Declaration Of The RSDLP (Bolsheviks) Group At The Constituent Assembly Meeting

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 5 January 1918

First Published: 19 January, 1918 in Pravda No. 5.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 429-430
Collection(s): Pravda

When the counter-revolutionary majority of the Constituent Assembly refused to discuss the "Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People”, the Bolshevik and Left Socialist-Revolutionary groups demanded an adjournment to allow the groups to confer. Lenin made a short speech at the meeting of the Bolshevik group (no record of it remains). He proposed that his declaration of the Bolshevik group should be read out in the Assembly, after which the Bolsheviks would walk out. His proposal was adopted by the group.

January 5 (18), 1918

The vast majority of working Russia—workers, peasants and soldiers—have demanded that the Constituent Assembly should recognise the gains of the Great October Revolution, the Soviet decrees on land, peace and workers’ control, and above all the power of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The All-Russia Central Executive Committee, fulfilling the will of the vast majority of the working classes of Russia, has proposed that the Constituent Assembly should declare itself bound by t.his will. However, the majority of the Constituent Assembly—in line with the pretensions of the bourgeoisie, has rejected this proposal, thereby challenging the whole of working Russia.

The majority in the Constituent Assembly went to the Party of the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, the party of Kerensky, Avksentyev and Chernov. This party, which calls itself socialist and revolutionary, is leading the fight of the bourgeois elements against the workers’ and peasants’ revolution and is in fact a bourgeois and counter-revolutionary party.

The Constituent Assembly, as at present constituted, is the result of the balance of forces obtaining before the Great October Revolution. The present counter-revolutionary majority of the Constituent Assembly elected on outdated party lists, is a reflection of an earlier period of the revolution and is trying to throw up a roadblock in the way of the workers’ and peasants’ movement.

The day-long debate has shown that the Party of Right Socialist-Revolutionaries continues, as it did under Kerensky, to lavish the people with promises of all manner of things; actually it has decided In light against the power of the workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ Soviets, against the socialist measures, the transfer of land and all implements to the peasants without compensation, the nationalisation of banks, and the repudiation of the state debt.

Refusing for a single moment to cover up the crimes of the enemies of the people, we make this announcement of our withdrawal from the Constituent Assembly, leaving it to Soviet power to take the final decision on the attitude to the counter-revolutionary section of the Constituent Assembly.