Kronstadt – March 1st Resolution

kronstadt_sailor_1921

On March 1st, the sailors organized a mass meeting in Kronstadt, which was attended also by the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, Kalinin (the presiding officer of the Republic of Russia), the Commander of the Kronstadt Fortress, Kuzmin, and the Chairman of the Kronstadt Soviet, Vassiliev. The meeting, held with the knowledge of the Executive Committee of the Kronstadt Soviet, passed a resolution approved by the sailors, the garrison, and the citizens’ meeting of 16,000 persons. Kalinin, Kuzmin, and Vassiliev spoke against the resolution, which later became the basis of the conflict between Kronstadt and the Government. It voiced the popular demand for Soviets elected by the free choice of the, people. It is worth reproducing that document in full, that the reader may be enabled to judge the true character of the Kronstadt demands. The Resolution read:

Having beard the Report of the Representatives sent by the General Meeting of Ship Crews to Petrograd to investigate the situation there, Resolved:

  1. In view of the fact that the present Soviets do not express the will of the workers and the peasants, immediately to hold new elections by secret ballot, the preelection campaign to have full freedom of agitation among the workers and peasants;

  2. To establish freedom of speech and press for workers and peasants, for Anarchists and left Socialist parties;

  3. To secure freedom of assembly for labour unions and peasant organizations;

  4. To call a non-partisan Conference of the workers, Red Army soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt, and of Petrograd Province, no later than March 10, 1921;

  5. To liberate all political prisoners of Socialist parties, as well as all workers, peasants, soldiers, and sailors imprisoned in connection with the labour and peasant movements;

  6. To elect a Commission to review the cases of those held in prisons and concentration camps;


  7. To abolish all politotdeli [Political bureaus] because no party should be given special privileges in the propagation of its ideas or receive the financial support of the Government for such purposes, Instead there should be established educational and cultural commissions, locally elected and financed by the Government.

  8. To abolish immediately all zagryaditelniye otryadi; [Armed units organized by the Bolsheviki for the purpose of suppressing traffic and confiscating foodstuffs]

  9. To equalize the rations of all who work, with the exception of those employed in trades detrimental to health;

  10. To abolish the Communist fighting detachments in all branches of the Army, as well as the Communist guards kept on duty in mills and factories. Should such guards or military detachments be found necessary, they are to be appointed in the Army from the ranks, and in the factories according to the judgment of the workers;

  11. To give the peasants full freedom of action in regard to their land, and also the right to keep cattle, on condition that the peasants manage with their own means; that is, without employing hired labour;

  12. To request all branches of the Army, as well as our comrades the military kursanti, to concur in our resolutions;

  13. To demand that the press give the fullest publicity to our resolutions;

  14. To appoint a Travelling Commission of Control;

  15. To permit free kustarnoye  [Individual small-scale]  production by one’s own efforts.

……………………………………………………………….

It was ignored.

On March 7th Trotsky began the bombardment of Kronstadt, and on the 17th the fortress and city were taken, after numerous assaults involving terrific human sacrifice. Thus Kronstadt was “liquidated” and the “counterrevolutionary plot” quenched in blood. The “conquest” of the city was characterized by ruthless savagery, although not a single one of the Communists arrested by the Kronstadt sailors had been injured or killed by them. Even before the storming of the fortress the Bolsheviki summarily executed numerous soldiers’ of the Red Army whose revolutionary spirit and solidarity caused them to refuse to participate in the bloodbath.

Several days after the “glorious victory” over Kronstadt Lenin said at the Tenth Congress of the Communist Party of Russia: “The sailors did not want the counter-revolutionists’ but they did not want us, either.” And — irony of Bolshevism! — at that very Congress Lenin advocated free trade — a more reactionary step than any charged to the Kronstadt sailors.

excerpt from Emma Goldman´s -My Further Disillusionment in Russia

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