The February Revolution: On February 23rd the revolution begins as strikes and protests in Petrograd erupt into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy is overthrown.
Information reaching Zurich from Russia at this moment, March 17, 1917, is so scanty, and events in our country are developing so rapidly, that any judgement of the situation must of needs be very cautious.
"John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World represents one of the 20th Century’s greatest political-literary achievements, being one of the first book length eye-witness accounts of the great Russian October Revolution."
"But the spell is broken. In the book of life
We will write the story of your victory.
March boldly, woman worker. Let your path
Be light with the torch of liberty."
To be immediately and fully executed by all men in the Guards, army, artillery and navy and to be made known to the Petrograd workers.
Blood has flowed in the streets of Petrograd. A tragic chapter has been added to the Russian Revolution. Who is to blame? “The Bolsheviks,” says the man in the street, repeating what his newspapers tell him. The sum total of these tragic happenings is exhausted, as far as the bourgeoisie and the time-serving politicians are concerned, in the words: Arrest the ringleaders and disarm the masses. And the object of this action is to establish “revolutionary order”. The Social-Revolutionists and the Mensheviks, in arresting and disarming the Bolsheviks, are prepared to establish “order”. There is only one question: What kind of order, and for whom?
I consider it at this time a matter of political necessity to publish the documents bearing upon my imprisonment by the British for the period of one month. The bourgeois press – the same press which has been spreading defamatory statements of the worst black-hundred type against political emigrants who were forced to return to Russia by way of Germany – appeared to be deaf and dumb the moment it came in contact with the lawless attack by England upon the Russian emigrants who were returning home by way of the Atlantic ocean.
There have never been so many pacifists as at this moment, when people are slaying each other on all the great highways of our planet. Each epoch has not only its own technology and political forms, but also its own style of hypocrisy. Time was when the nations destroyed each other for the glory of Cist’s teachings and the love of one’s neighbour. Now Cist is invoked only by backward governments. The advanced nations cut each other’s toats under the banners of pacifism a league of nations and a durable peace. Kerensky and Tseretelli shout for an offensive, in the name of an “early conclusion of peace.”
Any intelligent person (or any fool) knows that to save Russia a merciless struggle with anarchy on the left and counter revolution on the right is essential. This constitutes the essence of the entire programme of Izvestia, Delo Naroda, Rabochaya Gazeta ... Kerensky’s “historic” speech at the “historic” State Conference amounted to variations on just this theme. “With blood and iron against anarchy on the left, counter-revolution on the right.”
What is a peace program? From the viewpoint of the ruling classes or of the parties subservient to them, it is the totality of the demands, the ultimate realization of which must be ensured by the power of militarism.
The war conditions are twisting and obscuring the action of the internal forces of the Revolution. But none the less the course of the Revolution will be determined by these same internal forces, namely, the classes.