The November Crisis and the Declaration of Independence
By the end of October, labour leaders in Finland were virtually unanimous in their belief that a crisis point was approaching (109). Stung by their electoral defeat and spurred on by the increasing impatience of the working masses with the parliamentary tactic, the labour movement switched to a policy of bringing pressure to bear on the rump bourgeois Senate through the threat of a general strike if a programme of social and political reforms — ‘We demand’ — were not immediately implemented. Knowledge of imminent revolution in Russia and a consciousness of the uncompromising mood of the red guards, organised by the workers and officially endorsed by the party from mid-September, added impetus to the new tactic (110). Nevertheless, the Revolutionary Central Council set up to direct the strike shrank from taking a decision to seize power on 12 November, and once again turned away from the brink on 16 November (111). The decision of the moderate majority within the Social Democratic parliamentary group to support the Agrarian motion transferring supreme power to the Diet was a decisive turning-point. The party radicals were unable to retain the support of the trade unionists for a revolutionary seizure of power, and had no alternative but to end the strike.
KeywordsRussian Government Soviet Government Social Democratic Party General Strike Central Council
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