V. I. Lenin

The Workers’ State and Party Week

Written: 11 October, 1919
First Published: Pravda No. 228, October 12, 1919 Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 30, pages 63-65
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

Moscow Party Week[1] comes at a time of difficulty for the Soviet government. Denikin’s successes have given rise to a frenzied increase in plots by the landowners, capitalists and their friends, and increased efforts on the part of the bourgeoisie to sow panic and undermine the strength of the Soviet rule by every means in their power. The vacillating, wavering, politically backward petty bourgeois, and with them the intelligentsia, the socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, have, as usual, become more shaky than ever and were the first to allow themselves to be intimidated by the capitalists.

Moscow Party Week at such a difficult time is, I think, something of an advantage to us, for it is much better for the cause. We do not need a Party Week for show purposes. We do not need fictitious Party members even as a gift. Our Party, the party of the revolutionary working class, is the only government party in the world which is concerned not with increasing its membership but with improving its quality, and purging itself of “self-seekers”. We have more than once carried out the re-registration of Party members in order to get rid of these “self-seekers” and to leave in the Party only politically-conscious elements who are sincerely devoted to communism.[2] We have further taken advantage of the mobilisations for the front and of the subbotniks to purge the Party of those who are only “out for” the benefits accruing to membership of a government party and do not want to bear the burden of devoted work on behalf of communism.

And at this juncture, when intensified mobilisation for the front is in progress, Party Week is a good thing because it offers no temptation to the self-seekers. We extend a broad invitation into the Party only to rank-arid-file workers and poor peasants, to labouring peasants, but not to the peasant profiteers. We do not promise and do not give these rank-and-file members any advantages from joining the Party. On the contrary, just now harder and more dangerous work than usual falls to the lot of Party members.

So much the better. Only sincere supporters of communism, only persons who are conscientiously devoted to the workers’ state, only honest working people, only genuine representatives of the masses that were oppressed under capitalism will join the Party.

And it is only such members that we need in the Party.

We need new Party members not for advertising purposes but for serious work. These are the people we invite into the Party. To the working people we throw the doors of the Party wide open.

Soviet power is the power of the working people that is fighting for the complete overthrow of the yoke of capital. The first to engage in this fight were the working class of the towns and the factory centres. They won the first victory and conquered state power.

The working class is winning to their side the majority of the peasants. For it is only the peasant huckster, the peasant profiteer, and not the labouring peasant who is drawn to the side of capital, to the side of the bourgeoisie.

The workers of Petrograd, the most advanced, the most politically-conscious workers, have been contributing most of all to the administration of Russia. But we know that among the rank-and-file workers and peasants there are very many people devoted to the interests of the working masses and capable of undertaking the work of leadership. Among them there are many with a talent for organisation and administration to whom capitalism gave no opportunity and whom we are helping and must help in every way to come to the fore and take up the work of building socialism. To discover these new, modest and unperceived talents is no easy matter. It is no easy matter to enlist for state administrative work rank-and-file workers and peasants who for centuries had been downtrodden and intimidated by the landowners and capitalists.

But this difficult work has to be done, it must be done, so as to draw more deeply on the working class and the labouring peasantry for new forces.

Comrades, non-party workers and labouring peasants, join the Party! We promise you no advantages from joining; it is hard work we are calling you to, the work of organising the state. If you are sincere supporters of communism, set about this work boldly, do not fear its novelty and the difficulty it entails, do not be put off by the old prejudice that only those who have received formal training are capable of this work. That is not true. The work of building socialism can and must be directed by rank-and-file workers and labouring peasants in ever-growing numbers.

The mass of the working people are with us. That is where our strength lies. That is the source of the invincibility of world communism. More new workers from among the masses for the ranks of the Party to take an independent part in building the new life-that is our method of combating all difficulties, that is our path to victory.

N. Lenin
October 11, 1919


[1] Party Week was conducted in accordance with the decision of the Eighth Party Congress to enlarge the Party membership. It was carried out in a period of the intense struggle of the Soviet state against foreign military intervention and internal counter-revolution. “To get our Party card in such conditions signified, to a certain extent, becoming a candidate to the Denikin gallows," wrote Bulletin of the CC., R.C.P.(B.) No. 5, December 2, 1919. The first Party Week was held by the Petrograd Party organisation from August 10 to 17 (the second Party Week took place in October-November 1919); the Party Week in the Moscow Gubernia Party organisation was conducted from September 20 to 28. At the end of September the Central Committee sent a circular letter to all Party organisations, in which it stated that as the re-registration and purge was over In almost all Party organisations the C.C. considered it opportune to start admitting new members to the Party. The C.C. stressed that only men and women workers, Red Army men, sailors and peasant men and women should be admitted to the Party during Party Week. In 38 gubernias of the European part of the R.S.F.S.R. alone Party Weeks brought over 200,000 new members, of whom more than half were workers. At the fronts up to 25 per cent of the army and navy personnel joined the Party. Lenin wrote that workers and peasants who entered the Party at such a difficult period made up "a fine and reliable body of leaders of the revolutionary proletariat and of the non-exploiting section of the peasantry”.

[2] The re-registration of Party members was held in May-September 1919 by decision of the Eighth Party Congress which pointed to its necessity and to the need for special measures of control in respect to those members who joined the Party after the October Socialist Revolution. For this purpose a special instruction was worked out by the Central Committee. It said, “The aim of the re-registration is to purge the Party of non-Communist elements, chiefly of persons who wormed their way into the Party because it is the ruling party and who use their position of Party members in their own interests” (Pravda No. 86, April 24, 1919). During re-registration Party members were to return their Party, cards, fill in the questionnaires, and submit the recommendations of two Party members who had been in the Party for not less than six months and whom the Party Committee knew to be reliable Communists. The admittance of new members to the Party was discontinued during re-registration. Party members who wore convicted of behaviour unworthy of Communists, or who violated Party decisions, or did not pay Party dues, or who proved to be deserters were liable to expulsion. This re-registration was the first purge of the Party. As a result Party discipline was strengthened, the Party links with the masses grew stronger and the membership and the fighting capacity of the Party improved.