In Defence of October

Study the lessons of the Russian Revolution

About us 1917 Live

How to Fight Counter-Revolution

"If you want to do more than merely complain about the counter-revolution, if you want to fight it, you must join us in saying: Down with the ten capitalist Ministers!"

Only a few days ago, Minister Tsereteli declared in his “historic” speech that there was no counter-revolution. Today the ministerial Rabochaya Gazeta strikes an entirely different note in the article “Dangerous Symptoms”.

There are clear indications that a counter-revolution is afoot .”

Thanks for finally admitting the fact at least.

But the ministerial organ goes on to say: "We do not know where it [the counter-revolution] has its headquarters, nor to what extent it is organised.”

Is that so? You don’t know where the counter-revolution has its headquarters! Permit us to help you out of your ignorance. The counter-revolution which is afoot has its head quarters in the Provisional Government, in the very same coalition Ministry in which you gentlemen have six of your colleagues! The counter-revolution has its headquarters within the walls of the conference hall of the Fourth Duma, where Milyukov, Rodzyanko, Shulgin, Guchkov, A. Shingaryov, Manuilov and Co. rule, for the Cadets in the coalition Ministry are the right hand of Milyukov and Co. The staff of the counter-revolution is recruited from among the reactionary generals. It includes certain retired high-ranking officers.

If you want to do more than merely complain about the counter-revolution, if you want to fight it, you must join us in saying: Down with the ten capitalist Ministers!

Rabochaya Gazeta later points out that the counter-revolution’s chief instrument is the press, which is fomenting anti-semitism, inciting the masses against the Jews. That is correct. But what is the conclusion? You are a ministerial party, gentlemen, aren’t you? What have you done to curb the infamous counter-revolutionary press? Do you think you can, while calling yourselves “revolutionary democrats”, refuse to take revolutionary measures against the unbridled, blatantly counter-revolutionary press? And then, why don’t you start a government organ that would publish advertisements and deprive the infamous counter-revolutionary press of its chief source of income and hence of its main chance to deceive the people? What evidence is there, indeed, that thou sands upon thousands of people must now be kept away from productive labour in order to publish Novoye Vremya, Malenkaya Gazeta,[1] Russkaya Volya[2] and other reptiles?

What have you done to fight the counter-revolutionary press which is doing all it can to bait our Party? Nothing! You yourselves have supplied material for that baiting. You have been busy fighting the danger on the Left.

You are reaping what you have sown, gentlemen.

So it was, so it will be—as long as you continue to vacillate between the bourgeoisie and the revolutionary proletariat.


[1] Malenkaya Gazeta (The Little Newspaper)—a yellow reactionary newspaper published in Petrograd from September 1914 to July 1917 by A. A. Suvorin, Jr. From May 1917 on, it appeared under the subtitle of “An Extra-Party Socialist Newspaper”, speculating on the people’s sympathy for socialism. After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917 it opposed the Bolshevik Party and conducted a vicious slander campaign against Lenin.

[2] Russkaya Volya (Russia’s Will)—a bourgeois daily newspaper founded by A. D. Protopopov, the tsarist Minister of the Interior, and financed by the big banks. It was published in Petrograd from December 1916. After the February revolution it carried on a smear campaign against the Bolsheviks. It was closed down by the Military Revolutionary Committee on October 25 (November 7), 1917.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
  • V. I. Lenin

    V. I. Lenin

    "The dominating trait of his character, the feature which constituted half his make-up, was his will..."
  • L. Trotsky

    L. Trotsky

    “Astounding speeches, fanfares of orders, the unceasing electrifier of a weakening army.”
  • G. Plekhanov

    G. Plekhanov

    "In the final analysis the brilliant aspects of Plekhanov’s character will endure forever."
  • G. O. Zinoviev

    G. O. Zinoviev

    "Zinoviev has won the reputation of being one of the most remarkable orators – a difficult feat."
  • Y. M. Sverdlov

    Y. M. Sverdlov

    “He did not die on the field of battle, but we are right to see him as a man who gave his life for the cause.”
  • V. Volodarsky

    V. Volodarsky

    “He was always to be seen in the front row, the on-the-spot leader. So, they killed him.”
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Reading Guides

  • The 1917 February Revolution

    The 1917 February Revolution

    The February Revolution saw a mass strike develop from below at a furious pace which posed the question of state power within a week of its inception. Workers in Petrograd took to the streets against intolerable bread shortages, the slaughter
  • Lenin Returns in April

    Lenin Returns in April

    This reading guide contains some of Lenin’s most important writings and speeches made in the April period, accompanied by works which provide further details of events at that stage of the Revolution.
  • The June Days 1917

    The June Days 1917

    This reading guide informs the May-June period of the Revolution with analysis, accounts of those who were involved and important speeches and writings of the time.
  • The July Days 1917

    The July Days 1917

    This selection of texts covers the background, events and consequences of the July Days. Next, we will turn our attention to one of those consequences – the Kornilov putsch in late August.
  • The Kornilov affair

    The Kornilov affair

    Kornilov’s failed coup brought the direct action of the masses into play again, and proved to them once and for all that they were the only force in society capable of transforming their own living conditions. For the first time,
  • The October Insurrection 1917

    The October Insurrection 1917

    The following series of articles provides in-depth analyses and first-hand accounts of the events immediately preceding, during and after the greatest event in human history: the October Revolution, in addition to reflections on its aftermath.
  • 1