A. Lozovsky

Letter to the Bolshevik Group in the Central Executive Committee

First published: Novaia Zhizn, No. 172, November 4/17, 1917, pp. 1-2.
Source: James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, The Bolshevik revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and materials, Stanford University Press; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934, pp. 204-206.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Transcription/Markup: Zdravko Saveski
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive 2017

Dear comrades:

In view of the fact that the question of the day is group and party discipline, I deem it my duty to make the following statement:

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent .... when I feel with all my soul that the tactics of the Central Committee are leading to the isolation of the advance guard of the proletariat, to civil war within the working class, and to the defeat of the great revolution.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, pass over the administrative zeal of the representatives of the Military Revolutionary Committee, such as the order issued by Colonel Muravev about taking the law into one's hand,[1] confiscation of enterprises .....

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent when I see what is being done with the press; when I see before me houndings and persecutions, searches and arrests--all of which arouse the masses and lead them to think that the dictatorship of the proletariat which the socialists have preached for decades is the same as the old regime of the club and saber.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent when one of the People's Commissars threatens to remove the striking officials from the military exemption list and send them to the front; when the postal and telegraph employees are threatened with the loss of their food cards.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent when such acts and proclamations sweep away the right of combination won by the toilers in a bloody struggle. This right will undoubtedly continue in a socialist state just as the right to strike, in order to enforce political and economic demands.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent and thereby assume political and moral responsibility when the responsible leaders of the party proclaim that for every one of our men we will kill five of our opponents. This proclamation is similar to the one made by Hindenburg that he would burn three Russian villages for one Prussian.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, remain silent when the Military Revolutionary Committee does as it pleases with the country, when it issues fantastic decrees about extraordinary tribunals, when it exceeds its military sphere and takes upon itself the civil administration of the country.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, pass over in silence the discontent of the toiling masses that fought for a Soviet government only to discover that for reasons not clear to them this government has turned out to be a purely Bolshevik one.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent when Marxists .... refuse to look facts in the face and decline an agreement with all Socialist parties which would immediately end the war within the revolutionary democracy and which would unite all forces against Kaledin.

I cannot, in the name of party discipline, become a hero-worshiper and insist that this or that person must be a member of the government when our basic terms are accepted and when every minute of delay in coming to an agreement with all the Socialist parties means shedding of blood.

Finally, I cannot, in the name of party discipline, be silent when every day of war within the revolutionary democracy deepens the chasm in the working class, makes more difficult the fight against counterrevolution, and leads the revolution and Russia to an inevitable crash.

In view of all this I declare that I shall denounce in party meetings, in the C.E.C. and in labor circles the wrong and destructive (both for the party and working classes) tactics pursued by the Central Committee, that I shall mobilize party, labor, and public opinion to persuade the Central Committee to follow a better line and to call in the near future a congress of the party to decide: whether the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (Bolshevik), shall remain Marxist and the party of the working class or shall follow a course that has nothing in common with revolutionary Marxism.

With fraternal greetings,

A. Lozovsky


1. The order in question appeared on November 1/14 and ran as follows: "For the purpose of immediately restoring normal order in Petrograd and its environs, I order that the following be carried out to the letter: (1) I intrust to the soldiers, sailors, and Red Guards and the whole revolutionary proletariat the maintenance of internal order in the capital. .... I order soldiers, sailors, and Red Guards to take the law into their own hands against representatives of the criminal element and to destroy them unsparingly, as soon as their participation in crimes against the lives, health, or property of citizens has been proved beyond doubt ..... " (A. L. Popov, Oktiabrskii perevorot: fakty i dokumenty, Petrograd, 1918, p. 289.)