Written: First part or August 1918
First Published: 17 January, 1925 in Rabochaya Moahva No. 14; Published according to the Manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1965, pages 53-57
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V.I.Lenin Internet Archive, 2002
The Soviet Republic is surrounded by enemies. But it will defeat its enemies at home and abroad. A rising spirit which will ensure victory is already perceptible among the working people. We already see how frequent the sparks and explosions of the revolutionary conflagration in Western Europe have become, inspiring us with the assurance that the triumph of the world workers’ revolution is not far off.
The external foe of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic at present is British, French, American and Japanese imperialism. This foe is attacking Russia, is plundering our territory, has seized Archangel and (if the French newspapers are to be believed) has advanced from Vladivostok to Nikolsk Ussuriisky. This foe has bribed the generals and officers of the Czechoslovak Corps. This enemy is attacking peaceful Russia with the ferocity and voracity of the Germans in February, the only difference being that the British and Japanese are out to seize and plunder Russian territory and to overthrow the Soviet government so as to “restore the front”, i.e., to draw Russia again into the imperialist (or more simply, the predatory) war between Britain and Germany.
The British and Japanese capitalists want to restore the power of the landowners and capitalists in Russia in order to share with them the booty captured in the war; they want to shackle the Russian workers and peasants to British and French capital, to squeeze out of them interest on the billions advanced in loans, and to extinguish the fire of socialist revolution which has broken out in our country and which is threatening to spread across the world.
The British and Japanese imperialist savages are not strong enough to occupy and subjugate Russia. Even neighbouring Germany is not strong enough for that, as was shown by her “experience” in the Ukraine. The British and Japanese counted on taking us unawares. They failed. The Petrograd workers, followed by the Moscow workers, and after Moscow the workers of the entire central industrial region, are rising more untidily, with growing persistence and courage and in ever larger numbers. That is a sure sign we shall win.
In launching their attack on peaceful Russia the British and Japanese capitalist robbers are also counting on alliance with the internal enemy of the Soviet government. We all know who that internal enemy is. It is the capitalists, the landowners, the kulaks, and their offspring, who hate the government of the workers and working peasants-the peasants who do not suck the blood of their fellow-villagers.
A wave of kulak revolts is sweeping across Russia. The kulak hates the Soviet government like poison and is prepared to strangle and massacre hundreds of thousands of workers. We know very well that if the kulaks were to gain the upper hand they would ruthlessly slaughter hundreds of thousands of workers, in alliance with the landowners and capitalists, restore back-breaking conditions for the workers, abolish the eight-hour day and hand back the mills and factories to the capitalists.
That was the case in all earlier European revolutions when, as a result of the weakness of the workers, the kulaks succeeded in turning back from a republic to a monarchy, from a working people’s government to the despotism of the exploiters, the rich and the parasites. This happened before our very eyes in Latvia, Finland, the Ukraine and Georgia. Everywhere the avaricious, bloated and bestial kulaks joined hands with the landowners and capitalists against the workers and against the poor generally. Everywhere the kulaks wreaked their vengeance on the working class with incredible ferocity. Everywhere they joined hands with the foreign capitalists against the workers of their own country. That is the way the Cadets, the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks have been acting: we have only to remember their exploits in “Czechoslovakia”. That is the way the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, in their crass stupidity and spinelessness, acted too when they revolted in Moscow, thus assisting the whiteguards in Yaroslavi and the Czechs and the Whites in Kazan. No wonder these Left Socialist-Revolutionaries were praised by Kerensky and his friends, the French imperialists.
There is no doubt about it. The kulaks are rabid foes of the Soviet government. Either the kulaks massacre vast numbers of workers, or the workers ruthlessly suppress the revolts of the predatory kulak minority of the people against the working people’s government. There can be no middle course. Peace is out of the question: even if they have quarrelled, the kulak can easily come to terms with the landowner, the tsar and the priest, but with the working class never.
That is why we call the fight against the kulaks the last, decisive fight. That does not mean there may not be many more kulak revolts, or that there may not be many more attacks on the Soviet government by foreign capitalism. The words, the last fight, imply that the last and most numerous of the exploiting classes has revolted against us in our country.
The kulaks are the most brutal, callous and savage exploiters, who in the history of other countries have time and again restored the power of the landowners, tsars, priests and capitalists. The kulaks are more numerous than the landowners and capitalists. Nevertheless, they are a minority.
Let us take it that there are about fifteen million peasant families in Russia, taking Russia as she was before the robbers deprived her of the Ukraine and other territories. Of these fifteen million, probably ten million are poor peasants who live by selling their labour power, or who are in bondage to the rich, or who lack grain surpluses and have been most impoverished by the burdens of war. About three million must be regarded as middle peasants, while barely two million consist of kulaks, rich peasants, grain profiteers. These bloodsuckers have grown rich on the want suffered by the people in the war; they have raked in thousands and hundreds of thousands of rubles by pushing up the price of grain and other products. These spiders have grown fat at the expense of the peasants ruined by the war, at the expense of the starving workers. These leeches have sucked the blood of the working people and grown richer as the workers in the cities and factories starved. These vampires have been gathering the landed estates into their hands; they continue to enslave the poor peasants.
Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them! Hatred and contempt for the parties which defend them-the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks, and today's Left Socialist-Revolutionaries! The workers must crush the revolts of the kulaks with an iron hand, the kulaks who are forming an alliance with the foreign capitalists against the working people of their own country.
The kulaks take advantage of the ignorance, the disunity and isolation of the poor peasants. They incite them against the workers. Sometimes they bribe them while permitting them to "make a bit", a hundred rubles or so, by profiteering in grain (at the same time robbing the poor peasants of many thousands of rubles). The kulaks try to win the support of the middle peasants, and they sometimes succeed.
But there is no reason why the working class should quarrel with the middle peasant. The workers cannot come to terms with the kulak, but they may seek, and are seeking, an agreement with the middle peasant. The workers' government, the Bolshevik government, has proved that in deed.
We proved it by passing the law on the "socialisation of land" and strictly carrying it into effect. That law contains numerous concessions to the interests and views of the middle peasant.
We proved it (the other day) by trebling grain prices"; for we fully realise that the earnings of the middle peasant are often disproportionate to present-day prices for manufactured goods and must be raised.
Every class-conscious worker will explain this to the middle peasant and will patiently, persistently, and repeatedly point out to him that socialism is infinitely more beneficial for him than a government of the tsars, landowners and capitalists.
The workers' government has never wronged and never will wrong the middle peasant. But the government of the tsars, landowners, capitalists and kulaks not only always wronged the middle peasant, but stifled, plundered, and ruined him outright. And this is true of all countries without exception, Russia included.
The class-conscious worker’s programme is the closest alliance and complete unity with the poor peasants; concessions to and agreement with the middle peasants; ruthless suppression of the kulaks, those bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who batten on famine. That is the policy of the working class.