Speech At The Extraordinary All-Russia Congress Of Railwaymen, December 26, 1917

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Allow me to greet the Congress on behalf of the Council of People's Commissars and to express the hope that the organisation of the railwaymen will be conducted on the same lines as the vast majority of workers and peasants in Russia. There is no doubt at all that the October Revolution, carried out by the workers, peasants and soldiers, is a socialist one. It is opposed by all the forces of the bourgeoisie and the top salaried sections, who have grown accustomed to the old order and cannot understand that the revolution is going to remake the old system from top to bottom. Listen to their loud cries that Soviet power is repudiated by the majority in Russia. You know the worth of all this clamour. There is a flood of telegrams saying that troops are moving on Petrograd, against the gains of the October Revolution. We throw them into the waste-paper basket, being fully aware that we shall not have to wait long for a refutation. The top-drawer organisations of the First Peasant Congress, as represented by the Avksentyevs, said on behalf of the peasant mass that they were opposed to the rule of tyrants and usurpers. What we said was: “Let them curse, we shall see what the peasants have to say when we start confiscating the landed estates and giving them to the peasants.” As you see, the Second Peasant Congress has brought victory to Soviet power. We have established close contacts with the Second Soviet of Peasants' Deputies. It is with them that we have organised the Soviet power of workers, soldiers and peasants. We shall surely find the same attitude among the mass of railwaymen. You are aware that disruption of railway communications-aggravated by sabotage on the part of senior officials-is telling on the country. You are aware that a breakdown of railway communications makes impossible any balanced exchange between town and country, which is so vital to normal food supplies. Comrades, we need your help to get the railways going. Only by joining efforts with you can we overcome the disorder and strengthen the power of the workers, soldiers and peasants. Soviet power has no other support than that of the broad working masses. We are sure that the present Railwaymen's Congress will consolidate the power of the People's Gommissars by setting up an organisation that will help us in the struggle for land and peace. In conclusion, comrades, I extend to you once again our greetings and best wishes of fruitful work. (As Comrade Lenin leaves the hall, almost the entire audience joins in a burst of applause. To general applause, the Congress elects him honorary chairman.)