Proclamation of the Organising Committee and VTsIK Faction of the Socialist-Revolutionary-Internationalists
[translator's note: In the course of 1917 the divisions within the Socialist-Revolutionary Party (PSR) deepened, in relation to the war as well as to domestic policy. Although the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries did not formally split from the PSR organisation until after the Bolshevik seizure of power, independent left factions had been operating within the party for several months beforehand. This document, produced just after the "July Days" demonstrations in Petrograd, illustrates the thinking of those SRs who were later to form the Left SR Party.]
In struggle you will find your rights!
Comrade workers and soldiers
By the will of the revolutionary people, the question of completing the establishment of people's power is now ready to be settled finally and unambiguously. The demand to transfer all power to the soviets of workers', peasants' and soldiers' deputies has been supported by the workers and soldiers who came out onto the streets.
Their voice should be heeded. This is not just the voice of Petersburg. The Petersburg proletariat and the "regiments of the 27th of February" were called upon to speak for the whole of Russia during the decisive days [of February 1917 - FK]. From the first days of the revolution all Russia accorded this right to the Petersburg Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The claims of the bourgeoisie, that Petersburg is not only not in step with the rest of Russia but stands against it, should be indignantly rejected as unworthy slander. We have heard this at "private gatherings of the State Duma" from the Third of June Duma Deputies, [elected according to the very unequal franchise legislation of 3 June 1907 - FK] who have been thrown off the path of Russia's history, but such talk is not compatible with democracy. Petersburg has been in the vanguard of the Russian revolution, and it remains at its post as the guardian of the people's freedom. And if its sensitivity, its alertness, occasionally obliges it to raise its voice impatiently, on its own initiative, then democracy will not blame it for that.
The people can sense the closeness of its long awaited freedom - a real freedom, a social freedom, the triumph of emancipated labour. The people cannot accept that once again, as so often before in history, this freedom, bought with the people's blood in our great February uprising, is just a spectre, a momentary glimpse of sunlight. For this reason the people constantly and intensely watches the government's every step, every turn of the rudder of the ship of state. The experience of coalition with the bourgeoisie in the "coalition" Provisional Government was, and indeed should have been, a hard test for the revolutionary democracy. For day after day, step after step, we saw the revolution being diverted from its straight path, the path of social freedom. We had embarked on this path after long years of heroic struggle on our own for the emancipation of labour, for land and freedom. Instead, the revolution has gone down the winding path of compromise politics. This path leads not to the vista of free social construction, but into the blind alley of a bourgeois republic, in which freedom will once again be a mere spectre, and labour, the highest, best and only human good, will bend as before under the yoke of capitalism.
Naturally, as this has become clear, there has been mounting concern within the ranks of revolutionary democracy. It has finally broken out in an active form as open protest. Revolution does not tolerate compromise. As long as the revolution lives, any compromise can only complicate the creative process, the life of the upsurge of renewal. But the revolution is still alive, whatever its gravediggers may say...
The All-Russian Executive Committee should heed the voice of revolutionary democracy. There is no coercion in that voice, it is shameful to talk of coercion. Of course, nobody in the ranks of revolutionary democracy would even think of trying to impose power upon a recognised organ created by democracy itself. Even where the demand for a transfer of power took the form of armed demonstrations, this should not be seen as a threat, but merely as a show of force, which the armed people will use in support of the coming "fully popular power".
After all, who could be threatened by this armed force? Does the people have enemies impudent enough to try to silence the people's voice by force of arms? Would not anybody who took up arms here, on the streets of the city, be denounced by the whole people for fratricide? There was no need to carry weapons. They are not needed. We should make this point on the streets, in the barracks and in the factories. We should insist that the flash of cold steel has not distorted the real meaning of the popular demonstrations. But, where this call has not yet reached the ears of the people, we should not take fright or threaten to abandon the revolution. For, we repeat, even where arms have been taken up, they have been taken up not for offensive, but for defensive purposes, not to amplify the people's voice, but to protect it from infringements of its freedom.
It should ring out loud and clear. For it really is time to be done with half-hearted decisions, with the futile attempt, serving only to dissipate the revolution's forces, to reconcile in a single "new order" two irreconcilably hostile worlds, the old world of capitalists and petty bourgeois and the radiant kingdom of labour - the new world, which our revolution has begun to build.
Our revolutionary politics should be an integral whole. For this to happen, our revolutionary power must also be integral, from top to bottom. But this integrity can only be achieved by transferring all power to the only competent organs of revolutionary democracy - the Soviets.
This demand must be fulfilled. We call on our comrade workers and soldiers to refrain from armed demonstrations, from any disorganised actions which serve to reduce the people's strength and right. The transfer of all power to the people without limitations, without deals with the petty bourgeois of the old world, is demanded by life itself, by the revolution itself, and it will come... so long as carelessness, distractions and excessively hot-headed outbursts do not disorganise and disperse the revolutionary forces. We call upon our comrade workers and soldiers to organise, to close ranks, and to express their will calmly and peacefully, in full consciousness of their uncrushable strength.
There have already been attempts at fomenting disorganisation and at goading the masses into violence. Comrades, do not give in to them, because that is the only way your upsurge can be defeated.
Be calm and organise yourselves, comrades!
Long live the unity of the revolutionary people!
Long live revolutionary socialism!
All power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers and Peasants' Deputies.