Collected Works, Volume 2 by V. I. Lenin

Collected Works, Volume 2 by V. I. Lenin

Author:V. I. Lenin
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC (Publisher Services)




How is the observance of laws guaranteed in general? Firstly, by supervision over the observance, and secondly, by punishment of infringements, of the law. Let us see how matters stand with regard to the new factory law. Supervision over the observance of laws has been entrusted to the factory inspectors. Hitherto, the regulations governing factory supervision issued in 1886 have not been extended to the whole of Russia by far, but only to a few gubernias, the most highly industrialised ones. The extension of the area of factory supervision has always followed the extension of the area of the working-class movement and of workers’ strikes. On the very date that the law to reduce the working hours was promulgated (that is, June 2, 1897), another law was issued extending factory supervision to the whole of Russia and to the entire Kingdom of Poland. This extension of the factory regulations to the whole of Russia and the institution of Factory Inspection is, of course, a step forward. The workers will take advantage of this to inform a larger number of their comrades about their conditions, about the labour laws, about the attitude of the government and its officials towards the workers, etc. The application of the same rules that govern the advanced workers (of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vladimir and other gubernias) to all factory workers in Russia will, of course, also help the working-class movement to spread more rapidly to all Russian workers. As to how far effectively the factory inspectors supervise the observance of the law, we shall not go into this in detail. A separate pamphlet should be written on this subject (it is so wide), and perhaps we shall find some other opportunity to discuss the question of Factory Inspection with the workers. Let us only briefly remark that so few factory inspectors are appointed in Russia that they are very rarely to be seen at the factories. The factory inspectors are completely under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, which turns them into servitors of the employers, compels them to report strikes and unrest to the police, to prosecute workers for leaving the factory even when the employer himself does not prosecute them; in a word, it turns them, in a manner of speaking, into police officials, into factory police. The employer has thousands of ways of exerting influence on the factory inspectors and of forcing them to do what he wants. The workers, however, have no means of influencing the factory inspectors, and cannot have such means as long as the workers do not enjoy the right of free assembly, the right to form their unions, to discuss their affairs in the press, and to issue workers’ newspapers. So long as these rights are withheld, no supervision by officials over the employers can ever be serious and effective. But supervision alone is not enough to secure the observance of the law. Strict penalties for non-observance of the law must also be imposed.


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