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The BOLSHEVIK 
REVOLUTION : 

Its Rise and Meaning 



MAXIM LITVINOFF 

Plenipotentiary of the > Russian 



THIRD AND ENLARGED EDITION. 

With additional chapter, compiled by IVY 

LITVINOFF from notes left by her 

husband, bringing the record down 

to the end of 1918. 



7 D - 
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LONDON: 
ist Party, 21 
trand, W.G. 



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THE BOLSHEVIK 
REVOLUTION : 

ITS RISE AND MEANING 



By 
MAXIM LITVINOFF. 




THE BRITISH SOCIALIST PARTY, 

21a, Maiden Lane, Strand, 

London, W.C. 2. 



■•' .. •,.' 






1 



diversity of 



»-A- ) ., 1)JJ .,.^ 



FOREWORD. 

The present edition has been prepared by me 
from notes left by my husband, who intended to 
bring the narrative up to date and to give a de- 
tailed account of the constructive work accom- 
plished by the Soviets. I have confined myself 
for the present to the narrative of events and to 
the subject of the Red Terror. 

Ivy Litvinoff. 



805761 



THE 



Bolshevik Revolution 

ITS RISE AND MEANING. 



I. — The First Revolution (1905). 

SOCIALISM IN POWER. 

November, 6-7, 1917, will forai one of the most momentous 
■dates in modern history ; in those days a Socialist revolu- 
tion took place in Russia, and the working class, allied with 
the peasantry, came to power. Because the revolution was 
accomplished literally overnight without the loss of a single 
•drop of blood, under the eyes of a world which had becoue 
accustomed, after three years of universal slaughter, to 
judge everything from the point of view of its bearing upon 
the further course of the war, the significance of the event 
was not at first grasped even by those whom it concerned 
most closely— the Socialists and the working class of other 
countries. They who, for a generation and more, had 
cheered the " Social Revolution " at the close of every 
propaganda meeting and national and international party 
congress and had celebrated year after year the memory 
of the Paris Commune as the great pledge of the future— 
they, too, failed at first to perceive that that pledge had 
been realised under their very eyes on a scale incomparably 
larger than the Commune of Paris, and that the " Social 
Revolution " was actually upon them. For the revolution 
in Russia was no mere change of persons or parties at the 
head of the State ; it was a change of classes at the fountain 
of power and a change of the order of society, both political 



and economic. Russia was to be no longer a bourgeois 
(middle class) democratic republic, after the French or 
American model, ruled by a Parliament and president, but 
a social republic of the labouring classes, in which the power 
was wielded, both centrally and locally, by direct delegates 
of the working class and the peasantry under their 
immediate and active control in the interests of those classes 
themselves on the sole principle that labour was the source 
■of all values and that its instruments must be the common 
property of the people. This was not ojily a Social, but also 
a Socialist Revolution, the practical implications of which 
were to be worked out by the masses themselves under the 
guidance of the Socialists of the " Bolshevik " school (as the 
revolutionary wing of the Socialist movement is called in 
Russia *), to whose foresight, initiative, and courage the 
Great Change was due. 

CONDITIONS IN RUSSIA. 

How, it may well be asked, did it all come about ? How, 
indeed, was such a revolution possible at all in a country 
so ■ backward, economically and politically, as Russia ? 
Without wishing to be paradoxical, one may reply that the 
explanation of this apparent incongruity lies in the very 
backwardness of Russia — in the fact that Russia has not 
been able to produce a proper capitalist order, with a power- 
ful capitalist class, such as in other countries has long been 
in possession of the machinery of the State, has reorganised 
it on settled democratic and parliamentary lines, and has 
for generations dominated the minds of the people, including 
the working class itself. It is just because all these essential 
conditions of modern " bourgeois " life were lacking in 
Russia, because the capitalist middle class were so weak 
as actually to seek shelter under the wings of an antiquated 
autocratic State system instead of fighting it, and because 
the working class, and even the peasantry, had not yet 



* " Bolshevik "is a bastard word signii3 T ing a person belonging to 
the majority. It was coined after the first split of the Russian 
Social Democratic party in 1903, when the more moderate wing was 
left in a minority and the revolutionary wing gained a majority of 
votes. 



succumbed to the bourgeois order of moral and political 
ideas, that the influence of revolutionary and Socialist 
ideas' among the peoples of Russia became possible, and, in 
face of the utter contradiction between the requirements of 
progress and freedom of modern life and the vile, despotic 
regime of the Autocracy and the landed nobility, indeed, 
inevitable. More than a generation ago the first Russian 
Socialist thinkers of the Marxist school had perceived and 
proclaimed to the astonished world that in Russia a political 
revolution would, in the absence of a vigorous capitalist 
middle class, be effected by the working class, or not be 
effected at all, and the revolution of 1905 fully bore out the 
prognosis. In that revolution the middle class democracy 
completely failed in the discharge of the mission which 
historically had fallen upon it in other countries before, and 
it was the working class, assisted in an inarticulate fashion 
by the peasant masses, which carried out the work from 
start to finish. In fact, if that revolution did not victori- 
ously achieve its aim, it was due to that very failure of the 
capitalist middle classes— the bourgeoisie, to use the 
familiar term— who at the critical moment recoiled before 
the open attack against Tsardom, and, accepting from its 
hands a wretched sop, renounced all further struggle, and 
even turned against the working class. 

TACTICAL DIFFERENCES AMONG RUSSIAN 
SOCIALISTS* 

But in those early revolutionary days of 1905 the revolu- 
tionary front itself was already exhibiting certain lines of 
cleavage which it is important to note. Two years pre- 
viously the Social Democratic Party, whose agitation among 
the industrial masses caused their marvellous quickening 
in 1905, had split into two sections, one more moderate, the 
" Mensheviks," and the other more revolutionary and 
uncompromising, the " Bolsheviks." The former were now 
arguing that the revolution must be regarded essentially 
as one similar to those which had preceded it in Europe, 
that is, as a bourgeois revolution destined to bring the 
capitalist class to power and to establish a bourgeois State. 
The latter, on the contrary, were of the opinion that mas- 



much as the hegemony in the revolution clearly belonged 
to the working class, with which the landless peasantry 
was in alliance, it must and should lead to the establishment 
of the proletarian rule, and, at least, to a considerable 
modification of the bourgeois State in a Socialist direction. 
Trotsky went so far as to assert that that State could be 
directly established on Socialist lines. Accordingly, the 
Mensheviks were throughout in favour of a political alliance 
with the bourgeoisie, especially the so-called Constitutional 
Democrats (" Cadets," for short), and were opposed to the 
continuance of the struggle beyond the point accepted by 
them, as, provisionally or permanently, final. On the 
other hand, the Bolsheviks demanded that the proletariat 
should go on with the revolutoinary fight, even against the 
will of the bourgeoisie, so long as it enjoyed the support of 
the landless peasantry. Hence, when the Tsar issued his 
famous " Constitutional Manifesto " of October 30th (1905) 
under the pressure of a general strike and the Liberals 
accepted it as the end of the struggle, the Mensheviks also 
laid down their arms, while the Bolsheviks, distrusting the 
Tsar's promises, organised yet a second general strike and 
an armed insurrection in Moscow. Their efforts failed to 
bring about the desired result, viz., the overthrow of the 
entire Tsardom, root and branch, because of the division 
in the ranks of the proletariat and the lack of support of 
that section of the peasantry which formed the standing 
army ; but the divergence of views was fraught with most 
important consequences. 



THE POLICY AFTER THE REVOLUTION. 

These showed themselves very soon after the triumph 
of the counter-revolution and the passing of the first horrors 
of its gallows. Of course, the " constitution " granted by 
the Tsar in 1905 duly turned out to be a fraud, as predicted 
by the Bolsheviks, and so far from helping the bourgeois 
State in coming into being, as had been expected by the 
Cadets and the Mensheviks, it entirely subjected the bour- 
geoisie to the power and influence of the Tsardom. What 
was to be done next ? The Bolsheviks, faithful to their 
principles, argued that now, as before, the duty of the 



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^ 



Social Democracy was to organise the working class for the 
revolution, that for that object it must carry on among it 
a revolutionary and Socialist propaganda, and educate it 
for collective revolutionary action against the Autocracy. 
Their opponents, the Mensheviks, disagreed with them. 
The next revolution, in their opinion, was to be made prin- 
cipally by the bourgeoisie; — with the help, it is true, of the 
working class. The duty of Social Democracy was, they 
considered, to back every effort of Liberalism to combat 
the Autocracy in the Duma and elsewhere, and to influence- 
the bourgeoisie in that direction. As for revolutionary 
agitation among the working class, the Mensheviks held, 
that it was both futile in view of the savage reactionary 
regime instituted by the counter-revolution, and mis 
chievous because it would automatically transform the 
Socialist parties into " illegal " subterranean organisations, 
with conspirative habits and methods, and thus prevent 
them from becoming the advance guard of a mass-move- 
ment of the proletariat such as was witnessed in other 
countries. They went so far as to argue that a revolution- 
ary movement' among the proletariat was, under the 
obtaining conditions, not only impossible, but would if 
it were possible, only frighten off the bourgeoisie, as it had: 
done in* 1905, and thereby condemn itself to failure. 

Again the Bolsheviks proved right. While the Men- 
sheviks were writing articles against <the evils of the 
counter-revolutionary regime on the one hand, and the 
tactics of the Bolsheviks on the other, the latter were 
organising and educating the working class, with the result 
that the year 1910 saw the first political strikes and 
demonstrations? the next year saw them in greater fre- 
quency and on a larger scale, and then the revolutionary 
wave of the proletarian movement began to rise higher and. 
higher in the shape of political strikes and mass-protests 
against the evil deeds of the Autocracy until barricades 
suddenly made their appearance in the streets of Petrograd 
— on the very day when the fatal order for mobilisation was 
issued by the Tsar ! This is a cardinal fact to remember : 
Russia was in the incipient throes of another revolution when 
the war broke out, and the leaders of that revolution were the 
Bolsheviks. 






II.— The War. 

THE PRE-WAR PLEDGES OF THE SOCIALISTS. 

The war, as is well known, proved the political grave of 
almost every Socialist party in Europe. I, ess than two 
years previously, in November, 1912, in the midst of the 
first Balkan war, the Socialist International had assembled 
in Basel, Switzerland, to swear uncompromising hostility 
to any attempt on the part of the European Governments 
to create a universal conflict. It issued a Manifesto en- 
dorsing in solemn accents the famous War Resolution 
adopted at the International Socialist Congresses of Stutt- 
gart (1907) and Copenhagen (1910) : — 

" If war threatens to break out, the working class and 
its parliamentary representatives in the countries 
affected are bound, with the support of the unifying 
activity of the International Socialist Bureau, to do 
all they can, by employing the means which appear to 
them most effective, to prevent the outbreak of the 
war. , . . Should, however, war break out, the 
Socialists are bound to intervene for its earliest cessa- 
tion and to make every possible use of the economic 
and political crisis caused by the war, in order to rouse 
the people and thus to accelerate the downfall of the 
domination of Capital." 

The resolution had been carefully worded at Stuttgart 
in order not to give the German police a handle against 
the German Socialists, but everybody had well understood 
the meaning of the phrase, " means which appear to them 
most effective," and of the words, " rouse the people." 
The Basel Manifesto, indeed, spoke quite plainly when it 
said :• — • 

" The Congress invites the workers of all countries 
to oppose the power of the international solidarity of 
the proletariat to capitalist Imperialism. It warns the 
ruling classes in all countries against the consequences 
of the further deterioration of the wretched condition 
of the masses, as caused by the capitalist mode of 



10 

production, by warlike operations, and most urgently 
and insistently demands the preservation of peace. 
Let the Governments remember that in the present 
condition of Europe and in the present temper of the 
working class they cannot let loose the furies of war 
without creating a grave danger for themselves. Let 
them remember that the Franco-Prussian war was 
followed by the Commune, that the Russo-Japanese 
war set into motion the revolutionary forces of all the 
peoples of the Russian Empire. " 

It is thus plain that in the opinion of the International 
assembled at Basel the outbreak of a European war would 
fully justify revolutionary action on the part of the working 
classes. And lest the clear issue between " capitalist 
Imperialism " and the " international solidarity of the 
proletariat " in any future war might be confused by various 
national and humanitarian watchwords (as we now know 
has actually happened) the Basel Manifesto, with a truly 
prophetic insight, proceeded to review in detail the numerous 
separate conflicts then maturing, in order to expose their 
true nature. Beginning with Turkey, it said that " the 
Great Powers had systematically obstructed the course 
of reforms " in the Ottoman Empire, whereby an intoler- 
able economic and political state of affairs had been brought 
about there, which the Balkan States " were now trying to 
exploit in the interests of their respective dynasties and 
capitalist middle classes." On the other hand, referring 
to the policy pursued in the Balkans by Austria-Hungary, 
it spoke of the " attempts made by it against Serbia " with 
a view to " turning it into a colony of the Danubian 
Monarchy." Again, it warned against the rivalries of 
Austria-Hungary and Italy in Albania, who " under the 
guise of Albania's autonomy," were fighting to draw that 
country " within their respective spheres of influence." 
As regards Russia, it observed that " should Tsardom once 
more come forward as the liberator of the Balkan nations 
it would only do so in order to make it a pretext for obtain- 
ing, by means of a bloody war, the predominance in the 
Balkans," and urged that " the overthrow of Tsardom must 
be considered by the entire International as one of its chief 



11 






\ 



aims." Turning to the other Powers, it denounced in 
advance anW and every armed conflict between them as 
" a piece of criminal insanity," and the antagonisms 
between thin as " artificial," being due to " policies of 
conquests " carried on by them in Asia Minor. 

THE COLLAPSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL AND THE 
RUSSIAN WORKERS 



To all these sentiments and views of the international 
situation the! Socialist parties represented at Basel sub- 
scribed with ; enthusiasm. And the result ? As soon as 
war broke out. the overwhelming majority of them sprang 
to the side of their respective Governments, all pledges 
were forgotten, and the nationalist watchwords were caught 
up with extreme avidity. Never had such a sudden and 
complete collapse of a great movement and a great faith 
been witnessed in history. And the Russian working classes, 
the Russian Socialists ? Alone among the labouring masses 
of Europe those of Russia received the mobilisation order 
and the news of the outbreak of war with undisguised hos- 
tility and with a clear insight into the hidden imperialist 
springs of the conflict. For several days, in spite of the 
large inroads made in their ranks by the mobilisation of the 
army, the revolutionary working class of Petrograd kept 
up an attitude of menacing expectancy, in the hope that 
their brethren in Germany and Austria, as well as in France 
and Great Britain, would support them. Alas, the support 
was not forthcoming. On the contrary, the Socialists in 
the West were voting the war credits and proclaiming a 
national truce with the capitalists ! ' In Russia itself the 
collapse of at least one party was also complete ; the bulk 
of the Men shevik l eaders— for the most part intellectuals- 
had "gone over,""bag~and baggage,~To~Ehe pajnaticcamp. 
It is true that the Menshevik leaders in the Duma abstained 
from voting the war credits ; but that was not enough as a 
ba£tle-cry. It was a manifestation of mistrust, but not an 
act of protest or a challenge. And the Bolsheviks ? To 
the misfortune of the country, and perhaps to the world at 
large, all the most notable Bolshevik leaders (as well as most 
Menshevik-Internationalists) were at that time abroad, 



Ilml.-."^' 



12 

as exiles in various countries. Their voice could not reach 
the masses, and the latter, seeing themselves abandoned 
by their fellow-workers in other countries and left/ without 
a lead, reluctantly gave up the struggle and surrendered 
to the inevitable, reinforced as the inevitable was by martial 
law. / 

THE ATTITUDE OF THE BOLSHEVIK^ 

But though they laid down their arms, the workers of 
Russia did not surrender their political views, nor, in 
particular, their views on the war, and did not succumb 
to the nationalist and patriotic orgy which wa^ let loose 
in Russia, as elsewhere. The moral and intellectual, 
foundations which had been laid in their minjis by the 
Bolsheviks were, indeed, " well and truly laid," and on 
them the Bolsheviks were able to build further, in spite, 
or rather because, of the war, with the utmost success. 
For the Bolsheviks, like the Serbian, the Rumanian, and the 
Italian Socialists, and the tiny fraction of the German 
Socialist party, which was represented by Liebknecht, 
Mehring, Klara Zetkin, and others, remained true to their 
Socialist principles and to the policy laid down in the Basel 
Manifesto ; and immediately proclaimed their unalterable 
and implacable opposition to the war. In the first leaflet 
issued immediately after the outbreak of war the Petrograd 
Committee of the Bolsheviks put the question fairly and 
squarely : " Who are our enemies ? " and replied: — 

" We are robbed by the landlords, we are robbed by 
the manufacturers, the houseowners, and the trades- 
men, we are robbed by the police, we are robbed by 
the Tsar and his officials. And when we become tired 
of this robbery, when we want to protect our interests, 
when we want to proclaim a strike, the police, the 
soldiers, and the Cossacks are let loose against us, we 
are attacked, we are thrown into prison, we are de- 
ported to Siberia, and we are hunted down like mad 
dogs. Those are our real enemies. . . . But now they 
want to mislead us and make us believe that our enemy 
is the German whom we have never seen in face at all. 
They want to incite us against the Germans, and 



\ 



13 UsiHrersity of Texts 

i Estill, Texas 

because they require our arms and our fists they sing 
a song about national unity. Now they are trying to 
prevail upon us that we should forget all internal strife, 
that we should all unite in one patriotic gush, that 
we should renounce our own workers' cause, that we 
should make their cause our own, and that we should 
conquer jresh lands for their Tsar and their landowners* 
But shall we, Russian workers, really be so foolish as 
to take these lying phrases seriously ? Shall we really 
betray our own cause ? No. If we must sacrifice 
our lives, let us do so for our own cause, and not in the 
interests hi the Romanoffs and their landowners. They 
are placing arms in our hands. WeH and good. Let 
us be men, let us take the arms in order to conquer for 
the working class new conditions of life." 
These and innumerable similar leaflets were issued and 
circulated secretly among the masses in tens of thousands 
of copies — first in the capital, and then throughout the^ 
length and breadth of the land, at a time when the leaders 
of the Mensheviks were preaching a war on German 
" Militarism and Kaiserism " and were making up their 
old quarrels with Tsardom. Already in November, 1914, the ^ X^vuiaji 
five Bolshevik members of the Duma were arrested, together v > VJj~- ' 
with Kameneff, one of the closest associates of Lenin, and , A La. ■. 
after a mock trial were, a few months after, deported to \JyoA-> 
Siberia. Abroad Lenin and Zinovieff were carrying on a 
most energetic and effective agitation against the " Social 
Patriots " of all countries, sparing neither the German nor 
the French " majorities," and attacking the similar brood in 
the Russian ranks, from Plekhanoff, the father of Russian . 
Social Democracy, now turried^ingoT^ownwardi" with un- 
abated vigour. Their point of view was throughout : the* 
present war was an Imperialist war ; their duty was not 
only to fight it, but also to endeavour to transform it into 
a struggle for the emancipation of the working-class ; and 
lest it be said that thereby the country would be endangered,, 
they, the Bolsheviks, did not hesitate to proclaim : " We 
are Russians, and for that very reason we want Tsardom 
to be defeated." Their faith in the coming revolution was 
unshakable. In January, 1915, in the height of the sue- 



805761 



14 

cesses of the Russian arms, at a tune when all Eutope was 
flooded by a sea of Jingo sentiment, when Plekhatnoff was 
preaching a " fight to a finish " against Prussia-Germany, 
and Vandervelde, President of the International Socialist 
Bureau, was publicly appealing to the Russian /Socialists 
to make common cause with the Tsar, the central organ of 
the Bolsheviks was shouting at the top of its voide, so that 
everybody might hear : — 

" Yet it moves. You remember the thunderous 
awakening of the Russian working class and of the 
entire Russian democracy after the bloodshed of January 
22nd, 1905 (' Bloody Sunday ' at Petrognd, which 
ushered in the first revolution) ? A similar thunderous 
awakening shall be witnessed after the present war, 
after this world-wide slaughter which has irrigated by 
human blood the fields extending over thousands of 
miles along the present battle fronts, which has coloured 
red scores and hundreds of rivers in France, in Russian 
Poland, in Serbia, and in Turkey. The hour of settling 
the accounts will come. The dawn of civil war will 
begin. Let there be darkness round us at present. 
Let treachery and cowardice surround us on all — even 
the least expected — sides. We, on our part, believe 
in our old banner." 

And when the Russian troops were first defeated, in 
May, 1915, on the battle-fields of Galicia, when the cry 
for national unity and for an all-national effort resounded 
throughout Russia with a redoubled force, and when the 
Mensheviks, swept off their feet by the new gush of patriotic 
excitement, though pretending to pursue mysterious 
revolutionary aims, joined the capitalists in the formation 
of Munitions Committees, the Bolshevik organ wrote : — 

" The military debacle of Tsardom is close upon us. 

I 1 A terrible economic exhaustion is overtaking the country 

"as~aTlfesuH^^tie present criminal war. The country 

' will not forgive Tsardom all these millions of lives, all 

this sea of blood, all these oceans of tears. Down with 

the Tsarist gang ! . . . . The last card of the Tsar 

will be beaten. Whomever the Gods wish to destroy 



15 



is deprived of his reason. Tsardom recklessly threw 

itself Unto this desperate game. But the Nemesis of 

HistoW is having her own. Already, through the 

booming of the guns, one can hear the distant funeral 

bells of the Tsarist Monarchy." 

These were prophetic words, because they were dictated 

by true revolutionary insight j two years later the Tsar's 

Monarchyjwas taken to the grave amidst the jubilation of 

the Russiajn people and of the world at large. 

III.4~The Revolution of March, 

1917. 

THE /POLITICAL BANKRUPTCY OF TSARDOM 

The collapse, of the Russian front on May 3rd, 1915, under 
the onslaught of von Mackensen's phalanx sounded, as the 
Bolshevik organ rightly perceived, the death-knell of" 
Russian Tsardom. It is true, as we saw, that Russia was 
on the brink of a revolutoin in the last days of July, 1914. 
It is also true that after the first revolutionary upheaval 
of 1905, which had entirely changed the mentality of the 
Russian people, and, to a large extent, also produced a 
change in the economic structure of the country, the 
obsolete form of autocratic Government, forcibly restored 
with the assistance of the propertied classes, was destined 
sooner or later to disappear. Nevertheless, it was the 
war, with its attendant disasters, both at the front and in 
the tear, which made the inevitable come rather sooner 
than later, and at the same time ensured its success by 
spreading among the peasantry and the army the temper 
which had become alive among the industrial working class 
on the eve of the war. For those disasters, as even a child 
could see, were not mere accidents, but, on the contrary,. 
the natural results of the Tsarist system of government,. 
with its corruption, inefficiency, and obstructive influence- 
on the life-processes of the nation. The disasters were 
caused, in the first place, by a most appalljnglack of guns 
and munitions. Yet scores of millions had been spent on. 






re 

the equipment of the army during the preceding tfen years. 
What had become of them ? They had gone (into the 
P2£^i ts of corrupt generals^and contractors and had been 
wasTed'~T5y~ incompetent administrators. Who Were the 
army leaders ? They were men of the same stamp as 
those who had lost the war in Manchuria ten years pre- 
viously. They had, for the most part, attained their high 
posts through patronage and drawing-room influence, 
■and many of them were downright traitors, as Was proved 
in the case of General Rennenkampf, the hero of the disaster 
at Tannenberg, and General Sukhomlinoff, the Wir Minister 



to supply 
' Germany 
one thing, 
3y Parlia- 



himself. _ Again, why did not Russia prove able 
the deficiencies in munitions herself, as England o 
did, as soon as they were perceived ? Because, for 
the higher army administration, uncontrolled L 
ment, concealed the facts from the public, and because, 
on the other hand, Russia's industrial development had 
been grievously retarded by the Tsarist regime, Which by 
its exactions for itself, for the big landowners, arid for the 
capitalists, had entirely impoverished the masses ahd under- 
mined their purchasing power. Above all, why was the 
country, which had hitherto .been one of the principal 
agricultural countries in Europe, suddenly hurled into the 
abyss of famine ? Because all the able-bodied male popula- 
tion had been recklessly drawn into the army, because the 
widest scope had been given to speculators and landowners, 
and becaj^theweak transport system had been criminally 
allowed to come to complete, ruin. All this, in its causes 
and effects, became clear to the simplest peasant in. the 
country, as well as to the soldier at the front, and Tsar- 
dom lost in the eyes of the people whatever moral autho- 
rity it still possessed. Added to it were the Court scandals 
associated with the name of Rasputin and other low 
adventurers, which helped to open the people's eyes as to 
the true nature of the autocracy. In the end the capitalist 
middle classes themselves were gradually driven into oppo- 
sition to the Tsarist regime. After all, it was their State 
which was being ruined in the war through the incom- 
petency and corruption of that regime, it was their own 
propertied interests which were likely to suffer if the dis- 






u 



17 

content of the masses led to a revolution, and it was their 
schemes and hopes which were being destroyed by the 
disasters of the war and the obvious inability of Tsardom 
to retrieve its fortunes. 

THE LIBERAL OPPOSITION TO A REVOLUTION. 

Nevertheless it was not the capitalist middle classes who 
made the revolution. On the contrary, strongly as they 
detested Tsardom, they still more strongly detested the 
idea of a revolution, and none other than Miliukoff , the well- 
known leader of the Russian Liberals, publicly stated in 
the Duma, in reply to a taunt by the Monarchists, that . 
" rather than organise the country for national defence, 
if that should help the organisation of the revolutionary 
forces, he would leave her as she was," that is, defenceless 
against the Germans. The utmost these classes were pre 
pared to do was to depose the Tsar by means of a secret 
Palace Revolution, and to put up another in his place who 
would drive away the Rasputins from the court and sur- 
round himself by better men " enjoying the confidence of 
the nation," t hat is, Liberals,, For such a " revolution '■' 
tfiey, indeed, began actively to conspire with certain Grand. 
Dukes and high officers when it became known that the 
court was intriguing for a separate peace. with the enemy. 
But, happily, the masses of the people, acting spontaneously,, 
forestalled them. They looked at the situation from 
quite a different point of view. They did not want to save 
the State of the Tsar and the capitalists. They did net., 
care a jot for the conquest of Constantinople and Galicia.. 
What they saw was that the Socialists had been right in 
denouncing the war as an old Imperialist enterprise r Ed- 
predicting from it untold calamities. The}' saw in the Tsar 
but a worthy emblem of the war and of the capitalist State,. 
and in striking a blow against him they were intending to 
strike a blow also for peace, for bread, and for liberty against; 
all forms of exploitation. 

THE DOWNFALL OF TSARDOM. 

The blow, as is well known, fell on March 12th, and two 
days later the Tsar was no more. The women of the people,. 



18 

standing in queues in front of food shops, began the dance 
which soon developed into skirmishes between the police 
and the crowds in the streets. Then Cossacks were sent to 
make use of their whips, but they partly refused to do so 
and partly were met by soldiers of certain regiments of the 
-Guards who took the part for the people. Street fighting 
rapidly developed, more and more regiments went over to 
the people, the arsenals were sacked and their contents 
distributed among the crowds, and, before anyone was 
properly aware, the capital was in the hands of the workers 
and soldiers. In vain did the Liberals send wire after wire 
to the Tsar, who was then at the front, imploring him to 
save the situation by dismissing Jiis old advisers and 
appointing a new Government from their own midst and 
other persons " enjoying public confidence." While he 
hesitated and tried this measure and that, the people of 
Petrograd were acting, seizing one Government institution 
after the other, and setting up a Council of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Delegates (Soviet) as a sort of Revolutionary Con- 
vention, there by compelling the Liber als, assembled as an 
executive committee of the Duma, to establish a Provisional 
Government and to proclaim the deposition of the Tsar. 
Of course, the Liberals did not want a republic, and, while 
deposing the Tsar, they at the same time appointed his 
brother, the Grand Duke Michael, to succeed him. But the 
Soviet and the people of Petrograd would not hear of any 
new Tsar, and the Grand Duke had to sign, simultaneously 
with the Tsar himself, an act of abdication " pending the 
meeting of a Constituent Assembly/' An attempt was 
then made by the Liberals to establish at least a military 
dictatorship, with a view to the further prosecution of the 
war, under the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolayevitch, the 
former Generalissimo, but this, too, came to naught. 
Eventually the Liberals withdrew all opposition to the 
revolution, which now spread to Moscow and all provincial 
towns, meeting nowhere with any resistance, but being 
greeted everywhere with the utmost enthusiasm. Those 
were, perhaps, the happiest days in the history of Russia. 



19 

THE BLUNDERS OF THE SOVIET LEADERS. 

But they also contained the germs of all future compli- 
cations. It must again be borne in mind that at that time 
there were practically no Bolshevik leaders in Russia, and 
that most of the Socialists acting in Petrograd belonged 
to the more opportunist and wholly or partly " patriotic " 
party of Mensheviks, with just a dash of that moderate wing 
of the " Socialist-Revolutionaries '' (a party of Peasant 
Socialism and Political Terrorism, at that time small, but 
destined to grow large in the near future), which under the 
name of the " Group of Toil," formed a small body of Duma 
parlia mentarians, and counted as its leader Alexander 
KerensEyTa "young enthusiastic barrister; with no political 
experience. When, therefore, the first Soviet was formed, 
men like Tchkheidze, the parliamentary leader of the Men- 
sheviks, and Kerensky became its natural heads, and their 
followers constituted the main leaven of the new and in- 
experienced revolutionary organisation. This explains the 
singular circumstance that though the revolution was made 
by the working class and the soldier-peasants, and though 
the actual power was concentrated in their hands, the Soviet 
allowed the exercise of that power to pass into the hands of 
the propertied classes, as represented by the Provisional 
Government which had been appointed by the committee 
of the Duma. That Government had at its head a Prince 
Lvoff, a colourless politician of the moderate Liberal .school, 
and included, along with a number of " Cadets," Miliukof l 
the Imperialist Liberal, as Foreign Secretary, and Gutch- 
koff, a gentleman of the same type belonging to the rich 
manufacturing and financial bourgeoisie, as Minister of War. 
Kerensky, who had never been a revolutionary and who 
had no authority among the masses, was the only repre- 
sentative of the new democracy in the Government, having 
joined it on his own initiative, though subsequently allowed 
to remain there by the Soviet. Tchkheidze himself, who was 
President of the Soviet, though invited to take a seat in the 
Cabinet, wisely declined to do so, being opposed to any 
coalition with the bourgeoisie. Such an opposition was 
perfectly correct, but one may ask, was it at all necessary 
that a bourgeois Government should come into existence ? 



20 

Was it at all necessary that the proletariat should abdicate 
its power in favour of a class which had been opposed to 
the revolution and which was well known to entertain 
totally different views on the war from those held by the 
great masses of the people ? The action of the Soviet in 
shrinking from the assumption of Government power by 
itself at a time when it was omnipotent and the bourgeoisie 
was " simply nowhere " constituted a disastrous blunder 
that can only be explained by the Menshe vik infatuation 
with their dogma that the revolution was~and must remain 
a " bourgeois " one. 



IV — Anti- Bolshevism in Ascendancy 

THE POSITION OF THE BOLSHEVIKS. 

The first act of the victorious revolution — the establishment 
of a Provisional Government — took place, as mentioned, 
in the absence of all the most authoritative leaders of 
Bolshevism ; but no sooner did the first of them, Kameneff, 
return from his Siberian exile, than the Bolsheviks took up 
an attitude of definite opposition to the action of the Soviet 
leaders in depriving the proletariat of all real power and 
transferring all Government authority to the capitalist 
middle class. Towards the end of April the other leaders 
of Bolshevism, with Lenin at their head, returned from 
abroad. The political atmosphere had by that time already 
become considerably heated owing to the Bolshevik agita 7 
tion in favour of the assumption of Government power bf 
the Soviet itself, and the counter-agitation of the Mensheviks 
and Socialist-Revolutionaries in favour of allowing the 
bourgeoisie to carry out the programme of the Revolution 
— peace, land reform, democratic reconstruction, the 
summoning of the Constituent Assembly, etc. — in its own 
bourgeois fashion. When, therefore, Lenin and his friends 
(including, it must be noted, a considerable number of Men- 
sheviks of the Internationalist wing, under Martoff) on 
being prevented by the Governments of France and Great 
Britain from choosing the ordinary route from Switzerland, 
made their way home through German territory in closed 






f/VO 



21 

carriages {in accordance with arrangements made by Swiss 
Socialist leaders with the German Government), a howl of 
well-simulated execration arose in the bourgeois Press, 
having for its object to discredit Bolshevism and its policy 
in the eyes of the masses. Lenin and his friends were re- 
presented as agents, or at least favourites, of the German 
Government, and their advocacy of the transfer of Govern- 
ment authority to the Soviets was denounced as a 
manoeuvre to split the forces of the revolution for the benefit 
of the crafty enemy. The campaign, no doubt, had con- 
siderable success, and the position of the official Soviet 
leaders was immensely strengthened, to the great joy of 
the Cadets and other political parties of the capitalist 
bourgeoisie. 

Nevertheless, the Bolsheviks continued their campaign 
with ever-increasing vigour. In this connection the position 
Vv^taken up by Lenin personally deserves to be noted. As 
soon as he arrived^ he "submitted a new programme to his 
party and the people at large, of which the main plank was 
that Russia must become not a bourgeois democratic, and, 
therefore, not a parliamentary republic, after the French or 
American model, but a Soviet republic, that is, a common- 
wealth in which the central power would belong to a central 
committee of all the Soviets in the country, and the local 
government would be carried on by the local Soviets of 
delegates from the working class and the poorer peasantry, 
as the sole organs of the State. In other words, the Russian 
republic was to be a republic in which the proletariat 
classes would alone exercise authority, to the exclusion of 
the capitalist and landlord classes and their hangers-on. 
j It would be a Socialist State organisation, pursuing as its 
| ultimate object the expropriation of the propertied classes 
I and the socialisation of the means of production. 

This scheme was so bold, in face of the known economic 

backwardness of the country and the widely spread dogmas 

of the other Socialists, that Lenin's own closest friends 

shrank from it and refused to accept it. Lenjjowas com- 

■> pelled to drop it for a time, expecting that life would in due 

1 course prove a more convincing teacher than himself. And 

I life, indeed, brilliantly justified his expectation. 



22 

THE FALL OF THE IMPERIALISTS. 

In the meantime, however, experience bore out the other 
views of the Bolsheviks. The Soviet, faithfully reflecting 
the innermost desires of the masses, at once raiseoj the 
question of peace, and in an historical address tq the 
" Peoples of the World," dated March 27th, laid down the 
proposition that the present war was an Imperialist war, 
and that it was the duty, as well as the interest, of the 
labouring classes everywhere to compel their respective 
Governments to terminate the struggle by a peace which 
would involve no annexations and no indemnities, and 
grant every nation the right to determine its own fate. 
Under the pressure of the masses the Provisional Govern- 
ment agreed to announce this programme to the people of 
Russia as its official diplomatic policy, but when it came to 
its transmission to the Allies, as a preliminary to an invita- 
tion to revise their war aims in accordance with its principles, 
Miliukoff, the leader of. the. Cadets and Foreign Minister 
1 coverednrby_a_ngte~setting forth his own Imperialist war 
I vlewsT and practically inviting the Allies to ignore the 
democratic programme of the Soviet. This was an illum- 
inating revelation of the innermost mind of the Russian 
bourgeoisie and a warning to the people as to the dangers 
which it was running in permitting the capitalist parties 
to manage the business of government. Again the masses 
of Petrograd rose, as they had done two months previously ; 
Miliukoff and his bosom friend Gutchkoff were driven from 
office, and the revolution was confronted with its first 
crisis. 

THE COALITION GOVERNMENT. 

Here was a chance of correcting the initial mistake com- 
mitted by the Soviet leaders. Did the Mensheviks and 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries learn at last the lesson ? 
Not they ! Deeply attached as they were to their dogma 
that the revolution must be a bourgeois one, they refused 
once more to proclaim the Soviets as the sole possessors 
of Government authority, and decided to depute from their 
f own midst four persons (including Tseretelli, one of the most 
influential and talented Mensheviks, and Tchernoff, the 



23 

leader of the Socialist-Revolutionaries) to join the Cabinet,, 
with a view to controlling its policy and actions, and, in- 
cidentally, to counteracting the Bolshevik agitation by 
offering, as it were, security in their own persons for the 
loyalty of the new Provisional Government. . 

This was the second, and, if possible, still greater, blunder t 
committed by the non-Bolshevik Socialists, for, having now 
i attached themselves to the principle of a coalition Govern- 
ment as the highest measure, compatible with their postu- 
late as to the rule of the bourgeoisie, which permitted the 
Soviets to exercise control over the Provisional Government, 
they henceforth became simple hostages in the hands of the 
bourgeoisie, whose representatives were now in a position 
to bring every pressure to bear upon their colleagues, and, 
indirectly, upon the Soviet dominated by them, by threats 
of resignation and termination of the precious coalition. 
The result, indeed, was that all projects of reform, including 
the summoning of a Constituent Assembly, and the land 
distribution, were now shelved indefinitely, and instead of 
working for peace the Government, whose most active 
member now became Kerensky, the successor of Gutchkoff 
in the War Office, began now to make active preparations 
for an offensive, in order, as they said, to make the voice of 
Russian democracy " weighty," both in the councils of the 
Allies and in the future negotiations with the enemy. 

THE JULY OFFENSIVE. 
The masses of the people, who had expected from the 
revolution the end of all their sorrow, that is, peace, reform, 
and bread, did not understand this clever diplomacy, and 
began to listen again to the Bolsheviks, who were now 
openly opposing the policy of the Provisional Government 
as counter-revolutionary, tending towards a. monarchist 
restoration, or, at least, a military dictatorship, and de- 
nouncing their Socialist opponents as aiders and abettors 
in the betrayal of the revolution. On July 1st came the 
new offensive, to end, three weeks after, in a complete 
rout of the Russian army ; but previous to that, on July 
16th, the masses of Petrograd again rose in revolt— this 
time against the Provisional Government as a whole and 



24 



the coalition principle in particular — without any lead from 
the Bolshevik party, but no doubt under the influence of 
its agitation. This time the rising was unsuccessful in spite 
of its promising beginning, partly because it had not been 
organised, but partly also because a mass of forged 
documents had been, secretly set in Circulation, among 
the Pctrograd troops, " with the connivance of the 
Government," showing that Lenin, Trotsky, and other 
Bolsheviks were in the pay of Germany. The opportunity 
was a happy one for the bourgeoisie, who were now able to 
connect the rising with the disaster at the front by repre- 
senting the former as the cause of the latter, and thereby 
to create a double diversion by divesting itself of all re- 
sponsibility for the fiasco of the offensive and by inciting 
all " true patriots " against the Bolsheviks. A period 
almost as reactionary as any which had characterised the 
Tsarist regime now followed. The Bolshevik leaders and 
their followers were hunted down like wild beasts ; Trotsky, 
Kameneff, Alexandra Kolontay, and hundreds of others 
were thrown into prison ; Lenin and Zinovieff were obliged 
to seek safety in hiding ; the Bolshevik papers were sup- 
pressed one after the other— in fact, a. veritable orgy of 
white terror was now set up, with restored death penalty 
for military offences at the front, and with the final 
abandonment of all reform and all peace talk. 

That was a very critical moment for the revolution, and 
had it not been for the arrogance and premature haste of 
the bourgeoisie, which suddenly, without shame, revealed 
now its cloven foot, the situation might have easily 
•developed into a military dictatorship, with the restoration 
•of the monarchy as its ultimate end. As it was, even the 
Menshevik leaders and Kerensky (who had in the mean- 
while become the head of the Provisional Government) 
began to feel uneasy at this ostentatious display of reaction- 
ary proclivities by the bourgeoisie, and when the latter's 
candidate for the rdle of Bonaparte, General Korniloff, the 
Supreme Commander-in-Chief, raised the standard of revolt 
against the Government, demanding the establishment of 
a Directory, with himself at its head, the revolutionary 
democracy was at once aroused from its torpor. Korniloff 



25 



was crashed by the efforts of the railwaymen, the working 
men's Red Guards, and the Lettish troops (Bolsheviks to 
a man), and the Bolshevik party emerged triumphant as 
the only people who had seen the danger and who were 
right in their political programme. 

THE FALL OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. 

But, like the proverbial men whom the gods strike with 
blindness because they want to destroy them, the Men- 
sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries could not even now 
emancipate themselves from the spell of their mischievous 
doctrines and continued to cling to their dogma about the 
bourgeois character of the revolution, etc. While the 
workers and the soldiers were flocking in crowds to the 
banner of the Bolsheviks, demanding, as the least concession 
from the official Soviet leaders, the summoning of a congress 
of all the Soviets of Russia to consider the problems at 
issue, those leaders found nothing better to do than to call 
together a mock-democratic congress consisting of delegates 
from co-operative societies, professional organisations 
(such as those of medical men, journalists, barristers, civil 
engineers), municipalities, county councils, and even 
employers' associations, to " deliberate " upon the situation 
along with a limited number of representatives from the 
Soviets and Peasants' Councils. That was equivalent to 
a direct challenge to the workers' and soldiers' democracy 
of Russia, and when the precious " democratic ' conference, 
after a good deal of most unscrupulous wirepulling on the 
part of the old leaders, decided, by a small majority of 
votes, in favour of the continuance of the Coalition, and 
elected from its own midst, with the addition of a large 
number of members from the propertied classes, a " parlia- 
ment " fro tern, to " control " the new Coalition Cabinet, 
the measure of patience of the masses was filled to over- 
flowing. While that " parliament, "_ doing honour to its 
name, spread itself in unlimited and futile talk, of which 
not even its admirers were taking the slightest notice, the 
Bolsheviks actively began organising the masses for a new 
rising, and openly proclaimed in their papers and at 
innumerable public meetings their intention to lead the^ 



26 



people in an effort to overthrow the Government and the 

" parliament." Never in previous history had a rising been 
prepared so openly, so publicly, under the eyes of all the 
world, as this second, the Bolshevik, revolution. It was a 
public challenge, as it were, to the Kerenskys, the Tsere- 
tellis, the Tchernoffs, and the entire bourgeoisie to defend 
themselves against the coming onslaught. The challenge 
was laughed at or denounced as criminal, and measures 
were taken to meet it should it really, by chance, be carried 
out. But when the night of November 6-7, fixed for the 
commencement of the operations, came, the whole edifice 
reared up by the coalition-mongers and their Government 
and precious bourgeoisie collapsed like a house of cards. 
Workmen organised in Red Guards and troops commanded 
by leaders appointed by a Military Revolutionary Com- 
mittee quietly went round the various Govrnment estab- 
lishments, such as the central telephone station, the military 
staff quarters, etc., and took possession of them, and in the 
course of the following day the Government was arrested, 
all Petrograd (and then Moscow) was in the hands of the 
Bolsheviks, a new Government under the title of Council 
of People's Commissaries was formed, and the great revolu- 
tion was accomplished without any bloodshed. 



■•-'•r.-t-.... 



[[I! 



V- — The Bolshevik Revolution. 

THEIR SUPPORT BY THE MASSES, 

In seizing the reins of power the Bolsheviks were obviously 
playing a game "with high stakes. Petrograd had shown 
itself entirely on their side. To what extent would the 
masses of the proletariat and the peasant army in the rest 
of the country support them ? The Bolsheviks were not 
the men to shirk the issue. Though the Central. Executive 
of the Soviets, elected by the Soviets' congress in June, 
and therefore still dominated by Mensheviks and Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, had opposed the idea of a new congress, 
on the initiative of, and under pressure from, the Bol- 
sheviks, one had been summoned, in a legal way, by the 
Central Executive Committee, to meet at Petrograd on 



Z1 



November 7th, that is, on the morrow of the day fixed for 
the revolution. The composition of the congress fully bore 
out the expectations of the Bolsheviks and allayed the 
fears of those among them who were inclined to doubt the 
appropriateness of the time chosen for the revolution. Of 
the 676 delegates who came from all parts of Russia and 
were elected on a most democratic basis, no fewer than 390 
or more than half, were Bolsheviks, 199 were Socialist- 
Revolutionaries of the Left, 35 were Internationalist Social 
Democrats, 21 were Ukrainian Social Democrats, and only 
51 belonged to the Mensheviks and the Socialist- Revolu- 
tionaries of the Right. Before the proper proceedings 
began, these last-named 51 delegates, perceiving the hope- 
lessness of their position, rose to declare that they would 
have nothing in common with the " usurpers " and left the 
congress. The remaining 625 soon found a common basis 
in their approval of the Bolshevik revolution, drew up a 
series of resolutions on peace, land, and a number of other 
important subjects, elected a new central executive com- 
mittee to act as their standing organ of control and legis- 
lation, and approved the formation of a new Government 
in the form of a Council of People's Commissaries (each 
standing at the head of a permanent committee charged 
with the administration of various Ministries), with Lenin 
as President and Trotsky as Commissioner for Foreign 
Affairs. The Bolshevik revolution thus received the 
sanction of the workers and the soldiers united in the 
Soviets. 

THEIR IMMEDIATE MEASURES. 

But this was only the first step, and innumerable diffi- 
culties at once rose on all sides. The first act of the new 
Government was immediately to translate the resolutions 
of the Soviets' Congress into life by means of decrees. One 
decree was in the form of ,a formal and official invitation 
to all belligerent Powers at once to suspend hostilities, to 
conclude an armistice, and to begin negotiations for 
peace on the democratic formula drawn up by Russian 
people after the overthrow of Tsardom. The other trans- 
ferred all lands hitherto in possession of private landlords, 
of the Imperial family, of the Church, etc., with the excep- 



28 



tion of the small peasant and Cossack, to the peasantry at 
large, to be administered and distributed for use by peasant 
committees acting in conjunction with the local Soviets on 
such a basis that no one should receive more land than he 
and his family could cultivate efficiently without hired 
labour or less land than is required for his and his family's 
needs. A third decree established a control of production 
by working-class committees supervising all the industrial 
establishments of their respective localities in conjunction 
with the local Soviets, and under the supreme control of 
the Supreme Economic Council, formed by representatives 
from various people's Commissions. This latter was a 
measure of combating war-profiteering, speculation, con- 
spiracies of manufacturers against the revolution, and 
other capitalist practices, as well as the first step towards 
the taking over of all the means of production by the 
people. Subsequently to these measures were added a 
number of others, such as the nationalisation of the banks, 
the establishment of a Government monopoly in agricul- 
tural machinery, and, above all, the transfer of all local 
authority to the Soviets as the authorised organs of the 
State. 

The three first-named measures had figured in the pro- 
grammes of all the Russian Socialist parties, and the land 
measure had actually been " lifted " bodily from the 
programme of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. In spite of 
this, the other Socialist and semi-Socialist parties immedi 
ately declared war upon the Bolsheviks. Though the new 
Government at once made a formal offer to their Socialist 
opponents to share power with them on the basis of pro- 
portional representation, the Mensheviks and the Socialist- 
J Revolutionaries refused to have anything to do with them, 
and demanded their resignation and the formation of a 
I coalition Socialist Government (they no longer spoke of a 
i coalition with the Cadets !) without the Bolsheviks. Even 
the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, though in the main 
agreed with the Bolsheviks, at first had not the courage to 
enter the Council of People's Commissaries, and only did so 
many weeks later after much hesitation. Neutral bodies, 
like certain trade unions, attempted several times to mediate 



29 



between the Socialist parties, insisting upon a coalition 
Socialist Government. Each time the Bolsheviks readily 
assented to the proposal. Each time, however, the attempt 
broke down because the opponents of the Bolsheviks either 
demanded the latter' s complete self-elimination (the self- 
elimination, that is, of the strongest political party in the 
country, which entirely dominated the proletariat and the 
soldiers) or the withdrawal of the three fundamental 
decrees, to the substance of which they had themselves 
been committed both before and after the March revolution. 
This attitude did not prevent the non-Bolshevik Socialists 
continuing to hurl at the heads of the opponents the 
charges of " usurpation " and " little Tsars," which 
became still more ridiculous after a specially summoned 
peasant congress had by a great majority approved of the 
Bolshevik revolution and programme, and charged its own 
executive committee to join the central executive commit- 
tee of the Soviets in permanent alliance. Not only, then, 
the working-class and soldiers now rallied to the Bolshevik 
banner, but also the bulk of the peasants, and that meant 
the overwhelming majority of the nation. 

That this was really so, and not merely a formality, was 
soon proved by the easy manner with which the new 
Government disposed of the various armed rebellions of its 
opponents. First, Kerensky, at the head of some armed 
forces, mainly consisting of military cadets, officers, and 
a few Cossack regiments, moved against Petrograd, and 
succeeded in penetrating as far as Tsarskoe Selo. Several 
detachments from the Petrograd garrison and from the 
newly-formed working-class or " Red " guards sent to 
meet him sufficed to wreck the attempt completely, so 
that Kerensky barely escaped with his life in the dis- 
guise of a peasant. Immediately after, at Petrograd 
itself and at Moscow, military cadets, assisted by volun- 
teers from bourgeois classes, raised the standard of 
rebellion under the auspices of the local city councils 
(dominated as these were at the time by the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and reactionary, monarchist and Cadet 
organisations.) Owing to the reluctance of the Govern- 
ment to shed blood, the rebels succeeded in capturing 



X 



30 

some important positions, such as the central telephone 
station and the Winter Palace at Petrograd j[and the 
Kremlin at Moscow. Then the garrisons and the " Red 
Guards " came forward, and a series of bloody battles 
ensued, which resulted in the total defeat of the rebels. 
At the main headquarters of the army also, at Mohilev, 
an attempt was made by the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
under Tchernoff, to form an anti-Bolshevik Government 
in order to lead troops against Petrograd, The Commander- 
in Chief, Dukhonin, was himself in sympathy with the 
scheme, and refused to carry out the peace decree of the 
People's Commissaries. The troops refused to move, 
arrested Dukhonin and lynched him as a traitor, and the 
would-be new Government was dead even before it was 
born. In the south the most formidable rebellion broke 
out, led by the famous General Kaledin, the chief Ataman 
of the Don Cossacks, with the assistance of Korniloff, 
Alexeyeff, and the entire gang of reactionaries and Cadets 
under Rodzianko, the former President of the Duma, and 
Miliukoff. The difficulty of coping with it was the greater 
as the National Council of the Ukraine, the so-called Rada, 
which consisted of the same type of politicians as the 
Russian Socialist-Revolutionaries and Cadets, being also 
hostile to the Bolsheviks, suddenly proclaimed " neutrality " 
and refused to allow troops and Red Guards sent from the 
North against Kaledin to pass through their territory. 
For several weeks the Kaledin rebellion loomed very large, 
but ultimately his own Cossacks went over to the Bol- 
sheviks, the Ukrainan people on their part disavowed the 
Rada and allowed several Bolshevik regiments to pass to 
the Don. The rebellion was soon crushed, the chief centres 
of the Don districts were captured, and Kaledin himself 
committed suicide. A similar fate befell the rebellion of 
Dutoff, the Ataman of the Cossacks of Orenburg district. 
In distant Siberia, too, an anti-Bolshevik Government was 
formed under the leadership of local Cadets and Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, but its life was short-lived, being over- 
thrown by the local Soviets and Red Guards. In short, 
everywhere the Bolsheviks triumphed against their enemies 
with the help of the masses of the people— the workers, 



31 

soldiers, and peasants. Neither the Tsar nor Kerensky 
ever enjoyed such active and unanimous support on the 
part of the masses of the people throughout the vast 
country, and it was almost tragic to hear how, in face of 
these facts, their opponents continued parrot-like to talk 
of the Bolsheviks as usurpers, as men who represented only 
a fraction of the nation, and who leaned entirely for support 
on bayonets. 

The truth, of course, is that in the eyes of the bourgeois 
class, and even its political supporters among the oppor- 
tunist school of Socialists, the masses of the people, as has 
ever been the case in history, counted for very little more 
than fodder for cannons or revolutions, and that the " third 
estate " loomed as the only true representative class of the 
nation — nay, as the nation itself. The Miliukoff s and the 
Rodziankos, the generals, the intellectuals — these were 
the " nation," although they, together with the whole 
capitalist and landlord classes, of which they werefthe 
standard-bearers, barely constituted 15 per cent, of the 
population. Hence the Bolsheviks^" who, without the 
active support of the industrial proletariat, the peasant 
soldiers, and the great mass of peasantry, would not have \ 
been able to remain in power a single day, were only 
" usurpers," demagogues, conspirators, etc., against whom 
the employment of every form of opposition was legitimate. ( 
The attempts to oust them by physical force, that is, by 
mobilising against them the troops from the front and 
the Cossacks from the Don, having failed dismally, re- 
course was had to a universal boycott in the shape of a n 
general strike of all the officials and employees in Govern- <J 
nient, municipal, and, generally, public services, as well as 
schools, hospitals, food committees, and of factory and y 
mine owners, including those under contract for the ^ zn 
supply of war material. No more ruthless boycott and 
" sabotage " had ever taken place either in Russia or in 
any other country. When the great general strike, Qwhich 
brought the Tsarist autocracy to its knees, took place in 
October, 1905, at least the doctors, the pharmacists, the 
men employed in the waterworks and such-like public 
services remained at their post with the express approval, 




32 

and sometimes even at the direct orders, of the revolutionary 
leaders. Now it was different. Now the bourgeoisie, with 
the thorough ruthlessness which distinguishes all its actions 
in defence of its class interests against the popular masses, 
resolved to fight the Bolshevik regime, even though the 
population in the cities might perish from hunger and 
disease and the army might be left without the necessaries 
either of defence or sheer existence. And because the 
Bolshevik Government found itself on that account unable 
to administer its decrees, and even to obtain from the State 
and other banks the necessary means of paying the lower 
officials and the Government workers (who throughout 
had remained at their posts in spite of all the intimidation 
practised against them), the bourgeoisie and its Press 
, myrmidons had the additional impudence to deride the 
Bolsheviks for their impotence, and even to argue there- 
from that they did not represent the country. 

THE ALLEGATIONS OF "VIOLENCE." 

It was natural that the Government should, in these 
circumstances, have recourse to methods of constraint and 
restraint. Some of the worst boycotters among the higher 
officials were either put into prison or -had their bread cards 
taken away from them. Others were simplv dismissed and 
deprived of their right to pension. Manufacturers and 
bankers who took part in the general economic " sabotage " 
were also arrested and their businesses taken away and 
confiscated for the benefit of the State, to be run directly 
by the Government. Arrest and imprisonment, with a view 
to trial by revolutionary courts, were further inflicted on 
politicians and bankers who had been discovered carrying 
on a conspiracy with the rebel Cossack generals, and a 
number of papers who had been supporting and even agitat- 
ing in favour of the bourgeois boycott, including some 
socialist organs, were suspended, and in a few cases entirely 
suppressed. All these and similar measures were in the 

■ nature not so much of reprisals or punishments as of com- 
pulsion to work, for in the overwhelming majority of cases 

I the cessation of the boycott or a pledge to resume work 
sufficed to restore to the " saboteurs " their freedom and 



32 

Sf Sfw ?f ^ it ? ZensMp - Becau9e Countess Panin Minister 
of Public Kehei m the last Kerensky Government refused 

stcetr^ ^^ ^ de P art men t to her Lshev k 
successor, she was put into prison and kept there until the 
money was restored to the State ; and when Purishkev teh 

archist conspiracy, was condemned to four vears' forced 

- labour on public works he was expressly tol/tiS if after 

one year's confinement in prison he would > sigr i a written 

pledge to desist from all political agitation ?rfe rest of Ms 

SfedW 11 1 Vff^ A1 « er ' the "^tlence » 
practised by the Bolshevik Government even on its most 

mtr 7 e i™f aC ? blG °^° nents ^ been astonf hSgly 
ma certainly it cannot even be remotely com oared 
-theT m degree or extent, with the « SL ^ t t ! 
French Revolution or with that generally practised bv 
bourgeois governments against their enemies P S spite of 
all provocation, not a single sentence of death . hnf W, 
pronounced by Bolshevik? justice, and t " nt of mere 
^numbers of persons arrested or papers suppressed itZm 
compare very favourably even with feffiS 
Under the latter, hundreds of Bolsheviks and the pofi ™ a ] 
opponents languished in Petrograd prisons alone for manv 
long months without ever having had even the chTrte? 

mostly ^^^"ST^^^^^^ 

=ed on the ch^e^a^ fT^LZtl 

%^^^*°^° n ^ ^ in acc -dance wkh 
tne Governments promise. As for sentences of death 
hundreds and thousands of them were inflicted and carried 
out in the case of soldiers and whole units who refiSS to 
expose their bare breasts to the machine J^nfttl 

SEKSl f he de 1 h penalty was « XSc^ 

^1S!:^^ <* — y whef 

wh^rA Ce ° f ? eSe f i LCts the cries of Bolshevik " terrorism " 
rTf h. w been r ? oundin £ ever since from the ?Wts 
raised f ^^^ th ™ aiders and abettors, who never 
raised a word of protest against the much more rutmlss 




34 

r , gu ne. of WW-E^^S sfaXw^afJn^ 

hypocrisy, part of the campaign i expression of 

of the hammer w Communards sent a 

the trfer in cold blood of 35,000 men women and 

^TJ£££%££& w^e^mlry? 

DISSOLUTION OF COHSTITUEHT ASSEMBLY^ 

The greatest crime ^P^^J^t^A 
however, has been ^ tectum crt % 

Assembly, which, alter many J f th Bolshevik 
regime, met at last under the auspices ot tne *£ 
,5 s ' + t+ mnv certainly appear as a monsuuus 
Government, it may certaimy ^ ree rme which 

Sa^fSef aSS^ !&£* -insUtntmn 
regaras ltseii generations, which the 

golsbevfe Serves had been championing ever since 
fhe firl evoWion of 1905 with more cnf msias™ than 
% other party, and which moreover, in the present^ 
cum stances ^^d tobe the only^y 

afraid of the v ^ c * °* "~ t assem §lv known to demo- 

SSSSSS ^JSSM^f - tdXbS 

of soldiers and the fists of the working-class ? Indeed, had 
not he composition of the Constituent Assembly on the 
£v first dav shown a decided majority against the Bol- 
Ihevfc andLs Z that the circumstance which prompted 
tt Bolsheviks, who had allowed the eta* ons to th 
Assembly to take place and the Assembly itself to meet, 
to disperse it ? 



35 

To those whose order of ideas still clings to traditions 
of old bourgeois democracy the arguments of the opponents 
of the Bolsheviks will appear as irrefutable, but a closer 
examination of the circumstances and a detachment from 
inherited political - measures of value will > not show only 
the inevitableness, but also the intrinsic justification of the 
violence done by the Bolsheviks to the Constituent 
Assembly. When Lenin returned to Russia at the end of 
April he, with his clear foresight of the coming developments, 
at once proclaimed that the Russian revolution would either 
assert itself as a Republic of the Soviets, that is, as a 
Republic in which the supreme power would actually, and 
not merely on paper, belong to the proletariat and the 
poorer peasants, or it would not assert itself at all, but 
would perish at the hands of its own internal enemies. 
This pronouncement did not find favour even with Lenin's 
own closest political friends. How could the bourgeois 
classes be eliminated from power ? Was Russia ripe for 
such a dictatorship of the disinherited masses ? Even 
while fighting for the transfer of all power to the Soviets 
the leaders of the Bolsheviks were at that time unable to 
follow out their own train of thought to the end, and 
imagined, in a more or less confused way, that the exercise 
of power by the Soviets would only be temporary, that a 
Constituent Assembly, representing all classes, including 
the bourgeoisie, would in due course meet and decide in 
favour of a bourgeois Government, and that then the 
classes that were organised in the Soviets, that is, the pro- 
letariat and the peasantry, would voluntarily step down and 
allow the bourgeoisie to take their place. It did not enter 
their minds that the bourgeoisie itself might abdicate its 
powers by proclaiming a universal boycott of Government 
authority, or that the proletariat and the peasantry, once 
possessed of power, might not be willing to restore it to 
their class enemies. Lenin did not argue with them, but 
allowed the events to justify his prognostications. He 
proved right. The revolution was ebbing out, and would 
have ebbed out entirely had not the Bolshevik revolution 
helped the Soviets to assert themselves. The Soviets, both 
centrally and locall}?-, became the State, and their power 
was confirmed by the universal strike of the bourgeoisie. 



\; 




36 

What sense was there in allowing a Constituent Assembly 
to proclaim itself the supreme authority in the State and to 
supersede the Soviets ? None whatsoever. The rule of 
the Soviets meant the assertion of the revolution and of 
the working and peasant classes, whereas the rule of the 
Constituent Assembly would have meant the re-establish- 
ment of the rule of those very classes and parties which had 
nearly ruined the revolution, and which spelt the political 
and economic subjection of the popular masses. Should 
revolutionary Social-Democrats have permitted it ? Should 
they have stultified their own action of a few weeks pre- 
viously ? Had they wrested the power from the bourgeois 
classes and handed it over to the labouring masses in order 
to wrest it back from the latter and put it again into the 
hands of their enemies ? The very idea of it was absurd. 
Either one agreed that Russia must, by a striking innova- 
tion, establish a new form of State, a State of the labouring 
masses, and in that case a Constituent Assembly, such as 
had emerged in all previous bourgeois revolutions, was an 
absurdity, or a Constituent Assembly was the crown of the 
revolutionary edifice, and in that case it had been a blunder 
and a crime on the part of the Bolsheviks to have carried 
through their Socialist revolution. The Bolsheviks acted 
logically when they chose the first part of the dilemma ; 
the others were also right in choosing the second part, be- 
cause they were opposed to the idea of any other than bour- 
geois rule. One certainly could not with any consistency 
be an opponent of the bourgeois regime, and yet play off 
a Constituent Assembly against the Soviets. In fact, the 
adherents of the Constituent Assembly were, and still are, 
those who had themselves either opposed or kept delaying 
it so long as they, while the Kerensky regime lasted, had 
reason to fear that the popular masses might gain through it 
undue importance ; ^they became enthusiastic about it 
only when they saw, after the Bolshevik revolution, that a 
Constituent Assembly was their sole chance of regaining 
at least a portion of their old power. Their suddenly 
awakened sense of democracy was only the expression of 
their sense of disappointment at losing that last chance. 



1 



37 

THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT. 

The dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, then, meant 
the final establishment of the rule of the Soviets, that is, 
of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasant class, 
pending the reconstruction of society which \ ould do away 
with classes altogether and admit every citizen of Russia to 
the full exercise of civic rights. The Bolsheviks may only 
be blamed for not having foreseen, as their leader Lenin 
had, the logical implications of their own war-cry, " All 
power to the Soviets," and for discovering them only when 
confronted with the accomplished facts of the situation ; 
but that is a blame which has nothing to do with the 
charges of coup d'etat, of usurpation, of violence against 
the principles of democracy which it pleases the Russian 
and foreign bourgeoisie to hurl at them. The real Con- 
stituent Assembly of the proletarian-peasant Republic of 
the Soviets met a week later, when the All- Russian Congress 
of the Soviets assembled, and was soon joined by the All- 
Russian Congress of Peasant Delegates. Both of them 
endorsed by an overwhelming majority the policy and 
the actions of the Council of People's Commissioners, and 
elected a joint Central Executive Committee to repre- 
sent permanently the labouring masses of the Russian 
nation, and to act as the supreme legislative and con- 
trolling authority. Their political complexion showed 
better than anything else could that the Constituent 
Assembly, which contained a majority against the Bol- 
sheviks, had not faithfully reflected the real mind of the 
people, owing chiefly to the fact that during the elections 
and the preceding electoral campaign the peasants in the 
country districts had been as yet unaware of the deep 
cleavage among the Socialist-Revolutionaries, all of whom 
talked of the socialisation of the land and of peace, and for 
whose candidates they voted as if they still were a united 
party. In the interval between these elections and the 
meeting of the All- Russian Peasant Congress not only did 
the cleavage between the " right " and the " left " wings of 
the party become itself much more pronounced, but, also, 
the peasants became more clearly aware of it. Had the 



38 

Constituent Assembly been elected a couple of months later 
it would have shown a large majority for the Bolshevik 
policy. 

VI. — The Bolshevik Programme 
of Peace, 

THE NEGOTIATIONS AT BREST-LITQVSK. 

It remains to sketch out the Bolshevik programme of peace, 
which, after all, was the chief plank in their platform, which 
had gained for them the adhesion of the overwhelming 
majority of the people. This very fact shows that the real 
usurpation, the real violence, the real disregard of the 
principles of democracy were all acts of which those parties 
had been guilty who for eight months previously had been 
organising for war, had led the unfortunate masses to 
slaughter in the July offensive, and had restored the death 
penalty for acts of insubordination in the army. True to 
their word, the Bolsheviks, immediately on gaining power, 
offered peace to all the belligerents, and a specially sum- 
moned Congress of the Soviets endorsed the action. The 
Allies refused the offer, the Germans accepted it. What 
were the Bolsheviks to do ? Were they to repeat the old 
methods of persuasion and diplomatic talk with the Allies, 
which had shown themselves so futile during the previous 
eight months ? They went to Brest-Litovsk to negotiate 
first for an armistice, and next for peace — a general, if the 
Allies agreed to join them, or separate, if need be. What 
were their plans ? They knew that the military position 
was against them. The Russian army had been melting 
away ever since the last months of the Tsarist regime. It 
had been melting away through wholesale desertion and 
disease caused by hunger, by lack of munitions and general 
equipment, and by a complete lack of faith in the Russian 
and Allied war aims. During the first eight months of the 
revolution the process had continued at an ever accelerating 
speed. The disorganisation of the transport, of the supply 
of raw material and fuel to the industries, and of the food 



\ 



39 

and clothing supply had proceeded apace, and though the 
Allies had brought in a considerable quantity of war 
material, large sectors of the immense front were still 
lacking in munitions, machine guns, heavy guns, trench 
props, boots, tents, carts, etc. Above all, the morale of 
the army deteriorated immensely owing to obvious contra- 
diction between the watchwords of the revolution and the 
avowed objects of conquests which dominated the war[ 
policy of the Allies and which the Kerensky administration \ 
was willingly, or unwillingly, helping to attain by further 
sacrificing the blood and treasure of the Russian people. ( 
The desertions and acts of 'insubordination now became so 
numerous and so extensive that on one occasion the Minister 
of War openly admitted that by November -there would 
no longer be any army left in the trenches. The highest 
naval authority under Kerensky, when offered a post by 
the Bolsheviks, replied that the only service he could render 
Russia would be to tell the Allies she could no longer fight. 
The Bolsheviks could do nothing to remedy the state of 
affairs, and they went to Brest-Litovsk relying solely upon 
the revolutionary succour of the working classes of the other 
belligerent countries — above all, of Germany and Austria- 
Hungary. It was in order to provoke that succour, that is, 
to kindle the fire, of a revolution in the Central Empires, 
that Trostky, the head of the Russian peace delegation, 
tried to prolong the negotiations even after their hopeless- 
ness had become apparent, and made those speeches which 
did more to set the German people in opposition to their 
bourgeois classes and Junker rulers than all the declarations 
of the Allied statesmen put together had done in the pre- 
ceding three and a half years of war. As a matter of fact, 
a great strike, involving over a million workers, broke out 
in Germany and previously in Austria, as a demonstration / 
against the now revealed aggressive war aims of the Austro- 
German generals and diplomats. Had not at that very 
moment the Allied generals and diplomats assembled at 
Versailles issued a counterblast, who knows but that those 
strikes might have turned into a serious revolutionary 
movement ? The same result would have been achieved 
if the Allies had from the first joined the Bolsheviks at 







40 



Brest and isolated the Austro-Germans by the„.aeceptance 
of the Russian formula of peace. As it was, the strike 
movement came for the present to nothing, and Trotsky 
was confronted with the dilemma of either capitulating to 
the Germans completely or of renewing the war. As he 
would not do the former and as he could not do the latter, 
he broke off the negotiations, declared that Russia was out 
of the war, but refused to sign the humiliating terms of 
peace. He had, however, in reserve in his mind, in accord- 
ance with the injunction of Lenin, who from the first had 
not been hopeful of an immediate revolution in the Central 
Empires, that he would nevertheless sign the peace if the 
Germans were either to present him with an ultimatum 
or denounce the armistice by giving the agreed seven days* 
notice. The Germans, however, did neither, and with a 
perfidy not easily matched in military history, immediately 
broke the arimstice and marched against the defenceless 
and partly demobilised Russians. The rest is known. 
The Bolshevik gave in and signed the aggravated German 
conditions of peace. 

THE SEPARATE PEACE. 

For that, of course, they have again been denounced 
by their political opponents and by many in the Allied 
countries, who had mostly before been admiring Trotsky's 
conduct at Brest. Yet what else could the Bolsheviks 
have done, with such a terrible legacy as they had received 
on their hands, in the shape of hunger, lack of every neces- 
sity for war, disorganisation of the State machinery, dis- 
location of the entire transport system, and with all the 
bourgeois elements against them — especially ' in the 
Ukraine, where they had gone so far as to make a separate 
peace with the Germans and to invite them to march into 
their country to help them against the Bolsheviks and 
their own pro-Bolshevik popular masses ? A section of 
the Bolshevik leaders were in favour of repudiating the 
German terms and of organising a voluntary army of re- 
volutionists to continue the struggle until such time as the 
proletariat in Germany and Austria had risen. The 
majority, however, knowing the condition of the Russian 



41 

masses better, refused to assume such a responsibility in 
face of the problematic developments in Germany and 
Europe at large, and insisted upon the acceptance of the 
Brest treaty. Their, and, above all, Lenin's argument was 
that no effective resistance was at the moment possible 
until the country had been more or less reorganised, that 
with the Germans in the Ukraine the attempt would be still 
more hopeless, and that those who were prepared to wait 
until the rising of the working class in Germany had already 
been deceived in their expectations when they thought that 
the Germans would not dare to march against Socialist 
Russia for fear of their own people. On the other hand, 
if only they could get a respite, the Russian Socialist Re- 
public would be firmly established and would in due course, 
even without actual fighting, exercise such a potent influence 
over the peoples of other countries that the German rule, 
not only in the territories forcibly separated from Russia, 
but also in Germany and Austria themselves would be 
destroyed. This view carried the day, and the future will 
show to what extent it was,right. 

THE FUTURE, 

In the meantime it is certain that if left alone by 
foreign enemies, the Soviet rule will in no distant future 
establish a Socialist regime in Russia. Already the masses 
of the people — more particularly of the peasantry- — are 
learning the work of administration through the Soviets, 
and the State officials and other public employees, together 
with the rest of the intellectuals, learning wisdom through 
hunger, arc going back to their old posts in ever-increasing 
numbers, so that the wheels of the Government machine 
are already revolving, and the great decrees issued by the 
People's Commissioners and the Soviets are passing from 
the " paper " stage into life. Even the most stubborn 
among the " intellectuals " will soon learn that, after all, 
the people is a much better master than the capitalist, and 
that a Socialist regime is likely to render them even more 
happy than a. bourgeois regime. Thereby a new epoch 
opens in the life of mankind, and though it is hazardous 
to make prognostications, with two foreign invaders on 



42 

Russian territory, and invasion threatened by the " Allies " 
with the object of restoring power to the bourgeoisie, with 
all the world, including the greater part of the Socialist world, 
looking on with undisguised hostility, one may neverthe- 
less venture to say that the Bolshevik revolution, whatever 
its ultimate fate may be, will remain for all time the greatest 
source of inspiration to the struggling proletariat of all 
countries until the triumph of Socialism covers also with 
eternal glory the Red Flag implanted by Lenin and his 
friends on November 6-7, 1917. 



March, 1918. 






43 







Aa. 

n \AJ WJ& tl n^AMcyM^^^r 

Supplementary Chapter 

By Ivy Litvinoff. 



Since the above was written a year has elapsed, and much 
water has flowed in the rivers of Russia and much blood 
has flowed on her plains. The history of this period is 
marked by numerous dramatic incidents which, however, 
are still fresh in public mind and need not be recorded in 
detail. So far as organised political parties were concerned, 
the conclusion of the " Peace " of Brest left the Soviet 
Government in still greater isolation than before. The 
Left Socialist-Revolutionaries withdrew from the Govern- 
ment, though not from the Soviets, and an opposition was 
formed even within the Bolsheviks' own ranks. The 
leaders of the Trade Unions, too, were almost to a man 
opposed to the treaty. Outside Russia's boundaries all 
the world rose against the Bolsheviks. In the Allied coun- 
tries Labour, not to speak of the Imperialists, was against 
them, and even in Germany, which profited by the " Peace ' ' 
thev came in for a good deal of abuse. The majority 
Socialists, who had to excuse their own treason, argued 
that by disbanding their troops and by making inflamma- 
tory speeches at Brest, the Bolsheviks had brought disaster 
on themselves, while the Minority Socialists, the " Inde- 
pendents," furious at the easy victory obtained by their 
Imperialists, blamed the Bolsheviks for their " selfishness." 
It will redound to the eternal credit of the Soviet Govern- 
ment, and, above all, of Lenin himself, that amidst such a 
complete political isolation they remained true to the course 
they had adopted, the course which subsequently proved 
the right one. Not for a moment did they "flinch in their 
attitude, which was prompted by the expectation that the 



44 

" breathing space," as Lenin called it, thus gained, would 
allow them to carry out a certain amount of constructive 
work necessary for the material consolidation of the new 
Socialist regime and at the same time enable them to live 
while the revolutionary forces unchained everywhere by the 
war were gathering strength. 

In this attitude they were supported by the overwhelm- 
ing majority of the popular masses in Russia, as evidenced 
by the resolutions at the Soviet congresses and numerous 
local Soviets. But in spite of this the parties of opposition, 
claiming to speak in the name of the Russian people and 
Russian democracy, broke out in a furious agitation 
against the Soviet Government, thereby unwittingly 
creating an atmosphere favourable to counter-revolutionary 
intrigues and deluding the Allies into believing that any 
action on their part against the Government and the 
Soviet regime would meet with the support of the entire 
opposition and would be greeted with enthusiasm even by 
the masses of workers and peasants themselves. 

counter-revolutionary intrigues and the 
allied attack. 

The result was that the counter-revolutionary forces of 
Russia began raising their heads, organising armed revolts 
in various isolated towns or districts, or making clever use, 
for this purpose, of the Right. Socialist Revolutionaries and 
Mensheviks, while the Allies at the same time bought over 
to their side the Czecho-Slovak prisoners of war, in order, 
as they said, to prevent Siberia from falling into the hands 
of the Germans (thousands of miles away), but, in reality, 
to cut off Soviet Russia from the only source of food supply 
left her after the German occupation of the Ukraine. The 
counter-revolutionary outbreaks proved in each case a 
complete fiasco — not, indeed, so much through the action 
of the Soviet troops as by reason of the revolts of the local 
popular masses who were faithful to the Soviet regime. 
Only in the south-east, among the Cossacks of the Don, 
Orenburg, Astrakhan, and Kuban, the revolts, led by 
Tsarist generals, lingered longer and in parts, linger still to 






45 

this day, owing partly to the distance from the centre, 
but chiefly to the very substantial material help in money 
and war material extended to them first by the Germans 
and then by the Allies. The direct action of the Allies, 
through the Czecho- Slovaks, proved more successful for the 
simple reason that in the absence of local garrisons or even 
police on the outskirts of the country, any town or district 
could in those days be captured and maintained in occupa- 
tion by a well-disciplined armed band. It was in this 
manner that rhe Czecho-Slovak troops, deluded by fables 
that the Bolshevik Government Was preparing to deliver 
them into the hands of its German paymasters, and re- 
munerated at the rate of 200 roubles per head per month 
(as against 5 roubles previously), were able to get hold of all 
the chief stations on the Siberian railway and thus to be- 
come masters of the narrow, but vitally important, strip of 
land on either side of the rails from Samara to Vladivostok. ' 

Allied troops were then landed at the last-named place, 
and a couple of months later, in June, at Murmansk. The 
landing at Vladivostok was accompanied by the usual assur- 
ance of the innocence of the invaders' intentions. That, 
however, did not prevent them from permitting the arrest 
and imprisonment of all the prominent local Soviet and 
Bolshevik leaders by the Czecho-Slovaks and the Russian 
counter-revolutionaries, from dissolving the local munici- 
pality and ordering new elections and, when the elections 
resulted, to their utmost surprise, in the return of a Bol-i 
shevik majority, from proclaiming martial law and gnashing! 
th^el^ections^. In the case of Murmansk they had~r^ource| 
to the method of bribing the local leaders by specious pro- 
mises and hard cash into concluding a " treaty of alliance " 
with them, whereby the Allies were allowed to land for the 
protection of the country from the Germans (in this case 
also hundreds of miles away across impassable marshes 
and bogs) and undertook to provide them with food, or 
refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the region, 
and even to recognise the supreme authority of the Mur- 
mansk Soviet. The object of this action, as revealed by 
the subsequent seizure of Archangel and other places on the 
White Sea by force of arms, was not so much to threaten 










: 



46 

Petrograd as to try to establish a connection with the 
Czecho-Slovak front in the east and south-east and thus 
form a cordon, shutting in the Soviet Republic on all sides. 
There they still are, presumably waiting for the return of 
warm weather in order to 1 advance further south and east. 
The way in which they have respected their pledge not to 
interfere in the internal affairs of the region is best illus- 
trated by the fact that after capturing Kem they arrested 
the local Soviet and shot three of its members, and that 
having set up at Archangel a bogus " native " Government 
with the renegade Socialist, Tchaykovsky, at its head they 
/ have now, through that Government, abolished all the 

\ local Soviets, including the one at Murmansk, with which 
^\ 1 1 tKe^rconcluded the original treaty, replacing them by the 

1 time-worn Zemstvos. Rumour has it that at the moment 
of writing the peasants and workers of the region are in 
revolt, that at least one regiment recruited by the so-called 
Government has had to be disbanded and punished for 
mutiny, and that altogether the condition of affairs there 
is highly critical. 

In the meantime the political enemies of the Bolsheviks 
at home continued their counter-revolutionary intrigues. 
As the Czecho-Slovaks were capturing city after city from 
the Volga to Vladivostok, the Right Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, sometimes in alliance with the Mensheviks, sometimes 
with the Cadets, sometimes even with avowed Mon- 
archists and Tsarist officials and generals, were setting up, 
in the name of the " Constituent Assembly," local and even 
" central " administrations, giving the latter the pompous 
names of " All- Russian Governments," suppressing the 
Soviets, abolishing the decrees of the Soviet Government, 
and executing and arresting local Soviet leaders by the 
hundreds. In this way an " All-Russian Government " 
was formed at Samara, then at Ufa, a second at Omsk, a 
third at Vladivostok, and so forth, which at first were at 
loggerheads with one another, and then coalesced info one 
with its central seat at Omsk, only to be ultimately upset 

XI by Admiral Koltchak, who arrested most of its members 
and proclaimed himself dictator a la Bonaparte. And 
1 these intrigues and tragic plots were hatched and carried 



47 

out with the moral and material -assistance of the Allies, 
who had as little compunction in supplying the counter- 
revolutionaries of all shades and hues with gold as Pitt in [' 
his days had when he supported the enemies of the French I 

Revolution outside and inside France. / 

i J 

TERRORIST ACTIVITIES OF THE SOCIALIST- 
REVOLUTIONARIES OF THE LEFT, 

More honest, but also more foolish, were the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries of the Left, who by this time — midsummer 
1918— had worked themselves up into such a state of 
nerves over the iniquities of the Brest Peace that no 
means seemed to them too fantastic or criminal to employ 
against the Soviet Government and. its policy. One fine 
day, while the highest authority in the country, the Con- 
gress of Soviets, was in session, they hatched and success- 
fully carried out a plot to assassinate Mirbach, the German 
Ambassador. At the same time they effected the arrest 
of some members of the Government and seized certain 
public offices, proclaiming the deposition of the Bolsheviks 
from power and their own accession to office on a programme 
of war with Germany. They completely missed fire. The 
German Government, well aware by that time of the dangers 
which were threatening it, at home and at the front, did not 
react on the provocation and did not declare war on Russia ; 
while the Bolshevik Government, unlike Rerensky's 
Government .on the memorable days of November 6-7, 
did not even shake in the saddle, being supported by the 
overwhelming majority of the workers and soldiers. The 
conspirators were themselves arrested by the hundred, a 
number among them, including the authors and direct j 
abettors of the assassination of Mirbach, were executed, f I 
and the whole rebellion was wound up within, practically, 
twenty-four hours. 

This, however, did not end the trouble. Individual 
assassination now became the order of the day. In the 
days of Tsardom the Socialist-Revolutionaries used to 
justify their terrorist methods on the ground that there 
were no other, more constitutional, ways of removing the 



48 



enemies of the people from power. This was a very narrow 
view to take of what constituted revolutionary action, and 
was therefore always condemned by the Social Democrats, 
who were working for a revolution by the people. Still, it 
had its moral justification in the intolerable sense of in- 
justice and despair on the part of the individual terrorist. 
But with the masses of the workers and peasants in actual 
possession of power even that individual justification was 
gone. The Bolsheviks, in their time, had also been in a 
helpless minority, but they did not have recourse to forcible 
methods of removing their political opponents. They 
worked patiently among the masses, relying upon the 
ultimate triumph of truth. The Socialist-Revolutionaries 
apparently had no such confidence in the convincing force 
of their opinions. They altogether lacked that power to 
foresee the future trend of events on which alone fruitful 
political work can be based, which is only supplied by a 
thorough grasp of Marxist principles of historic material- 
ism. In the case of the Socialist- Revolutionaries, their 
renewal of the terrorist methods under the Soviet regime 
was merely a confession of political incompetence and an 
expression of their despair of ever being able to gain the 
masses over to their views. The assassination of Mirbach 
was followed by the assassination of Uritsky, President of 
the Petrograd Extraordinary Commission for fighting the 
Counter-Revolution and Speculation, later on of Volo- 
darsky, Petrograd Commissioner for the Press, two highly 
gifted and devoted leaders of the Bolshevik party, and in 
between came the attempt to assassinate Lenin himself. 
And to crown all, as if to show the inter-relation between 
the enemies of the Soviet regime within and without the 
country, a vast foreign plot was discovered, in which, it 
was alleged., the prime movers were no other than the 
diplomatic representatives of the Allies themselves. 

But all these assaults and intrigues broke down miserably 
against the impregnable walls of the young Soviet regime. 
All they produced was an intense Reeling of bitterness 
coupled with a stern resolve among the proletariat and the 
organs of its authority, the Soviets and the Government, to 
protect their revolutionary acquisitions at all costs. As in 



49 

France 120 years previously, so in Soviet Russia, the reply 
to these combined assaults of domestic and foreign enemies 
was the Red Terror. 

THE RED TERROR. 

What is Terror ? Is it Terror when the British Govern- 
ment executes scores of Irish rebels and imprisons and 
keeps in prison for years hundreds of others ? Is it Terror 
when the same Government, in suppressing a revolt among 
the natives of Ceylon (1915) executes and imprisons hun- 
dreds upon hundreds ? Is it Terror when the American 
authorities, in fighting strikers and pacifists during the war, 
shoots down and imprisons citizens and foreigners by the 
score ? Is it Terror when Venizelos, put into power by 
foreign bayonets, shoots, imprisons and arraigns before 
military and other courts scores of political opponents? 
Is it Terror when Sidonio Paes, having usurped supreme 
power in Portugal, claps 5,000 Republican opponents into 
prison ? Or does Terror only become Terror when it is em- 
ployed against friends of existing capitalist Governments 
and against members of the ruling classes ? It would seem 
so. When, by order of the Tsar, tens of thousands of native 
men ; women and children were massacred and starved to 
death in Turkestan in 1916 because they had revolted 
against the illegal order to conscript them for the Russian 
army, not a word of it was mentioned in the Press until 
after the Revolution. When the Czecho -Slovaks and the 
Right Socialist -Revolutionaries celebrated orgies of blood 
in Samara, Ufa and countless other towns which they had 
captured from the local Soviets, the papers only spoke of 
restoration of " law and order." But when, by order of 
the Soviets, a Tsarist Minister, caught spinning a counter- 
revolutionary intrigue is shot, or when the same fate befalls 
a financier engaged in gigantic and unscrupulous specula- 
tions in bread, or when, a batch of officers who had accepted 
service in the Red Army are executed for betraying the 
troops under their command to the enemy, then, of course, 
the outcry becomes deafening, and the Press is horror- 
struck at these acts of Terror. To this day so-called 
public opinion, that is, the opinion manufactured by the 
spoon-fed Press, is unable to get over the execution of the 




50 

ex 'Tsf , and day after day the col umns of the British Press 
are filled with lurid pictures, supplied by " eye-witnesses " 
and other reliable travellers/ 5 of the scene in the cellar 
when that great man and benevolent ruler was ruthlessly 
shot by the savage Bolsheviks. And, not content with 
discreetly suppressing or glossing over the terrorist deeds 
of their own and of their friends, and with recording in- 
flating and expanding the similar deeds of the Bolsheviks 
the makers of public opinion, aided and abetted by the 
official powers that be, add to the record of things that 
happened things which never happened, killing with their 
pen again and again persons such as members of the Tsar's 
family, Tsar's Ministers, Princes, Counts and other grand 
personages or prominent old revolutionists like Bresh- 
kovskaya and Kropotkin, in order, a short time afterwards 
to revive and kill them again. 

As a matter of fact, the Soviet regime has been much 
less sanguinary than any known in history. For the first 
, six and even eight months not a single person was executed 
| and whatever shedding of blood took place was either in 
open street fighting with armed rebels, or else due to the 
uncontrollable, unforeseen and spontaneous action of the 
crowd. It is true that arrests were constantly going on 
among plotters or traitors, who were as numerous among 
the higher old bureaucracy, the higher clergy, the old 
officers, the financiers and aristocrats as one would expect 
in the circumstances. But could the Soviet Government— 
the Government of the overwhelming majority of the 
people— m its fight for existence amidst universal ruin and 
starvation, allow plots and treason to be carried out with 
impunity ? What Government, even in so-called demo- 
cratic countries where government represents only the 
capitalist minority of the nation, would act otherwise even 
in conditions of peace and plenty ? In point of fact, the 
imprisonment of the numerous counter-revolutionaries 
during the- first months of the Soviet regime did not have 
even the character of punishment, but solely that of re- 
straint. When Purishkevitch, the notorious rea'ctionary 
agitator of the days of Tsardom, was caught conspiring 
against the new order, he was sentenced by the people's 



! 



51 

court to four years' " social seclusion," with " socially- 
useful " employment on public works, but pending the 
organising of such works he was ordered to be detained in 
prison for one year, with the proviso that if by the end of 
that year he gave a pledge not to engage in conspiracies in 
future he should be set free ! At the same time his accom- 
plice, a young aristocrat, was only sentenced to a " public 
censure " and to be handed over to his relatives, who were 
to be responsible for his future behaviour ( How the pro- 
fessional judges and public prosecutors laughed at these 
judgments of the poeple's court. Again, as a characteristic 
instance of the treatment meted out to the enemies of the 
Soviet regime during the first period of its existence, the 
fact may be mentioned that when General Krasnoff, who 
had led Kerensky's troops against Petrograd after the 
Bolshevik revolution, was taken prisoner, he was not shot, 
or even imprisoned, but was released on his word of honour 
that he would not again take up arms against the new order. 
This same Krasnoff, supported by the Allies, is now the 
leader^of the Don Cossacks against the Soviet Government t 

In fact, so mild was the repressive policy of the Soviet 
Government at first, and so completely did it rely upon the 
righteousness of its cause, that its enemies themselves had 
nothing but a contemptuous laugh for it. As late as June 
last year the " Novaya Zhizn," Gorki's then bitterly 
oppositional paper, wrote : 

" Our- constructive Communists imagine that whole 
classes of .society can be re-educated by sermons and 
exhortations and popular speeches at solemn meetings. 
Implacable foes of all religion and moralisation, who at one 
time used thoughtlessly to assert that in all morality there 
is not a vestige of ethics, they have now gone to the other 
extreme, have become moralists of the worst type, and have 
turned into a sort of revolutionary parsons." 

That is a much better testimony to the character of the 
Soviet Government's relations to its enemies than the 
whinings of the counter-revolutionaries and their intellec- 
tual helpers and abettors at the frequent arrests and 
suspensions of various papers guilty of open advocacy of 
sabotage and rebellion. 



V\AAAJI, " Q) 




52 



; I ' i ! 



4M> 



RED TERROR A REPLY TO THE WHITE TERROR. 

The Red Terror may be said to have begun as a reply 
to the White Terror, to the bestialities committed by the 
Czecho-Slovaks and their Russian proteges in the beginning 

l * A ^> of summer, 1918. That has ever been the case in history. 

[<k{cl In a manifesto issued to "all who toil" the Council of 
People's Commissioners make known the fact of the loss 
of the Volga towns and Siberia, as well as the formation of 
a counter-revolutionary administration at Omsk under the 
flag of the " All-Russian Constituent Assembly," explain 
the aim and purpose of the Czecho-Slovak and other risings 
as that of cutting Soviet Russia off from all supplies of 
breadstuffs, and order the mobilisation of certain annual 
contingents in the affected districts. The manifesto pro- 
claims : " It is incumbent upon all Soviets to watch closely 
the movements of their local bourgeoisie and deal severely 
with the conspirators." It was then that the practice was 
first introduced— a practice which, for the rest, has always" 
, been employed by capitalist Governments even in "" demo- 
cratic " countries—of shooting rebels captured after the 
suppression of a revolt and such persons as were discovered 
to be in communication with Czecho-Slovaks and their 
friends. But even so this Terror was confined territorially 
to certain districts and, politically, to actual participants 
m a iL^ rin< ^ rebellion. It became extended into a system 
only after the assassination of Uritsky, the attempt on 
^Si^i^nd the discovery of the widely-ramified conspiracy 
in which the Allied diplomats were said to have been impli- 
cated. Organised terror as a means not onlv of repression, 
but also of intimidation, then became the order of the day' 
and numerous enemies of the Soviet regime, from Left 
Socialist-Revolutionaries down to avowed Monarchists, 
forfeited their lives. The Extraordinary Commissions 
above mentioned received wide powers to deal with 
conspirators and speculators of all kinds, who were shelter- 
ing themselves behind the protection of foreign Embassies, 
in the Army, in the Church, and even in the Soviets and 
Soviet Institutions, receiving subsidies from abroad, com- 
municating to the Allied troops in the north and Siberia 
political and military information, receiving and distri- 




buting arms to fellow-conspirators, and so forth. The 
officers, the military cadets, the students from bourgeois 
classes, and members of the high clergy,* fared badly in 
this connection. From the beginning of the Red Terror 
to the middle o* October—its worst period— in Petrograd 
alone more than 6,000 persons were arrested, of whom 800 
were shot. These latter included members of a vast cor> 
spiracy known as the " League of Salvation of the Country " 
a monarchist and Black Hundred organisation, and those 
implicated in the assassination of Uritsky. These figures 



* The high clergy and a good portion of the lower, too, constituted 
one of the strongest props of the Tsarist r6gime, and are naturally 
up in arms against the Soviets, which have produced such a revolu- 
tion in the social psychology of the masses, and have, in addition, 
taken away the huge estates of the monasteries and churches for the 
benefit of the people. Almost every counter-revolutionary con- 
spiracy has revealed the reactionary activity of the clergy, and the 
pupits and confessionals have, in numerous cases, been turned into 
places of agitation against the new order. Frequently (as in France 
after the dissolution of the religious congregations in 1905) the clergy 
have organised armed resistance to the Soviet authorities who have 
come to make an inventory of the property of the Churches or to 
requisition the church buildings for educational or charitable pur- 
poses. Many a pitched battle has thus been fought within the walls 
of monasteries and even convents, the rebellious inmates being almost 
invariably supported by the village bourgeoisie (kulaks) against the 
poorer peasantry who were assisting the Soviet forces. In June last 
year, in connection with a sordid affair of speculation in real estate, 
in which several ecclesiastical friends of Patriarch Tikhon were in- 
volved, a search was made in the residence of the Patriarch, and a 
number of highly -incriminating documents were seized. The most 
interesting was a. forged manifesto purporting to come from the i 
non-existing " Central Committee of the Tetrograd Department of/; 
-fhe Universal Israelite Alliance," which was obviously intended to 
provoke pogroms, and which expressed joy at the " approach of the 
hour of victory," when the Jews would be in possession of supreme 
power and would take their revenge upon the Gentiles : " We shall 
enslave Russia economically, and will take all her riches. Scores 
of the sons of Israel are already occupying the highest posts in the 
State." The Soviet Government mildly punished the Patriarch by 
confining him to a monastery. Other dignitaries of the Church, 
including several bishops, paid for similar and even worse offences 
more dearly : hence the cries which have so moved our own Church 
dignitaries about the " persecution of the Church," which emanate 
from bishops and archbishops who have found shelter under the pro- 
tection of various Koltchaks and the Allies at Odessa and Omsk. 



Q 



K 







54 

will compare favourably with the number of persons exe- 
cuted by the Czecho-Slovaks, the Koltchaks, and the 
Krasnoffs, but there is no denying that it would have been 
better if the Soviet regime could have escaped the necessity 
of taking so many, and, indeed, any lives at all. But then 
)( the provocation was so great and the opponents of the 
I Soviets so unscrupulous and brutal that it would have re- 
quired something more perfect than ordinary human nature 
to abstain from paying back the assailants in their own coin. 
And, in any event, is it for capitalist Governments, with 
their record, to cry out in horror ? This is eminently a 
case when the Soviet Government can say : Let the 
assassins commence 

The Terror, unlike that of the French Revolution, was of 
brief duration, and the Soviet regime emerged from it 
without any moral hurt. It has crushed the counter- 
revolution in so far as it is not supported by Allied money 
and arms, and it has put an end to the sabotage of the 
former officials and of the " intellectuals." The latter, 
indeed, having convinced themselves of the strength of the 
new regime, and realising at last the iniquity and the re- 
actionary tendencies of Allied intervention, have all gone 
back to their work, even barristers taking up briefs in the 
new courts, and eminent musicians like Glazounoff setting 
revolutionary hymns to music. The internal conditions 
of the existence of the Socialist Republic are assured. 



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British Socialist Party 



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