Proletary, No. 4,
August 17, 1917
From J. V. Stalin, Works
Foreign Languages Publishing House,
Vol. 3, pp. 231-33.
The Moscow Conference is over.
Now, after the "sharp clash between the two opposite camps," after the "bloody battle" between the Milyukovs and Tseretelis, now that the "engagement" has ended and the wounded have been gathered up, it is permissible to ask: How did the "battle" of Moscow end? Who won and who lost?
The Cadets are rubbing their hands with satisfaction. "The Party of Popular Freedom," they say, "can pride itself on the fact that its slogans . . . have been recognized. . . as the national slogans" (Rech ).
The defencists are also pleased, for they talk of "the triumph of the democracy" (read: the defencists!), and assert that "the democracy emerges from the Moscow Conference strengthened" (Izvestia ).
"Bolshevism must be destroyed," said Milyukov at the conference amid the loud applause of the representatives of the "virile forces."
That is what we are doing, replied Tsereteli, for "we have already passed an emergency law" against Bolshevism. Moreover, "the revolution (read: counter-revolution!) is not yet experienced in the struggle against the Left danger." Give us time to acquire experience.
And the Cadets agree that it is better to destroy Bolshevism gradually than at one stroke, and not directly,
not by their own hand, but by the hand of others, the hand of these same "socialist" defencists.
"The Committees and Soviets must be abolished," said General Kaledin amid the applause of the representatives of the "virile forces."
True, replied Tsereteli, but it is too early yet, for "this scaffolding must not be removed before the edifice of the free revolution (read: counter-revolution!) is completed." Give us time to "complete" it, and the Soviets and Committees will be removed.
And the Cadets agree that it is better to degrade the Committees and Soviets to the role of simple adjuncts of the imperialist machine than to destroy them out of hand.
The result is "universal jubilation" and "satisfaction."
It is not for nothing that the newspapers say that there is now "greater unity between the socialist Ministers and Cadet Ministers than before the conference" (Novaya Zhizn ).
Who has won, you ask?
The capitalists have won, for at the conference the government pledged itself "not to tolerate interference of the workers (control!) in the management of the factories."
The landlords have won, for at the conference the government pledged itself "not to introduce any radical reforms in the sphere of the land question."
The counter-revolutionary generals have won, for the Moscow Conference approved the death penalty.
Who has won, you ask?
The counter-revolution has won, for it has organized
itself on a country-wide scale and rallied the support of all the "virile forces" of the country, such as Ryabushinsky and Milyukov, Tsereteli and Dan, Alexeyev and Kaledin.
The counter-revolution has won, for the so-called "revolutionary democracy" has been placed at its disposal as a convenient shield against the anger of the people.
The counter-revolutionaries are now not alone. The whole "revolutionary democracy" is working for them. Now they have at their disposal the "public opinion" of the "land of Russia," which the defencist gentry will "assiduously" mould.
Coronation of counter-revolution -- that is the outcome of the Moscow Conference.
The defencists, who are now prating about the "triumph of the democracy," do not even suspect that they have simply been hired as flunkeys of the triumphant counter-revolutionaries.
That, and that alone, is the political implication of the "honest coalition" which Mr. Tsereteli urged "imploringly" and to which Milyukov and his friends have no objection.
A "coalition" of the defencists and the "virile forces" of the imperialist bourgeoisie against the revolutionary proletariat and the poor peasants -- that is the upshot of the Moscow Conference.
Whether this counter-revolutionary "coalition" will suffice the defencists for long, the near future will show.