Declaration of the Petrograd Workers[1]

First Published: Novaya Zhizn, No. 46, March 20, 1918, p. 3.
Sources: "Protests against the Soviet Trade-Union Policy" in 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. 645-646; National Library of Russia.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Online Version: Marxist Internet Archive 2021
HTML Markup: Zdravko Saveski

The workers have supported the new government which calls itself the government of the workers and peasants and promises to do our will and work for our welfare. All our organizations stood back of it and our sons and brothers shed their blood for it. We bore patiently both want and famine . . .

Four months have passed and we find ourselves without faith and without hope. This government which calls itself a Soviet of Workers and Peasants has done everything to oppose the will of the workers. It has blocked every attempt to hold new elections to the Soviets, it has threatened to use machine guns [against workers], and it has broken up meetings and demonstrations.

We were promised an immediate peace, a democratic peace . . . but were given a shameful capitulation to German imperialism. The peace which we have has dealt a fatal blow to the workers' International and has condemned to death the Russian labor movement . . . We were promised bread and were given hunger, civil war . . . and economic disorganization. Under the guise of socialism our industries and finances have been thoroughly disorganized . . . The accumulated wealth has been plundered, and now as never before graft and profiteering reign triumphant. There is unemployment everywhere and . . . no means of fighting it. Our trade unions are crushed, and the factory committees can do nothing for us.

The City Duma is scattered and the co-operatives are harassed in every way. The Soviet of People's Commissars has departed from Petrograd and has left us to our fate. The mills and factories are closed and we are thrown on the street without money, without food, without work, without hope.

We were promised freedom . . . but where is freedom of speech, assembly, unions, and press? People are executed without trial by men who act as informers, provocateurs, witnesses, prosecuting attorney, and judges all in one . . .


[1] This protest was adopted at a meeting attended by 83 delegates representing 25 of the more important industries.