All power to the soviets

From The Call, paper of the British Socialist Party, January 31 1918

The opening of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets has special interest for the BSP.

Our comrade John Maclean was elected one of the honorary presidents, and comrade Petrov conveyed the fraternal greetings of the BSP in the speech he delivered to the delegates. It is interesting to note also that comrade Chicherin has been appointed under-commissary for foreign affairs, for which post his abilities make him fully qualified. We are conscious of the honour brought to ourselves in being so closely associated with the glorious movement in Russia.

The suppression of the constituent assembly has seemingly caused some perturbation among those who are no doubt sincere friends of the Russian Revolution. These friends do not yet appreciate that in Russia today we have the dictatorship of the proletariat, and it is this that some of those who pose as ‘revolutionaries’ describe as “appalling”. Some people imagine that to make a revolution is as easy as moving into a new house.

The elections for the constituent assembly took place before the subservience of Kerensky, and the parties supporting him, to imperialism was discovered. When it was discovered, these parties were discredited, and the Bolsheviks took power, backed by the will and the bayonets of the vast majority of the people. The majority of the deputies of the constituent assembly no longer represented those who had voted for them. Its suppression was absolutely justified.

The soviets are the direct expression of the will of the soldiers, workers and peasants. The Russian Revolution is a working class revolution, and the workers must rule until it is no longer possible for capitalists and landlords as a class to lift up their heads. When that time comes, and classes are abolished, the Russian people will devise the most democratic form of administration best suited to the circumstances. In the meantime, “All power to the soviets!”.

[Editor’s note: Chicherin and Petrov were active members of the British Socialist Party during their enforced exile from Russia.]