V. I.   Lenin

Rough Draft of a Resolution on Proletarian Culture[2]

Written: Written October 9, 1920
Published: First published in 1945 in Lenin Miscellany XXXV. Printed from the shorthand record.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, page 217b.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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1. Not special ideas, but Marxism.

2. Not the invention of a new proletarian culture, but the development of the best models, traditions and results of the existing culture, from the point of view of the Marxist world outlook and the conditions of life and struggle of the proletariat in the period of its dictatorship.

3. Not apart from the People’s Commissariat for Education, but as part of it, since the R.C.P. + Commissariat for Education = σ Proletcult.

4. Proletcult’s close link with and subordination to the Commissariat for Education.

5. No...[1]


[1] Here the manuscript breaks off.—Ed.

[2] Lenin wrote this at a meeting of the Politbureau on October 9, 1920, when the question of drafting a resolution for the Proletcult congress was discussed. Lenin’s rough draft contains the main theses of his Draft Resolution on Proletarian Culture written on the eve, October 8.

Proletcult (Proletarian Culture)—a cultural and educational organisation which arose in September 1917 as an independent workers’ organisation. Proletcult continued to uphold its "independence" after the October Revolution, thus setting itself in opposition to the proletarian state. It shunned the leadership of the Communist Party and insisted on keeping its bodies independent from the Soviet authorities, notably the People’s Commissariat for Education, lead by A. Lunacharsky. Its members virtually denied the cultural legacy of the past, shirked the tasks of cultural and, educational work among the masses, and, by isolating themselves from life, aimed at creating a special “proletarian culture” by “laboratory methods”. Bogdanov, Proletcult’s c.hief ideologist, paid lip-service to Marxism, but actually expounded subjective idealism, Machism. Proletcult had a mixed membership. In addition to bourgeois intellectuals, who held leading positions in many of its organisations, the membership included young workers who sincerely wished to promote cultural progress in the Soviet state. See Leon Trotsky’s 1923 essay on the concept of “proletarian culture” in his What Is Proletarian Culture, and Is It Possible?

The Communist Party came out strongly against the separatist tendencies of Proletcult. In October 1920 Lenin raised the question of Proletcult before the Politbureau of the Central Committee. Following the latter’s decision based on Lenin’s draft, the Chief Committee for Political Education drafted instructions governing the relations between Proletcult and the Commissariat for Education. These instructions were endorsed by the plenary meeting of the Central Committee on November 10, 1920.

In 1932 Proletcult ceased to exist [was suppressed by the Stalinist regime—MIA Ed.].

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