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LEAFLETS during Russian Revolution
A collection of Leaflets 1905 - 1917
partly from “The Voice of the Great Revolution” (in Russian) the book consists of leaflets published by the Bolshevik Party from
February 1917 to November 1920
SHOWING THE BOLSHEVIK ATTITUDE TOWARD SOVIETS
LETTER OF OCTOBER 27 TO ALL PARTY ORGANIZATIONS
The Russian Social-Democratic party must at the present time openly step forward as the party of the Proletarian masses. In the way of such a manifestation it means politically vague and socialistically immature workers' organizations created by the spontaneously revolutionary proletariat. Each one of these organizations, presenting a certain stage in the political development of the proletariat in so much as this development stays within the ranks of social-democracy. But objectively such an organization faces at holding back the proletariat on a primitive political level and so subordinates it to bourgeois parties.
One such organization is the Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies. The tasks of Social-Democracy in its relation to the Soviet is to induce it to adopt the Social-Democratic program and tactical leadership. With these aims it is necessary to immediately mobilize all the Social-Democratic forces in the Soviet in order to put the Social-Democratic platform into practice within the Soviet.
In its relations with such independent organizations, in as much as they attempt to take upon themselves the role of the political leaders of the proletarian masses, the tactics of the SocialDemocrats should.be such:
l) To persuade such organizations to ad.opt the program of the Democratic Party as the party in accord with the true interests of the proletarian masses. In adopting this program., they should actually define their relation to the Social-Democratic Party, recognize its leadership, and finally, dissolve itself into it. Ir these organizations should not strive for political leadership but merely remain pure trade organizations, they fulfill their definite purely technical role.
2) In the case of the refusal by such organizations to adopt our party program. or their adoption of some other program, SocialDemocrats should quit them and expose their anti-proletarian character.
J) Finally, when the organizations refuse to adopt this or that certain program, but reserve for themselves the right to define their policy in each separate instance, Social-Democrats should remain within them and proving within these organizations as well as among the wide masses the absurdity of such political leadership and amplifying their own program and tactics.
M.I. Vasil'ev-Luzhin, 11 Moskovskii Sovet Rabochikh Deputatov v
Proletarskaia Revoliutsiia, April 1925, pp. 89.90.
To All The Workers
October 19, 1905
The thunder of revolution is roaring! The revolutionary people of Russia have risen and have surrounded the tsarist government in order to storm it! Red flags are flying, barricades are being erected, the people are taking to arms and are storming government offices. Again, the call of the brave is heard; life, which had subsided, is seething again. The ship of the revolution has hoisted sail and is speeding towards freedom. That ship is being steered by the Russian proletariat.
What do the proletarians of Russia want? Whither are they steering?
Let us overthrow the tsarist Duma and set up a popular Constituent Assembly—this is what the proletarians of Russia are saying today. The proletariat will not demand petty concessions from the government, it will not call for the repeal of "martial law" and "floggings" in some towns and villages. The proletariat will not stoop to such trifles. Whoever demands concessions from the government does not believe that the government will perish—but the proletariat confidently believes that it will. Whoever expects "favours" from the government has no confidence in the might of the revolution—but the proletariat is inspired with this confidence.
No! The proletariat will not dissipate its energy in making senseless demands. It presents only one demand to the tsarist autocracy: Down with it! Death to it! And so, over the vast expanse of Russia the revolutionary cry of the workers rings out more and more boldly: Down with the State Duma! Long live a popular Constituent Assembly! This is the goal towards which the proletariat of Russia is striving today.
The tsar will not grant a popular Constituent Assembly, the tsar will not abolish his own autocracy—that he will not do! The curtailed "constitution" which he is "granting" is a temporary concession, the tsar's hypocritical promise and nothing more! It goes without saying that we shall take advantage of this concession, we shall not refuse to wrest from the crow a nut with which to smash its head. But the fact remains that the people can place no trust in the tsar's promises—they must trust only themselves; they must rely only on their own strength: the liberation of the people must be brought about by the people themselves. Only on the bones of the oppressors can the people's freedom be erected, only with the blood of the oppressors can the soil be fertilised for the sovereignty of the people! Only when the armed people come out headed by the proletariat and raise the banner of a general uprising can the tsarist government, which rests on bayonets, be overthrown. Not empty phrases, not senseless "self-arming," but real arming and an armed uprising— that is what the proletarians of the whole of Russia are steering towards today.
A victorious uprising will lead to the defeat of the government. But vanquished governments have often risen to their feet again. It may rise to its feet again in our country. On the morrow of the uprising, the dark forces which lay low during the uprising will creep out of their lairs and try to put the government on its feet again. That is how vanquished governments rise from the dead. The people must curb these dark forces without fail, they must make them bite the dust. But to do this the victorious people must, on the very morrow of the uprising, arm to a man, young and old, form themselves into a revolutionary army, and be ever ready to protect their hard-won rights by force of arms.
Only when the victorious people have formed themselves into a revolutionary army will they be able finally to crush the dark forces which go into hiding. Only a revolutionary army can lend force to the actions of a provisional government, only a provisional government can convoke a popular Constituent Assembly which must establish a democratic republic. A revolutionary army and a revolutionary provisional government—this is the goal towards which the proletarians of Russia are striving today.
Such is the path that the Russian revolution has taken. This path leads to the sovereignty of the people, and the proletariat calls upon all the friends of the people to march along this path.
The tsarist autocracy is barring the road of the people's revolution, it wants with the aid of the manifesto it issued yesterday to check this great movement—clearly, the waves of the revolution will engulf the tsarist autocracy and sweep it away. . . .
Contempt and hatred for all those who fail to take the path of the proletariat — they are despicably betraying the revolution! Shame upon those who, having taken this path in fact, say something else in words— they cravenly fear the truth!
We do not fear the truth, we do not fear revolution! Let the thunder roar still louder, let the storm rage more fiercely! The hour of victory is near! Let us then enthusiastically proclaim the slogans of the proletariat of Russia:
Down With the State Duma!
Long Live the Armed Uprising!
Long Live the Revolutionary Army!
Long Live the Provisional Revolutionary Government!
Long Live the Popular Constituent Assembly!
Long Live the Democratic Republic!
Long Live the Proletariat!
LEAFLET OF THE MOSCOW COMMITTEE ISSUED ON
Moscow Uprising 1905-1908
CALLING FOR THE PREPARATION FOR A FINAL DECISIVE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE AUTOCRACY.
Comrades! Every day it gets harder for the Tsarist government. Its last support--the army--is also wavering and is beginning to rise directly against it. After Sevastopol. Kronstadt, Piatigorsk, Riga and Samara,, the army has also rebelled here in Moscow. In the Rostov Regiment all the officers have been expelled, all the authorities guards have been seized, and the barracks and weapons are in the hands of the rebelling regiment.
The rest of the army is also restless.
Not today, but tomorrow, perhaps , the decisive day will come, when the army will not be in a condition to restrain itself and will come out on the street. Perhaps, the day of the decisive struggle is near. Prepare your .. selves, comrades, that you may provide help to your comrades, the soldiers. Prepare yourselves, that we may, through the general strike and other means, help our friends and comrades overthrow the common enemy by force. Organize, prepare for the decisive struggle.
Moscow Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.
Vysshii Pod 'em Revoliutsii,
CALL OF THE MOSCOW SOVIET AND THE MAJOR REVOLUTIONARY PARTIES IN MOSCOW TO PREPARE FOR
THE ARMED UP-RISING, ISSUED DECEMBER 6
TO ALL WORKERS, SOLDIERS, AND CITIZENS
Since October 17 when the working class forcefully tore the promise of various liberties and the "actual" inviolability of the person from the tsar-ist government, violence on the part of the government did not only not cease but even increased, and human blood is flowing as usual.
Free gatherings where free words can be heard are scattered with weapons. Trade and political unions are cruelly persecuted. Free newspapers are closed by tens. Prison is threatened for striking.
Such mockeries and violations are made of the actual
"inviolability" of the Russian citizen, that the blood freezes in one's veins.
Again the prisons are being crammed full of fighters for liberty. Entire counties and provinces are being put under martial law. Hungry peasants are being beaten and shot without mercy.
Sailors and soldiers not wanting to be fratricides and Joining their people fester in prisons and are drowned and killed.
If all the blood and tears spilled through the guilt of the government only in October were gathered, the government would drown in them, comrades!
But with special hatefulness the tsarist government comes down on the working class: concluding an agreement with the capitalists , it throws hundreds of' thousands of workers out on the street, dooming them to pauperism and a hungry death.
It places deputies and workers' leaders in prison by tens and hundreds.
It threatens to take "exceptional" measures against the representatives of the Social-Democratic Labor Party and the party of Socialist-Revolutionaries.
It has again organized the Black Hundreds and threatens new mass murders and pogroms.
The revolutionary proletariat can no longer tolerate the mockeries and crimes of the tsarist government and declares a decisive and unrelenting war against it.
Comrades workers? We, your elected deputies, the Moscow Committee, the Moscow Group, the Moscow District Organization of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, and the Moscow Committee of the Party of Socialist -Revolutionaries declare a general political strike and call you to drop and stop your work at all factories and plants and in all business and government enterprises on Wednesday, December 7, st 12 o'clock.
Long live the unrelenting struggle with the criminal tsarist government.
Comrades soldiers, you are our blood brothers, children, together with us of the same mother, long-suffering Russia. You have already acknowledged and confirmed this through your participation in the general struggle. Today when the proletariat declares a decisive war on the hateful enemy of the people--the tsarist government--you also act with determination and solidarity.
Refuse to submit to your blood thirsty leadership, expel them and arrest them. Elect reliable leaders from among yourselves and with weapons in your hands, unite with the rising people. Together with the working class, obtain the abolition of the army and the general arming of the people. Obtain the abolition of military courts and martial law.
Long live the union of the revolutionary proletariat with the revolutionary army!
Long live the struggle for general freedom!
And you citizens, who truly thirst for widespread freedom, help the rising workers and soldiers as much as you can--by personal participation and general means. The proletariat and the army struggle for the liberty and happiness oi' all Russia and all the people. The entire future of Russia is placed on a card; life or death, liberty or slavery!
With our united strength we will finally overthrow the criminal tsarist government, convoke a constituent assembly based on general, equal, direct, and secret suffrage, and asset a democratic republic which alone can guarantee broad freedom and actual inviolability of the person.
Together into the struggle, comrades workers, soldiers, and citizens. Down with the criminal tsarist government.
Long live the general strike and armed uprisingt
Long live the popular constituent assembly!
Long live the democratic republic!
The Moscow Soviet of Workers Deputies
The Moscow Committee
The Moscow Group
The Moscow district Organization
The Moscow Committee of the party of Socialist revolutionaries.
Should We Boycott the State Duma?
The Platform of the Majority - January 1906
The party of the working class, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, is becoming united. Its two halves are merging and are preparing for a unity congress, the convocation of which has already been announced.
But there is still one point on which the two halves of the Party disagree—the State Duma. All Party members must be clear on this question, in order to be able to make a deliberate choice of delegates for the joint congress, in order to settle the dispute in accordance with the wishes of all members of the Party, and not only with those of its present central, and local bodies.
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks are agreed that the present Duma is a miserable travesty of popular representation, that this fraud must be exposed, and that preparations must be made for an armed uprising to bring about the convocation of a constituent assembly freely elected by the whole people.
The dispute is only about the tactics to be adopted towards the Duma. The Mensheviks say that our Party should take part in the election of delegates and electors. The Bolsheviks advocate an active boycott of the Duma. In this leaflet we shall set forth the views of the Bolsheviks, who at a recent conference of representatives of twenty-six organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. adopted a resolution against participation in the elections.
What does an active boycott of the Duma mean? Boycott means refusing to take part in the elections. We have no wish to elect either Duma deputies, electors or delegates. Active boycott does not merely mean keeping out of the elections; it also means making extensive use of election meetings for Social-Democratic agitation and organisation. Making use of these meetings means gaining entry to them both legally (by registering in the voters’ lists) and illegally, expounding at them the whole programme and all the views of the socialists, exposing the Duma as a fraud and humbug, and calling for a struggle for a constituent assembly.
Why do we refuse to take part in the elections?
Because by taking part in the elections we should involuntarily foster belief in the Duma among the people and thereby weaken the effectiveness of our struggle against this travesty of popular representation. The Duma is not a parliament, it is a ruse employed by the autocracy. We must expose this ruse by refusing to take any part in the elections.
Because if we recognised the permissibility of taking part in the elections, we should have to be logical and elect deputies to the Duma. Indeed, the bourgeois democrats, such as Khodsky in Narodnoye Khozyaistvo, actually ad vise us to enter into election agreements with the Cadets for that purpose. But all SocialDemocrats, both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, reject such agreements because they realise that the Duma is not a parliament, but a new police fraud.
Because we cannot at present derive any advantage for the Party from the elections. There is no freedom to carry on agitation. The party of the working class is outlawed; its representatives are imprisoned without trial; its newspapers have been closed and its meetings prohibited. The Party cannot legally unfurl its banner at the elections, it cannot publicly nominate its representatives without betraying them to the police. In this situation, our work of agitation and organisation is far better served by making revolutionary use of meetings without taking part in the elections than by taking part in meetings for legal elections.
The Mensheviks are opposed to electing deputies to the Duma but wish to elect delegates and electors. What for? Is it in order that they may form a People’s Duma, or a free, illegal, representative assembly, something like an All- Russian Soviet of Workers’ (and also Peasants’) Deputies?
To this we reply: if free representatives are needed, why bother with the Duma at all when electing them? Why supply the police with the lists of our delegates? And why set up new Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, and in a new way, when the old Soviets of Workers’ Deputies still exist (e.g., in St. Petersburg)? This would be useless and even harmful, for it would give rise to the false, utopian illusion that the decaying and disintegrating Soviets can be revived by new elections, instead of by making new preparations for insurrection and extending it. And it would simply be ridiculous to appoint legal elections on legally fixed dates for the purpose of an insurrection.
The Mensheviks argue that Social-Democrats in all countries take part in parliaments, even in bad parliaments. This argument is false. We, too, will take full part in a parliament. But the Mensheviks themselves realise that the Duma is not a parliament; they themselves refuse to go into it. They say that the masses of the workers are weary and wish to rest by participating in legal elections. But the Party cannot and must not base its tactics on the temporary weariness of certain centres. This would be fatal for the Party; for weary workers would choose non-party delegates, who would merely discredit the Party. We must perseveringly and patiently pursue our work, husbanding the strength of the proletariat, but not ceasing to believe that this depression is only temporary, that the workers will rise still more powerfully and more boldly than they did in Moscow, and that they will sweep away the tsar’s Duma. Let the unenlightened and ignorant go into the Duma—the Party will not bind its fate with theirs. The Party will say to them: your own practical experience will confirm our political forecasts. Your own experience will reveal to you the utter fraud the Duma is; and you will then turn back to the Party, having realised the correctness of its counsel.
The tactics of the Mensheviks are contradictory and in consistent (to take part in the elections, but not to elect deputies to the Duma). They are unsuitable for a mass party, for instead of a simple and clear solution they pro pose one that is involved and ambiguous. They are not practical, for if the lists of delegates fall into the hands of the police, the Party will suffer a heavy loss. Finally, these tactics cannot be put into effect, because if the Mensheviks appear at the meetings with our programme, the inevitable result will be that instead of legal elections there will be the illegal use of meetings without elections. The police regime will transform the Mensheviks’ participation in meetings from Menshevik participation in elections into Bolshevik revolutionary use of the meetings.
Down with the Duma! Down with the new police fraud! Citizens! Honour the memory of the fallen Moscow heroes by fresh preparations for an armed uprising! Long live a freely-elected national constituent assembly!
Such is our battle-cry; and only the tactics of an active boycott are compatible with it.
Published in January 1906 as a leaflet both by the C.C. and the Joint C. C. of the R.S.D.L.P.
To All Working Men and Women of the City of St. Petersburg and Vicinity - February 11, 1906
Comrade workers, the organised Social-Democratic workers of the whole St. Petersburg and Okruzhnoi organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. have adopted a final decision on the State Duma elections that is binding on the Party Committee and all the local Party organisations. Despite all police obstacles and traps, the workers have succeeded in holding 120 circle meetings, which have discussed the question in detail, with the participation of spokesmen for the two tactics which have emerged in our Party. Over 2,000 workers and intellectuals belonging to our Party have voted on the question, and by a majority of 1,168 votes to 926 (the number of voters totaling 2,094) they have declared for a complete boycott, not only of the Duma, but of all elections to it. The conference of delegates elected in all districts (one delegate for every 30 Party members who voted) discussed the question once more, and by 36 votes to 29 (the total number of delegates with the right to vote being 65) it adopted a final decision in favour of the tactics of an active boycott.
And so, the Social-Democratic proletariat of St. Peters burg has spoken. All the forces of the Party organisation, and all the efforts of the foremost workers who sympathise with the SocialDemocratic Party and desire to take its decision into account, should now be directed towards acquainting the broadest sections of the working class and the population as a whole with the SocialDemocrats’ decision, towards spreading among the masses a correct understanding of the aims which the class-conscious proletariat sets itself, and of the ways and means it chooses for achieving its aims.
Why have the Social-Democrats of St. Petersburg declared a complete boycott of the Duma and refused completely to participate in any elections to it?
Because the State Duma is a sham Duma. It is a travesty of a popular representative assembly. It is not a people’s Duma but a police and landlord Duma. The elections are not to be equal for all; they have been so devised as to give the landlords and the big capitalists complete superiority over the workers and peasants. Three-quarters of the whole working class have been totally deprived of the right to elect, and as for the remaining quarter, it is invited to elect on the basis of the deputies being sifted through three sieves, so that first the workers will elect delegates, then the delegates will elect electors, and then the electors (24 in all) will, jointly with the landlords and capitalists (over 100 in number), elect members of the Duma.
The government mocks at the peasants even more outrageously. Peasant deputies are sifted through four sieves: first, representatives per ten households are elected in the volosts (even so, the peasant poor who have neither house nor land are excluded from this election); then the ten-house hold representatives elect delegates, the delegates elect electors, and the electors elect members of the Duma, with the result, however, that among the electors in the gubernias the peasants mostly find themselves in the minority.
Why has this sifting through three or four sieves been devised? It has been done to prevent the workers and peasants from getting their real representatives elected to the Duma, to bar from the Duma people who are for the workers and peasants, to enable a handful of Black-Hundred landlords and capitalists, who are plundering the whole working people with the help of the police, to call themselves people’s representatives.
Workers and peasants, do not trust the police and landlord Duma! It is not people’s representatives but enemies of the people that are being convoked there, so that they may the more effectively plot against the workers and against the peasants. Look around you:
How can the workers and peasants freely elect their real representatives, their deputies, to the Duma? Does not the police government jail the finest workers and finest peasants without trial? Shootings and punitive measures carried out against peasants who fought for the people’s cause are taking place throughout Russia. The whole of Russia has been delivered into the hands of a gang of ruined petty aristocrats in military uniform to be plundered and outraged. All the promises of freedom that we have heard from the government have been trampled underfoot by the tyrants. All the prisons are packed with the champions of freedom for the people.
The government wants to deceive the people by convening a sham Duma. It wants, with the help of a landlord Duma, to borrow more money to oppress the people, to wage war against its own people, against the peasants and workers. The government wants to decoy us into a police trap, wants us to agree to participate in this fraud called the Duma elections.
The class-conscious workers refuse to walk into this police trap. Without resorting to any elections, we must tell the government and the whole people outright that we shall not take part in a farce. We shall not allow a fraud. We shall expose this police falsehood for all to see. We warn those workers and those, peasants who have not yet seen through the fraud and expect the Duma to benefit the people: If they try nevertheless to take part in the elections, they will see that it will not be workers’ or peasants’ deputies who get into the Duma, but capitalists and landlords who suit the police. We call on all workers and all peasants, on all honest people, to fight against the police fraud.
We are continuing our struggle for a genuine assembly of real representatives of the people. That assembly must be elected freely, and by all alike, without any privileges for the landlords and the wealthy, and without any hindrance on the part of the authorities and the police. Only a freely elected constituent assembly of the whole people can be a genuine Duma and not a sham one. Only such an assembly can establish a better order in Russia, make, life easier for the workers, give land to the peasants, and bring freedom to the whole people.
On October 17 the workers by their struggle wrested from the government the promise of freedom. The government has broken all its promises. The workers will now fight still more concertedly and stubbornly to win freedom for the people. The workers do not lose heart from temporary re verses. They know that the struggle for freedom is difficult and severe, but that the cause of freedom is the cause of the whole people. The cause of freedom will triumph; the struggle will grow in breadth. The workers will recover from the reverses inflicted upon them. They will rally in still closer unity against the government. They will gather fresh strength. They will explain to still wider sections of the peasantry all the frauds of the government and the need to counteract it. The workers will rise together with the peasants and overthrow the government of police tyrants, who are using violence against the people.
Down with the sham, police and landlord, Duma!
Long live a freely elected constituent assembly of the whole people!
Published in February 1906 as a separate leaflet by the Joint St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.