Draft of A Telegram to The Petrograd Workers

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May 21, 1918[edit source]

This was written by Lenin at a meeting of the Council of People's Commissars on May 20, 1918. It formed the basis of the final text of an appeal telegraphed to the Petrograd Party Committee with the following instruction attached: “Publish the following appeal at all mills and factories and take steps for the immediate organisation of enrolment in the food detachments”. On May 22, 1918, this appeal was published over the signature of Lenin and A. D. Tsyurupa in the newspaper Petrogrodskaya Pravda No. 103, and on May 29, in Izvestia VtsIK No. 107 and in other newspapers.

The Soviet system can be upheld, the victory of the toilers and exploited over the landowners and capitalists can be upheld and consolidated only by the stern, iron rule of the class-conscious workers. Only such a system can attract and rally around it all the toiling people, all the poor.

Comrades, workers, remember that the revolution is in a critical situation! Remember that you alone can save the revolution, nobody else can.

What we need is tens of thousands of picked, politically advanced workers, loyal to the cause of socialism, incapable of succumbing to bribery and the temptations of pilfering, and capable of creating an iron force against the kulaks, profiteers, racketeers, bribe-takers and disorganisers.

That is what we urgently and insistently need.

Failing that, famine, unemployment and the destruction of the revolution are inevitable.

The strength of the workers and their salvation lie in organisation. Everybody knows that. Today what we need is a special kind of organisation of the workers, the organisation of the iron rule of the workers in order to vanquish the bourgeoisie. Comrades, workers, the cause of the revolution, the salvation of the revolution, is in your hands!

Time is short: an intolerably difficult May will be followed by an even more difficult June and July, and perhaps even part of August.