chapter  4
33 Pages

Saving the Revolution

Trotsky’s prediction that a workers’ government would lose the support of the peasantry if revolution did not spread to Europe, and soon face the danger of peasant insurrection was borne out by events. After the Second Congress of Peasant Soviets in November 1917 the Left SRs did decide to support the Bolshevik Government despite the collapse of the Vikzhel talks. The key commissariat they were allocated was that of land, and by February 1918 it had begun to implement a land reform which broke up the noble estates and divided land among individual peasant families. It was largely because the Left SRs were so determined to implement this land reform that they had gone along with the Bolshevik decision to dissolve Russia’s Constituent Assembly. The Left SRs did not stay in the government long. The Party was absolutely opposed to the Treaty of Brest Litovsk and resigned all government posts once it was signed. The Left SRs did not, however, resign from the Supreme Military Council, for they were prepared to go along with Trotsky’s conviction that the Brest Litovsk breathing space would last only a couple of months and a new army needed to be established as quickly as possible. It was only in mid May, after the Bolshevik Central Committee had rejected the “English ultimatum” and Trotsky’s plan for joint action with the British had been abandoned that the Left SRs began to reconsider their position.