Ten Days That Shook the World, by John Reed

Appendix to Chapter vii

1.

Two Decrees

On the Press

In the serious decisive hour of the Revolution and the days immediately following it, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee is compelled to adopt a series of measures against the counter-revolutionary press of all shades.

Immediately on all sides there are cries that the new Socialist authority is in this violating the essential principles of its own programme by an attempt against the freedom of the press.

The Workers’ and Peasants’ Government calls the attention of the population to the fact that in our country, behind this liberal shield, is hidden the opportunity for the wealthier classes to seize the lion’s share of the whole press, and by this means to poison the popular mind and bring confusion into the consciousness of the masses.

Every one knows that the bourgeois press is one of the most powerful weapons of the bourgeoisie. Especially in this critical moment, when the new authority of the workers and peasants is in process of consolidation, it is impossible to leave it in the hands of the enemy, at a time when it is not less dangerous than bombs and machine-guns. This is why temporary and extraordinary measures have been adopted for the purpose of stopping the flow of filth and calumny in which the yellow and green press would be glad to drown the young victory of the people.

As soon as the new order is consolidated, all administrative measures against the press will be suspended; full liberty will be given it within the limits of responsibility before the law, in accordance with the broadest and most progressive regulations….

Bearing in mind, however, the fact that any restrictions of the freedom of the press, even in critical moments, are admissible only within the bounds of necessity, the Council of People’s Commissars decrees as follows:

1. The following classes of newspapers shall be subject to closure: (a) Those inciting to open resistance or disobedience to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government; (b) Those creating confusion by obviously and deliberately perverting the news; (c) Those inciting to acts of a criminal character punishable by the laws.

2. The temporary or permanent closing of any organ of the press shall be carried out only by virtue of a resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars.

3. The present decree is of a temporary nature, and will be revoked by a special ukaz when normal conditions of public life are re-established.

President of the Council of People’s Commissars,

VLADIMIR ULIANOV (LENIN).

On Workers’ Militia

1. All Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies shall form a Workers’ Militia.

2. This Workers’ Militia shall be entirely at the orders of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

3. Military and civil authorities must render every assistance in arming the workers and in supplying them with technical equipment, even to the extent of requisitioning arms belonging to the War Department of the Government.

4. This decree shall be promulgated by telegraph. Petrograd, November 10, 1917.

People’s Commissar of the Interior

A. I. RYKOV.

This decree encouraged the formation of companies of Red Guards all over Russia, which became the most valuable arm of the Soviet Government in the ensuing civil war.

2.

The Strike Fund

The fund for the striking Government employees and bank clerks was subscribed by banks and business houses of Petrograd and other cities, and also by foreign corporations doing business in Russia. All who consented to strike against the Bolsheviki were paid full wages, and in some cases their pay was increased. It was the realisation of the strike fund contributors that the Bolsheviki were firmly in power, followed by their refusal to pay strike benefits, which finally broke the strike.

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