To The Population
In the name of the Government of the Russian Republic, on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars, we dismiss Dukhonin from your post for refusing to obey government orders and for conduct that entails untold hardships for the working people of all countries and especially the armies. See more
We order him, on pain of responsibility under war-time laws, to continue your duties pending the arrival at Field Headquarters of a new Commander-in-Chief or a person empowered by him to take over from him. Ensign Krylenko is appointed Commander-in-Chief.
The Bolsheviks are in power. Lenin, Trotsky, Lunacharsky, are national commissioners of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and National Education. There is a truce offering with Germany. The Allies refuse to recognise the government of the Russian Revolution. And pacifists are blamed for all problems!
Once before, the Central Committee delivered an ultima—turn to the leading exponents of your policy (Kamenev and Zinoviev), demanding complete subordination to the Central Committee’s line and decisions, and renunciation of efforts to sabotage its work and of all subversive activity. See more
By leaving the Central Committee, but remaining in the Party, the exponents of your policy undertook to abide by Central Committee decisions. Actually, however, you have not confined yourselves to criticism within the Party, but have brought confusion into the ranks of the fighters- in an uprising which is still going on, and continue, in violation of Party discipline, to frustrate Central Committee decisions and hamper its work outside the Party, in the Soviets, the municipal bodies, the trade unions, etc.
In view of this, the Central Committee is forced to restate its ultimatum and to request that you immediately pledge yourselves in writing either to abide by Central Committee decisions and to conduct its policy in all your statements, or to withdraw from all Party activity in public and resign from all responsible posts in the working-class movement until the next Party congress.
Refusal to pledge yourselves to either course will make it imperative for the Central Committee to consider the question of your immediate expulsion from the Party.
To The Population
For the bourgeoisie, freedom of the press meant freedom for the rich to publish and for the capitalists to control the newspapers, a practice which in all countries, including even the freest, produced a corrupt press. See more
For the workers’ and peasants’ government, freedom of the press means liberation of the press from capitalist oppression, and public ownership of paper mills and printing presses; equal right for public groups of a certain size (say, numbering 10,000) to a fair share of newsprint stocks and a corresponding quantity of printers’ labour.
As a first step towards this goal, which is bound up with the working people’s liberation from capitalist oppression, the Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government has appointed a Commission of Inquiry to look into the ties between capital and periodicals, the sources of their funds and revenues, the list of their donors, covers for their deficits, and every other aspect of the newspaper business in general. Concealment of books, accounts or any other documents from the Commission of Inquiry, or the giving of any evidence known to be false shall be punishable by a revolutionary court.
All newspaper owners, shareholders, and all members of their staffs shall be under the obligation to immediately submit written reports and information on the said questions to the Commission of Inquiry, probing the ties between capital and the press, and its dependence on capital, at Smolny Institute, Petrograd.
Bolshevism is not merely a political doctrine; it is also a religion, with elaborate dogmas and inspired scriptures. When Lenin wishes to prove some proposition, he does so, if possible, by quoting texts from Marx and Engels. See more
A full-fledged Communist is not merely a man who believes that land and capital should be held in common, and their produce distributed as nearly equally as possible. He is a man who entertains a number of elaborate and dogmatic beliefs such as philosophic materialism, for example – which may be true, but are not, to a scientific temper, capable of being known to be true with any certainty. This habit, of militant certainty about objectively doubtful matters, is one from which, since the Renaissance, the world has been gradually emerging, into that temper of constructive and fruitful scepticism which constitutes the scientific outlook. I believe the scientific outlook to be immeasurably important to the human race.
On the opposition within the Central Committee
The political question is now merging with the military question
I felt like a surgeon who has finished a difficult and dangerous operation I must wash my hands, take off my apron, and rest. Lenin was in a different position. He had just arrived from his refuge, after spending three and a half months cut off from real, practical direction. See more
One thing coincided with the other, and this only added to my desire to retire behind the scenes for a while. Lenin would not hear of it, however. He insisted that I take over the commissariat of the interior, saying that the most important task at the moment was to fight off a counter-revolution. I objected, and brought up, among other arguments, the question of nationality. Was it worthwhile to put into our enemies’ hands such an additional weapon as my Jewish origin?
Lenin almost lost his temper. “We are having a great international revolution. Of what importance are such trifles?” A good-humored bickering began. “No doubt the revolution is great,” I answered, “but there are still a good many fools left.” “But surely we don’t keep step with the fools?” “Probably we don’t, but sometimes one has to make some allowance for stupidity. Why create additional complications at the outset?”
Decree on Land
(1) Landed proprietorship is abolished forthwith without any compensation.
(2) The landed estates, as also all crown, monastery, and church lands, with all their livestock, implements, buildings and everything pertaining thereto, shall be placed at the disposal of the volost land committees and the uyezd Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. See more
(3) All damage to confiscated property, which henceforth belongs to the whole people, is proclaimed a grave crime to be punished by the revolutionary courts. The uyezd Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies shall take all necessary measures to assure the observance of the strictest order during the confiscation of the landed estates, to determine the size of estates, and the particular estates subject to confiscation, to draw up exact inventories of all property confiscated and to protect in the strictest revolutionary way all agricultural enterprises transferred to the people, with all buildings, implements, livestock, stocks of produce, etc.
(4) The following peasant Mandate, compiled by the newspaper Izvestia Vserossiiskogo Soveta Krestyanskikh Deputatov from 242 local peasant mandates and published in No. 88 of that paper (Petrograd, No. 88, August 19, 1917), shall serve everywhere to guide the implementation of the great land reforms until a final decision on the latter is taken by the Constituent Assembly.
(5) The land of ordinary peasants and ordinary Cossacks shall not be confiscated.
And then a question arose: "What should we call the new government and its members?". "The Provisional government" seemed to be a played out term, and the word "provisional" didn't correspond with our ambitions. Calling the Cabinet members "ministers" seemed even more bureaucratically dull. And then Trotsky found a word that everyone immediately agreed on - "people’s commissars."
"Yes, it sounds great!" said comrade Lenin. "It feels revolutionary."