One More Crime of the Capitalists

The report made in Petrograd recently by a delegation of Donets workers exposed the Donets coal mine owners, who are criminally disrupting and stopping production, and (for the sake of safeguarding their “sacred” right to enormous profits) are condemning the workers to unemployment, the country to starvation, and industry to a crisis through a coal shortage.

Today we have received a telegram reporting similar outrageous and criminal conduct on the part of the coal mine owners at the other end of Russia. Here is the text of the telegram sent to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and to three cabinet ministers (with our corrections in parenthesis):

“On April 29 the (Soviet) of Soldiers’ Deputies and the Union of Employees at Michelson’s Sudzhensk coal mines removed from office the nine-man administration owing to the criminally provocative manner in which they ran the business, which threatened to lead to a shutdown. The management has been placed (in) the hands of a Council of Engineers—.a technical board directly controlled by the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. A committee from the executive bodies in Tomsk has investigated and approved our decision.

“In a telegram dated May 11 Michelson refused to pay the workers. We demand full restoration. Restoration impossible.1 The mines are facing anarchy, the workers—disaster. Take urgent steps to send half a million rubles, decide the fate of the mines, confiscate them. The mines are working for national defence, daily output is 135,000 poods. A stoppage may affect railway traffic and (operation of the) factories. So far work is normal. Wages for March and April not paid in full. Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and Union of Employees.”

No more fitting expression than that used by the Soviet and the Employees’ Union in their telegram could be found, namely, that the capitalists are running the business in a “criminally provocative manner”.

All the members of the Provisional Government, the so-called socialist ministers included, will be accomplices in this crime if they continue to “grapple” with the impending debacle by means of resolutions, commissions, conferences with employers, if they continue “to waste words where they should use their power” (against the capitalists).


1. [The meaning is not clear. Does it mean that in case of a stoppage it will be difficult and almost impossible to get the mines restarted? —Lenin]


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.