Ten Days That Shook the World

Author: John Reed




_Workers’ Control_

1. (See Ppage 43) 2. The organisation of Workers’ Control is a manifestation of the same healthy activity in the sphere of industrial production, as are party organisations in the sphere of politics, trade unions in employment, Cooperatives in the domain of consumption, and literary clubs in the sphere of culture.

3. The working-class has much more interest in the proper and uninterrupted operation of factories… than the capitalist class. Workers’ Control is a better security in this respect for the interests of modern society, of the whole people, than the arbitrary will of the owners, who are guided only by their selfish desire for material profits or political privileges. Therefore Workers’ Control is demanded by the proletariat not only in their own interest, but in the interest of the whole country, and should be supported by the revolutionary peasantry as well as the revolutionary Army.

4. Considering the hostile attitude of the majority of the capitalist class toward the Revolution, experience shows that proper distribution of raw materials and fuel, as well as the most efficient management of factories, is impossible without Workers’ Control.

5. Only Workers’ Control over capitalist enterprises, cultivating the workers’ conscious attitude toward work, and making clear its social meaning, can create conditions favourable to the development of a firm self-discipline in labour, and the development of all labour’s possible productivity.

6. The impending transformation of industry from a war to a peace basis, and the redistribution of labour all over the country, as well as among the different factories, can be accomplished without great disturbances only by means of the democratic self-government of the workers themselves…. Therefore the realisation of Workers’ Control is an indispensable preliminary to the demobilisation of industry.

7. In accordance with the slogan proclaimed by the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviki), Workers’ Control on a national scale, in order to bring results, must extend to all capitalist concerns, and not be organised accidentally, without system; it must be well-planned, and not separated from the industrial life of the country as a whole.

8. The economic life of the country—agriculture, industry, commerce and transport—must be subjected to one unified plan, constructed so as to satisfy the individual and social requirements of the wide masses of the people; it must be approved by their elected representatives, and carried out under the direction of these representatives by means of national and local organisations.

9. That part of the plan which deals with land-labour must be carried out under supervision of the peasants’ and land-workers’ organisations; that relating to industry, trade and transport operated by wage-earners, by means of Workers’ Control; the natural organs of Workers’ Control inside the industrial plant will be the Factory-Shop and similar Committees; and in the labour market, the Trade Unions.

10. The collective wage agreements arranged by the Trade Unions for the majority of workers in any branch of labour, must be binding on all the owners of plants employing this kind of labour in the given district.

11. Employment bureaus must be placed under the control and management of the Trade Unions, as class organisations acting within the limits of the whole industrial plan, and in accordance with it.

12. Trade Unions must have the right, upon their own initiative, to begin legal action against all employers who violate labour contracts or labour legislation, and also in behalf of any individual worker in any branch of labour.

13. On all questions relating to Workers’ Control over production, distribution and employment, the Trade Unions must confer with the workers of individual establishments through their Factory-Shop Committees.

14. Matters of employment and discharge, vacations, wage scales, refusal of work, degree of productivity and skill, reasons for abrogating agreements, disputes with the administration, and similar problems of the internal life of the factory, must be settled exclusively according to the findings of the Factory-Shop Committee, which has the right to exclude from participation in the discussion any members of the factory administration.

15. The Factory-Shop Committee forms a commission to control the supplying of the factory with raw materials, fuel, orders, labour power and technical staff (including equipment), and all other supplies and arrangements, and also to assure the factory’s adherence to the general industrial plan. The factory administration is obliged to surrender to the organs of Workers’ Control, for their aid and information, all data concerning the business; to make it possible to verify this data, and to produce the books of the company upon demand of the Factory-Shop Committee.

16. Any illegal acts on the part of the administration discovered by the Factory-Shop Committees, or any suspicion of such illegal acts, which cannot be investigated or remedied by the workers alone, shall be referred to the district central organisation of Factory-Shop Committees charged with the particular branch of labour involved, which shall discuss the matter with the institutions charged with the execution of the general industrial plan, and find means to deal with the matter, even to the extent of confiscating the factory.

17. The union of the Factory-Shop Committees of different concerns must be accomplished on the basis of the different trades, in order to facilitate control over the whole branch of industry, so as to come within the general industrial plan; and so as to create an effective plan of distribution among the different factories of orders, raw materials, fuel, technical and labour power; and also to facilitate cooperation with the Trade Unions, which are organised by trades.

18. The central city councils of Trade Unions and Factory-Shop Committees represent the proletariat in the corresponding provincial and local institutions formed to elaborate and carry out the general industrial plan, and to organise economic relations between the towns and the villages (workers and peasants). They also possess final authority for the management of Factory-Shop Committees and Trade Unions, so far as Workers’ Control in their district is concerned, and they shall issue obligatory regulations concerning workers’ discipline in the routine of production—which regulations, however, must be approved by vote of the workers themselves.



October 28. “The decisive moment approaches…. It is decisive for the Bolsheviki. Either they will give us… a second edition of the events of July 16-18, or they will have to admit that with their plans and intentions, with their impertinent policy of wishing to separate themselves from everything consciously national, they have been definitely defeated….

“What are the chances of Bolshevik success?

“It is difficult to answer that question, for their principal support is the… ignorance of the popular masses. They speculate on it, they work upon it by a demagogy which nothing can stop….

“The Government must play its part in this affair. Supporting itself morally by the Council of the Republic, the Government must take a clearly-defined attitude toward the Bolsheviki….

“And if the Bolsheviki provoke an insurrection against the legal power, and thus facilitate the German invasion, they must be treated as mutineers and traitors….”

October 28. “Now that the Bolsheviki have separated themselves from the rest of the democracy, the struggle against them is very much simpler—and it is not reasonable, in order to fight against Bolshevism, to wait until they make a manifestation. The Government should not even allow the manifestation….

“The appeals of the Bolsheviki to insurrection and anarchy are acts punishable by the criminal courts, and in the freest countries, their authors would receive severe sentences. For what the Bolsheviki are carrying on is not a political struggle against the Government, or even for the power; it is propaganda for anarchy, massacres, and civil war. This propaganda must be extirpated at its roots; it would be strange to wait, in order to begin action against an agitation for until the actually occurred….”

November 1. “hellip; Why is the Government excited only about November 2d (date of calling of the Congress of Soviets), and not about September 12th, or October 3d?

“This is not the first time that Russia burns and falls in ruins, and that the smoke of the terrible conflagration makes the eyes of our Allies smart….

“Since it came to power, has there been a single order issued by the Government for the purpose of halting anarchy, or has any one attempted to put out the Russian conflagration?

“There were other things to do….

“The Government turned its attention to a more immediate problem. It crushed an insurrection (the Kornilov attempt) concerning which every one is now asking, ‘Did it ever exist?”



October 28 (Socialist Revolutionary). “The most frightful crime of the Bolsheviki against the Revolution is that they impute exclusively to the bad intentions of the revolutionary Government all the calamities which the masses are so cruelly suffering; when as a matter of fact these calamities spring from objective causes.

“They make golden promises to the masses, knowing in advance that they can fulfil none of them; they lead the masses on a false trail, deceiving them as to the source of all their troubles….

“The Bolsheviki are the most dangerous enemies of the Revolution….”

October 30 (Menshevik). “Is this really ‘the freedom of the press’? Every day and openly incite to insurrection. Every day these two papers commit in their columns actual crimes. Every day they urge …. Is that ‘the freedom of the press’?…

“The Government ought to defend itself and defend us. We have the right to insist that the Government machinery does not remain passive while the threat of bloody riots endangers the lives of its citizens….”



Plekhanov’s paper, suspended publication a few weeks after the Bolsheviki seized the power. Contrary to popular report, was not suppressed by the Soviet Government; an announcement in the last number admitted that it was unable to continue ….



The French newspaper of Petrograd, on November 15th, published an article of which the following is a part:

“The Government of Kerensky discusses and hesitates. The Government of Lenin and Trotzky attacks and acts.

“This last is called a Government of Conspirators, but that is wrong. Government of usurpers, yes, like all revolutionary Governments which triumph over their adversaries. Conspirators—no!

“No! They did not conspire. On the contrary, openly, audaciously, without mincing words, without dissimulating their intentions, they multiplied their agitation, intensified their propaganda in the factories, the barracks, at the Front, in the country, everywhere, even fixing in advance the date of their taking up arms, the date of their seizure of the power….

“—conspirators? Never….”



“… Above everything we insist upon the inflexible execution of the organised will of the majority of the people, expressed by the Provisional Government in accord with the Council of the Republic and the as organ of the popular power….

“Any demonstration to depose this power by violence, at a moment when a Government crisis will infallibly create disorganisation, the ruin of the country, and civil war, will be considered by the Army as a counter-revolutionary act, and repressed by force of arms….

“The interests of private groups and classes should be submitted to a single interest—that of augmenting industrial production, and distributing the necessities of life with fairness….

“All who are capable of sabotage, disorganisation, or disorder, all deserters, all slackers, all looters, should be forced to do auxiliary service in the rear of the Army….

“We invite the Provisional Government to form, out of these violators of the people’s will, these enemies of the Revolution, labour detachments to work in the rear, on the Front, in the trenches under enemy fire….”



Toward evening bands of Red Guards began to occupy the printing shops of the bourgeois press, where they printed and various proclamations by the hundred thousand. The City Militia was ordered to clear these places, but found the offices barricaded, and armed men defending them. Soldiers who were ordered to attack the print-shops refused.

About midnight a Colonel with a company of arrived at the club “Free Mind,” with a warrant to arrest the editor of Immediately an enormous mob gathered in the street outside and threatened to lynch the The Colonel thereupon begged that he and the be arrested and taken to Peter-Paul prison for safety. This request was granted.

At 1 A. M. a detachment of soldiers and sailors from Smolny occupied the Telegraph Agency. At 1.35 the Post Office was occupied. Toward morning the Military Hotel was taken, and at 5 o’clock the Telephone Exchange. At dawn the State Bank was surrounded. And at 10 A. M. a cordon of troops was drawn about the Winter Palace.


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John Reed
Russian Civil War

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Chicago: John Reed, "Appendix," Ten Days That Shook the World, ed. Braybrooke, Richard Griffin, Baron, 1783-1853 and trans. Ingram, J. H. (James Henry) in Ten Days That Shook the World (New York: Doubleday, Page, 1909), Original Sources, accessed June 16, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W7UNPDZ9A49K7N.

MLA: Reed, John. "Appendix." Ten Days That Shook the World, edited by Braybrooke, Richard Griffin, Baron, 1783-1853, and translated by Ingram, J. H. (James Henry), in Ten Days That Shook the World, Vol. 36, New York, Doubleday, Page, 1909, Original Sources. 16 Jun. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W7UNPDZ9A49K7N.

Harvard: Reed, J, 'Appendix' in Ten Days That Shook the World, ed. and trans. . cited in 1909, Ten Days That Shook the World, Doubleday, Page, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 16 June 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W7UNPDZ9A49K7N.