Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920

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Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920 Empty Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920

Post by AlbertCurtis on Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:36 am

Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920
"The Programme of the Union of Toiling Peasants (Tambov)
(2nd half of December 1920)
[Translator's note: In 1920 a large-scale peasant uprising broke out in Tambov province, in the fertile Central Black Earth area of Russia. The grievances which sparked it off were largely to do with Soviet government food requisitioning policies, which were frequently brutal, arbitrary, and left peasants with less grain than they required for their own households. What made this particular rising distinctive, apart from its scale, was the formation of a political body to coordinate its actions and articulate its demands. This body, the Union of Toiling Peasants (Soyuz trudovykh krest'yan) was headed by A S Antonov, a former member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. The influence of that party can be seen in the programme adopted by the UTP. The Russian original of this document, and many others relating to the Tambov rising, can be found on an excellent website devoted to this subject. The URL for the site is given below. - FK]

The Union of Toiling Peasants has set itself the task of overthrowing the government of the communist-bolsheviks, which has reduced the country to penury, ruin and shame. The Union, which organises volunteer partisan detachments, is waging an armed struggle in order to destroy this detestable government and its rule. Its aims are as follows:

1. Political equality for all citizens, without division into classes.

2. An end to the civil war and a return to civilian life.

3. Every effort to be made to ensure a lasting peace with all foreign states.

4. The convocation of a Constituent Assembly on the basis of equal, universal, direct and secret suffrage, without predetermining its choice of political system, and preserving the voters' right to recall deputies who do not carry out the people's will.

5. Prior to the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the establishment of provisional authorities in the localities and the centre, on an elective basis, by those unions and parties which have taken part in the struggle against the communists.

6. Freedom of speech, the press, conscience, unions and assembly.

7. The full implementation of the law on the socialisation of the land, adopted and confirmed by the former Constitutent Assembly.

8. The supply of basic necessities, particularly food, to the inhabitants of the towns and countryside through the cooperatives.

9. Regulation of the prices of labour and the output of factories run by the state.

10. Partial denationalisation of factories; heavy industry, coal mining and metallurgy should remain in state hands.

11. Workers' control and state supervision of production.

12. The opportunity for both Russian and foreign capital to restore the country's economic life.

13. The immediate restoration of political, trade and economic relations with foreign powers.

14. Free self-determination for the nationalities inhabiting the former Russian empire.

15. The initiation of wide-ranging state credit for restoring small-scale agriculture.

16. Freedom for handicraft production.

17. Unfettered teaching in schools and compulsory universal literacy education.

18. The volunteer partisan units currently organised and operating must not be disbanded until the Constituent Assembly has been convened and it has resolved the question of a standing army.

Tambov gubernia committee of the Union of Toiling Peasants

RGVA, f. 235, op. 1, d. 29, ll. 77-78. Handwritten original

Available on http://www.tstu.ru/win/kultur/other/antonov/voj066.htm

For the home page (in Russian) of the Tambov site on the Antonov rising, click here."
Here is an anti-Bolshevik Socialist-Revolutionary inspired organization. Odd but that is exactly what it is. The so called 'right' SR's --- who soviet histories play down but were in fact some 80% of the SR party that was legally voted into power in 1917 -- took back to the country side after the usurpation of power by Lenin and his cohorts and went with organizing peasants and killing Bolshevik officials, as they had done for some decades against the Czar before them. Notice the mildness of the list of wants -- the Russians were NOT by and large Bolsheviks in 1920, and the peasantry had NO interest in their nonsense. In the end the reds only won because the whites were more savage and less liked than they not because they had a winning program or any sort of popular support.


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Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920 Empty Re: Union of Toiling Peasants, Tambov, Programme 1920

Post by Sky on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:28 pm

The content in the original post amounts to falsifying and rewriting history from an aggressively anti-Communist standpoint.

First, he speaks about the kulak revolt that took part in parts of the Tambov region in 1920-21 as though it was part of some kind of general uprising against an oppressive, reactionary regime that upheld capitalism and feudalism. But the research of Russian scholars over the last 50 years or so established that the Tambov events represented attempts by the kulaks led by the Socialist Revolutionaries with support from international imperialism to interrupt the Soviet state's transition to peaceful construction. In trying to realize this goal, the SR-led bandits perpetrated savage terror against the Communists, workers, poor peasants, resulting brutal tortures, looting, and burning. Rather than being a spontaneous response to oppressive policies, the facts show that the Right SR scum directed and organized the kulaks and bandits, personally by Antonov himself. These were some of the actions perpetrated by the bandits:

The peasants and workers who showed sympathy to the Soviet Government, Antonov had them flogged, beaten with rifle butts, tortured and shot. They spared neither women nor children. Residents in the village of Uvarov, witnessed an atrocity as the Antonovites forced a 12 year old boy Sergi to sing and dance, followed by cutting off his ear, nose, followed by beheading.

However, the people welcomed the Soviet forces with open arms, with the Red Army men providing protection to civilians, providing relief with help in the sowing campaigns, plowing of fields, repairing of equipment, all during subbotniki and Sundays. The Party conducted important, educational work that helped to solidify the support of the poor peasantry and persuade the vacillating segments of the countryside to support the struggle against the bourgeoisie and kulaks. With the war in the western front against Poland and Wrangel ending in late 1920, the Soviet forces were able to more thoroughly concentrate on the bandits in Tambov, leading to the annihilation of Antonov's forces by the summer of 1921.

This is all explained thoroughly in a book about Antonovshchina by Russian scholar I. Donkov, and more broadly in the Soviet Encyclopedia article:


Next, he glorifies the counter-revolutionary Right SR forces, who participated on the anti-Soviet side during the Civil War and Intervention, during which they committed countless atrocities against the workers, peasants, and comrades in the Soviet organizations. Particularly notorious was the Komuch regime established in the spring of 1918, during which the traitorous Right SR forces collaborated with the Czechoslovak aggressors to drown in blood the Soviet power and restore the bourgeois dictatorship. This regime met massive resistance on the part of the peasants and workers who resisted forcible conscription into the army, requisitioning, and the restoration of the bourgeois system. Eventually, the discredited SRs were so weak and lacking in authority that they fell to a coup d'etat by Kolchak with barely any struggle.

Finally, the author misrepresents and misinterprets Lenin's Government's agricultural policies, as well as the motives of the peasantry. Many of the peasants that Antonov and the SR agitators managed to mislead were dissatisfied not with the Soviet Government, but with the policies of requisitioning. Every other regime established on Russian in 1917-20, including the Tsar, Kerensky, White Guards, Socialist Revolutionaries, Anarchists, Ukrainian nationalists, and others practiced grain requisitioning, and they similarly met with opposition.

As Lenin explains, the War Communism policy was necessary and helpful in defeating the enemies of the people during the Civil War:

Under this peculiar War Communism we actually took from the peasant all his surpluses—and sometimes even a part of his necessaries—to meet the requirements of the army and sustain the workers. Most of it we took on loan, for paper money. But for that, we would not have beaten the landowners and capitalists in a ruined small-peasant country. The fact that we did (in spite of the help our exploiters got from the most powerful countries of the world) shows not only the miracles of heroism the workers and peasants can perform in the struggle for their emancipation; it also shows that when the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Kautsky and Co. blamed us for this War Communism they were acting as lackeys of the bourgeoisie. We deserve credit for it.

Just how much credit is a fact of equal importance. It was the war and the ruin that forced us into War Communism. It was not, and could not be, a policy that corresponded to the economic tasks of the proletariat. It was a makeshift. The correct policy of the proletariat exercising its dictatorship in a small-peasant country is to obtain grain in exchange for the manufactured goods the peasant needs. That is the only kind of food policy that corresponds to the tasks of the proletariat, and can strengthen the foundations of socialism and lead to its complete victory.


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