Ten Days That Shook the World, by John Reed

Appendix to Chapter xii

1.

Instruction to Peasants

In answer to the numerous enquiries coming from peasants, it is hereby explained that the whole power in the country is from now on held by the Soviets of the Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies. The Workers’ Revolution, after having conquered in Petrograd and in Moscow, is now conquering in all other centres of Russia. The Workers’ and Peasants’ Government safeguards the interests of the masses of peasantry, the poorest of them; it is with the majority of peasants and workers against the landowners, and against the capitalists.

Hence the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, and before all the District Soviets, and subsequently those of the Provinces, are from now on and until the Constituent Assembly meets, full-powered bodies of State authority in their localities. All landlords’ titles to the land are cancelled by the second All–Russian Congress of Soviets. A decree regarding the land has already been issued by the present Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government. On the basis of the above decree all lands hitherto belonging to landlords now pass entirely and wholly into the hands of the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies. The Volost (a group of several villages forms a Volost) Land Committees are immediately to take over all land from the landlords, and to keep a strict account over it, watching that order be maintained, and that the whole estate be well guarded, seeing that from now on all private estates become public property and must therefore be protected by the people themselves.

All orders given by the Volost Land Committees, adopted with the assent of the District Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, in fulfilment of the decrees issued by the revolutionary power, are absolutely legal and are to be forthwith and irrefutably brought into execution.

The Workers’ and Peasants’ Government appointed by the second All–Russian Congress of Soviets has received the name of the Council of People’s Commissars.

The Council of People’s Commissars summons the Peasants to take the whole power into their hands in every locality.

The workers will in every way absolutely and entirely support the peasants, arrange for them all that is required in connection with machines and tools, and in return they request the peasants to help with the transport of grain.

President of the Council of People’s Commissars,
V. ULIANOV (LENIN).

Petrograd, November 18th, 1917.

2.

The full-powered Congress of Peasants’ Soviets met about a week later, and continued for several weeks. Its history is merely an expanded version of the history of the “Extraordinary Conference.” At first the great majority of the delegates were hostile to the Soviet Government, and supported the reactionary wing. Several days later the assembly was supporting the moderates with Tchernov. And several days after that the vast majority of the Congress were voting for the faction of Maria Spiridonova, and sending their representatives into the Tsay-ee-kah at Smolny…. The Right Wing then walked out of the Congress and called a Congress of its own, which went on, dwindling from day to day, until it finally dissolved….

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 15:33