2. "The Place of Imperialism in History" by Vladimir Lenin (1916)
3. Abdication statement of Nicholas II (1917)
"In the days of the great struggle against the foreign enemies, who for nearly three years have tried to enslave our fatherland, the Lord God has been pleased to send down on Russia a new heavy trial. Internal popular disturbances threaten to have a disastrous effect on the future conduct of this persistent war. The destiny of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our dear fatherland demand that the war should be brought to a victorious conclusion whatever the cost. The cruel enemy is making his last efforts, and already the hour approaches when our glorious army together with our gallant allies will crush him. In these decisive days in the life of Russia, We thought it Our duty of conscience to facilitate for Our people the closest union possible and a consolidation of all national forces for the speedy attainment of victory. In agreement with the Imperial Duma We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power. As We do not wish to part from Our beloved son, We transmit the succession to Our brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, and give Him Our blessing to mount the Throne of the Russian Empire. We direct Our brother to conduct the affairs of state in full and inviolable union with the representatives of the people in the legislative bodies on those principles which will be established by them, and on which He will take an inviolable oath. In the name of Our dearly beloved homeland, We call on Our faithful sons of the fatherland to fulfill their sacred duty to the fatherland, to obey the Tsar in the heavy moment of national trials, and to help Him, together with the representatives of the people, to guide the Russian Empire on the road to victory, welfare, and glory. May the Lord God help Russia!"
4. Public Announcement of the Formation of the First Provisional Government, led by Alexander Kerensky (1917)
"The actual work of the cabinet will be guided by the following principles:
An immediate and complete
amnesty in all cases of a political and religious nature, including
terrorist acts, military revolts and agrarian offences, etc.
Freedom of speech, press,
and assembly, and the right to form unions and to strike and the extension
of political freedom to persons serving in the armed forces limited only by
the demands of military and technical circumstances.
The abolition of all
restrictions based on class, religion, and nationality.
The immediate arrangements
for the calling on the Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal, equal
and direct suffrage and secret ballot, which will determine the form of
government and the constitution of the country.
The substitution of a
people's militia for the police, with elective officers responsible to the
organs of local self-government.
Elections to the organs of
local self-government are to be held on the basis of universal, equal and
direct suffrage and secret ballot.
Those military units which
took part in the revolutionary movement shall be neither disarmed nor
withdrawn from Petrograd.
While preserving strict
military discipline on duty and during military service, the soldiers are to
be freed from all restrictions in the exercise of those civil rights which
all other citizens enjoy.
5. Peace Treaty of Brest Litovsk, Articles 1-6 (1918)
6. Fragment from "The New Economic Policy and the Tasks of the Political Education Departments" by Vladimir Lenin (1921)
"The dictatorship of the proletariat is fierce war. The proletariat has been victorious in one country, but it is still weak internationally. It must unite all the workers and peasants around itself in the knowledge that the war is not over. Although in our anthem we sing: “The last fight let us face", unfortunately it is not quite true; it is not our last fight. Either you succeed in uniting the workers and peasants in this fight, or you fail to achieve victory.
Never before in history has there been a struggle like the one we are now witnesses of; but there have been wars between peasants and landowners more than once in history, ever since the earliest times of slavery. Such wars have occurred more than once; but there has never been a war waged by a government against the bourgeoisie of its own country and against the united bourgeoisie of all countries.
The issue of the struggle depends upon whether we succeed in organising the small peasants on the basis of the development of their productive forces with proletarian state assistance for this development, or whether the capitalists gain control over them. The same issue has arisen in scores of revolutions in the past; but the world has never witnessed a struggle like the one we are waging now. The people have had no way of acquiring experience in wars of this kind. We ourselves must create this experience and we can rely only on the class-consciousness of the workers and peasants. That is the keynote and the enormous difficulty of this task.
We must not count on going straight to communism. We must build on the basis of peasants’ personal incentive. We are told that the personal incentive of the peasants means restoring private property. But we have never interfered with personally owned articles of consumption and implements of production as far as the peasants are concerned. We have abolished private ownership of land. Peasants farmed land that they did not own—rented land, for instance. That system exists in very many countries. There is nothing impossible about it from the standpoint of economics. The difficulty lies in creating personal incentive. We must also give every specialist an incentive to develop our industry.
Have we been able to do that? No, we have not! We thought that production and distribution would go on at communist bidding in a country with a declassed proletariat. We must change that now, or we shall be unable to make the proletariat understand this process of transition. No such problems have ever arisen in history before. We tried to solve this problem straight out, by a frontal attack, as it were, but we suffered defeat. Such mistakes occur in every war, and they are not even regarded as mistakes. Since the frontal attack failed, we shall make a flanking movement and also use the method of siege and undermining."
7. Fragment from "Our Disagreement" by Josef Stalin (1921)
"Our disagreements are about questions of the means by which to strengthen labor discipline in the working class, the methods of approach to the mass of the workers who are being drawn into the work of reviving industry, the ways of transforming the present weak trade unions into powerful, genuinely industrial unions, capable of reviving our industry.
There are two methods: the method of coercion (the military method), and the method of persuasion (the trade-union method). The first method by no means precludes elements of persuasion, but these are subordinate to the requirements of the coercion method and are auxiliary to the latter. The second method, in turn, does not preclude elements of coercion, but these are subordinate to the requirements of the persuasion method and are auxiliary to the latter. It is just as impermissible to confuse these two methods as it is to confuse the army with the working class.
A group of Party workers headed by Trotsky, intoxicated by the successes achieved by military methods in the army, supposes that those methods can, and must, be adopted among the workers, in the trade unions, in order to achieve similar successes in strengthening the unions and in reviving industry. But this group forgets that the army and the working class are two different spheres, that a method that is suitable for the army may prove to be unsuitable, harmful, for the working class and its trade unions.
The army is not a homogeneous mass; it consists of two main social groups, peasants and workers, the former being several times more numerous than the latter. In urging the necessity of employing chiefly methods of coercion in the army, the Eighth Party Congress based itself on the fact that our army consists mainly of peasants, that the peasants will not go to fight for socialism, that they can, and must, be compelled to fight for socialism by employing methods of coercion. This explains the rise of such purely military methods as the system of Commissars and Political Departments, Revolutionary Tribunals, disciplinary measures, appointment and not election to all posts, and so forth.
In contrast to the army, the working class is a homogeneous social sphere; its economic position disposes it towards socialism, it is easily influenced by communist agitation, it voluntarily organizes in trade unions and, as a consequence of all this, constitutes the foundation, the salt of the earth, of the Soviet state. It is not surprising, therefore, that the practical work of our industrial unions has been based chiefly on methods of persuasion. This explains the rise of such purely trade-union methods as explanation, mass propaganda, encouragement of initiative and independent activity among the mass of the workers, election of officials, and so forth.
The mistake Trotsky makes is that he underrates the difference between the army and the working class, he puts the trade unions on a par with the military organizations, and tries, evidently by inertia, to transfer military methods from the army into the trade unions, into the working class. Trotsky writes in one of his documents:
"The bare contrasting of military methods (orders, punishment) with trade-union methods (explanation, propaganda, independent activity) is a manifestation of Kautskian-Menshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary prejudices. . . . The very contrasting of labour organisations with military organisation in a workers' state is shameful surrender to Kautskyism."That is what Trotsky says.
Disregarding the irrelevant talk about "Kautskyism," "Menshevism," and so forth, it is evident that Trotsky fails to understand the difference between labor organizations and military organizations, that he fails to understand that in the period of the termination of the war and the revival of industry it becomes necessary, inevitable, to contrast military with democratic (trade-union) methods, and that, therefore, to transfer military methods into the trade unions is a mistake, is harmful.
Failure to understand that lies at the bottom of the recently published polemical pamphlets of Trotsky on the trade unions.
Failure to understand that is the source of Trotsky's mistakes."
8. Fragment from "The New Course" by Leon Trotsky (1921)
"Certain comrades have adopted very singular methods of political criticism: they assert that I am mistaken today in this or that question because I was wrong in this or that question a dozen years ago. This method considerably simplifies the task.The question of today in itself needs to be studied in its full contents. But a question raised several years ago has long since been exhausted, judged by history and, to refer to it again does not require great intellectual effort; all that is needed is memory and good faith.
But I cannot say that in this last respect all goes well with my critics. And I am going to prove it by an example from one of the most important questions.
One of the favorite arguments of certain circles during recent times consists of pointing out mainly by indirection that I “underestimate” the role of the peasantry. But one would seek in vain among my adversaries for an analysis of this question, for facts, quotations, in a word, for any proof.
Ordinarily, their argumentation boils down to allusions to the theory of the “permanent revolution,” and to two or three bits of corridor gossip. And between the theory of the “permanent revolution” and the corridor gossip there is nothing, a void.
As to the theory of the “permanent revolution,” I see no reason to renounce what I wrote on this subject in 1904, 1905, 1906, and later. To this day, I persist in considering that the thoughts I developed at that time are much closer, taken as a whole, to the genuine essence of Leninism than much of what a number of Bolsheviks wrote in those days.
The expression “permanent revolution” is an expression of Marx which he applied to the revolution of 1848. In Marxian, naturally not in revisionist but in revolutionary Marxian literature, this term has always had citizenship rights. Franz Mehring employed it for the revolution of 1905-1907. The permanent revolution, in an exact translation, is the continuous revolution, the uninterrupted revolution. What is the political idea embraced in this expression?
It is, for us communists, that the revolution does not come to an end after this or that political conquest, after obtaining this or that social reform, but that it continues to develop further and its only boundary is the socialist society. Thus, once begun, the revolution (insofar as we participate in it and particularly when we lead it) is in no case interrupted by us at any formal stage whatever. On the contrary, we continually and constantly advance it in conformity, of course, with the situation, so long as the revolution has not exhausted all the possibilities and all the resources of the movement. This applies to the conquests of the revolution inside of a country as well as to its extension over the international arena.
For Russia, this theory signified: what we need is not the bourgeois republic as a political crowning, nor even the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, but a workers’ government supporting itself upon the peasantry and opening up the era of the international socialist revolution.
Thus, the idea of the permanent revolution coincides entirely with the fundamental strategical line of Bolshevism. It is understandable if this was not seen eighteen or fifteen years ago. But it is impossible not to understand and to recognize it now that the general formula have been verified by full blooded historical context."