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Declaration Of Rights Of The Working And Exploited People

Adopted by the Third Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies on January 12 (25), 1918

I.

1. Russia is hereby proclaimed a Republic of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. All power, centrally and locally, is vested in these Soviets.

2. The Russian Soviet Republic is established on the principle of a free union of free nations, as a federation of Soviet national republics.

II.

Its fundamental aim being to abolish all exploitation of man by man, to completely eliminate the division of society into classes, to mercilessly crush the resistance of the exploiters, to establish a socialist organisation of society and to achieve the victory of socialism in all countries, the Third Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies further resolves:

1. In effecting the socialisation of land, private ownership of land is hereby abolished; all land is proclaimed the property of the whole people and is handed over to the working masses without compensation on the basis of equitable division giving right of use only.

All forests, mineral wealth and waters of national importance, and all live-stock and appurtenances, model farms and agricultural enterprises are proclaimed national property.

2. The Soviet laws on workers’ control and on the Supreme Economic Council are hereby confirmed for the purpose of guaranteeing the power of the working people over the exploiters and as a first step towards the complete conversion of the factories, mines, railways, and other means of production and transport into the property of the workers’ and peasants’ republic.

3. The conversion of all banks into the property of the workers’ and peasants’ state is hereby confirmed as one of the conditions for the emancipation of the working people from the yoke of capital.

4. For the purpose of abolishing the parasitic sections of society, universal labour conscription is hereby instituted.

5. To ensure the sovereign power of the working people, and to eliminate all possibility of the restoration of the power of the exploiters, the arming of the working people, the creation of a socialist Red Army of workers and peasants and the complete disarming of the propertied classes are hereby decreed.

III.

1. Expressing its firm determination to wrest mankind from the clutches of finance capital and imperialism, which have in this most criminal of wars drenched the world in blood, the Third Congress of Soviets whole-heartedly endorses the policy pursued by Soviet power of denouncing the secret treaties, organising most extensive fraternisation with the workers and peasants of the armies in the war, and achieving at all costs, by revolutionary means, a democratic peace between the nations, without annexations and indemnities and on the basis of the free self-determination of nations.

2. With the same end in view, the Third Congress of Soviets insists on a complete break with the barbarous policy of bourgeois civilisation, which has built the prosperity of the exploiters belonging to a few chosen nations on the enslavement of hundreds of millions of working people in Asia, in the colonies in general, and in the small countries.

The Third Congress of Soviets welcomes the policy of the Council of People’s Commissars in proclaiming the complete independence of Finland, commencing the evacuation of troops from Persia, and proclaiming freedom of self-determination for Armenia.

3. The Third Congress of Soviets regards the Soviet law on the cancellation of the loans contracted by the governments of the tsar, the landowners and the bourgeoisie as a first blow struck at international banking, finance capital, and expresses the conviction that Soviet power will firmly pursue this path until the international workers’ uprising against the yoke of capital has completely triumphed.

IV.

The Third Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies considers that now, when the people are waging the last fight against their exploiters, there can be no place for exploiters in any government body. Power must be vested wholly and entirely in the working people and their authorised representatives – the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies.

At the same time, endeavouring to create a really free and voluntary, and therefore all the more firm and stable, union of the working classes of all the nations of Russia, the Third Congress of Soviets confines its own task to setting up the fundamental principles of a federation of Soviet Republics of Russia, while leaving it to the workers and peasants of each nation to decide independently at their own authoritative Congress of Soviets whether they wish to participate in the federal government and in the other federal Soviet institutions, and on what terms.

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