The revolutionary government of Finland.
Issued in Helsinki, on the 28th of January, 1918.
Now as the Senate, which has been met with the righteous hatred of the people, has fallen, we have today decided to propose to workers of Finland that the Delegation of People's Commissars along with the Workers' General Council controlling it, should be appointed to run the country as the revolutionary government, up to when the toiling people of Finland will decide otherwise.
The revolutionary government has to be a social democratic one. The final nomination of its member should be left under the authority of Workers' General Council. Up to the later convening of this General Council we urge workers to adopt forming the Delegation of People's Commissars of Finland with the following comrades as its members:
as Commissar for Foreign Affairs
- newspaper editor Kullervo Manner;
as Commissar for the Interior
- newspaper editor Yrjö Sirola;
as Commissar for the Justice
- secretary of the Sawmill Workers Union of Finland Eero Haapalainen and filer Adolf Taimi;
as Commissar for Education
- newspaper editor Lauri Letonmäki and carpenter Antti Kiviranta;
as Commissar for Finance
- newspaper editor Otto Vilhelm Kuusinen;
as Labour Commissar
- newspaper editor Jalo Kohonen;
as Commissar for the Agriculture
- President of the League of Finnish Trade Unions Johan Henrik Lumivuokko;
as Commissar for Food Provision Affairs
- newspaper editor Evert Eloranta;
as Commissar for Transportation
- President of the League of Finnish Trade Unions Oskari Tokoi;
as Commissar for Postal and Communication Affairs
- engine driver Konstantin Lindqvist;
- newspaper editor Emil Elo;
- party secretary Matti Turkia.
We suggest that the Workers' General Council, consisting of 35 members, would be assembled as follows:
1) The council of the social democratic party should elect 10 members to it.
2) The acting committee of the League of Finnish Trade Unions together with its member union committees should also elect 10 members;
3) The Red Guards of Finnish workers should also be represented by 10 persons who temporarily, until convening of the general meeting of the guards' representatives, will be elected by Helsinki Red Guard in its general meeting; and
4) The number of representatives of the Delegation of Workers' Unions in Helsinki will be 5.
The name Senate and its bureaucratic order will be abolished.
Helsinki, January 28, 1918.
Workers' Acting Committee.
Declaration of the Delegation of People's Commissars of Finland.
Issued at Helsinki, on the 28th of January, 1918.
Workers of Finland, citizens!
If it is your true will that we should, on this far-reaching moment together with the soon to-be-formed Workers' General Council, take the decisive step in adopting the duties of country's revolutionary government, so will we fulfil these duties with all our strength feeling no faltering. Now as the distress of the proletariat is so horrible that for being saved from it, a toiling comrade takes a rifle to carry it on his shoulder and at the time when thirst for social freedom is so enormous that to reach it he even defies death, so it is the solemn duty of every man in the workers' movement whenever so needed, to exert all his strength for the freedom of the toiling class up to the very end. But if it is your will, dear comrades, to appoint other men to take care of the duties of the revolutionary government, just say it any time through the meetings of our own organizations, and each one of us will leave the reins to whom you ever command.
We are social democrats. So you know our agenda. It is a socialist agenda.
We believe that the workers of Finland will win their enemy in the present revolutionary battle, how hard the forthcoming fights might ever be. Through sacrifices much is won, for the present and for the future generations. Not only the gloomy dangers will by this be warded off but also important prerequisites for future improvement of life are then won.
We see that now we have to go on in changing the whole political system in Finland, with courageous and well-considered measures. The system of civil servants must be now crushed so that it will never take the master's role over the people. A complete end must be brought to the despotism practised by courts of justice. The whole form of government have to be established on a guaranteed democratic basis, in conformity with the interests of the working class. Taxes and burdens must be moved from the shoulders of the underdog to those of rich exploiters. An insurance for the old and disabled must be put into practise even before the actual insurance bill is passed. The leadership of popular education must be purged of reactionaries. Crofters and cottage dwellers must immediately be set free from the dominance of land owners. Bank capital must be place under social control and by these measures it will be possible to keep tight reins on industrial and commercial capital. The property owned by the proletariat should not be touched but on sectors where the common distress of the people clearly requires nationalization of big exploiters' production plants, their ownership should step aside.
This way, day by day, week by week, we have to go on without stopping on the road of socialist revolution. During the period of revolution revolutionary rules set by revolutionary authorities are the ones to be followed in taking care of matters and they will be effectuated by the people itself, through its own organizations.
The bourgeois government of Finland stepped, impudently, onto the road of a reactionary coup d'etat. Now, the working class of Finland will, in its turn, use its revolutionary right to promote social progress.
The bourgeoisie wanted "a strong authority to maintain order", they wanted it to support their own aspirations for power. Well, be it a strong order maintaining force but now to give protection for the underdog, for the oppressed!
This is where we stand. It is only our deeds that will tell what we will accomplish. We, as well as you, have not started a revolution to play games. We are led by the deep conviction that there is no other redemption for the working people of Finland, and whatever is needed should be sacrificed for it.
To put it simply, it is yourselves, dear revolutionary working comrades, whose roles are the most important, who decide how big the achievements will be. No delegation will be able to carry out a real change in state of affairs. Only the people itself through its large organizations will be able to do that.
Strength and unity is now needed! Great sacrifices and tirelessness! The victory of the working class in Finland will now depend on these.
Helsinki, on the 29th of January, 1918.
O. W. KUUSINEN.
J. H. LUMIVUOKKO.
Translated from the Finnish original by Pauli Kruhse (2007).
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