What has Happened ?
July 23, 1917
Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
The date was July 3 and 4. The workers and soldiers were marching together in procession through the streets of Petrograd demanding: "All power to the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies!"
What did the workers and soldiers want, what were they seeking to attain?
Was it the overthrow of the Soviets?
Of course, not!
What the workers and soldiers wanted was that the Soviets should take all power into their own hands and alleviate the hard lot of the workers, peasants, soldiers and sailors.
They wanted to strengthen the Soviets, not to weaken or destroy them.
They wanted the Soviets to assume power, break with the landlords, and turn over the land to the peasants at once, without delay.
They wanted the Soviets to assume power, break with the capitalists, and improve conditions of labour and establish workers' control in the mills and factories.
They wanted the Soviets to proclaim just terms of peace and to put an end at long last to this grim war which is carrying off millions of young lives.
That is what the workers and soldiers wanted.
But the leaders of the Executive Committee, the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, had no desire to follow the path of revolution.
Rather than alliance with the revolutionary peasantry, they preferred agreement with the landlords.
Rather than alliance with the revolutionary workers, they preferred agreement with the capitalists.
Rather than alliance with the revolutionary soldiers and sailors, they preferred alliance with the military cadets and Cossacks.
They perfidiously declared the Bolshevik workers and soldiers enemies of the revolution and turned their weapons against them, in deference to the wishes of the counter-revolutionaries.
Blind fools! They failed to observe that in firing upon the Bolsheviks they were firing upon the revolution and paving the way for the triumph of counterrevolution.
It was for this reason that the counter-revolutionaries, who until then had been lying low, crawled out into the open.
The breach of the front which began at that juncture, and which revealed the utter disastrousness of the defen-cists' policy, still further fired the hopes of the counterrevolutionaries.
And the counter-revolutionaries did not fail to take advantage of the "blunders" of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries.
Having intimidated and entrapped them, and having tamed them and won them over to their own side, the counter-revolutionary ringleaders, the Milyukov gentry, launched a campaign against the revolution. Wrecking and suppression of newspapers, disarming of the workers and soldiers, arrests and manhandling, lies and slanders, vile and despicable calumniation of the leaders of our Party by venal police sleuths—such are the fruits of the policy of compromise.
Things have reached such a pitch that the Cadets, grown brazen, are issuing ultimatums, threatening, terrorizing, abusing and vilifying the Soviets, while the scared Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries are surrendering position after position, and, under the blows of the Cadets, the brave Ministers are falling like ninepins and clearing the way for Milyukov's placemen, for the sake of . . . "salvation" . . . of the revolution.
Is it to be wondered, then, that the counter-revolutionaries are jubilant with victory?
Such is the state of affairs now.
But it cannot last for long.
The victory of the counter-revolutionaries is a victory for the landlords. But the peasants cannot live any longer without land. A resolute struggle against the landlords is therefore inevitable.
The victory of the counter-revolutionaries is a victory for the capitalists. But the workers cannot rest content without a radical improvement of their lot. A resolute struggle against the capitalists is therefore inevitable.
The victory of the counter-revolutionaries means the continuation of the war. But the war cannot continue for long, because the whole country is suffocating under its burden.
The victory of the counter-revolutionaries is therefore insecure and evanescent.
The future is on the side of a new revolution.
Only the establishment of the full power of the people can give the peasants land, bring order into the economic life of the country, and ensure peace, which is so essential for the suffering and exhausted peoples of Europe.
Rabochy i Soldat, No. 1, July 23, 1917