Resolution on Measures to Cope with Economic Disorganisation

Published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 64, May 25 (June 7), 1917.

This document refers to the decisions of the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks) held in Petrograd on April 24–29 (May 7-12), 1917.

1. The complete disruption of Russia’s economic life has now reached a point where catastrophe is unavoidable, a catastrophe of such appalling dimensions that a number of essential industries will be brought to a standstill, the farmer will be prevented from conducting farming on the necessary scale, and railway traffic will be interrupted with a consequent stoppage of grain deliveries to the industrial population and the cities, involving millions of people. What is more, the break-down has already started, and has affected various industries. Only by the greatest exertion of all the nation’s forces and the adoption of a number of immediate revolutionary measures, both in the local areas and at the centre of government, can this debacle be effectively coped with.

2. Neither by bureaucratic methods, i.e., the setting up of institutions in which the capitalists and officials preponderate, nor by preserving the profits of the capitalists, their supreme rule in industry, their supremacy over finance capital, and their commercial secrets as regards their banking, commercial, and industrial transactions, can the disaster be averted. This has been amply proved by the partial effects of the crisis as revealed in a number of industries.

3. The only way to avert disaster is to establish effectual workers’ control over the production and distribution of goods. For the purpose of such control it is necessary, first of all, that the workers should have a majority of not less than three-fourths of all the votes in all the decisive institutions and that the owners who have not withdrawn from their business and the engineering staffs should be enlisted without fail; secondly, that shop committees, the central and local Soviets, as well as the trade unions, should have the right to participate in this control, that all commercial and bank books be open to their inspection, and that the management supply them with all the necessary information; third, that a similar right should be granted to representatives of all the major democratic and socialist parties.

4. Workers’ control, which the capitalists in a number of conflict cases have already accepted, should, by means of various well-considered measures introduced gradually but without any delay, be developed into full regulation of the production and distribution of goods by the workers.

5. Workers’ control should similarly be extended to all financial and banking operations with the aim of discovering the true financial state of affairs; such control to be participated in by councils and conventions of bank, syndicate and other employees, which are to be organised forthwith.

6. To save the country from disaster the workers and peasants must first of all be inspired with absolute and positive assurance, conveyed by deeds and not by words, that the governing bodies both in the local areas and at the centre will not hesitate to hand over to the people the bulk of the profits, incomes, and property of the great banking, financial, commercial, and industrial magnates of capitalist economy. Unless this measure is carried out, it is futile to demand or expect real revolutionary measures or any real revolutionary effort on the part of the workers and peasants.

7. In view of the break-down of the whole financial and monetary system and the impossibility of rehabilitating it while the war is on, the aim of the state organisation should be to organise on a broad, regional, and subsequently country-wide, scale the exchange of agricultural implements, clothes, boots and other goods for grain and other farm products. The services of the town and rural co-operative societies should be widely enlisted.

8. Only when these measures have been carried out will it be possible and necessary to introduce general and compulsory labour service. This measure, in turn, calls for the establishment of a workers’ militia, in which the workers are to serve without pay after their regular eight-hour day; this to be followed, by the introduction of a nation-wide people’s militia in which the workers and other employees shall be paid by the capitalists. Only such a workers’ militia and the people’s militia that will grow out of it could and should introduce universal compulsory labour service, not by bureaucratic means and in the interests of the capitalists, but to save the country from the impending debacle. Only such a militia could and should introduce real revolutionary discipline and get the whole people to make that supreme effort necessary for averting disaster. Only universal compulsory labour service is capable of ensuring the maximum economy in the expenditure of labour-power.

9. Among the measures aimed at saving the country from disaster, one of the most important tasks is that of engaging a large labour force in the production of coal and raw materials, and for work in the transport services. No less important is it that the workers employed in producing ammunition should be gradually switched over to producing goods necessary for the country’s economic rehabilitation.

10. The systematic and effective implementation of all these measures is possible only if all the power in the state passes to the proletarians and semi-proletarians.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.