Primary Documents - Workmen's and Soldiers' Congress Resolution, 28 October 1917
Reproduced below is the text of a series of resolutions passed by the Workmen's and Soldiers' Congress on 28 October 1917. These were issued in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Alexander Kerenski's Provisional Government.
The resolutions largely dealt with the Bolsheviks' intention to bring an end to the war, and specifically with Russia's intention to withdraw from the war. The Congress regarded a continuation of the war as itself a travesty: "The Government considers that the active carrying on of the war in order to share weak nationalities which have been conquered between rich and powerful nations is a great crime against humanity."
Resolutions Passed by the Workmen's and Soldiers' Congress, 28 October 1917
The Government considers a peace to be democratic and equitable, which is aspired to by a majority of the working classes of all the belligerent countries, worn out and ruined by war - the peace which the Russian workmen called for on the fall of the monarchy.
It should be an immediate peace, without annexation (that is to say, without usurpation of foreign territory and without violent conquest of nationalities) and without indemnities.
The Russian Government proposes to all belligerents to make this peace immediately, declaring themselves ready without delay to carry out all the conditions of this peace through plenipotentiaries of all countries and nations.
By annexation or usurpation of territory the Government means, in accordance with the sense of justice of democracy in general and of the working classes in particular, any annexation to a great and powerful State of a weak nationality without the consent of that nationality and independently of its degree of civilization and its geographical situation in Europe or across the ocean.
If any population be kept by force under the control of any State, and if, contrary to its will, expressed in the press or in national assembly, or to decisions of parties, or in opposition to rebellions and uprisings against an oppressor, the population is refused the right of universal suffrage, of driving out an army of occupation and organizing its own political regime, such a state of things is annexation or violent usurpation.
The Government considers that the active carrying on of the war in order to share weak nationalities which have been conquered between rich and powerful nations is a great crime against humanity.
Accordingly, the Government solemnly proclaims its decision to sign peace terms which will bring this war to an end on the conditions mentioned above, which are equitable for all the nationalities.
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
"Plugstreet" was British slang to describe the Belgian village of Ploegsteert.
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