territory. You stop the
    shooting to fraternize, but behind the enemies' trenches artillery
    is being moved, new positions built and troops transferred.

    Comrades--soldiers, not by fraternization will you get peace, not
    by separate agreements made at the front by single companies,
    battalions, or regiments. Not in separate peace or in a separate
    truce lies the salvation of the Russian Revolution, the triumph of
    peace for the whole world.

    The people who assure you that fraternizing is the road to peace
    lead you to destruction. Do not believe them. The road to peace is
    a different one. It has been pointed out to you already by the
    Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies: tread it. Sweep aside
    everything that weakens your fighting power, that brings into the
    army disorganization and loss of spirit.

    Your fighting power serves the cause of peace. The Council of
    Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies is able to continue its
    revolutionary work with all its might, to develop its struggle for
    peace, only by depending on you, knowing that you will not allow
    the military destruction of Russia.

    Comrades--soldiers, the workers and peasants, not only of Russia,
    but of the whole world, look to you with confidence and hope.

    Soldiers of the Revolution, you will prove worthy of this faith,
    for you know that your military tasks serve the cause of peace.

    In the name of the happiness and freedom of Revolutionary Russia,
    in the name of the coming brotherhood of nations, you will fulfil
    your military duties with unconquerable strength.

Again and again Tseretelli was interrupted with cheers as he read this
Appeal to the Army. He was cheered, too, when he explained that the Soviet
had decided to support the reconstructed Provisional Government and called
upon the soldiers to do likewise. There was a storm of applause when he
said: "We well realize the necessity of having a strong power in Russia;
however, the strength of this power must rely upon its progressive and
revolutionary policy. Our government must adopt the revolutionary slogans
of democracy. It must grant the demands of the revolutionary people. It
must turn over all land to the laboring peasantry. It must safeguard the
interests of the working class, enacting improved social legislation for
the protection of labor. It must lead Russia to a speedy and lasting peace
worthy of a great people."

When Plechanov was introduced to the convention as "the veteran of the
Russian Revolution" he received an ovation such as few men have ever been
accorded. The great Socialist theorist plunged into a keen and forceful
attack upon the theories of the Bolsheviki. He was frequently interrupted
by angry cries and by impatient questionings, which he answered with
rapier-like sentences. He was asked what a "democratic" government should
be, and replied:

"I am asked, 'What should a democratic government be? My answer is: It
should be a government enjoying the people's full confidence and
sufficiently strong to prevent any possibility of anarchy. Under what
condition, then, can such a strong, democratic government be established?
In my opinion it is necessary, for this purpose, _that the government be
composed of representatives of all those parts of the population that are
not interested in the restoration of the old order. What is called a
coalition Ministry is necessary_. Our comrades, the Socialists,
acknowledging the necessity of entering the government, can and should set
forth definite conditions, definite demands. _But there should be no
demands that would be unacceptable to the representatives of other classes,
to the spokesmen of other parts of the population_."

"Would you have us Russian proletarians fight in this war for England's
colonial interests?" was one of the questions hurled at Plechanov, and
greeted by the jubilant applause of the Bolsheviki. Plechanov replied with
great spirit, his reply evoking a storm of cheers: "The answer is clear to
every one who accepts the principle of self-determination of nations," he
said. "The colonies are not deserts, but populated localities, and their
populations should also be given the right to determine freely their own
destinies. It is clear that Russia cannot fight for the sake of any one's
predatory aspirations. _But I am surprised that the question of annexations
is raised in Russia, whose sixteen provinces are under the Prussian heel!_
I do not understand this exclusive solicitude for Germany's interests."

To those who advocated fraternization, who were engaged in spreading the
idea that the German working class would refuse to fight against the
Russian revolutionists, the great Socialist teacher, possessing one of the
ripest minds in the whole international Socialist movement, and an intimate
knowledge of the history of that movement, made vigorous reply and recited
a significant page of Socialist history:

"In the fall of 1906, when Wilhelm was planning to move his troops on the
then revolutionary Russia, I asked my comrades, the German Social
Democrats, 'What will you do in case Wilhelm declares war on Russia?' At
the party convention in Mannheim, Bebel gave me an answer to this question.
Bebel introduced a resolution in favor of the declaration of a general
strike in the event of war being declared on Russia. But this resolution
was not adopted; _members of the trade-unions voted against it_. This is a
fact which you should not forget. Bebel had to beat a retreat and introduce
another resolution. Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg were dissatisfied with
Bebel's conduct. I asked Kautsky whether there is a way to bring about a
general strike against the workers' will. As there is no such way, there
was nothing else that Bebel could do. _And if Wilhelm had sent his hordes
to Russia in 1906, the German workers would not have done an earthly thing
to prevent the butchery_. In September, 1914, the situation was still

The opposition to Plechanov on the part of some of the delegates was an
evidence of the extent to which disaffection, defeatism, and the readiness
to make peace at any price almost--a general peace preferably, but, if not,
then a separate peace--had permeated even the most intelligent part of the
Russian army. Bolshevism and its ally, defeatism, were far more influential
in the ranks of the soldiers than in those of the workers in the factories.
Yet the majority was with Kerensky, Tseretelli, and Plechanov, as the
following resolutions adopted by the convention prove:

    The first convention of the Delegates from the Front, having heard
    reports on current problems from the representatives of the
    Provisional Government, members of the Executive Committee of the
    Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, and from
    representatives of the Socialist parties, and having considered
    the situation, hereby resolves:

    (1) That the disorganization of the food-supply system and the
    weakening of the army's fighting capacity, due to a distrust of a
    majority of the military authorities, to lack of inner
    organization, and to other temporary causes, have reached such a
    degree that the freedom won by the Revolution is seriously

    (2) That the sole salvation lies in establishing a government
    enjoying the full confidence of the toiling masses, in the
    awakening of a creative revolutionary enthusiasm, and in concerted
    self-sacrificing work on the part of all the elements of the

    The convention extends to the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Delegates its warmest appreciation of the latter's
    self-sacrificing and honest work for the strengthening of the new
    order in Russia, in the interests of the Russian Democracy and at
    the same time wishes to see, in the nearest possible future, the
    above Council transformed into an All-Russian Council of Workmen's
    and Soldiers' Delegates.

    _The convention is of the opinion that the war is at present
    conducted for purposes of conquest and against the interests of
    the masses_, and it, therefore, urges the Council of Workmen's and
    Soldiers' Delegates to take the most energetic and effective
    measures for the purpose of ending this butchery, on the basis of
    free self-determination of nations and of renunciation by all
    belligerent countries of annexations and indemnities. Not a drop
    of Russian blood shall be given for aims foreign to us.

    Considering that the earliest possible achievement of this purpose
    is contingent only upon a strong revolutionary army, which would
    defend freedom and government, and be fully supported by the
    organized Revolutionary Democracy, that is, by the Council of
    Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, responsible for its acts to the
    whole country, the convention welcomes the responsible decision of
    the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates to take part in
    the new Provisional Government.

    The convention demands that the representatives of the Church give
    up for the country's benefit the treasures and funds now in the
    possession of churches and monasteries. The convention makes an
    urgent appeal to all parts of the population.

    1. To the comrade-soldiers in the rear: Comrades! Come to fill up
    our thinning ranks in the trenches and rise shoulder to shoulder
    with us for the country's defense!

    2. Comrade-workers! Work energetically and unite your efforts, and
    in this way help us in our last fight for universal peace for
    nations! By strengthening the front you will strengthen freedom!

    3. Fellow-citizens of the capitalist class! Follow the historic
    example of Minin! Even as he, open your treasuries and quickly
    bring your money to the aid of Russia!

    4. To the peasants: Fathers and Brothers! Bring your last mite to
    help the weakening front! Give us bread, and oats and hay to our
    horses. Remember that the future Russia will be yours!

    5. Comrades-Intellectuals! Come to us and bring the light of
    knowledge into our dark trenches! Share with us the difficult work
    of advancing Russia's freedom and prepare us for the citizenship
    of new Russia!

    6. To the Russian women: Support your husbands and sons in the
    performing of their civil duty to the country! Replace them where
    this is not beyond your strength! Let your scorn drive away all
    those who are slackers in these difficult times!

No one can read this declaration without a deep sense of the lofty and
sincere citizenship of the brave men who adopted it as their expression.
The fundamental loyalty of these leaders of the common soldiers, their
spokesmen and delegates, is beyond question. Pardonably weary of a war in
which they had been more shamefully betrayed and neglected than any other
army in modern times, frankly suspicious of capitalist governments which
had made covenants with the hated Romanov dynasty, they were still far from
being ready to follow the leadership of Bolsheviki. They had, instead,
adopted the sanely constructive policy of Tchcheidze, Tseretelli, Skobelev,
Plechanov, and other Socialists who from the first had seen the great
struggle in its true perspective. That they did not succeed in averting
disaster is due in part to the fact that the Revolution itself had come too
late to make military success possible, and in part to the failure of the
governments allied with Russia to render intelligent aid.


The Provisional Government was reorganized. Before we consider the actions
of the All-Russian Congress of Peasants' Delegates, one of the most
important gatherings of representatives of Russian workers ever held, the
reorganization of the Provisional Government merits attention. On the 17th,
at a special sitting of the Duma, Guchkov and Miliukov explained why they
had resigned. Guchkov made it a matter of conscience. Anarchy had entered
into the administration of the army and navy, he said: "In the way of
reforms the new government has gone very far. Not even in the most
democratic countries have the principles of self-government, freedom, and
equality been so extensively applied in military life. We have gone
somewhat farther than the danger limit, and the impetuous current drives us
farther still.... I could not consent to this dangerous work; I could not
sign my name to orders and laws which in my opinion would lead to a rapid
deterioration of our military forces. A country, and especially an army,
cannot be administered on the principles of meetings and conferences."

Miliukov told his colleagues of the Duma that he had not resigned of his
own free will, but under pressure: "I had to resign, yielding not to force,
but to the wish of a considerable majority of my colleagues. With a clear
conscience I can say that I did not leave on my own account, but was
compelled to leave." Nevertheless, he said, the foreign policy he had
pursued was the correct one. "You could see for yourselves that my activity
in foreign politics was in accord with your ideas," he declared amid
applause which eloquently testified to the approval with which the
bourgeoisie regarded policies and tendencies which the proletariat
condemned. He pointed out that the pacifist policies of Zimmerwald and
Keinthal had permeated a large part of the Socialist movement, and that the
Soviet, the Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, claiming to
exercise control over the Provisional Government, were divided. He feared
that the proposal to establish a Coalition Government would not lead to
success, because of "discord in the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
Delegates itself." Not all the members of the latter body were agreed upon
entering into a Coalition Government, and "it is evident that those who do
not enter the government will continue to criticize those who have entered,
and it is possible that the Socialists who enter the Cabinet will find
themselves confronted with the same storm of criticism as the government
did before." Still, because it meant the creation of a stronger government
at once, which was the most vital need, he, like Guchkov, favored a
coalition which would ally the Constitutional Democratic party with the
majority of the Socialists.

The Soviet had decided at its meeting on May 14th to participate in a
Coalition Ministry. The struggle upon that question between Bolsheviki and
Mensheviki was long and bitter. The vote, which was forty-one in favor of
participation to nineteen against, probably fairly represented the full
strength of Bolshevism in its stronghold. After various conferences between
Premier Lvov and the other Ministers, on the one side, and representatives
of the Soviet, on the other side, a new Provisional Government was
announced, with Prince Lvov again Prime Minister. In the new Cabinet there
were seven Constitutional Democrats, six Socialists, and two Octobrists. As
Minister of War and head of the army and navy Alexander Kerensky took the
place of Guchkov, while P.N. Pereverzev, a clever member of the
Socialist-Revolutionary party, succeeded Kerensky as Minister of Justice.
In Miliukov's position at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was
placed M.I. Terestchenko, a wealthy sugar-manufacturer, member of the
Constitutional-Democratic party, who had held the post of Minister of
Finance, which was now given to A.I. Shingariev, a brilliant member of the
same party, who had proved his worth and capacity as Minister of
Agriculture. To the latter post was appointed V.M. Chernov, the leader of
the Socialist-Revolutionists, one of the most capable Socialists in Russia,
or, for that matter, the world. Other Socialists of distinction in the new
Provisional Government were I.G. Tseretelli, as Minister of Posts and
Telegraphs, and M.I. Skobelev, as Minister of Labor. As Minister of Supply
an independent Socialist, A.V. Peshekhonov, was chosen.

It was a remarkable Cabinet. So far as the Socialists were concerned, it
would have been difficult to select worthier or abler representatives. As
in the formation of the First Provisional Government, attempts had been
made to induce Tchcheidze to accept a position in the Cabinet, but without
success. He could not be induced to enter a Coalition Ministry, though he
strongly and even enthusiastically supported in the Soviet the motion to
participate in such a Ministry. Apart from the regret caused by
Tchcheidze's decision, it was felt on every hand that the Socialists had
sent into the Second Provisional Government their strongest and most
capable representatives; men who possessed the qualities of statesmen and
who would fill their posts with honorable distinction and full loyalty. On
the side of the Constitutional Democrats and the Octobrists, too, there
were men of sterling character, distinguished ability, and very liberal
minds. The selection of Terestchenko as Minister of Foreign Affairs was by
many Socialists looked upon with distrust, but, upon the whole, the
Coalition Ministry met with warm approbation. If any coalition of the sort
could succeed, the Cabinet headed by Prince Lvov might be expected to do

On the 18th, the Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates
adopted a resolution, introduced by Tchcheidze, president of the Council,
warmly approving the entrance of the Socialist Ministers into the Cabinet
and accepting the declaration of the new Provisional Government as
satisfactory. This resolution was bitterly opposed by the Bolsheviki, who
were led in the fight by Trotzky. This was Trotzky's first speech in
Petrograd since his arrival the previous day from America. His speech was a
demagogic appeal against co-operation with any bourgeois elements.
Participation in the Coalition Ministry by the Socialists was a dangerous
policy, he argued, since it sacrificed the fundamental principle of class
struggle. Elaborating his views further, he said: "I never believed that
the emancipation of the working class will come from above. Division of
power will not cease with the entrance of the Socialists into the Ministry.
A strong revolutionary power is necessary. The Russian Revolution will not
perish. But I believe only in a miracle from below. There are three
commandments for the proletariat. They are: First, transmission of power to
the revolutionary people; second, control over their own leaders; and
third, confidence in their own revolutionary powers."

This was the beginning of Trotzky's warfare upon the Coalition Government,
a warfare which he afterward systematically waged with all his might.
Tchcheidze and others effectively replied to the Bolshevik leader's
criticisms and after long and strenuous debate the resolution of the
Executive Committee presented by Tchcheidze was carried by a large
majority, the opposition only mustering seven votes. The resolution read as

    Acknowledging that the declaration of the Provisional Government,
    which has been reconstructed and fortified by the entrance of
    representatives of the Revolutionary Democracy, conforms to the
    idea and purpose of strengthening the achievements of the
    Revolution and its further development, the Council of Workmen's
    and Soldiers' Delegates has determined:

    I. Representatives of the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Delegates must enter into the Provisional Government.

    II. Those representatives of the Council of Workmen's and
    Soldiers' Delegates who join the government must, until the
    creation of an All-Russian organ of the Council of Workmen's and
    Soldiers' Delegates, consider themselves responsible to the
    Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, and must
    pledge themselves to give accounts of all their activities to that

    III. The Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates expresses
    its full confidence in the new Provisional Government, and urges
    all friends of democracy to give this government active
    assistance, which will insure it the full measure of power
    necessary for the safety of the Revolution's gains and for its
    further development.

If there is any one thing which may be said with certainty concerning the
state of working-class opinion in Russia at that time, two months after the
overthrow of the old régime, it is that the overwhelming majority of the
working-people, both city workers and peasants, supported the policy of the
Mensheviki and the Socialist-Revolutionists--the policy of co-operating
with liberal bourgeois elements to win the war and create a stable
government--as against the policy of the Bolsheviki. The two votes of the
Petrograd Soviet told where the city workers stood. That very section of
the proletariat upon which the Bolsheviki leaders based their hopes had
repudiated them in the most emphatic manner. The Delegates of the Soldiers
at the Front had shown that they would not follow the advice of the leaders
of the Bolsheviki. And at the first opportunity which presented itself the
peasants placed themselves in definite opposition to Bolshevism.

On the afternoon preceding the action of the Soviet in giving its
indorsement to the new Provisional Government and instructing its
representatives to enter the Coalition Cabinet, there assembled in the
People's House, Petrograd, more than one thousand peasant delegates to the
first All-Russian Congress of Peasants. Never before had so many peasant
delegates been gathered together in Russia to consider their special
problems. There were present delegates from every part of Russia, even from
the extreme border provinces, and many from the front. On the platform were
the members of the Organizing Committee, the Executive Committee of the
Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, the Socialist-Revolutionary
party, the Social Democratic party, and a number of prominent Socialist
leaders. As might be expected in a peasants' Congress, members of the
Socialist-Revolutionary party were in the majority, numbering 537. The next
largest group was the Social Democratic party, including Bolsheviki and
Mensheviki, numbering 103. There were 136 delegates described as
non-partizan; 4 belonged to the group called the "People's Socialists" and
6 to the Labor Group. It was the most representative body of peasant
workers ever brought together.

Among the first speakers to address the Congress was the venerable
"Grandmother" of the Russian Revolution, Catherine Breshkovskaya, who spoke
with the freedom accorded to her and to her alone. "Tell me," she demanded,
"is there advantage to us in keeping our front on a war footing and in
allowing the people to sit in trenches with their hands folded and to die
from fever, scurvy, and all sorts of contagious diseases? If our army had a
real desire to help the Allies, the war would be finished in one or two
months, _but we are prolonging it by sitting with our hands folded_." V.M.
Chernov, leader of the Socialist-Revolutionary party, the new Minister of
Agriculture, made a notable address in which he traversed with great skill
and courage the arguments of the Bolsheviki, making a superb defense of the
policy of participation in the government.

Kerensky, idol of the peasants, appearing for the first time as Minister of
War and head of the army and navy, made a vigorous plea for unity, for
self-discipline, and for enthusiastic support of the new Provisional
Government. He did not mince matters: "I intend to establish an iron
discipline in the army. I am certain that I shall succeed in my
undertaking, because it will be a discipline based upon duty toward the
country, the duty of honor.... By all means, we must see that the country
becomes free and strong enough to elect the Constituent Assembly, the
Assembly which, through its sovereign, absolute power, will give to the
toiling Russian peasants that for which they have been yearning for
centuries, the land.... We are afraid of no demagogues, whether they come
from the right or from the left. We shall attend to our business, quietly
and firmly." Kerensky begged the peasants to assert their will that there
should be "no repetition of the sad events of 1905-06, when the entire
country seemed already in our hands, but slipped out because it became
involved in anarchy." The speech created a profound impression and it was
voted to have it printed in millions of copies, at the expense of the
Congress, and have them distributed throughout the army.

A similar honor was accorded the speech of I.I. Bunakov, one of the best
known and most popular of the leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary party.
With remorseless logic he traversed the arguments of the Bolsheviki and the
Porazhentsi. Taking the cry that there must be "no annexations," for
example, he declared that the peasants of Russia could only accept that in
the sense that Poland be reunited and her independence be restored; that
the people of Alsace and Lorraine be permitted to be reunited to France;
that Armenia be taken from Turkey and made independent. The peasants could
not accept the _status quo ante_ as a basis for peace. He assailed the
treacherous propaganda for a separate peace with terrific scorn: "But such
peace is unacceptable to us peasants. A separate peace would kill not only
our Revolution, but the cause of social revolution the world over. A
separate peace is dishonor for Russia and treason toward the Allies.... We
must start an offensive. To remain in the trenches without moving is a
separate truce, more shameful even than a separate peace. A separate truce
demoralizes the army and ruins the people. This spring, according to our
agreement with the Allies, we should have begun a general offensive, but
instead of that we have concluded a separate truce. _The Allies saved the
Russian Revolution, but they are becoming exhausted_.... When our Minister
of War, Kerensky, speaks of starting an offensive, the Russian army must
support him with all its strength, with all the means available.... From
here we should send our delegates to the front and urge our army to wage an
offensive. Let the army know that it must fight and die for Russia's
freedom, for the peace of the whole world, and for the coming Socialist

In the resolutions which were adopted the Congress confined itself to
outlining a program for the Constituent Assembly, urging the abolition of
private property in land, forests, water-power, mines, and mineral
resources. It urged the Provisional Government to "issue an absolutely
clear and unequivocal statement which would show that on this question the
Provisional Government will allow nobody to oppose the people's will." It
also issued a special appeal "to the peasants and the whole wage-earning
population of Russia" to vote at the forthcoming elections for the
Constituent Assembly, "only for those candidates who pledge themselves to
advocate the nationalization of the land without reimbursement on
principles of equality." In the election for an Executive Committee to
carry on the work of the Congress and maintain the organization the
delegates with Bolshevist tendencies were "snowed under." Those who were
elected were, practically without exception, stalwart supporters of the
policy of participation in and responsibility for the Provisional
Government, and known to be ardent believers in the Constituent Assembly.
Chernov, with 810 votes, led the poll; Breshkovskaya came next with 809;
Kerensky came third with 804; Avksentiev had 799; Bunakov 790; Vera Finger
776, and so on. Nineteenth on the list of thirty elected came the venerable
Nicholas Tchaykovsky, well known in America. Once more a great
representative body of Russian working-people had spoken and rejected the
teachings and the advice of the Bolsheviki.


As we have seen, it was with the authority and mandate of the overwhelming
majority of the organized workers that the Socialists entered the Coalition
Ministry. It was with that mandate that Kerensky undertook the Herculean
task of restoring the discipline and morale of the Russian army. In that
work he was the agent and representative of the organized working class.
For this reason, if for no other, Kerensky and his associates were entitled
to expect and to receive the loyal support of all who professed loyalty to
the working class. Instead of giving that support, however, the Bolsheviki
devoted themselves to the task of defeating every effort of the Provisional
Government to carry out its program, which, it must be borne in mind, had
been approved by the great mass of the organized workers. They availed
themselves of every means in their power to hamper Kerensky in his work and
to hinder the organization of the economic resources of the nation to
sustain the military forces.

Kerensky had promised to organize preparations for a vigorous offensive
against the Austro-German forces. That such offensive was needed was
obvious and was denied by none except the ultra-pacifists and the
Bolsheviki. The Congress of Soldiers' Delegates from the Front and the
Petrograd Soviet had specifically urged the need of such an offensive, as
had most of the well-known peasants' leaders. It was a working-class
policy. But that fact did not prevent the Bolsheviki from throwing
obstacles in the way of its fulfilment. They carried on an active
propaganda among the men in the army and the navy, urging insubordination,
fraternization, and refusal to fight. They encouraged sabotage as a means
of insuring the failure of the efforts of the Provisional Government. So
thoroughly did they play into the hands of the German military authorities,
whether intentionally or otherwise, that the charge of being in the pay of
Germany was made against them--not by prejudiced bourgeois politicians and
journalists, but by the most responsible Socialists in Russia.

The epic story of Kerensky's magnificently heroic fight to recreate the
Russian army is too well known to need retelling here. Though it was vain
and ended in failure, as it was foredoomed to do, it must forever be
remembered with gratitude and admiration by all friends of freedom. The
audacity and the courage with which Kerensky and a few loyal associates
strove to maintain Russia in the struggle made the Allied nations, and all
the civilized world, their debtors. Many mistakes were made, it is true,
yet it is very doubtful if human beings could have achieved more or
succeeded where they failed. It must be confessed, furthermore, that the
governments of the nations with which they were allied made many grievous
mistakes on their part.

Perhaps the greatest blunder that a discriminating posterity will charge to
Kerensky's account was the signing of the famous Declaration of Soldiers'
Rights. This document, which was signed on May 27th, can only be regarded
in the light of a surrender to overpowering forces. In his address to the
All-Russian Congress of Peasants' Delegates, on May 18th, speaking for the
first time in his capacity as Minister of War, Kerensky had declared, "I
intend to establish an iron discipline in the army," yet the Declaration of
Soldiers' Rights which he signed nine days later was certain to make any
real discipline impossible. Was it because he was inconsistent,
vacillating, and weak that Kerensky attached his name to such a document?

Such a judgment would be gravely unjust to a great man. The fact is that
Kerensky's responsibility was very small indeed. He and his Socialist
associates in the Cabinet held their positions by authority of the Council
of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, and they had agreed to be subject to
its guidance and instruction. The Soviet was responsible for the
Declaration of Soldiers' Rights. Kerensky was acting under its orders. The
Soviet had already struck a fatal blow at military discipline by its famous
Order Number One, which called on the soldiers not to execute the orders of
their officers unless the orders were first approved by the revolutionary
authorities--that is, by the Soviet or its accredited agents. That the
order was prompted by an intense love for revolutionary ideals, or that it
was justified by the amount of treachery which had been discovered among
the officers of the army, may explain and even excuse it, but the fact
remains that it was a deadly blow at military discipline. The fact that
Kerensky's predecessor, Guchkov, had to appear at a convention of soldiers'
delegates and explain and defend his policies showed that discipline was at
a low ebb. It brought the army into the arena of politics and made
questions of military strategy subject to political maneuvering.

The Declaration of Soldiers' Rights was a further step along a road which
inevitably led to disaster. That remarkable document provided that soldiers
and officers of all ranks should enjoy full civic and political rights;
that they should be free to speak or write upon any subject; that their
correspondence should be uncensored; that while on duty they should be free
to receive any printed matter, books, papers, and so on, which they
desired. It provided for the abolition of the compulsory salute to
officers; gave the private soldier the right to discard his uniform when
not actually on service and to leave barracks freely during "off-duty"
hours. Finally, it placed all matters pertaining to the management in the
hands of elective committees in the composition of which the men were to
have four-fifths of the elective power and the officers one-fifth.

Of course, the Declaration of Soldiers' Rights represented a violent
reaction. Under the old régime the army was a monstrously cruel machine;
the soldiers were slaves. At the first opportunity they had revolted and,
as invariably happens, the pendulum had swung too far. On May 28th the
Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates issued a declaration in which
it was said: "From now on the soldier-citizen is free from the slavery of
saluting, and as an equal, free person will greet whomsoever he chooses....
Discipline in the Revolutionary Army will exist, prompted by popular
enthusiasm and the sense of duty toward the free country rather than by a
slavish salute." If we are tempted to laugh at this naïve idealism, we
Americans will do well to remember that it was an American
statesman-idealist who believed that we could raise an army of a million
men overnight, and that a shrewd American capitalist-idealist sent forth a
"peace ship" with a motley crew of dreamers and disputers to end the
greatest war in history.


Throughout the first half of June, while arrangements for a big military
offensive were being made, and were causing Kerensky and the other
Socialist Ministers to strain every nerve, Lenine, Trotzky, Kamenev,
Zinoviev, and other leaders of the Bolsheviki were as strenuously engaged
in denouncing the offensive and trying to make it impossible. Whatever gift
or genius these men possessed was devoted wholly to destruction and
obstruction. The student will search in vain among the multitude of records
of meetings, conventions, debates, votes, and resolutions for a single
instance of participation in any constructive act, one positive service to
the soldiers at the front or the workers' families in need, by any
Bolshevik leader. But they never missed an opportunity to embarrass those
who were engaged in such work, and by so doing add to the burden that was
already too heavy.

Lenine denounced the offensive against Germany as "an act of treason
against the Socialist International" and poured out the vials of his wrath
against Kerensky, who was, as we know, simply carrying out the decisions of
the Soviet and other working-class organizations. Thus we had the
astonishing and tragic spectacle of one Socialist leader working with
titanic energy among the troops who had been betrayed and demoralized by
the old régime, seeking to stir them into action against the greatest
militarist system in the world, while another Socialist leader worked with
might and main to defeat that attempt and to prevent the rehabilitation of
the demoralized army. And all the while the German General Staff gloated at
every success of the Bolsheviki. There was a regular system of
communications between the irreconcilable revolutionists and the German
General Staff. In proof of this statement only one illustration need be
offered, though many such could be cited: At the All-Russian Congress of
Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, on June 22d, Kerensky read, in the
presence of Lenine, a long message, signed by the commander-in-chief of the
German eastern front, sent by wireless in response to a declaration of
certain delegates of the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.

At this session Lenine bitterly assailed the proposed offensive. He said
that it was impossible for either side to win a military victory, revamping
all the defeatist arguments that were familiar in every country. He
minimized the loss which Russia had suffered at Germany's hands, and the
gains Germany had made in Belgium and northern France, pointing out that
she had, on the other hand, lost her colonies, which England would be very
unlikely to give back unless compelled to do so by other nations. Taunted
with being in favor of a separate peace with Germany, Lenine indignantly
denied the accusation. "It is a lie," he cried. "Down with a separate
peace! _We Russian revolutionists will never consent to it._" He argued
that there could be only one policy for Socialists in any country--namely,
to seize the occasion of war to overthrow the capitalist-class rule in that
country. No war entered into by a capitalist ruling class, regardless what
its motives, should be supported by Socialists. He argued that the adoption
of his policy by the Russian working class would stand ten times the chance
of succeeding that the military policy would have. The German working class
would compel their government and the General Staff to follow the example
of Russia and make peace.

Kerensky was called upon to reply to Lenine. At the time when the
restoration of the army required all his attention and all his strength, it
was necessary for Kerensky to attend innumerable and well-nigh interminable
debates and discussions to maintain stout resistance to the Bolshevik
offensive always being waged in the rear. That, of course, was part of the
Bolshevist plan of campaign. So Kerensky, wearied by his tremendous efforts
to perform the task assigned him by the workers, answered Lenine. His reply
was a forensic masterpiece. He took the message of the commander-in-chief
of the German eastern front and hurled it at Lenine's head, figuratively
speaking, showing how Lenine's reasoning was paralleled in the German
propaganda. With merciless logic and incisive phrase he showed how the
Bolsheviki were using the formula, "the self-determination of
nationalities," as the basis of a propaganda to bring about the
dismemberment of Russia and its reduction to a chaotic medley of small,
helpless states. To Lenine's statements about the readiness of the German
working class to rebel, Kerensky made retort that Lenine should have
remained in Germany while on his way to Russia and preached his ideas

A few days earlier, at a session of the same Congress, Trotzky and Kamenev
had made vigorous assault upon the Coalition Government and upon the
Socialist policy with reference thereto. In view of what subsequently
transpired, it is important to note that Trotzky made much of the delay in
calling together the Constituent Assembly: "The policy of continual
postponement _and the detailed preparations_ for calling the Constituent
Assembly is a false policy. It may destroy even the very realization of the
Constituent Assembly." This profession of concern for the Constituent
Assembly was hypocritical, dishonest, and insincere. He did not in the
least care about or believe in the Constituent Assembly, and had not done
so at any time since the First Revolution of 1905-06. His whole thought
rejected such a democratic instrument. However, he and his associates knew
that the demand for a Constituent Assembly was almost universal, and that
to resist that demand was impossible. Their very obvious policy in the
circumstances was to try and force the holding of the Assembly prematurely,
without adequate preparation, and without affording an opportunity for a
nation-wide electoral campaign. A hastily gathered, badly organized
Constituent Assembly would be a mob-gathering which could be easily
stampeded or controlled by a determined minority.

Trotzky assailed the Coalition Government with vitriolic passion. At the
moment when it was obvious to everybody that unity of effort was the only
possible condition for the survival of the Revolution, and that any
division in the ranks of the revolutionists, no matter upon what it might
be based, must imperil the whole movement, he and all his Bolshevik
colleagues deliberately stirred up dissension. Even if their opposition to
political union with non-proletarian parties was right as the basis of a
sound policy, to insist upon it at the moment of dire peril was either
treachery or madness. When a house is already on fire the only thing in
order, the only thing that can have the sanction of wisdom and honor, is to
work to extinguish the fire. It is obviously not the time to debate whether
the house was properly built or whether mistakes were made. Russia was a
house on fire; the Bolsheviki insisted upon endless debating.

Kamenev followed Trotzky's lead in attacking the Coalition Government. In a
subtle speech he supported the idea of splitting Russia up into a large
number of petty states, insisting that the formula, "self-determination of
peoples," applied to the separatist movement in the Ukraine. He insisted
that for the Russian working-people it was a matter of indifference whether
the Central Empires or the Entente nations won in the war. He argued that
the only hope for the Russian Revolution must be the support of the
revolutionary proletariat in the other European countries, particularly
those adjacent to Russia: "If the revolutionary proletariat of Europe fails
to support the Russian Revolution the latter will be ruined. As that
support is the only guaranty of the safety of the Revolution, we cannot
change our policy by discussing the question of how much fraternizing will
stimulate the awakening of the proletariat of Europe." In other words,
Kamenev was in the position of a desperate gambler who stakes his life and
his all upon one throw of the dice or one spin of the wheel.

It was in this manner that the Bolshevist leaders conspired to Russia's
destruction. They were absorbing the time and energies of the men who were
really trying to do something, compelling them to engage in numerous
futile debates, to the neglect of their vitally important work, debates,
moreover, which could have no other effect than to weaken the nation.
Further, they were actively obstructing the work of the government. Thus
Tseretelli, Kerensky, Skobelev, and many others whose efforts might have
saved the Revolution, were thwarted by men wholly without a sense of
responsibility. Lenine was shrieking for the arrest of capitalists because
they were capitalists, when it was obvious that the services of those same
capitalists were needed if the nation was to live. Later on, when
confronted by the realities and responsibilities of government, he availed
himself of the special powers and training of the despised capitalists. At
this earlier period he was, as Tseretelli repeatedly reminded the workers,
without any sense of responsibility for the practical results of his
propaganda. And that was equally true of the Bolsheviki as a whole. They
talked about sending "ultimatums" to the Allies, while the whole system of
national defense was falling to pieces. Tseretelli made the only reply it
was possible for a sane man to make:

"It is proposed that we speak to the Allies with ultimatums, but did those
who made this silly proposal think that this road might lead to the
breaking of diplomatic relations with the Allies, and to that very separate
peace which is condemned by all factions among us? Did Lenine think of the
actual consequences of his proposal to arrest several dozen capitalists at
this time? Can the Bolsheviki guarantee that their road will lead us to the
correct solution of the crisis? No. If they guarantee this they do not know
what they are doing and their guaranty is worthless. The Bolshevik road can
lead us only to one end, civil war."

Once more the good sense of the working class prevailed. By an
overwhelming majority of votes the Congress decided to uphold the Coalition
Government and rejected the Bolshevik proposals. The resolution adopted
declared that "the passing over of all power to the bourgeoisie elements
would deal a blow at the revolutionary cause," but that equally the
transfer of all power to the Soviets would be disastrous to the Revolution,
and "would greatly weaken her powers by prematurely driving away from her
elements which are still capable of serving her, and would threaten the
ruin of the Revolution." Therefore, having heard the explanations of the
Socialist Ministers and having full confidence in them, the Congress
insisted that the Socialist Ministers be solely responsible to the
"plenipotentiary and representative organ of the whole organized
Revolutionary Democracy of Russia, which organ must be composed of the
representatives of the All-Russian Congress of Councils of Workmen's and
Soldiers' Delegates, as well as of representatives of the All-Russian
Congress of Peasants' Delegates."

But in spite of the fact that the workers upon every opportunity repudiated
their policies, the Bolsheviki continued their tactics. Lenine, Trotzky,
Tshitsherin, Zinoviev, and others called upon the workers to stop working
and to go out into the streets to demonstrate for peace. The All-Russian
Congress of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates issued an appeal to the
workers warning them not to heed the call of the Bolsheviki, which had been
made at the "moment of supreme danger." The appeal said:

    Comrades, in the name of millions of workers, peasants, and
    soldiers, we tell you, "Do not do that which you are called upon
    to do." At this dangerous moment you are called out into the
    streets to demand the overthrow of the Provisional Government, to
    whom the All-Russian Congress has just found it necessary to give
    its support. And those who are calling you cannot but know that
    out of your peaceful demonstrations bloodshed and chaos may
    result.... You are being called to a demonstration in favor of the
    Revolution, _but we know that counter-revolutionists want to take
    advantage of your demonstration ... the counter-revolutionists are
    eagerly awaiting the moment when strife will develop in the ranks
    of the Revolutionary Democracy and enable them to crush the


Not only in this way were the Bolsheviki recklessly attempting to thwart
the efforts of the Socialist Ministers to carry out the mandates of the
majority of the working class of Russia, but they were equally active in
trying to secure the failure of the attempt to restore the army. All
through June the Bolshevik papers denounced the military offensive. In the
ranks of the army itself a persistent campaign against further fighting was
carried on. The Duma had voted, on June 17th, for an immediate offensive,
and it was approved by the Petrograd Soviet. The Provisional Government on
that date published a Note to the Allied governments, requesting a
conference with a view to making a restatement of their war aims. These
actions were approved by the All-Russian Congress of Workmen's and
Soldiers' Delegates, as was also the expulsion from Russia of the Swiss
Socialist, Robert Grimm, who was a notorious agent of the German
Government. Grimm, as is now well known, was acting under the orders of
Hoffman, the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was trying to bring
about a separate peace between Russia and Germany. He was also intimately
connected with the infamous "Parvus," the trusted Social Democrat who was a
spy and tool of the German Government. As always, the great majority of the
representatives of the actual working class of Russia took the sane

But the Bolsheviki were meanwhile holding mass meetings among the troops,
preaching defeatism and surrender and urging the soldiers not to obey the
orders of "bourgeois" officers. The Provisional Government was not blind to
the peril of this propaganda, but it dared not attempt to end it by force,
conscious that any attempt to do so would provoke revolt which could not be
stayed. The Bolsheviki, unable to control the Workmen's and Soldiers'
Council, sought in every possible manner to weaken its influence and to
discredit it. They conspired to overthrow the Provisional Government. Their
plot was to bring about an armed revolt on the 24th of June, when the
All-Russian Congress of Soviets would be in session. They planned to arrest
the members of the Provisional Government and assume full power. _At the
same time, all the soldiers at the front were to be called on to leave the
trenches_. On the eve of the date when it was to be executed this plot was
divulged. There was treachery within their own ranks. The Bolshevik leaders
humbly apologized and promised to abandon their plans. Under other
conditions the Provisional Government might have refused to be satisfied
with apologies, might have adopted far sterner measures, but it was face to
face with the bitter fact that the nation was drunk with the strong wine of
freedom. The time had not yet arrived when the masses could be expected to
recognize the distinction between liberty within the law and the license
that leads always to tyranny. It takes time and experience of freedom to
teach the stern lesson that, as Rousseau has it, freedom comes by way of
self-imposed compulsions to be free.

The offensive which Kerensky had urged and planned began on July 1st and
its initial success was encouraging. It seemed as though the miracle of the
restoration of the Russian army had been achieved, despite everything. Here
was an army whose killed and dead already amounted to more than three
million men,[20] an army which had suffered incredible hardships, again
going into battle with songs. On the 1st of July more than thirty-six
thousand prisoners were taken by the Russians on the southwestern front.
Then came the tragic harvest of the Bolshevist propaganda. In northeastern
Galicia the 607th Russian Regiment left the trenches and forced other units
to do the same thing, opening a clear way for the German advance. Regiment
after regiment refused to obey orders. Officers were brutally murdered by
their men. Along a front of more than one hundred and fifty miles the
Russians, greatly superior in numbers, retreated without attempting to
fight, while the enemy steadily advanced. This was made possible by the
agitation of the Bolsheviki, especially by the mutiny which they provoked
among the troops in the garrison at Petrograd. On the 17th of July, at the
very time when the separatist movement in the Ukraine, the resignation of
the Constitutional Democrats from the government, and the revolt and
treachery among the troops had produced a grave crisis, seizing the
opportunity afforded by the general chaos, the Bolsheviki attempted to
realize their aim of establishing what they called a "dictatorship of the
proletariat," but which was in reality the dictatorship of a small part of
the proletariat. There was no pretense that they represented a majority of
the proletariat, even. It was a desperate effort to impose the dictatorship
of a small minority of the proletariat upon the whole nation. For two days
the revolt lasted, more than five hundred men, women, and children being
killed in the streets of Petrograd.

On the 20th Prince Lvov resigned as Premier. In the mean time the
Bolshevist uprising had been put down by Cossack troops and the leaders
were in hiding. Kerensky stepped into Lvov's position as Premier and
continued to address himself to the task of bringing order out of the
chaos. There could not have been any selfish ambition in this; no
place-hunter would have attempted to bear the heavy burden Kerensky then
assumed, especially with his knowledge of the seriousness of the situation.
He knew that the undertaking was practically hopeless, yet he determined
never to give up the struggle so long as there was a single thing to be
done and his comrades desired him to do it.[21]

There had been created a revolutionary body representing all the organized
workers, called the United Executive Committee of the All-Russian Councils
of Workmen's, Soldiers' and Peasants' Delegates, a body of more than three
hundred elected representatives of the various Soviets. They represented
the views of many millions. This body vigorously denounced the Bolsheviki
and rallied to the support of Kerensky and his colleagues. In a Manifesto
to the people the Bolsheviki were charged with responsibility for the blood
of all who had been slain in the uprising. On July 21st a second Manifesto
was issued by the Committee calling upon the workers to uphold the
government so long as the authorized representatives of the working class
determined that to be the proper course to follow. The charge that Lenine,
Zinoviev, Trotzky, and others were acting under German instructions and
receiving German money spread until it was upon almost every tongue in
Petrograd. On July 24th Gregory Alexinsky, a well-known Socialist, in his
paper, _Bez Lisnih Slov_, published a circumstantial story of German
intrigue in the Ukraine, revealed by one Yermolenko, an ensign in the 16th
Siberian Regiment, who had been sent to Russia by the German Government.
This Yermolenko charged that Lenine had been instructed by the authorities
in Berlin, just as he himself had been, and that Lenine had been furnished
with almost unlimited funds by the German Government, the arrangement being
that it was to be forwarded through one Svendson, at Stockholm.[22] By a
vote of 300 to 11 the United Executive Committee of the All-Russian
Councils of Workmen's, Soldiers' and Peasants' Delegates adopted the
following resolution:

    The whole Revolutionary Democracy desires that the Bolsheviki
    group accused of having organized disorders, or inciting revolt,
    or of having received money from German sources be tried publicly.
    In consequence, the Executive Committee considers it absolutely
    inadmissible that Lenine and Zinoviev should escape justice, and
    demands that the Bolsheviki faction immediately and categorically
    express its censure of the conduct of its leaders.

Later on, under the "terror," there was some pretense of an "investigation"
of the charge that Lenine and others had received German money, but there
has never been a genuine investigation so far as is known. Groups of
Russian Socialists belonging to various parties and groups have asked that
a commission of well-known Socialists from the leading countries of Europe
and from the United States, furnished with reliable interpreters, be sent
to Russia to make a thorough investigation of the charge.

The United Executive Committee of the workers' organizations adopted a
resolution demanding that all members and all factions, and the members of
all affiliated bodies, obey the mandate of the majority, and that all
majority decisions be absolutely obeyed. They took the position--too late,
alas!--that the will of the majority must be observed, since the only
alternative was the rule of the majority by the aggressive minority.
Repressive measures against the Bolsheviki were adopted by the Kerensky
Cabinet with the full approval of the Committee. Some of the Bolshevik
papers were suppressed and the death penalty, which had been abolished at
the very beginning of the Revolution, was partially restored in that it was
ordered that it should be applied to traitors and deserters at the front.
Lenine and Zinoviev were in hiding, but Trotzky, Kamenev, Alexandra
Kollontay, and many other noted Bolsheviki were imprisoned for a few days.

It was Kerensky's hope that by arranging for an early conference by the
Allies, at which the war aims would be restated in terms similar to those
which President Wilson had employed, and by definitely fixing the date for
the Constituent Assembly elections, September 30th, while sternly
repressing the Bolsheviki, it might be possible to save Russia. But it was
too late. Despite his almost superhuman efforts, and the loyal support of
the great majority of the Soviets, he was defeated. Day after day
conditions at the front grew worse. By the beginning of August practically
the whole of Galicia was in the hands of the Germans. Russian soldiers in
large numbers retreated before inferior numbers of Germans, refusing to
strike a blow. Germans furnished them with immense quantities of spirits,
and an orgy of drunkenness took place. The red flag was borne by debauched
and drunken mobs. What a fate for the symbol of universal freedom and
human brotherhood!

It was a time of terrible strain and upheaval. Crisis followed upon crisis.
Chernov resigned his position as Minister of Agriculture. Kerensky resigned
as Premier, but the members of the Provisional Government by unanimous vote
declined to accept the resignation. They called a joint meeting of all the
Cabinet, of leaders of all political parties, of the Duma, of the Soviets
of workers, peasants, and soldiers. At this meeting the whole critical
situation was discussed and all present joined in demanding that Kerensky
continue in office. The political parties represented were the Social
Democrats, the Socialist-Revolutionists, the Democratic Radicals, the Labor
Union party, the Popular Socialists, and the Constitutional Democrats. From
these groups came an appeal which Kerensky could not deny. He said:

"In view of the evident impossibility of establishing, by means of a
compromise between the various political groups, Socialist as well as
non-Socialist, a strong revolutionary government ... I was obliged to
resign. Friday's conference, ... after a prolonged discussion, resulted in
the parties represented at the conference deciding to intrust me with the
task of reconstructing the government. Considering it impossible for me in
the present circumstances, when defeat without and disintegration within
are threatening the country, to withdraw from the heavy task which is now
intrusted to me, I regard this task as an express order of the country to
construct a strong revolutionary government in the shortest possible time
and in spite of all the obstacles which might arise."

For the second time Kerensky was Premier at the head of a Coalition
Ministry. No other government was possible for Russia except a strong
despotism. Theorists might debate the advisability of such coalition, but
the stern reality was that nothing else was possible. The leader of the
peasants, Chernov, returned to his old post as Minister of Agriculture and
the Constitutional Democrats took their share of the burden. There were six
parties and groups in the new Cabinet, four of them of various shades of
Socialism and two of them liberal bourgeoisie. Never before, perhaps, and
certainly only rarely, if ever, have men essayed a heavier or more
difficult task than that which this new Provisional Government undertook.

Heroically Kerensky sought to make successful the efforts of General
Kornilov, as commander-in-chief, to restore order and discipline in the
army, but it was too late. The disintegration had gone too far. The
measures which the Revolutionary Democracy had introduced into the army, in
the hope of realizing freedom, had reduced it to a wild mob. Officers were
butchered by their men; regiment after regiment deserted its post and, in
some instances, attempted to make a separate peace with the enemy, even
offering to pay indemnities. Moreover, the industrial organization of the
country had been utterly demoralized. The manufacture of army supplies had
fallen off more than 60 per cent., with the result that the state of
affairs was worse than in the most corrupt period of the old régime.


It became evident to the Provisional Government that something big and
dramatic must be done, without waiting for the results of the Constituent
Assembly elections. Accordingly, it was decided to call together a great
extraordinary council, representing all classes and all parties, to
consider the situation and the best means of meeting it. The Extraordinary
National Conference, as it was called, was opened in Moscow, on August
26th, with more than fourteen hundred members in attendance. Some of these
members--principally those from the Soviets--had been elected as delegates,
but the others had been invited by the government and could not be said to
speak as authorized representatives. There were about one hundred and
ninety men who had been members of one or other of the Dumas; one hundred
representatives of the peasants' Soviets and other peasant organizations;
about two hundred and thirty representatives of the Soviets of industrial
workers and of soldiers; more than three hundred from co-operatives; about
one hundred and eighty from the trade-unions; about one hundred and fifty
from municipalities; one hundred and fifty representatives of banks and
industrial concerns, and about one hundred and twenty from the Union of
Zemstvos and Towns. It was a Conference more thoroughly representative of
Russia than any that had ever been held. There were, indeed, no
representatives of the old régime, and there were few representatives of
the Bolsheviki. The former had no place in the new Russia that was
struggling for its existence; the repressive measures that had been found
necessary accounted for the scant representation of the latter.

It was to this Conference that President Wilson sent his famous message
giving the assurance of "every material and moral assistance" to the people
and government of Russia. For three days the great assembly debated and
listened to speeches from men representing every section of the country,
every class, and every party. Kerensky, Tseretelli, Tchcheidze, Boublikov,
Plechanov, Kropotkin, Breshkovskaya, and others, spoke for the workers;
General Kornilov and General Kaledine spoke for the military command;
Miliukov, Nekrasov, Guchkov, Maklakov, and others spoke for the
bourgeoisie. At times feeling ran high, as might have been expected, but
throughout the great gathering there was displayed a remarkable unanimity
of feeling and immediate purpose; a common resolve to support the
Provisional Government, to re-establish discipline in the army and navy, to
remain loyal to the Allies, and reject with scorn all offers of a separate
peace, and to work for the success of the Constituent Assembly.

But, notwithstanding the unity upon these immediately vital points, the
Moscow Conference showed that there was still a great gulf between the
classes, and that no matter how they might co-operate to meet and overcome
the peril that hung over the nation like the sword of Damocles, there could
be no unity in working out the great economic and social program which must
be the basis for the Social Democratic commonwealth which the workers
sought to establish, and which the bourgeois elements feared almost as much
as they feared the triumph of Germany. In some respects the Conference
intensified class feeling and added to, instead of lessening, the civil
strife. The Bolsheviki were not slow to exploit this fact. They pointed to
the Conference as evidence of a desire on the part of the Socialist
Ministers, and of the officials of the Soviets, to compromise with the
bourgeoisie. This propaganda had its effect and Bolshevism grew in
consequence, especially in Petrograd.

Then followed the disastrous military and political events which made it
practically impossible for the Kerensky government to stand. At the front
the soldiers were still revolting, deserting, and retreating. Kornilov was
quite helpless. Germany began a new offensive, and on September 2d German
armies crossed the Dvina near Riga. On September 3d Riga was surrendered to
the Germans in the most shameful manner and panic reigned in Petrograd.
Then on the 9th came the revolt of Kornilov against the Provisional
Government and the vulgar quarrel between him and Kerensky. Kornilov
charged that the Provisional Government, under pressure from the
Bolsheviki, was playing into the hands of the German General Staff.
Kerensky, backed by the rest of the Cabinet, ordered Kornilov's removal,
while Kornilov despatched a division of troops, drawn from the front,
against Petrograd.

It was a most disastrous conflict for which no adequate explanation can be
found except in the strained mental condition of all the principal parties
concerned. In less strenuous times, and in a calmer atmosphere, the two
leaders, equally patriotic, would have found no difficulty in removing
misunderstandings. As things were, a mischievous intermediary, and two men
suffering the effects of a prolonged and intense nervous strain, provided
all the elements of a disaster. Kornilov's revolt was crushed without great
trouble and with very little bloodshed, Kornilov himself being arrested.
The Soviets stood by the Provisional Government, for they saw in the revolt
the attempt to set up a personal dictatorship. Even the Bolsheviki were
temporarily sobered by the sudden appearance of the "man on horseback."
Kerensky, by direction of his colleagues, became commander-in-chief of the
Russian armies. Always, it seemed, through every calamity, all parties
except the Bolsheviki agreed that he was the one man strong enough to
undertake the heaviest and hardest tasks.

Toward the end of September what may be termed the Kerensky régime entered
upon its last phase. For reasons which have been already set forth, the
Bolsheviki kept up a bitter attack upon the Provisional Government, and
upon the official leaders of the Soviets, on account of the Moscow
Conference. They demanded that the United Executive Committee of the
Soviets convoke a new Conference. They contended that the Moscow Conference
had been convoked by the government, not by the Soviets, and that the
United Executive Committee must act for the latter. The United Executive
Committee complied and summoned a new National Democratic Conference, which
assembled on September 27th. By this time, as a result of the exhaustion of
the patience of many workers, many of the Soviets had ceased to exist,
while others existed on paper only. According to the _Izvestya Soveta_,
there had been more than eight hundred region organizations at one time,
many scores of which had disappeared. According to the same authority, the
peasants were drawing away from the Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets. The
United Executive Committee, which had been elected in June, was, of course,
dominated by anti-Bolsheviki--that is, by Menshevik Social Democrats and by

The Democratic Conference was not confined to the Soviets. It embraced
delegates from Soviets of peasants, soldiers, and industrial workers; from
municipalities, from zemstvos, co-operatives, and other organizations. It
differed from the Moscow Conference principally in that the delegates were
elected and that it did not include so many representatives of the
capitalist class. The petty bourgeoisie was represented, but not the great
capitalists. There were more than a thousand members in attendance at this
Democratic Conference, which was dominated by the most moderate section of
the Social Democrats. The Socialist-Revolutionists were not very numerous.

This Conference created another Coalition Cabinet, the last of the Kerensky
régime. Kerensky continued as Premier and as commander-in-chief of the
army. There were in the Cabinet five Social Democrats, two
Socialist-Revolutionists, eight Constitutional Democrats, and two
non-partisans. It was therefore as far as its predecessors from meeting the
standards insisted upon by many radical Socialists, who, while not
Bolsheviki, still believed that there should be at least an absolute
Socialist predominance in the Provisional Government. Of course, the new
Coalition Ministry infuriated the Bolsheviki. From his hiding-place Lenine
issued a series of "Letters to the Comrades," which were published in the
_Rabochiy Put_, in which he urged the necessity of an armed uprising like
that of July, only upon a larger scale. In these letters he scoffed at the
Constituent Assembly as a poor thing to satisfy hungry men. Meanwhile,
Trotzky, out of prison again, and other Bolshevik leaders were agitating by
speeches, proclamations, and newspaper articles for an uprising. The
Provisional Government dared not try to suppress them. Its hold upon the
people was now too weak.

The Democratic Conference introduced one innovation. It created a
Preliminary Parliament, as the new body came to be known, though its first
official title was the Provisional Council of the Republic. This new body
was to function as a parliament until the Constituent Assembly convened,
when it would give place to whatever form of parliamentary body the
Constituent Assembly might create. This Preliminary Parliament and its
functions were thus described:

    This Council, in which all classes of the population will be
    represented, and in which the delegates elected to the Democratic
    Conference will also participate, will be given the right of
    addressing questions to the government and of securing replies to
    them in a definite period of time, of working out legislative acts
    and discussing all those questions which will be presented for
    consideration by the Provisional Government, as well as those
    which will arise on its own initiative. Resting on the
    co-operation of such a Council, the government, preserving, in
    accordance with its pledge, the unity of the governmental power
    created by the Revolution, will regard it its duty to consider the
    great public significance of such a Council in all its acts up to
    the time when the Constituent Assembly gives full and complete
    representation to all classes of the population of Russia.

This Preliminary Parliament was really another Duma--that is, it was a very
limited parliamentary body. Its life was short and quite uneventful. It
assembled for the first time on October 8th and was dispersed by the
Bolsheviki on November 7th. When it assembled there were 555 members--the
number fixed by the decree of the Provisional Government. Of these, 53 were
Bolsheviki, but these withdrew almost at the opening with three others,
thus reducing the actual membership of the body to less than five hundred.
Even with the Bolsheviki withdrawn, when Kerensky appeared before the
Preliminary Parliament on November 6th and made his last appeal, a
resolution expressing confidence in his government was carried only by a
small majority. Only about three hundred members were in attendance on this
occasion, and of these 123 voted the expression of confidence, while 102
voted against it, and 26 declined to vote at all.

The Bolsheviki had forced the United Executive Committee to convene a new
All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and the date of its meeting had been fixed
at November 7th. While the elections and arrangements for this Congress
were proceeding, the Bolsheviki were actively and openly organizing an
uprising. In their papers and at their meetings they announced that on
November 7th there would be an armed uprising against the government. Their
intentions were, therefore, thoroughly well known, and it was believed that
the government had taken every necessary step to repress any attempt to
carry those intentions into practice. It was said that of the delegates to
the All-Russian Congress of Soviets-numbering 676 as against more than one
thousand at the former Congress of peasant Soviets alone--a majority were
Bolsheviki. It was charged that the Bolsheviki had intimidated many workers
into voting for their candidates; that they had, in some instances, put
forward their men as anti-Bolsheviki and secured their election by false
pretenses; that they had practised fraud in many instances. It was quite
certain that a great many Soviets had refused to send delegates, and that
many thousands of workers, and these all anti-Bolsheviki, had simply grown
weary and disgusted with the whole struggle. Whatever the explanation might
be, the fact remained that of the 676 delegates 390 were generally rated as
Bolsheviki, while 230 were Socialist-Revolutionists and Mensheviki. Not all
of the Socialist-Revolutionists could be counted as anti-Bolsheviki,
moreover. There were fifty-six delegates whose position was not quite
clearly defined, but who were regarded as being, if not Bolsheviki, at
least anti-government. For the first time in the whole struggle the
Bolsheviki apparently had a majority of delegates in a working-class

On the night of the 6th, a few hours before the opening of the Congress of
Soviets, the Bolsheviki struck the blow they had been so carefully
planning. They were not met with the resistance they had expected--for
reasons which have never been satisfactorily explained. Kerensky recognized
that it was useless for him to attempt to carry on the fight. The
Bolsheviki had organized their Red Guards, and these, directed by military
leaders, occupied the principal government buildings, such as the central
telephone and telegraph offices, the military-staff barracks, and so on.
Part of the Petrograd garrison joined with the Bolsheviki, the other part
simply refusing to do anything. On the morning of November 7th the members
of the Provisional Government were arrested in the Winter Palace, but
Kerensky managed to escape. The Bolshevik _coup d'état_ was thus
accomplished practically without bloodshed. A new government was formed,
called the Council of People's Commissaries, of which Nikolai Lenine was
President and Leon Trotzky Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. The
"dictatorship of the proletariat" was thus begun. Kerensky's attempt to
rally forces enough to put an end to this dictatorship was a pathetic
failure, as it was bound to be. It was like the last fitful flicker with
which a great flame dies. The masses wanted peace--for that they would
tolerate even a dictatorship.




The defenders and supporters of the Bolsheviki have made much of the fact
that there was very little bloodshed connected with the successful
Bolshevik uprising in Petrograd. That ought not to be permitted, however,
to obscure the fundamental fact that it was a military _coup d'état_, the
triumph of brute force over the will of the vast majority of the people. It
was a crime against democracy. That the people were passive, worn out, and
distracted, content to wait for the Constituent Assembly, only makes the
Bolshevik crime appear the greater. Let us consider the facts very briefly.
Less than three weeks away was the date set for the Constituent Assembly
elections. Campaigns for the election of representatives to that great
democratic convention were already in progress. It was to be the most
democratic constitutional convention that ever existed in any country, its
members being elected by the entire population, every man and woman in
Russia being entitled to vote. The suffrage was equal, direct, universal,
and secret.

Moreover, there was a great democratic reconstruction of the nation
actually in progress at the time. The building up of autonomous democratic
local governing bodies, in the shape of a new type of zemstvos, was rapidly
progressing. The old-time zemstvos had been undemocratic and did not
represent the working-people, but the new zemstvos were composed of
representatives nominated and elected by universal suffrage, equal, secret,
and direct. Instead of being very limited in their powers as the old
zemstvos were, the new zemstvos were charged with all the ordinary
functions of local government. The elections to these bodies served as an
admirable practical education in democracy, making it more certain than
would otherwise have been the case that the Russian people would know how
to use their new political instrument so as to secure a Constituent
Assembly fully representing their will and their desire.

At the same time active preparations for holding the election of members to
the Constituent Assembly were actually under way. The Socialist parties
were making special efforts to educate the illiterate voters how to use
their ballots correctly. The Provisional Government, on its part, was
pushing the preparations for the elections as rapidly as possible. All over
the country special courts were established, in central places, to train
the necessary workers so that the elections might be properly conducted.
Above all, the great problem of the socialization of the land which had
been agitated for so many years had now reached the stage at which its
solution might almost have been said to be complete. The National Soviet of
Peasants, together with the Socialist Revolutionary party, had formulated a
law on the subject which represented the aspiration and the best thought of
the leaders of the peasants' movement. That law had been approved in the
Council of Ministers and was ready for immediate promulgation. Peasant
leaders like Chernov, Rakitnikov, Vikhiliaev, and Maslov had put an immense
amount of work into the formulation of this law, which aimed to avoid
anarchy, to see to it that instead of an individualistic scramble by the
peasants for the land, in small and unorganized holdings, the problem
should be scientifically dealt with, lands being justly distributed among
the peasant communes, and among the peasants who had been despoiled, and
large estates co-operatively organized and managed.

All this the Bolsheviki knew, for it was common knowledge. There is no
truth whatever in the claim set up by many of the apologists for the
Bolsheviki that they became enraged and resorted to desperate tactics
because nothing effective was being done to realize the aims of the
Revolution, to translate its ideals into fact. Quite the contrary is true.
_The Bolshevik insurrection was precipitated by its leaders precisely
because they saw that the Provisional Government was loyally and
intelligently carrying out the program of the Revolution, in co-operation
with the majority of the working-class organizations and their leaders._

The Bolsheviki did not want the ideals of the Revolution to be realized,
for the very simple reason that they were opposed to those ideals. In all
the long struggle from Herzen to Kerensky the revolutionary movement of
Russia had stood for political democracy first of all. Now, at the moment
when political democracy was being realized, the Bolsheviki sought to kill
it and to set up something else--namely, a dictatorship of a small party of
less than two hundred thousand over a nation of one hundred and eighty
millions. There can be no dispute as to this aim; it has been stated by
Lenine with great frankness. "_Just as one hundred and fifty thousand
lordly landowners under Czarism dominated the one hundred and thirty
millions of Russian peasants, so two hundred thousand members of the
Bolshevik party are imposing their proletarian will on the mass, but this
time in the interest of the latter._"[23]

Lenine's figures probably exaggerate the Bolshevik numbers, but, assuming
them to be accurate, can anybody in his right mind, knowing anything of the
history of the Russian revolutionary movement, believe that the
substitution of a ruling class of one hundred and fifty thousand by one of
two hundred thousand, to govern a nation of one hundred and eighty
millions, was the end to which so many lives were sacrificed? Can any sane
and sincere person believe that the class domination described by the great
arch-Bolshevik himself comes within measurable distance of being as much of
a realization of the ideals of the Revolution as did the Constituent
Assembly plan with its basis of political democracy, universal, equal,
direct, secret, all-determining suffrage? We do not forget Lenine's
statement that this new domination of the people by a ruling minority
differs from the old régime in that the Bolsheviki are imposing their will
upon the mass "_in the interest of the latter_." What ruling class ever
failed to make that claim? Was it not the habit of the Czars, all of them,
during the whole revolutionary epoch, to indulge in the pious cant of
proclaiming that they were motived only by their solicitude for the
interests and well-being of the peasants?

It is a curious illustration of the superficial character of the Bolshevist
mentality that a man so gifted intellectually as Lenine undoubtedly is
should advance in justification of his policy a plea so repugnant to
morality and intelligence, and that it should be quietly accepted by men
and women calling themselves radical revolutionists. Some years ago a
well-known American capitalist announced with great solemnity that he and
men like himself were the agents of Providence, charged with managing
industry "for the good of the people." Naturally, his naïve claim provoked
the scornful laughter of every radical in the land. Yet, strange as it may
seem, whenever I have pointed out to popular audiences that Lenine asserted
the right of two hundred thousand proletarians to impose their rule upon
Russia, always, without a single exception, some defender of the
Bolsheviki--generally a Socialist or a member of the I.W.W.--has entered
the plea, "Yes, but it is for the good of the people!"

If the Bolsheviki had wanted to see the realization of the ideals of the
Revolution, they would have found in the conditions existing immediately
prior to their insurrection a challenge calling them to the service of the
nation, in support of the Provisional Government and the Preliminary
Parliament. They would have permitted nothing to imperil the success of the
program that was so well advanced. As it was, determination to defeat that
program was their impelling motive. Not only did they fear and oppose
_political_ democracy; they were equally opposed to democracy in
_industry_, to that democracy in the economic life of the nation which
every Socialist movement in the world had at all times acknowledged to be
its goal. As we shall see, they united to political dictatorship industrial
dictatorship. They did not want democracy, but power; they did not want
peace, even, as they wanted power.

The most painstaking and sympathetic study of the Russian Revolution will
not disclose any great ideal or principle, moral or political, underlying
the distinctive Bolshevik agitation and program. Nothing could well be
farther from the truth than the view taken by many amiable people who,
while disavowing the actions of the Bolsheviki, seek to mitigate the
judgment which mankind pronounces against them by the plea that, after
all, they are extreme idealists, misguided, of course, but, nevertheless,
inspired by a noble ideal; that they are trying, as John Brown and many
others have tried, to realize a great ideal, but have been made incapable
of seeing their ideal in its proper perspective, and, therefore, of making
the compromises and adjustments which the transmutation of ideals to
reality always requires.

No sympathizer with Russia--certainly no Socialist--can fail to wish that
this indulgent criticism were true. Its acceptance would lighten the
darkest chapter in Russian history, and, at the same time, remove from the
great international Socialist movement a shameful reproach. But the facts
are incompatible with such a theory. Instead of being fanatical idealists,
incapable of compromises and adjustments, the Bolsheviki have, from the
very beginning, been loudly scornful of rigid and unbending idealism; have
made numerous compromises, alliances, and "political deals," and have
repeatedly shifted their ground in accordance with political expediency.
They have been consistently loyal to no aim save one--the control of power.
They have been opportunists of the most extreme type. There is not a single
Socialist or democratic principle which they have not abandoned when it
served, their political ends; not a single instrument, principle, or device
of autocratic despotism which they have not used when by so doing they
could gain power. For the motto of Bolshevism we might well paraphrase the
well-known line of Horace, and make it read, "Get power, honestly, if you
can, if not--somehow or other."

Of course, this judgment applies only to Bolshevism as such: to the special
and peculiar methods and ideas which distinguish the Bolsheviki from their
fellow-Socialists. It is not to be questioned that as Socialists and
revolutionists they have been inspired by some of the great ideals common
to all Socialists everywhere. But they differed from the great mass of
Russian Socialists so fundamentally that they separated themselves from
them and became a separate and distinct party. _That which caused this
separation is the essence of Bolshevism--not the ideals held in common_. No
understanding of Bolshevism is possible unless this fundamental fact is
first fully understood. Power, to be gained at any cost, and ruthlessly
applied, by the proletarian minority, is the basic principle of Bolshevism
as a distinct form of revolutionary movement. Of course, the Bolshevik
leaders sought this power for no sordid, self-aggrandizing ends; they are
not self-seeking adventurers, as many would have us believe. They are
sincerely and profoundly convinced that the goal of social and economic
freedom and justice can be more easily attained by their method than by the
method of democratic Socialism. Still, the fact remains that what social
ideals they hold are no part of Bolshevism. They are Socialist ideals.
Bolshevism is a distinctive method and a program, and its essence is the
relentless use of power by the proletariat against the rest of society in
the same manner that the bourgeois and military rulers of nations have
commonly used it against the proletariat. Bolshevism has simply inverted
the old Czarist régime.

The fairness and justice of this judgment are demonstrated by the
Bolsheviki themselves. They denounced Kerensky's government for not holding
the elections for the Constituent Assembly sooner, posing as the champions
of the Constituante. When they had themselves assumed control of the
government they delayed the meeting of the Constituent Assembly and then
suppressed it by force of arms! They denounced Kerensky for having
restored the death penalty in the army in cases of gross treachery,
professing an intense horror of capital punishment as a form of "bourgeois
savagery." When they came into power they instituted capital punishment for
_civil_ and _political offenses_, establishing public hangings and
floggings as a means of impressing the population![24] They had bitterly
assailed Kerensky for his "militarism," for trying to build up the army and
for urging men to fight. In less critical circumstances they themselves
resorted to forced conscription. They condemned Kerensky and his colleagues
for "interfering with freedom of speech and press." When they came into
power they suppressed all non-Bolshevist papers and meetings in a manner
differing not at all from that of the Czar's régime, forcing the other
Socialist parties and groups to resort to the old pre-Revolution
"underground" methods.

The evidence of all these things, and things even worse than these, is
conclusive and unimpeachable. It is contained in the records of the
Bolshevik government, in its publications, and in the reports of the great
Socialist parties of Russia, officially made to the International Socialist
Bureau. Surely the evidence sustains the charge that, whatever else they
may or may not be, the Bolsheviki are not unbending and uncompromising
idealists of the type of John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison, as they are
so often represented as being by well-meaning sentimentalists whose
indulgence of the Bolsheviki is as unlimited as their ignorance concerning

Some day, perhaps, a competent psychologist will attempt the task of
explaining the psychology of our fellow-citizens who are so ready to defend
the Bolsheviki for doing the very things they themselves hate and condemn.
In any list of men and women in this country friendly to the Bolsheviki it
will be found that they are practically all pacifists and
anti-conscriptionists, while a great many are non-resistants and
conscientious objectors to military service. Practically all of them are
vigorous defenders of the freedom of the press, of the right of public
assemblage and of free speech. With the exception of a few Anarchists, they
are almost universally strong advocates of radical political democracy. How
can high-minded and intelligent men and women--as many of them are--holding
such beliefs as these give countenance to the Bolsheviki, who bitterly and
resolutely oppose all of them? How can they denounce America's adoption of
conscription and say that it means that "Democracy is dead in America"
while, at the same time, hailing the birth of democracy in Russia, where
conscription is enforced by the Bolsheviki? How, again, can they at one and
the same time condemn American democracy for its imperfections, as in the
matter of suffrage, while upholding and defending the very men who, in
Russia, deliberately set out to destroy the universal equal suffrage
already achieved? How can they demand freedom of the press and of
assemblage, even in war-time, and denounce such restrictions as we have had
to endure here in America, and at the same time uphold the men responsible
for suppressing the press and public assemblages in Russia in a manner
worse than was attempted by the Czar? Is there no logical sense in the
average radical's mind? Or can it be that, after all, the people who make
up the Bolshevist following, and who are so much given to engaging in
protest demonstrations of various kinds, are simply restless, unanchored
spirits, for whom the stimulant and excitation of revolt is a necessity?
How many are simply victims of subtle neuroses occasioned by sex
derangements, by religious chaos, and similar causes?


The Bolshevik rule began as a reign of terror. We must not make the mistake
of supposing that it was imposed upon the rest of Russia as easily as it
was imposed upon Petrograd, where conditions were exceptional. In the
latter city, with the assistance of the Preobrajenski and Seminovsky
regiments from the garrison, and of detachments of sailors from the Baltic
fleet, to all of whom most extravagant promises were made, the _coup
d'état_ was easily managed with little bloodshed. But in a great many other
places the Bolshevist rule was effected in no such peaceful fashion, but by
means of a bloody terror. Here, for example, is the account of the manner
in which the counter-revolution of the Bolsheviki was accomplished at
Saratov, as given by a competent eye-witness, a well-known Russian
Socialist whose long and honorable service in the revolutionary movement
entitles her to the honor of every friend of Free Russia--Inna

    Here ... is how the Bolshevist _coup d'état_ took place at
    Saratov. I was witness to these facts myself. Saratov is a big
    university and intellectual center, possessing a great number of
    schools, libraries, and divers associations designed to elevate
    the intellectual standard of the population. The Zemstvo of
    Saratov was one of the best in Russia. The peasant population of
    this province, among whom the revolutionary Socialist propaganda
    was carried on for several years, by the Revolutionary Socialist
    party, is wide awake and well organized. The Municipality and the
    Agricultural Committees were composed of Socialists. The
    population was actively preparing for the elections to the
    Constituent Assembly; the people discussed the list of candidates,
    studied the candidates' biographies, as well as the programs of
    the different parties. On the night of October 28th [November
    10th, European calendar], by reason of an order that had come from
    Petrograd, the Bolshevik _coup d'état_ broke out at Saratov. The
    following forces were its instruments: the garrison, which was a
    stranger to the mass of the population, a weak party of workers,
    and, in the capacity of leaders, some Intellectuals, who, up to
    that time, had played no rôle in the public life of the town.

    It was indeed a military _coup d'état. The city hall, where sat
    the Socialists, who were elected by equal, direct, and secret
    universal suffrage, was surrounded by soldiers; machine-guns were
    placed in front and the bombardment began. This lasted a whole
    night; some were wounded, some killed_. The municipal judges were
    arrested. Soon after a Manifesto solemnly announced to the
    population that the "enemies of the people," the
    "counter-revolutionaries," were overthrown; that the power of
    Saratov was going to pass into the hands of the Soviet
    (Bolshevist) of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.

As soon as the overthrow of the existing authorities was effected and the
Bolsheviki, through their Red Guards and other means, were in a position to
exert their authority, they resorted to every method of oppression and
repression known to the old autocratic régime. They suppressed the papers
of the Socialist parties and groups opposed to them, and in some instances
confiscated the plants, turned out the editors, and used the papers
themselves. In one of his "Letters to the Comrades," published in the
_Rabochiy Put_, a few days before the insurrection, Lenine had confessed
that Kerensky had maintained freedom of the press and of assemblage. The
passage is worth quoting, not only for the information it contains
concerning the Kerensky régime, but also because it affords a standard by
which to judge the Bolsheviki. Lenine wrote:

    The Germans have only one Liebknecht, no newspapers, no freedom of
    assemblage, no councils; they are working against the intense
    hostility of all classes of the population, including the wealthy
    peasants--with the imperialist bourgeoisie splendidly
    organized--and yet the Germans are making some attempt at
    agitation; _while we, with tens of papers, with freedom of
    assemblage, with the majority of the Council with us, we, the best
    situated of all the proletarian internationalists, can we refuse
    to support the German revolutionists in organizing a revolt?_

That it was not the "German revolutionists" who in November, 1917, wanted
the Russians to revolt against the Kerensky government, but the Majority
Socialists, upon whom Lenine had poured his contempt, on the one hand, and
the German General Staff, on the other hand, is a mere detail. The
important thing is that Lenine admitted that under the Kerensky government
the Russian workers, including the Bolsheviki, were "the best situated of
all the proletarian internationalists," and that they had "tens of papers,
with freedom of assemblage." In the face of such statements by Lenine
himself, written a few days before the Bolshevik counter-revolution, what
becomes of the charge that the suppression of popular liberties under
Kerensky was one of the main causes of the revolt of the Bolsheviki?

Against the tolerance of Kerensky, the arbitrary and despotic methods of
the Bolsheviki stand out in strong contrast. Many non-Bolshevist Socialist
organs were suppressed; papers containing matter displeasing to the
Bolshevik authorities were suspended, whole issues were confiscated, and
editors were imprisoned, precisely as in the days of the Czar. It became
necessary for the Socialist-Revolutionists to issue their paper with a
different title, and from a different place, every day. Here is the
testimony of Inna Rakitnikov again, contained in an official report to the
International Socialist Bureau:

    All the non-Bolshevik newspapers were confiscated or prosecuted
    and deprived of every means of reaching the provinces; their
    editors' offices and printing-establishments were looted. After
    the creation of the "Revolutionary Tribunal" the authors of
    articles that were not pleasing to the Bolsheviki, as well as the
    directors of newspapers, were brought to judgment and condemned to
    make amends or go to prison, etc.

    The premises of numerous organizations were being constantly
    pillaged. The Red Guard came there to search, destroying different
    documents; frequently objects which were found on the premises
    disappeared. Thus were looted the premises of the Central
    Committee of the Revolutionary Socialist party (27 Galernaia
    Street) and--several times--the office of the paper _Dielo Naroda_
    (22 Liteinia Street) ... the office of the paper Volya Naroda,
    etc.... But the Central Committee ... continued to issue a daily
    paper, only changing its title, as in the time of Czarism, and
    thus continued its propaganda....

The _Yolya Naroda_, referred to by Inna Rakitnikov, was the official organ
of the Socialist-Revolutionary party. It was raided on several occasions.
For example, in January, 1918, the leaders of the party reported that a
detachment of Bolshevik Red Guards had broken into the office of the paper,
committed various depredations, and made several arrests.[26] Here is
another Socialist witness: One of the ablest of the leaders of the Bohemian
Socialists in the United States is Joseph Martinek, the brilliant and
scholarly editor of the Bohemian Socialist weekly, the _Delnicke Listy_. He
has always been identified with the radical section of the movement. A
student of Russian history, speaking the language fluently, it was his good
fortune to spend several weeks in Petrograd immediately before and after
the Bolshevik counter-revolution. He testifies that the "freedom of the
press established by Kerensky" was "terminated by the Bolsheviki."[27]
This is not the testimony of "capitalist newspapers," but of Socialists of
unquestionable authority and standing. The _Dielo Naroda_ was a Socialist
paper, and the volunteer venders of it, who were brutally beaten and shot
down by Red Guards, were Socialist working-men.[28] When Oskar Tokoi, the
well-known revolutionary Finnish Socialist leader, former Prime Minister of
Finland, declares that "freedom of assemblage, association, free speech,
and free press is altogether destroyed,"[29] the Bolsheviki and their
sympathizers cannot plead that they are the victims of "capitalist
misrepresentation." The attitude of the Bolshevik leaders toward the
freedom of the press has been frankly stated editorially in Pravda, their
official organ, in the following words:

    The press is a most dangerous weapon in the hands of our enemies.
    We will tear it from them, we will reduce it to impotence. It is
    the moment for us to prepare battle. We will be inflexible in our
    defense of the rights of the exploited. The struggle will be
    decisive. We are going to smite the journals with fines, to shut
    them up, to arrest the editors, and hold them as hostages.[30]

Is it any wonder that Paul Axelrod, who was one of the representatives of
Russia on the International Socialist Bureau prior to the outbreak of the
war, has been forced to declare that the Bolsheviki have "introduced into
Russia a system worse than Czarism, suppressing the Constituent Assembly
and the liberty of the press"?[31] Or that the beloved veteran of the
Russian Revolution, Nicholas Tchaykovsky, should lament that "the
Bolshevik usurpation is the continuation of the government by which Czarism
held the country in an iron grip"?[32]


Lenine, Trotzky, Zinoviev, and other Bolshevik leaders early found
themselves so much at variance with the accepted Socialist position that
they decided to change their party name. They had been Social Democrats, a
part of the Social Democratic party of Russia. Now ever since Bronterre
O'Brien first used the terms "Social Democrat" and "Social Democracy," in
1839, their meaning has been pretty well established. A Social Democrat is
one who aims to base government and industry upon democracy. Certainly,
this cannot be said to be an accurate description of the position of men
who believe in the rule of a nation of one hundred and eighty millions by a
small party of two hundred thousand or less--or even by an entire class
representing not more than six per cent. of the population--and Lenine and
his friends, recognizing the fact, decided to change the name of their
group to the _Communist party_, by which name they are now known in Russia.
Lenine frankly admits that it would be a mistake to speak of this party as
a party of democracy. He says:

    The word "democracy" cannot be scientifically applied to the
    Communist party. Since March, 1917, the word democracy is simply a
    shackle fastened upon the revolutionary nation and preventing it
    from establishing boldly, freely, and regardless of all obstacles
    a new form of power; the Council of Workmen's, Soldiers' and
    Peasants' Deputies, harbinger of the abolition of every form of

The phrase "harbinger of the abolition of every form of authority" would
seem to indicate that Lenine's ideal is that of the old Nihilists--or of
Anarchists of the Bakuninist school. That is very far from the truth. The
phrase in question is merely a rhetorical flourish. No man has more
caustically criticized and ridiculed the Anarchists for their dream of
organization without authority than Nikolai Lenine. Moreover, his
conception of Soviet government provides for a very strong central
authority. It is a new kind of state, but a state, nevertheless, and, as we
shall discover, far more powerful than the political state with which we
are familiar, exercising far greater control over the life of the
individual. It is not to be a democratic state, but a very despotic one, a
dictatorship by a small but powerful ruling class. It was not the word
"democracy" which Lenine felt to be a "shackle upon the revolutionary
nation," but democracy itself.

The manner in which they betrayed the Constituent Assembly will prove the
complete hostility of the Bolsheviki to democratic government. In order to
excuse and justify the Bolsheviki's actions in this regard, their
supporters in this country have assiduously circulated two statements. They
are, first, that the Provisional Government purposely and with malicious
intent delayed the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, hoping to stave
it off altogether; second, that such a long time had elapsed between the
elections and the convocation that when the latter date was reached the
delegates no longer represented the true feeling of the electorate.

With regard to the first of these statements, which is a repetition of a
charge made by Trotzky before the Bolshevik revolt, it is to be noted that
it is offered in justification of the Bolshevik _coup d'état_. If the
charge made were true, instead of false, as it can easily be shown to be,
it would only justify the counter-revolution if the counter-revolution
itself were made the instrument for insuring the safety of the Constituent
Assembly. But the Bolsheviki _suppressed the Constituent Assembly_. By what
process of reasoning do we reach the result that because the Provisional
Government delayed the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, which the
people desired, a counter-revolutionary movement to _suppress it
altogether_, by force of arms, was right and proper?

With regard to the second statement, which is a repetition of an argument
advanced in Russia, it should be sufficient to emphasize a few dates. The
Bolsheviki seized the power of government on November 7th and the elections
for the Constituent Assembly took place on November 25th--nearly three
weeks later. The date set by the Kerensky government for the opening of the
Constituent Assembly was December 12th and on that date some forty-odd
members put in an appearance. Recognizing that they could not begin
business until a quorum appeared, these decided to wait until at least a
quorum should be present. They did not attempt to do any work. What
happened is told in the following passages from a signed statement by 109
members--all Socialist-Revolutionists.[34]

    On the appointed day and hour of the opening of the session of the
    Constituent Assembly ... the delegates to the Constituent Assembly
    who had arrived in Petrograd gathered at the Tavrichesky Palace.
    The elected representatives of the people beheld innumerable
    banners and large crowds surrounding the palace. This was
    Petrograd greeting the representatives of the people. At the doors
    of the palace the picture changed. There stood armed guards and at
    the orders of the usurpers, the Bolsheviki, they refused to let
    the delegates pass into the Tavrichesky Palace. It appeared that,
    in order to enter the building, the _delegates had first to pay
    respects to the Commissaire, a satellite of Lenine and Trotzky,
    and there receive special permission_. The delegates would not
    submit to that; elected by the people and equipped with formal
    authorization, they had the right to freely enter any public
    building assigned for their meeting. The delegates decided to
    enter the Tavrichesky Palace without asking the new authorities,
    and they succeeded in doing so. On the first day the guards did
    not dare to lift their arms against the people's elected
    representatives and allowed them to enter the building without

    There was no struggle, no violence, no sacrifices; the delegates
    demanded that the guards respect their rights; they demanded to be
    admitted, and the guards yielded.

    In the Tavrichesky Palace the delegates opened their meeting; V.M.
    Chernov was elected chairman. There were, altogether, about forty
    delegates present. They realized that there were not enough
    present to start the work of the Constituent Assembly. _It was
    decided that it would be advisable to await the arrival of the
    other delegates and start the work of the Constituent Assembly
    only when a sufficient number were present_. Those already there
    decided to meet daily at the Tavrichesky Palace in order to count
    all the delegates as they arrived, and on an appointed day to
    publicly announce the day and hour of the beginning of the
    activities of the Constituent Assembly.

    When the delegates finished their session and adjourned, the old
    guards had been dismissed for their submissive attitude toward the
    delegates and replaced by armed civilian followers of Lenine and
    Trotzky. The latter issued an order to disband the delegates, but
    there were none to be disbanded.

    The following day the government of the Bolsheviki dishonestly and
    basely slandered the people's representatives in their official
    announcement which appeared in Pravda. That lying newspaper wrote
    that the representatives of the people had forced their way into
    the palace, accompanied by Junkers and the White Guards of the
    bourgeoisie, that the representatives wanted to take advantage of
    their small numbers and had begun the work of the Constituent
    Assembly. Every one knows that this is slanderous as regards the
    representatives of the people. Such lies and slanders were
    resorted to by the old régime.

    The aim of the slanders and the lies is clear. _The usurpers do
    not want the people's representatives to have the supreme power
    and therefore are preparing to disband the Constituent Assembly_.
    On the 28th of November, in the evening, _having begun to arrest
    members of the Constitutional-Democratic party, the Bolsheviki
    violated the inviolability of the Constituent Assembly. On
    December 3d a delegate to the Constituent Assembly, the
    Socialist-Revolutionist, Filippovsky, who was elected by the army
    on the southwestern front, was arrested_.

    In accordance with their decision reached on November 28th, the
    delegates gathered at the Tavrichesky Palace on November 29th and
    30th. As on the first day, armed soldiers stood guard at the
    entrance of the palace and would not let any one pass. The
    delegates, however, insisted and were finally allowed to enter.

    On the third day, scenes of brutal violence toward the people's
    representatives took place at the palace. Peasants were the
    unfortunate victims of this violence.

    When the delegates had ended their session and all that remained
    was the affixing of the signatures to the minutes, sailors forced
    their way into the hall; these were headed by a Bolshevik officer,
    _a former commander of the Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul_.
    The commander demanded that the delegates disband. In reply it was
    stated that the delegates would disband after they had finished
    their business. Then at the order of the commander the sailors
    took the delegate Ilyan, elected by the peasants of the Province
    of Tambov, by the arm and dragged him to the exit. After Ilyan,
    the sailors dragged out the peasant delegate from the Province of
    Moscow, Bikov; then the sailors approached Maltzev, a peasant
    delegate from the Province of Kostroma. He, however, shouted out
    that he would rather be shot than to submit to such violence. His
    courage appealed to the sailors and they stopped.

    Now all the halls in the Tavrichesky Palace are locked and it is
    impossible to meet there. The delegates who come to the
    Tavrichesky Palace cannot even gather in the lobby, for as soon
    as a group gathers, the armed hirelings of Lenine and Trotzky
    disperse them. Thus, in former times, behaved the servants of the
    Czar and the enemies of the people, policemen and gendarmes.

This is not the testimony of correspondents of bourgeois journals; it is
from a statement prepared at the time and signed by more than a hundred
Socialists, members of the oldest and largest Socialist party in Russia,
many of them men whose long and honorable service has endeared them to
their comrades in all lands. It is not testimony that can be impeached or
controverted. It forms part of the report of these well-known and trusted
Socialists to their comrades in Russia and elsewhere. The claim that the
elections to the Constituent Assembly were held on the basis of an obsolete
register, before the people had a chance to become acquainted with the
Bolshevist program, and that so long a time had elapsed since the elections
that the delegates could not be regarded as true representatives of the
people, was first put forward by the Bolsheviki when the Constituent
Assembly was finally convened, on January 18th. It was an absurd claim for
the Bolsheviki to make, for one of the very earliest acts of the Bolshevik
government, after the overthrow of Kerensky, was to issue a decree ordering
that the elections be held as arranged. By that act they assumed
responsibility for the elections, and could not fairly and honorably enter
the plea, later on, that the elections were not valid.

Here is the story of the struggle for the Constituent Assembly, briefly
summarized. The first Provisional Government issued a Manifesto on March
20, 1917, promising to convoke the Constituent Assembly "as soon as
possible." This promise was repeated by the Provisional Government when it
was reorganized after the resignation of Miliukov and Guchkov in the
middle of May. That the promise was sincere there can be no reasonable
doubt, for the Provisional Government at once set about creating a
commission to work out the necessary machinery and was for the election by
popular vote of delegates to the Constituent Assembly. Russia was not like
a country which had ample electoral machinery already existing; new
machinery had to be devised for the purpose. This commission was opened on
June 7, 1917; its work was undertaken with great earnestness, and completed
in a remarkably short time, with the result that on July 22d the
Provisional Government--Kerensky at its head--announced that the elections
to the Constituent Assembly would be held on September 30th, and the
convocation of the Assembly itself on the 12th of December. It was soon
found, however, that it would be physically impossible for the local
authorities all to be prepared to hold the election on the date set--it was
necessary, among other things, to first elect the local authorities which
were to arrange for the election of the delegates to the Constituent
Assembly--and so, on August 22d, Kerensky signed the following decree,
making _the one and only postponement_ of the Constituent Assembly, so far
as the Provisional Government was concerned:

    Desiring to assure the convocation of the Constituent Assembly as
    soon as possible, the Provisional Government designated the 30th
    of September as election-day, in which case the whole burden of
    making up the election lists must fall on the municipalities and
    the newly elected zemstvos. _The enormous labor of holding the
    elections for the local institution has taken time_. At present,
    in view of the date of establishment of the local institutions, on
    the basis decreed by the government--direct, general, equal, and
    secret suffrage--the Provisional Government has decided:

    To set aside as the day for the elections to the Constituent
    Assembly the 25th of November, of the year 1917, and as the date
    for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly the 12th of
    December, of the year 1917.

Notwithstanding this clear and honorable record, we find Trotzky, at a
Conference of Northern Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, on
October 25th, when he well knew that arrangements for holding the
Constituent Assembly elections were in full swing, charging that Kerensky
was engaged in preventing the convocation of the Constituent Assembly! He
demanded at that time that all power should be taken from the Provisional
Government and transferred to the Soviets. These, he said, would convoke
the Assembly on the date that had been assigned, December 12th.

The Bolshevik _coup d'état_ took place, as already noted, less than three
weeks before the date set for the elections, for which every preparation
had been made by the government and the local authorities. It was at the
beginning of the campaign, and the Bolsheviki had their own candidates in
the field in many places. It was a foregone conclusion that the Constituent
Assembly brought into being by the universal suffrage would be dominated by
Socialists. There was never the slightest fear that it would be dominated
by the bourgeois parties. What followed is best told in the exact language
of a protest to the International Socialist Bureau by Inna Rakitnikov,
representative of the Revolutionary Socialist party, which was, be it
remembered, the largest and the oldest of the Russian Socialist parties:

    The _coup d'état_ was followed by various other manifestations of
    Bolshevist activity--arrests, searches, confiscation of
    newspapers, ban on meetings. Bands of soldiers looted the country
    houses in the suburbs of the city; a school for the children of
    the people and the buildings of the Children's Holiday Settlement
    were also pillaged. Bands of soldiers were forthwith sent into the
    country to cause trouble there.... The bands of soldiers who were
    sent into the country used not only persuasion, but also violence,
    _trying to force the peasants to give their votes for the
    Bolshevik candidates at the time of the elections to the
    Constituent Assembly; they tore up the bulletins of the
    Socialist-Revolutionists, overturned the ballot-boxes, etc_....
    The inhabitants of the country proved themselves in all that
    concerned the elections wide awake to the highest degree. There
    were hardly any abstentions; _90 per cent. of the population took
    part in the voting_. The day of the voting was kept as a solemn
    feast; the priest said mass; the peasants dressed in their best
    clothes; they believed that the Constituent Assembly would give
    them order, laws, the land. In the Government of Saratov, out of
    fourteen deputies elected, there were twelve
    Socialist-Revolutionists. There were others (such as the
    Government of Pensa, for example) that elected only
    Socialist-Revolutionists. The Bolsheviki had the majority only in
    Petrograd and Moscow and in certain units of the army. To violence
    and conquest of power by force of arms the population answered by
    the elections to the Constituent Assembly, the people sent to this
    Assembly, not the Bolsheviki, but, by an overwhelming majority,

Of course, this is the testimony of one who is confessedly anti-Bolshevist,
one who has suffered deep injury at the hands of the Bolsheviki of whom she
writes. For all that, her testimony cannot be ignored or laughed aside. It
has been indorsed by E. Roubanovitch, a member of the International
Socialist Bureau, and a man of the highest integrity, in the following
words: "I affirm that her sincere and matured testimony cannot be suspected
of partizanship or of dogmatic partiality against the Bolsheviki." What is
more important, however, is that the subsequent conduct of the Bolsheviki
in all matters relating to the Constituent Assembly was such as to confirm
belief in her statements.

No Bolshevik spokesman has ever yet challenged the accuracy of the
statement that an overwhelming majority of the deputies elected to the
Constituent Assembly were representatives of the Revolutionary Socialist
party. As a matter of fact, the Bolsheviki elected less than one-third of
the deputies. In the announcement of their withdrawal from the Constituent
Assembly when it assembled in January the Bolshevik members admitted that
the Socialist-Revolutionists had "obtained a majority of the Constituent

The attitude of the Bolsheviki toward the Constituent Assembly changed as
their electoral prospects changed. At first, believing that, as a result of
their successful _coup_, they would have the support of the great mass of
the peasants and city workers, they were vigorous in their support of the
Assembly. In the first of their "decrees" after the overthrow of the
Kerensky Cabinet, the Bolshevik "Commissaries of the People" announced that
they were to exercise complete power "until the meeting of the Constituent
Assembly," which was nothing less than a pledge that they would regard the
latter body as the supreme, ultimate authority. Three days after the revolt
Lenine, as president of the People's Commissaries, published this decree:

    In the name of the Government of the Republic, elected by the
    All-Russian Congress of Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Delegates, with the participation of the Peasants' Delegates, the
    Council of the People's Commissaries decrees:

    1. That the elections to the Constituent Assembly shall be held on
    November 25th, the day set aside for this purpose.

    2. All electoral committees, all local organizations, the Councils
    of Workmen's, Soldiers' and Peasants' Delegates and the soldiers'
    organizations at the front are to bend every effort toward
    safeguarding the freedom of the voters and fair play at the
    elections to the Constituent Assembly, which will be held on the
    appointed date.

If this attitude had been maintained throughout, and had the Bolsheviki
loyally accepted the verdict of the electorate when it was given, there
could have been no complaint. But the evidence shows that their early
attitude was not maintained. Later on, as reports received from the
interior of the country showed that the masses were not flocking to their
banners, they began to assume a critical attitude toward the Constituent
Assembly. The leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary party were warning
their followers that the Bolsheviki would try to wreck the Constituent
Assembly, for which they were bitterly denounced in organs like _Pravda_
and _Izvestya_. Very soon, however, these Bolshevist organs began to
discuss the Constituent Assembly in a very critical spirit. It was
possible, they pointed out, that it would have a bourgeois majority,
treating the Socialist-Revolutionists and the Cadets as being on the same
level, equally servants of the bourgeoisie. Then appeared editorials to
show that it would not be possible to place the destinies of Russia in the
hands of such people, even though they were elected by the "unthinking
masses." Finally, when it was clear that the Socialist-Revolutionary party
had elected a majority of the members, _Pravda_ and _Izvestya_ took the
position that _the victorious people did not need a Constituent Assembly_;
that a new instrument had been created which made the old democratic method
obsolete.[35] The "new instrument" was, of course, the Bolshevist Soviet.


For the moment we are not concerned with the merits or the failings of the
Soviet considered as an instrument of government. We are concerned only
with democracy and the relation of the Bolshevist method to democracy. From
this point of view, then, let us consider the facts. The Soviet was not
something new, as so many of our American drawing-room champions of
Bolshevism seem to think. The Soviet was the type of organization common to
Russia. There were Soviets of peasants, of soldiers, of teachers, of
industrial workers, of officers, of professional men, and so on. Every
class and every group in the classes had its own Soviet. The Soviet in its
simplest form is a delegate body consisting of representatives of a
particular group--a peasants' Soviet, for example. Another type, more
important, roughly corresponds to the Central Labor Union in an American
city, in that it is composed of representatives of workers of all kinds.
These delegates are, in the main, chosen by the workers in the shops and
factories and in the meetings of the unions. The anti-Bolshevist
Socialists, such as the Mensheviki and the Socialist-Revolutionists, were
not opposed to Soviets as working-class organizations. On the contrary,
they approved of them, supported them, and, generally, belonged to them.

They were opposed only to the theory that these Soviets, recruited in a
more or less haphazard manner, as such organizations must necessarily be,
were better adapted to the governing of a great country like Russia than a
legal body which received its mandate in elections based upon universal,
equal, direct, and secret suffrage. No one ever pretended that the Soviets
represented all the workers of Russia--including peasants in that term--or
even a majority of them. No one ever pretended that the Soviet, as such,
was a stable and constant factor. New Soviets were always springing up and
others dying out. Many existed only in name, on paper. _There never has
been an accurate list of the Soviets existing in Russia_. Many lists have
been made, but always by the time they could be tabulated and published
there have been many changes. For these and other reasons which will
suggest themselves to the mind of any thoughtful reader, many of the
leaders of the revolutionary movement in Russia have doubted the value of
the Soviet as a _unit of government, while highly valuing it as a unit of
working-class organization and struggle_.

Back of all the strife between the Bolsheviki centered around the Soviets
and the Socialist-Revolutionists and Mensheviki, centered around the
Constituent Assembly, was a greater fact than any we have been discussing,
however. The Bolsheviki with their doctrinaire Marxism had carried the
doctrine of the class struggle to such extreme lengths that they virtually
placed the great mass of the peasants with the bourgeoisie. The Revolution
must be controlled by the proletariat, they argued. The control of the
government and of industry by the people, which was the slogan of the old
democracy, will not do, for the term "the people" includes bourgeois
elements. Even if it is narrowed by excluding the great capitalists and
landowners, still it embraces the lesser capitalists, small landowners,
shopkeepers, and the petty bourgeoisie in general. These elements weaken
the militancy of the proletariat. What is needed is the dictatorship of the
proletariat. Now, only a very small part of the peasantry, the very poor
peasants, can be safely linked to the proletariat--and even these must be
carefully watched. It was a phase of the old and familiar conflict between
agrarian and industrial groups in the Socialist movement. It is not very
many years since the Socialist party of America was convulsed by a similar
discussion. Could the farmer ever be a genuine and sincere and trustworthy
Socialist? The question was asked in the party papers in all seriousness,
and in one or two state organizations measures were taken to limit the
number of farmers entering the party, so that at all times there might be
the certainty of a preponderance of proletarian over farmer votes.

Similar distrust, only upon a much bigger scale, explains the fight for and
against the Constituent Assembly. Lenine and his followers distrusted the
peasants as a class whose interests were akin to the class of small
property-owners. He would only unite with the poor, propertyless peasants.
The leaders of the peasantry, on the other hand, supported by the more
liberal Marxians, would expand the meaning of the term "working class" and
embrace within its meaning all the peasants as well as all city workers,
most of the professional classes, and so on. We can get some idea of this
strife from a criticism which Lenine directs against the Mensheviki:

    In its class composition this party is not Socialist at all. It
    does not represent the toiling masses. It represents fairly
    prosperous peasants and working-men, petty traders, many small and
    some even fairly large capitalists, and a certain number of real
    but gullible proletarians who have been caught in the bourgeois

It is clear from this criticism that Lenine does not believe that a genuine
Socialist party--and, presumably, therefore, the same must apply to a
Socialist government--can represent "fairly prosperous peasants and
working-men." We now know how to appraise the Soviet government. The
constitution of Russia under the rule of the Bolsheviki is required by law
to be posted in all public places in Russia. In Article II, Chapter V,
paragraph 9, of this document it is set forth that "the Constitution of the
Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic involves, in view of the
present transition period, the establishment of a dictatorship of the urban
and rural proletariat and the poorest peasantry in the form of a powerful
All-Russian Soviet authority." Attention is called to this passage here,
not for the sake of pointing out the obvious need for some exact definition
of the loose expression, "the poorest peasantry," nor for the sake of any
captious criticism, but solely to point out the important fact that Lenine
only admits a part of the peasantry--the poorest--to share in the
dictatorship of the proletariat.

Turning to another part of the same important document--Article III,
Chapter VI, Section A, paragraph 25--we find the basis of representation in
the All-Russian Congress of Soviets stated. There are representatives of
town Soviets and representatives of provincial congresses of Soviets. The
former represent the industrial workers; the latter represent the peasants
almost exclusively. It is important, therefore, to note that there is one
delegate for every twenty-five thousand city voters and one for every one
hundred and twenty-five thousand peasant voters! In Section B of the same
Article, Chapter X, paragraph 53, we find the same discrimination: it takes
five peasants' votes to equal the vote of one city voter; it was this
general attitude of the Bolsheviki toward the peasants, dividing them into
classes and treating the great majority of them as petty, rural
bourgeoisie, which roused the resentment of the peasants' leaders. They
naturally insisted that the peasants constituted a distinct class,
co-operating with the proletariat, not to be ruled by it. Even Marie
Spiridonova, who at first joined with the Bolsheviki, was compelled, later
on, to assert this point of view.

It is easy to understand the distrust of the Bolsheviki by the Socialist
parties and groups which represented the peasants. The latter class
constituted more than 85 per cent. of the population. Moreover, it had
furnished the great majority of the fighters in the revolutionary movement.
Its leaders and spokesmen resented the idea that they were to be dictated
to and controlled by a minority, which was, as Lenine himself admitted, not
materially more numerous than the old ruling class of landowners had been.
They wanted a democratic governmental system, free from class rule, while
the Bolsheviki wanted class rule. Generalizations are proverbially
perilous, and should be very cautiously made and applied to great currents
of thought and of life. But in a broad sense we may fairly say that the
Socialism of the Socialist-Revolutionists and the Mensheviki, the Socialism
of Kerensky and the men who were the majority of the Constituent Assembly,
was the product of Russian life and Russian economic development, while the
Socialism that the Bolsheviki tried by force of arms to impose upon Russia
was as un-Russian as it could be. The Bolshevist conception of Socialism
had its origin in Marxian theory. Both Marx and Engels freely predicted the
setting up of "a dictatorship of the proletariat"--the phrase which the
Bolsheviki have made their own.

Yet, the Bolsheviki are not Marxians. Their Socialism is as little Marxian
as Russian. When Marx and Engels forecasted the establishment of
proletarian dictatorship it was part of their theorem that economic
evolution would have reduced practically all the masses to a proletarian
state; that industrial and commercial concentration would have reached such
a stage of development that there would be on the one side a small class
of owners, and, on the other side, the proletariat. There would be, they
believed, no middle class. The disappearance of the middle class was, for
them and for their followers, a development absolutely certain to take
place. They saw the same process going on with the same result in
agriculture. It might be less rapid in its progress, but not one whit less
certain. It was only as the inevitable climax to this evolution that they
believed the "dictatorship of the proletariat" would be achieved. In other
words, the proletariat would be composed of the overwhelming majority of
the body politic and social. That is very different from the Bolshevist
attempt to set up the dictatorship of the proletariat in a land where more
than 85 per cent, of the people are peasants; where industrial development
is behind the rest of the world, and where dictatorship of the proletariat
means the domination of more than one hundred and eighty millions of people
by two hundred thousand "proletarians and the poorest peasants," according
to Lenine's statement, or by six per cent. of the population _if we assume
the entire proletariat to be united in the dictatorship!_


At the time of the disturbances which took place in Petrograd in December,
over the delay in holding the Constituent Assembly, the Bolshevik
government announced that the Constituante would be permitted to convene on
January 18th, provided that not less than four hundred delegates were in
attendance. Accordingly, the defenders of the Constituent Assembly arranged
for a great demonstration to take place on that day in honor of the event.
It was also intended to be a warning to the Bolsheviki not to try to
further interfere with the Constituante. An earnest but entirely peaceful
mass of people paraded with flags and banners and signs containing such
inscriptions as "Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!" "Land and Liberty,"
"Long Live the Constituent Assembly," and many others. They set out from
different parts of the city to unite at the Field of Mars and march to the
Taurida Palace to protest against any interference with the Constituent
Assembly. As they neared the Taurida Palace they were confronted by Red
Guards, who, without any preliminary warning or any effort at persuasion,
fired into the crowd. Among the first victims was a member of the Executive
Committee of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates, the Siberian peasant
Logvinov, part of whose head was shot away by an explosive bullet. Another
victim was the militant Socialist-Revolutionist Gorbatchevskaia. Several
students and a number of workmen were also killed. Similar massacres
occurred at the same time in other parts of the city. Other processions
wending their way toward the meeting-place were fired into. Altogether one
hundred persons were either killed or very seriously wounded by the Red
Guards, who said that they had received orders "not to spare the
cartridges." Similar demonstrations were held in Moscow and other cities
and were similarly treated by the Red Guards. In Moscow especially the loss
of life was great. Yet the Bolshevist organs passed these tragic events
over in complete silence. They did not mention the massacres, nor did they
mention the great demonstration at the funeral of the victims, four days

When the Constituent Assembly was formally opened, on January 18th, it was
well known on every hand that the Bolshevik government would use force to
destroy it if the deputies refused to do exactly as they were told. The
corridors were filled with armed soldiers and sailors, ready for action.

The Lenine-Trotzky Ministry had summoned an extraordinary Congress of
Soviets to meet in Petrograd at the same time, and it was well understood
that they were determined to erect this Soviet Congress into the supreme
legislative power. If the Constituent Assembly would consent to this, so
much the better, of course. In that case there would be a valuable legal
sanction, the sanction of a democratically elected body expressly charged
with the task of determining the form and manner of government for Free
Russia. Should the Constituent Assembly not be willing, there was an
opportunity for another _coup d'état_.

In precisely the same way as the Ministry during the last years of Czarism
would lay before the Duma certain documents and demand that they be
approved, so the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets--the Bolshevik
power--demanded that the Constituent Assembly meekly assent to a document
prepared for it in advance. It was at once a test and a challenge; if the
Assembly was willing to accept orders from the Soviet authority and content
itself with rubber-stamping the decrees of the latter, as ordered, it could
be permitted to go on--at least for a time. At the head of the Constituent
Assembly, as president, the deputies elected Victor Chernov, who had been
Minister of Agriculture under Kerensky. At the head of the Bolshevik
faction was Sverdlov, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Soviets.
He it was who opened the fight, demanding that the following declaration be
adopted by the Constituante as the basis of a Constitution for Russia:



    1. Russia is to be declared a republic of the workers', soldiers'
    and peasants' Soviets. All power in the cities and in the country
    belongs to the Soviets.

    2. The Russian Soviet Republic is based on the free federation of
    free peoples, on the federation of national Soviet republics.


    Assuming as its duty the destruction of all exploitation of the
    workers, the complete abolition of the class system of society,
    and the placing of society upon a socialistic basis, and the
    ultimate bringing about of victory for Socialism in every country,
    the Constituent Assembly further decides:

    1. That the socialization of land be realized, private ownership
    of land be abolished, all the land be proclaimed common property
    of the people and turned over to the toiling masses without
    compensation on the basis of equal right to the use of land.

    All forests, mines, and waters which are of social importance, as
    well as all living and other forms of property, and all
    agricultural enterprises, are declared national property.

    2. To confirm the decree of the Soviets concerning the inspection
    of working conditions, the highest department of national economy,
    which is the first step in achieving the ownership by the Soviets
    of the factories, mines, railroads, and means of production and

    3. To confirm the decree of the Soviets transferring all banks to
    the ownership of the Soviet Republic, as one of the steps in the
    freeing of the toiling masses from the yoke of capitalism.

    4. To enforce general compulsory labor, in order to destroy the
    class of parasites, and to reorganize the economic life. In order
    to make the power of the toiling masses secure and to prevent the
    restoration of the rule of the exploiters, the toiling masses will
    be armed and a Red Guard composed of workers and peasants formed,
    and the exploiting classes shall be disarmed.


    1. Declaring its firm determination to make society free from the
    chaos of capitalism and imperialism, which has drenched the
    country in blood in this most criminal war of all wars, the
    Constituent Assembly accepts completely the policy of the Soviets,
    whose duty it is to publish all secret treaties, to organize the
    most extensive fraternization between the workers and peasants of
    warring armies, and by revolutionary methods to bring about a
    democratic peace among the belligerent nations without annexations
    and indemnities, on the basis of the free self-determination of
    nations--at any price.

    2. For this purpose the Constituent Assembly declares its complete
    separation from the brutal policy of the bourgeoisie, which
    furthers the well-being of the exploiters in a few selected
    nations by enslaving hundreds of millions of the toiling peoples
    of the colonies and the small nations generally.

    The Constituent Assembly accepts the policy of the Council of
    People's Commissars in giving complete independence to Finland, in
    beginning the withdrawal of troops from Persia, and in declaring
    for Armenia the right of self-determination.

    A blow at international financial capital is the Soviet decree
    which annuls foreign loans made by the governments of the Czar,
    the landowners and the bourgeoisie. The Soviet government is to
    continue firmly on this road until the final victory from the yoke
    of capitalism is won through international workers' revolt.

    As the Constituent Assembly was elected on the basis of lists of
    candidates nominated before the November Revolution, when the
    people as a whole could not yet rise against their exploiters, and
    did not know how powerful would be the strength of the exploiters
    in defending their privileges, and had not yet begun to create a
    Socialist society, the Constituent Assembly considers it, even
    from a formal point of view, unjust to oppose the Soviet power.
    The Constituent Assembly is of the opinion that at this moment, in
    the decisive hour of the struggle of the people against their
    exploiters, the exploiters must not have a seat in any government
    organization or institution. The power completely and without
    exception belongs to the people and its authorized
    representatives--the workers', soldiers' and peasants' Soviets.

    Supporting the Soviet rule and accepting the orders of the Council
    of People's Commissars, the Constituent Assembly acknowledges its
    duty to outline a form for the reorganization of society.

    Striving at the same time to organize a free and voluntary, and
    thereby also a complete and strong, union among the toiling
    classes of all the Russian nations, the Constituent Assembly
    limits itself to outlining the basis of the federation of Russian
    Soviet Republics, leaving to the people, to the workers and
    soldiers, to decide for themselves, in their own Soviet meetings,
    if they are willing, and on what conditions they prefer, to join
    the federated government and other federations of Soviet
    enterprise. These general principles are to be published without
    delay, and the official representatives of the Soviets are
    required to read them at the opening of the Constituent Assembly.

The demand for the adoption of this declaration gave rise to a long and
stormy debate. The leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionists and the
Mensheviki stoutly contended that the adoption of the declaration would be
virtually an abdication of the task for which the Constituent Assembly had
been elected by the people, and, therefore, a betrayal of trust. They could
not admit the impudent claim that an election held in November, based upon
universal suffrage, on lists made up as recently as September, could in
January be set aside as being "obsolete" and "unrepresentative." That a
majority of the Bolshevik candidates put forward had been defeated,
nullified, they argued, the claim of the Bolsheviki that the fact that the
candidates had all been nominated before the November insurrection should
be regarded as reason for acknowledging the Bolshevik Soviet as superior to
the Constituent Assembly. They insisted upon the point, which the Bolshevik
spokesmen did not attempt to controvert, that the Constituent Assembly
represented the votes of many millions of men and women,[37] while the
total actual membership represented by the Soviet power did not at the time
number one hundred thousand!

As might have been expected, the proposal to adopt the declaration
submitted to the Constituent Assembly in this arrogant fashion was rejected
by an enormous majority. The Bolshevik members, who had tried to make the
session a farce, thereupon withdrew after submitting a statement in which
they charged the Constituent Assembly with being a counter-revolutionary
body, and the Revolutionary-Socialist party with being a traitorous party
"directing the fight of the bourgeoisie against the workers' revolution."
The statement said that the Bolshevik members withdrew "in order to permit
the Soviet power to determine what relations it would hold with the
counter-revolutionary section of the Constituent Assembly"--a threat which
needed no interpretation.

After the withdrawal of the Bolshevik members, the majority very quickly
adopted a declaration which had been carefully prepared by the
Socialist-Revolutionists during the weeks which had elapsed since the
elections in the preliminary conferences which had been held for that
purpose. The declaration read as follows:


    In the name of the peoples who compose the Russian state, the
    All-Russian Constituent Assembly proclaims the Russian State to be
    the Russian Democratic Federated Republic, uniting indissolubly
    into one whole the peoples and territories which are sovereign
    within the limits prescribed by the Federal Constitution.


    1. _The right to privately own land within the boundaries of the
    Russian Republic is hereby abolished forever._

    2. All land within the boundaries of the Russian Republic, with
    all mines, forests, and waters, is hereby declared the property of
    the nation.

    3. The republic has the right to control all land, with all the
    mines, forests, and waters thereof, through the central and local
    administration, in accordance with the regulation provided by the
    present law.

    4. The autonomous provinces of the Russian Republic have title to
    land on the basis of the present law and in accordance with the
    Federal Constitution.

    5. The tasks of the central and local governments as regards the
    use of lands, mines, forests, and waters are:

    a. The creation of conditions conducive to the best possible
    utilization of the country's natural resources and the highest
    possible development of its productive forces.

    b. The fair distribution of all natural wealth among the people.

    6. The rights of individuals and institutions to land, mines,
    forests, and waters are restricted merely to utilization by said
    individuals and institutions.

    7. The use of all mines, forests, land, and waters is free to all
    citizens of the Russian Republic, regardless of nationality or
    creed. This includes all unions of citizens, also governmental and
    public institutions.

    8. The right to use the land is to be acquired and discontinued on
    the basis prescribed by this fundamental law.

    9. _All titles to land at present held by the individuals,
    associations, and institutions are abolished in so far as they
    contradict this law._

    10. All land, mines, forests, waters, at present owned by and
    otherwise in the possession of individuals, associations, and
    institutions, _are confiscated without compensation for the loss


    In the name of the peoples of the Russian Republic, the
    All-Russian Constituent Assembly expresses the firm will of the
    people to _immediately discontinue the war_ and conclude a just
    and general peace, appeals to the Allied countries proposing to
    define jointly the exact terms of the democratic peace acceptable
    to all the belligerent nations, in order to present these terms,
    in behalf of the Allies, to the governments fighting against the
    Russian Republic and her allies.

    The Constituent Assembly firmly believes that the attempts of the
    peoples of Russia to end the disastrous war will meet with a
    unanimous response on the part of the peoples and the governments
    of the Allied countries, and that by common efforts a speedy peace
    will be attained, which will safeguard the well-being and dignity
    of all the belligerent countries.

    The Constituent Assembly resolves to elect from its midst an
    authorized delegation which will carry on negotiations with the
    representatives of the Allied countries and which will present the
    appeal to jointly formulate terms upon which a speedy termination
    of the war will be possible, as well as for the purpose of
    carrying out the decisions of the Constituent Assembly regarding
    the question of peace negotiations with the countries fighting
    against us.

    This delegation, which is to be under the guidance of the
    Constituent Assembly, is to immediately start fulfilling the
    duties imposed upon it.

    Expressing, in the name of the peoples of Russia, its regret that
    the negotiations with Germany, which were started without
    preliminary agreement with the Allied countries, have assumed the
    character of negotiations for a separate peace, the Constituent
    Assembly, in the name of the peoples of the Federated Republic,
    _while continuing the armistice, accepts the further carrying on
    of the negotiations with the countries warring against us_ in
    order to work toward a general democratic peace which shall be in
    accordance "with the people's will and protect Russia's


Immediately following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly a body of
Red Guards shot the two Constitutional Democrats, Kokoshkin and Shingariev,
who were at the time confined as prisoners who were ill in the Naval
Hospital. The reason for the brutal murder of these men was that they were
bourgeoisie and, therefore, enemies of the working class! It is only just
to add that the foul deed was immediately condemned by the Bolshevik
government and by the Soviet of Petrograd. "The working class will never
approve of any outrages upon our prisoners, whatever may have been their
political offense against the people and their Revolution," the latter body
declared, in a resolution on the subject of the assassinations. Two days
after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly twenty-three
Socialist-Revolutionist members of that body, assembled at the office of
their party, were arrested, and the premises occupied by Red Guards, the
procedure being exactly as it used to be in the old days under the Czar.

There is a relentless logic of life and action from which there can be no
escape. Czarism was a product of that inexorable process. All its
oppression and brutality proceeded by an inevitable and irresistible
sequence from the first determination and effort to realize the principle
of autocracy. Any dictatorship, whether of a single man, a group or class,
must rest ultimately upon oppressive and coercive force. Believing that the
means would be justified by the end, Lenine and Trotzky and their
associates had suppressed the Constituent Assembly, claiming that
parliamentary government, based upon the equal and free suffrage of all
classes, was, during the transition period, dangerous to the proletariat;
that in its stead a new type of government must be established--government
by associations of wage-earners, soldiers, and peasants, called Soviets.

But what if among these there should develop a purpose contrary to the
purpose of the Bolsheviki? Would men who, starting out with a belief in the
Constituante, and as its champions, used force to destroy and suppress it
the moment it became evident that its purpose was not their purpose,
hesitate to suppress and destroy any Soviet movement which adopted
policies contrary to their own? What assurance could there be, once their
point of view, their initial principle, was granted, that the freedom
denied to the Constituante would be assured to the Soviets? In the very
nature of the case there could be no such assurance. However honest and
sincere the Bolsheviki themselves might be in their belief that there would
be such assurance, there could in fact be none, for the logic of life is
stronger than any human will.

As was inevitable, the Bolsheviki soon found themselves in the position of
suppressing Soviets which they could not control as freely and in the same
manner as they had suppressed the Constituent Assembly. When, for example,
the soldiers of the Preobrajenski Regiment--the very men who helped the
Bolsheviki into power--became dissatisfied and organized, publishing their
own organ, _The Soldier's Cloak_, the paper was confiscated and the
organization suppressed.[38] The forcible suppression of Soviets was
common. The Central Executive Committee of the National Soviet of Peasants'
Delegates, together with the old Central Executive Committee of the Soviets
of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates (who had never acknowledged the
October elections), convoked an extraordinary assembly of Soviets on
January 8th, the same date as that on which the Bolshevik Congress of
Soviets was convoked. Circumstances compelled the opening to be deferred
until two days later, the 10th. This conference, called the Third
All-Russian Congress of Peasants' Soviets, was suppressed by force, many of
the 359 delegates and all the members of the Executive Committee being
arrested. The following extract from a declaration of protest addressed by
the outraged peasants to the Congress of Soviets of Workmen, Soldiers, and
Peasants convoked by the Bolshevik government tells the story:

    As soon as the Congress was opened, sailors and Red Guards, armed
    with guns and hand-grenades, broke into the premises (11
    Kirillovskaia Street), surrounded the house, poured into the
    corridors and the session hall, and ordered all persons to leave.

    "In whose name do you order us, who are Delegates to the Peasants'
    Congress of All-Russia, to disperse?" asked the peasants.

    "In the name of the Baltic fleet," the sailor's replied.

    The peasants refused; cries of protest were raised. One by one the
    peasants ascended the tribune to stigmatize the Bolsheviki in
    speeches full of indignation, and to express the hopes that they
    placed in the Constituent Assembly....

    This session of the Congress presented a strange spectacle:
    disturbed by men who confessed that they did not know why they
    were there, the peasants sang revolutionary songs; the sailors,
    armed with guns and grenades, joined them. Then the peasants knelt
    down to sing a funeral hymn to the memory of Logvinov, whose
    coffin was even yesterday within the room. The soldiers, lowering
    their guns, knelt down also.

    The Bolshevik authorities became excited; they did not expect such
    a turn of events. "Enough said," declared the chiefs; "we have
    come not to speak, but to act. If they do not want to go to
    Smolny, let them get out of here." And they set themselves to the

    In groups of five the peasants were conducted down-stairs,
    trampled upon, and, on their refusal to go to Smolny, pushed out
    of doors during the night in the midst of the enormous city of
    which they knew nothing.

    Members of the Executive Committee were arrested,[39] the premises
    occupied by sailors and Red Guards, the objects found therein

    The peasants found shelter in the homes of the inhabitants of
    Petrograd, who, indignant, offered them hospitality. A certain
    number were lodged in the barracks of the Preobrajenski Regiment.
    The sailors, who but a few minutes before had sung a funeral hymn
    to Logvinov, and wept when they saw that they had understood
    nothing, now became the docile executioners of the orders of the
    Bolsheviki. And when they were asked, "Why do you do this?" they
    answered, as in the time, still recent, of Czarism: "It is the
    order. No need to talk."[40]

We do not need to rely upon the testimony of witnesses belonging to the
Revolutionary Socialist party, the Mensheviki, or other factions unfriendly
to the Bolsheviki. However trustworthy such testimony may be, and however
well corroborated, we cannot expect it to be convincing to those who pin
their faith to the Bolsheviki. Such people will believe only what the
Bolsheviki themselves say about Bolshevism. It is well, therefore, that we
can supplement the testimony already given by equally definite and direct
testimony from official Bolshevist sources to the same effect. From the
official organs of the Bolsheviki it can be shown that the Bolshevik
authorities suppressed Soviet after Soviet; that when they found that
Soviets were controlled by Socialists who belonged to other factions they
dissolved them and ordered new elections, refusing to permit the free
choice of the members to be expressed in selecting their officers.

The Bolsheviki did this, it should be remembered, not merely in cases where
Mensheviki or Socialist-Revolutionists were in the majority, but
also in cases where the majority consisted of members of the
Socialist-Revolutionary party of the Left--the faction which had united
with the Bolsheviki in suppressing the Constituante. Their union with the
Bolsheviki was from the first a compromise, based upon the political
opportunism of both sides. The Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left did not
believe in the Bolshevik theories or program, but they wanted the political
assistance of the Bolsheviki. The latter did not believe in the theories or
program of the Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left, but they wanted their
political support. The union could not long endure; the differences were
too deeply rooted. Before very long the Bolsheviki were fighting their
former allies and the Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left, like Marie
Spiridonova, for example, were fighting the Bolsheviki. At Kazan, where
Lenine went to school, the Soviet was dissolved because it was controlled
by Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left, former allies, now hostile to the
Bolsheviki. Here are two paragraphs from _Izvestya_, one of the Bolshevist
official organs:

    KAZAN, _July 26th. As the important offices in the Soviet
    were occupied by Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left, the
    Extraordinary Commission has dissolved the Provisional Soviet. The
    governmental power is now represented by a Revolutionary
    Committee. (Izvestya, July 28, 1918.)_

    KAZAN, _August 1_. The state of mind of the workmen is
    revolutionary. _If the Mensheviki dare to carry on their
    propaganda, death menaces them. (Idem, August 3.)_

And here is confirmation from another official organ of the Bolsheviki,

    KAZAN, _August 4th_. The Provisional Congress of the
    Soviets of the Peasants has been dissolved because of the absence
    from it of poor peasants and _because its state of mind is
    obviously counter-revolutionary. (Pravda, August 6, 1918.)_

As early as April, 1918, the Soviet at Jaroslav was dissolved by the
Bolshevik authorities and new elections ordered.[41] In these elections
the Mensheviki and the Socialist-Revolutionists everywhere gained an
absolute majority.[42] The population here wanted the Constituent Assembly
and they wanted Russia to fight on with the Allies. Attempts to suppress
this majority led to insurrection, which the Bolsheviki crushed in the most
brutal manner, and when the people, overpowered and helpless, sought to
make peace, the Bolsheviki only _increased the artillery fire_! Here is an
"Official Bulletin," published in _Izvestya_, July 21, 1918:

    At Jaroslav the adversary, gripped in the iron ring of our troops,
    has tried to enter into negotiations. _The reply has been given
    under the form of redoubled artillery fire._

_Izvestya_ published, on July 25th, a Bolshevist military proclamation
addressed to the inhabitants of Jaroslav concerning the insurrection which
originally arose from the suppression of the Soviet and other popular

    The General Staff notifies to the population of Jaroslav that all
    those who desire to live are invited to abandon the town in the
    course of twenty-four hours and to meet near the America Bridge.
    Those who remain will be treated as insurgents, _and no quarter
    will be given to any one_. Heavy artillery fire and gas-bombs will
    be used against them. _All those who remain will perish In the
    ruins of the town with the insurrectionists, the traitors, and the
    enemies of the Workers' and Peasants' Revolution._

Next day, July 26th, _Izvestya_ published the information that "after
minute questionings and full inquiry" a special commission appointed to
inquire into the events relating to the insurrection at Jaroslav had listed
350 persons as having "taken an active part in the insurrection and had
relations with the Czecho-Slovaks," and that by order of the commissioners
the whole band of 350 had been shot!

It is needless to multiply the illustrations of brutal oppression--of men
and women arrested and imprisoned for no other crime than that of engaging
in propaganda in favor of government by universal suffrage; of newspapers
confiscated and suppressed; of meetings banned and Soviets dissolved
because the members' "state of mind" did not please the Bolsheviki. Maxim
Gorky declared in his _Novya Zhizn_ that there had been "ten thousand
lynchings." Upon what authority Gorky--who was inclined to sympathize with
the Bolsheviki, and who even accepted office under them--based that
statement is not known. Probably it is an exaggeration. One thing, however,
is quite certain, namely, that a reign of terror surpassing the worst days
of the old régime was inflicted upon unhappy Russia by the Bolsheviki. At
the very beginning of the Bolshevik régime Trotzky laughed to scorn all the
protests against violence, threatening that resort would be had to the
guillotine. Speaking to the opponents of the Bolshevik policy in the
Petrograd Soviet, he said:

"You are perturbed by the mild terror we are applying against our class
enemies, but know that not later than a month hence this terror will take a
more terrible form on the model of the terror of the great revolutionaries
of France. Not a fortress, but the guillotine will be for our enemies."

That threat was not literally carried out, but there was a near approach to
it when public hangings for civil offenses were established. For
reintroducing the death penalty into the army as a means of putting an end
to treason and the brutal murder of officers by rebellious soldiers, the
Bolsheviki excoriated Kerensky. _Yet they themselves introduced hanging and
flogging in public for petty civil crimes!_ The death penalty was never
inflicted for civil crimes under the late Czar. It was never inflicted for
political offenses. Only rarely was it inflicted for murder. It remained
for a so-called "Socialist" government to resort to such savagery as we
find described in the following extract from the recognized official organ
of the Bolshevik government:

Two village robbers were condemned to death. All the people of Semenovskaia
and the surrounding communes were invited to the ceremony. On July 6th, at
midday, a great crowd of interested spectators arrived at the village of
Loupia. The organizers of the execution gave to each of the bystanders the
opportunity of flogging the condemned to obtain from them supplementary
confessions. The number of blows was unlimited. Then a vote of the
spectators was taken as to the method of execution. The majority was for
hanging. In order that the spectacle could be easily seen, the spectators
were ranged in three ranks--the first row sat down, the second rested on
the knee, and the third stood up.[43]

The Bolshevik government created an All-Russian Extraordinary Commission,
which in turn created Provincial and District Extraordinary Commissions.
These bodies--the local not less than the national--were empowered to make
arrests and even decree and carry out capital sentences. There was no
appeal from their decisions; they were simply required to _report
afterward_! Only members of the Bolshevik party were immune from this
terror. Alminsky, a Bolshevist writer of note, felt called upon to protest
against this hideous travesty of democratic justice, and wrote in

The absence of the necessary restraint makes one feel appalled at the
"instruction" issued by the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to "All
Provincial Extraordinary Commissions," which says: "The All-Russian
Extraordinary Commission is perfectly independent in its work, carrying out
house searches, arrests, executions, of which it _afterward_ reports to the
Council of the People's Commissaries and to the Central Executive Council."
Further, the Provincial and District Extraordinary Commissions "are
independent in their activities, and when called upon by the local
Executive Council present a report of their work." In so far as house
searches and arrests are concerned, a report made _afterward_ may result in
putting right irregularities committed owing to lack of restraint. The same
cannot be said of executions.... It can also be seen from the "instruction"
that personal safety is to a certain extent guaranteed only to members of
the government, of the Central Council, and of the local Executive
Committees. With the exception of these few persons all members of the
local committees of the [Bolshevik] Party, of the Control Committees, and
of the Executive Committee of the party may be shot at any time by the
decision of any Extraordinary Commission of a small district town if they
happen to be on its territory, and a report of that made _afterward._[44]


While in some respects, such as this terrible savagery, Bolshevism has
out-Heroded Herod and surpassed the régime of the Romanovs in cruel
oppression, upon the whole its methods have been very like that of the
latter. There is really not much to choose between the ways of Stolypin and
Von Plehve and those of the Lenine-Trotzky rule. The methods employed have
been very similar and in not a few instances the same men who acted as the
agents of espionage and tyranny for the Czar have served the Bolsheviki in
the same capacity. Just as under Czarism there was alliance with the Black
Hundreds and with all sorts of corrupt and vicious criminal agents, so we
find the same phenomenon recurring under the Bolsheviki. The time has not
yet arrived for the compilation of the full record of Bolshevism in this
particular, but enough is known to justify the charge here made. That
agents-provocateurs, spies, informers, police agents, and pogrom-makers
formerly in the service of the Czar have been given positions of trust and
honor by Lenine and Trotzky unfortunately admits of no doubt whatever.

It was stated at a meeting of Russians held in Paris in the summer of 1917
that one of the first Russian regiments which refused to obey orders to
advance "contained 120 former political or civil police agents out of 181
refractory soldiers." During the Kerensky régime, at the time when Lenine
was carrying on his propaganda through _Pravda_,[45] Vladimir Bourtzev
exposed three notorious agents of the old police terror, provocateurs, who
were working on the paper. In August, 1917, the Jewish Conjoint Committee
in London published a long telegram from the representative of the Jewish
Committee in Petrograd, calling attention to the fact that Lenine's party
was working in tacit agreement with the Black Hundreds. The telegram is
here given in full:

    Extreme Russian reactionaries have allied themselves closely with
    extreme revolutionaries, and Black Hundreds have entered into
    tacit coalition with the Lenine party. In the army the former
    agents and detectives of the political police carry on ardent
    campaign for defeat, and in the rear the former
    agents-provocateurs prepare and direct endless troubles.

    The motives of this policy on the part of the reactionaries are
    clear. It is the direct road to a counter-revolution. The
    troubles, the insurrections, and shocking disorders which follow
    provoke disgust at the Revolution, while the military defeats
    prepare the ground for an intervention of the old friend of the
    Russian Black Hundreds, William II, the counter-revolutionaries
    work systematically for the defeat of the Russian armies,
    sometimes openly, cynically.

    Thus in their press and proclamations they go so far as to throw
    the whole responsibility for the war and for the obstacles placed
    in the way of a peace with Germany on the Jews. It is these
    "diabolical Jews," they say, who prevent the conclusion of peace
    and insist on the continuation of the war, because they desire to
    ruin Russia. Proclamations in this sense have been found, together
    with a voluminous anti-Semitic literature, in the offices of the
    party of Lenine Bolsheviki (Maximalists), and particularly at the
    headquarters of the extreme revolutionaries, Château
    Knheshinskaja. Salutations. BLANK.

That the leaders of the Bolsheviki, particularly Lenine and Trotzky, ever
entered into any "agreement" with the Black Hundreds, or took any part in
the anti-Semitic campaign referred to, is highly improbable. Unless and
until it is supported by ample evidence of a competent nature, we shall be
justified in refusing to believe anything of the sort. It is, however,
quite probable that provocateurs worming their way into Lenine's and
Trotzky's good graces tried to use the Bolshevik agitation as a cover for
their own nefarious work. As we have seen already, Lenine had previously
been imposed upon by a notorious secret police agent, Malinovsky. But the
open association of the Bolsheviki with men who played a despicable rôle
under the old régime is not to be denied. The simple-minded reader of
Bolshevist literature who believes that the Bolshevik government, whatever
its failings, has the merit of being a government by real working-men and
working-women, needs to be enlightened. Not only are Lenine and Trotzky not
of the proletariat themselves, but they have associated with themselves
men whose lives have been spent, not as workers, not even as simple
bourgeoisie, but as servants of the terror-system of the Czar. They have
associated with themselves, too, some of the most corrupt criminals in
Russia. Here are a few of them:

Professor Kobozev, of Riga, joined the Bolsheviki and was active as a
delegate to the Municipal Council of Petrograd. According to the
information possessed by the Russian revolutionary leaders, this Professor
Kobozev used to be a police spy, his special job being to make reports to
the police concerning the political opinions and actions of students and
faculty members. One of the very first men released from prison by the
Bolsheviki was one Doctor Doubrovine, who had been a leader of the Black
Hundreds, an organizer of many pogroms. He became an active Bolshevik.
Kamenev, the Bolshevik leader, friend of Lenine, is a journalist. He was
formerly a member of the old Social Democratic party. Soon after the war
broke out he was arrested and behaved so badly that he was censured by his
party. Early in the Revolution of 1917 he was accused of serving the secret
police at Kiev. Bonno Brouevitch, Military Councilor to the Bolshevik
government, was a well-known anti-Semite who had been dismissed from his
military office on two occasions, once by the Czar's government and once by
the Provisional Government. General Komisarov, another of Lenine's trusted
military officials and advisers, was formerly a chief official of the
Czar's secret police, known for his terrible persecution of the
revolutionists. Accused of high treason by the Provisional Government, he
fled, but returned and joined the Lenine-Trotzky forces. Prince Andronikov,
associate of Rasputin; (Lenine's "My friend, the Prince"); Orlov, police
agent and "denouncer" and secretary of the infamous Protopopov; Postnikov,
convicted and imprisoned as a German spy in 1910; Lepinsky, formerly in the
Czar's secret police; and Gualkine, friend of the unspeakable Rasputin, are
some of the other men who have been closely identified with the
"proletarian régime" of the Bolsheviki.[46] The man they released from
prison and placed in the important position of Military Commander of
Petrograd was Muraviev, who had been chief of the Czar's police and was
regarded by even the moderate members of the Provisional Government, both
under Lvov and Kerensky, as a dangerous reactionary.[47] Karl Radek, the
Bohemian, a notorious leader of the Russian Bolsheviki, who undertook to
stir up the German workers and direct the Spartacide revolt, was, according
to _Justice_, expelled from the German Social Democratic party before the
war as a thief and a police spy.[48] How shall we justify men calling
themselves Socialists and proletarian revolutionists, who ally themselves
with such men as these, but imprison, harry, and abuse such men and women
as Bourtzev, Kropotkin, Plechanov, Breshkovskaya, Tchaykovsky, Spiridonova,
Agounov, Larokine, Avksentiev, and many other Socialists like them?

In surveying the fight of the Bolsheviki to establish their rule it is
impossible to fail to observe that their chief animus has been directed
against other Socialists, rather than against members of the reactionary
parties. That this has been the fact they do not themselves deny. For
example, the "People's Commissary of Justice," G.I. Oppokov, better known
as "Lomov," declared in an interview in January, 1918: "Our chief enemies
are not the Cadets. Our most irreconcilable opponents are the Moderate
Socialists. This explains the arrests of Socialists and the closing down of
Socialist newspapers. Such measures of repression are, however, only
temporary."[49] And in the Soviet at Petrograd, July 30, 1918,
according to _Pravda_, Lachevitch, one of the delegates, said: "The
Socialist-Revolutionists of the Right and the Mensheviki are more dangerous
for the government of the Soviets than the bourgeoisie. But these enemies
are not yet exterminated and can move about freely. The proletariat
must act. We ought, once for all, to rid ourselves of the
Socialist-Revolutionists of the Right and of the Mensheviki."

In this summary of the Bolsheviki war against democracy, it will be
observed, no attempt has been made to gather all the lurid and fantastic
stories which have been published by sensational journalists. The testimony
comes from Socialist sources of the utmost reliability, much of it from
official Bolshevist sources. The system of oppression it describes is twin
brother to that which existed under the Romanovs, to end which hundreds of
thousands of the noblest and best of our humankind gave up their lives.
Under the banner of Social Democracy a tyranny has been established as
infamous as anything in the annals of autocracy.

    "_O Liberty, what monstrous crimes are committed in thy great




Utopia-making is among the easiest and most fascinating of all intellectual
occupations. Few employments which can be called intellectual are easier
than that of devising panaceas for the ills of society, of demonstrating on
paper how the rough places of life may be made plain and its crooked ones
made straight. And it is not a vain and fruitless waste of effort and of
time, as things so easy of achievement often are. Many of the noblest minds
of all lands and all ages have found pleasure and satisfaction in the
imagining of ideal commonwealths and by so doing have rendered great
service to mankind, enriching literature and, what is more important,
stimulating the urge and passion for improvement and the faith of men in
their power to climb to the farthest heights of their dreams. But the
material of life is hard and lacks the plastic quality of inspired
imagination. Though there is probably no single evil which exists for which
a solution has not been devised in the wonderful laboratory of visioning,
the perversity of the subtle and mysterious thing called life is such that
many great and grave evils continue to challenge, perplex, and harass our

Yet, notwithstanding the plain lesson of history and experience, the
reminder impressed on every page of humanity's record, that between the
glow and the glamour of the vision and its actual realization stretches a
long, long road, there are many simple-minded souls to whom the vision
gleamed is as the goal attained. They do not distinguish between schemes on
paper and ideals crystallized into living realities. This type of mind is
far more common than is generally recognized; that is why so many people
quite seriously believe that the Bolsheviki have really established in
Russia a society which conforms to the generous ideals of social democracy.
They have read the rhetorical "decrees" and "proclamations" in which the
shibboleths of freedom and democracy abound, and are satisfied. Yet it
ought to be plainly evident to any intelligent person that, even if the
decrees and proclamations were as sound as they are in fact unsound, and as
definite as they are in fact vague, they would afford no real basis for
judging Bolshevism as an actual experiment in social polity. There is, in
ultimate analysis, only one test to apply to Bolshevism--namely, the test
of reality. We must ask what the Bolsheviki did, not what they professed;
what was the performance, not what was the promise.

Of course, this does not mean that we are to judge result wholly without
regard to aim. Admirable intention is still admirable as intention, even
when untoward circumstance defeats it and brings deplorable results.
Bolshevism is not merely a body of belief and speculation. When the
Bolsheviki seized the government of Russia and began to attempt to carry
out their ideas, Bolshevism became a living movement in a world of reality
and subject to the acid test of pragmatic criteria. It must be judged by
such a matter-of-fact standard as the extent to which it has enlarged or
diminished the happiness, health, comfort, freedom, well-being,
satisfaction, and efficiency of the greatest number of individuals. Unless
the test shows that it has increased the sum of good available for the
mass, Bolshevism cannot be regarded as a gain. If, on the contrary, the
test shows that it has resulted in sensibly diminishing the sum of good
available to the greatest number of people, Bolshevism must be counted as a
move in the wrong direction, as so much effort lost. Nothing that can be
urged on philosophical or moral grounds for or against the moral or
intellectual impulses that prompted it can fundamentally change the
verdict. Yet, for all that, it is well to examine the theory which inspires
the practice; well to know the manner and method of thinking, and the view
of life, from which Bolshevism as a movement of masses of men and women

Theoretically, Bolshevism, as such, has no necessary connection with the
philosophy or the program of Socialism. Certain persons have established a
working relation between Socialism, a program, and Bolshevism, a method.
The connection is not inherently logical, but, on the contrary, wholly
adventitious. As a matter of fact, Bolshevism can only be linked to the
program of Socialism by violently and disastrously weakening the latter and
destroying its fundamental character. We shall do well to remember this; to
remember that the method of action, and, back of the method, the philosophy
on which it rests and from which it springs, are separate and distinct from
Socialism. They are incalculably older and they have been associated with
vastly different programs. All that is new in Bolshevism is that a very old
method of action, and a very old philosophy of action, have been seized
upon by a new class which attempts to unite them to a new program.

That is all that is implied in the "dictatorship of the proletariat."
Dictatorship by small minorities is not a new political phenomenon. All
that is new when the minority attempting to establish its dictatorship is
composed of poor, propertyless people, is the fact of their economic
condition and status. That is the only difference between the dictatorship
of Russia by the Romanov dynasty and the dictatorship of Russia by a small
minority of determined, class-conscious working-people. It is not only the
precise forms of oppressive power used by them that are identically
characteristic of Czarism and Bolshevism, but their underlying philosophy.
Both forms of dictatorship rest upon the philosophy of might as the only
valid right. Militarism, especially as it was developed under Prussian
leadership, has exactly the same philosophy and aims at the same general
result, namely, to establish the domination and control of society by a
minority class. The Bolsheviki have simply inverted Czarism and Militarism.

What really shocks the majority of people is not, after all, the methods or
the philosophy of Bolshevism, but the fact that the Bolsheviki, belonging
to a subject class, have seized upon the methods and philosophy of the most
powerful ruling classes and turned them to their own account. There is a
class morality and a class psychology the subtle influences of which few
perceive as a matter of habit, which, however, to a great extent shape our
judgments, our sympathies, and our antipathies. Men who never were shocked
when a Czar, speaking the language of piety and religion, indulged in the
most infamous methods and deeds of terror and oppression, are shocked
beyond all power of adequate expression when former subjects of that same
Czar, speaking the language of the religion of democracy and freedom,
resort to the same infamous methods of terror and oppression.


The idea that a revolting proletarian minority might by force impose its
rule upon society runs through the history of the modern working class, a
note of impatient, desperate, menacing despair. The Bolsheviki say that
they are Marxian Socialists; that Marx believed in and advocated the
setting up, during the transitory period of social revolution, of the
"dictatorship of the proletariat." They are not quite honest in this claim,
however; they are indulging in verbal tricks. It is true that Marx taught
that the proletarian dominion of society, as a preliminary to the abolition
of all class rule of every kind, must be regarded as certain and
inevitable. But it is not honest to claim the sanction of his teaching for
the seizure of political power by a small class, consisting of about 6 per
cent. of the population, and the imposition by force of its rule upon the
majority of the population that is either unwilling or passive. That is the
negation of Marxian Socialism. _It is the essence of Marx's teaching that
the social revolution must come as a historical necessity when the
proletariat itself comprises an overwhelming majority of the people_.

Let us summarize the theory as it appears in the _Communist Manifesto_:
Marx begins by setting forth the fact that class conflict is as old as
civilization itself, that history is very largely the record of conflicts
between contending social classes. In our epoch, he argues, class conflict
is greatly simplified; there is really only one division, that which
divides the bourgeoisie and the proletariat: "Society as a whole is more
and more splitting up into great hostile camps, into two great classes
directly facing each other, bourgeoisie and proletariat." ... "With the
development of industry the proletariat not only increases in numbers; it
becomes concentrated in great masses, its strength grows, and it feels that
strength more." ... "The proletarian movement is the _self-conscious,
independent movement of the immense majority in the interests of the
immense majority_." It is this "immense majority" that is to establish its
dominion. Marx expressly points out that "all previous historical movements
were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities." It is the
great merit of the movement of the proletariat, as he conceives it, that it
is the "movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense

Clearly, when Lenine and his followers say that they take their doctrine of
the "dictatorship of the proletariat" from Marx, they pervert the truth;
they take from Marx only the phrase, not their fundamental policy. It is
not to be denied that there were times when Marx himself momentarily lapsed
into the error of Blanqui and the older school of Utopian, conspiratory
Socialists who believed that they could find a short cut to social
democracy; that by a surprise stroke, carefully prepared and daringly
executed, a small and desperate minority could overthrow the existing
social order and bring about Socialism. As Jaurès has pointed out,[50] the
mind of Marx sometimes harked back to the dramatic side of the French
Revolution, and was captivated by such episodes as the conspiracy of Babeuf
and his friends, who in their day, while the proletariat was a small
minority, even as it is in Russia now, sought to establish its dominion.
But it is well known that after the failure of the Paris Commune, in 1871,
Marx once and for all abandoned all belief in this form of the
"dictatorship of the proletariat," and in the possibility of securing
Socialism through the conspiratory action of minorities. He was even rather
unwilling that the _Manifesto_ should be republished after that, except as
a purely historical document. It was in that spirit of reaction that he and
Engels wrote in 1872 that passage--to which Lenine has given such an
unwarranted interpretation--in which they say that the Commune had shown
that "the working classes cannot simply take possession of the ready-made
state machine and set it in motion for their own aims."

It was no less an interpreter of Marx than his great collaborator and
friend, Frederick Engels, who, in 1895, stated the reasons for abandoning
all belief in the possibility of accomplishing anything through political
surprises and through the action of small conscious and determined
minorities at the head of unconscious masses:

    History proved that we were wrong--we and those who like us, in
    1848, awaited the speedy success of the proletariat. It became
    perfectly clear _that economic conditions all over the Continent
    were by no means as yet sufficiently matured for superseding the
    capitalist organization of production_. This was proved by the
    economic revolution which commenced on the continent of Europe
    after 1848 and developed in France, Austria-Hungary, Poland, and,
    recently, also in Russia, and made Germany into an industrial
    state of the first rank--all on a capitalist basis, _which shows
    that in 1848 the prevailing conditions were still capable of
    expansion_. And to-day we have a huge international army of
    Socialists.... If this mighty proletarian army has not yet reached
    its goal, if it is destined to gain its ends only in a long drawn
    out struggle, making headway but slowly, step by step, this only
    proves how impossible it was in 1848 to change social conditions
    by forcible means ... the time for small minorities to place
    themselves at the head of the ignorant masses and resort to force
    in order to bring about revolutions, is gone. _A complete change
    in the organization of society can be brought about only by the
    conscious co-operation of the masses_; they must be alive to the
    aim in view; they must know what they want. The history of the
    last fifty years has taught us that.[51]

What Engels had in mind when he stressed the fact that history showed that
in 1848 "the prevailing conditions were still capable of expansion" is the
central Marxian doctrine of historical inevitability. It is surely less
than honest to claim the prestige and authority of Marx's teachings upon
the slender basis of a distorted version of his early thought, while
completely ignoring the matured body of his doctrines. It may not matter
much to the world to-day what Marx thought, or how far Lenine follows his
teachings, but it is of importance that the claim set up by Lenine and
Trotzky and many of their followers that they are guided by the principles
of Marxian Socialism is itself demonstrably an evidence of moral or
intellectual obliquity, which makes them very dangerous guides to follow.
It is of importance, too, that the claim they make allures many Socialists
of trusting and uncritical minds to follow them.

Many times in his long life Marx, together with Engels, found himself
engaged in a fierce war against the very things Lenine and Trotzky and
their associates have been trying to do. He thundered against Weitling, who
wanted to have a "daring minority" seize the power of the state and
establish its dictatorship by a _coup d'état_. He was denounced as a
"reactionary" by Willich and Kinkel because, in 1850, he rejected with
scorn the idea of a sudden seizure of political power through conspiratory
action, and had the courage to say that it would take fifty years for the
workers "to fit themselves for political power." He opposed Lassalle's idea
of an armed insurrection in 1862, because he was certain that the economic
development had not yet reached the stage which alone could make a social
change possible. He fought with all the fierce impetuousness of his nature
every attempt of Bakunin to lead the workers to attempt the seizure of
political power and forcibly establish their rule while still a
minority.[52] He fought all these men because he had become profoundly
convinced that "_no social order ever disappears before all the productive
forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new and
higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions
of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society_."[53] No
"dictatorship of the proletariat," no action by any minority, however well
armed or however desperate, can overcome that great law.

The "dictatorship of the proletariat" in the sense in which that term is
used by the Russian Bolshevik leaders, and by those who in other countries
are urging that their example be followed, is not a policy of Marxian
Socialism. It is not a product of modern conditions. Rather it harks back
to the earlier conspiratory Socialism of Blanqui, with its traditions
inherited from Robespierre and Babeuf. So far as its advocates are
concerned, Marx and the whole modern Socialist movement might as well never
have existed at all. They take us back three-quarters of a century, to the
era before Marx, to that past so remote in intellectual and moral
character, though recent in point of time, when the working class of no
country in Europe possessed the right to vote--when the workers were
indeed proletarians and not citizens; not only propertyless, but also
"without a fatherland."

In truth, it is not difficult to understand how this theory has found
acceptance in Russia. It was not difficult to understand why Marx's
doctrine of economic evolution was for many years rejected by most Russian
Socialists; why the latter took the view that Socialism must be more
quickly attained, that capitalism was not a necessary precursor of
Socialism in Russia, but that an intelligent leadership of passive masses
would successfully establish Socialism on the basis of the old Russian
communal institutions. It was quite easy to understand the change that came
with Russia's industrial awakening, how the development of factory
production gave an impetus to the Marxian theories. And, though it presents
a strange paradox, in that it comes at a time when, despite everything,
Russian capitalism continues to develop, it is really not difficult to
understand how and why pre-Marxian conceptions reappear in that great land
of paradoxes. Politically and intellectually the position of the
proletariat of Russia before the recent Revolution was that of the
proletariat of France in 1848.

But that which baffles the mind of the serious investigator is the
readiness of so many presumably intelligent people living in countries
where--as in America--wholly different conditions prevail to ignore the
differences and be ready to abandon all the democratic advance made by the
workers. There is nothing more certain in the whole range of social and
political life than the fact that the doctrine that the power of the state
must be seized and used by the proletariat against the non-proletarian
classes, even for a relatively brief period, _can only be carried out by
destroying all the democracy thus far achieved_.


The validity of the foregoing contention can scarcely be questioned, except
by those to whom phrases are of more consequence than facts, who place
theories above realities. The moment the Bolsheviki tried to translate
their rhetorical propaganda for the dictatorship of the proletariat into
the concrete terms of political reality they found that they were compelled
to direct their main opposition, not against the bourgeoisie, or even
against capitalism, but against the newly created democracy. In the
movement to create a democratic government resting upon the basis of
universal, direct, equal, and secret suffrage they saw a peril to their
scheme far more formidable than militarism or capitalism. It was for this
reason that they set themselves to the task of suppressing the Constituent
Assembly. Only political simpletons will seriously regard the Bolshevik
attempt to camouflage their motive by pretending that they determined to
crush the Constituent Assembly because its members were elected on a
register that was "obsolete" and therefore no longer truly represented the

The German Spartacides, who were acting in full accord with the Russian
Bolsheviki, had not that miserable excuse. Yet they set out by force of
arms to _prevent any election being held_. In this they were quite
consistent; they wanted to set up a dictatorship, and they knew that the
overwhelming mass of the people wanted something very different. At a
dinner of the Inter-Collegiate Socialist Society in New York, in December,
1918, a spokesman for the German variety of Bolshevism blandly explained
that "Karl Liebknecht and his comrades know that they cannot hope to get a
majority, therefore they are determined that no elections shall be held.
They will prevent this by force. After some time, perhaps, when a
proletarian régime has existed long enough, and people have become
convinced of the superiority of the Socialist way, or at least grown used
to it, _and it is safe to do so_, popular elections may be permitted."
Incredible as it seems, this declaration was received with cheers by an
audience which only a few minutes before had cheered with equal fervor
denunciations of "encroachments upon American democracy."

Curiously enough, the precise manner in which the Bolsheviki have acted
against democracy was set forth, as far back as 1850, by a German, Johann
von Miquel, in a letter to Karl Marx. Miquel was born in Hanover, but his
ancestors were of French origin. He studied at Heidelberg and Göttingen,
and became associated with the Socialist movement of the period. He settled
down to the practice of law, however, and when Hanover was annexed by
Prussia he entered the Prussian parliament. After the "dismissal of the
pilot," Bismarck, he became Prussian Minister of Finance, holding that
position for ten years. Liebknecht referred to him as "my former _comrade
in communismo_ and present Chancellor _in re_." This Miquel, while he was
still a Socialist, in 1850 wrote to Marx as follows:

    The workers' party may succeed against the upper middle class and
    what remains of the feudal element, _but it will be attacked on
    its flank by the democracy_. We can perhaps give an anti-bourgeois
    tone to the Revolution for a little while, _we can destroy the
    essential conditions of bourgeois production_; but we cannot
    possibly put down the small tradesmen and shopkeeping class, the
    petty bourgeoisie. My motto is to secure all we can get. We should
    prevent the lower and middle class from _forming any organizations
    for as long a time as possible_ after the first victory, and
    especially oppose ourselves in serried ranks to the plan of
    calling a Constitutional Assembly. Partial terrorism, local
    anarchy, must replace for us what we lack in bulk.

What a remarkable anticipation of the Bolshevist methods of 1917-18 is thus
outlined in this letter, written sixty-seven years before the Bolshevik
_coup d'état!_ How literally Lenine, Trotzky and Co. have followed Herr von
Miquel! They have desperately tried to "give an anti-bourgeois tone to the
Revolution," denouncing as bourgeois reactionaries the men and women whose
labors and sacrifices have made the Russian Socialist movement. They have
destroyed "the essential conditions" of bourgeois and of any other than the
most primitive production. They have set themselves in serried ranks in
opposition to "the plan of calling a Constitutional Assembly." They have
suppressed not only the organizations of the "lower and middle class," but
also those of a great part of the working class, thus going beyond Miquel.
Finally, to replace what they lack in bulk, they have resorted to "partial
terrorism and local anarchy."

And it is in the name of revolutionary progress, of ultra-radicalism, that
we are called upon to revert to the tactics of desperation born of the
discouraging conditions of nearly seventy years ago. A new philosophy has
taken possession of the easily possessed minds of Greenwich Village
philosophers and parlor revolutionists--a new philosophy of progress,
according to which revolutionary progress consists in the unraveling by
feverish fingers of the fabric woven through years of sacrifice; in
abandoning high levels attained for the lower levels from which the
struggles of the past raised us; in harking back to the thoughts and the
tactics of men who shouted their despairing, defiant cries into the gloom
of the blackest period of the nineteenth century!

Universal, secret, equal, and direct suffrage was a fact in Russia, the
first great achievement of the Revolution. Upon that foundation, and upon
no other, it was possible to build an enduring, comprehensive social
democracy. Against that foundation the Bolsheviki hurled their destructive
power, creating a discriminating class suffrage, disfranchising a great
part of the Russian people--not merely the bourgeoisie, but a considerable
part of the working class itself. Chapter XIII of Article 4 of the
Constitution of the "Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic" sets
forth the qualifications for voting, as follows:



    64. The right to vote and to be elected to the Soviets is enjoyed
    by the following citizens, irrespective of religion, nationality,
    domicile, etc., of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet
    Republic, of both sexes, who shall have completed their eighteenth
    year by the day of election:

    a. All who have acquired the means of living through labor that is
    productive and useful to society, and also persons engaged in
    housekeeping which enables the former to do productive work--i.e.,
    laborers and employees of all classes who are employed in
    industry, trade, agriculture, etc.; and peasants and Cossack
    agricultural laborers who employ no help for the purpose of making

    b. Soldiers of the army and navy of the Soviets.

    c. Citizens of the two preceding categories who have to any degree
    lost their capacity to work.

    Note 1: Local Soviets may, upon approval of the central power,
    lower the age standard mentioned herein.

    Note 2: Non-citizens mentioned in Paragraph 20 (Article 2, Chapter
    Five) have the right to vote.

    65. The following persons enjoy neither the right to vote nor the
    right to be voted for, even though they belong to one of the
    categories enumerated above, namely:

    a. Persons who employ hired labor in order to obtain from it an
    increase in profits.

    b. Persons who have an income without doing any work, such as
    interest from capital, receipts from property, etc.

    c. Private merchants, trade, and commercial brokers.

    d. Monks and clergy of all denominations.

    e. Employees and agents of the former police, the gendarme corps,
    and the Okhrana (Czar's secret service), also members of the
    former reigning dynasty.

    f. Persons who have in legal form been declared demented or
    mentally deficient, and also persons under guardianship.

    g. Persons who have been deprived by a Soviet of their rights of
    citizenship because of selfish or dishonorable offenses, for the
    period fixed by the sentence.

Apparently the Constitution does not provide any standard for determining
what labor is "useful and productive to society," and leaves the way open
for a degree of arbitrariness on the part of some authority or other that
is wholly incompatible with any generally accepted ideal of freedom and
democracy. It is apparent from the text of paragraph 64, subdivision "a" of
the foregoing chapter that housekeeping as such is not included in the
category of "labor that is productive and useful to society," for a
separate category is made of it. The language used is that "The right to
vote and to be elected to the Soviets is enjoyed by.... All who have
acquired the means of living through labor that is productive and useful to
society, _and also_ persons engaged in housekeeping, which enables the
former to do productive work--_i.e._, laborers and employees of all classes
who are employed in industry, trade, agriculture, etc."

This _seems_ to mean that persons engaged in housekeeping can only vote if
and when they are so engaged in order to enable other persons than
themselves to do "productive work." It appears that housekeeping for
persons not engaged in such productive work--for children, for
example--would not confer the right to vote. It is not possible to tell
with certainty what it _does_ mean, however, for there is probably not a
single person in Russia or in the world who can tell exactly what this
precious instrument actually means. What standard is to be established to
determine what labor is "productive" and "useful"? Is the journalist, for
instance, engaged in useful and productive labor? Is the novelist? is the
agitator? Presumably the journalist employed in defending the Soviet
Republic against attacks by unfriendly critics would be doing useful work
and be entitled to vote, but what about the journalist employed in making
the criticisms? Would the wife of the latter, no matter how much she might
disagree with her husband's views, be barred from voting, simply because
she was "engaged in housekeeping" for one whose labors were not regarded
"productive and useful to society"? If the language used means anything at
all, apparently she would be so disfranchised.

Upon what ground is it decided that the "private merchant" may not vote?
Certainly it is not because his labor is of necessity neither productive
nor useful, for paragraph 65 says that even though belonging to one of the
categories of persons otherwise qualified to vote, the private merchant may
"enjoy neither the right to vote nor to be voted for." The keeper of a
little grocery store, even though his income is not greater than that of a
mechanic, and despite the fact that his store meets a local need and makes
his services, therefore, "useful" in the highest degree, cannot enjoy civic
rights, simply because he is a "merchant"! The clergy of all denominations
are excluded from the franchise. It does not matter, according to this
constitution, that a minister belongs to a church independent of any
connection with the state, that he is elected by people who desire his
services and is paid by them, that he satisfies them and is therefore
doing a "useful service"--if utility means the satisfying of needs--because
he is so employed he cannot vote.

It is clearly provided that "peasants and Cossack agricultural laborers who
employ no help for the purpose of making profits" can vote and be voted
for. But no persons "who employ hired labor in order to obtain from it an
increase in profits" may vote or be elected to office, _even though the
work they do is productive and useful to society._ A peasant who hires no
assistance may vote, but if he decides that by employing a boy to help him
he will be able to give better attention to certain crops and make more
money, even though he pays the boy every penny that the service is worth,
judged by any standard whatever, he loses his vote and his civic status
because, forsooth, he has gained in his net income as a result of his
enterprise. And this is seriously put forward as the basis of government in
a nation needing an intense and universal stimulation of its economic

A militant suffragist friend of mine, whose passion for universal suffrage
in America is so great that it leads her to join in all sorts of
demonstrations protesting against the failure of the United States Senate
to pass the Susan B. Anthony amendment--even leading her to join in the
public burning of President Wilson's speeches, a queer emulation of the
ancient ecclesiastical bigotry of burning heretical books!--manages to
unite to her passion for equal and unrestricted suffrage an equally
passionate admiration for the Bolsheviki, arch-enemies of equal and
unrestricted suffrage. Her case is not exceptional: it is rather typical of
the Bolshevik following in England and in America. Such minds are not
governed and directed by rational processes, but by emotional impulses,
generally of pathological origin.

What the Bolshevik constitution would mean if practically applied to
American life to-day can be briefly indicated. The following classes would
certainly be entitled to vote and to be elected to office:

1. All wage-earners engaged in the production of goods and utilities
regarded by some designated authority as "productive and useful to

2. Teachers and educators engaged in the public service.

3. All farmers owning and working their own farms without hired help of any

4. All wage-earners engaged in the public service as employees of the
state, subdivisions of the state, or public service corporations-such as
postal clerks, street-railway workers, electricians, and so on.

5. Wives and others engaged in keeping the homes of the foregoing, so as to
enable them to work.

6. The "soldiers of the army and navy"--whether all officers are included
is not clear from the text.

Now let us see what classes would be as certainly excluded from the right
to vote and to be voted for.

1. Every merchant from the keeper of a corner grocery store to the owner of
a great mercantile establishment.

2. Every banker, every commission agent, every broker, every insurance
agent, every real-estate dealer.

3. Every farmer who hires help of any kind--even a single "hand."

4. Every petty contractor, garage-keeper, or other person employing any
hired help whatever, including the professional writer who hires a
stenographer, the doctor who hires a chauffeur, and the dentist who hires a
mechanic assistant.

5. Every clergyman and minister of the Gospel.

6. Every person whose income is derived from inherited wealth or from
invested earnings, including all who live upon annuities provided by gift
or bequest.

7. Every person engaged in housekeeping for persons included in any of the
foregoing six categories--including the wives of such disqualified persons.

There are many occupational groups whose civic status is not so easily
defined. The worker engaged in making articles of luxury, enjoyed only by
the privileged few, could hardly have a better claim to a vote than the
housekeeper of a man whose income was derived from foreign investments, or
than the chauffeur of a man whose income was derived from government bonds.
All three represent, presumably, types of that parasitic labor which
subjects those engaged in it to disfranchisement. Apparently, though not
certainly, then, the following would also be disfranchised:

1. All lawyers except those engaged by the public authorities for the
public service.

2. All teachers and educators other than those engaged in the public

3. All bankers, managers of industries, commercial travelers, experts, and
accountants except those employed in the public service, or whose labor is
judged by a competent tribunal to be necessary and useful.

4. All editors, journalists, authors of books and plays, except as special
provision might be provided for individuals.

5. All persons engaged in occupations which a competent tribunal decided to
classify as non-essential or non-productive.

Any serious attempt to introduce such restrictions and limitations of the
right of suffrage in America would provoke irresistible revolt. It would be
justly and properly regarded as an attempt to arrest the forward march of
the nation and to turn its energies in a backward direction. It would be
just as reactionary in the political world as it would be in the industrial
world to revert back to hand-tool production; to substitute the ox-team for
the railway system, the hand-loom for the power-loom, the flail for the
threshing-machine, the sickle for the modern harvesting-machine, the human
courier for the electric telegraph.

Yet we find a radical like Mr. Max Eastman giving his benediction and
approval to precisely such a program in Russia as a substitute for
universal suffrage. We find him quoting with apparent approval an article
setting forth Lenine's plan, hardly disguised, to disfranchise every farmer
who employs even a single hired helper.[54]

Lenine's position is quite clear. "Only the proletariat leading on the
poorest peasants (the semi-proletariat as they are called in our program)
... may undertake the steps toward Socialism that have become absolutely
unavoidable and non-postponable.... The peasants want to retain their small
holdings and to arrive at some place of equal distribution.... So be it. No
sensible Socialist will quarrel with a pauper peasant on this ground. If
the lands are confiscated, _so long as the proletarians rule in the great
centers, and all political power is handed over to the proletariat_, the
rest will take care of itself."[55] Yet, in spite of Lenine's insistence
that all political power be "handed over to the proletariat," in spite of a
score of similar utterances which might be quoted, and, finally, in spite
of the Soviet Constitution which so obviously excludes from the right to
vote a large part of the adult population, an American Bolshevist
pamphleteer has the effrontery to insult the intelligence of his readers
by the stupidly and palpably false statement that "even at the present time
95 per cent. in Russia can vote, while in the United States only about 65
per cent. can vote."[56]

Of course it is only as a temporary measure that this dictatorship of a
class is to be maintained. It is designed only for the period of transition
and adjustment. In time the adjustment will be made, all forms of social
parasitism and economic exploitation will disappear, and then it will be
both possible and natural to revert to democratic government. Too simple
and naïve to be trusted alone in a world so full of trickery and tricksters
as ours are they who find any asurance in this promise. They are surely
among the most gullible of our humankind!

Of course, the answer to the claim is a very simple one: it is that no
class gaining privilege and power ever surrenders it until it is compelled
to do so. Every one who has read the pre-Marxian literature dealing with
the dictatorship of the proletariat knows how insistent is the demand that
the period of dictatorship must be _prolonged as much as possible_. Even
Marx himself insisted, on one occasion at least, that it must be maintained
as long as possible,[57] and in the letter of Johann von Miquel, already
quoted, we find the same thought expressed in the same terms, "as long as
possible." But even if we put aside these warnings of human experience and
of recorded history, and persuade ourselves that in Russia we have a wholly
new phenomenon, a class possessing powers of dictatorship animated by a
burning passion to relinquish those powers as quickly as possible, is it
not still evident that the social adjustments that must be made to reach
the stage where, according to the Bolshevik standards, political democracy
can be introduced, must, under the most favorable circumstances
conceivable, take many, many years? Even Lenine admits that "a sound
solution of the problem of increasing the productivity of labor" (which
lies at the very heart of the problem we are now discussing) "requires at
least (especially after a most distressing and destructive war) several

From the point of view of social democracy the basis of the Bolshevik state
is reactionary and unsound. The true Socialist policy is that set forth by
Wilhelm Liebknecht in the following words: "The political power which the
Social Democracy aims at and which it will win, no matter what its enemies
may do, _has not for its object the establishment of the dictatorship of
the proletariat, but the suppression of the dictatorship of the


Democracy in government and in industry must characterize any system of
society which can be justly called Socialist. Thirteen years ago I wrote,
"Socialism without democracy is as impossible as a shadow without
light."[60] That seemed to me then, as it seems to-day, axiomatic. And so
the greatest Socialist thinkers and leaders always regarded it. "We have
perceived that Socialism and democracy are inseparable," declared William
Liebknecht, the well-beloved, in 1899.[61] Thirty years earlier, in 1869,
he had given lucid expression to the same conviction in these words:
"Socialism and democracy are not the same, but they are only different
expressions of the same fundamental idea. They belong to each other, round
out each other, and can never stand in contradiction to each other.
Socialism without democracy is pseudo-Socialism, just as democracy without
Socialism is pseudo-democracy."[62] Democracy in industry is, as I have
insisted in my writing with unfailing consistency, as inseparable from
Socialism as democracy in government.[63] Unless industry is brought within
the control of democracy and made responsive to the common will, Socialism
is not attained.

Everywhere the organized working class aspires to attain that industrial
democracy which is the counterpart of political democracy. Syndicalism,
with all its vagaries, its crude reversal to outworn ideas and methods, is,
nevertheless, fundamentally an expression of that yearning. It is the same
passion that lies back of the Shop Stewards' movement in England, and that
inspires the much more patiently and carefully developed theories and plans
of the advocates of "Guild Socialism." Motived by the same desire, our
American labor-unions are demanding, and steadily gaining, an increasing
share in the actual direction of industry. Joint control by boards composed
of representatives of employers, employees, and the general public is, to
an ever-increasing extent, determining the conditions of employment, wage
standards, work standards, hours of labor, choice and conduct of foremen,
and many other matters of vital importance to the wage-earners. That we
are still a long way from anything like industrial democracy is all too
painfully true and obvious, but it is equally obvious that we are
struggling toward the goal, and that there is a serious purpose and
intention to realize the ideal.

Impelled by the inexorable logic of its own existence as a dictatorship,
the Bolshevik government has had to set itself against any and every
manifestation of democracy in industry with the same relentless force as it
opposed democracy in government. True, owing to the fact that, following
the line of industrial evolution, the trade-union movement was not strongly
enough developed to even attempt any organization for the expression of
industrial democracy comparable to the Constituent Assembly. It is equally
true, however, that had such an organization existed the necessity to
suppress it, as the political organization was suppressed, would have
proceeded inevitably and irresistibly from the creation of a dictatorship.
_There cannot be, in any country, as co-existent forces, political
dictatorship and industrial democracy._ It is also true that such
democratic agencies as there were existing the Bolsheviki neglected.

That the Bolsheviki did not establish industrial democracy in its fullest
sense is not to be charged to their discredit. Had Bolshevism never
appeared, and had the Constituent Assembly been permitted to function
unmolested and free, it would have taken many years to realize anything
like a well-rounded industrial democracy, for which a highly developed
industrial system is absolutely essential. The leaders of the Bolshevik
movement recognized from the first that the time had not yet arrived for
even attempting to set up a Socialist commonwealth based on the social
ownership and democratic control of industry. Lenine frankly declared that
"Socialism cannot now prevail in Russia,"[64] and Trotzky said, a month
after the _coup d'état_: "We are not ready yet to take over all
industry.... For the present, we expect of the earnings of a factory to pay
the owner 5 or 6 per cent. yearly on his actual investment. What we aim at
now is _control_ rather than _ownership_."[65] He did not tell Professor
Ross, who records this statement, on what grounds the owner of the property
thus controlled by the Soviet government, and who thus becomes a partner of
the government, is to be excluded from the exercise of the franchise. But
let that pass.

When the Bolsheviki seized the power of the state, they found themselves
confronted by a terrific task. Russia was utterly demoralized. An
undeveloped nation industrially, war and internal strife had wrought havoc
with the industrial life she had. Her railways were neglected and the whole
transportation system, entirely inadequate even for peace needs, had, under
the strain of the war, fallen into chaos. After the March Revolution, as a
natural consequence of the intoxication of the new freedom, such
disciplines as had existed were broken down. Production fell off in a most
alarming manner. During the Kerensky régime Skobelev, as Minister of Labor,
repeatedly begged the workers to prove their loyalty to the Revolution by
increased exertion and faithfulness in the workshops and factories. The
Bolsheviki, on their part, as a means of fighting the Provisional
Government, preached the opposite doctrine, that of sabotage. In every
manner possible they encouraged the workers to limit production, to waste
time and materials, strike for trivial reasons, and, in short, do all that
was possible to defeat the effort to place industry upon a sound basis.

When they found themselves in possession of the powers of government the
Bolshevik leaders soon had to face the stern realities of the conditions
essential to the life of a great nation. They could not escape the
necessity of intensifying production. They had not only promised peace, but
bread, and bread comes only from labor. Every serious student of the
problem has realized that the first great task of any Socialist society
must be _to increase the productivity of labor_. It is all very well for a
popular propaganda among the masses to promise a great reduction in the
hours of labor and, at the same time, a great improvement in the standards
of living. The translation of such promises into actual achievements must
prove to be an enormous task. To build the better homes, make the better
and more abundant clothing, shoes, furniture, and other things required to
fulfil the promise, will require a great deal of labor, and such an
organization of industry upon a basis of efficiency as no nation has yet
developed. If the working class of this or any other country should take
possession of the existing organization of production, there would not be
enough in the fund now going to the capitalist class to satisfy the
requirements of the workers, _even if not a penny of compensation were paid
to the expropriated owners_. Kautsky, among others, has courageously faced
this fact and insisted that "it will be one of the imperative tasks of the
Social Revolution not simply to continue, but to increase production; the
victorious proletariat must extend production rapidly if it is to be able
to satisfy the enormous demands that will be made upon the new régime."[66]
 From the first
this problem had to be faced by the Bolshevik government. We find Lenine
insisting that the workers must be inspired with "idealism, self-sacrifice,
and persistence" to turn out as large a product as possible; that the
productivity of labor must be raised and a high level of industrial
performance as the duty of every worker be rigorously insisted upon. It is
not enough to have destroyed feudalism and the monarchy:

    In every Socialist revolution, however, the main task of the
    proletariat, and of the poorest peasantry led by it--and, hence,
    also in the Socialist revolution in Russia inaugurated by us on
    November 7, 1917, consists in the positive and constructive work
    of establishing an extremely complex and delicate net of newly
    organized relationships covering the systematic production and
    distribution of products which are necessary for the existence of
    tens of millions of people. The successful realization of such a
    revolution depends on the original historical creative work of the
    majority of the population, and first of all of the majority of
    the toilers. _The victory of the Socialist revolution will not be
    assured unless the proletariat and the poorest peasantry manifest
    sufficient consciousness, idealism, self-sacrifice, and
    persistence._ With the creation of a new--the Soviet--type of
    state, offering to the oppressed toiling masses the opportunity to
    participate actively in the free construction of a new society, we
    have solved only a small part of the difficult task. _The main
    difficulty is in the economic domain; to raise the productivity of
    labor, to establish strict and universal accounting and control of
    production and distribution, and actually to socialize

Lenine recognizes, as every thoughtful person must, that this task of
organizing production and distribution cannot be undertaken by "the
proletariat and the poorest peasants." It requires a vast amount of highly
developed technical knowledge and skill, the result of long training and
superior education. This kind of service is so highly paid, in comparison
with the wages paid to the manual workers, that it lifts those who perform
the service and receive the high salaries into the ranks of the
bourgeoisie. Certainly, even though they are engaged in performing work of
the highest value and the most vital consequence, the specialists, experts,
and directing managers of industry are not of the "working class," as that
term is commonly employed. And no matter how we may speculate upon the
possible attainment of approximate equality of income in some future near
or remote, the fact is that the labor of such men can only be secured by
paying much more than is paid to the manual workers.

Quite wisely, the Bolshevik government decided that it must have such
services, no matter that they must be highly paid for; that they could only
be rendered by the hated bourgeoisie and that, in consequence, certain
compromises and relations with the bourgeoisie became necessary the moment
the services were engaged. The Bolshevik government recognized the
imperative necessity of the service which only highly paid specialists
could give and wisely decided that no prejudice or theory must be permitted
to block the necessary steps for Russia's reconstruction. In a spirit of
intelligent opportunism, therefore, they subordinated shibboleths,
prejudices, dogmas, and theories to Russia's necessity. The sanity of this
opportunistic attitude is altogether admirable, but it contrasts strangely
with the refusal to co-operate with the bourgeoisie in establishing a
stable democratic government--no less necessary for Russia's reconstruction
and for Socialism. As a matter of fact, the very promptitude and sanity of
their opportunism when faced by responsibility, serves to demonstrate the
truth of the contention made in these pages, that in refusing to co-operate
with others in building up a permanently secure democratic government,
they were actuated by no high moral principle, but simply by a desire to
gain power. The position of Russia to-day would have been vastly different
if the wisdom manifested in the following paragraphs had governed Lenine
and his associates in the days when Kerensky was trying to save Russian

    _Without the direction of specialists of different branches of
    knowledge, technique, and experience, the transformation toward
    Socialism is impossible_, for Socialism demands a conscious mass
    movement toward a higher productivity of labor in comparison with
    capitalism and on the basis which had been attained by capitalism.
    Socialism must accomplish this movement forward in its own way, by
    its own methods--to make it more definite, by Soviet methods. But
    the specialists are inevitably bourgeois on account of the whole
    environment of social life which made them specialists.... In view
    of the considerable delay in accounting and control in general,
    although we have succeeded in defeating sabotage, we have _not
    yet_ created an environment which would put at our disposal the
    bourgeois specialists. Many sabotagers are coming into our
    service, but the best organizers and the biggest specialists can
    be used by the state either in the old bourgeois way (that is, for
    a higher salary) or in the new proletarian way (that is, by
    creating such an environment of universal accounting and control
    which would inevitably and naturally attract and gain the
    submission of specialists). We were forced now to make use of the
    old bourgeois method and agree to a very high remuneration for the
    services of the biggest of the bourgeois specialists. All those
    who are acquainted with the facts understand this, but not all
    give sufficient thought to the significance of such a measure on
    the part of the proletarian state. _It is clear that the measure
    is a compromise, that it is a defection from the principles of the
    Paris Commune and of any proletarian rule, which demand the
    reduction of salaries to the standard of remuneration of the
    average workers_--principles which demand that "career hunting" be
    fought by deeds, not words.

    Furthermore, it is clear that such a measure is not merely a halt
    in a certain part and to a certain degree of the offensive against
    capitalism (for capitalism is not a quantity of money, but a
    definite social relationship), _but also a step backward by our
    Socialist Soviet state_, which has from the very beginning
    proclaimed and carried on a policy of reducing high salaries to
    the standard of wages of the average worker.

    ... The corrupting influence of high salaries is beyond
    question--both on the Soviets ... and on the mass of the workers.
    But all thinking and honest workers and peasants will agree with
    us and will admit that we are unable to get rid at once of the
    evil heritage of capitalism.... The sooner we ourselves, workers
    and peasants, learn better labor discipline and a higher technique
    of toil, making use of the bourgeois specialists for this purpose,
    the sooner we will get rid of the need of paying tribute to these

We find the same readiness to compromise and to follow the line of least
resistance in dealing with the co-operatives. From 1906 onward there had
been an enormous growth of co-operatives in Russia. They were of various
kinds and animated by varied degrees of social consciousness. They did not
differ materially from the co-operatives of England, Belgium, Denmark,
Italy, or Germany except in the one important particular that they relied
upon bourgeois Intellectuals for leadership and direction to a greater
extent than do the co-operatives in the countries named. They were
admirably fitted to be the nuclei of a socialized system of distribution.
Out of office the Bolsheviki had sneered at these working-class
organizations and denounced them as "bourgeois corruptions of the militant
proletariat." Necessity and responsibility soon forced the adoption of a
new attitude toward them. The Bolshevik government had to accept the
despised co-operatives, and even compromise Bolshevist principles as the
price of securing their services:

    A Socialist state can come into existence only as a net of
    production and consumption communes, which keep conscientious
    accounts of their production and consumption, economize labor,
    steadily increasing its productivity and thus making it possible
    to lower the workday to seven, six, or even less hours. Anything
    less than rigorous, universal, thorough accounting and control of
    grain and of the production of grain, and later also of all other
    necessary products, will not do. We have inherited from capitalism
    mass organizations which can facilitate the transition to mass
    accounting and control of distribution--the consumers'
    co-operatives. They are developed in Russia less than in the more
    advanced countries, but they comprise more than 10,000,000
    members. The decree on consumers' associations which was recently
    issued is extremely significant, showing clearly the peculiarity
    of the position and of the problem of the Socialist Soviet
    Republic at the present time.

    The decree is an agreement with the bourgeois co-operatives and
    with the workmen's co-operatives adhering to the bourgeois
    standpoint. The agreement or compromise consists, firstly, in the
    fact that the representatives of these institutions not only
    participated in the deliberations on this decree, but had
    practically received a determining voice, for parts of the decree
    which met determined opposition from these institutions were
    rejected. Secondly and essentially, the compromise consists in the
    rejection by the Soviet authority of the principle of free
    admission to the co-operatives (the only consistent principle from
    the proletarian standpoint), and that the whole population of a
    given locality should be _united in a single co-operative_. The
    defection from this, the only Socialist principle, which is in
    accord with the problem of doing away with classes, allows the
    existence of working-class co-operatives (which in this case call
    themselves working-class co-operatives only because they submit to
    the class interests of the bourgeoisie). Lastly, the proposition
    of the Soviet government completely to exclude the bourgeoisie
    from the administration of the co-operatives was also considerably
    weakened, and only owners of capitalistic commercial and
    industrial enterprises are excluded from the administration.

       *       *       *       *       *

    If the proletariat, acting through the Soviets, should
    successfully establish accounting and control on a national scale,
    there would be no need for such compromise. Through the Food
    Departments of the Soviets, through their organs of supply, we
    would unite the population in one co-operative directed by the
    proletariat, without the assistance from bourgeois co-operatives,
    without concessions to the purely bourgeois principle which
    compels the labor co-operatives to remain side by side with the
    bourgeois co-operatives instead of wholly subjecting these
    bourgeois co-operatives, fusing both?[69]


It is no mood of captious, unfriendly criticism that attention is specially
directed to these compromises. Only political charlatans, ineffective
quacks, and irresponsible soap-box orators see crime against the
revolutionary program of the masses in a wise and honest opportunism.
History will not condemn the Bolsheviki for the give-and-take,
compromise-where-necessary policy outlined in the foregoing paragraphs. Its
condemnation will be directed rather against their failure to act in that
spirit from the moment the first Provisional Government arose. Had they
joined with the other Socialists and established a strong Coalition
Government, predominantly Socialist, but including representatives of the
most liberal and democratic elements of the bourgeoisie, it would have been
possible to bring the problems of labor organization and labor discipline
under democratic direction. It would not have been possible to establish
complete industrial democracy, fully developed Socialism, nor will it be
possible to do this for many years to come.

But it would have been easy and natural for the state to secure to the
workers a degree of economic assurance and protection not otherwise
possible. It would have been possible, too, for the workers'
organizations, recognized by and co-operating with the state, to have
undertaken, in a large degree, the control of the conditions of their own
employment which labor organizations everywhere are demanding and gradually
gaining. The best features of "Guild Socialism" could nowhere have been so
easily adopted.[70] But instead of effort in these directions, we find the
Bolsheviki resorting to the _Taylor System of Scientific Management
enforced by an individual dictator whose word is final and absolute, to
disobey whom is treason_! There is not a nation in the world with a
working-class movement of any strength where it would be possible to
introduce the industrial servitude here described:

    The most conscious vanguard of the Russian proletariat has already
    turned to the problem of increasing labor discipline. For
    instance, the central committee of the Metallurgical Union and the
    Central Council of the Trades Unions have begun work on respective
    measures and drafts of decrees. This work should be supported and
    advanced by all means. _We should immediately introduce piece work
    and try it out in practice. We should try out every scientific and
    progressive suggestion of the Taylor System_; we should compare
    the earnings with the general total of production, or the
    exploitation results of railroad and water transportation, and so

    The Russian is a poor worker in comparison with the workers of the
    advanced nations, and this could not be otherwise under the régime
    of the Czar and other remnants of feudalism. The last word of
    capitalism in this respect, the Taylor System--as well as all
    progressive measures of capitalism--combine the refined cruelty of
    bourgeois exploitation and a number of most valuable scientific
    attainments in the analysis of mechanical motions during work, in
    dismissing superfluous and useless motions, in determining the
    most correct methods of the work, the best systems of accounting
    and control, etc. The Soviet Republic must adopt valuable and
    scientific and technical advance in this field. _The possibility
    of Socialism will be determined by our success in combining the
    Soviet rule and the Soviet organization of management with the
    latest progressive measures of capitalism. We must introduce in
    Russia the study and the teaching of the Taylor System and its
    systematic trial and adaptation_. While working to increase the
    productivity of labor, we must at the same time take into account
    the peculiarities of the transition period from capitalism to
    Socialism, which require, on one hand, that we lay the foundation
    for the Socialist organization of emulation, and, on the other
    hand, _require the use of compulsion so that the slogan of the
    dictatorship of the proletariat should not be weakened by the
    practice of a too mild proletarian government_.

    The resolution of the last (Moscow) Congress of the Soviets
    advocates, as the most important problem at present, the creation
    of "efficient organization" and higher discipline. Such
    resolutions are now readily supported by everybody. But that their
    realization requires compulsion, and _compulsion in the form of a
    dictatorship_, is ordinarily not comprehended. And yet, it would
    be the greatest stupidity and the most absurd opportunism to
    suppose that the transition from capitalism to Socialism is
    possible without compulsion and dictatorship. The Marxian theory
    has long ago criticized beyond misunderstanding this petty
    bourgeois-democratic and anarchistic nonsense. And Russia of
    1917-18 confirms in this respect the Marxian theory so clearly,
    palpably, and convincingly that only those who are hopelessly
    stupid or who have firmly determined to ignore the truth can still
    err in this respect. Either a Kornilov dictatorship (if Kornilov
    be taken as Russian type of a bourgeois Cavaignac) or a
    dictatorship of the proletariat--no other alternative is possible
    for a country which is passing through an unusually swift
    development with unusually difficult transitions and which suffers
    from desperate disorganization created by the most horrible

This dictatorship is to be no light affair, no purely nominal force, but a
relentless iron-hand rule. Lenine is afraid that the proletariat is too
soft-hearted and lenient. He says:

    But "dictatorship" is a great word. And great words must not be
    used in vain. A dictatorship is an iron rule, with revolutionary
    daring and swift and merciless in the suppression of the
    exploiters as well as of the thugs (hooligans). And our rule is
    too mild, quite frequently resembling jam rather than iron.[72]

And so the dictatorship of the proletariat becomes the _dictatorship of a
single person_, a super-boss and industrial autocrat: We must learn to
combine the stormy, energetic breaking of all restraint on the part of the
toiling masses _with iron discipline during work, with absolute submission
to the will of one person, the Soviet director, during work_.[73]

As I copy these words from Lenine's book my memory recalls the days, more
than twenty years ago, when as a workman in England and as shop steward of
my union I joined with my comrades in breaking down the very things Lenine
here proposes to set up in the name of Socialism. "Absolute submission to
the will of one person" is not a state toward which free men will strive.
Not willingly will men who enjoy the degree of personal freedom existing in
democratic nations turn to this:

    With respect to ... the significance of individual dictatorial
    power from the standpoint of the specific problems of the present
    period, we must say that every large machine industry--which is
    the material productive source and basis of Socialism--requires an
    absolute and strict unity of the will which directs the joint work
    of hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of people. This
    necessity is obvious from the technical, economical, and
    historical standpoint, and has always been recognized by all those
    who had given any thought to Socialism, as its prerequisite. But
    how can we secure a strict unity of will? _By subjecting the will
    of thousands_ to the will of one.

    This subjection, _if the participants in the common work are
    ideally conscious and disciplined_, may resemble the mild leading
    of an orchestra conductor; but may take the acute form of a
    dictatorship--if there is no ideal discipline and consciousness.
    But at any rate, _complete submission to a single will is
    absolutely necessary for the success of the processes of work
    which is organized on the type of large machine industry_. This is
    doubly true of the railways. And just this transition from one
    political problem to another, which in appearance has no
    resemblance to the first, constitutes the peculiarity of the
    present period. The Revolution has just broken the oldest, the
    strongest, and the heaviest chains to which the masses were
    compelled to submit. So it was yesterday. And to-day, the same
    Revolution (and indeed in the interest of Socialism) demands the
    _absolute submission_ of the masses to the _single will_ of those
    who direct the labor process. It is self-evident that it can be
    realized only after great upheavals, crises, returns to the old;
    only through the greatest strain of the energy of the proletarian
    vanguard which is leading the people to the new order....

    To the extent to which the principal problem of the Soviet rule
    changes from military suppression to administration, suppression
    and compulsion will, _as a rule, be manifested in trials, and not
    in shooting on the spot_. And in this respect the revolutionary
    masses have taken, after November 7, 1918, the right road and have
    proved the vitality of the Revolution, when they started to
    organize their own workmen's and peasants' tribunals, before any
    decrees were issued dismissing the bourgeois-democratic judicial
    apparatus. _But our revolutionary and popular tribunals are
    excessively and incredibly weak. It is apparent that the popular
    view of the courts--which was inherited from the régime of the
    landowners and the bourgeoisie--as not their own, has not yet been
    completely destroyed_. It is not sufficiently appreciated that the
    courts serve to attract all the poor to administration (for
    judicial activity is one of the functions of state
    administration); that the court is _an organ of the rule of the
    proletariat and of the poorest peasantry; that the court is a
    means of training in discipline_. There is a lack of appreciation
    of the simple and obvious fact that, if the chief misfortunes of
    Russia are famine and unemployment, these misfortunes cannot be
    overcome by any outbursts of enthusiasm, but only by thorough and
    universal organization and discipline, in order to increase the
    production of bread for men and fuel for industry, to transport it
    in time, and to distribute it in the right way. That therefore
    _responsibility_ for the pangs of famine and unemployment falls on
    _every one who violates the labor discipline in any enterprise and
    in any business_. That those who are responsible should be
    discovered, tried, and _punished without mercy_. The petty
    bourgeois environment, which we will have to combat persistently
    now, shows particularly in the lack of comprehension of the
    economic and political connection between famine and unemployment
    and the _prevailing dissoluteness in organization and
    discipline_--in the firm hold of the view of the small proprietor
    that "nothing matters, if only I gain as much as possible."

    A characteristic struggle occurred on this basis in connection
    with the last decree on railway management, the decree which
    granted dictatorial (or "unlimited") power to individual
    directors. The conscious (and mostly, probably, unconscious)
    representatives of petty bourgeois dissoluteness contended that
    the granting of "unlimited" (_i.e._, dictatorial) power to
    individuals was a defection from the principle of board
    administration, from the democratic and other principles of the
    Soviet rule. Some of the Socialist-Revolutionists of the left wing
    carried on a plainly demagogic agitation against the decree on
    dictatorship, appealing to the evil instincts and to the petty
    bourgeois desire for personal gain. The question thus presented is
    of really great significance; firstly, the question of principle
    is, in general, the appointment of individuals endowed with
    unlimited power, the appointment of dictators, in accord with the
    fundamental principles of the Soviet rule; secondly, in what
    relation is this case--this precedent, if you wish--to the special
    problems of the Soviet rule during the present concrete period?
    Both questions deserve serious consideration.[74]

With characteristic ingenuity Lenine attempts to provide this dictatorship
with a theoretical basis which will pass muster as Marxian Socialism. He
uses the term "Soviet democracy" as a synonym for democratic Socialism and
says there is "absolutely no contradiction in principle" between it and
"the use of dictatorial power of individuals." By what violence to reason
and to language is the word _democracy_ applied to the system described by
Lenine? To use words with such scant respect to their meanings, established
by etymology, history, and universal agreement in usage, is to invite and
indeed compel the contempt of minds disciplined by reason's practices. As
for the claim that there is no contradiction in principle between
democratic Socialism and the exercise of dictatorial power by individuals,
before it can be accepted every Socialist teacher and leader of any
standing anywhere, the programs of all the Socialist parties, and their
practice, must be denied and set aside. Whether democratic Socialism be
wise or unwise, a practical possibility or an unrealizable idea, at least
it has nothing in common with such reactionary views as are expressed in
the following:

    That the dictatorship of individuals has very frequently in the
    history of revolutionary movements served as an expression and
    means of realization of the dictatorship of the revolutionary
    classes is confirmed by the undisputed experience of history. With
    bourgeois democratic principles, the dictatorship of individuals
    has undoubtedly been compatible. But this point is always treated
    adroitly by the bourgeois critics of the Soviet rule and by their
    petty bourgeois aides. On one hand, they declared the Soviet rule
    simply something absurd and anarchically wild, carefully avoiding
    all our historical comparisons and theoretical proofs that the
    Soviets are a higher form of democracy; nay, more, the beginning
    of a _Socialist_ form of democracy. On the other hand, they demand
    of us a higher democracy than the bourgeois and argue: with your
    Bolshevist (_i.e._, Socialist, not bourgeois) democratic
    principles, with the Soviet democratic principles, individual
    dictatorship is absolutely incompatible.

    Extremely poor arguments, these. If we are not Anarchists, we must
    admit the necessity of a state--that is, of _compulsion_, for the
    transition from capitalism to Socialism. The form of compulsion is
    determined by the degree of development of the particular
    revolutionary class, then by such special circumstances as, for
    instance, the heritage of a long and reactionary war, and then by
    the forms of resistance of the bourgeoisie and the petty
    bourgeoisie. _There is therefore absolutely no contradiction in
    principle between the Soviet (Socialist) democracy and the use of
    dictatorial power of individuals_. The distinction between a
    proletarian and a bourgeois dictatorship consists in this: that
    the first directs its attacks against the exploiting minority in
    the interests of the exploited majority; and, further, in this,
    that the first is accomplished (also through individuals) not only
    by the masses of the exploited toilers, but also by the
    organizations which are so constructed that they arouse these
    masses to historical creative work (the Soviets belong to this
    kind of organization).[75]

This, then, is Bolshevism, not as it is seen and described by unfriendly
"bourgeois" writers, but as it is seen and described by the acknowledged
intellectual and political leader of the Bolsheviki, Nikolai Lenine. I have
not taken any non-Bolshevist authority; I have not even restated his views
in a summary of my own, lest into the summary might be injected some
reflexes of my own critical thought. Bolshevism is revealed in all its
reactionary repulsiveness as something between which and absolute,
individual dictatorial power there is "absolutely no contradiction in
principle." It will not avail for our American followers and admirers of
the Bolsheviki to plead that these things are temporary, compromises with
the ideal due to the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in Russia, and
to beg a mitigation of the severity of our judgment on that account.

The answer to the plea is twofold: in the first place, they who offer it
must, if they are sincere, abandon the savagely critical attitude they have
seen fit to adopt toward our own government and nation because with
"extraordinary conditions prevailing" we have had introduced conscription,
unusual restrictions of movement and of utterance, and so forth. How else,
indeed, can their sincerity be demonstrated? If the fact that extraordinary
conditions justified Lenine and his associates in instituting a régime so
tyrannical, what rule of reason or of morals must be invoked to refuse to
count the extraordinary conditions produced in our own nation by the war as
justification for the special measures of military service and discipline
here introduced?

But there is a second answer to the claim which is more direct and
conclusive. It is not open to argument at all. It is found in the words of
Lenine himself, in his claim that there is absolutely no contradiction
between the principle of individual dictatorship, ruling with iron hand,
and the principle upon which Soviet government rests. There has been no
compromise here, for if there is no contradiction in principle no
compromise could have been required. Lenine is not afraid to make or to
admit making compromises; he admits that compromises have been made. It was
a compromise to employ highly salaried specialists from the bourgeoisie, "a
defection from the principles of the Paris Commune and of any proletarian
rule," as he says. It was a compromise, another "defection from the only
Socialist principle," to admit the right of the co-operatives to determine
their own conditions of membership. Having made these declarations quite
candidly, he takes pains to assure us that there was no such defection from
principle in establishing the absolute rule of an individual dictator,
that there was absolutely no contradiction in principle in this.[76]

Moreover, there is no reason for regarding this dictatorship as a temporary
thing, if Lenine himself is to be accepted as an authoritative spokesman.
Obviously, if there is nothing in the principle of an absolute individual
dictatorship which is in contradiction to the Bolshevik ideal, there can be
no Bolshevik principle which necessarily requires for its realization the
ending of such dictatorship. Why, therefore, may it not be continued
indefinitely? Certainly, if the dictatorship is abolished it will not
be--if Lenine is to be seriously considered--on account of its
incompatibility with Bolshevik principles.


The Bolshevik government of Russia is credited by many of its admirers in
this country with having solved the great land problem and with having
satisfied the land-hunger of the peasants. It is charged, moreover, that
the bitter opposition to the Bolsheviki is mainly due to agitation by the
bourgeoisie, led by the expropriated landowners, who want to defeat the
Revolution and to have their former titles to the land restored. Of course,
it is true that, so far as they dare to do so, the former landowners
actively oppose the Bolsheviki. No expropriated class ever acted otherwise,
and it would be foolish to expect anything else. But any person who
believes that the opposition of the great peasant Socialist organizations,
and especially of the Socialist-Revolutionists, is due to the confiscation
of the land, either consciously or unconsciously, is capable of believing
anything and quite immune from rationality.

The facts in the case are, briefly, as follows: First, as Professor Ross
has pointed out,[77] the land policy of the Bolshevik government was a
compromise of the principles long advocated by its leaders, a compromise
made for political reasons only. Second, as Marie Spiridonova abundantly
demonstrated at an All-Russian Soviet Conference in July, 1918, the
Bolshevik government did not honorably live up to its agreement with the
Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left. Third, so far as the land problem was
concerned there was not the slightest need or justification for the
Bolshevik _coup d'état_, for the reason that the problem had already been
solved on the precise lines afterward followed in the Soviet decree and the
leaders of the peasants were satisfied. We have the authority of no less
competent a witness than Litvinov, Bolshevist Minister to England, that
"the land measure had been 'lifted' bodily from the program of the
Socialist-Revolutionists."[78] Each of these statements is amply sustained
by evidence which cannot be disputed or overcome.

That the "land decree" which the Bolshevik government promulgated was a
compromise with their long-cherished principles admits of no doubt
whatever. Every one who has kept informed concerning Russian revolutionary
movements during the past twenty or twenty-five years knows that during all
that time one of the principal subjects of controversy among Socialists was
the land question and the proper method of solving it. The "Narodniki," or
peasant Socialists, later organized into the Socialist-Revolutionary party,
wanted distribution of the land belonging to the big estates among the
peasant communes, to be co-operatively owned and managed. They did not want
land nationalization, which was the program of the Marxists--the Social
Democrats. This latter program meant that, instead of the land being
divided among the peasants' communal organizations, it should be owned,
used, and managed by the state, the principles of large-scale production
and wage labor being applied to agriculture in the same manner as to

The attitude of the Social Democratic party toward the peasant Socialists
and their program was characterized by that same certainty that small
agricultural holdings were to pass away, and by the same contemptuous
attitude toward the peasant life and peasant aspirations that we find in
the writings of Marx, Engels, Liebknecht, and many other Marxists.[79]
Lenine himself had always adopted this attitude. He never trusted the
peasants and was opposed to any program which would give the land to them
as they desired. Mr. Walling, who spent nearly three years in Russia,
including the whole period of the Revolution of 1905-06, writes of Lenine's
position at that time:

    Like Alexinsky, Lenine awaits the agrarian movement ... and hopes
    that a railway strike with the destruction of the lines of
    communication and _the support of the peasantry_ may some day put
    the government of Russia into the people's hands. However, I was
    shocked to find that this important leader also, though he expects
    a full co-operation with the peasants on equal terms, _during the
    Revolution_, feels toward them a very _deep distrust_, thinking
    them to a large extent bigoted and blindly patriotic, and fearing
    that they may some day shoot down the working-men as the French
    peasants did during the Paris Commune.

    The chief basis for this distrust is, of course, the prejudiced
    feeling that the peasants are not likely to become good
    Socialists. _It is on this account that Lenine and all the Social
    Democratic leaders place their hopes on a future development of
    large agricultural estates in Russia and the increase of the
    landless agricultural working class, which alone they believe
    would prove truly Socialist_.[80]

The Russian Social Democratic Labor party, to which Lenine belonged, and of
which he was an influential leader, adopted in 1906 the following program
with regard to land ownership:

    1. Confiscation of Church, Monastery, Appanage, Cabinet,[81] and
    private estate lands, _except small holdings_, and turning them
    over, together with the state lands, to the great organs of local
    administration, which have been democratically elected. Land,
    however, which is necessary as a basis for future colonization,
    together with the forests and bodies of water, which are of
    national importance, are to pass into the control of the
    democratic state.

    2. Wherever conditions are unfavorable for this transformation,
    the party declares itself in favor of a division among the
    peasants of such of the private estates as already have the petty
    farming conditions, or which may be necessary to round out a
    reasonable holding.

This program was at the time regarded as a compromise. It did not wholly
suit anybody. The peasant leaders feared the amount of state ownership and
management involved. On the other hand, the extreme left wing of the Social
Democrats--Lenine and his friends--wanted the party to proclaim itself in
favor of _the complete nationalization of all privately owned land, even
that of the small peasant owners_, but were willing, provided the principle
were this stated, to accept, as a temporary expedient, division of the land
in certain exceptional instances. On the other hand, the
Socialist-Revolutionists wanted, not the distribution of lands among a
multitude of private owners, as is very generally supposed, but its
socialization. Their program provided for "the socialization of all
privately owned lands--that is, the taking of them out of the private
ownership of persons into the public ownership and _their management by
democratically organized leagues of communities with the purpose of an
equitable utilization_." They wanted to avoid the creation of a great army
of what they described as "wage-slaves of the state" and, on the other
hand, they wanted to build upon the basis of Russian communism and, as far
as possible, prevent the extension of capitalist methods--and therefore of
the class struggle--into the agrarian life of Russia.

When the Bolsheviki came into power they sought first of all to split the
peasant Socialist movement and gain the support of its extreme left wing.
For this reason they agreed to adopt the program of the Revolutionary
Socialist party. It was Marie Spiridonova who made that arrangement
possible. It was, in fact, a political deal. Lenine and Trotzky, on behalf
of the Bolshevik government, agreed to accept the land policy of the
Socialist-Revolutionists, and in return Spiridonova and her friends agreed
to support the Bolsheviki. There is abundant evidence of the truth of the
following account of Professor Ross:

    Among the first acts of the Bolsheviki in power was to square
    their debt to the left wing of the Social Revolutionists, their
    ally in the _coup d'état_. The latter would accept only one kind
    of currency--the expropriation of the private landowners without
    compensation and the transfer of all land into the hands of the
    peasant communes. The Bolsheviki themselves, as good Marxists,
    took no stock in the peasants' commune. As such, pending the
    introduction of Socialism, they should, perhaps, have nationalized
    the land and rented it to the highest bidder, regardless of
    whether it was to be tilled in small parcels without hired labor
    or in large blocks on the capitalistic plan. The land edict of
    November does, indeed, decree land nationalism; however, the vital
    proviso is added that "the use of the land must be equalized--that
    is, according to local conditions and according to the ability to
    work and the needs of each individual," and further that "the
    hiring of labor is not permitted." The administrative machinery is
    thus described: "All the confiscated land becomes the land capital
    of the nation. Its distribution among the working-people is to be
    in charge of the local and central authorities, beginning with the
    organized rural and urban communities and ending with the
    provincial central organs." Such is the irony of fate. _Those who
    had charged the rural land commune with being the most serious
    brake upon Russia's progress, and who had stigmatized the
    People-ists as reactionaries and Utopians, now came to enact into
    law most of their tenets--the equalization of the use of land, the
    prohibition of the hiring of labor, and everything else!_[82]

The much-praised land policy of the Bolsheviki is, in fact, not a Bolshevik
policy at all, but one which they have accepted as a compromise for
temporary political advantage. "Claim everything in sight," said a noted
American politician on one occasion to his followers. Our followers of the
Bolsheviki, taught by a very clever propaganda, seem to be acting upon that
maxim. They claim for the Bolsheviki everything which can in the slightest
manner win favor with the American public, notwithstanding that it involves
claiming for the Bolsheviki credit to which they are not entitled. As early
as May 18, 1917, it was announced by the Provisional Government that the
"question of the transfer of the land to the toilers" was to be left to the
Constituent Assembly, and there was never a doubt in the mind of any
Russian Socialist how that body would settle it; never a moment when it was
doubted that the Constituent Assembly would be controlled by the
Socialist-Revolutionary party. When Kerensky became Prime Minister one of
the first acts of his Cabinet was to create a special committee for the
purpose of preparing the law for the socialization of the land and the
necessary machinery for carrying the law into effect. The All-Russian
Peasants' Congress had, as early as May, five months before the Bolshevik
counter-revolution, adopted the land policy for which the Bolsheviki now
are being praised by their admirers in this country. That policy had been
crystallized into a carefully prepared law which had been approved by the
Council of Ministers. The Bolsheviki did no more than to issue a crudely
conceived "decree" which they have never at any time had the power to
enforce in more than about a fourth of Russia--in place of a law which
would have embraced all Russia and have been secure and permanent.

On July 16, 1918, Marie Spiridonova, in an address delivered in Petrograd,
protested vehemently against the manner in which the Bolshevik government
was departing from the policy it had agreed to maintain with regard to the
land, and going back to the old Social Democratic ideas. She declared that
she had been responsible for the decree of February, which provided for the
socialization of the land. That measure provided for the abolition of
private property in land, and placed all land in the hands of and under the
direction of the peasant communes. It was the old Socialist-Revolutionist
program. But the Bolshevik government had not carried out the law of
February. Instead, it had resorted to the Social Democratic method of
nationalization. In the western governments, she said, "great estates were
being taken over by government departments and were being managed by
officials, on the ground that state control would yield better results than
communal ownership. Under this system the peasants were being reduced to
the state of slaves paid wages by the state. Yet the law provided that
these estates should be divided among the peasant communes to be tilled by
the peasants on a co-operative system."[83] Spiridonova protested against
the attitude of the Bolsheviki toward the peasants, against dividing them
into classes and placing the greater part of them with the bourgeoisie. She
insisted that the peasants be regarded as a single class, co-operating with
the industrial proletariat, yet distinct from it and from the bourgeoisie.
For our present purpose, it does not matter whether the leaders of the
Bolsheviki were right or wrong in their decision that state operation was
better than operation by village co-operatives. Our sole concern here and
now is the fact that they did not keep faith with the section of the
peasants they had won over to their side, and the fact that, as this
incident shows, we cannot regard the formal decrees of the Soviet Republic
as descriptions of realities.

The Bolsheviki remain to-day, as at the beginning, a counter-revolutionary
power imposing its rule upon the great mass of the Russian people by armed
force. There can be little doubt that if a free election could be had
immediately upon the same basis as that on which the Constituent Assembly
was elected--namely, universal, secret, equal, direct suffrage, the
Bolsheviki would be overwhelmingly beaten. There can be little doubt that
the great mass of the peasantry would support, as before, the candidates of
the Socialist-Revolutionary party. It is quite true that some of the
leaders of that party have consented to work with the Bolshevik government.
Compromises have been effected; the Bolsheviki have conciliated the
peasants somewhat, and the latter have, in many cases, sought to make the
best of a bad situation. Many have adopted a passive attitude. But there
can be no greater mistake than to believe that the Bolsheviki have solved
the land question to the satisfaction of the peasants and so won their


This survey of the theories and practices of the Bolsheviki would invite
criticism and distrust if the peace program which culminated in the
shameful surrender to Germany, the "indecent peace" as the Russians call
it, were passed over without mention. And yet there is no need to tell here
a story with which every one is familiar. By that humiliating peace Russia
lost 780,000 square kilometers of territory, occupied by 56,000,000
inhabitants. She lost one-third of her total mileage of railways, amounting
to more than 13,000 miles. She lost, also, 73 per cent. of her iron
production; 89 per cent. of her coal production, and many thousands of
factories of various kinds. These latter included 268 sugar-refineries, 918
textile-factories, 574 breweries, 133 tobacco-factories, 1,685
distilleries, 244 chemical-factories, 615 paper-mills, and 1,073
machine-factories.[84] Moreover, it was not an enduring peace and war
against Germany had to be resumed.

In judging the manner in which the Bolsheviki concluded peace with Germany,
it is necessary to be on guard against prejudice engendered by the war and
its passions. The tragi-comedy of Brest-Litovsk, and the pitiable rôle of
Trotzky, have naturally been linked together with the manner in which
Lenine and his companions reached Russia with the aid of the German
Government, the way in which all the well-known leaders of the Bolsheviki
had deliberately weakened the morale of the troops at the front, and their
persistent opposition to all the efforts of Kerensky to restore the
fighting spirit of the army--all these things combined have convinced many
thoughtful and close observers that the Bolsheviki were in league with the
Germans against the Allies. Perhaps the time is not yet ripe for passing
final judgment upon this matter. Certainly there were ugly-looking
incidents which appeared to indicate a close co-operation with the Germans.

There was, for example, the acknowledged fact that the Bolsheviki on
seizing the power of government immediately entered into negotiations with
the notorious "Parvus," whose rôle as an agent of the German Government is
now thoroughly established. "Parvus" is the pseudonym of one of the most
sinister figures in the history of the Socialist movement, Dr. Alexander
Helfandt. Born at Odessa, of German-Jewish descent, he studied in Germany
and in the early eighteen-nineties attained prominence as a prolific and
brilliant contributor to the German Socialist review, _Die Neue Zeit_. He
was early "exiled" from Russia, but it was suspected by a great many
Socialists that in reality his "exile" was simply a device to cover
employment in the Russian Secret Service as a spy and informer, for which
the prestige he had gained in Socialist circles was a valuable aid. When
the Revolution of 1905 broke out Helfandt returned to Russia under the
terms of the amnesty declared at that time. He at once joined the Leninist
section of the Social Democratic party, the Bolsheviki. A scandal occurred
some time later, when the connection of "Parvus" with the Russian
Government was freely charged against him. Among those who attacked him and
accused him of being an agent-provocateur were Tseretelli, the
Socialist-Revolutionist, and Miliukov, the leader of the Cadets.

Some years later, at the time of the uprisings in connection with the Young
Turk movement, "Parvus" turned up in Constantinople, where he was
presumably engaged in work for the German Government. This was commonly
believed in European political circles, though denied at the time by
"Parvus" himself. One thing is certain, namely, that although he was
notoriously poor when he went there--his financial condition was well known
to his Socialist associates--he returned at the beginning of 1915 a very
rich man. He explained his riches by saying that he had, while at
Constantinople, Bucharest, and Sofia, successfully speculated in war wheat.
He wrote this explanation in the German Socialist paper, _Die Glocke_, and
drew from Hugo Hasse the following observation: "I blame nobody for being
wealthy; I only ask if it is the rôle of a Social Democrat to become a
profiteer of the war."[85] Very soon we find this precious gentleman
settled in Copenhagen, where he established a "Society for Studying the
Social Consequences of the War," which was, of course, entirely pro-German.
This society is said to have exercised considerable influence among the
Russians in Copenhagen and to have greatly influenced many Danish
Socialists to take Germany's side. According to _Pravda_, the Bolshevik
organ, the German Government, through the intermediary of German Social
Democrats, established a working relation with Danish trade-unions and the
Danish Social Democratic party, whereby the Danish unions got the coal
needed in Copenhagen at a figure below the market price. Then the Danish
party sent its leader, Borgdjerg, to Petrograd as an emissary to place
before the Petrograd Soviet the terms of peace of the German Majority
Socialists, which were, of course, the terms of the German Government. We
find "Parvus" at the same time, as he is engaged in this sort of intrigue,
associated with one Furstenberg in shipping drugs into Russia and food from
Russia into Germany.[86] According to Grumbach,[87] he sought to induce
prominent Norwegian Socialists to act as intermediaries to inform certain
Norwegian syndicates that Germany would grant them a monopoly of coal
consignments if the Norwegian Social Democratic press would adopt a more
friendly attitude toward Germany and the Social Democratic members in the
Norwegian parliament would urge the stoppage or the limitation of fish
exports to England.

During this period "Parvus" was bitterly denounced by Plechanov, by
Alexinsky and other Russian Socialists as an agent of the Central Powers.
He was denounced also by Lenine and Trotzky and by _Pravda_. Lenine
described him as "the vilest of bandits and betrayers." It was therefore
somewhat astonishing for those familiar with these facts to read the
following communication, which appeared in the German Socialist press on
November 30, 1917, and, later, in the British Socialist organ, _Justice_:

    STOCKHOLM, November 20.--The Foreign Relations Committee
    of the Bolsheviki makes the following communication: "The German
    comrade, 'Parvus,' has brought to the Bolshevik Committee at
    Stockholm the congratulations of the _Parteivorstand_ of the
    Majority Social Democrats, who declare their solidarity with the
    struggles of the Russian proletariat and with its request to begin
    pourparlers immediately on the basis of a democratic peace without
    annexations and indemnities. The Foreign Relations Committee of
    the Bolsheviki has transmitted these declarations to the Central
    Committee at Petrograd, as well as to the Soviets."

When Hugo Hasse questioned Philipp Scheidemann about the negotiations which
were going on through "Parvus," Scheidemann replied that it was the
Bolsheviki themselves who had invited "Parvus" to come to Stockholm for the
purpose of opening up negotiations. This statement was denounced as a lie
by Karl Radek in _Pravda_. Some day, doubtless, the truth will be known;
for the present it is enough to note the fact that as early as November the
Bolsheviki were negotiating through such a discredited agent of the Central
Powers as Dr. Alexander Helfandt, otherwise "Parvus," the well-known
Marxist! Such facts as this, added to those previously noticed, tended
inevitably to strengthen the conviction that Lenine and Trotsky were the
pliant and conscious tools of Germany all the time, and that the protests
of Trotzky at Brest-Litovsk were simply stage-play.

But for all that, unless and until official, documentary evidence is
forthcoming which proves them to have been in such relations with the
German Government and military authorities, they ought not to be condemned
upon the chain of suspicious circumstances, strong as that chain apparently
is. The fact is that they had to make peace, and make it quickly. Kerensky,
had he been permitted to hold on, would equally have had to make a separate
peace, and make it quickly. Only one thing could have delayed that for
long--namely, the arrival of an adequate force of Allied troops on the
Russian front to stiffen the morale and to take the burden of fighting off
from the Russians. Of that there was no sign and no promise or likelihood.
Kerensky knew that he would have had to make peace, at almost any cost and
on almost any terms, if he remained in power. If the Bolsheviki appear in
the light of traitors to the Allies, it should be remembered that pressure
of circumstances would have forced even such a loyal friend of the Allies
as Kerensky certainly proved himself to be to make a separate peace,
practically on Germany's terms, in a very little while. It was not a matter
of months, but of weeks at most, probably of days.

Russia had to have peace. The nation was war-weary and exhausted. The
Allies had not understood the situation--indeed, they never have understood
Russia, even to this day--and had bungled right along. What made it
possible for the Bolsheviki to assert their rule so easily was the fact
that they promised immediate peace, and the great mass of the Russian
workers wanted immediate peace above everything else. They were so eager
for peace that so long as they could get it they cared at the time for
nothing. Literally nothing else mattered. As we have seen, the Bolshevik
leaders had strenuously denied wanting to make a "separate peace." There is
little reason for doubting that they were sincere in this in the sense that
what they wanted was a _general_ peace, if that could be possibly obtained.
Peace they had to have, as quickly as possible. If they could not persuade
their Allies to join with them in making such a general peace, they were
willing to make a _separate_ peace. That is quite different from _wanting_
a separate peace from the first. There was, indeed, in the demand made at
the beginning of December upon the Allies to restate their war aims within
a period of seven days an arrogant and provocative tone which invited the
suspicion that the ultimatum--for such it was--had not been conceived in
good faith; that it was deliberately framed in such a manner as to prevent
compliance by the Allies. And it may well be the fact that Lenine and
Trotzky counted upon the inevitable refusal to convince the Russian people,
and especially the Russian army, that the Allied nations were fighting for
imperialistic ends, just as the Bolsheviki had always charged. The
Machiavellian cunning of such a policy is entirely characteristic of the
conspirator type.

On December 14th the armistice was signed at Brest-Litovsk, to last for a
period of twenty-eight days. On December 5th, the Bolsheviki had published
the terms upon which they desired to effect the armistice. These terms,
which the Germans scornfully rejected, provided that the German forces
which had been occupied on the Russian front should not be sent to other
fronts to fight against the Allies, and that the German troops should
retire from the Russian islands held by them. In the armistice as it was
finally signed at Brest-Litovsk there was a clause which, upon its face,
seemed to prove that Trotzky had kept faith with the Allies. The clause
provided that there should be no transfer of troops by either side, for the
purpose of military operations, during the armistice, from the front
between the Baltic and the Black Sea. This, however, was, from the German
point of view, merely a _pro forma_ arrangement, a "scrap of paper."
Grumbach wrote to _L'Humanité_ that on December 20th Berlin was full of
German soldiers from the Russian front en route to the western front. He
said that he had excellent authority for saying that this had been called
to the attention of Lenine and Trotzky by the Independent Social Democrats,
but that, "nevertheless, they diplomatically shut their eyes."[88] It is
more than probable that, in the circumstances, neither Lenine nor Trotzky
cared much if at all for such a breach of the terms of the armistice, but,
had their attitude been otherwise, what could they have done? They were as
helpless as ever men were in the world, as subsequent events proved.

As one reads the numerous declamatory utterances of Trotzky in those
critical days of early December, 1917, the justice of Lenine's scornful
description of his associate as a "man who blinds himself with
revolutionary phrases" becomes manifest. It is easy to understand the
strained relations that existed between the two men. His "neither war nor
peace" gesture--it was no more!--his dramatic refusal to sign the stiffened
peace terms, his desire to call all Russia to arms again to fight the
Germans, his determination to create a vast "Red Army" to renew the war
against Germany, and his professed willingness to "accept the services of
American officers in training that army," all indicated a mind given to
illusions and stone blind to realities. Lenine at least knew that the game
was up. He knew that the game into which he had so coolly entered when he
left Switzerland, and which he had played with all his skill and cunning,
was at an end and that the Germans had won. The Germans behaved with a
perfidy that is unmatched in modern history, disregarded the armistice they
had signed, and savagely hurled their forces against the defenseless,
partially demobilized and trusting Russians. There was nothing left for the
Bolsheviki to do. They had delivered Russia to the Germans. In March the
"indecent peace" was signed, with what result we know. Bolshevism had been
the ally of Prussian militarism. Consciously or unconsciously, willingly or
unwillingly, Lenine, Trotzky, and the other Bolshevik leaders had done all
that men could do to make the German military lords masters of the world.
Had there been a similar movement in France, England, the United States, or
even Italy, to-day the Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs would be upon their
thrones, realizing the fulfilment of the Pan-German vision.


In view of the fact that so many of our American pacifists have glorified
the Bolsheviki, it may be well to remind them, if they have forgotten, or
to inform them, if they do not know it, that their admiration is by no
means reciprocated. Both Lenine and Trotzky have spoken and written in
terms of utter disdain of pacifist movements in general and of the
pacifists of England and America in particular. They have insisted that,
_in present society_, disarmament is really a reactionary proposal. The
inclusion in the Constitution, which they have forced upon Russia by armed
might, of _permanent universal compulsory military service_ is not by
accident. They believe that only when all nations have become Socialist
nations will it be a proper policy for Socialists to favor disarmament. It
would be interesting to know how our American admirers and defenders of
Bolshevism, who are all anti-conscriptionists and ultra-pacifists, so far
as can be discovered, reconcile their position with that of the Bolsheviki
who base their state, not as a temporary expedient, _but as a matter of
principle_, upon universal, compulsory military service! What, one wonders,
do these American Bolsheviki worshipers think of the teaching of these
paragraphs from an article by Lenine?[89]

    Disarmament is a Socialistic ideal. In Socialist society there
    will be no more wars, which means that disarmament will have been
    realized. But he is not a Socialist who expects the realization of
    Socialism _without_ the social revolution and the dictatorship of
    the proletariat. Dictatorship is a government power, depending
    directly upon force, and, in the twentieth century, force means,
    not fists and clubs, but armies. To insert "disarmament" into our
    program is equivalent to saying, we are opposed to the use of
    arms. But such a statement would contain not a grain of Marxism,
    any more than would the equivalent statement, we are opposed to
    the use of force.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _A suppressed class which has no desire to learn the use of arms,
    and to bear arms, deserves nothing else than to be treated as
    slaves_. We cannot, unless we wish to transform ourselves into
    mere bourgeois pacifists, forget that we are living in a society
    based on classes, and that there is no escape from such a society,
    except by the class struggle and the overthrow of the power of the
    ruling class.

    In every class society, whether it be based on slavery, serfdom,
    or, as at the present moment, on wage-labor, the class of the
    oppressors is an armed class. Not only the standing army of the
    present day, but also the present-day popular militia--even in the
    most democratic bourgeois republics, as in Switzerland--means an
    armament of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat....

    How can you, in the face of this fact, ask the revolutionary
    Social Democracy to set up the "demand" of "disarmament"? _To ask
    this is to renounce completely the standpoint of the class
    struggle, to give up the very thought of revolution_. Our
    watchword must be: to arm the proletariat so that it may defeat,
    expropriate, and disarm the bourgeoisie. This is the only possible
    policy of the revolutionary class, a policy arising directly from
    the _actual evolution_ of capitalistic militarism, in fact,
    dictated by the evolution. Only after having disarmed the
    bourgeoisie can the proletariat, without betraying its historic
    mission, cast all weapons to the scrap-heap; and there is no doubt
    that the proletariat will do this, but only then, and not by any
    possibility before then.

How is it possible for our extreme pacifists, with their relentless
opposition to military force in all its forms to conscription, to universal
military service, to armaments of all kinds, even for defensive purposes,
and to voluntarily enlisted armies even, to embrace Bolshevism with
enthusiasm, resting as it does upon the basis of the philosophy so frankly
stated by Lenine, is a question for which no answer seems wholly adequate.
Of course, what Lenine advocates is class armament within the nation, for
civil war--the war of the classes. But he is not opposed to national
armaments, as such, nor willing to support disarmament as a national policy
_until the time comes when an entirely socialized humanity finds itself
freed from the necessity of arming against anybody_. There is probably not
a militarist in America to-day who, however bitterly opposed to disarmament
as a present policy, would not agree that if, in some future time, mankind
reaches the happy condition of universal Socialism, disarmament will then
become practicable and logical. It would not be difficult for General Wood
to subscribe to that doctrine, I think. It would not have been difficult
for Mr. Roosevelt to subscribe to it.

Not only is Lenine willing to support national armaments, and even to fight
for the defense of national rights, whenever an attack on these is also an
attack on proletarian rights--which he believes to be the case in the
continued war against Germany, he goes much farther than this _and provides
a theoretical justification for a Socialist policy of passive acceptance of
ever-increasing militarism_. He draws a strangely forced parallel between
the Socialist attitude toward the trusts and the attitude which ought to be
taken toward armaments. We know, he argues, that trusts bring great evils.
Against the evils we struggle, but how? Not by trying to do away with the
trusts, for we regard the trusts as steps in progress. We must go onward,
through the trust system to Socialism. In a similar way we should not
deplore "the militarization of the populations." If the bourgeoisie
militarizes all the men, and all the boys, nay, even all the women, why--so
much the better! "Never will the women of an oppressed class that is really
revolutionary be content" to demand disarmament. On the contrary, they will
encourage their sons to bear the arms and "learn well the business of war."
Of course, this knowledge they will use, "not in order that they may shoot
at their brothers, the workers of other countries, as they are doing in the
present war ... but in order that they may struggle against the bourgeoisie
in their own country, in order that they may put an end to exploitation,
poverty, and war, not by the path of good-natured wishes, but by the path
of victory over the bourgeoisie and of disarmament of the bourgeoisie."[90]
 Universally the working class has taken a position the
very opposite of this. Universally we find the organized working class
favoring disarmament, peace agreements, and covenants in general opposing
extensions of what Lenine describes as "the militarization of populations."
For this universality of attitude and action there can only be one adequate
explanation--namely, the instinctive class consciousness of the workers.
But, according to Lenine, this instinctive class consciousness is all
wrong; somehow or other it expresses itself in a "bourgeois" policy. The
workers ought to welcome the efforts of the ruling class to militarize and
train in the arts of war not only the men of the nations, but the boys and
even the women as well. Some day, if this course be followed, there will be
two great armed classes in every nation and between these will occur the
decisive war which shall establish the supremacy of the most numerous and
powerful class. Socialism is thus to be won, not by the conquests of reason
and of conscience, but by brute force.

Obviously, there is no point of sympathy between this brutal and arrogant
gospel of force and the striving of modern democracy for the peaceful
organization of the world, for disarmament, a league of nations, and, in
general, the supplanting of force of arms by the force of reason and
morality. There is a Prussian quality in Lenine's philosophy. He is the
Treitschke of social revolt, brutal, relentless, and unscrupulous, glorying
in might, which is, for him, the only right. And that is what characterizes
the whole Bolshevik movement: it is the infusion into the class strife and
struggles of the world the same brutality and the same faith that might is
right which made Prussian militarism the menace it was to civilization.

And just as the world of civilized mankind recognized Prussian militarism
as its deadly enemy, to be overcome at all costs, so, too, Bolshevism must
be overcome. And that can best be done, not by attempting to drown it in
blood, but by courageously and consistently setting ourselves to the task
of removing the social oppression, the poverty, and the servitude which
produce the desperation of soul that drives men to Bolshevism. The remedy
for Bolshevism is a sane and far-reaching program of constructive social


This book is the fulfilment of a promise to a friend. Soon after my return
from Europe, in November, I spent part of a day in New York discussing
Bolshevism with two friends. One of these is a Russian Socialist, who has
lived many years in America, a citizen of the United States, and a man
whose erudition and fidelity to the working-class movement during many
years have long commanded my admiration and reverence. The other friend is
a native American, also a Socialist. A sincere Christian, he has identified
his faith in the religion of Jesus and his faith in democratic Socialism.
The two are not conflicting forces, or even separate ones, but merely
different and complementary aspects of the same faith. He is a man who is
universally loved and honored for his nobility of character and his
generous idealism. While in Europe I had spent much time consulting with
Russian friends in Paris, Rome, and other cities, and had collected a
considerable amount of authentic material relating to Bolshevism and the
Bolsheviki. I had not the slightest intention of using this material to
make a book; in fact, my plans contemplated a very different employment of
my time. But, in the course of the discussion, my American Socialist friend
asked me to "jot down" for him some of the things I had said, and,
especially, to write, in a letter, what I believed to be the psychology of
Bolshevism. This, in an unguarded moment, I undertook to do.

When I set out, a few days later, to redeem my promise, I found that, in
order to make things intelligible, it was absolutely necessary to explain
the historical backgrounds of the Russian revolutionary movement, to
describe the point of view of various persons and groups with some detail,
and to quote quite extensively from the documentary material I had
gathered. Naturally, the limits of a letter were quickly outgrown and I
found that my response to my friend's innocent request approached the
length of a small volume. Even so, it was quite unsatisfactory. It left
many things unexplained and much of my own thought obscure. I decided then
to rewrite the whole thing and make a book of it, thus making available for
what I hope will be a large number of readers what I had at first intended
only for a dear friend.

I am very conscious of the imperfections of the book as it stands. It has
been written under conditions far from favorable, crowded into a very busy
life. My keenest critics will, I am sure, be less conscious of its defects
than I am. It is, however, an earnest contribution to a very important
discussion, and, I venture to hope, with all its demerits, a useful one. If
it aids a single person to a clearer comprehension of the inherent
wrongfulness of the Bolshevist philosophy and method, I shall be rewarded.

       *       *       *       *       *

_So here, my dear Will, is the fulfilment of my promise._








_Proletarians and Working-people of all Countries_:

We, Russian workers and soldiers, united in the Petrograd Workmen's and
Soldiers' Delegate Council, send you our warmest greetings and the news of
great events. The democracy of Russia has overthrown the century-old
despotism of the Czars and enters your ranks as a rightful member and as a
powerful force in the battle for our common liberation. Our victory is a
great victory for the freedom and democracy of the world. The principal
supporter of reaction in the world, the "gendarme of Europe," no longer
exists. May the earth over his grave become a heavy stone! Long live
liberty, long live the international solidarity of the proletariat and its
battle for the final victory!

Our cause is not yet entirely won. Not all the shadows of the old régime
have been scattered and not a few enemies are gathering their forces
together against the Russian Revolution. Nevertheless, our conquests are
great. The peoples of Russia will express their will in the Constitutional
convention which is to be called within a short time upon the basis of
universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. And now it may already be
said with certainty in advance that the democratic republic will triumph in
Russia. The Russian people is in possession of complete political liberty.
Now it can say an authoritative word about the internal self-government of
the country and about its foreign policy. And in addressing ourselves to
all the peoples who are being destroyed and ruined in this terrible war, we
declare that the time has come in which the decisive struggle against the
attempts at conquest by the governments of all the nations must be begun.
The time has come in which the peoples must take the matter of deciding the
questions of war and peace into their own hands.

Conscious of its own revolutionary strength, the democracy of Russia
declares that it will fight with all means against the policy of conquest
of its ruling classes, and it summons the peoples of Europe to united,
decisive action for peace. We appeal to our brothers, to the
German-Austrian coalition, and above all to the German proletariat. The
first day of the war you were made to believe that in raising your weapons
against absolutist Russia you were defending European civilization against
Asiatic despotism. In this many of you found the justification of the
support that was accorded to the war. Now also this justification has
vanished. Democratic Russia cannot menace freedom and civilization.

We shall firmly defend our own liberty against all reactionary threats,
whether they come from without or within. The Russian Revolution will not
retreat before the bayonets of conquerors, and it will not allow itself to
be trampled to pieces by outside military force. We call upon you to throw
off the yoke of your absolutist régime, as the Russian people has shaken
off the autocracy of the Czars. Refuse to serve as the tools of conquest
and power in the hands of the kings, Junkers, and bankers, and we shall,
with common efforts, put an end to the fearful butchery that dishonors
humanity and darkens the great days of the birth of Russian liberty.

Working-men of all countries! In fraternally stretching out our hands to
you across the mountains of our brothers' bodies, across the sea of
innocent blood and tears, across the smoking ruins of cities and villages,
across the destroyed gifts of civilization, we summon you to the work of
renewing and solidifying international unity. In that lies the guaranty of
our future triumph and of the complete liberation of humanity.

Working-men of all countries, unite!

    TCHCHEIDZE, _the President_.
    PETROGRAD, _April, 1917_.



A report to the International Socialist Bureau by Inna Rakitnikov,
Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Delegates,
placing themselves upon the grounds of the defense of the Constituent

With a letter-preface by the citizen, E. Roubanovitch, member of the
International Socialist Bureau.

    _To the Executive Committee of the International Socialist

    DEAR COMRADES,--The citizen Inna Rakitnikov has lately
    come from Petrograd to Paris for personal reasons that are
    peculiarly tragic. At the time of her departure the Executive
    Committee of the Second Soviet of Peasant Delegates of All-Russia,
    of which she is one of the vice-presidents, requested her to make
    to the International Socialist Bureau a detailed report of the
    fights that this organization had to make against the Bolsheviki
    in order to realize the convocation of the Constituent Assembly.

    This is the report under the title of a document that I present
    here, without commentary, asking you to communicate it without
    delay to all the sections of the International. Two words of
    explanation, only: First, I wish to draw your attention to the
    fact that this is the second time that the Executive Committee of
    the Soviet of the Peasants of All-Russia addresses itself publicly
    to the International.

    At the time of my journey to Stockholm in the month of September,
    1917, I made, at a session of the Holland, Scandinavian committee,
    presided over by Branting, a communication in the name of the
    Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants. I handed over on
    this occasion to our secretary, Camille Huysmans, an appeal to the
    democrats of the entire world, in which the Executive Committee
    indicated clearly its position in the questions of the world war
    and of agrarian reform, and vindicated its place in the Workers'
    and Socialist International family.

    I must also present to you the author of this report. The citizen
    Rakitnikov, a member of the Russian Revolutionary Socialist party,
    has worked for a long time in the ranks of this party as a
    publicist and organizer and propagandist, especially among the
    peasants. She has known long years of prison, of Siberia, of
    exile. Before and during the war until the beginning of the
    Revolution she lived as a political fugitive in Paris. While being
    a partizan convinced of the necessity of national defense of
    invaded countries against the imperialistic aggression of German
    militarism--in which she is in perfect accord with the members of
    our party such as Stepan Sletof, Iakovlef, and many other
    voluntary Russian republicans, all dead facing the enemy in the
    ranks of the French army--the citizen Rakitnikov belonged to the
    international group. I affirm that her sincere and matured
    testimony cannot be suspected of partizanship or of dogmatic
    partiality against the Bolsheviki, who, as you know, tried to
    cover their follies and their abominable crimes against the plan
    of the Russian people, and against all the other Socialist
    parties, under the lying pretext of internationalist ideas, ideas
    which they have, in reality, trampled under foot and betrayed.

    Yours fraternally,
    _June 28, 1918._
    _Member of the B.S.I._

"The Bolsheviki who promised liberty, equality, peace, etc., have not been
ashamed to follow in the footsteps of Czarism. It is not liberty; it is
tyranny." (Extract from a letter of a young Russian Socialist, an
enthusiast of liberty who died all too soon.)


_Organization of the Peasants after the Revolution in Soviets of Peasant

A short time after the Revolution of February the Russian peasants grouped
themselves in a National Soviet of Peasant Delegates at the First Congress
of the Peasants of All-Russia, which took place at Petrograd. The Executive
Committee of this Soviet was elected. It was composed of well-known leaders
of the Revolutionary Socialist party and of peasant delegates sent from the
country. Without adhering officially to the Revolutionary Socialist party,
the Soviet of Peasant Delegates adopted the line of conduct of this party.
While co-ordinating its tactics with the party's, it nevertheless remained
an organization completely independent. The Bolsheviki, who at this
Congress attempted to subject the peasants to their influence, had not at
the time any success. The speeches of Lenine and the other members of this
party did not meet with any sympathy, but on the contrary provoked lively
protest. The Executive Committee had as its organ the paper _Izvestya of
the National Soviet of Peasant Delegates_. Thousands of copies of this were
scattered throughout the country. Besides the central national Soviet there
existed local organizations, the Soviets, the government districts who were
in constant communication with the Executive Committee staying at

From its foundation the Executive Committee exercised great energy in the
work of the union and the organization of the peasant masses, and in the
development of the Socialist conscience in their breasts. Its members
spread thousands and hundreds of thousands of copies of pamphlets of the
Revolutionary Socialist party, exposing in simple form the essence of
Socialism and the history of the International explaining the sense and the
importance of the Revolution in Russia, the history of the fight that
preceded it, showing the significance of the liberties acquired. They
insisted, above all, on the importance of the socialization of the soil and
the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. A close and living tie was
created between the members of the Executive Committee staying at Petrograd
and the members in the provinces. The Executive Committee was truly the
expression of the will of the mass of the Russian peasants.

The Minister of Agriculture and the principal agrarian committee were at
this time occupied in preparing the groundwork of the realization of
socialization of the soil; the Revolutionary Socialist party did not cease
to press the government to act in this sense. Agrarian committees were
formed at once to fight against the disorganized recovery of lands by the
peasants, and to take under their control large properties where
exploitation based on the co-operative principle was in progress of
organization; agricultural improvements highly perfected would thus be
preserved against destruction and pillage. At the same time agrarian
committees attended to a just distribution among the peasants of the lands
of which they had been despoiled.

The peasants, taken in a body, and in spite of the agrarian troubles which
occurred here and there, awaited the reform with patience, understanding
all the difficulties which its realization required and all the
impossibilities of perfecting the thing hastily. The Executive Committee of
the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates played in this respect an important rôle.
It did all it could to explain to the peasants the complexity of the
problem in order to prevent them from attempting anything anarchistic, or
to attempt a disorganized recovery of lands which could end only with the
further enrichment of peasants who were already rich.

Such was, in its general aspect, the action of the National Soviet of
Peasants' Delegates, which, in the month of August, 1917, addressed,
through the intermediary of the International Socialist Bureau, an appeal
to the democracies of the world. In order to better understand the events
which followed, we must consider for a moment the general conditions which
at that time existed in Russia, and in the midst of which the action of
this organization was taking place.


_The Difficulties of the Beginning of the Revolution_

The honeymoon of the Revolution had passed rapidly. Joy gave place to cares
and alarms. Autocracy had bequeathed to the country an unwieldy heritage:
the army and the whole mechanism of the state were disorganized. Taking
advantage of the listlessness of the army, the Bolshevist propaganda
developed and at the same time increased the desire of the soldiers to
fight no more. The disorganization was felt more and more at the front; at
the same time anarchy increased in the interior of the country; production
diminished; the productiveness of labor was lowered, and an eight-hour day
became in fact a five or six-hour day. The strained relations between the
workers and the administration were such that certain factories preferred
to close. The central power suffered frequent crises; the Cadets, fearing
the responsibilities, preferred to remain out of power.

All this created a state of unrest and hastened the preparations for the
election of the Constituent Assembly, toward which the eyes of the whole
country were turned. Nevertheless, the country was far from chaos and from
the anarchy into which further events plunged it. Young Russia, not
accustomed to liberty, without experience in political life and autonomous
action, was far from that hopeless state to which the Bolsheviki reduced it
some months later. The people had confidence in the Socialists, in the
Revolutionary Socialist party, which then held sway everywhere, in the
municipalities, the zemstvos, and in the Soviets; they had confidence in
the Constituent Assembly which would restore order and work out the laws.
All that was necessary was to combat certain characteristics and certain
peculiarities of the existence of the Russian people, which impelled them
toward anarchy, instead of encouraging them, as did the Bolsheviki, who, in
this respect, followed the line of least resistance.

The Bolshevist propaganda did all within its power to weaken the
Provisional Government, to discredit it in the eyes of the people, to
increase the licentiousness at the front and disorganization in the
interior of the country. They proclaimed that the "Imperialists" sent the
soldiers to be massacred, but what they did not say is that under actual
conditions it was necessary for a revolutionary people to have a
revolutionary army to defend its liberty. They spoke loudly for a
counter-revolution and for counter-revolutionaries who await but the
propitious moment to take hold of the government, while in reality the
complete failure of the insurrection of Kornilov showed that the
counter-revolution could rest on nothing, that there was no place for it
then in the life of Russia.

In fine, the situation of the country was difficult, but not critical. The
united efforts of the people and all the thousands of forces of the country
would have permitted it to come to the end of its difficulties and to find
a solution of the situation.


_The Insurrection of Kornilov_

But now the insurrection of Kornilov broke out. It was entirely unexpected
by all the Socialist parties, by their central committees, and, of course,
by the Socialist Ministers. Petrograd was in no way prepared for an attack
of this kind. In the course of the evening of the fatal day when Kornilov
approached Petrograd, the central committee of the Revolutionary Socialist
party received by telephone, from the Palace of Hiver, the news of the
approach of Kornilovien troops. This news revolutionized everybody. A
meeting of all the organizations took place at Smolny; the members of the
party alarmed by the news, and other persons wishing to know the truth
about the events, or to receive indications as to what should be done, came
there to a reunion. It was a strange picture that Smolny presented that
night. The human torrent rushed along its corridors, committees and
commissions sat in its side apartments. They asked one another what was
happening, what was to be done. News succeeded news. One thing was certain.
Petrograd was not prepared for the fight. It was not protected by anything,
and the Cossacks who followed Kornilov could easily take it.

The National Soviet of Peasants' Delegates in the session that it held that
same night at No. 6 Fontaka Street adopted a resolution calling all the
peasants to armed resistance against Kornilov. The Central Executive
Committee with the Soviet of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates established
a special organization which was to defend Petrograd and to fight against
the insurrection. Detachments of volunteers and of soldiers were directed
toward the locality where Kornilov was, to get information and to organize
a propaganda among the troops that followed the General, and in case of
failure to fight hand to hand. As they quit in the morning they did not
know how things would turn; they were rather pessimistic with regard to the
issue of the insurrection for the Socialists.

The end of this conspiracy is known. The troops that followed Kornilov left
him as soon as they found out the truth. In this respect, everything ended
well, but this event had profound and regrettable circumstances.

The acute deplorable crisis of the central power became chronic. The
Cadets, compromised by their participation in the Kornilov conspiracy,
preferred to remain apart. The Socialist-Revolutionists did not see clearly
what there was at the bottom of the whole affair. _It was as much as any
one knew at the moment_. Kerensky, in presence of the menace of the
counter-revolution on the right and of the growing anarchy on the extreme
left, would have called to Petrograd a part of the troops from the front to
stem the tide. Such was the rôle of different persons in this story. It is
only later, when all the documents will be shown, that the story can be
verified, but at all events it is beyond doubt that the Revolutionary
Socialist party was in no wise mixed in this conspiracy. The conspiracy of
Kornilov completely freed the hands of the Bolsheviki. In the Pravda, and
in other Bolshevist newspapers, complaints were read of the danger of a new
counter-revolution which was developing with the complicity of Kerensky
acting in accord or in agreement with the traitor Cadets. The public was
excited against the Socialist-Revolutionists, who were accused of having
secretly helped this counter-revolution. The Bolsheviki alone, said its
organs, had saved the Revolution; to them alone was due the failure of the
Kornilov insurrection.

The Bolsheviki agitation assumed large proportions. Copies of the _Pravda_,
spread lavishly here and there, were poisoned with calumny, campaigns
against the other parties, boasting gross flatteries addressed to the
soldiers and appeals to trouble. Bolsheviki meetings permeated with the
same spirit were organized at Petrograd, Moscow, and other cities.
Bolshevist agitators set out for the front at the same time with copies of
the _Pravda_ and other papers, and the Bolsheviki enjoyed, during this
time--as Lenine himself admits--complete liberty. Their chiefs, compromised
in the insurrection of June 3d, had been given their freedom.

Their principal watchword was "Down with the war!" "Kerensky and the other
conciliators," they cried, "want war and do not want peace. Kerensky will
give you neither peace, nor land, nor bread, nor Constituent Assembly. Down
with the traitor and the counter-revolutionists! They want to smother the
Revolution. We demand peace. We will give you peace, land to the peasants,
factories and work to the workmen!" Under this simple form the agitation
was followed up among the masses and found a propitious ground, first among
the soldiers who were tired of war and athirst for peace. In the Soviet of
the Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates of Petrograd the Bolshevist party
soon found itself strengthened and fortified. Its influence was also
considerable among the sailors of the Baltic fleet. Cronstadt was entirely
in their hands. New elections of the Central Executive Committee of the
Soviet of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates soon became necessary; they
gave a big majority to the Bolsheviki. The old bureau, Tchcheidze at its
head, had to leave; the Bolsheviki triumphed clamorously.

To fight against the Bolsheviki the Executive Committee of the National
Soviet of Peasants' Delegates decided at the beginning of December to call
a Second General Peasants' Congress. This was to decide if the peasants
would defend the Constituent Assembly or if they would follow the
Bolsheviki. This Congress had, in effect, a decisive importance. It showed
what was the portion of the peasant class that upheld the Bolsheviki. It
was principally the peasants in soldiers' dress, the "déclassé soldiers,"
men taken from the country life by the war, from their natural
surroundings, and desiring but one thing, the end of the war. The peasants
who had come from the country had, on the contrary, received the mandate to
uphold the Constituent Assembly. They firmly maintained their point of view
and resisted all the attempts of the Bolsheviki and the
"Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left" (who followed them blindly) to make
their influence prevail. The speech of Lenine was received with hostility;
as for Trotzky, who, some time before, had publicly threatened with the
guillotine all the "enemies of the Revolution," they prevented him from
speaking, crying out: "Down with the tyrant! Guillotineur! Assassin!" To
give his speech Trotzky, accompanied by his faithful "capotes," was obliged
to repair to another hall.

The Second Peasants' Congress was thus distinctly split into two parties.
The Bolsheviki tried by every means to elude a straight answer to the
question, "Does the Congress wish to uphold the Constituent Assembly?" They
prolonged the discussion, driving the peasants to extremities by every kind
of paltry discussion on foolish questions, hoping to tire them out and thus
cause a certain number of them to return home. The tiresome discussions
carried on for ten days, with the effect that a part of the peasants,
seeing nothing come from it, returned home. But the peasants had, in spite
of all, the upper hand; by a roll-call vote 359 against 314 pronounced
themselves for the defense without reserve of the Constituent Assembly.

Any work in common for the future was impossible. The fraction of the
peasants that pronounced itself for the Constituent Assembly continued to
sit apart, named its Executive Committee, and decided to continue the fight
resolutely. The Bolsheviki, on their part, took their partizans to the
Smolny, declared to be usurpers of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates who
pronounced themselves for the defense of the Constituante, and, with the
aid of soldiers, ejected the former Executive Committee from their premises
and took possession of their goods, the library, etc.

The new Executive Committee, which did not have at its disposition Red
Guards, was obliged to look for another place, to collect the money
necessary for this purpose, etc. Its members were able, with much
difficulty, to place everything upon its feet and to assure the
publication of an organ (the _Izvestya_ of the National Soviet of Peasants'
Delegates determined to defend the Constituent Assembly), to send delegates
into different regions, and to establish relations with the provinces, etc.

Together with the peasants, workmen and Socialist parties and numerous
democratic organizations prepared themselves for the defense of the
Constituent Assembly: The Union of Postal Employees, a part of the Union of
Railway Workers, the Bank Employees, the City Employees, the food
distributors' organizations, the teachers' associations, the zemstvos, the
co-operatives. These organizations believed that the _coup d'état_ of
October 25th was neither legal nor just; they demanded a convocation with
brief delay of the Constituent Assembly and the restoration of the
liberties that were trampled under foot by the Bolsheviki.

These treated them as _saboteurs_, "enemies of the people," deprived them
of their salaries, and expelled them from their lodgings. They ordered
those who opposed them to be deprived of their food-cards. They published
lists of strikers, thus running the risk of having them lynched by the
crowds. At Saratov, for example, the strike of postal workers and
telegraphers lasted a month and a half. The institutions whose strike would
have entailed for the population not only disorganization, but an arrest of
all life (such as the railroads, the organizations of food distributers),
abstained from striking, only asking the Bolsheviki not to meddle with
their work. Sometimes, however, the gross interference of the Bolsheviki in
work of which they understood nothing obliged those opposed to them, in
spite of everything, to strike. It is to be noted also that the professors
of secondary schools were obliged to join the strike movements (the
superior schools had already ceased to function at this time) as well as
the theatrical artistes: a talented artist, Silotti, was arrested; he
declared that even in the time of Czarism nobody was ever uneasy on
account of his political opinions.


_The Bolsheviki and the Constituent Assembly_

At the time of the accomplishment of their _coup d'état_, the Bolsheviki
cried aloud that the ministry of Kerensky put off a long time the
convocation of the Constituante (which was a patent lie), that they would
never call the Assembly, and that they alone, the Bolsheviki, would do it.
But according as the results of the elections became known their opinions

In the beginning they boasted of their electoral victories at Petrograd and
Moscow. Then they kept silent, as if the elections had no existence
whatever. But the _Pravda_ and the _Izvestya_ of the Soviet of Workmen's
and Soldiers' Delegates continued to treat as caluminators those who
exposed the danger that was threatening the Constituent Assembly at the
hands of the Bolsheviki. They did not yet dare to assert themselves openly.
They had to gain time to strengthen their power. They hastily followed up
peace pourparlers, to place Russia and the Constituent Assembly, if this
met, before an accomplished fact.

They hastened to attract the peasants to themselves. That was the reason
which motived the "decree" of Lenine on the socialization of the soil,
which decree appeared immediately after the _coup d'état_. This decree was
simply a reproduction of a Revolutionary Socialists' resolution adopted at
a Peasants' Congress. What could the socialization of the soil be to Lenine
and all the Bolsheviki in general? They had been, but a short time before,
profoundly indifferent with regard to this Socialist-Revolutionist
"Utopia." It had been for them an object of raillery. But they knew that
without this "Utopia" they would have no peasants. And they threw them
this mouthful, this "decree," which astonished the peasants. "Is it a law?
Is it not a law? Nobody knows," they said.

It is the same desire to have, cost what it may, the sympathy of the
peasants that explains the union of the Bolsheviki with those who are
called the "Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left" (for the name
Socialist-Revolutionist spoke to the heart of the peasant), who played the
stupid and shameful rôle of followers of the Bolsheviki, with a blind
weapon between their hands.

A part of the "peasants in uniform" followed the Bolsheviki to Smolny. The
Germans honored the Bolsheviki by continuing with them the pourparlers for
peace. The Bolshevist government had at its disposal the Red Guards, well
paid, created suddenly in the presence of the crumbling of the army for
fear of remaining without the help of bayonets. These Red Guards, who later
fled in shameful fashion before the German patrols, advanced into the
interior of the country and gained victories over the unarmed populace. The
Bolsheviki felt the ground firm under their feet and threw off the mask. A
campaign against the Constituent Assembly commenced. At first in _Pravda_
and in _Izvestya_ were only questions. What will this Constituent Assembly
be? Of whom will it be composed? It is possible that it will have a
majority of servants of the bourgeoisie--Cadets Socialist-Revolutionists.
_Can we confide to such a Constituent Assembly the destinies of the Russian
Revolution? Will it recognize the power of the Soviets?_ Then came certain
hypocritical "ifs." "If," yes, "if" the personnel of the Constituent
Assembly is favorable to us; "if" it will recognize the power of the
Soviets, it can count on their support. _If not--it condemns itself to

The Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left in their organ, _The Flag of
Labor_, repeated in the wake of the Bolsheviki, "We will uphold the
Constituent Assembly in _the measure we_--"

Afterward we see no longer questions or prudent "ifs," but distinct
answers. "The majority of the Constituent Assembly is formed," said the
Bolsheviki, "of Socialist-Revolutionists and Cadets--that is to say,
enemies of the people. This composition assures it of a
counter-revolutionary spirit. Its destiny is therefore clear. Historic
examples come to its aid. _The victorious people has no need of a
Constituent Assembly. It is above the Constituante_. It has gone beyond
it." The Russian people, half illiterate, were made to believe that in a
few weeks they had outgrown the end for which millions of Russians had
fought for almost a century; that they no longer had need of the most
perfect form of popular representation, such as did not exist even in the
most cultivated countries of western Europe. To the Constituent Assembly,
legislative organ due to equal, direct, and secret universal suffrage, they
opposed the Soviets, with their recruiting done by hazard and their
elections to two or three degrees,[92] the Soviets which were the
revolutionary organs and not the legislative organs, and whose rôle besides
none of those who fought for the Constituent Assembly sought to diminish.


_The Fight Concentrates Around the Constituent Assembly_

This was a maneuver whose object appeared clearly. The defenders of the
Constituent Assembly had evidence of what was being prepared. The peasants
who waited with impatience the opening of the Constituent Assembly sent
delegates to Petrograd to find out the cause of the delay of the
convocation. These delegates betook themselves to the Executive Committee
of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates (11 Kirillovskaia Street), and to the
Socialist-Revolutionist fraction of the members of the Constituante (2
Bolotnai Street). This last fraction worked actively at its proper
organization. A bureau of organization was elected, commissions charged to
elaborate projects of law for the Constituante. The fraction issued
bulletins explaining to the population the program which the
Socialist-Revolutionists were going to defend at the Constituante. Active
relations were undertaken with the provinces. At the same time the members
of the fraction, among whom were many peasants and workmen, followed up an
active agitation in the workshops and factories of Petrograd, and among the
soldiers of the Preobrajenski Regiment and some others. The members of the
Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates worked in concert
with them. It was precisely the opinion of the peasants and of the workmen
which had most importance in the fight against the Bolsheviki. They, the
true representatives of the people, were listened to everywhere; people
were obliged to reckon with them.

It was under these conditions that the Democratic Conference met. Called by
the Provisional Government, it comprised representatives of the Soviets, of
parties, of organizations of the army, peasant organizations,
co-operatives, zemstvos, agricultural committees, etc. Its object was to
solve the question of power until the meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

At this conference the Bolsheviki formed only a small minority; but they
acted as masters of the situation, calling, in a provocative manner,
all those who were not in accord with them, "Kornilovist,
counter-revolutionaries, traitors!" Because of this attitude the
conference, which ought to have had the character of an assembly deciding
affairs of state, took on the character of a boisterous meeting, which
lasted several days of unending twaddle. What the Bolsheviki wanted was a
verbal victory--to have shouted more loudly than their opponents. The same
speeches were repeated every day. Some upheld a power exclusively
Socialist, others--the majority composed of delegates from different
corners of the country--sanctioned an agreement with all the democratic

The provincial delegates, having come with a view to serious work, returned
to their homes, carrying with them a painful impression of lost
opportunities, of useless debates.

There remained but a few weeks before the convocation of the Constituent
Assembly. Those who voted against a government exclusively Socialist did
not think that, under the troublesome conditions of the time, they could
expose the country to the risk of a dispersion of strength; they feared the
possible isolation of the government in face of certain elements whose help
could not be relied on. But they did not take into account a fact which had
resulted from the Kornilovist insurrection: the natural distrust of the
working masses in presence of all the non-Socialists, of those who--not
being in immediate contact with them--placed themselves, were it ever so
little, more on the right.

The Democratic conference resulted in the formation of a Pre-Parliament.
There the relations, between the forces in presence of each other, were
about the same. Besides the Bolsheviki soon abandoned the Pre-Parliament,
for they were already preparing their insurrection which curtailed the
dissolution of that institution.

"We are on the eve of a Bolshevik insurrection"--such was, at this time,
the opinion of all those who took part in political life. "We are rushing
to it with dizzy rapidity. The catastrophe is inevitable." But what is very
characteristic is this, that, while preparing their insurrection, the
Bolsheviki, in their press, did not hesitate to treat as liars and
calumniators all those who spoke of the danger of this insurrection, and
that on the eve of a conquest of power (with arms ready) premeditated and
well prepared in advance.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the whole period that preceded the Bolshevik insurrection a great
creative work was being carried on in the country in spite of the
undesirable phenomena of which we have spoken above.

1. With great difficulty there were established organs of a local,
autonomous administration, volost and district zemstvos, which were to
furnish a basis of organization to the government zemstvos. The zemstvo of
former times was made up of only class representatives; _the elections to
the new zemstvos were effected by universal suffrage, equal, direct, and
secret_. These elections were a kind of schooling for the population,
showing it the practical significance of universal suffrage, and preparing
it for the elections to the Constituent Assembly. At the same time they
laid the foundation of a local autonomous administration.

2. Preparations for the election to the Constituent Assembly were made; an
agitation, an intense propaganda followed; preparations of a technical
order were made. This was a difficult task because of the great number of
electors, the dispersion of the population, the great number of illiterate,
etc. Everywhere special courts had been established, in view of the
elections, to train agitators and instructors, who afterward were sent in
great numbers into the country.

3. _At the same time the ground was hurriedly prepared for the law
concerning the socialization of the soil._ The abandonment of his post by
Tchernov, Minister of Agriculture, did not stop this work. The principal
agricultural committee and the Minister of Agriculture, directed by
Rakitnikov and Vikhiliaev, hastened to finish this work before the
convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The Revolutionary Socialist party
decided to keep for itself the post of Minister of Agriculture; for the
position they named S. Maslov, who had to exact from the government an
immediate vote on the law concerning the socialization of the soil. _The
study of this law in the Council of Ministers was finished. Nothing more
remained to be done but to adopt and promulgate it. Because of the
excitement of the people in the country, it was decided to do this at once,
without waiting for the Constituent Assembly_. Finally, to better realize
the conditions of the time, it must be added that the whole country awaited
anxiously the elections to the Constituent Assembly. All believed that this
was going to settle the life of Russia.


_The Bolshevist Insurrection_

It was under these conditions that the Bolshevist _coup d'état_ happened.
In the capitals as well as in the provinces, it was accomplished by armed
force; at Petrograd, with the help of the sailors of the Baltic fleet, of
the soldiers of the Preobrajenski, Semenovski, and other regiments, in
other towns with the aid of the local garrisons. Here, for example, is how
the Bolshevist _coup d'état_ took place at Saratov. I was a witness to
these facts myself. Saratov is a big university and intellectual center,
possessing a great number of schools, libraries, and divers associations
designed to elevate the intellectual standard of the population. The
zemstvo of Saratov was one of the best in Russia. The peasant population of
this province, among whom the Revolutionary Socialist propaganda was
carried on for several years by the Revolutionary Socialist Party, is wide
awake and well organized. The municipality and the agricultural committees
were composed of Socialists. The population was actively preparing for the
elections to the Constituent Assembly; the people discussed the list of
candidates, studied the candidates' biographies, as well as the programs of
the different parties.

On the night of October 28th, by reason of an order that had come from
Petrograd, the Bolshevik _coup d'état_ broke out at Saratov. The following
forces were its instruments: the garrison which was a stranger to the
masses of the population, a weak party of workers, and, in the capacity of
leaders, some Intellectuals who, up to that time, had played no rôle in the
public life of the town.

It was indeed a military _coup d'état_. The city hall, where sat the
Socialists, who were elected by equal, direct, and secret universal
suffrage, was surrounded by the soldiers; machine-guns were placed in front
and the bombardment began. This lasted a whole night; some were wounded,
some killed. The municipal judges were arrested. Soon after a Manifesto
solemnly announced to the population that the "enemies of the people," the
"counter-revolutionaries," were overthrown; that the power at Saratov was
going to pass into the hands of the Soviet (Bolshevist) of the Workmen's
and Soldiers' Delegates.

The population was perplexed; the people thought that they had sent to the
Town Hall Socialists, men of their choice. Now these men were declared
"enemies of the people," were shot down or arrested by other Socialists.
What did all this mean? And the inhabitant of Saratov felt a fear stealing
into his soul at the sight of this violence; he began to doubt the value of
the Socialist idea in general. The faith of former times gave place to
doubt, disappointment, and discouragement. The _coup d'état_ was followed
by divers other manifestations of Bolshevist activity--arrests, searches,
confiscation of newspapers, ban on meetings. Bands of soldiers looted the
country houses in the suburbs of the city; a school for the children of the
people and the buildings of the children's holiday settlement were also
pillaged. Bands of soldiers were forthwith sent into the country to cause
trouble there.

_The sensible part of the population of Saratov severely condemned these
acts_ in a series of Manifestos signed by the Printers' Union, the mill
workers, the City Employees' Union, Postal and Telegraph Employees,
students' organizations, and many other democratic associations and

The peasants received the _coup d'état_ with distinct hostility. Meetings
and reunions were soon organized in the villages. Resolutions were voted
censuring the _coup d'état_ of violence, deciding to organize to resist the
Bolsheviki, and demanding the removal of the Bolshevist soldier members
from the rural communes. The bands of soldiers, who were sent into the
country, used not only persuasion, but also violence, trying to force the
peasants to give their votes for the Bolshevik candidates at the time of
the elections to the Constituent Assembly; they tore up the bulletins of
the Socialist-Revolutionists, overturned the ballot-boxes, etc.

But the Bolshevik soldiers were not able to disturb the confidence of the
peasants in the Constituent Assembly, and in the Revolutionary Socialist
party, whose program they had long since adopted, and whose leaders and
ways of acting they knew, the inhabitants of the country proved themselves
in all that concerned the elections wide awake to the highest degree. There
were hardly any abstentions, _90 per cent. of the population took part in
the voting_. The day of the voting was kept as a solemn feast; the priest
said mass; the peasants dressed in their Sunday clothes; they believed that
the Constituent Assembly would give them order, laws, the land. In the
government of Saratov, out of fourteen deputies elected, there were twelve
Socialist-Revolutionists; there were others (such as the government of
Pensa, for example) that elected _only_ Socialist-Revolutionists. The
Bolsheviki had the majority only in Petrograd and Moscow and in certain
units of the army. The elections to the Constituent Assembly were a
decisive victory for the Revolutionary Socialist party.

Such was the response of Russia to the Bolshevik _coup d'état_. To violence
and conquest of power by force of arms, the population answered by the
elections to the Constituent Assembly; the people sent to this
assembly, not the Bolsheviki, but, by an overwhelming majority,


_The Fight Against the Bolsheviki_

But the final result of the elections was not established forthwith. In
many places the elections had to be postponed. The Bolshevik _coup d'état_
had disorganized life, had upset postal and telegraphic communications, and
had even destroyed, in certain localities, the electoral mechanism itself
by the arrest of the active workers. The elections which began in the
middle of November were not concluded till toward the month of January.

In the mean time, in the country a fierce battle was raging against the
Bolsheviki. It was not, on the part of their adversaries, a fight for
power. If the Socialist-Revolutionists had wished they could have seized
the power; to do that they had only to follow the example of those who were
called "the Revolutionary Socialists of the Left." Not only did they not
follow their example, but they also excluded them from their midst. A short
time after the Bolshevik insurrection, when the part taken in this
insurrection by certain Revolutionary Socialists of the Left was found out,
the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Socialist party voted to exclude
them from the party for having violated the party discipline and having
adopted tactics contrary to its principles. This exclusion was confirmed
afterward by the Fourth Congress of the party, which took place in
December, 1917.

Soon after the _coup d'état_ of October the question was among all parties
and all organizations: "What is to be done? How will the situation be
remedied?" The remedy included three points. First, creation of a power
composed of the representatives of all Socialist organizations, with the
"Populist-Socialists" on the extreme right, and with the express condition
that the principal actors in the Bolshevik _coup d'état_ would not have
part in the Ministry. Second, immediate establishment of the democratic
liberties, which were trampled under foot by the Bolsheviki, without which
any form of Socialism is inconceivable. Third, convocation without delay of
the Constituent Assembly.

Such were the conditions proposed to the Bolsheviki in the name of several
Socialist parties (the Revolutionary Socialist party, the Mensheviki, the
Populist-Socialists, etc.), and of several democratic organizations
(Railroad Workers' Union, Postal and Telegraphic Employees' Union, etc.).
The Bolsheviki, at this time, were not sure of being able to hold their
position; certain Commissaries of the People, soon after they were
installed in power, handed in their resignation, being terrified by the
torrents of blood that were shed at Moscow and by the cruelties which
accompanied the _coup d'état_. The Bolsheviki pretended to accept the
pourparlers, but kept them dragging along so as to gain time. In the mean
time they tried to strengthen themselves in the provinces, where they
gained victories such as that of Saratov; they actively rushed the
pourparlers for peace; they had to do it at all cost, even if, in doing it,
they had to accept the assistance of the traitor and spy, by name Schneur,
for they had promised peace to the soldiers.

For this it sufficed them to have gained some victories in the provinces,
and that the Germans accepted the proposition of pourparlers of peace ("the
German generals came to meet us in gala attire, wearing their ribbons and
decorations," with triumph announced in their appeal to the Russian people
the representatives of this "Socialist" government Schneur & Co.), for this
the Bolsheviki henceforth refused every compromise and all conference with
the other parties. For the other parties--those who did not recognize the
Bolshevik _coup d'état_ and did not approve of the violence that was
perpetrated--there was only one alternative, the fight.

It was the Revolutionary Socialist party and the National Soviet of
Peasants' Delegates that had to bear the brunt of this fight, which was
carried on under extremely difficult conditions. All the non-Bolshevik
newspapers were confiscated or prosecuted and deprived of every means of
reaching the provinces; their editors' offices and printing establishments
were looted. After the creation of the "Revolutionary Tribunal," the
authors of articles that were not pleasing to the Bolsheviki, as well as
the directors of the newspapers, were brought to judgment and condemned to
make amends or go to prison, etc.

The premises of numerous organizations were being constantly pillaged; the
Red Guard came there to search, destroying different documents; frequently
objects which were found on the premises disappeared. Thus were looted the
premises of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Socialist party (27
Galernaia Street), and, several times, the offices of the paper _Dielo
Narvda_ (22 Litcinaia Street), as well as the office of the "League for the
Defense of the Constituent Assembly," the premises of the committees of
divers sections of the Revolutionary Socialist party, the office of the
paper _Volia Naroda_, etc.

Leaders of the different parties were arrested. The arrest of the whole
Central Committee of the Revolutionary Socialist party was to be carried
out as well as the arrest of all the Socialist-Revolutionists, and of all
the Mensheviki in sight. The Bolshevist press became infuriated, exclaiming
against the "counter-revolution," against their "complicity" with Kornilov
and Kalodine.

All those who did not adhere to the Bolsheviki were indignant at the sight
of the crimes committed, and wished to defend the Constituent Assembly.
Knowingly, and in a premeditated manner, the Bolshevist press excited the
soldiers and the workmen against all other parties. And then when the
unthinking masses, drunk with flattery and hatred, committed acts of
lynching, the Bolshevist leaders expressed sham regrets! Thus it was after
the death of Doukhonine, who was cut to pieces by the sailors; and thus it
was after the dastardly assassination of the Cadets, Shingariev and
Kokochkine, after the shootings _en masse_ and the drowning of the

It was under these conditions that the fight was carried on; and the brunt
of it, as I have already stated, was sustained by the Revolutionary
Socialist party and the National Soviet of Peasants' Delegates, and it was
against these two that the Bolsheviki were particularly infuriated. "Now it
is not the Cadets who are dangerous to us," said they, "but the
Socialist-Revolutionists--these traitors, these enemies of the people." The
most sacred names of the Revolution were publicly trampled under foot by
them. Their cynicism went so far as to accuse Breshkovskaya, "the
Grandmother of the Russian Revolution," of having sold out to the
Americans. Personally I had the opportunity to hear a Bolshevist orator, a
member of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workmen's and Soldiers'
Delegates, express this infamous calumny at a meeting organized by the
Preobrajenski Regiment. The Bolsheviki tried, by every means, to crush the
party, to reduce it to a clandestine existence. But the Central Committee
declared that it would continue to fight against violence--and that in an
open manner; it continued to issue a daily paper, only changing its title,
as in the time of Czarism, and thus continued its propaganda in the
factories, and helped to form public opinion, etc.

At the Fourth Congress of the party, which took place in December, the
delegates from the provinces, where the despotism of the Bolsheviki was
particularly violent, raised the question of introducing terrorist methods
in the fight against the Bolsheviki. "From the time that the party is
placed in a fight under conditions which differ nothing from those of
Czarism, ancient methods are to be resumed; violence must be opposed to
violence," they said. But the Congress spurned this means; the
Revolutionary Socialist party did not adopt the methods of terrorism; it
could not do it, because the Bolsheviki were, after all, followed by the
masses--unthinking, it is true, but the masses, nevertheless. It is by
educating them, and not by the use of violence, that they are to be fought
against. Terrorist acts could bring nothing but a bloody suppression.


_The Second Peasant Congress_

In the space of a month a great amount of work was accomplished. A breach
was made in the general misunderstanding. Moral help was assured to the
Constituent Assembly on the part of the workmen and part of the soldiers of
Petrograd. There was no longer any confidence placed in the Bolsheviki.
Besides, the agitation was not the only cause of this change. The workers
soon came to understand that the Bolshevik tactics could only irritate and
disgust the great mass of the population, that the Bolsheviki were not the
representatives of the workers, that their promises of land, of peace, and
other earthly goods were only a snare. The industrial production diminished
more and more; numerous factories and shops closed their doors and
thousands of workmen found themselves on the streets. The population of
Petrograd, which, at first, received a quarter of a pound of bread per day
(a black bread made with straw), had now but one-eighth of a pound, while
in the time of Kerensky the ration was half a pound. The other products
(oatmeal, butter, eggs, milk) were entirely lacking or cost extremely high
prices. One ruble fifty copecks for a pound of potatoes, six rubles a
pound of meat, etc. The transportation of products to Petrograd had almost
ceased. The city was on the eve of famine.

The workers were irritated by the violence and the arbitrary manner of the
Bolsheviki, and by the exploits of the Red Guard, well paid, enjoying all
the privileges, well nourished, well clothed, and well shod in the midst of
a Petrograd starving and in rags.

Discontent manifested itself also among the soldiers of the Preobrajenski
and Litovsky regiments, and others. In this manner in the day of the
meeting of the Constituent Assembly they were no longer very numerous. What
loud cries, nevertheless, they had sent forth lately when Kerensky wished
to send the Preobrajenski and Seminovski regiments from Petrograd! "What?
Send the revolutionary regiments from Petrograd? To make easier the
surrender of the capital to the counter-revolution?" The soldiers of the
Preobrajenski Regiment organized in their barracks frequent meetings, where
the acts of the Bolsheviki were sharply criticized; they started a paper,
_The Soldiers' Cloak_, which was confiscated.

On the other hand, here is one of the resolutions voted by the workers of
the Putilov factory:

    The Constituent Assembly is the only organ expressing the will of
    the entire people. It alone is able to reconstitute the unity of
    the country.

The majority of the deputies to the Constituent Assembly who had for some
time been elected had arrived in Petrograd, and the Bolsheviki always
retarded the opening. The Socialist-Revolutionist fraction started
conferences with the other fractions on the necessity for fixing a day for
the opening of the Constituante, without waiting the good pleasure of the
Commissaries of the People. They chose the date, December 27th, but the
opening could not take place on that day, the Ukrainian fraction having
suddenly abandoned the majority to join themselves to the Bolsheviki and
the Revolutionary Socialists of the Left. Finally, the government fixed the
opening of the Constituent Assembly for the 5th (18th) of January.

Here is a document which relates this fight for the date of the opening of
the Constituante:

    _Bulletin of Members of the Constituent Assembly Belonging to the
    Socialist-Revolutionist Fraction. No. 5, Dec. 31, 1917._

    _To All the Citizens_:

    The Socialist-Revolutionist fraction of the Constituent Assembly
    addresses the whole people the present exposé of the reasons for
    which the Constituent Assembly has not been opened until this day:
    it warns them, at the same time, of the danger which threatens the
    sovereign rights of the people.

    Let it be thus placed in clear daylight, the true character of
    those who, under pretext of following the well-being of the
    workers, forge new chains for liberated Russia, those who attempt
    to assassinate the Constituent Assembly, which alone is able to
    save Russia from the foreign yoke and from the despotism which has
    been born within.

    Let all the citizens know that the hour is near when they must be
    ready to rise like one man for the defense of their liberty and
    their Constituent Assembly.

    For, citizens, your salvation is solely in your own hands.

    Citizens! you know that on the day assigned for the opening of the
    Constituent Assembly, November 28th, all the
    Socialist-Revolutionist deputies who were elected had come to
    Petrograd. You know that neither violence of a usurping power nor
    arrests of our comrades, by force of arms which were opposed to us
    at the Taurida Palace, could prevent us from assembling and
    fulfilling our duty.

    But the civil war which has spread throughout the country retarded
    the election to the Constituent Assembly and the number of
    deputies elected was insufficient.

    It was necessary to postpone the opening of the Constituent

    Our fraction utilized this forced delay by an intensive
    preparatory work. We elaborated, in several commissions, projects
    of law concerning all the fundamental questions that the
    Constituante would have to solve. We adopted the project of our
    fundamental law on the question of the land; we elaborated the
    measures which the Constituante would have to take from the very
    first day in order to arrive at a truly democratic peace, so
    necessary to our country; we discussed the principles which should
    direct the friendly dwelling together of all the nationalities
    which people Russia and assure each people a national point of
    view, the free disposition of itself, thus putting an end to the
    fratricidal war.

    Our fraction would have been all ready for the day of the opening
    of the Constituante, in order to commence, from the first, a
    creative work and give to the impoverished country peace, bread,
    land, and liberty.

    At the same time, we did our utmost to accelerate the arrival of
    the deputies and the opening of the Assembly.

    During this time events became more and more menacing every day,
    the Bolshevik power was more rapidly leading our country to its
    fall. From before the time when the Germans had presented their
    conditions of peace the Bolsheviki had destroyed the army,
    suppressed its provisioning, and stripped the front, while at the
    same time by civil war and the looting of the savings of the
    people they achieved the economic ruin of the country. Actually,
    they recognized themselves that the German conditions were
    unacceptable and invited the reconstruction of the army. In spite
    of this, these criminals do not retire; they will achieve their
    criminal work.

    Russia suffers in the midst of famine, of civil war, and enemy
    invasion which threatens to reach even the heart of the country.

    No delay is permissible.

    Our fraction fixed on the 27th of December the last delay for the
    opening of the Constituante; on this day more than half of the
    deputies could have arrived in Petrograd. We entered into
    conference with the other fractions. The Ukrainians, some other
    national fractions, and the Menshevik Social Democrats adhered to
    our resolution. The Revolutionary Socialists of the Left
    hypocritically declared themselves partizans of an early opening
    of the Constituante. But behold, the Council of the so-called
    "Commissaries of the People" fixed the opening for the 5th of
    January. _At the same time they called for the 8th of January a
    Congress of the Soviets of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates,
    thus hoping to be able to trick and to cover with the name of this
    Congress their criminal acts_. The object of this postponement is
    clear; they did not even hide it and threatened to dissolve the
    Constituent Assembly in case that it did not submit to the
    Bolshevik Congress of Soviets. The same threat was repeated by
    those who are called Socialist-Revolutionists of the Left.

    The delegation of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Socialists abandoned
    us also and submitted to the order for the convocation on January
    5th, considering that the fight of the Bolshevik power against the
    Constituent Assembly is an internal question, which interests only
    Greater Russia.

    Citizens! We shall be there, too, on January 5th, so that the
    least particle of responsibility for the sabotage of the
    Constituent Assembly may not fall upon us.

    But we do not think that we can suspend our activity with regard
    to the speediest possible opening of the Constituent Assembly.

    We address an energetic appeal to all the deputies; in the name of
    the fatherland, in the name of the Revolution, in the name of the
    duty which devolves upon you by reason of your election, come,
    all, to Petrograd! On the 1st of January all the deputies present
    will decide on the day for the opening of the Constituent

    We appeal to you, citizens! Remind your elected representatives of
    their duty.

    And remember that your salvation is solely in your own hands, a
    mortal danger threatens the Constituent Assembly; be all ready to
    rise in its defense!


On the 3d of January the League for the Defense of the Constituent Assembly
held a meeting at which were present 210 delegates, representing the
Socialist parties as well as various democratic organizations and many
factories--that of Putilov, that of Oboukhov, and still others from the
outskirts of Narva, from the districts of Viborg, Spassky, and
Petrogradsky, from the Isle Vassily. It was decided to organize for January
5th a peaceful display in honor of the opening of the Constituent

The Bolsheviki answered this by furious articles in the _Pravda_, urging
the people not to spare the counter-revolutionaries, these bourgeoisie who
intend, by means of their Constituante, to combat the revolutionary people.
They advised the people of Petrograd not to go out on the streets that day.
"We shall act without reserve," they added.

Sailors were called from Cronstadt; cruisers and torpedo-boats came. An
order was issued to the sailors and to the Red Guards who patrolled all the
works of the Taurida, to make use of their arms if any one attempted to
enter the palace. For that day unlimited powers were accorded to the
military authorities. At the same time an assembly of the representatives
of the garrison at Petrograd, fixed for that day, was proscribed, and the
newspaper, _The Soldiers' Cloak_, was suppressed.

A Congress of Soviets was called for the 8th of January. They prepared the
dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and they wanted to place the
Congress before the accomplished fact. The Executive Committee of the
Soviet of Peasants' Delegates, and the Central Executive Committee of the
Soviets of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates chosen at the first elections
answered by the two following appeals:

    Peasant Comrades!

    The Bolsheviki have fixed the 5th of January for the opening of
    the Constituent Assembly; for the 8th of January they call the III
    Congress of the Soviets of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, and
    for the 13th the Peasant Congress.

    The peasants are, by design, relegated to the background.

    An outrage against the Constituent Assembly is being prepared.

    In this historic moment the peasants cannot remain aloof.

    The Provisional Executive Committee of the National Soviet of
    Peasants' Delegates, which goes on duty as a guard to the
    Constituent Assembly, has decided to call, on the 8th of January,
    also, the Third National Congress of the Soviets of Peasants'
    Delegates. The representation remains the same as before. Send
    your delegates at once to Petrograd, Grand Bolotnai, 2A.

    The fate of the Constituent Assembly is the fate of Russia, the
    fate of the Revolution.

    All up for the defense of the Constituent Assembly, for the
    defense of the Revolution--not by word alone, but by acts!

    [Signed] _The Provisional Executive Committee of the National
    Soviet of Peasants' Delegates, upholding the principle of the
    defense of the Constituent Assembly_.


    To all the Soviets of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates, to all
    the Committees of the Army and of the Navy, to all the
    organizations associated with the Soviets and Committees, to all
    the members of the Socialist-Revolutionist and Menshevist Social
    Democratic fractions who left the Second Congress of Soviets:

    Comrades, workmen, and soldiers! Our cry of alarm is addressed to
    all those to whom the work of the Soviets is dear. Know that a
    traitorous blow threatens the revolutionary fatherland, the
    Constituent Assembly, and even the work of the Soviets. Your duty
    is to prepare yourselves for their defense.

    The Central Executive Committee, nominated at the October
    Congress, calls together for the 8th of January a Congress of
    Soviets, destined to bungle the Constituent Assembly.

    Comrades! The Second Congress of Soviets assembled at the end of
    October, under conditions particularly unfavorable, at the time
    that the Bolshevik party, won over by its leaders to a policy of
    adventure, a plot unbecoming a class organization, executed at
    Petrograd a _coup d'état_ which gave it power; at a time when
    certain groups with the same viewpoint disorganized even the
    method of convocation of the Second Congress, thus openly aspiring
    to falsify the results; at this same Congress the regular
    representatives of the army were lacking (only two armies being
    represented), and the Soviets of the provinces were very
    insufficiently represented (only about 120 out of 900). Under
    these conditions it is but natural that the Central Executive
    Committee of the Soviets chosen at the first election would not
    recognize the right of this Congress to decide the politics of the

    However, in spite of the protestations, and even of the departure
    of a great number of delegates (those of the Revolutionary
    Socialist fraction, Mensheviki, and Populist-Socialists), a new
    Executive Committee of the Soviets was elected. To consider this
    last as the central director of all the Soviets of the country was
    absolutely impossible. The delegates who remained in the Congress
    formed only an assembly of a group with a little fraction of the
    Revolutionary Socialists of the Left, who had given their adhesion
    to them. Thus the Central Committee named by their Conference
    could not be considered except as representatives of these two
    groups only.

    Bringing to the organization of Soviets an unheard-of disorder,
    establishing by their shameful methods of fighting its domination
    over the Soviets, some of which were taken by surprise, the others
    terrorized and broken in their personnel, deceiving the working
    class and the army by its short-sighted policy of adventure, the
    new Executive Committee during the two months that have since
    passed has attempted to subject all the Soviets of Russia to its
    influence. It succeeded in part in this, in the measure in which
    the confidence of the groups which constituted it in the policy
    was not yet exhausted. But a considerable portion of the Soviets,
    as well as fractions of other Soviets, fractions composed of the
    most devoted and experienced fighters, continued to follow the
    only true revolutionary road; to develop the class organization of
    the working masses, to direct their intellectual and political
    life, to develop the political and social aspects of the
    Revolution, to exert, by all the power of the working class
    organized into Soviets, the necessary pressure to attain the end
    that it proposed. The questions of peace and of war, that of the
    organization of production and of food-supply, and that of the
    fight for the Constituent Assembly are in the first place. The
    policy of adventure of the groups which seized the power is on the
    eve of failure. Peace could not be realized by a rupture with the
    Allies and an entente with the imperialistic orb of the Central
    Powers. By reason of this failure of the policy of the
    Commissaires of the People, of the disorganization of production
    (which, among other things, has had as a result the creation of
    hundreds of thousands of unemployed), by reason of the civil war
    kindled in the country and the absence of a power recognized by
    the whole people, the Central Powers tend to take hold in the most
    cynical fashion of a whole series of western provinces (Poland,
    Lithuania, Courland), and to subject the whole country to their
    complete economic, if not political, domination.

    The question of provisioning has taken on an unheard-of acuteness;
    the gross interference in the functioning of organs already
    created for this object, and the civil war kindled everywhere
    throughout the country, have completely demoralized the
    provisioning of wheat in regions where they had none, the north
    and the army are found on the eve of famine.

    Industry is dying. Hundreds of factories and workshops are
    stopped. The short-sighted policy of the Commissaries has caused
    hundreds of workmen to be thrown on the streets and become
    unemployed. The will of the entire people is threatened with being
    violated. The usurpers who in October got hold of the power by
    launching the word of order for a swift convocation of the
    Constituent Assembly strive hard, now that the elections are over,
    to retain the power in their hands by arresting the deputies and
    dissolving the Constituante itself.

    _All that which the country holds of life, and in the first place
    all the working class and all the army, ought to rise with arms in
    their hands to defend the popular power represented by the
    Constituante, which must bring peace to the people and consolidate
    by legislative means the revolutionary conquests of the working

    In bringing this to your knowledge, the Central Committee chosen
    at the first elections invites you, Comrades, to place yourself
    immediately in agreement with it.

    Considering the Congress of October as incompetent, the Central
    Committee chosen at the first elections has decided to begin a
    preparatory work in view of the convocation of a new Congress of
    the Soviets of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.

    In the near future, while the Commissaires of the People, in the
    persons of Lenine and Trotzky, are going to fight against the
    sovereign power of the Constituent Assembly, we shall have to
    intervene with all our energy in the conflict artificially encited
    by the adventurers, between that Assembly and the Soviets. _It
    will be our task to aid the Soviets in taking consciousness of
    their rôle, in defining their political lines, and in determining
    their functions and those of the Constituante._

    Comrades! The convocation of the Congress for the 8th of January
    is dictated by the desire to provoke a conflict between the
    Soviets and the Constituante, and thus botch this last. Anxious
    for the fate of the country, the Executive Committee chosen at the
    first elections decides to convoke at Petrograd for the 8th of
    January an extraordinary assembly of _all the Soviets, all the
    Committees of the Army and the Navy, all the fractions of the
    Soviets and military committees, all the organizations that
    cluster around the Soviets and the Committees that are standing
    upon the ground of the defense of the Constituante._ The following
    are the Orders of the Day:

    1. The power of the Constituent Assembly.
    2. The fight for the general democratic peace and the re-establishment
    of the International.
    3. The immediate problems of the policy of the Soviets.

    Comrades! Assure for this extraordinary assembly of Soviets the
    most complete representation of all the organizations of workmen
    and soldiers. Establish at once election centers. We have a fight
    to uphold.

    In the name of the Revolution, all the reason and all the energy
    ought to be thrown into the balance.


    _25 December, 1917._


_The Manifestation of January 5th at Petrograd_

From eleven o'clock in the morning cortèges, composed principally of
working-men bearing red flags and placards with inscriptions such as
"Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!" "Land and Liberty!" "Long Live the
Constituent Assembly!" etc., set out from different parts of the city. The
members of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates
had agreed to meet at the Field, of Mars where a procession coming from the
Petrogradsky quarter was due to arrive. It was soon learned that a part of
the participants, coming from the Viborg quarter, had been assailed at the
Liteiny bridge by gunfire from the Red Guards and were obliged to turn
back. But that did not check the other parades. The peasant participants,
united with the workers from Petrogradsky quarter, came to the Field of
Mars; after having lowered their flags before the tombs of the Revolution
of February and sung a funeral hymn to their memory, they installed
themselves on Liteinaia Street. New manifestants came to join them and the
street was crowded with people. At the corner of Fourstatskaia Street (one
of the Streets leading to the Taurida Palace) they found themselves all at
once assailed by shots from the Red Guards.

The Red Guard fired _without warning_, something that never before
happened, even in the time of Czarism. The police always began by inviting
the participators to disperse. Among the first victims was a member of the
Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants' Delegates, the Siberian
peasant, Logvinov. An explosive bullet shot away half of his head (a
photograph of his body was taken; it was added to the documents which were
transferred to the Commission of Inquiry). Several workmen and students and
one militant of the Revolutionary Socialist party, Gorbatchevskaia, were
killed at the same time. Other processions of participants on their way to
the Taurida Palace were fired into at the same time. On all the streets
leading to the palace, groups of Red Guards had been established; they
received the order "Not to spare the cartridges." On that day at Petrograd
there were one hundred killed and wounded.

It must be noted that when, at a session of the Constituent Assembly, in
the Taurida Palace, they learned of this shooting, M. Steinberg,
Commissioner of Justice, declared in the corridor that it was a lie, that
he himself had visited the streets of Petrograd and had found everywhere
that "all was quiet." Exactly as the Ministers of Nicholas Romanov after
the suppressions said "Lie. Lie," so cried the Bolsheviki and the
Revolutionary Socialists of the Left, in response to the question formally
put on the subject of the shooting by a member of the Constituent Assembly.

The following day the Bolshevik organs and those of the Revolutionary
Socialists of the Left passed over these facts in silence. This silence
they kept also on the 9th of January, the day on which literally all
Petrograd assembled at the funeral of the victims. Public indignation,
however, obliged them in the end to admit that there had been some small
groups of participants and to name a Commission of Inquiry concerning the
street disorders which had taken place on January 5th. This Commission was
very dilatory in the performance of its duty and it is very doubtful if
they ever came to any decision.

Analogous manifestations took place at Moscow, at Saratov and other cities;
everywhere they were accompanied by shootings. The number of victims was
particularly considerable at Moscow.


_At the Taurida Palace on the Day of the Opening of the Constituent

The Taurida Palace on that day presented a strange aspect. At every door,
in the corridors, in the halls, everywhere soldiers and sailors and Red
Guards armed with guns and hand-grenades, who at every turn demanded your
pass. It was no easy matter to get into the palace. Nearly all the places
reserved for the public were occupied by the Bolsheviki and their friends.
The appearance of the Taurida Palace was not that of a place where the
free representatives of a free people were going to assemble.

The Bolsheviki delayed as much as possible the opening of the session. It
was only at four o'clock instead of at midday that they deigned to make up
their minds. They and the Revolutionary Socialists of the Left occupied
seats of the extreme left; then came the Revolutionary Socialists, the
Mensheviki, and the other Socialist fractions. The seats on the right
remained vacant. The few Cadets that had been chosen preferred not to come.
In this manner the Constituent Assembly was composed at this first and last
session solely of Socialists. This, however, did not prevent the presence
in the corridors and the session hail of a crowd of sailors and Red Guards
armed, as if it were a question of an assembly of conspirators, enemies of
the Revolution.

From the beginning a fight was started by the election of president. The
majority nominated for the office of president Chernov; the Bolsheviki and
the Revolutionary Socialists of the Left voted against him. The Bolsheviki
did not propose any candidate of their own, and placed before the members
the candidacy of a Revolutionary Socialist of the Left, Marie Spiridonova,
who was totally incapable of fulfilling this rôle. Afterward several
declarations were read--that of the Bolsheviki, that of the
Socialist-Revolutionists (read by Chernov), that of the Mensheviki (read by
Tseretelli). The partizans of each fraction greeted the reading of their
own declaration with deafening applause (for the audience was one of
"comrades" and did not hesitate to take part in the debates); cat-calls and
shouts greeted the orators of the opposing fractions. Each word of the
declarations of the Socialist-Revolutionists and of the Mensheviki
(declarations which every Socialist could sign) was received with a round
of hisses, shouts, deafening cries, exclamations of contempt for the
Bolsheviki, the sailors, and the soldiers. The speech of Chernov--president
and member of a detested party--had above all the honor of such a
greeting. As for Tseretelli, he was at first greeted by an inconceivable
din, but was able afterward--his speech was so full of profound sense--to
capture the attention of the Bolsheviki themselves.

A general impression that was extremely distressing came from this historic
session. The attitude of the Bolsheviki was grossly unbecoming and
provocative of disdain. It indicated clearly that the dissolution of the
Constituante was, for them, already decided. Lenine, who continually kept
contemptuous silence, wound up by stretching himself upon his bench and
pretending to sleep. Lunotcharsky from his ministerial bench pointed
contemptuously with his finger toward the white hair of a veteran of the
Revolutionary Socialist party. The sailors leveled the muzzles of their
revolvers at the Socialist-Revolutionists. The audience laughed, whistled,
and shouted.

The Bolsheviki finally left the Assembly, followed, as might be understood,
by their servants, the Revolutionary Socialists of the Left. The fractions
which remained voted the law proposed by the Socialist-Revolutionists on
the transfer of the lands to common ownership (socialization of the soil).
The sailors and Red Guards attempted several times to interrupt the
session. At five o'clock in the morning they finally demanded with a loud
voice that everybody leave.

"We were obliged to go," said, later, the members of the Constituent
Assembly at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasants'
Delegates in recounting these tragic moments, "not that we were afraid of
being shot; we were prepared for that, and each one of us expected it, but
fear of something else which is far worse: for fear of insults and gross
violence. We were only a handful; what was that beside those great big
fellows full of malice toward the Constituante and of defiance for the
'enemies of the people,' the 'servants of the bourgeoisie,' which we were
in their eyes, thanks to the lies and the calumnies of the Bolsheviki?
Careful of our dignity, and out of respect for the place where we were, we
could not permit ourselves to be cuffed, nor that they throw us out of the
Taurida Palace by force--and that is what would have inevitably happened."

It was thus that the Constituent Assembly ended. The
Socialist-Revolutionist fraction maintained an attitude of surprising calm
and respectful bearing, not allowing itself to be disturbed by any
provocation. The correspondents of foreign newspapers congratulated the
members and said to them that in this session to which the Bolsheviki had
wished to give the character of "any-old-kind-of-a-meeting" all the
fractions maintained a truly parliamentary attitude.

The Bolshevik terror became rife. _All the newspapers that tried to open
the eyes of the people as to what was happening were confiscated_. Every
attempt to circulate the _Dielo Naroda_ or other newspapers of the
opposition was severely punished. The volunteer venders of these papers
were arrested, cruelly struck down by rifle butts, and sometimes even shot.
The population, indignant, gathered in groups on the streets, but the Red
Guards dispersed all assemblages.


_The Dissolution of the Third All-Russian Peasants' Congress_

This is the course of the events which followed the dissolution of the
Constituante. On the 8th of January the members of the Constituante
assembled at Bolotnaia; two were arrested; the premises of the fraction
were occupied by the Red Guards. On the 9th of January took place the
funeral of the victims, in which all Petrograd took part. The Bolsheviki
this time did not dare to shoot into the magnificent procession preceded by
a long line of coffins. The 10th of January they dispersed the Third
All-Russian Congress of Peasants which had placed itself on the side of the
Constituent Assembly. The Congress had been at first arranged for the 8th
of January (the same day as the Bolshevik Congress of the Soviets), but,
because of the events, it was postponed to the 10th. The peasants who had
come to this Congress knew perfectly well that they would have a fight to
uphold, perhaps even to give their lives. Their neighbors, their
co-villagers, wept when they saw them set out, as if it were a question of
men condemned to death. That alone suffices to show to what degree were
conscious these peasants who had come from all corners of the country to
prepare themselves for the defense of the Constituent Assembly.

As soon as the Congress was opened sailors and Red Guards, armed with guns
and hand-grenades, broke into the premises (11 Kirillovskaia Street),
surrounded the house, poured into the corridors and the session hall, and
ordered all persons to leave.

"In whose name do you order us, who are Delegates to the Peasants' Congress
of All-Russia, to disperse?" asked the peasants.

"In the name of the Baltic fleet," the soldiers replied.

The peasants refused; cries of protest were raised. One by one the peasant
delegates ascended the tribune to stigmatize the Bolsheviki in speeches
full of indignation, and to express the hopes that they placed in the
Constituent Assembly.

The sailors listened. They had come to disperse a counter-revolutionary
Congress, and these speeches troubled them. One sailor, not able to stand
it any longer, burst into tears.

"Let me speak!" he shouted to the president. "I hear your speeches, peasant
comrades, and I no longer understand anything.... What is going on? We are
peasants, and you, too, are peasants. But we are of this side, and you are
of the other.... Why? Who has separated us? For we are brothers.... But it
is as if a barrier had been placed between us." He wept and, seizing his
revolver, he exclaimed, "No, I would rather kill myself!"

This session of the Congress presented a strange spectacle, disturbed by
men who confessed that they did not know why they were there; the peasants
sang revolutionary songs; the sailors, armed with guns and grenades, joined
them. Then the peasants knelt down to sing a funeral hymn to the memory of
Logvinov, whose coffin was even yesterday within the room. The soldiers,
lowering their guns, knelt down also.

The Bolshevik authorities became excited; they did not expect such a turn
to events. "Enough said," declared the chief; "we have come not to speak,
but to act. If they do not want to go to Smolny, let them get out of here."
And they set themselves to the task.

In groups of five the peasants were conducted down-stairs, trampled on,
and, on their refusal to go to Smolny, pushed out of doors during the night
in the midst of the enormous city of which they knew nothing.

Members of the Executive Committee were arrested, the premises occupied by
sailors and Red Guards, the objects found therein stolen.

The peasants found shelter in the homes of the inhabitants of Petrograd,
who, indignant, offered them hospitality; a certain number were lodged in
the barracks of the Preobrajenski Regiment. The sailors, who but a few
minutes before had sung a funeral hymn to Logvinov, and wept when they saw
that they understood nothing, now became the docile executors of the orders
of the Bolsheviki. And when they were asked, "Why do you do this?" they
answered as in the time, still recent, of Czarism: "It is the order. No
need to talk."

It was thus there was manifested the habit of servile obedience, of
arbitrary power and violence, which had been taking root for several
centuries; under a thin veneer of revolution one finds the servile and
violent man of yesterday.

In the midst of these exceptional circumstances the peasants gave proof of
that obstinacy and energy in the pursuit of their rights for which they are
noted. Thrown out in the middle of the night, robbed, insulted, they
decided, nevertheless, to continue their Congress. "How, otherwise, can we
go home?" said they. "We must come to an understanding as to what is to be

The members of the Executive Committee who were still free succeeded in
finding new premises (let it be noted that among others the workmen of the
big Oboukhovsky factory offered them hospitality), and during three days
the peasants could assemble secretly by hiding themselves from the eyes of
the Red Guard, and the spies in various quarters of Petrograd, until such
time as the decisions were given on all great questions. _A procès-verbal
was prepared concerning all that had taken place on Kirillovskaia Street. A
declaration was made protesting against the acts of the Bolshevik
government_. This declaration was to be read at the Taurida Palace when the
Soviets were in congress by delegates designated for that purpose. The
Bolsheviki, however, would not permit the delegates to enter the Taurida

Here are the texts of the declaration and of the procès-verbal:

    At the Third National Congress of Soviets of Peasants' Delegates
    grouped around the principle of the defense of the Constituent
    Assembly, this declaration was sent to the Congress of Workmen's,
    Soldiers' and Peasants' Delegates called together by the
    Bolshevist government at the Taurida Palace:

    At the Second National Peasants' Congress the 359 delegates who
    had come together for the defense of the Constituent Assembly
    continued the work of the Congress and elected a provisional
    Executive Committee, independently of the 354 delegates who had
    opposed the power of the Constituent Assembly and adhered to the

    We, peasant delegates, having come to Petrograd, more than 300 in
    number, to participate in a Congress called by the Provisional
    Executive Committee, which is that of those of the Soviets which
    acknowledge the principle of the defense of the Constituent
    Assembly, declare to our electors, to the millions of the peasant
    population, and to the whole country, that the actual government
    which is called "The Government of the Peasants and Workmen" has
    established in their integrity the violence, the arbitrariness,
    and all the horrors of the autocratic régime which was overthrown
    by the great Revolution of February. All the liberties attained by
    that Revolution and won by innumerable sacrifices during several
    generations are scouted and trodden under foot. Liberty of opinion
    does not exist; men who under the government of the Czar had paid
    by years of prison and exile for their devotedness to the
    revolutionary cause are now again thrown into the dungeons of
    fortresses without any accusation whatever, of anything of which
    they might be guilty, being made to them. Again spies and
    informers are in action. Again capital punishment is
    re-established in its most horrible forms; shooting on the streets
    and assassinations without judgment or examination. _Peaceful
    processions, on their way to salute the Constituent Assembly, are
    greeted by a fusillade of shots upon the orders of the autocrats
    of Smolny. The liberty of the press does not exist; the papers
    which displease the Bolsheviki are suppressed, their printing
    plants and offices looted, their editors arrested._

    The organizations which, during the preceding months, were
    established with great difficulty--zemstvos, municipalities,
    agricultural and food committees--are foolishly destroyed in an
    excess of savage fanaticism.

    The Bolsheviki even try to kill the supreme representation, the
    only one legitimately established, of the popular will--the
    Constituent Assembly.

    To justify this violence and this tyranny they try to allege the
    well-being of the people, but we, peasant workers, we see well
    that their policy will only tighten the cord around the workers'
    necks, while the possibility of a democratic peace becomes more
    remote every day; matters have come to the point where the
    Bolsheviki proclaim a further mobilization--of salaried
    volunteers, it is true--to renew the hostilities. They strive to
    represent the war with Ukraine and with the Cossacks under the
    aspect of a war of classes; it is not, however, the bourgeoisie,
    but the representatives of the working classes who are killed on
    one side and on the other. They promised the Socialist régime, and
    they have only destroyed the production of the factories so as to
    leave the population without product and throw the workers into an
    army of unemployed; the horrible specter of famine occupies the
    void left by the broken organizations of food-supply; millions of
    the money of the people are squandered in maintaining a Red
    Guard--or sent to Germany to keep up the agitation there, while
    the wives and the widows of our soldiers no longer receive an
    allowance, there being no money in the Treasury, and are obliged
    to live on charity.

    The Russian country is threatened with ruin. Death knocks at the
    doors of the hovels of the workmen.

    By what forces have the Bolsheviki thus killed our country? Twelve
    days before the organization of the autonomous administration was
    achieved and the elections to the Constituent Assembly begun, at
    the time when there had been organized all the autonomous
    administrations of volosts, districts, governments, and cities,
    chosen by equal, direct, and secret universal suffrage, thus
    assuring the realization of the will of the people and justifying
    the confidence of the population--even then they seized the power
    and established a régime which subjects all the institutions of
    the country to the unlicensed power of the Commissaries of the
    People. _And these Commissaries rely upon the Soviets, which were
    chosen at elections that were carried out according to rank, with
    open balloting and inequality of vote, for therein the peasants
    count only as many representatives as the workmen of the cities,
    although in Russia their number is sixty times greater_.

    Absence of control permits every abuse of power; absence of secret
    voting permits that into these Soviets at these suspicious
    elections some enter who are attracted by the political rôle of
    these institutions; the defeat of inequality in the suffrage
    restrains the expression of the will of the peasants, and,
    accordingly, these cannot have confidence in this system of
    government. The tyranny that presided at these elections was such
    that the Bolsheviki themselves pay no attention to the results,
    and declare that the Soviets that are opposed to themselves are
    bourgeoisie and capitalists. We, representing the peasant workers,
    must declare in the name of our constituents: if anything can save
    Russia, it can only be the re-establishment of the organs of
    local autonomous administration, chosen by equal, direct, and
    secret universal suffrage and the resumption, without delay, of
    the work of the Constituent Assembly.

    The Constituent Assembly alone can express the exact will of the
    working-people, for the system of election which governs it
    includes every measure of precaution against violence, corruption,
    and other abuses, and assures the election of deputies chosen by
    the majority; now, in the country, the majority is composed of the
    working class.

    Millions of peasants delegated us to defend the Constituante, but
    this was dissolved as soon as it began to work for the good of the
    people. The work of the Constituante was interrupted at the time
    that it was discussing the law concerning land, when a new
    agricultural régime was being elaborated for the country. For this
    reason, and for this alone, the Constituante adopted only the
    first articles of this law, articles which established the
    definite transfer of all the land to the hands of the workers,
    without any ransom. The other articles of this law, which
    concerned the order of the apportionment of lots, its forms, its
    methods of possession, etc., could not be adopted, although they
    were completely elaborated in the commission and nothing remained
    but to sanction them.

    We, peasants assembled in Congress, we, too, have been the object
    of violence and outrages, unheard of even under the Czarist
    régime. Red Guards and sailors, armed, invaded our premises. We
    were searched in the rudest manner. Our goods and the provisions
    which we had brought from home were stolen. Several of our
    comrade-delegates and all the members of the Committee were
    arrested and taken to Peter and Paul Fortress. We ourselves were,
    late at night, put out of doors in a city which we did not know,
    deprived of shelter under which to sleep. All that, to oblige us
    either to go to Smolny, where the Bolshevist government called
    another Congress, or to return to our homes without having
    attained any result. But violence could not stop us; secretly, as
    in the time of Czarist autocracy, we found a place to assemble and
    to continue our work.

    In making known these facts to the country and the numerous
    millions of the peasant population, we call upon them to
    stigmatize the revolting policy practised by the Bolshevik
    government with regard to all those who are not in accord with it.
    Returned to our villages, dispersed in every corner of immense
    Russia, we shall use all our powers to make known to the mass of
    peasants and to the entire country the truth concerning this
    government of violence; to make known in every corner of the
    fatherland that the actual government, which has the hardihood to
    call itself "Government of the Workmen and Peasants," in reality
    shoots down workmen and peasants and shamelessly scoffs at the
    country. We shall use all our strength to induce the population of
    peasant workers to demand an account from this government of
    violence, as well as from their prodigal children, their sons and
    brothers, who in the army and navy give aid to these autocrats in
    the commission of violence.

    In the name of millions of peasants, by whom we were delegated, we
    demand that they no longer obstruct the work of the Constituent
    Assembly. We were not allowed to finish the work for which we had
    come; at home we shall continue this work. We shall employ all our
    strength to effect, as soon as possible, the convocation of a new
    National Congress of Peasants' Delegates united on the principle
    of the defense of the Constituante, and that in a place where we
    need not fear a new dissolution. Lately we fought against
    autocracy and Czarist violence; we shall fight with no less energy
    against the new autocrats who practise violence, whoever they may
    be, and whatever may be the shibboleths by which they cover their
    criminal acts. We shall fight for the Constituent Assembly,
    because it is in that alone that we see the salvation of our
    country, that of the Revolution, and that of Land and Liberty.

    Charged by our constituents to defend the Constituent Assembly, we
    cannot participate in a Congress called by those who have
    dissolved it; who have profaned the idea which to the people is
    something sacred; who have shot down the defenders of true
    democracy; who have shed the sacred blood of our Logvinov, member
    of the Executive Committee of peasant deputies, who on the 5th of
    January was killed by an explosive bullet during a peaceful
    manifestation, bearing the flag "Land and Liberty."
    Comrade-peasants who have come by chance to this Congress declare
    to these violators that the only Executive Committee that upholds
    the idea of the defense of the Constituante forms a center around
    which are grouped all the peasant workers. We call the entire mass
    of peasants to the work that is common to all--the fight for "Land
    and Liberty," for the true government of the people. "We all come
    from the people, children of the same family of workers," and we
    all have to follow a route that leads to happiness and liberty.
    Now this road, which leads to "Land and Liberty," goes through the
    Constituent Assembly alone. The Constituent Assembly was
    dissolved, but it was chosen by the entire people, and it ought to

    _Long live the Constituent Assembly!_
    _Down with violence and tyranny!_
    _All power to the people, through the agency of the_
    _Constituent Assembly!_

    [Signed] The Third National Congress of Soviets of Peasant
    Delegates, United on the Principle of the Defense of the
    Constituent Assembly.


The Provisional Executive Committee of Soviets of Peasants' Delegates
nominated by the fraction of the Second National Congress of these Soviets,
which, to the number of 359 delegates, was organized on the basis of the
principle of the defense of the Constituent Assembly, had addressed to all
the Soviets an appeal inviting those who believe in the defense of the
Constituante to send representatives to the Third Congress, fixed by the
Committee for the 8th of January, and destined to offset the Congress
called for the 12th of January by the Committee of that fraction of the
Congress which, to the number of 314 votes, took sides against the power of
the Constituent Assembly and joined the Bolsheviki.

The Peasants' Congress, meeting by districts and by governments, as well as
the local executive committees of Soviets which have chosen us, knew well
to which Congress they delegated us and had given us precise mandates,
expressing their confidence in the Constituent Assembly and their blame of
the Soviets and the Bolshevik organs that impede the work of the
Constituante and call the peasants to the Congress of January 12th. These
congresses and these committees have charged us to use all our efforts to
defend the Constituent Assembly, binding themselves, on their part, in case
our efforts were insufficient, to rise in a body for its defense.

By reason of the disorganization of postal and telegraphic communications,
and because in different localities the calls of the Committee were held up
by the Bolshevist organizations, the instructions concerning the Congress
fixed for the 8th of January were not received in many provinces until
after considerable delay.

Some minutes before the opening of the Conference, which was to take place
on the premises of the Committee (11 Kirillovskaia Street), where the
delegates on hand had lodged, there arrived a detachment of sailors and Red
Guards armed with guns and bombs, who surrounded the house, guarding all
the entrances, and occupied all the apartments. The Executive Committee,
performing its duty toward the peasant workers, which duty was to hold
their flag with a firm hand, not fearing any violence, and not allowing
themselves to be intimidated by the bayonets and the bombs of the enemies
of the peasant workers, opened the session at the hour indicated.

The Bolshevist pretorians, however, violating the freedom of assembly,
broke into the hall and surrounded the office and members of the Conference
with bayonets drawn. Their leader, Kornilov, staff-commandant of the Red
Guards of the Rojdestvensky quarter, made a speech to the delegates, in
which he said that they were to go to the Smolny Institute, to the
Bolshevist Congress, assuring them that they had come to this Congress by
mistake; at the end he read a document ordering him to make a search of the
premises, to confiscate all papers, and to arrest all who would offer
resistance. In reply to this speech the delegates and the members of the
Executive Committee spoke in turn; they stigmatized vehemently the criminal
policy of the Bolshevist government, which dissolved the Constituent
Assembly, the true representation of the popular will, without having given
it the time to register a vote on the agricultural law; which shot down
workers participating in peaceful negotiations; which deprived the people
of the right of assembly to discuss their needs; which destroyed freedom of
speech and assembly and trampled in the dust the whole Russian Revolution.
The delegates, one after another, tried to explain to the Red Guards that
it was not the delegates that were deceived in coming to this conference,
but those who were going to Smolny to the Bolshevist Congress, those who,
by order of the Bolsheviki, kill the peasants' representatives and dissolve
their Congress.

In the midst of these speeches Kornilov declared the Congress dissolved; to
this Comrade Ovtchinnikov, president of the Conference, replied that the
Congress would not be dissolved except by force, and, besides, that the
document read by Kornilov did not authorize him to pronounce its
dissolution. Members of the Congress having entered into arguments with the
sailors and the Red Guards, concerning the violence inflicted on the
peasant delegates, the sound of the rattling of guns was heard and the
leader of the pretorians declared that if the Congress would not submit to
his orders he would stop at nothing. All the members of the Congress were
forthwith searched and thrown out of doors in groups of five, with the idea
that, having come from the provinces, and not knowing Petrograd, they would
find themselves dispersed in such a way as not to be able to assemble again
anywhere, and would be obliged either to betake themselves to the railway
and return home or to direct their steps toward Smolny, the address of
which was given to each one at the exit. At the same time, without reason,
the following were arrested: Minor, a deputy to the Constituent Assembly;
Rakitnikov, Ovtchinnikov, Roussine, Sorokine, and Tchernobaiev, members of
the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasant Delegates; and Chmelev, a
soldier. The premises of the Committee, on which were various documents and
papers which were to be sent into the country, were occupied by Red Guards,
and machine-guns were placed at the entrance. The search ended about nine
o'clock in the evening. Some late delegates alone were authorized to spend
the night on the premises under the supervision of Red Guards.

An inquiry held among the comrades, who had come for this Third National
Peasants' Congress, established that, at the time when the premises of the
Executive Committee were seized, January 10, 1918, there were, among the
sailors and Red Guards of the detachment that did the work, _German and
Austrian prisoners dressed in Russian uniforms_; it also established the
fact that many objects had disappeared in the course of the search. The
Congress decided: first, to consider as a law the socialization of the soil
voted by the Constituent Assembly and to apply the same in the country;
second, to consider that the Constituent Assembly, dispersed by brutal
force, was nevertheless elected by the whole people and ought to exist and
to assemble again as soon as that would be possible; third, to fight
everywhere in the provinces in the defense of the organs of autonomous
administration, which the Bolsheviki dispersed by armed force. During these
few days when the peasants were obliged to assemble in secret and to
station patrols to protect their meetings, they followed those methods of
conspiracy that the Russian Socialists had been obliged to employ when they
fought against the tyranny of autocracy. Returning to their villages, the
peasants bore with them the greatest hate for the Bolsheviki, whom they
considered the personification of tyranny and violence. And they took with
them also a firm resolution to fight against this violence.

The Executive Committee, whose powers were confirmed by the Third Congress,
found itself thus, for the second time, deprived of all its goods, its
premises, and its pecuniary resources; it found itself obliged to lead a
half-clandestine existence, to organize secret assemblies, etc. Miss
Spiridonova, who, in this fight against the peasants that rose to the
defense of the Constituent Assembly, gave proof of intolerance and peculiar
fanaticism, found herself at the head of the "peasants in uniform," sitting
at Smolny, _adopting a decree whereby all the moneys that came by post to
the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasant Delegates defending the
Constituent Assembly were to be confiscated._

The action of the Executive Committee was thus rendered very difficult. But
it continued to fight, to publish an organ, to commission delegates, to
entertain continued relations with the provinces and the country.



_Morally, Bolshevism was killed in the eyes of the workers in the course of
these days_ when a peaceful demonstration was fired upon, the Constituent
Assembly dissolved, the Peasant Congress (and, very soon, the Congress of
the Agricultural Committees) dispersed. The Central Committee of the
Revolutionary Socialist party issued an order for new elections to the
Soviets, thinking thus to eliminate automatically the Bolsheviki. And, in
truth, when at Petrograd and in the provinces, these elections began, the
Revolutionary Socialists and the Mensheviki received the majority and the
Bolsheviki were snowed under. But these new elections were thwarted by many
circumstances: first, because of the lessening of production the workmen
were discharged in a body and quit the factories; second, the Bolsheviki
put obstacles in the way of the elections and sometimes openly prohibited
them. Nevertheless, wherever they could be held, the results were
unfavorable to the Bolsheviki.

Finally, when the working classes clearly saw the shameful rôle played by
the Bolsheviki in the matter of peace, when they saw the Bolsheviki humbly
beg for peace at any price from the Germans, they understood that it was
impossible to continue to tolerate such a government. _The Central
Committee of the Revolutionary Socialist party published a Manifesto
appealing to an armed fight against the Bolshevik government and the German
gangs_ that were overrunning the country.

The frightful results of this "peace," so extolled by the Bolsheviki,
rendered even the name of the Bolshevist government odious in the eyes of
every conscientious and honest man.

       *       *       *       *       *

But Bolshevism still endures, for it is based on the armed force of the Red
Guard, on the supineness of the masses deprived of a political education,
and not accustomed to fight or to act, and from ancient habit of submitting
to force.

The causes which produced Bolshevism are: first, the accumulation of all
the conditions of the historic past of the Russian people; second, their
psychic character and their habits; third, the conditions of the present
time; and fourth, the general situation of the world--that is to say, the

We also note the vague and hesitating policy of the Provisional Government;
the lack of political education among the people, ready to follow him who
promises the most; small development of civic sentiment; the want of any
attachment whatever to the state--that of the Romanov having never given
anything to the people and having taken all from them. Czarism took from
the miserable peasant his last penny under form of taxes; it took his
children from him for war; for the least act of disobedience to authority
he was whipped. He wallowed in misery and in ignorance, deprived of every
right, human or legal. How could he, this wretched and oppressed peasant
develop civic sentiments, a consciousness of his personal dignity? On the
other hand, we must take into account the immense weariness caused by the
war and by the disorganization which it brought into the whole cycle of
existence (to an incomparably greater degree than in western Europe). Such
were the causes which had established a favorable scope for Bolshevik
propaganda; to introduce their domination they knew how to make use of the
shortcomings of the people and the defects of Russian life.

In fine, what is Bolshevism in its essence? _It is an experiment, that is
either criminal or that proceeds from a terrible thoughtlessness, tried,
without their consent, on the living body of the Russian people_. Thus some
attempt to apply their theories, others wish to measure the height of their
personal influence, while still others (and they are found in every
movement) seek to profit by the circumstances.

Bolshevism is a phenomenon brought about by force; it is not a natural
consequence of the progress of the Russian Revolution. Taken all in all,
Bolshevism is not Socialism. The Bolshevist _coup d'état_ was accomplished
contrary to the wish of the majority of the people, who were preparing for
the Constituent Assembly.

_It was accomplished with the help of armed force, and it is because of
this that the Bolshevist régime holds out._

_It has against it the whole conscious portion of the peasant and working
population and all the Intellectuals._

_It has crushed and trampled under foot the liberty that was won by the
Russian people._

The Bolsheviki pretend to act in the name of the people. Why, then, have
they dissolved the Constituent Assembly elected by the people?

They pretend to have the majority of the people with them. Why, then, this
governmental terror that is being used in a manner more cruel even than in
the time of Czarism?

They say that, to fight against the bourgeoisie, the use of violence is
necessary. But their principal thrusts are directed not against the
bourgeoisie, but against the Socialist parties that do not agree with them.
And they dare give this caricature the name of Dictatorship of the

Socialism must necessarily be founded on democratic principles. If not, "it
cuts off the branch of the tree on which it rests," according to the
expression of Kautsky.

Socialism needs constructive elements. It does not limit itself to the
destruction of ancient forms of existence; it creates new ones. But
Bolshevism has only destructive elements. It does nothing but destroy,
always destroy, with a blind hatred, a savage fanaticism.

What has it established? Its "decrees" are only verbal solutions without
sense, skeletons of ideas, or simply a revolutionary phraseology containing
nothing real (as for example the famous shibboleth, "neither peace nor

During the few months of its reign Bolshevism has succeeded in destroying
many things; nearly everything that the effort of the Russian people had
established. Life, disorganized almost to its foundations, has become
almost impossible in Russia. The railroads do not function, or function
only with great difficulty; the postal and telegraphic communications are
interrupted in several places. The zemstvos--bases of the life of the
country--are suppressed (they are "bourgeois" institutions); the schools
and hospitals, whose existence is impossible without the zemstvos, are
closed. The most complete chaos exists in the food-supply. The
Intellectuals, who, in Russia, had suffered so much from the Czarist
tyranny and oppression, are declared "enemies of the people" and compelled
to lead a clandestine existence; they are dying of hunger. It is the
Intellectuals and not the bourgeois (who are hiding) that suffer most from
the Bolshevist régime.

The Soviets alone remain. But the Soviets are not only revolutionary
organs, they are "guardians of the Revolution," but in no way legislative
and administrative organs.

Bolshevism is an experiment tried on the Russian people. The people are
going to pay dearly for it. At least let not this experiment be lost, on
them, as well as on other peoples! Let the Socialists of western Europe be
not unduly elated by words or by far-fetched judgments. Let them look the
cruel reality in the face and examine facts to find out the truth.

A tyranny which is supported by bayonets is always repugnant, wherever it
comes from, and under whatever name it may strut. It can have nothing in
common with Socialism, which is not only a doctrine of economic necessity,
but also a doctrine of superior justice and truth.

"All the societies or individuals adhering to the Internationale will know
what must be the basis of their conduct toward all men: Truth, Justice,
Morality, without Distinction of Color, Creed, or Nationality," said the
statutes that were drawn up by the prime founders of our Internationale.

_The Executive Committee of the National Soviet of Peasant Delegates
Placing themselves on the Grounds of the Defense of the Constituent
Assembly, having had to examine, in its session of February 8, 1918, the
violence committed by the Bolsheviki, and to pass in review the
persecutions that this organization had to suffer from that party and from
the government of the Commissaries of the People, decided to bring the
violence committed by the Bolsheviki in the name of Socialism to the
knowledge of the Socialists of western Europe and of the International
Socialist Bureau through the citizen, E. Roubanovitch, representative of
the Revolutionary Socialist party at the International Socialist Bureau and
intrusted with International relations by the Executive Committee of the
First Soviet of Peasants.

The Executive Committee demands the expulsion, from the Socialist family,
of the Bolshevist leaders, as well as of those of the Revolutionary
Socialists of the Left, who seized the power by force, held it by violence
and compromised Socialism in the eyes of the popular masses.

Let our brothers of western Europe be judges between the Socialist peasants
who rose in the defense of the Constituent Assembly and the Bolsheviki, who
dispersed them by armed force, thus trampling under foot the will of the
Russian people._


_Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasant
Delegates, who stand in Defense of the Constituent Assembly._

_May 30, 1918._



The following letter was addressed to Mr. Santeri Nuorteva, who, it will be
remembered, was appointed Minister to America by the Revolutionary
Government of Finland. The author of the letter, Oskar Tokoi, was the first
Socialist Prime Minister in the world. He is a Socialist of long standing,
who has always been identified with the radical section of the movement.
Mr. Nuorteva, it should be added, is himself a strong supporter of the
Bolsheviki, and is their accredited American representative.

    ARCHANGEL, _September 10, 1918._


    _Fitchburg, Mass._:

    DEAR COMRADE,--I deem it my duty to appeal to you and to
    other comrades in America in order to be able to make clear to you
    the trend of events here.

    The situation here has become particularly critical. We, the
    Finnish refugees, who, after the unfortunate revolution, had to
    flee from Finland to Russia, find ourselves to-day in a very
    tragic situation. A part of the former Red Guardists who fled here
    have joined the Red Army formed by the Russian Soviet Government;
    another part has formed itself as a special Finnish legion, allied
    with the army of the Allied countries; and a third part, which has
    gone as far as to Siberia, is prowling about there, diffused over
    many sections of the country, and there have been reports that a
    part of those Finns have joined the ranks of the Czecho-Slovaks.
    The Finnish masses, thus divided, may therefore at any time get
    into fighting each other, which indeed would be the greatest of
    all misfortunes. It is therefore necessary to take a clear
    position, and to induce all the Finns to support it, and we hope
    that you as well, over in America, will support it as much as is
    in your power.

    During these my wanderings I have happened to traverse Russia from
    one end to another, and I have become deeply convinced that Russia
    is not able to rise from this state of chaos and confusion by her
    own strength and of her own accord. The magnificent economic
    revolution, which the Bolsheviki in Russia are trying now to bring
    about, is doomed in Russia to complete failure. The economic
    conditions in Russia have not even approximately reached a stage
    to make an economic revolution possible, and the low grade of
    education, as well as the unsteady character of the Russian
    people, makes it still more impossible.

    It is true that magnificent theories and plans have been laid
    here, but their putting into practice is altogether impossible,
    principally because of the following reasons: The whole propertied
    class--which here in Russia, where small property ownership mainly
    prevails, is very numerous--is opposing and obstructing;
    technically trained people and specialists necessary in the
    industries are obstructing; local committees and sub-organs make
    all systematic action impossible, as they in their respective
    fields determine things quite autocratically and make everything
    unsuccessful which should be based on a strong, coherent, and in
    every respect minutely conceived system as a social production
    should be based. But even if all these, in themselves
    unsurmountable obstacles, could be made away with, there remains
    still the worst one--and that is the workers themselves.

    It is already clear that in the face of such economic conditions
    the whole social order has been upset. Naturally only a small part
    of the people will remain backing such an order. The whole
    propertied class belongs to the opponents of the government,
    including the petty bourgeoisie, the craftsmen, the small
    merchants, the profiteers. The whole Intellectual class and a
    great part of the workers are also opposing the government. In
    comparison with the entire population only a small minority
    supports the government, and, what is worse to the supporters of
    the government, are rallying all the hooligans, robbers, and
    others to whom this period of confusion promises a good chance of
    individual action. It is also clear that such a régime cannot stay
    but with the help of a stern terror. But, on the other hand, the
    longer the terror continues the more disagreeable and hated it
    becomes. Even a great part of those who from the beginning could
    stay with the government and who still are sincere Social
    Democrats, having seen all this chaos, begin to step aside, or to
    ally themselves with those openly opposing the government.
    Naturally, as time goes by, there remains only the worst and the
    most demoralized element. Terror, arbitrary rule, and open
    brigandage become more and more usual, and the government is not
    able at all to prevent it. And the outcome is clearly to be
    foreseen--the unavoidable failure of all this magnificently
    planned system.

    And what will be the outcome of that? My conviction is that as
    soon as possible we should turn toward the other road--the road of
    united action. I have seen, and I am convinced that the majority
    of the Russian people is fundamentally democratic and
    whole-heartedly detests a reinstitution of autocracy, and that
    therefore all such elements must, without delay, be made to unite.
    But it is also clear that at first they, even united, will not be
    able to bring about order in this country on their own accord. I
    do not believe that at this time there is in Russia any social
    force which would be able to organize the conditions in the
    country. For that reason, to my mind, we should, to begin with,
    frankly and honestly rely on the help of the Allied Powers. Help
    from Germany cannot be considered, as Germany, because of her own
    interests, is compelled to support the Bolshevik rule as long as
    possible, as Germany from the Bolshevik rule is pressing more and
    more political and economic advantages, to such an extent even
    that all of Russia is becoming practically a colony of Germany.
    Russia thus would serve to compensate Germany for the colonies
    lost in South Africa.

    A question presents itself at once whether the Allied Powers are
    better. And it must be answered instantly that neither would they
    establish in Russia any Socialist society. Yet the democratic
    traditions of these countries are some surety that the social
    order established by them will be a democratic one. It is clear as
    day that the policy of the Allied Powers is also imperialistic,
    but the geographical and economic position of these countries is
    such that even their own interests demand that Russia should be
    able to develop somewhat freely. The problem has finally evolved
    into such a state of affairs where Russia must rely on the help
    either of the Allies or Germany; we must choose, as the saying
    goes, "between two evils," and, things being as badly mixed as
    they are, the lesser evil must be chosen frankly and openly. It
    does not seem possible to get anywhere by dodging the issue.
    Russia perhaps would have saved herself some time ago from this
    unfortunate situation if she had understood immediately after the
    February Revolution the necessity of a union between the more
    democratic elements. Bolshevism undoubtedly has brought Russia a
    big step toward her misfortune, from which she cannot extricate
    herself on her own accord.

    Thus there exists no more any purely Socialist army, and all the
    fighting forces and all those who have taken to arms are fighting
    for the interests of the one or the other group of the Great
    Powers. The question therefore finally is only this--in the
    interests of which group one wants to fight. The revolutionary
    struggles in Russia and in Finland, to my mind, have clearly
    established that a Socialist society cannot be brought about by
    the force of arms and cannot be supported by the force of arms,
    but that a Socialist order must be founded on a conscious and
    living will by an overwhelming majority of the nations, which is
    able to realize its will without the help of arms.

    But now that the nations of the world have actually been thrown
    into an armed conflict, and the war, which in itself is the
    greatest crime of the world, still is raging, we must stand it. We
    must, however, destroy the originator and the cause of the war,
    the militarism, by its own arms, and on its ruins we must build,
    in harmony and in peace--not by force, as the Russian Bolsheviki
    want--a new and a better social order under the guardianship of
    which the people may develop peacefully and securely.

    I have been explaining to you my ideas, expecting that you will
    publish them. You over in America are not able to imagine how
    horrible the life in Russia at the present time is. The period
    after the French Revolution surely must have been as a life in a
    paradise compared with this. Hunger, brigandage, arrests, and
    murders are such every-day events that nobody pays any attention
    to them. Freedom of assemblage, association, free speech, and free
    press is a far-away ideal which is altogether destroyed at the
    present time. Arbitrary rule and terror are raging everywhere,
    and, what is worst of all, not only the terror proclaimed by the
    government, but individual terror as well.

    My greetings to all friends and comrades.




[1] Plechanov never formally joined the Menshevik faction, I believe, but
his writings showed that he favored that faction and the Mensheviki
acknowledged his intellectual leadership.

[2] They had gained one member since the election.

[3] Quoted by Litvinov, _The Bolshevik Revolution: Its Rise and Meaning_,
p. 22. Litvinov, it must be remembered, was the Bolshevik Minister to Great
Britain. His authority to speak for the Bolsheviki is not to be questioned.

[4] The date is Russian style--March 12th, our style.

[5] _The State in Russia--Old and New_, by Leon Trotzky; _The Class
Struggle_, Vol. II, No. 2, pp. 213-221.

[6] This document is printed in full at the end of the volume as Appendix.

[7] The author of the present study is responsible for the use of italics
in this document.

[8] Litvinov, _The Bolshevik Revolution: Its Rise and Meaning_, p. 30.

[9] Lenine is not quite accurate in his statement of Marx's views nor quite
fair in stating the position of the "opportunists." The argument of Marx in
_The Civil War in France_ is not that the proletariat must "break down" the
governmental machinery, but that it must _modify_ it and _adapt_ it to the
class needs. This is something quite different, of course. Moreover, it is
the basis of the policy of the "opportunists." The Mensheviki and other
moderate Socialists in Russia were trying to _modify_ and _adapt_ the
political state.

[10] The reference is to Karl Kautsky, the great German exponent of Marxian

[11] _The New International_ (American Bolshevik organ), June 30, 1917.

[12] _The New International_, July 23, 1917.

[13] Litvinov, _op. cit._, p. 31.

[14] _The New International_, April, 1918.

[15] See, _e.g._, the article by Lenine, _New International_, April, 1918,
and Litvinov, _op. cit._

[16] See my _Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism_ for the
I.W.W. philosophy.

[17] Bryant, _Six Months in Red Russia_, p. 141.

[18] This appeal is published as Appendix I at the end of this volume.

[19] Certain Soviets of Soldiers at the Front had decided that they would
stay in their trenches for defensive purposes, but would obey no commands
to go forward, no matter what the military situation.

[20] Figures supplied by the Russian Information Bureau.

[21] "It was with a deep and awful sense of the terrible failure before us
that I consented to become Premier at that time," Kerensky told the present

[22] The story was reproduced in _New Europe_ (London), September, 1917.

[23] _The New International_, April, 1918.

[24] See p. 254.

[25] See the letter of E. Roubanovitch, Appendix II, p. 331.

[26] _Justice_, London, January 31, 1918.

[27] _Justice_, London, May 16, 1918.

[28] _Vide_ Special Memorandum to the International Socialist Bureau on
behalf of the Revolutionary Socialist party of Russia.

[29] See Appendix III.

[30] _Pravda_, July 5, 1918.

[31] February, 1918, Protest Against Recognition of Bolshevik
Representative by British Labor Party Conference.

[32] Proclamation to People of the Northern Province, etc., December, 1918

[33] _The New International_, April, 1918.

[34] The dates given are according to the Russian calendar.

[35] See the Rakitnikov Memorandum--Appendix.

[36] _The New International_, April, 1918.

[37] The number of votes was over 36,000,000.

[38] _Vide_ Rakitnikov report.

[39] Twenty-three members of the Executive Committee were arrested and,
without any trial, thrown into the Fortress of Peter and Paul.

[40] From a Declaration of Protest by the Executive Committee of the Third
National Congress of Peasants' Delegates (anti-Bolshevist), sent to the
Bolshevik Congress of Soviets of Workmen, Soldiers, and Peasants, but not
permitted to be read to that assembly.

[41] _L'Ouorier Russe_, May, 1918.

[42] _Idem_.

[43] _Izvestya_, July 28, 1918.

[44] _Pravda_, October 8, 1918 (No. 216).

[45] "Agents-Provocateurs and the Russian Revolution," article in
_Justice,_, August 16, 1916, by J. Tchernoff.

[46] Most of the information in this paragraph is based upon an article in
the Swiss newspaper _Lausanne Gazette_ by the well-known Russian
journalist, Serge Persky, carefully checked up by Russian Socialist exiles
in Paris.

[47] Joseph Martinek, in the _Cleveland Press_.

[48] _Justice_ (London), January 23, 1919.

[49] _Justice_, London, January 31, 1918.

[50] Jean Jaurès, _Studies in Socialism_.

[51] F. Engels, 1895, Preface to Marx's _Civil War in France_.

[52] The reader is referred to my _Sidelights on Contemporary Socialism_
and my _Karl Marx: His Life and Works_ for a fuller account of these

[53] Marx, _A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_, p. 12.

[54] Editorial entitled "Bolshevik Problems," in _The Liberator_, April,

[55] The article by Lenine quoted by Mr. Eastman appeared in _The New
International_, February, 1918.

[56] _The Bolsheviks and the Soviets_, by Albert Rhys Williams, p. 6.

[57] _Ansprache der Centralbehorde an den Bund, vom Marz, 1850_: Anhang IX
der Enthullerngen über den Kommunisten-process Zu Koln, p. 79.

[58] Lenine, _The Soviets at Work_.

[59] Wilhelm Liebknecht, _No Compromise, No Political Trading_, p. 30.

[60] _Socialism: a Summary and Interpretation of Socialist Principles_, by
John Spargo, p. 215 (1st edition Macmillan, 1916).

[61] Liebknecht, _No Compromise, No Political Trading_, p. 16.

[62] Liebknecht, _No Compromise, No Political Trading_, p. 28.

[63] This subject is treated in the following, among others, of my books:

_Socialism: a Summary and Interpretation of Socialist Principles_; _Applied
Socialism_; _Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism_; _Elements of
Socialism_ (Spargo and Arner), and _Social Democracy Explained_.

[64] _The New International_, July 23, 1917.

[65] Conversation with Trotzky reported by E.A. Ross, _Russia in Upheaval_,
p. 208.

[66] Kautsky, _The Social Revolution_, p. 137.

[67] Lenine, _The Soviets at Work_.

[68] Lenine, _op. cit._

[69] Lenine, _op. cit._

[70] The best expositions of Guild Socialism are _Self-Government in
Industry_, by G.D.H. Cole, and _National Guilds_, by S.G. Hobson, edited by
A.R. Orage.

[71] Lenine, _op. cit._

[72] Lenine, _op. cit._

[73] Lenine, _op. cit._

[74] Lenine, _op. cit._

[75] Lenine, _op. cit._

[76] Of course, Trotzky's statement to Professor Ross about paying the
capitalists "5 or 6 per cent. a year" was frankly a compromise.

[77] E.A. Ross, _Russia in Upheaval_, pp. 206-207.

[78] Litvinov, _The Bolshevik Revolution: Its Rise and Meaning_, p. 39.

[79] Marx and Engels speak of the "idiocy of rural life" from which
capitalism, through the concentration of agriculture and the abolition of
small holdings, would rescue the peasant proprietors (_Communist
Manifesto_). In _Capital_ Marx speaks of the manner in which modern
industry "annihilates the peasant, _the bulwark of the old society_" (Vol.
I, p. 513). Liebknecht says that in 1848 it was the _city_ which overthrew
the corrupt citizen king and the _country_ which overthrew the new
republic, chose Louis Bonaparte and prepared the way for the Empire. "The
French peasantry created an empire through their blind fear of proletarian
Socialism" (_Die Grund und Bodenfrage_). Kautsky wrote, "Peasants who feel
that they are not proletarians, but true peasants, are not only not to be
won over to our cause, _but belong to our most dangerous adversaries_"
(_Dat Erfurter Programm und die Land-agitation_). It would be easy to
compile a volume of such utterances.

[80] Walling, _Russia's Message_, p. 118. The italics are mine.

[81] "Cabinet lands" are the crown lands, property of the Czar and royal

[82] Ross, _op. cit._, pp. 206-207.

[83] _Justice_, London, August 1, 1917.

[84] The figures given are quoted by Sack, in _The Birth of Russian
Democracy_, and were originally published by the Bolshevist Commissaire of

[85] _Parvus et le Parti Socialiste Danois_, by P.G. La Chesnais.

[86] La Chesnais, _op. cit._

[87] In "_L'Humanité_," article condensed in _Justice_, January 31, 1918.

[88] International Notes, _Justice_, January 3, 1918.

[89] _The Disarmament Cry_, by N. Lenine, in _The Class Struggle_,
May-June, 1918.

[90] _The "Disarmament" Cry_, by N. Lenine, _The Class Struggle_, May-June,

[91] Most, if not all, dates in this document are given as in the Russian
calendar, which is thirteen days behind ours.

[92] This refers, doubtless, to the different basis for voting applied to
the peasants and the industrial workers, as provided in the Soviet

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