First All-Russian Congress of Peasants’ Deputies

''If the words “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” are written on a factory, as in America, the factory does not thereby cease to be a hell for the workers and a paradise for the capitalists. And so we have to think of what to do further...''

Published in Izvestia June 7, 1917

Draft Resolution on the Agrarian Question

1) All landed estates and privately-owned lands, as well as crown and church lands, etc., are to be turned over immediately to the people without any compensation.

2) The peasantry must in an organised manner, through their Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, immediately take over all the land in their localities for the purpose of its economic exploitation, without however in any way prejudicing thereby the final establishment of land regulations by the Constituent Assembly or by the All-Russia Council of Soviets, should the people decide to vest the central power of the state in such a Council of Soviets.

3) Private property in land must be abolished altogether, i.e., all the land shall belong only to the nation as a whole, and its disposal shall be placed in the hands of the local democratic institutions.

4) The peasants must reject the advice of the capitalists and landowners and their Provisional Government to come to “an agreement” with the local landowners on the immediate disposal of the land; the disposal of all the land must be governed by the organised decision of the majority of the local peasants, and not by an agreement between the majority, i.e., the peasants, and the minority, and an insignificant minority at that, i.e., the landowners.

5) Not only the landowners are fighting and will continue to fight as hard as they can against the transfer of all landed estates to the peasants without compensation, but also the capitalists, who wield great power both because of their money and because of their influence on the as yet unenlightened masses through the newspapers and the numerous officials, employees, etc., who are accustomed to the domination of capital. Hence, the transfer of all the landed estates to the peasantry without compensation cannot be carried through on a complete and secure basis unless the confidence of the peasant masses in the capitalists Is destroyed, unless a close alliance is established between the peasantry and the urban workers, and unless state power is taken over completely by the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, Peasants’, and other Deputies. Only state power wielded by such Soviets and administering the state not through a police, or a bureaucracy, or a standing army isolated from the people, but through a nation-wide, universal and armed militia of the workers and peasants, can guarantee the realisation of the above-mentioned agrarian reforms, which are being demanded by the entire peasantry.

6) Agricultural labourers and poor peasants, i.e., those who, because of the lack of sufficient land, cattle, and implements, earn a living partly by working for hire, must strive their hardest to organise themselves independently into separate Soviets, or into separate groups within the general peasants’ Soviets, in order to protect their interests against the rich peasants, who inevitably strive towards an alliance with the capitalists and landowners.

7) As a result of the war, Russia, like all other belligerent and many neutral (non-belligerent) countries, is facing an economic debacle, disaster and famine owing to the shortage of workers, coal, iron, etc. The only way to save the country is by the workers’ and peasants’ deputies assuming control and management of the entire production and distribution of goods. It is therefore necessary to proceed immediately to arrange agreements between Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies and Soviets of Workers’ Deputies on the exchange of grain and other rural products for implements, footwear, clothing, etc., without the medium of the capitalists, who must be removed from the management of the factories. With the same purpose in view, the peasant committees must be encouraged to take over the livestock and implements of the landowners, such livestock and implements to be used in common. Similarly, the conversion of all large landed estates into model farms must be encouraged, the land to be cultivated collectively with the aid of the best implements under the ’direction of agricultural experts and in accordance with the decision of the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies.

Written before May 17 (30), 1917 - Published according to the manuscript

First published in 1917 in the pamphlet Material on the Agrarian Question, Priboi Publishers