17 November

On 17 November 1917, the All-Russia Central Executive Committee voted by a majority of 34 to 24, with one abstention, in favour of a Bolshevik resolution voicing unconditional support for the government's policy suppressing the 'bourgeois press'.

November 17, 2009 · 2 min read

Both Lenin and Trotsky spoke in support of the resolution. According to Trotsky: ‘The victory over our adversaries is not yet achieved, and the newspapers are arms in their hands. In these conditions, the closing of the newspapers is a legitimate measure of defence.’

And according to Lenin: ‘We Bolsheviki have always said that when we reached a position of power we would close the bourgeois press. To tolerate the bourgeois newspapers would mean to cease being a socialist. When one makes a revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go forward – or go back. He who now talks about the “freedom of the press” goes backward, and halts our headlong course toward socialism …

‘It is impossible to separate the question of the freedom of the press from the other questions of the class struggle. We have promised to close these newspapers, and we shall do it. The immense majority of the people is with us!

‘Now that the insurrection is over, we have absolutely no desire to suppress the papers of the other socialist parties, except inasmuch as they appeal to armed insurrection, or to disobedience to the Soviet government. However, we shall not permit them, under the pretence of freedom of the socialist press, to obtain, through the secret support of the bourgeoisie, a monopoly of printing presses, ink and paper … These essentials must become the property of the Soviet government, and be apportioned, first of all, to the socialist parties in strict proportion to their voting strength.’


Lashing together a life raft: Covid-19 strategies for the left

Reflecting on two years of Covid-19, James Meadway lays out the challenges the British left will have to adapt to and confront

Northern Ireland’s new political terrain

Tommy Greene maps the wider context of the momentous recent Stormont election results

The Red Wall: a political narrative

The term represents a wider establishment discourse which is being used to guide the UK in an increasingly conservative direction, argues Daniel Eales


Simon Hedges winning here

As the local elections get underway, Red Pepper's Simon Hedges shares his own experiences with the trials and tribulations of electoral politics

The Tower Hamlets story

After years of false allegations, former Mayor Lutfur Rahman is running on a radical program to tackle the cost of living crisis. Ashok Kumar reports

Political education for all

Political education is absent from our current system. The left should be providing alternative means of obtaining it, writes Shamime Ibrahim

For a monthly dose
of our best articles
direct to your inbox...