It is clear that all power must pass to the Soviets. It should be equally indisputable for every Bolshevik that proletarian revolutionary power (or Bolshevik power—which is now one and the same thing) is assured of the utmost sympathy and unreserved support of all the working and exploited people all over the world in general, in the belligerent countries in particular, and among the Russian peasants especially. There is no need to dwell on these all too well known and long established truths. What must be dealt with is something that is probably not quite clear to all comrades, namely, that in practice the transfer of power to the Soviets now means armed uprising. This would seem obvious, but not everyone has or is giving thought to the point. To repudiate armed uprising now would mean to repudiate the key slogan of Bolshevism (All Power to the Soviets) and proletarian revolutionary internationalism in general.
But armed uprising is a special form of political struggle, one subject to special laws to which attentive thought must be given. Karl Marx expressed this truth with remarkable clarity when he wrote that "insurrection is an art quite as much as war".
Of the principal rules of this art, Marx noted the following:
(1) Never play with insurrection, but when beginning it realise firmly that you must go all the way.
(2) Concentrate a great superiority of forces at the decisive point and at the decisive moment, otherwise the enemy, who has the advantage of better preparation and organisation, will destroy the insurgents.
(3) Once the insurrection has begun, you must act with the greatest determination, and by all means, without fail, take the of offensive. "The defensive is the death of every armed rising."
(4) You must try to take the enemy by surprise and seize the moment when his forces are scattered.
(5) You must strive for daily successes, however small (one might say hourly, if it is the case of one town), and at all costs retain "moral superiority".
Applied to Russia and to October 1917, this means: a simultaneous offensive on Petrograd, as sudden and as rapid as possible, which must without fail be carried out from within and from without, from the working-class quarters and from Finland, from Revel and from Kronstadt, an offensive of the entire navy, the concentration of a gigantic superiority of forces over the 15,000 or 20,000 (perhaps more) of our "bourgeois guard" (the officers' schools), our "Vendee troops" (part of the Cossacks), etc. Our three main forces—the fleet, the workers, and the army units—must be so combined as to occupy without fail and to hold at any cost: (a) the telephone exchange; (b) the telegraph office; (c) the railway stations; (d) and above all, the bridges.
The most determined elements (our "shock forces" and young workers, as well as the best of the sailors) must be formed into small detachments to occupy all the more important points and to take part everywhere in all important operations, for example: to encircle and cut off Petrograd; to seize it by a combined attack of the sailors, the workers, and the troops—a task which requires art and triple audacity;to form detachments from the best workers, armed with rifles and bombs, for the purpose of attacking and surrounding the enemy's "centres" (the officers' schools, the telegraph office, the telephone exchange, etc.). Their watch word must be: "Better die to a man than let the enemy pass!"
Let us hope that if action is decided on, the leaders will successfully apply the great precepts of Danton and Marx. The success of both the Russian and the world revolution depends on two or three days' fighting.
I found neither in Trotsky’s speech, nor in the speech of Kollontai, nor in the Bolshevik declaration, nor in the resolution that they proposed now, any explanation for the reason why the Bolsheviks need to withdraw from the Pre-Parliament. See more
The Bolsheviks could leave the Pre-Parliament only if they form a new authority by using force. But this is now unthinkable, and we therefore consider the policy of the Bolsheviks meaningless.
They must remember, that the masses are disappointed with the revolution. The policy of the Bolsheviks now acts into the hands of the counter-revolutionaries. The Mensheviks-internationalists did not leave the Pre-Parliament and are not going to leave it. They consider it a duty to remain in it, to illuminate the activity of the census elements from the rostrum. The future will show whose tacts were correct.
You need to have extraordinary strength so that you do not lose heart. I almost lost it. Almost… Kerensky insisted that the Government should leave for Moscow. And with the “Pre-Parliament”, which, under the name of the “Council of the Russian Republic,” opened yesterday at the Mariyinsky Palace. See more
(I have not written what has been announced: let Russia be called a republic. Well, “let it be called that.” The “word” comforted nobody, it did not change anything at all.) The opening of a new place for speaking was sour. Avksentyev was Chairman. They introduced both the Cadets and the “census elements.” At the first meeting, Trotsky and his collaborators initiated a scandal, after which the Bolsheviks left with threats. (This is their current tactic everywhere). And the “Council of R.” - it also broke up, until Tuesday.
By the Roman theory the barbarian bondmen were meant to be useful. The saint's mysticism was moved at finding them ornamental; and "Non Angli sed Angeli" meant more nearly "Not slaves, but souls." See more
It is to the point, in passing, to note that in the modern country most collectively Christian, Russia, the serfs were always referred to as "souls."
One day as I came to Smolny to the outer gate I saw Trotzky and his wife just ahead of me. They were halted by a soldier. Trotzky searched through his pockets, but could find no pass.
“Never mind,” he said finally. “You know me. My name is Trotzky.” See more
“You haven’t got a pass,” answered the soldier stubbornly.
“You cannot go in. Names don’t mean anything to me.”
“But I am the president of the Petrograd Soviet.”
“Well,” replied the soldier, “if you’re as important a fellow as that you must at least have one little paper.”
Trotzky was very patient. “Let me see the Commandant,” he said. The soldier hesitated, grumbling something about not wanting to disturb the Commandant for every devil that came along. He beckoned finally to the soldier in command of the guard. Trotzky explained matters to him. “My name is Trotzky,” he repeated.
“Trotzky?” The other soldier scratched his head. “I’ve heard the name somewhere,” he said at length. “I guess it’s all right. You can go on in, comrade.”
Poor Neverdovsky came to see me at the Embassy yesterday. He and his wife escaped from Vyborg disguised and by the skin of their teeth. The massacre of officers lasted two days, and was organized by sailors who came from Helsingfors, and called the local garrison “Black Hundred Reactionaries,” because they had not shed any officer blood. See more
At 2 p.m. on the first day, a few of his men came to Neverdovsky and asked him to explain Kornilov’s movement. When N. complied, one man said: “All the officers say that they are for the Government, but they are all secretly for Kornilov. They should all be wiped out.” Another man said: “ Come along and don’t talk,” and they all went out.
Two hours later he saw some forty soldiers running with rifles, and soon afterwards, he heard that General Oranovski, the Commander of the Troops in Finland, General Vasiliev, the General Quartermaster, and General Stepanov, the Commandant of the Fortress, had been arrested. Later a lady came in to say that they had all been murdered. They were thrown over the bridge and shot in the water.
Neverdovski spent the night in a house with friends. He was about to go to his office in the morning but was implored by his officers to wait while a junior officer spied out the land. This boy soon returned with the news that it had been decided to murder all officers of field rank. N. managed to find a hired carriage, which took him for an exorbitant fare to the house of a colonel he knew some twenty miles off. There he hid six days before venturing to escape to Petrograd. The Finnish peasants helped him and gave him a rifle, saying: “ The Russian soldiers are bad men. We will defend you.”
I had a fascinating walk with the most charming General Ruzsky, a man whom I admire not only as the most remarkable Russian commander of this war but also as a general who saved it. See more
And so this old man, in a civilian suit, a soft collar and a grey hat, strolled beside me. In response to my cautious questions, he willingly told me about strategic plans, about the course of battles, mistakes, and opportunities. I was amazed at the simplicity and desire in which he, the hero of so many great events, talked to me about this. And how much lovely kindness had this amazing man!
A robbery took place at the palace of Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich at 27, Galernaya street. Thieves stole all diamond, gold and silver items from the main storage room. The estimated cost of losses goes up to millions of roubles. One of the robbers is under arrest. He identifies himself as a soldier. See more
The robbery has been discovered by accident. There was an attempt of lynching a soldier for a robbery he was planning. The soldier was brought to the 1st Narvsky Commissariat, where he claimed to have robbed the palace of the Grand Duke together with some other people, and even pointed to the place where they had allegedly hidden 11 pounds of stolen silver.
Old Bennet visited before breakfast: soon he's leaving for England. We picked some flowers for a small bouquet during our walk.
At 8 o'clock we went to Mass. All morning it was snowing; it was not too cold during the day although it went down to one degree. We took a walk until and after breakfast. I read for a long time. I laid down for an hour or so until dinner time. In the evening we played bezik.