MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin


V. I. Lenin

SECOND ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS
OF SOVIETS OF WORKERS'
AND SOLDIERS' DEPUTIES

OCTOBER 25-26 (NOVEMBER 7-8), 1917

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Vol. 26, pp. 243-63.

Translated from the Russian
by Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna
Edited by George Hanna


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@marx2mao.org (January 1999)

SECOND ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS OF SOVIETS OF WORKERS'
AND SOLDIERS' DEPUTIES. October 25-26 (November 7-8)
,
1917 [99] .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


 
243

1.

TO WORKERS SOLDIERS AND PEASANTS .   .   .   .   .

247

    2.
 

REPORT ON PEACE, OCTOBER 26 (NOVEMBER 8)   .   .
Decree on Peace .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

249
249

3.
 

CONCLUDING SPEECH FOLLOWING THE DISCUSSION ON
THE REPORT ON PEACE, OCTOBER 26 (NOVEMBER 8) .


254

4.
 

REPORT ON LAND, OCTOBER 26 (NOVEMBER 8) .   .   .
Decree on Land   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

257
258

5.
 

DECISION TO FORM THE WORKERS" AND PEASANTS'
GOVERNMENT  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


262

NOTES


page 553


NOTES

  [99] Held in Petrograd on October 25 and 26 (November 7 and 8), 1917. It was also attended by delegates from a number of uyezd and gubernia Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. When the Congress opened, 649 delegates were in attendance, among them 390 Bolsheviks, 160 Socialist-Revolutionaries, 72 Mensheviks, and 14 Menshevik internationalists. More delegates arrived later.
    It opened at Smolny Institute at 10.40 p.m. on October 25, while the Red Guard detachments, sailors and revolutionary units of the Petrograd garrison were still storming the Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government had taken refuge under the protection of its shock troops and officer cadets. Lenin was directing the uprising and did not attend the first sitting. Fourteen Bolsheviks were elected to the Presidium, among them Lenin, Antonov-Ovseyenko, Krylenko and Lunacharsky; seven Socialist-Revolutionaries including Kamkov, Karelin and Spiridonova, and one member of the Ukrainian Socialist Party. The Mensheviks and the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries declined to sit on the Presidium. The leaders of the Menshevik and the Socialist-Revolutionary Right wing motioned that negotiations should be started with the Provisional Government to set up a coalition government, because, they said, the socialist revolution then under way was nothing but a plot. When they saw that the majority supported the Bolsheviks, they walked out (they were joined by Bund delegates). Shortly after 3.00 a.m., October 26 (November 8), the Congress heard a report on the capture of the Winter Palace and the arrest of the Provisional Government and adopted its appeal "To Workers, Soldiers and Peasants!" It was written by Lenin, and proclaimed the transfer of power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies. The sitting closed after 5.00 a.m.
    The second sitting opened at 9.00 p.m. the same day, heard Lenin's reports and adopted his historic decrees on peace and on land; it formed the workers' and peasants' government known as the Council of People's Commissars, headed by Lenin. The Left Socialist-Revolutionaries refused to enter the Soviet Government, which consisted of Bolsheviks only. A 101-man All-Russia Central Executive Committee elected by the Congress included 62 Bolsheviks and 29 Left Socialist-Revolutionaries.
    The Congress also decided that the All-Russia Central Executive Committee could be enlarged by delegates from Peasants' Soviets and army units, and groups which had walked out. The Congress closed after 5.00 a.m.    [p. 243]

  [100] The reference is to the Central Executive Committee elected by the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets which was held in Petrograd from June 3 to 24 (June 16 to July 7), 1917. The Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who favoured support

page 254

of the bourgeois Provisional Government, had a majority in the First Executive Committee.    [p. 247]

  [101] The reference is to the belligerents in the First World War: the Entente (France, Britain, Russia, Italy and the U.S.A., which joined them) and also Belgium, Serbia, Rumania, Japan and China; and the Quadruple Alliance (Germany, Austro-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria).    [p. 249]

  [102] The Anti-Socialist Law  was introduced in Germany in 1878 by the Bismarck Government to fight the working-class and socialist movement. It outlawed all Social-Democratic organisations, working-class associations, the working-class press, and provided for the confiscation of socialist literature. Social-Democrats were harrassed and deported. However these reprisals failed to break down the Social-Democratic Party, which adapted itself to underground activity: its central organ, Sozial-Demokrat was published abroad, and it held regular party congresses (1880, 1883 and 1887). Underground Social-Democratic organisations and groups were rapidly revived at home and operated under a Central Committee in hiding. At the same time, the Party used various legal means of strengthening its ties with the masses and its influence grew steadily: from 1878 to 1890, the number of votes it polled in the Reichstag elections more than tripled. Marx and Engels gave the German Social-Democrats a great deal of help. In 1890, the Anti-Socialist Law was lifted as a result of mass pressure and the mounting working-class movement.    [p. 251]

  [103] The reference is to a manifesto issued by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies to the Peoples of the World which was carried by the newspaper Izvestia No. 15, of March 15, 1917.    [p. 253]

  [104] See Note 44.

    [Note 44 -- The reference is to the revolutionary action by German sailors in August 1917, who were led by a revolutionary sailors' organisation numbering 4,000 members (late July 1917). It was led by sea men Max Reichpietsch and Albin Köbis of the Friedrich der Grosse. The organisation decided to fight for a democratic peace and prepare for an uprising. Manifestations broke out in the navy in early August. Sailors of the warship Prinzeregent Luitpold, which was at Wilhelmshaven, took absence without leave to fight for the release of their comrades who had earlier been arrested for staging a strike; on August 16, the firemen of the Westphalia refused to work; at the same time the crew of the cruiser Nürnberg, which was out at sea, staged an uprising. The sailors' movement spread to the ships of several squadrons at Wilhelmshaven . These manifestations were put down with great savagery. Reichpietsch and Köbis were shot and other active participants were sentenced to long terms of hard labour.]
   [p. 253]

  [105] See Note 38.

    [Note 38 -- Izvestia Vserossiiskogo Soveta Krestyanskikh Deputatov (News of the All-Russia Soviet of Peasants' Deputies ) -- a daily, the official organ of the All-Russia Soviet of Peasants' Deputies, published in Petrograd from May 9 (22) to December 1917. It expressed the views of the Right wing of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. It met the October Socialist Revolution with hostility and was closed down for counter-revolutionary propaganda.]
   [p. 258]

  [106] A labour standard is the amount of land that could be tilled by its owner without outside help.
    A subsistence standard is the minimum amount of land necessary to feed a family.    [p. 259]