V. I.   Lenin

Introduction of Socialism or Exposure of Plunder of the State?

Published: First published in Pravda, No. 77, June 22, 1917. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 68-69.
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
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It has been decided and laid down that socialism cannot be introduced in Russia. This was proved, in near-Marxist fashion, by Mr. Milyukov at a meeting of the June 3 diehards, following the ministerial Menshevik Rabochaya Gazeta.And it was subscribed to by the largest party in Russia in general and in the Congress of Soviets in particular, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, which, besides being the largest party, is also the party with the greatest ideological (disinterested) fear of seeing the revolution develop towards socialism.

Strictly speaking, a mere glance at the resolution passed by the Bolshevik Conference held from April 24 to 29, 1917, reveals that the Bolsheviks, too, recognise the impossibility of immediately “introducing” socialism in Russia.

What is the argument about, then? Why the fuss?

By the hue and cry against the “introduction” of socialism in Russia, some people are sustaining (many of them unwittingly) the efforts of those who are opposed to the exposure of plunder of the state.

Let us not quibble over words, citizens! It is unworthy of "revolutionary democrats" and, indeed, of grown-ups in general. Let’s not talk about the “introduction” of socialism, which “everybody” rejects. Let’s talk about the exposure of plunder.

When capitalists work for defence. i.e., for the state, it is obviously no longer “pure” capitalism but a special form of national economy. Pure capitalism means commodity production. And commodity production means work for an unknownand free market. But the capitalist “working” for defence does not “work” for the market at all—he works on government orders,very often with money loaned by the state.

We believe that to conceal the amount of profit made on this peculiar operation and to appropriate the profit in excess of what is necessary to cover the living expenses of a person actually participating in production is embezzlement.

If you disagree, then you are clearly out of step with the overwhelming majority of the population. There is no shadow of doubt that by far most of the workers and peasants of Russia agree with us and would say so in plain language were the question put to them without evasions, excuses or diplomatic tricks.

But if you do agree, then let us fight together against excuses and tricks.

To make the greatest possible concessions on a commonundertaking such as this fight and to show a maximum of tractability, we are proposing the following draft resolution to the Congress of Soviets:

The first step towards any regulation of, or even simple control over, production and distribution [note that does not belong to the text of the draft: even Minister Peshekhonov promised to strive to ensure "that all we have is divided equitably"], the first step in any serious struggle against economic dislocation and the catastrophe threatening the country, must be a decree abolishing commercial (including banking) secrecy in all transactions arising from supplies to the state or for defence in general. Such a decree should be supplemented immediately by a law treating as criminal offences all direct or indirect attempts to conceal pertinent documents or facts from persons or groups who have mandates from:

“(a) any Soviet of Workers’ or Soldiers’ or Peasants’ Deputies;

“(b) any trade union of industrial workers or office employees, etc.;

“(c) any major political party (the idea of ’major’ should be defined specifically, at least on the basis of votes received).”

Everybody agrees that the immediate introduction of socialism in Russia is impossible.

Does everybody agree that the exposure of plunder of the state is an immediate necessity?


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