The Bolsheviks set terms for party coalitions (1917)

In November 1917 the Petrograd Soviet newspaper Izvestiia, by now under Bolshevik control, printed this brief report explaining the conditions for other socialist parties, should they wish to align with the Bolsheviks:

“[Bolshevik] agreement with other Socialist parties is desirable on the following terms:

1. Acceptance of the program of the Soviet Government, as expressed in the decrees of land and peace and the two projects on workers’ control.

2. An unrelenting war against the forces of counter-revolution (that is Kerenskii, Kornilov, Kaledin).

3. Acceptance of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, with the participation of peasants, as the only source of authority.

4. The government to be responsible to the Congress’ Central Executive Committee.

5. No admission into the Central Executive Committee of organisations not represented in the Soviet.”

In the same week, Trotsky delivered a speech to the second Congress of Soviets, where he rejected a Bolshevik coalition with moderate socialist parties:

“A few days ago when the question of the uprising was raised, we were told that we were isolating ourselves, that we were drifting on the rocks… Against us were the counter-revolutionary bands and the different moderate groups.┬áSome of the Socialist-Revolutionaries of the Left worked with us… but the others a position of waiting neutrality. Nevertheless the revolution … gained an almost bloodless victory…

Political combinations come and go, but the fundamental interests of the classes remain, and the victory goes to the political party that understands and satisfies these fundamental interests… If a coalition is necessary, it must be a coalition with our garrison, especially with the peasants and working classes. Of this kind of a coalition, we can be proud. It has stood the test of fire…

Our party held out its hand, with the gunpowder still in it, and said: “Come, let’s seize the power together”. But instead, moderate Socialists ran to the City Duma to join the counter-revolutionaries. What are these men but betrayers of the revolution? We shall never form a union with them.”