We are on the Eve
of a Revolution
January 22, 1905 — West Side Auditorium, Chicago IL
I feel that my place is now in Russia. Never before in the forty years during which I have labored for the cause have I known such an important epoch for the movement towards freedom as the present. Thousands of people are perishing in the prison cells of Russia, as a result of the agitation which has been going on for the last forty years. Poles, Russians, Jews, and Finns have been maltreated during these years, but the agitation was continued to teach the masses of the Russian people the true state of affairs in their country. All this time we have hoped that sooner or later the time would come when the people would rise as one to fight for their political freedom.
Now that I am in America, I have learned for the first time the true opinion which the people of other nations have of the Russias. It seems that many people think that the ordinary Russias are not above cattle in intelligence. No one here knows what has been taking place Russia during the last quarter of a century. Despite oppression, the people have been quietly educated about their rights until one fine day the American people are astonished to wake up and find that all classes in Russian have risen in protest against their conditions. To those who have kept track of the movement, however, this is no revelation; they knew that the people were ready.
This movement is spreading to every city and village in Russia. We are on the eve of a revolution. The Russian people do not want to prosecute any one. It is the Russian government which prosecutes, and it is useless for the czar to refuse the requests of his people. Such action on his part shows nearsightedness, and it is a critical moment, for now the people are making themselves heard at the gates of the winter palace.
Forty years ago there was only a handful of men and women pushing forward in this revolutionary movement. Now conditions are changed, and we are back by the workingmen, the peasantry, and almost every class of the Russian people. Every condition is organized for the blow which is now being struck. I am old, and I have labored hard, but it makes me happy beyond expressing to see the results. The two great parties, the socialist revolutionary and the socialist democratic, are united for one end, and what we now need are leaders.
Let me tell you who have come to this land of freedom that the Russian people at home are waking up. Now is the time to strike, and you shall see that the Russian people will seize upon the critical moment and strike a sure and swift blow for political freedom.
Source: Chicago Tribune, January 23, 1905, p. 5.