J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol.
2, 1907 - 1913
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
We are again about to commemorate January 9 — the day that was sealed with the blood of hundreds of our fellow-workers who, on January 9, 1905, were shot down by tsar Nicholas Romanov because they had come to him, peaceful and unarmed, to petition for better conditions of life.
Eight years have elapsed since then. Eight long years, during which, except for a brief flash of freedom, our country has been harrowed and tortured by the tsar and the landlords!
And today, as in the past, workers in Russia are being shot down for peacefully going on strike—as was the case on the Lena. And today, as in the past, millions and millions of peasants are being reduced to starvation—as was the case in 1911. And today, as in the past, the finest sons of the people are being tortured and tormented in the tsar's prisons and being driven to wholesale suicide— as was the case recently in Kutomar, Algachi, 2 and elsewhere. And today, as in the past, the tsar's courts-martial sentence sailors and soldiers to be shot for demanding land for the peasants and freedom for all the people—as was the case recently with the seventeen sailors of the Black Sea Fleet. 3 That is the way Nicholas Romanov, Autocrat of All the Russias by the grace of the landlords, is exercising the power bestowed on him "by God" and blessed by the surpliced villains of the Synod and by the Black Hundreds—the Purishkeviches and Khvostovs.
Russia is still being strangled by the Romanov monarchy, which is preparing this year to celebrate the 300th anniversary of its bloody rule over our country.
But Russia is no longer the downtrodden and submissive Russia which suffered in silence under the yoke of the Romanovs for so many years. And above all, our Russian working class, now marching at the head of all the fighters for freedom, is not what it was. We shall commemorate January 9, 1913, not as crushed and downtrodden slaves, but with heads erect—a united army of fighters, who feel, who know, that the people's Russia is waking up again, that the ice of the counter-revolution has been broken, that the river of the people's movement has begun to flow again, and that "behind us fresh warriors march in serried ranks." . . .
Eight years! How little lived, how much endured. . . . In this period we have seen three State Dumas. The first two, in which the liberals had the majority, but in which the voices of the workers and peasants were loudly heard, the tsar dispersed in obedience to the will of the Black-Hundred landlords. The Third Duma was a Black-Hundred Duma, and for five years it co-operated with the tsarist gang in still further enslaving and oppressing the peasants, the workers—the whole of people's Russia.
During these years of dark counter-revolution it was the working class that had to drain the bitterest cup. Since 1907, when the forces of the old order succeeded in temporarily crushing the revolutionary mass movement, the workers have been groaning under a double yoke. On them above all the tsarist gang took ruthless vengeance. And it is against them that the onslaught of the capitalist offensive was directed. Taking advantage of the political reaction, the factory and mill owners step by step robbed the workers of all the gains they had won with so much effort and sacrifice. By means of lockouts, and protected by the gendarmerie and the police, the employers lengthened the working day, cut wages and restored the old system in the factories and mills.
Clenching their teeth, the workers remained silent. In 1908 and 1909 the Black Hundreds' intoxication with their triumph reached its peak and the labour movement reached its lowest ebb. But already in the summer of 1910 a revival of workers' strikes began, and the end of 1911 brought with it the active protest of tens of thousands of workers against the retention in penal servitude of the Social-Democratic deputies of the Second Duma, who had been sentenced on false charges. 4
The mass movement of the workers ended with the strike of November 22, 1907, against the sentences of penal servitude on the Social-Democratic deputies of the Second Duma; and the mass movement of the workers revived at the end of 1911, again in connection with the fate of the Social-Democratic deputies of the Second Duma, those front-rank fighters, those working-class heroes, whose work is now being continued by the workers' deputies in the Fourth Duma.
The revival of the political struggle is accompanied by the revival of the workers' economic struggle. The political strike fosters the economic strike and vice versa. Wave follows wave, and the workers' movement is surging forward in a mighty flood against the strongholds of the tsarist monarchy and of the autocracy of capital. More and more sections of the workers are awakening to new life. Larger and larger masses are being drawn into the new struggle. The strikes in connection with the Lena shooting, the May Day strikes, the strikes in protest against the disfranchisement of the workers, and the protest strike against the execution of the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet involved about a million participants. Those were revolutionary strikes, strikes which inscribed on their banners the slogan: "Down with the Romanov monarchy, down with the whole of the old and decaying landlord regime which is strangling Russia!"
The workers' revolutionary movement is expanding and growing. The working class is beginning to rouse other sections of the population for the new struggle. All honest men and women, all those who are pressing forward towards a better life, are beginning to protest against the violence of the hounds of tsarism. Even the bourgeoisie is grumbling, even it is displeased with the complete and undivided rule of the Purishkeviches.
The June the Third regime has pacified nobody. All the years of counter-revolution have shown that there can be no free life in Russia so long as the Romanov monarchy and landlord rule remain intact.
A new revolution is maturing, in which the working class will again play the honourable role of leader of the entire army of emancipation.
On the banner of the working class are still inscribed the three old demands for which so much sacrifice has been made and so much blood has been shed.
An eight-hour day—for the workers!
All the landlords', tsar's and monasterial lands with out compensation—for the peasants!
A democratic republic—for the whole people!
It is around these demands that the fight in Russia has raged and is raging today. They were advanced by the workers during the recent Lena strikes. They will be advanced also by the working class on January 9.
In 1912, the workers in St. Petersburg, Riga and Nikolayev tried to commemorate January 9 by strikes and demonstrations. In 1913, we shall commemorate January 9 in this way everywhere — all over Russia. On January 9, 1905, the first Russian revolution was born in the blood of the workers. Let the beginning of 1913 serve as the threshold of the second revolution in Russia. The house of Romanov, in preparing to celebrate its 300th anniversary in 1913, contemplates remaining on the back of Russia for a long time to come. Let us, then, on January 9, 1913, say to this gang :
Enough! Down with the Romanov monarchy! Long live the democratic republic!
Comrades! Let not January 9, 1913, pass unobserved anywhere where Russian workers are living and fighting.
With meetings, resolutions, mass rallies and where possible with
a one-day strike and demonstrations
let us everywhere commemorate this day.
Let us on this day remember the heroes who fell in the struggle! We shall pay the highest tribute to their memory if, on that day, our old demands ring out all over Russia:
A Democratic Republic!
Confiscation of the Landlords' Land!
An Eight-Hour Working Day!
The Central Committee of the Russian
al-Democratic Labour Party
Prepare to protest on January 9.
Published in leaflet form
at the end of December 1912
and beginning of January 1913
1. The leaflet "To All the Working Men and Working Women of Russia!" concerning the eighth anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," January 9, 1905, was written by J. V. Stalin in December 1912. Urging the necessity of issuing such a leaflet, V. I. Lenin wrote from Cracow to J. V. Stalin in St. Petersburg on November 23 (December 6), 1912, as follows: "Dear friend, in connection with January 9, it is extremely important to think the matter over and prepare for it beforehand. A leaflet must be ready in advance calling for meetings, a one-day strike and demonstrations (these must be arranged on the spot, it is easier to judge on the spot). . . . The slogans proclaimed in the leaflet must be the three main revolutionary slogans (a republic, the eight-hour day and the confiscation of the land of the landlords) with special emphasis on the tercentenary of the ‘shameful' Romanov dynasty. If you are not fully and absolutely certain of being able to have such a leaflet done in St. Petersburg it will have to be done in good time here and sent on" (see V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 18, p. 401).
2. In August-October 1912 among the political prisoners confined in the Kutomar and Algachi hard-labour prisons (Nerchinsk penal servitude area in the Trans-Baikal) mass hunger strikes and suicides took place in protest against the brutality of the prison administration. This called forth workers' protest strikes and student meetings in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Warsaw.
3. In October 1912, 142 sailors of the Black Sea Fleet were tried before a naval court-martial in Sevastopol on the charge of organising a mutiny in the fleet. Seventeen of the accused were sentenced to death, 106 were sentenced to penal servitude, and 19 were acquitted. In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Nikolayev, Riga and other towns, mass strikes and demonstrations were held in protest against these sentences.
4. At the end of 1911 new documents appeared in the press exposing the government's frame-up against the Social-Democratic deputies in the Second Duma. It transpired that the evidence brought against them had been entirely fabricated by the secret police in St. Petersburg. In the middle of November 1911, the Social-Democratic group in the Third Duma moved an interpellation calling for a revision of the case of the Social-Democratic deputies in the Second Duma. The Duma rejected the interpellation. As a result mass meetings of many thousands took place in St. Petersburg, Riga, Warsaw and other towns, at which resolutions were passed demanding the release of the convicted deputies.