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Mainstream, Vol XLV No 47

Birth Of A New World

Wednesday 14 November 2007


[(This brief record of the first few days of the Great October Revolution shows the titanic effort and the energy Lenin displayed in guiding it. The popular uprising that swept the country was led by the Bolshevik Party.

Evening, November 6

At 9.00 pm from the apartment in Vyborgskaya Storona in Petrograd in which he was in hiding, Lenin sent a letter to the members of the Party Central Committee, calling for an immediate attack.


“I am writing these lines on the evening of the 24th. (November 6) We must not wait! We may lose everything! Under no circumstances should power be left in the hands of Kerensky and Co. until the 25th (November 7)—not under any circumstances; the matter must be decided without fail this very evening, or this very night…

“..To delay action is fatal.”

Night, November 6-7

Lenin moved secretly to the Smolny Institute, the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, the Petrograd Soviet and the Revolutionary Military Committee, and assumed leadership of the armed uprising of the Petrograd workers, soldiers and sailors. Commanders of the Red Guards and the rebellious units came to Smolny from all parts of the city. The Bolshevik Party Central Committee discussed the composition of a Soviet Government.

Morning, November 7

By morning actually the entire city was in the hands of the revolutionary forces. They had taken the Central Telephone Exchange, the railway termini, the city post office, and the power station.

At 10.00 am the Revolutionary Military Committee published the appeal, “To the Citizens of Russia”, written by Lenin, announcing the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the transition of power to the Soviets.

In the afternoon, at an emergency session of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, Lenin made a report of the tasks of Soviet power.

He made the following historic pronouncement: “The workers’ and peasants’ revolution, about the necessity of which the Bolsheviks have always spoken, has been accomplished.”

The working class of Petrograd, led by the Bolshevik Party, had overthrown the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government.

November 8

Lenin wrote draft decrees on peace, land and the formation of the Soviet Government.

At the evening session of the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets he made a statement on peace and land, and submitted draft decrees on
these questions. The Congress approved the proposed composition of the Council of People’s Commissars led by Lenin.

The overwhelming majority of Soviets attended the Congress and there were many delegates from peasants’ Soviets. The Congress acted according to the will of the great majority of workers, soldiers and peasants.

November 8 or 9

Lenin wrote “Draft Regulations on Workers’ Control”.
He attended a session of the Central Council of Factory Committees of Petrograd which debated the question of introducing workers’ control over production and establishing a steering economic body.
November 9

Lenin presided over a session of the Council of People’s Commissars which approved as the basis of a government bill Lenin’s “Draft Regulations on Workers’ Control”, and passed the “Decree on the Press”, and the “Decision of the Government on Calling a Constituent Assembly at the Appointed Time”.

Night, November 9-10

The Central Committee of the Party and the Council of People’s Comissars set up a commission led by Lenin to put down the Kerensky-Krasnov counter-revolutionary revolt.

Lenin went to the headquarters of the Petograd Militatary Area to hear reports on plans to fight General Krasnov. On his suggestions a decision was taken to use ships of the Baltic Navy in the operation.

November 10

Lenin held a conference of delegates from Party organisations, factory committees, trade unions, district Soviets, units of the Petrograd garrison at which the defence of the city were discussed.

He asked the workers of the Putilov Plant to provide several artillery batteries and an armoured train for the front.

November 11

In connection with the counter-revolutionary revolt started in Petrograd on the night of October 28 (November 10) Lenin held a conference of the Revolutionary Military Committee.

He also addressed a meeting of regimental deputies from the Petrograd garrison, speaking of the current situation, the equipment of the troops and the establishment of order in the city.

November 12

Lenin spoke at a session of the Petrograd Soviet on the agrarian policy of Soviet power.

He wrote a radio message on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars on the transition of state power to the Soviets and the decisions of the Second Congress of the Soviets, on putting down the Cadets’ revolt, and on measures to defeat the Krasnov-Kerensky troops.

November 13

At the headquarters of the Petrograd Military Area Lenin presided over a conference that discussed military aid to the Moscow uprising.

November 14

Lenin made a speech at a sitting of the Party’s Central Committee explaining the meaning of Soviet power and exposing the capitulatory position of Kamenev and Zinovyev who wanted to make a deal with the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries on the question of establishing a “uniform socialist government”.

November 15

Lenin signed “The Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia” which proclaimed complete equality for all nationalities inhabiting the country.
He attended a sitting of the Party’s Central Committee which discussed the capitulatory stand taken by Kamenev, Zinoviev and others. The Central Committee passed the resolution on the opposition within the Central Committee written by Lenin.

November 16

Lenin wrote the “Ultimatum from the Majority on the Central Committee of the RSDLP (B) to the Minority” and familiarised the members of the Central Committee with the text.

“At any rate, we do not doubt for a moment that the submission of our the people’s judgement will ensure for our policy
the unreserved and devoted support to the revolutionary workers, soldiers and peasants, and will very soon condemn the wavering opposition to impotent isolation,” the document said.

November 17

And the Night of November 17

Lenin wrote the “Draft Resolution on Freedom of the Press”.
During the day he talked with Baltic sailors who were being sent to the southern provinces to carry out revolutionary propaganda.

He also received the chairman of the revolutionary headquarters of the Ivanovo-Voznesensk Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, asking him in detail about the state of affairs in the city and region.

He addressed a session of the Petrograd Soviet which was attended by representatives from the frontline units. His speech was about the programme for action and the tasks facing the Soviet Government.

November 18
Lenin wrote the appeal “To the Population”.
“Comrades, working people,” the appeal ran in part, “remember that now you yourselves are at the helm of state. No one will help you if you yourselves do not unite and take into your hands all affairs of the state. Your Soviets are from now on the organs of state authority, legislative bodies with full powers.”

Lenin talked to delegates from the Sverdlovsk Soviet of the Saratov Region and worte the “Reply to Questions from Peasants” because deputies from peasants were coming to the Council of People’s Commissars. A typed copy of the “Reply” signed by Lenin was addressed to peasants in the particular province from which the deputies came and given to the deputies.

The young Soviet power became stronger and more confident every day. The Bolshevik Party and the working class were getting increasing support from the working people in towns and countryside. The powerful popular movement followed the path Lenin charted. The Bolshevik Party became the guiding force of the world’s first socialist state of workers and peasants.

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