Written: 21 October, 1919
First Published: Bulletin of the CC., R.C.P,(B.) No. 7, October 22, 1919 Signed: N. Lenin; Published according to the text in Bulletin of lbs CC., R.C.P.(B.)
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 30, pages 71-75
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
During Party Week in Moscow, 13,600 people were enrolled in the Party.
This is a huge, quite unexpected success. The entire bourgeoisie, and especially the urban petty bourgeoisie, including the specialists, officials and office workers who lament the loss of their privileged ‘ruling’ position—all these gentlemen have recently, particularly during Party Week in Moscow, been doing their best to sow panic and to prophesy the imminent collapse of Soviet power and the imminent victory of Denikin.
And with what consummate artistry this “intellectualist” public wields the weapon of sowing panic! And it has indeed become a real weapon in the class struggle of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. In periods such as the one we are passing through, the petty bourgeoisie merges in “one reactionary mass” with the bourgeoisie and “passionately” seizes on this weapon.
It is Moscow, where the trading element was especially strong, where there was a greater concentration of exploiters, landowners, capitalists and rentiers than anywhere else, where capitalist development brought together a mass of bourgeois intellectuals, where the central state administration produced an especially large body of officials-it is Moscow that has furnished an exceptionally convenient field for bourgeois tittle-tattle, bourgeois malicious talk and bourgeois panic-sowing. The successful offensive of Denikin and Yudenich was a “factor” that favoured to an extraordinary extent the “successes” of this bourgeois weapon.
And yet, when the mass of the proletarians saw Denikin’s “successes” and realised all the difficulties, burdens and dangers attaching to the title and duties of a Communist at the present time, thousands and thousands of them rose up to reinforce the Party of Communists, to undertake the incredibly heavy burden of state administration.
The success of Soviet power, the success of our Party, is truly remarkable!
This success has proved and vividly demonstrated to the people of the capital, and then to the whole Republic and the whole world, that it is in the proletarian milieu, among the genuine representatives of the working people, that the most reliable source of the strength and durability of Soviet power is to be found. This successful voluntary enrolment in the Party at a time of maximum difficulty and danger is a real demonstration of that aspect of the dictatorship of the proletariat which its enemies, in their malice, refuse to see but which is valued above all by the real friends of the emancipation of labour from the capitalist yoke, namely, the special strength of the moral (in the best sense of the word) influence of the proletariat (which wields state power) on the masses, the ways this influence is exerted.
With state power in their hands, the foremost sections of the proletariat have by their example shown the mass of the working people, shown them throughout two whole years (an immense period for our exceptionally rapid tempo of political development), a model of such devotion to the interests of the working people, such vigour in the struggle against the enemies of the working people (against the exploiters in general and against “property-owners” and profiteers in particular), such firmness in difficult moments, such self-sacrificing resistance to the bandits of world imperialism, that the strength of the workers’ and peasants’ sympathy for their vanguard has proved by itself capable of performing miracles.
It is indeed a miracle. Workers, who have suffered unprecedented torments of hunger, cold, economic ruin and devastation, are not only maintaining their cheerful spirit, their entire devotion to Soviet power, all the energy of self-sacrifice and heroism, but also, despite their lack of training and experience, are undertaking the burden of steering the ship of state! And this at a moment when the storm has reached the peak of its fury ....
The history of our proletarian revolution is full of such miracles. They will lead, surely and inevitably, no matter what severe trials may be in store, to the full victory of the world Soviet republic.
We must take care now that proper use is made of the new Party members, Particularly great attention must be devoted to this task, for it is not an easy one; it is a new task and cannot be accomplished by old routines.
Capitalism stifled, suppressed and killed a wealth of talent among the workers and working peasants. These talents perished under the oppression of want, poverty and the outrage of human dignity. It is our duty now to bring out these talents and put them to work. The new members who have joined the Party during Party Week are undoubtedly for the most part inexperienced arid ignorant in matters of state administration. Equally undoubtedly these are most devoted, most sincere and capable people from the sections of society that capitalism artificially held down, reduced to the lowest level and did not allow to rise. Among them, however, there is more strength, vigour, staunchness, directness and sincerity than among other sections.
It follows that all Party organisations must give especial thought to the employment of these new Party members. They must be more boldly given the most varied kinds of state work, they must be tested in practice as rapidly as possible.
Boldness, of course, must not be taken to mean that the new members are to be entrusted at once with responsible posts requiring knowledge they do not possess. We must be bold in combating red tape: not for nothing has our Party Programme very definitely raised the question of the causes of a certain revival of bureaucratic methods and indicated methods of combating it. We must be bold in establishing, first of all, supervision over office workers, officials and specialists by new Party members who are well acquainted with the condition of the people, their needs and requirements. We must be bold in immediately affording these new members opportunities for developing and displaying their abilities in work on a broad scale. We must be bold in breaking with customary routine (among us too-quite often, alasi-there is an excessive fear of encroaching on established Soviet routine, although sometimes the “establishing” has been done not by class-conscious Communists, but by old officials and office workers); we must be bold in the sense that we must be prepared with revolutionary speed to alter the form of work for new Party members so as to test them more quickly and to find the appropriate place for them.
In many cases new Party members can be given posts where, in the course of checking up the conscientiousness with which old officials perform their tasks, these Party members will quickly learn the job themselves and he able to take it over independently. In other cases they can be placed so as to renovate and refresh the intermediary links between the mass of workers and peasants on the one hand, and the state apparatus on the other. In our industrial “chief administrations and central boards”, in our agricultural “state farms” there are still many, far too many, saboteurs, landowners and capitalists in hiding, who harm Soviet power in every way. Experienced Party workers in the centre and the localities should show their efficiency through their ability to make intensive use of the new Party forces for a determined fight against this evil.
The Soviet Republic must become a single armed camp where, there is a maximum of effort, a maximum economy of forces, a maximum reduction of all red tape and unnecessary formalism and a maximum simplification of the apparatus which must be not only as close as possible to the needs of the masses, but also something they can readily understand and participate in independently.
Increased mobilisation of old Party members for army work is taking place. This activity must not be weakened in any way, but more and more intensified. At the same time, however and with the aim of achieving success in the war, we must improve, simplify and revitalise our civil administration.
Victory in war goes to the side whose people has greater reserves, greater sources of strength and greater endurance.
We have more of all these qualities than the Whites, more than the “all-powerful” Anglo-French imperialism, this colossus with feet of clay. We have more of them because we can draw, and for a long time will continue to draw, more and more deeply upon the workers and working peasants, upon those classes which were oppressed by capitalism and which everywhere form the overwhelming majority of the population. We can draw from this most capacious reservoir, for it gives us leaders of the workers and peasants in the building of socialism who are the most sincere, the most steeled by the burdens of life, the closest to the workers and peasants.
Our enemies, whether the Russian or the world bourgeoisie, have nothing remotely resembling this reservoir; the ground is more and more giving way under their feet; they are being deserted by ever greater number of their former supporters among the workers and peasants.
That is why, in the last analysis, the victory of Soviet power throughout the world is certain and inevitable.
October 21, 1919