MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Events
The Extraordinary All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Peasants' Deputies
November 10-25, 1917
The Congress was called by a decision of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and met in Petrograd from November 10 to 25 (November 23 to December 8), 1917. Attempts were made by the Right Socialist-Revolutionary Executive Committee of the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies (elected by the First All-Russia Congress of Peasants' Deputies in May 1917) to prevent the Congress from meeting and the peasant delegates from coming into contact with the Bolsheviks. These attempts were foiled by the vigorous efforts of the Bolsheviks, who were supported by grass roots delegates and the Left Socialist-Revolutionary minority of the peasant Executive.
About 260 delegates attended the first sitting; on November 18 (December 1) there were 330 delegates with vote, including 195 Left Socialist-Revolutionaries 37 Bolsheviks, 65 Socialist-Revolutionaries of the Right and Centre, and more were arriving.
The Congress was the scene of a sharp struggle between the Right and Left wing, with the Right-wingers eventually walking out. The Bolsheviks' fight against the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries was hampered by the vacillation of the Left-wingers. The resolution "On Power" tabled by the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries contained the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik demand for a government of all socialist parties, from Popular Socialists to the Bolsheviks, inclusive. But in that same resolution the Congress stated that the government was being set up to implement the programme of the Second Congress of Soviets. It also provided for a merger of the Executive of the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies with the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.
The Right-wingers failed in their efforts to split the Congress. On November 15 (28) it discussed and approved the Presidium's report on the terms for the merger worked out jointly with the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, on whose behalf Sverdlov delivered a speech of greetings. The Congress then moved as a body to Smolny, where at 6.00 p.m. a ceremonial joint sitting was held by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, the Extraordinary Congress of Soviets of Peasants' Deputies and the Petrograd Soviet. It heard a report on the merger of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Executive Committee elected by the Congress, and adopted a resolution confirming the decrees of the Second Congress of Soviets on peace and on land, and the decree of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on workers' control.
The Congress adopted a resolution on the agrarian question which was tabled by the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and was based on the principle of equalitarian land tenure.
The Congress authorised the Presidium to open the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Peasants' Deputies on November 26 (December 9). The delegates to the Extraordinary Congress were incorporated in the Second Congress.
Lenin spoke three times in explanation of the Bolshevik attitude to the agrarian question and the terms of agreement with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries. His speeches were of tremendous importance in guiding the Congress and rallying its Leftwing.