Three Speeches Delivered In Red Square
|Written||1 May 1919|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972, Volume 29, pages 328-331
May 1, 1919
Lenin’s appearance among the demonstrators was greeted with a lengthy ovation. After greeting the Moscow and world proletariat, Lenin compared the May Day celebrations of the previous year with the present celebrations. In the course of the year, he said, the political situation had changed considerably in favour of Soviet power. On May the First the year before they had been threatened by German imperialism, it had been routed and dispersed.
The conditions under which the proletarian festival was being celebrated had changed in other countries as well. The workers in all countries were taking the path of struggle against imperialism. The emancipated working class was triumphantly celebrating its festival freely and openly not only in Soviet Russia, but also in Soviet Hungary, and ill Soviet Bavaria.
“And we can say with certainty,” continued Lenin, “that not only in Red Moscow, in Red Petrograd and in Budapest, but in all large proletarian centres, the workers, who have come out into the streets today riot merely to take the air but to demonstrate their strength, are talking about the significance of Soviet power and of the early triumph of the proletariat.”
Going on to deal with the threats of Anglo-French imperialism, Lenin said that considering that Anglo-French imperialists had been compelled to retire from the battle-field in the Ukraine, where small units of insurgents were operating, they would certainly be unable to resist the united forces of Soviet Russia, Hungary and Bavaria. Their withdrawal from Odessa and the Crimea had shown that the British and French soldiers did not wish to fight against Soviet Russia, and this was the pledge of Soviet victory.
Lenin then read a telegram he had received from Comrade Kamenev to the effect that Sevastopol had been entirely cleared of French forces.
“Thus, today,” he said, “the Red Flag of the proletariat, which is celebrating its day of liberation from the imperialist gangs, is flying over liberated Sevastopol.” (Lengthy ovation. Shouts of “Hurrah” repeated for a long time.)
Dealing with the Kolchak danger, Lenin said that the latest reports from the front gave them grounds to believe that victory over Kolchak was quite near. Tens and hundreds of thousands of men were being sent to the front, and these would completely destroy Kolchak’s gangs.
In conclusion, Lenin expressed his confidence in the final victory of Soviet power all over the world and exclaimed: “Long live the world Soviet republic! Long live communism!”
“The majority of those here present are no older than 30 to 35 years of age,” said Lenin, “and they will live to see the full bloom of communism, from which we are still remote.”
Pointing to the children, Lenin said that they, who were taking part in the celebration of the festival of the emancipation of labour, would fully enjoy the fruits of the labours and sacrifices of the revolutionaries.
“Our grandchildren will examine the documents and other relics of the epoch of the capitalist system with amazement. It will be difficult for them to picture to themselves how the trade in articles of primary necessity could remain in private hands, how factories could belong to individuals, how some men could exploit others, how it was possible for those who did not work to exist. Up to now the story of what our children would see in the future has sounded like a fairy-tale; but today, comrades, you clearly see that the edifice of socialist society, of which we have laid the foundations, is not a utopia. Our children will build this edifice with oven greater zeal.” (Stormy applause.)
Published in Vecherniye Izvestia .3Ioskuvsiogo Savieta No. 230, May 2, 1919; Published according to the newspaper text
3. Speech At The Unveiling Of A Monument To Stepan Razin On Lobnoye Mesto[edit source]
(Stormy applause). Comrades, we are today celebrating May Day in company with proletarians throughout the world who thirst for the overthrow of capital. This Lobnoye Mesto is a reminder of how many centuries of torment were suffered by the working people under the yoke of the oppressors, for the power of capital never could be maintained except by the force and oppression that even in past times aroused indignation. This monument is erected to one who represented the rebellious peasants. On this spot he laid down his life in the struggle for freedom. Russian revolutionaries have made many sacrifices in the struggle against capital. The best of the proletarians and the peasants, the freedom fighters, perished, bmit it was not in the fight for the sort of freedom capital offers, freedom in which the banks, private factories and profiteering are retained. Down with such freedom! What we need is real freedom and that is possible only when society consists entirely of working people. To achieve such freedom much labour and many sacrifices will be required. We shall do everything possible to achieve that great aim, to build socialism. (Stormy applause).
- Lobnoye Mesto is a round stone dais in Red Square. Royal edicts and death sentences were announced from it in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1671, Stepan Razin, leader of the peasant revolt of 1667-71, was executed there—Editor.