The Red Dawn
I. W. W.
1001 WEST MADISON ST.
Today, locked behind several sets of steel bars in one of those dungeons Capitalism has prepared for workers who challenge its rule, the writer watches the play of social forces in the greatest of crises ever yet facing this stage of civilization. Someone has said that the people of any given period do not grasp the significance of events transpiring under their eyes; that events are only historically understood as they move into the past and afford perspective. It may be that my interested isolation, my severance from active participation in the great drama, affords such perspective. But, be that as it may, the writer reels constrained to point out what, in his opinion, is the lesson to the workers contained in recent and current history—what means that inspiring light that penetrates even the prison windows and floods my cell with the glory of the Red Dawn?
For, out of the bloody mist that rises off the quagmires of mangled men that have fought each other like wild beasts and have ended by mixing their blood and bones in Death's Democracy, there marches, upright and unafraid, rebellious Labor, and the hope of the ages, the Industrial State, approaches realization as at this hour the fighting proletariat of Russia, the herald of a new world, presses its victory to completion and binds and consolidates its 175,000,000 people into a cohesive unit of Industrial Democracy.
And if it can be, as it is possible, that, by outer intrigue and inner treachery, the brave workers of Russia now under the Bolsheviki, valiantly fighting these dark forces, are betrayed, beaten and go down heroically in seas of blood as did Ennus, Spartacus and the Communards, yet the world of Labor will have profited and—success or failure—their brave attempt, their magnificent spirit and bold deeds shall live forever and their story shall be told "in lands remote and accents yet unknown."
This is not an attempt to prove to the wage worker that he is a victim of the employing class. Any actual wage worker of today who is worth convincing already knows he is robbed. All that remains is to prove to him that emancipation is possible and how it can be accomplished and he becomes a tireless worker, and ready for any sacrifice.
Then what has held the proletariat in submission thus far? Answer, they have thought it was impossible and they have been tricked and side-tracked in method to keep them from ever proving it was possible by doing it.
Here the Writer challenges all philosophers, both bourgeois and pseudo-socialist, by claiming that—now and hereafter—Wherever it is possible for the bourgeosie to rule the proletariat, it is possible for that proletariat to accomplish its industrial freedom by revolution. The bourgeois logic is, of course, not worth consideration. But it is our "friends" who must be guarded against. It is our "comrade," the dearly-beloved "socialist" politician who comes to the proletariat with his poison parliamentarianism and his prating of "science" and his sneers at the "impossibilists,"—the I. W. W. For him, indeed, we are 'impossible,' as the Industrial State we will establish has no place for politicians.
Of course, if a man lives in the pig-pen of politics, he must become be-fouled. But the politician who falsely claims a proletarian interest as a "socialist" not only blasphemes the worthy socialist ideal, but by pussy-footing about with his "emancipation by the ballot" and his "step-by-step" sophistry, thwarts the aspiration of millions and blows out the light in the brain of the worker. And it will be those workers, today fooled and misled, who will rend these sycophants limb from limb when their treachery becomes apparent in the coming crisis.
In the swift changes the Great War has brought about, nothing stands out in greater prominence than the centralization of industrial control in the hands of the state. The capitalist state has, in adopting "Government Ownership," adopted about all the reformist socialist-politician ever contended for. In fact, the politician dare not contend for more. And in those well-known seats of parliamentary socialism—Germany and America—there are today "intellectuals" and "leaders" of the socialist ranks, who fear the self-reliance of the proletariat and who hope and work with the bourgeoisie for the overthrow of the industrial state as now established by the Russian Bolsheviki.
To clarify the Russian situation in the minds of the workers of other lands is a duty. To explain to those who read the lies of the capitalist press and who believe that the Bolsheviki rule is a mushroom growth to be lightly swept aside by shooting Lenine and Trostsky, who are pictured as the long-haired stage anarchist and "East Side vendor of collar buttons,"—is a service to the working-class. The writer, therefore, gives in outline the history of the Bolsheviki movement of Russia and its rise to power over conflicting "socialist" theorists and bourgeois opposition. For the many detailed facts in regard to Russia, the writer is indebted to his fellow worker and fellow prisoner, Leo Laukki, whose active participation in the Russian revolutionary movement in the past entitles him to a considerate hearing.
Since the general strike and revolution of 1905, every student of Russia, now furnishing the greatest drama of the world's history, understood that there was a complete political upheaval going on in the vast country of the Moscovites. And, as the revolution of 1905 had not made a clean sweep of the old system of Tsarism, Cossackdom, grafting bureaucrats and pogrom-organizing police, it was generally anticipated that, soon or late, a new revolution would come and topple over the old political system.
A parliamentary governed, democratic republic was the most sanguine prediction for Russia. More cautious ones, having greater bourgeois sympathies for such a government, predicted a constitutional monarchy—a la England—for Russia, and no one dared to dream of something entirely new, something outside the beaten paths of theory, logical conclusions of history, laws of economic development, etc., as set forth by the high moguls of knowledge, socialist savants and prognosticians of social movements.
But, if the truth is often stranger than fiction, the outcome of a social situation, a social crisis, more often over-reaches every anticipation, no matter how scientifically based or accurately calculated they may claim to be.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 did this in a world-startling manner and degree. It has put the pseudo scientific prophets to shame and sent them back to the kindergarten class! To grasp this overwhelming fact the programs of the main Russian political parties prior to 1917, must be considered.
Of the bourgeois parties, the Monarchists stood for the order of 1905 ante: the Octobrists for the fulfillment of the Tsar's manifesto of October 30th, 1905—nothing added and nothing taken away; the Cadets for a constitutional government after the English pattern, which meant that the Duma's powers should be enlarged to the same degree as the existing parliaments of western Europe, with the cabinet under its control, etc. None of the bourgeois group were for a democratic republic before the momentous days of March, 1917. The Cadets had no common interest with the labor groups, that follow, except that they also demanded a Constitutional Assembly to draft a new constitution, the October manifesto, in their opinion, being, in a legal sense, unsatisfactory for such constitution.
As, in the making of history, only the socialistic labor groups have had any meaning in Russia, there is to be considered what differences there were in their programs and what they had in common. The last comes first. All the Russian socialist and labor parties and their many factions were for: (1), a republic, (2), a constitutional convention based upon universal, equal and direct suffrage, (3), democratic parliament based upon same and controlling the cabinet with corresponding reforms in all administrative and judicial affairs, (4), land reforms in favor of turning over the un-cultivated and excess land to the peasantry—the ownership to be regulated in different ways as given in the various programs, (5), extensive factory and social legislative reforms—a la Germany—and, (6), reforms in the system of education, etc.
And now in regard to the differences. The most moderate and loosely organized of the three great labor parties of Russia,—in its age the youngest of them—the Trudoviki (Labor Group), clung in a general way to the aforementioned points of the general socialist program, having no strongly marked characteristics of its own, except that it was, in the main, representative of the peasantry and the "socialistically inclined" layers of the people.
The chief characteristic of one of the remaining two, the party of Social Revolutionists (S. R.) came from its program upon the land question, which, by the way, has long been the crux of the Russian social problem. Like the Mexican revolutionists and the Chinese Socialists (with Sun Yat Sen), who think that some kind of a socialistic order of things can be instituted in these countries on the basis of their now existing economic development, going around and escaping the stage of Capitalism, so also, the Russian revolutionists in the second half of the 19th century, believed that Russia could jump to socialism directly from the semi-feudal peasant stage of society, passing Capitalism and its social nightmares with a "You didn't catch us!"
On such a basis, this revolutionary movement logically had a very strong nationalistic character. The peasant communism(mir) of Russia, was glorified as the great economic savior of Russia from the clutches of devastating capitalism—"Socialism in Russia will grow on the communistic instincts of its great peasant masses."
This party of S. R. (Social Revolutionists) has not only inherited the traditions, memorial history, etc., of these people's revolutionary movements, but also, more or less of their ideas; thus everyone may clearly see that the party of S. R. was in fact more of a peasant's party than an instrument of the industrial proletariat. It left the social revolution more upon the vast agricultural masses in the villages and armies of Russia—without whose general revolt Russia would remain a country of Cossackdom. In its program the demand of the nationalization of all lands and their common ownership and communal use by the peasants was the crucial point,—the ultimate goal.
Within the party of S. R., those who have contended for a program of various immediate demands, opportunists favoring reforms beneficial to both the peasantry and City Workers—such as tax reductions, and confiscations of uncultivated land—were called "Minimalists," having stood for a program of "immediately obtainable," minimum demands. The counterpart in the American Socialist Party is that group of agrarian reformers led by A. M. Simons. In fact, in their desire to catch farmer votes, the American Socialist Party avoids the communal land ideas and only hauls out its revolutionary argument to refute an attack upon their theories. They have programs for the individual farm owner and renter—land loans and what not—but nothing, absolutely nothing, for the millions of farm laborers,—the migratory proletariat.
The other wing of the Russian party of S. R.,—the "Maximalists,"—did not favor the wasting of revolutionary energy of the masses on any minimum demands; their argument, "The whole social revolution is the goal, it is attainable, and moreover, fighting for it NOW and all the time, brings more reforms in the wake of the fight to the masses than the compromising "Minimalists" ever can do."
In regard to "terrorism" as a tactic, both factions have been for its use, the Minimalists later, after 1906, modifying their stand in this respect.
In America, because of the individualistic mind of the farmer, who, while mortgaged and robber-ridden by large financial and industrial interests, still foolishly imagines he owns the farm, the Socialist Party contains no counterpart of the Russian Maximalist faction of the S. R.
The Social Democratic Labor Party of Russia, the last in our study, was a so-called "Marxian," both in its theories base was the dogma (really so considered) that a socialistic commonwealth is possible only after and in consequence of, over-mature Capitalism; that the wage slaves (industrial and agricultural wage workers) are the main and leading forces of the forthcoming revolution; that the socialization of the industries, including agriculture, will be the ultimate outcome of the economic evolution in society and the revolution to be actuated by the modern proletariat—the wage workers of highly developed industry. Accordingly, the S. D. Party (Social Democrats) was more concerned about the city wage workers than the peasantry, working for the organization, education and betterment of the industrial proletariat primarily. The peasantry was regarded as a disappearing mass from which capitalistic economic development forced new recruits into the ranks of the factory slaves; the peasantry a mass, "revolutionary" only in the old sense of protest against abject conditions of poverty, etc., but lacking the ideal to bring a new social order to life, and apt to be in a crisis at one moment of revolutionary assistance and at the next turn of wind, the tool of reaction to crush the revolution. By skillful leadership and manipulation, the city proletariat may draw assistance from the peasant masses, even get them as an ally, yet in truth, an unreliable and dangerous ally.party tactics, in its program, traditions and membership the party of the Russian industrial proletariat per se. Accordingly, its main
Consequently, in their program in regard to the land question, the Russian Social Democrats were representing in their own views, as formulated by them according to Marxian economics—the theoretical future interests of the Russian agricultural producers; their present demands being represented by the "Trudoviki," while their past economic traditions, the national communistic features still existent in Russian agricultural society,—were, as above seen, represented by the Socialist Revolutionary Party,—the "S. R."
As in the party of "S.R.," also in the Russian "S.D." Party, there have been two main factions or groups with their separate organs, representations in party committees, etc. Among the Social Democrats they are named "Bolsheviki" and "Mensheviki" from the fact that in the Party Conference in 1904, the first named faction, headed even at that date by Nicolai Lenine, was in the "majority" (bolshinstvo), while the other faction, led by George Plechanhoff from the inception of the party, was in the "minority" (menshistvo).
Starting from the same orthodox Marxian principles these factions came to different conclusions in regard to contents of party programs and tactics. Accusing the Mensheviki of being revolutionary only in the use of Marxian phrases, the Bolsheviki demanded as an element prerequisite to an ultimate industrial revolution (by them called "The Social Revolution"), that the party should be revolutionary in action, etc,; it should, (1) declare itself openly, unhesitatingly and uncompromisingly,—in the face of certain persecutions by the Tsar—for complete overthrow of bureaucratic government by general strike of the workers, armed revolt of all the people and military insurrection; (2) organization and education of all forces for the actual fight; (3) the party to lead the people at all times in revolutionary actions but without compromise with petty bourgeois and peasant elements whose interests make them the natural but unreliable ally of the proletariat in the fight upon Tsarism.
At this point it is necessary to bring to light the industrial origin of the Bolsheviki program, past and present. The short history of actual, open unionism in Russia begins about 1904. Prior to that time, labor organizations were taboo to such an extent that they "camouflaged" themselves as insurance societies, benefit associations etc. and, to the extent that they used pretension, they lost industrial force by becoming what they pretended to be. In 1904, the government, to its own notion planning wisely, sent out government secret service men, and organized unions that were semi-official at Moscow, Odessa and elsewhere. Much to the disgust of the government, organization was followed by strikes and the government seeing its mistake broke up both strikes and unions with the convenient Cossacks. Then came Father Gapon who builded on the sentiment remaining and, after organizing Moscow, went to Petrograd, where he was highly successful in starting economic organizations. These unions, however, were scrupulously loyal to the Tsar and fought, as does the A. F. of L., any revolutionary worker who dared raise voice against the government. But the "Bloody Sunday" of Jan. 22nd, 1905, when Gapon's loyal slaves were slaughtered by thousands under the windows of the Tsar's winter palace, cured this loyalty completely throughout Russia and the workers were thereafter not so prone to turn over to the "third section" (secret police) any revolutionary worker making an appeal to them for radical action and allegiance.
The impulse for the general strike of 1905 was the result of "Bloody Sunday" and the Social Democratic Party absorbed most of the industrial workers who organized, and these workers, true to proletarian ideals, became members and supporters of the Bolsheviki faction of the S. D.
Unable to engage in political scrambles to elect mayors and control dog-catchers, as the American Socialist Party does, the Russian Bolsheviki Socialists concentrated upon organizing workers as workers,—not as "citizen voters"—and measured the advancing strength of the movement by strikes and not by votes. This all plainly shows that no political saviors are to be lauded for their acts as great men. Lenine and Trotsky, far from imposing conditions upon the proletariat as the dictation of "great men" to the weak-brained workers, are themselves only the spokesmen and articulate tools of Russia's fighting proletariat.
To resume the discussion with the other faction of the S. D.—the Mensheviki. This faction was more or less opposed to the "revolutionary romanticism of the Bolsheviki," as they called it, claiming that a revolution in Russia at the present will still be one characteristically bourgeois and, therefore, a revolution of the proletariat and under its leadership "must yet remain a dream." From this premise the Mensheviki concluded that the bourgeois elements will be the leading factor in the expected revolution, the proletariat being delegated to be only the motive power in it, as had been the case in the revolutions of Western Europe. Thus, the proletariat in assisting the bourgeoisie to power and shedding its blood for the "free trade democracy," of the bourgeois system would have to compromise its revolutionary aims with those of the bourgeoisie after the manner of the German proletariat in the revolution of 1848. The proletariat should then, in the parliament, be the party of opposition and, not taking ministerial posts or other share in the government,—should, by its opposition, force reforms beneficial to the wage workers.
The Mensheviki are the "pure parliamentary actionists" of Russia, nursing bourgeois interests by pseudo Marxianism; the Bolsheviki the "mass actionists," the economic organization with strikes, the general strike and armed revolt having fundamental place in their program, based on the belief that the industrial proletariat of Russia is strong enough to seize power itself and be the leader of the revolution.
The Bolsheviki's "Lenine Program" having been originally adopted by the general Party Conference in 1904 was, with some modifications, re-adopted by the Great Conference at London in 1909, where about 450 delegates were present. As now the Bolsheviki are alleged to be of Jewish origin and blood, lording it over native Russians, the writer calls attention to the fact that the 28 Jewish "Bund" delegates to the London Conference were entirely Mensheviki, while the majority of native Russians were Bolsheviki. Intellectuals and professionals were worthy Mensheviki—industrial wage workers, Bolsheviki.
If any revolution, at any time, has been put through in accord with arranged and premeditated plans and programs, then about the Russian Revolution of 1917, it can be genuinely claimed that in general lines and even in details it followed the Bolsheviki program as set forth by them in the "Lenine Program" at the Social Democratic Party Conference of 1904 and poste. This program was the running order for a veritable "20th Century Limited" that has apparently sped to its destination without a halt, so closely, under control of these industrial socialists, has definite action followed definite preparation as per schedule. This may sound hyperbolic, but such is the opinion one receives from the facts.
Parting with this short historical sketch of the various movements, we must remember that all of them, even the Bolsheviki, in the first place contented for change in the political power, for a modern parliament, a constitution, general suffrage, civil rights and liberties, etc., and if they would have remained so to this date, there would have been no special reason to point out the Russian Revolution to the working-class as an epochal moment in the centuries old upward striving of the toilers. There would have been no inspiration in explaining how the workers of Russia had changed masters but remained in slavery. The story would have been mainly the same as those of previous revolutions in modern times—a sad story not worth repeating. But now it is different! "Ex Oriente lux!"—Out of the East—The Light!
THE ENEMY IN THE RANKS
The Bolsheviki had always contended that the Russian proletariat was strong enough to rule in its own interests and that it should strive to capture all power in order to get as much as possible. Thus, true to their faith, as soon as the old regime was overthrown in March 1917; the Bolsheviki cast the calculating eye upon the reigns that the bourgeoisie then figured upon taking in its hands.
The Menshiviki said:—"Now the Revolution is accomplished, let us settle down, allow the bourgeoisie to organize the machinery of government, putting their men in the Cabinet, etc., and begin to rule the state; because, on the existing economic base, the power to rule belongs to them; we socialists can now send our representatives to parliament—let us begin a system of political campaigning as the "Opposition Party."
Both factions said: "We will not share responsibility with the bourgeoise as Cabinet Ministers or Managerial Officers of the State." But—the Mensheviki not wishing to seize full power to the exclusion of the Bourgeois elements—were compelled to share power with the bourgeoisie and compromise with it against the proletariat and its spokesmen the Bolsheviki and Maximalists. Not going forward, they went backward. Especially is this illustrated by makeup and activity of the Kerensky Ministerium. The Bolsheviki, on the contrary, intended from the start to exclude the Bourgeoisie and seize full power, and, if appearances do not deceive "they got the goods."
But the fact that, thru the Bolsheviki, Russia's proletariat has come to undivided control of power is not so singularly gigantic as how they rose to power and to what end it has been wielded—in what direction used.
The Revolution and General Strike of 1905 was controlled by an extra parliamentary body, the Federation of Federations (Soyous Soyousof), which furnished the idea to the proletariat of 1917.
Even before the March Revolution broke upon a startled world, the workers in the great cities and vast armies had developed a General Organization—ONE BIG UNION—with a common representative body of their own, The Council of Workers' and Soldiers' Delegates. And, from the very beginning, the Revolution of 1917 was under the direction of this proletarian body—The Soviet; it was under able control of thousands of such local Councils all over Russia. In fact, in 1916 the Proletariat was in readiness for the organized revolt they "pulled" in 1917; then putting it thru over the opposition of the Liberal Bourgeoisie who advised its postponement until after the war. The Duma and Bourgeois Parties generally played no important part in the Revolution of 1917. Only, when the Revolution was an accomplished fact, did they jump on the scene, receiving much of the glory for the overthrow of Tsarism, and began laying claim to the spoils of victory. Attacking the proletariat and its institutions, they demanded that the Soviet disperse and the Workers and Soldiers return obediently to factory and trench and allow them—the Bourgeoisie—to remain in control of Dumas, Ministeriums, Semstvos, Upravas, and other "legal" bodies where, as members flitting about it swallow—tail coats—they could come to their inheritance.
But right here is where the New Epoch had its birth. The Mensheviki were ready and willing to yield this demand and advised the wage-workers to be satisfied with the political Revolution. The Bolsheviki were not! They decided, the Bourgeoisie and its Institutions, instead of the workers, must remain out of power; and, immediately, began a bitter fight against the preposterous demands of Bourgeois politicians. This fight naturally centered around the Workers' and Soldiers' Council—versus—Duma, Ministerium, et al. An astonishing attribute of the Russian Revolutionary Proletariat is, that in a new situation, it lays out, immediately, a plan of action; drawing a concise and clear program. In this respect, Russia's fighting workers, especially the Bolsheviki, are entitled to first place among the tacticians of the Modern Working Class.
Soon after the Revolution of March, the Bolsheviki held their group conference in which they adopted an entire new program to be offered for the Party. The main and all important feature of this program is, that in it the Bolsheviki cut themselves apart from orthodox traditions of parliamentary political Socialism, as can readily be seen from its contents. This program is the cry of the Omnipotent Proletariat in the face of the whole Capitalistic World! To perdition with your parliaments! Dumas! Cabinets! Your whole political power and political institutions! The cardinal points in this epochal act are;
- In the immediate present socialists shall concentrate all energies keeping the control in the hands of the Workers' and Soldiers' Councils, primarily that of Petrograd, making it, the Soviet, the ruling body of the Nation. The Duma to be abolished. The Councils, local and general, were to be supported regardless of which faction held majority.
- The Bolsheviki, then a minority in the Councils, should, by educational propaganda, assimilate the mass of workers and soldiers, and obtain their support for a Bolsheviki majority in the Councils.
- The permanent National Government to be vested in a Council of Workers and Peasants (presuming soldiers unnecessary in the new society) and local governmental bodies similiarly constituted. Worker delegates to be elected by actual productive workers in their respective industrial divisions; peasant delegates to be elected by farm hands and those peasants employing no wage labor—non-exploiters.
- Factories, and other industrial establishments, to be under direct control and management of their respective labor organizations; industries of national scope under control of corresponding national labor organizations. Same applying to agriculture, it coming under direct control of proletarian peasantry.
Parliament and all it means was thus cast overboard. In place of a political government by divers bodies and institutions, with parliamentary representatives elected thru geographical divisions by heterogeneous political groups with their conflicting economic interests, there should be direct management of things by organizations of productive labor! A mere voter, a mere citizen, a non-producer, an idler, in short a capitalist, living by parasitic robbery of the working-class, would have no say in this management, being a practical outcast, an alien to the Industrial State—until he joined the army of production as a worker with hand and brain.
Imagine the Industrial Workers of the World—the I. W. W.—as having organized American wage workers in its folds, and these workers controlling as well as operating all industries, and you have the same thing, the Bolsheviki have practically accomplished in Russia! Horrible! What? That depends. Impossible? If so, read what the learned professors of Economic Science said at their Association Convention of Minneapolis in December 1913. There, the advice, already given capitalists by a famous economist to prepare themselves for this very thing, i. e.; the rule of the I. W. W.; in the near future, over the whole of American production; the advice given the rich to put their pampered sons and daughter to the acquiring of useful labor habits in factories, was read and very seriously discussed!—Overalls!?
That Russia's contending classes should immediately be locked in combat over such a vital and important matter, pertaining to the very foundation of the entire social structure, is thus made clear as day! All favoring the political system clamored that the power of the Soldiers and Workers be curbed, their councils divested of authority or entirely dispersed, and the Duma be given the unhindered opportunity to direct the physical engines of Governmental power. To these reactionists, the Bolsheviki, uncompromising and courageous, issued a challenge of mortal combat in a moment when every worker's heart beat fast for Freedom.
Workers and Soldiers, under Bolsheviki and Maximalists, exerted all energy on the extinction of the duma, firstly, and, after a short fight, getting the cabinet under their thumb, they succeeded in abolishing the Duma, by abolishing its members' salaries. The next step was the overthrowal of this Cabinet of Ministers—demanding the expulsion of this and that Minister, the Bolsheviki ultimately demanded the expulsion of every Bourgeois, refusing their support even to those Socialist compromisers who joined Kerensky's cabinet.
It was at this moment that the Bourgeois elements, under the leadership of General Korniloff, tried for their hastily planned and desperate "coup d'etat," Kerensky is accused of conspiracy in this attempt at military counter-revolution of the old style. Owing to the solidarity of the workers, chiefly the railway men who refused transportation to re-actionary forces, the scheme failed and the fate of the ministerial form of government was sealed. The Bolsheviki began now the preparation for lodgment of complete authority in the Soviet. Kerensky tried to placate, faining to yield himself fully to the demands of the Workers and Soldiers Council, rescinding his rule of death sentences in the armies, talking of the need for immediate peace, etc., but he could not parry the blow 'de grace.' The Bolsheviki-Maximalist force struck the fatal blow and started their planned revolt with the aid of the garrisons of Petrograd, Moscow and other cities, the entire army quartered in Finland, parts of the armies at the front, the Nation's Baltic Fleet, armed factory workers—"The Red Guard" and the railroad workers who blocked all means of transport to other than known friends of proletarian strike and insurrection. Outside some of the Cossack regiments, the workers and soldiers faced armed opposition only from cadets of the military schools and similar groups of young men of the well-to-do class.
To what extent the Soldiers and Workers have, led by Bolsheviki and Maximalists, spread and consolidated their control over Russia, is shown by press dispatches of recent date (Winter of 1917-1918). The main fact is that they have reached their set goal and are in power without sharing it with any former ruling class. It is a pure and simple working-class rule, temporarily a rule over the non-productive, propertied class with a view to abolish it. The tables are turned and the bourgeoisie who ruled the working class or masses are now ruled by them. There is now no division of power and soon will be no class divisions in the Russian State!
So far, we have seen the Duma and the Cabinet, those bulwarks of political government, swept into the dust-heap of the ages. Remains, then, to see in what way the future is provided for by the new wielders of power. Two things, both occuring in November 1917, shed light upon this subject. Firstly; as soon as the Workers' and Soldiers' Council attained full control of all National matters and elected a body of Commissioners to function as executives under its control, thru this Commissariat a proclamation was issued calling for a meeting of the already elected delegates to a Constitutional Assembly. Added to this proclamation was the and Peasants' Council shall be made the permanent managers and the visible forms of government. Secondly: of still greater importance, is the fact that the peasants, in their all-Russian Congress, have declared themselves in support of (1) the accomplished Industrial Revolution and "coup de etat" of the Bolsheviki-Maximalists. (2) The Bolsheviki plan of National and Local Management by workers, (3) the Constitutional Assembly to draft the new Constitution in conformity with these fundamentals.that, in the to-be-drafted-constitution, the Workers'
Peasants now have their representatives together with delegates of Workers and Soldiers in a joint Executive Committee, consisting of 108 members from the Executive Committee of the Soviet, 108 delegates from the Peasants Council, 100 delegates from the active army, 10 railway workers, 5 Postal and Telegraph workers and 35 various Labor Union Representatives. Thus, the combined workers, soldiers and peasants having declared themselves in favor of the Bolsheviki plan of Russia's social structure, the future, to all appearances, is well taken care of; and therefore, what this new form of the management of human life means, and what consequences it will have for other peoples, should be given the most serious consideration all over the world.
When, in a country mainly agricultural and containing a population of 175 Millions of people, such great and important majorities of workers, soldiers and peasants, declare themselves in favor of a Government of, by and for the Productive toilers, functioning thru Industrial Unity and are actually striving to sit, establish, and fortify such a social structure; then are the days of human exploitation of man's oppression of men, with all concurrent forms of political government, marked, set and numbered. Well may ye tremble, Masters of Industry! The bourgeoisie of the world is menaced by the Proletariat of those countries far more industrially developed than Russia was toward the New Order of things, and:
Out of the east the dawn is rising,
Out of the Night the Day appears!
CLINCHING THE TRIUMPH
The foregoing pages were written early in December 1917. It is imperative that additional matter be given, as every hour the Bolsheviki add to their power as an administrative party in control of an industrial government.
The Bourgeoisie have manifested their counter-revolution thru their most plausible and willing tools, the "yellow socialists," generally; the Minimalists of the Social Revolutionary Party, in particular. It should be especially noted that these bourgeois socialists of the S. R. composed the majority of the Constitutional Assembly elected before the Bolsheviki revolution, yet called together by the Bolsheviki Soviet thru their Executive Commissaries.
Before the Constitutional Assembly met, the Soviet had issued decrees (1) that all factories and industrial enterprises were from then on, the property of the people and subject to direct control of the workers engaged, (2) authorizing the immediate seizure and control of all lands by the peasantry, (3) that the coming Constitutional Convention must legalize these acts by constitutional provisions.
Note now, the play for power. The Bolsheviki had placed factories and lands in the hands of workers and peasants, and then dared the opposition to take them away again. The bourgeois S. R.'s were forced to show a face of assent to the situation but, hoping to gain a reversal to bourgeois control by pure opposition, they arose an objection to the Assembly "being dictated to by the Soviet" and appealed to the masses saying "We too, will give you industrial freedom, but not when forced to do so by that illegal body the Soviet."
The assembly met at Petrograd on January 19, 1918. It met under the guns of the Baltic Fleet and while Petrograd was filled with Red guards of the Bolsheviki. And then the Bolsheviki "called the bluff" of the "yellow" S. R.; the executive commissaries with Lenine at their head, walked into the Assembly and laid before the Bourgeois socialists there, not the mandate they expected, but merely the suggestion that the Assembly should legalize the Industrial State by constitutional provision, demanding and enforcing an immediate vote upon the suggestion. Forced to show their falsity, the Assembly voted it down and their traitorous conduct apparent to all, the Bolsheviki dissolved the Assembly with armed sailors.
Bourgeois opposition thru parliamentary channels unmasked and ended, the Soviets all over Russia elected delegates to an All-Russian Assembly of Soviets, which on February 1, 1918, adopted the long delayed constitution, legalizing the de facto Industrial State.
Finland, early in December 1917, had under bourgeois-socialist rule, declared independence from Russia and adopted a constitution even more conservative than the United States Constitution. A provision, "Free speech, shall prevail, but nothing shall be said against the government." Free speech, providing you say nothing! The freedom of a socialist (?) republic!
But Finland's conduct received approbation from both capitalist governments and socialist parliamentarians the world over, while the latter cast an eye of tentative disapproval on the Bolsheviki control of Russia.
The rank and file of the American Socialist Party, largely revolution ary and in enthusiastic accord with the Bolsheviki, were fed a "nor fish, nor flesh" diet by the Party machine. Said the "Chicago Socialist" official party organ, in its issue of December 8, 1917; "Editorially the 'Eye Opener' (the national party organ) has witheld expressing its opinions (?) concerning the stand taken by the Bolsheviki. We feel that their rule is but a transitory stage in the progress of the Russian nation toward a stable (?) and permanent government. The problem, we hope(!), will finally be solved by a coalition Socialist government representing all factions of the Socialist movement in Russia." Such were the waning hopes of Socialist politicians the world over.
As Scheideman would wait for the Kaiser's sanction, so did the "yellow" socialists of America delay "expressing their opinions" until Wilson's attitude of un-official approval made such action safe.
The thought of the world is fluid and streams across national boundary lines. The wave of bourgeois ideology that poured into Russia now is overturned and, with terrific force, its proletarian crest sweeps outward over Europe. The war between national groups of the bourgeoisie is changing, under pressure of Russian workers, into a war between classes.
Soon there will emerge an International Capitalist State or League of Nations, with an international military power to crush such sectional revolts as happened in Russia. The bourgeoisie, excepting the extreme reactionists, already are endorsing "Internationalism" again, as in "Government Ownership," feeding on the sentiment engendered by parliamentary socialists. The bourgeoisie always are forced to mask their robbery of the workers behind the "camouflage" screen of popular (?) and representative (?) governments. The "internationalism" of the parliamentary socialists will remain only a word, because with office-seeking eyes, they strive primarily to control national parliaments and remain nationalists.
The world proletariat is forced into economic organizations by the pressure of world capitalism. In various nations, Industrial Unionism, in itself a revolutionary labor structure, is in a state of forced formation. It is inevitable that industrial unity,—solidarity—between the Industrial Unions of all countries shall be established and girdle the globe.
World Labor shall establish a world industrial administration with a directive body of workers for efficient service to all mankind. The world proletariat shall crush its enemy, without and within: break its rusty chains and establish real freedom—Industrial Freedom.
The lesson of the Bolsheviki and the road to power of the I. W. W. are before you. The former, an example of the possibility of "impossibilism." Under different conditions than the I. W. W., the Bolsheviki took on tremendous odds by attempting to establish an industrial administration practically born out of military mutiny.
But America's strongest element is the wage-working class. Scientifically organized labor is the efficient and bloodless weapon of the proletariat in its accomplishment of industrial revolution; and, at the same time, it is "the structure of the new society within the shell of the old."
No lives need be lost, not one drop of blood need be shed, if the working class will rally to the I. W. W. with its program of peaceful evolvement from wage-slavery to Industrial Freedom. Will YOU respond and do YOUR share for YOUR OWN freedom?
The preamble of the I. W. W. was
adopted by the Bolsheviki.
Of the Industrial Workers of the World
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few, who make up the employing class have all the goods things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system.
We find that the centering of management of the industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for the every-day struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.
- The "dogma" referred to is that theory tenaciously held by most of the Socialist Parties that made up the lately deceased International. Certainly, Marx taught that Capitalism must ripen; but Marx looked at the world, while the parliamentary socialist's eyes were turned inward, upon his national soil where offices were to be obtained and retained—and "foolish extremists" whose ultra-radical acts endangered the party machine—were to be frowned upon.
- It should be noted that "mass action" and "mass unionism" are two different things. Mass unionism is a failure and only by "industrial unionism" can mass action in the field of industry, be obtained.
Defense News Bulletin
The Defense News Bulletin is published weekly. ¶ It is located in Chicago where the trial of the Industrial Workers will take place. ¶ The services of special feature writers have been secured to cover the trial. ¶ Subscribe for the Bulletin to-day if you want to keep posted on this, the greatest labor trial in all history.
$1.50 per year, 75 cents per 6 month. Bundles
Defense News Bulletin
1001 W. MADISON ST.,
For years the Industrial Worker has been the undaunted champion of the wage workers of the world. ¶ The Industrial Worker's representative in Chicago will cover the trial completely and will give full telegraphic information of same.
Bundles, per copy
- - -