The Russian Revolution

From The Call, paper of the British Socialist Party, March 29 1917

Fellow workers - The people of Russia are at the present moment engaged in a tremendous struggle for liberation and emancipation. The tsar has been dethroned. The brutal reactionary forces which gathered around tsardom have been driven from their positions and power.

With one great effort the Russian workers and soldiers have freed themselves from the incubus of a corrupt bureaucracy, which, assisted by police, spies, agents provocateurs and assassins, has kept the people for generations in the toils of tyranny. No longer is it possible for tsarism to exile the best men and women of Russia to the dreary wastes of Siberia or condemn them to the dungeons of the Fortress of Peter and Paul or mutilate them in the torture chambers of Riga. That monstrous chapter in the history of humanity has ingloriously ended.

That however is only the first phase of the revolutionary struggle. There are other dark forces which have to be dealt with - the forces of capitalism. The so-called liberals of Russia are merely the political exponents of the capitalist class, who desire to impose the tyranny of wage slavery in the place of the tyranny of autocracy.

During the past 20 years British and French loan-mongers have assisted Russian capitalists to create a greedy commercialism in Russia, and the rising capitalist class hope to secure a free field for exploitation and to reap the spoils accruing from the sacrifices of the working class. Having done nothing to accomplish the Revolution, they are yet ready to profit by it.

But the Russian social democratic workers realise the actualities of the situation, and are determined if possible to frustrate the machinations of their enemies. They have formulated a thoroughly democratic programme, which, if carried into effect, will make the Russian people masters of their own destinies.

This programme insists upon complete popular control and includes in its items: a biennial single-chamber parliament, payment of members; wide extension of the principle of local government; inviolability of person and dwelling (to prevent police searches); complete freedom of the press ...