Comintern History

The Group of English Speaking Communists in Russia

Will You be oppressors of workers liberty?

Source: A small booklet 15 pages in A5 format found in the National Archives. From internal evidence this was produced sometime between July to September 1919. It appears to have been found in Tallin where there were no soldiers but occasionally RN personnel. One possible author is Peter Petroff, (1884-1947) who had returned to Russia in January 1919, another is Joe Fineberg (1886-1957) who had been in Russia since June 1918, though it may have been a joint production involving others with or without these two;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Fellow Workers,

The German workers, soldiers and sailors, following the example of the Russian Revolution have smashed the throne of the Kaiser, and the Hohenzollerns have fled terror-stricken to Holland. Everywhere the workers, soldiers and sailors are forming their Soviets and taking the political power in their own hands. The workers of Germany are proclaiming the Socialist Republic! The brightest vistas are opening before the exploited toiling masses of the world. The workers everywhere have it now in their power to put an end for ever to the rule of exploitation of man by man. The workers the producers of all wealth, are now coming by their own. Labour is going to rule the world.

Allies the foes of freedom

Hitherto when the workers rose against their oppressors, the capitalists and landlords could count upon the Asiatic Despotism of the Czars who would send their troops in support of reaction everywhere. The next bulwark of reaction in Europe was the semi-Autocracy of the Hohenzollerns. Now, no sooner had the black blood-stained mantle fallen of the last Autocracies in Europe fallen into the dust, than it is greedily snatched at by your governments. Your rulers are now sending you to crush the revolution of the working classes of Russia and Germany. The greatest danger to the freedom of the world no longer comes from the East, From here, on the contrary, comes the greatest message of Liberty that has ever rung in the ears of Man. It is from the West, from the rulers of England, France and the United States that the darkest clouds are spreading to blot out the rising sun of Socialism now dawning in the East.


British workers, owing to the peculiar geographical and also historical conditions of your country, you have, in the past, very little contact with the workers on the Continent. You are not familiar with our mental outlook, with our aspirations ideas and ideals. You have had to depend for information on the rapacious conservative bandits of the Northcliffe Press like the Times, Daily Mail etc. on the one hand, and of the hypocritical Uriah Heep Cadbury Chocolate Press like the Daily News, etc. on the other who, between them were fooling you, hiding from you the truth and feeding you on rubbish and inanities. During the war your rulers, by means of the censorship and the Defence of the Realm Act, have cut you off altogether from connection with the Workers of the enemy countries. They have left only one avenue open, the avenue of death through which you could commune with the workers opposite through the language of the bayonet and the bullet. Your rulers, your most deadly enemies, are assiduously spreading venomous lies and calumny against the revolution in Europe, so you may act as their blind tools, and perform the foul work they have before you of being the executioners of the freedom of the revolutionary workers in Europe.

Sham democracy

British and American workers, your rulers are the most dangerous enemies of ours and yours. Of all the imperialists of the World, they are the most cunning, the most treacherous. They maintained the iron rule of Capital under conditions of apparently democratic government and free institutions. They had to keep you down under their heel, to grind you in their factories mines and workshops and at the same time make you believe you are free. They played upon you with great success the trick of pretending they were split into two factions, Conservatives and Liberals in England, Republicans and Democrats, in America whereas all the time they were like the Siamese twins, two in one and one in two. They led you by the nose from election to election raising empty cries and plenty of promises, granting you from time to time when hard pressed, some petty reform, like a bone being thrown to a dog to keep him quiet. You were taken in by this trickery thinking you must choose between the bigger and the lesser rascal, between the nominee of the brewer, the soap, chocolate or what-not manufacturer or shopkeeper. And you in your ignorance and innocence, instead of kicking them all out, bag and baggage, have been voting them alternately into power, – tweedledum following tweedledee. Decades of such practice upon you have sharpened their wits and they have learned to perfection the art of concealing their mailed fist under a velvet glove, and their dastardly deeds with the glib lawyer tongue.

By publishing the secret treaties of robbery and plunder which your governments have concluded behind the backs of the people in company with our late Czar – we have torn off the masks from your bloodthirsty governments. We have also repudiated the loans which your moneylending capitalists have advancing to the government of the Czar for the suppression and for the slaughter of the people. No wonder your governments hate us. They hate us however still more with the hate born of fear. They are in deadly fear lest your fellow workers learn the truth about our revolution, for they know that our example will then prove irresistible for you and this will mean an end to the rule of capitalists, landlords, financiers and lawyers, an end to the rule of the Wilsons and Lloyd Georges. That is why they have determined to crush the Russian revolution before it has time to open the eyes of the workers of the world, that is why they are carrying on such a ferocious campaign of lies and mud slinging against us.

They will send you, and are sending you already to occupy the Balkans, Austria-Hungary and Germany. The object of this occupation is to stifle the revolution in these countries, which is as yet in its initial stages, and not to let the workers, soldiers and sailors take the power in their own hands, but to put them back again under the heels of the capitalists, landlords and generals. Their idea is to create small weak capitalistic states where the Allied capitalists and moneybugs would feel at home, hunt for concessions, exploit the population and squeeze huge profits out of them. Your rulers will assume their usual hypocritical pose of benefactors of the human race. They will tell you that they are sending you to liberate the small oppressed nationalities of these countries and help them to create new states. Lies and falsehoods! If your governments were really taking the interests of the oppressed nationalities so much to heart they would follow the golden maxim of “Charity begins at home,” and would set Ireland, India and other nationalities oppressed by them free, and allow them to decide their own destinies. No, they are sending you to establish “order,” the order of the rich, of the exploiters, of the generals and of all the deadly enemies of the people, and they will call upon you to use your bayonets against the working people of these countries.

A murderous job

English speaking workers, soldiers and sailors, are you going to do this murderous job?

Workers of the Allied countries, the fate of the Russian and German Revolutions are trembling in the balance. It lies in your power to decide whether the liberties won ???? enormous cost and sacrifice by the workers, soldiers and peasants of Russia shall remain, or whether the toiling masses of Russia and Germany shall be delivered by you to their sword enemies, the international bandits of Capitalism, Landlordism and Finance.

Remember if you allow yourselves to become the executioners of the workers’ revolution you will only fasten the rope of slavery tighter round your own neck, for your masters having crushed us will be free to deal with you, grinding you to death, and imposing on you the huge burdens incurred by the war. And in addition you will earn for yourselves a name which will stink in the nostrils of generations to come.

Remember if you think that be obeying your masters you will be saving your skins, you are mistaken. We are not going to sell our newly-won liberties cheaply, at the bidding of your tyrannical capitalists. We shall fight with all our might and main for the great ideals of Socialism. Even if you walk over our dead bodies, even if in your blind ignorance you will succeed in accomplishing the wish of your rulers and masters, that is, to extinguish the flame of our revolution, you still will not save your skins. For, remember, on the graves of our revolution, there will rise the blackest reaction, the most rampant Militarism and Imperialism the world has ever seen. The now apparently happy family of Allied bandits smacking their lips in anticipation of the bounteous thieves’ supper awaiting them at the round table of the Peace Conference, will very soon be at one another’s throats. Hardly had the guns on the Western front stopped their murderous booming when the news comes from the United States of a fresh programme of Super-dreadnoughts to be built in the course of the next few years. Workers of the Allied countries, do you realise the meaning of this? It means that your scoundrels and humbugs, the Lloyd Georges and Wilsons are already preparing for the next war, maybe against the “Yellow Peril,” or some other “Peril” that they will conjure up. Remember, if you allow yourselves to act as the blind tools of your masters and crush the Russian and German Revolutions you will sign your own death warrant.

How to help Russia

Fellow-workers there is only one way you can help the Russian revolution and that is by helping yourselves. Dare to be free! Cease to be the slaves of the capitalists, landlords lawyers and generals! Make a clean sweep of the whole accursed lot. Do as we have done! Seize the whole machinery of state; form your Soviets of workers and soldiers’ delegates, seize the mines, railways, mills, works, factories, banks, all the means of production, distribution and exchange, run them in your own interests and not in the interests of your own exploiters. Take away the lasnd from the landlords and restore it to the nation. Take away the printing offices from the bandits of the press and use it for the enlightenment of the people. Proclaim that Labour rules the world and that those who do not work shall not eat. Get out of your wretched miserable slums in which your exploiters have kept you and take up your abode in the houses of the rich built by the sweat of labour. All the good things of this world are the product of labour and only labour has a right to them. Workers and soldiers do it now, you have the greatest chance that has ever presented itself to the oppressed and the poor. Your exploiters in the firm belief that you are fools have put arms into your hands that you may help them with their dirty business. Show them that fools are they and not you. Show them that you are going to use your arms in the direction they least of all expected, namely, in your own interests. Stick to your arms and remember that you are in millions and your exploiters are a few. Remember also that you are not alone and that the workers, soldiers and the poor in every country are rising and that your example will carry still further the revolution on the path of complete victory over all its enemies.


Having had the experience of almost two years of the revolution we warn you against the pitfalls and snares which your open enemies and your enemies in the guise of friends and benevolent advisers (these are the most dangerous) will spread before you. They will tell you that there is no need for revolution in such countries as England and the United States; that if you wish to establish socialism you can do it in an orderly “legal” fashion by voting at elections. Fiddlesticks! By listening to such advice you will fall into a trap. As old hands at the dirty game of politics, and, with their vast command on money they have a hundred and one tricks by which to jerrymander elections. If necessary they will disenfranchise you. Why, they have disenfranchised you millions of soldiers already. What they will be out for is to gain time and meanwhile to have you disarmed. Beware of all such machinations! Bring down the whole rotten edifice of your capitalist state with the shattering blow of your arms! Throw into the rubbish heap your decrepit talking shop – the old mother of parliaments, the hunting ground of corrupt politicians, the hangers-on of Capitalism and landlordism. You will have no need of this obsolete institution. The Soviets of your workers and soldiers delegates shall be the Councils by which your new life shall be ordered and, in co-operation with the Soviets of other countries, destroy for ever the incubus of capitalism, imperialism and militarism and, on their ruins build the real League of the toiling nations of the World!