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Against Isolated Demonstrations

J. V. Stalin

June 14, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

Several days ago the Provisional Government ordered the Anarchists to be evicted from the Durnovo villa. This essentially unjust order roused a storm of indignation among the workers. They undoubtedly regarded it as an attack on the right of existence of this or that organization. We are opposed to the Anarchists in principle; but inasmuch as they are supported by a section of the workers, however small, they have as much right to exist as, say, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries. To that extent the workers were right in protesting against the Provisional Government's attacks, the more so that, apart from the Anarchists, the villa is being used by representatives of several factories and trade unions.

Our readers know that by their protest the workers compelled the Provisional Government to yield and to leave them in possession of the villa.

It now transpires that a new workers' demonstration is being "organized" at the Durnovo villa. We are informed that meetings of factory committee representatives, headed by the Anarchists, are taking place at the villa with a view to organizing a demonstration today. If this is true, then we declare that we most emphatically condemn all isolated, anarchic demonstrations. We regard demonstrations of separate districts or regiments headed by the Anarchists, who have no understanding of present conditions, demonstrations organized against the wishes of the majority of the districts and regiments, against the wishes of the Trade Union Bureau and the Central Council of Factory Committees, and, lastly, against the wishes of the socialist party of the proletariat—we regard such anarchic demonstrations as disastrous to the cause of the workers' revolution.

It is right and necessary to defend the right of existence of organizations, including anarchist organizations, when attempts are made to deprive them of their premises. But to merge with the Anarchists and engage with them in reckless demonstrations which are doomed to failure beforehand is impermissible and criminal on the part of class-conscious workers.

Our comrades, the workers and soldiers, should ponder the question well: what are they, Socialists or Anarchists? and if they are Socialists, let them decide for themselves whether they can march shoulder to shoulder with Anarchists in demonstrations which are obviously ill-considered and contrary to the decision of our Party.

Comrades, by our attempt to demonstrate on June 10 we got the Executive Committee and the Congress of Soviets 1 to recognize the need for demonstrations. You no doubt know that the Congress of Soviets has appointed a general demonstration for June 18 and has declared in advance that there will be freedom of slogans.

It is now our task to see to it that the demonstration in Petrograd on June 18 marches under our revolutionary slogans.

We must therefore nip in the bud every attempt at anarchic action, in order the more energetically to prepare for the demonstration on June 18.

Oppose isolated demonstrations and support the general demonstration on June 18—that is what we urge.

Comrades, time is precious; do not lose a single moment! Let every factory, every district, every regiment and company prepare its banners inscribed with the slogans of the revolutionary proletariat. Let everyone get to work, comrades, let everyone prepare for the demonstration on June 18.

Oppose anarchic demonstrations, support the general demonstration under the banner of the party of the proletariat. Such is our call.

Pravda, No. 81, June 14, 1917


1. The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, sponsored and arranged by the Petrograd Soviet, was held on June 3-24, 1917. The majority of the delegates were Socialist-Revolutionaries (285) and Mensheviks (248). The Bolsheviks, who at that time were in the minority in the Soviets, were represented by 105 delegates. At the congress, the Bolsheviks exposed the imperialist character of the war and the disastrousness of compromise with the bourgeoisie. V. I. Lenin spoke on the attitude towards the Provisional Government and, in another speech, on the war. In opposition to the compromising stand of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, he demanded the transfer of all power to the Soviets. The Mensheviks and Socialist- Revolutionaries were the dominating influence at the congress.

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