V. I. Lenin

Part IV: Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)

Preliminary Draft Resolution Of
The Tenth Congress Of The R.C.P.
On Party Unity

1. The Congress calls the attention of all members of the Party to the fact that the unity and cohesion of the ranks of the Party, the guarantee of complete mutual confidence among Party members and genuine team-work that really embodies the unanimity of will of the vanguard of the proletariat, are particularly essential at the present time, when a number of circumstances are increasing the vacillation among the petty-bourgeois population of the country.

2. Notwithstanding this, even before the general Party discussion on the trade unions, certain signs of factionalism had been apparent in the Party—the formation of groups wlth separate platforms, striving to a certain degree to segregate and create their own group discipline. Such symptoms of factionalism were manifested, for example, at a Party conference in Moscow (November 1920) and at a Party conference in Kharkov,[28] by the so-called Workers’ Opposition group, and partly by the so-called Democratic Centralism group.

All class-conscious workers must clearly realise that factionalism of any kind is harmful and impermissible, for no matter how members of individual groups may desire to safeguard Party unity, factionalism in practice inevitably leads to the weakening of team-work and to intensified and repeated attempts by the enemies of the governing Party, who have wormed their way into it, to widen the cleavage and to use it for counter-revolutionary purposes.

The way the enemies of the proletariat take advantage of every deviation from a thoroughly consistent commu- nist line was perhaps most strikingly shown in the case of the Kronstadt mutiny, when the bourgeois counter-revolutionaries and whiteguards in all countries of the world immediately expressed their readiness to accept the slogans of the Soviet system, if only they might thereby secure the overthrow of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia, and when the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the bourgeois counter-revolutionaries in general resorted in Kronstadt to slogans calling for an insurrection against the Soviet Government of Russia ostensibly in the interest of the Soviet power. These facts fully prove that the whiteguards strive, and are able, to disguise themselves as Communists, and even as the most Left-wing Communists, solely for the purpose of weakening and destroying the bulwark of the proletarian revolution in Russia. Menshevik leaflets distributed in Petrograd on the eve of the Kronstadt mutiny likewise show how the Mensheviks took advantage of the disagreements and certain rudiments of factionalism in the Russian Communist Party actually in order to egg on and support the Kronstadt mutineers, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the whiteguards, while claiming to be opponents of mutiny and supporters of the Soviet power, only with supposedly slight modifications.

3. In this question, propaganda should consist, on the one hand, in a comprehensive explanation of the harmfulness and danger of factionalism from the standpoint of Party unity and of achieving unanimity of will among the vanguard of the proletariat as the fundamental condition for the success of the dictatorship of the proletariat; and, on the other hand, in an explanation of the peculiar features of the latest tactical devices of the enemies of the Soviet power. These enemies, having realised the hopelessness of counter-revolution under an openly whiteguard flag, are now doing their utmost to utilise the disagreements within the Russian Communist Party and to further the counter-revolution in one way or another by transferring power to a political group which is outwardly closest to recognition of the Soviet power.

Propaganda must also teach the lessons of preceding revolutions, in which the counter-revolution made a point of supporting the opposition to the extreme revolutionary party which stood closest to the latter, in order to undermine and overthrow the revolutionary dictatorship and thus pave the way for the subsequent complete victory of the counter-revolution, of the capitalists and landowners.

4. In the practical struggle against factionalism, every organisation of the Party must take strict measures to prevent all factional actions. Criticism of the Party’s shortcomings, which is absolutely necessary, must be conducted in such a way that every practical proposal shall be submitted immediately, without any delay, in the most precise form possible, for consideration and decision to the leading local and central bodies of the Party. Moreover, every critic must see to it that the form of his criticism takes account of the position of the Party, surrounded as it is by a ring of enemies, and that the content of his criticism is such that, by directly participating in Soviet and Party work, he can test the rectification of the errors of the Party or of individual Party members in practice. Analyses of the Party’s general line, estimates of its practical experience, check-ups of the fulfilment of its decisions, studies of methods of rectifying errors, etc., must under no circumstances be submitted for preliminary discussion to groups formed on the basis of “platforms”, etc., but must in all cases be submitted for discussion directly to all the members of the Party. For this purpose, the Congress orders a more regular publication of Diskussionny Listok[29] and special symposiums to promote unceasing efforts to ensure that criticism shall be concentrated on essentials and shall not assume a form capable of assisting the class enemies of the proletariat.

5. Rejecting in principle the deviation towards syndicalism and anarchism, which is examined in a special resolution,[30] and instructing the Central Committee to secure the complete elimination of all factionalism, the Congress at the same time declares that every practical proposal concerning questions to which the so-called Workers’ Opposition group, for example, has devoted special attention, such as purging the Party of non-proletarian and unreliable elements, combating bureaucratic practices, developing democracy and workers’ initiative, etc., must be examined with the greatest care and tested in practice. The Party must know that we have not taken all the necessary measures in regard to these questions because of various obstacles, but that, while ruthlessly rejecting impractical and factional pseudo-criticism, the Party will unceasingly continue—trying out new methods—to fight with all the means at its disposal against the evils of bureaucracy, for the extension of democracy and initiative, for detecting, exposing and expelling from the Party elements that have wormed their way into its ranks, etc.

6. The Congress, therefore, hereby declares dissolved and orders the immediate dissolution of all groups without exception formed on the basis of one platform or another (such as the Workers’ Opposition group, the Democratic Centralism group, etc.). Non-observance of this decision of the Congress shall entail unconditional and instant expulsion from the Party.

7. In order to ensure strict discipline within the Party and in all Soviet work and to secure the maximum unanimity in eliminating all factionalism, the Congress authorises the Central Committee, in cases of breach of discipline or of a revival or toleration of factionalism, to apply all Party penalties, including expulsion, and in regard to members of the Central Committee, reduction to the status of alternate members and, as an extreme measure, expulsion from the Party. A necessary condition for the application of such an extreme measure to members of the Central Committee, alternate members of the Central Committee and members of thc Control Commission is the convocation of a Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee, to which all alternate members of the Central Committee and all members of the Control Commission shall be invited. If such a general assembly of the most responsible leaders of the Party deems it necessary by a two-thirds majority to reduce a member of the Central Committee to the status of alternate member, or to expel him from the Party, this measure shall be put into effect immediately.[31]

Published according to the manuscript

Preliminary Draft Resolution Of
The Tenth Congress Of The R.C.P.
On The Syndicalist And Anarchist Deviation In Our Party

1. A syndicalist and anarchist deviation has been definitely revealed in our Party in the past few months. It calls for the most resolute measures of ideological struggle and also for purging the Party and restoring its health.

2. The said deviation is due partly to the influx into the Party of former Mensheviks, and also of workers and peasants who have not yet fully assimilated the communist world outlook. Mainly, however, this deviation is due to the influence exercised upon the proletariat and on the Russian Communist Party by the petty-bourgeois element, which is exceptionally strong in our country, and which inavitably engenders vacillation towards anarchism, particularly at a time when the condition of the masses has greatly deteriorated as a consequence of the crop failure and the devastating effects of war, and when the demobilisation of the army numbering millions sets loose hundreds and hundreds of thousands of peasants and workers unable immediately to find regular means of livelihood.

3. The most theoretically complete and clearly defined expression of this deviation (or : one of the most complete, etc., expressions of this deviation) is the theses and other literary productions of the so-called Workers’ Opposition group. Sufficiently illustrative of this is, for example, the following thesis propounded by this group: “The organisation of the management of the national economy is the function of an All-Russia Congress of Producers organised in industrial unions which shall elect a central body to run the whole of the national economy of the Republic.”

The ideas at the bottom of this and numerous similar statements are radically wrong in theory, and represent a complete break with Marxism and communism, with the practical experience of all semi-proletarian revolutions and of the present proletarian revolution.

First, the concept “producer” combines proletarians with semi-proletarians and small commodity producers, thus radically departing from tbe fundamental concept of the class struggle and from the fundamental demand that a precise distinction be drawn between classes.

Secondly, the bidding for or flirtation with the non-Party masses, which is expressed in the above-quoted thesis, is an equally radical departure from Marxism.

Marxism teaches—and this tenet has not only been formally endorsed by the whole of the Communist International in the decisions of the Second (1920) Congress of the Comintern on the role of the political party of the proletariat, but has also been confirmed in practice by our revolution—that only the political party of the working class, i.e., the Communist Party, is capable of uniting, training and organising a vanguard of the proletariat and of the whole mass of the working people that alone will be capable of withstanding the inevitable petty-bourgeois vacillations of this mass and the inevitable traditions and relapses of narrow craft unionism or craft prejudices among the proletariat, and of guiding all the united activities of the whole of the proletariat, i.e., of leading it politically, and through it, the whole mass of the working peop]e. Without this the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible.

The wrong understanding of the role of the Communist Party in its relation to the non-Party proletariat, and in the relation of the first and second factors to the whole mass of working people, is a radical theoretical departure from communism and a deviation towards syndicalism and anarchism, and this deviation permeates all the views of the Workers’ Opposition group.

4. The Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party declares that it also regards as radically wrong all attempts on the part of the said group and of other persons to defend their fallacious views by referring to Paragraph 5 of the economic section of the Programme of the Russian Com- munist Party, which deals with the role of the trade unions. This paragraph says that “the trade unions should eventually arrive at a de facto concentration in their hands of the whole administration of the whole national economy, as a single economic entity” and that they will “ensure in this way indissoluble ties between the central state administration, the national economy and the broad masses of working people”, “drawing” these masses “into direct economic management”.

This paragraph in the Programme of the Russian Communist Party also says that a prerequisite for the state at which the trade unions “should eventually arrive” is the process whereby they increasingly “divest themselves of the narrow craft-union spirit” and embrace the majority “and eventually all” of the working people.

Lastly, this paragraph in the Programme of the Russian Communist Party emphasises that “on the strength of the laws of the R.S.F.S.R., and established practice, the trade unions participate in all the local and central organs of industrial management”.

Instead of studying the practical experience of participation in administration, and instead of developing this experience further, strictly in conformity with successes achieved and mistakes rectified, the syndicalists and anarchists advance as an immediate slogan “congresses or a congress of producers” “to elect” the organs of economic management. Thus, the leading, educational and organising role of the Party in relation to the trade unions of the proletariat, and of the latter to the semi-petty-bourgeois and even wholly petty-bourgeois masses of working people, is completely evaded and eliminated, and instead of continuing and correcting the practical work of building new forms of economy already begun by the Soviet state, we get petty-bourgeois-anarchist disruption of this work, which can only lead to the triumph of the bourgeois counter-revolution.

5. In addition to the theoretical fallacies and a radically wrong attitude towards the practical experience of economic organisation already begun by the Soviet government, the Congress of the Russian Communist Party discerns in the views of this and similar groups and persons a gross political mistake and a direct political danger to the very existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In a country like Russia, the overwhelming preponderance of the petty-bourgeois element and the devastation, impoverishment, epidemics, crop failures, extreme want and hardship inevitably resulting from the war, engender particularly sharp vacillations in the temper of the petty-bourgeois and semi-proletarian masses. First they incline towards a strengthening of the alliance between these masses and the proletariat, and then towards bourgeois restoration. The experience of all revolutions in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries shows most clearly and convincingly that the only possible result of these vacillations—if the unity, strength and influence of the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat is weakened in the slightest degree—will be the restoration of the power and property of the capitalists and landowners.

Hence, the views of the Workers’ Opposition and of like minded elements are not only wrong in theory, but are an expression of petty-bourgeois and anarchist wavering in practice, and actually weaken the consistency of the leading line of the Communist Party and help the class enemies of the proletarian revolution.

6. In view of all this, the Congress of the R.C.P., emphatically rejecting the said ideas, as being expressive of a syndicalist and anarchist deviation, deems it necessary:

First, to wage an unswerving and systematic struggle against these ideas;

Secondly, to recognise the propaganda of these ideas as being incompatible with membership of the R.C.P.

Instructing the C.C. of the Party strictly to enforce these decisions, the Congress at the same time points out that special publications, symposiums, etc., can and should provide space for a most comprehensive exchange of opinion between Party members on all the questions herein indicated.

Published according to the manuscript

Report On Party Unity and
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Deviation

March 16 [32]

Comrades, I do not think there is any need to say a great deal on this question because the subjects on which an official pronouncement must now be made on behalf of the Party Congress, that is, on behalf of the whole Party, were touched upon in all the questions discussed at the Congress. The resolution “On Unity” largely contains a characterisation of the political situation. You must have all read the printed text of this resolution that has been distributed. Point 7, which introduces an exceptional measure, namely, the right to expel a member from the Central Committee by a two-thirds majority of a general meeting of members of the C.C., alternate members and members of the Central Control Commission, is not for publication. This measure was repeatedly discussed at private conferences at which representatives of all shades expressed their opinions. Let us hope, comrades, that it will not be necessary to apply this point; but it is necessary to have it, in view of the new situation, when we are on the eve of a new and fairly sharp turn, and want to abolish all traces of separatism.

Let me now deal with the resolution on syndicalist and anarchist deviations. It is the question touched upon in point 4 of the Congress agenda. The definition of our attitude to certain trends, or deviations in thinking, is the pivot of the whole resolution. By saying “deviations”, we emphasise that we do not as yet regard them as something that has crystallised and is absolutely and fully defined, but merely as the beginning of a political trend of which the Party must give its appraisal. Point 3 of the resolution on the syndicalist and anarchist deviation, copies of which you all probably have, evidently contains a misprint (judging by the remarks, it has been noticed). It should read: “illustrative of this is, for example, the following thesis of the Workers’ Opposition: ’The organisation of the manage ment of the national economy is the function of an All-Russia Congress of Producers organised in industrial unions which shall elect a central body to run the whole of the national economy of the Republic.’” We have repeatedly discussed this point during the Congress, at restricted conferences as well as at the open general sessions of the Congress. I think we have already made it clear that it is quite impossible to defend this point on the plea that Engels had spoken of an association of producers, because it is quite obvious, and an exact quotation of the appropriate passage will prove, that Engels was referring to a classless communist society. That is something we all take for granted once society is rid of classes, only the producers remain; without any division into workers and peasants. And we know perfectly well from all the works of Marx and Engels that they drew a very clear distinction between the period in which classes still exist and that in which they no longer do. Marx and Engels used to ridicule the idea that classes could disappear before communism, and said that communism alone meant their abolition.[33]

The position is that we are the first to raise the question of abolishing classes in the practical plane, and that two main classes remain in this peasant country—the working class and the peasantry. Alongside of them, however, are whole groups left over from capitalism.

Our Programme definitely says that we are taking the first steps and shall have a number of transitional stages But in the practical work of Soviet administration and in the whole history of the revolution we have constantly had graphic illustrations of the fact that it is wrong to give theoretical definitions of the kind the opposition has given in this case. We know perfectly well that classes have remained in our country and will remain for a long time to come; and that in a country with a predominantly peasant population they are bound to remain for many, many years. It will take us at least ten years to organise large-scale industry to produce a reserve and secure control of agriculture. This is the shortest period even if the technical conditions are exceptionally favourable. But we know that our conditions are terribly unfavourable. We have a plan for building up Russia on the basis of modern large-scale industry: it is the electrification plan drawn up by our scientists. The shortest period provided for in that plan is ten years, and this is based on the assumption that conditions will be something like normal. But we know perfectly well that we do not have such conditions and it goes without saying that ten years is an extremely short period for us. We have reached the very core of the question: the situation is such that classes hostile to the proletariat will remain, so that in practice we cannot now create that which Engels spoke about. There will be a dictatorship of the proletariat. Then will come the classless society.

Marx and Engels sharply challenged those who tended to forget class distinctions and spoke about producers, the people, or working people in general. Anyone who has read Marx and Engels will recall that in all their works they ridicule those who talk about producers, the people, working people in general. There are no working people or workers in general; there are either small proprietors who own the means of production, and whose mentality and habits are capitalistic—and they cannot be anything else—or wage-workers with an altogether different cast of mind, wage-workers in large-scale industry, who stand in antagonistic contradiction to the capitalists and are ranged in struggle against them.

We have approached this question after three years of struggle, with experience in the exercise of the political power of the proletariat, and knowledge of the enormous difficulties existing in the relationships between classes, which are still there, and with remnants of the bourgeoisie filling the cracks and crevices of our social fabric, and holding office in Soviet institutions. In the circumstances the appearance of a platform containing the theses I have read to you is a clear and obvious syndicalist-anarchist deviation. That is no exaggeration: I have carefully weighed my words. A deviation is not yet a full-blown trend. A deviation is something that can be rectified. People have somewhat strayed or are beginning to stray from the path, but can still be put right. That, in my opinion, is what the Russian word uklon means. It emphasises that there is nothing final in it as yet, and that the matter can be easily rectified; it shows a desire to sound a warning and to raise the question on principle in all its scope. If anyone has a better word to express this idea, let us have it, by all means. I hope we shall not start arguing over words. We are essentially examining this thesis as the main one, so as not to go chasing after a mass of similar ideas, of which the Workers’ Opposition group has a great many. We will leave our writers, and the leaders of this trend to go into the matter, for at the end of the resolution we make a point of saying that special publications and symposiums can and should give space to a more comprehensive exchange of opinion between Party members on all the questions indicated. We cannot now afford to put off the question. We are a party fighting in acute difficulties. We must say to ourselves: if our unity is to be more solid, we must condemn a definite deviation. Since it has come to light, it should be brought out and discussed. If a comprehensive discussion is necessary, let us have it, by all means; we have the men to give chapter and verse on every point, and if we find it relevant and necessary, we shall raise this question internationally as well, for you all know and have just heard the delegate of the Communist International say in his report that there is a certain Leftist deviation in the ranks of the international revolutionary working-class movement. The deviation we are discussing is identical with the anarchist deviation of the German Communist Workers’ Party, the fight against which was clearly revealed at the last Congress of the Communist International.[34] Some of the terms used there to qualify it were stronger than “deviation”. You know that this is an international question. That is why it would be wrong to have done with it by saying, “Let’s have no more discussions. Full stop.” But a theoretical discussion is one thing, and the Party’s political line—a political struggle— is another. We are not a debating society. Of course, we are able to publish symposiums and special publications and will continue to do so but our first duty is to carry on the fight against great odds, and that needs unity. If we are to have proposals, like organising an “All-Russia Congress of Producers”, introduced into the political discussion and struggle, we shall be unable to march forward united and in step. That is not the policy we have projected over the next few years. It is a policy that would disrupt the Party’s team-work, for it is wrong not only in theory, but also in its incorrect definition of the relations between classes—the crucial element which was specified in the resolution of the Second Congress of the Communist International,[35] and without which there is no Marxism. The situation today is such that the non-Party element is yielding to the petty-bourgeois vacillations which are inevitable in Russia’s present economic condition. We must remember that in some respects the internal situation presents a greater danger than Denikin and Yudenich; and our unity must not be formal but must go deep down below the surface. If we are to create this unity, a resolution like the one proposed is indispensable.

The next very important thing in my opinion is Point 4 of this resolution, which gives an interpretation of our Programme. It is an authentic interpretation, that is, the author’s interpretation. Its author is the Congress, and that is why it must give its interpretation in order to put a stop to all this wavering, and to the tricks that are some times being played with our Programme, as if what it says about the trade unions is what some people would like it to say. You have heard Comrade Ryazanov’s criticism of the Programme—let us thank the critic for his theoretical researches. You have heard Comrade Shlyapnikov’s criticism. That is something we must not ignore. I think that here, in this resolution, we have exactly what we need just now. We must say on behalf of the Congress, which endorses the Programme and which is the Party’s supreme organ: here is what we understand the Programme to mean. This, I repeat, does not cut short theoretical discussion. Proposals to amend the Programme may be made; no one has suggested that this should be prohibited. We do not think that our Programme is so perfect as not to require any modification whatever; but just now we have no formal proposals, nor have we allocated any time for the examination of this question. If we read the Programme carefully we shall find the following: “The trade unions . . . should eventually arrive at a de facto concentration”, etc. The words, “should eventually arrive at a de facto concentration”, should be underlined. And a few lines above that we read: “On the strength of the laws . . . the trade unions participate in all the local and central organs of industrial management.” We know that it took decades to build up capitalist industry, with the assistance of all the advanced countries of the world. Are we so childish as to think that we can complete this process so quickly at this time of dire distress and impoverishment, in a country with a mass of peasants, with workers in a minority, and a proletarian vanguard bleeding and in a state of prostration? We have not even laid the main foundation, we have only begun to give an experimental definition of industrial management with the participation of the trade unions. We know that want is the principal obstacle. It is not true to say that we are not enlisting the masses; on the contrary, we give sincere support to anyone among the mass of workers with the least sign of talent, or ability. All we need is for the conditions to ease off ever so little. We need a year or two, at least, of relief from famine. This is an insignificant period of time in terms of history but in our conditions it is a long one. A year or two of relief from famine, with regular supplies of fuel to keep the factories running, and we shall receive a hundred times more assistance from the working class, and far more talent will arise from its ranks than we now have. No one has or can have any doubts about this. The assistance is not forthcoming at present, but not because we do not want it. In fact, we are doing all we can to get it. No one can say that the government, the trade unions, or the Party’s Central Committee have missed a single opportunity to do so. But we know that the want in the country is desperate, that there is hunger and poverty everywhere, and that this very often leads to passivity. Let us not be afraid to call a spade a spade: it is these calamities and evils that are hindering the rise of mass energy. In such a situation, when the statistics tell us that 60 per cent of the members of management boards are workers, it is quite impossible to try to interpret the words in the Programme—“The trade union . . . should eventually arrive at a de facto concentration”, etc.—à la Shlyapnikov.

An authentic interpretation of the Programme will enable us to combine the necessary tactical solidarity and unity with the necessary freedom of discussion, and this is emphasised at the end of the resolution. What does it say in essence? Point 6 reads:

“In view of all this, the Congress of the R.C.P., emphatically rejecting the said ideas, as being expressive of a syndicalist and anarchist deviation, deems it necessary, first, to wage an unswerving and systematic struggle against these ideas; secondly, to recognise the propaganda of these ideas as being incompatible with membership of the R.C.P.

“Instructing the C.C. of the Party strictly to enforce these decisions, the Congress at the same time points out that special publications, symposiums, etc., can and should provide space for a most comprehensive exchange of opinion between Party members on all the questions herein indicated.”

Do you not see—you all who are agitators and propagandists in one way or another—the difference between the propaganda of ideas within political parties engaged in struggle, and the exchange of opinion in special publications and symposiums? I am sure that everyone who takes the trouble to understand this resolution will see the difference. And we hope that the representatives of this deviation whom we-are taking into the Central Committee will treat the decisions of the Party Congress as every class-conscious disciplined Party member does. We hope that with their assistance we, in the Central Committee, shall look into this matter, without creating a special situation. We shall investigate and decide what it is that is going on in the Party—whether it is the propaganda of ideas within a political party engaged in struggle, or the exchange of opinion in special publications and symposiums. There is the opportunity for anyone interested in a meticulous study of quotations from Engels. We have theoreticians who can always give the Party useful advice. That is necessary. We shall publish two or three big collections—that is useful and absolutely necessary. But is this anything like the propaganda of ideas, or a conflict of platforms? How can these two things be confused? They will not be confused by anyone who desires to understand our political situation.

Do not hinder our political work, especially in a difficult situation, but go on with your scientific research. We shall be very happy to see Comrade Shlyapnikov supplement his recent book on his experiences in the underground revolutionary struggle with a second volume written in his spare time over the next few months and analysing the concept of “producer”. But the present resolution will serve as our landmark. We opened the widest and freest discussion. The platform of the Workers’ Opposition was published in the central organ of the Party in 250,000 copies. We have weighed it up from all sides, we have elected delegates on its basis, and finally we have convened this Congress, which, summing up the political discussion, says: “The deviation has come to light, we shall not play hide-and-seek, but shall say openly: a deviation is a deviation and must be straightened out. We shall straighten it out, and the discussion will be a theoretical one.”

That is why I renew and support the proposal that we adopt both these resolutions, consolidate the unity of the Party, and give a correct definition to what should be dealt with by Party meetings, and what individuals—Marxists, Communists who want to help the Party by looking into theoretical questions—are free to study in their spare time. (Applause.)

Summing-Up Speech On Party Unity and
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Deviation

March 16

Comrades, we have heard some incredibly harsh expressions here, and the harshest, I think, was the accusation that our resolution is slanderous. But some harsh expressions tend to expose themselves. You have the resolution. You know that we took two representatives of the Workers’ Opposition into the Central Committee and that we used the term “deviation”. I emphasise the meaning of this term. Neither Shlyapnikov nor Medvedyev proposed any other. The theses we have criticised here have been criticised by the representatives of all shades of opinion. After this, how can one talk of slander? If we had ascribed to someone something which is not true there would have been some sense in this harsh expression. As it is, it is simply a sign of irritation. That is not a serious objection!

I now come to the points that have been mentioned here. It has been stated that the Democratic Centralism group was given unfair treatment. You have followed the development of the agreement between groups and the exchange of opinion on the question of the election to the Central Committee brought up by the representatives of the Democratic Centralism group. You know that ever since the private conference that was attended by the whole of the Workers’ Opposition group and a number of very prominent comrades, representatives of all shades, I, for one, have publicly urged that it would be desirable to have representatives of the Workers’ Opposition and Democratic Centralism groups on the Central Committee. No one opposed this at the conference, which was attended by all the comrades of the Workers’ Opposition and representatives of all shades. It is quite clear that the election of a representative of the Democratic Centralism group as an alternate and not as a full member of the Central Committee was the result of a lengthy exchange of opinion, and an agreement arrived at among the groups. It is captious to regard this as a sign of mistrust in or unfairness to the Democratic Centralism group. We in the Central Committee have done everything to emphasise our desire to be fair. This is a fact that cannot be obliterated. It is cavilling to draw the conclusion that someone has been unfairly treated. Or take the argument of a comrade from the Democratic Centralism group that Point 7 of the resolution was superfluous because the Central Committee already had that right. We propose that Point 7 be withheld from publication because we hope it will not be necessary to apply it; it is an extreme measure. But when the comrade from the Democratic Centralism group says: “The Rules give you this right”,[36] he shows that he does not know the Rules, and is ignorant of the principles of centralism and democratic centralism. No democracy or centralism would ever tolerate a Central Committee elected at a Congress having the right to expel its members. (A voice : “Bypassing the Party.”) Particularly bypassing the Party. The Congress elects the Central Committee, thereby expressing its supreme confidence and vesting leadership in those whom it elects. And our Party has never allowed the Central Committee to have such a right in relation to its members. This is an extreme measure that is being adopted specially, in view of the dangerous situation. A special meeting is called: the Central Committee, plus the alternate members, plus the Control Commission, all having the same right of vote. Our Rules make no provision for such a body or plenum of 47 persons; and never has anything like it been practised. Hence, I repeat that the comrades of the Democratic Centralism group know neither the Rules, nor the principles of centralism or democratic centralism. It is an extreme measure. I hope we shall not have to apply it. It merely shows that the Party will resort to what you have heard about in the event of disagreements which in one aspect verge on a split. We are not children, we have gone through some hard times, we have seen splits and have survived them; we know what a trial they are, and are not afraid of giving the danger its proper name.

Have we had at previous congresses, even amidst the sharpest disagreements, situations which, in one aspect, verged on a split? No, we have not. Do we have such a situation now? Yes, we do. This point has been made repeatedly. Now, I think, these are disagreements we can combat.

It has also been said that unity is not created by such resolutions; that according to the resolution criticism must be expressed only through the medium of the gubernia committee; that lack of confidence has been expressed in the comrades of the Workers’ Opposition and that this has hampered their presence on the Central Committee. But all of this is not true either. I explained from the very outset why we had chosen the word “deviation”. If you don ’t like the word, accept the resolution as a basis and send it up to the Presidium for possible modification. If we find a milder term I would propose that it be substituted for the word “deviation”, and also that other parts be modified. We shall not object to that. We cannot discuss such details here, of course. Hand in the resolution to the Presidium for editing and toning down. It is certainly impossible to couch it in stronger terms—I agree with that. But it is not true to say that the resolution means inciting one section of the Party against another.

I do not know the composition of the Workers’ Opposition group in Samara, I have not been there; but I am sure that if any member of the Central Committee or delegate to the Congress of whatever shade of opinion—except the Workers’ Opposition—were to set out to prove at a meeting of the Samara organisation that there is no incitement in the resolution, but a call for unity and for winning over the majority of the members of the Workers’ Opposition, he would certainly succeed. When people here use the term “incitement” they forget about Point 5 of the resolution on unity, which notes the services of the Workers’ Opposition. Are these not set down alongside each other? On the one hand, there is the “guilty of a deviation”, and on the other, Point 5 says: “The Congress at the same time declares that every practical proposal concerning questions to which the so-called Workers ’ Opposition group, for example, has devoted special attention, such as purging the Party of non-proletarian and unreliable elements, combating bureaucratic practices, developing democracy and workers’ initiative, etc., must be examined with the greatest care”, etc. Is that incitement? It is a recognition of services. We say: On the one hand, in the discussion, you have shown a deviation which is politically dangerous, and even Comrade Medvedyev’s resolution[37] admits this, although his wording is different. And then we go on to say: As for combating bureaucratic practices, we agree that we are not yet doing all that can be done. That is recognition of services and not incitement!

When a comrade from the Workers’ Opposition is taken into the Central Committee, it is an expression of comradely confidence. And after this, anyone attending a meeting not inflamed with factional strife will hear it say that there is no incitement in this, and that it is an expression of comradely confidence. As for the extreme measure, it is a matter for the future: we are not resorting to it now, and are expressing our comradely confidence. If you think that we are wrong in theory, we can issue dozens of special publications on the subject. And if there are any young comrades, in the Samara organisation, for example, who have anything new to say on this question, then let’s have it, Comrades Samarians! We shall publish a few of your articles. Everyone will see the difference between speeches at a Congress and words being bandied outside it. If you examine the precise text of the resolution you will find a theoretical definition of principle, which is not offensive in the least. Alongside of it is recognition of services in combating bureaucratic practices, a request for assistance and, what is more, inclusion of the representatives of this group in the Central Committee, which is the Party’s greatest expression of confidence. Therefore, comrades, I move that both resolutions be adopted, by a roll-call vote, and then sent on to the Presidium for revision and modification of the formulations. As Comrade Shlyapnikov is a member of the Presidium, perhaps he will find a more appropriate substitute for the word “deviation”.

As regards the notices of resignation, I move we adopt the following resolution: “The Congress calls upon all members of the dissolved Workers’ Opposition group to submit to Party discipline, binding them to remain at their posts, and rejects Comrade Shlyapnikov’s and all other resignations.”[38]

Remarks On Ryazanov’s Amendment To The
Resolution On Party Unity

March 16[39]

I think that, regrettable as it may be, Comrade Ryazanov’s suggestion is impracticable. We cannot deprive the Party and the members of the Central Committee of the right to appeal to the Party in the event of disagreement on fundamental issues. I cannot imagine how we can do such a thing! The present Congress cannot in any way bind the elections to the next Congress. Supposing we are faced with a question like, say, the conclusion of the Brest peace? Can you guarantee that no such question will arise? No, you cannot. In the circumstances, the elections may have to be based on platforms. (Ryazanov : “On one question?”) Certainly. But your resolution says: No elections according to platforms. I do not think we have the power to prohibit this. If we are united by our resolution on unity, and, of course, the development of the revolution, there will be no repetition of elections according to platforms. The lesson we have learned at this Congress will not be forgotten. But if the circumstances should give rise to fundamental disagreements, can we prohibit them from being brought before the judgement of the whole Party? No, we cannot! This is an excessive desire, which is impracticable, and I move that we reject it.

Speech On The Fuel Question

March 16

Allow me to take the floor to refer the fuel question to a commission. The fuel crisis is undoubtedly one of the—if not the—most important issue in all our economic development. But I ask myself: shall we be able to reach a final decision on such an important question on the basis of the report and co-report—the one setting forth the view of the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Council, which is to be given by Comrade Rykov, and the other, criticising that policy, Comrade Larin’s standpoint—without referring it to a commission and studying documents which explain the essence of the matter and help to find out whether the whole depends on flaws in the machinery, scandalous practices and crimes, or the weakness of the peasant economy and the peasant horse, without which the supply of firewood is impossible? I ask myself: can we adopt a decision without a commission? And I say that we cannot. It would therefore be much better for us to elect an enlarged commission consisting mostly of comrades from the provinces, who are familiar with the fuel, and specifically the firewood, business, who have more than a book knowledge of it, and have actually had experience in the line. The commission would hear not only the rapporteurs but would summon a number of persons and see that the statements made by the rapporteur and co-rapporteur are documented. It will then report to the Central Committee, which will, on that basis, have to adopt a number of crucial decisions in that sphere. This procedure will yield much more productive and useful results than discussions at the Congress which could make us waste a whole day and eventually lead us up to no further than reference of the question to a commission.

Proposal On The Fuel Question

March 16

I move that we instruct the Central Timber Board immediately to confer with delegates to the Congress who have practical experience in the work of fuel and firewood enterprises, with the view of working out right away urgent measures, especially in floating.

Speech In Closing The Congress

March 16

Comrades, we have concluded the work of the Party Congress, which has been meeting at an extremely important moment for the fate of our revolution. The Civil War, coming in the wake of so many years of imperialist war, has so torn and dislocated this country, that its revival is taking place in incredibly difficult conditions. Hence, we should not be surprised that there is a resurgence of the elements of disintegration and decay and of petty-bourgeois and anarchistic elements. One of the fundamental conditions for this is the extreme and unprecedented intensification of want and despair that has now gripped tens and hundreds of thousands, and possibly even larger numbers, of people who see no way out of this disastrous situation. But we know, comrades, that this country has had it even worse. Without shutting our eyes to the danger, or entertaining any sort of false optimism, we say frankly to ourselves and our comrades that the danger is great, but we have great trust in the solidarity of the vanguard of the proletariat. We know that no other force but the class conscious proletariat can unite the millions of scattered small farmers, many of whom are suffering incredible hardships; no other force can unite them economically and politically against the exploiters. We are convinced that this force has emerged from the experience of the struggle—the gruelling experience of the revolution—sufficiently steeled to withstand all severe trials and the difficulties that lie ahead.

Comrades, apart from the decisions we have adopted on these lines, there is the exceptionally important decision our Congress has adopted on relations with the peasantry. In it we make a most sober appraisal of the relations between classes, and are not afraid openly.to admit that this is a most difficult task, namely, that of establishing proper relations between the proletariat and the predominating peasantry while normal relations are unfeasible. You can call relations normal only when the proletariat has control of large-scale industry and its products and fully satisfies the needs of the peasantry and, providing them with the means of subsistence, so alleviates their condition that there is a tangible and obvious improvement over the capitalist system. That is the only way to create a basis for a normally functioning socialist society. We cannot do thls at present because of the crushing ruin, want, impoverishment and despair. But to help to rid ourselves of this accursed legacy we are reacting in a definite way to the relations established during the disastrous war. We will not conceal the fact that the peasantry have some very deep grounds for dissatisfaction. We shall explain the situation more fully, and tell them that we shall do all we can to improve it and pay more heed to the small proprietor’s living conditions.

We must do everything to alleviate his condition, to give more to the small farmer, and assure him of greater security in private farming. We are not afraid of the anti-communist trend this measure is bound to produce.

Comrades, we have now been working for several years to lay, for the first time in history, the foundations of a socialist society and a proletarian state, and it is in the spirit of sober appraisal of these relations that we have expressed our full readiness to reconsider this policy and even to modify it. I think that the results of our Congress in this respect will be all the more successful because we have been solidly united on this fundamental question from the very outset. There was need for unanimity in the solution of two fundamental questions, and we have had no disagreements on the relations between the vanguard of the proletariat and its mass, and the relations between the proletariat and the peasantry In spite of the very difficult political conditions, we have been more united in our decisions on these points than ever before.

Permit me now to deal with two points, which I ask not to be entered into the minutes. The first is the question of concessions in Baku and Grozny. It was dealt with only in passing at this Congress. I was unable to attend that session, but I have been told that some comrades have their doubts or have been left with a sense of dissatisfaction. I don’t think there are any grounds for this. The Central Committee thrashed out this question of granting concessions in Grozny and Baku. Several special commissions were set up and special reports from the departments concerned were called for. There was some disagreement, several votes were taken, but after the last one not a single member or group in the Central Committee wished to exercise their incontestable right to appeal to the Congress. The new Central Committee will, I think, have full formal and actual right to decide this big question on the strength of a Congress decision. Unless we grant concessions, we cannot hope to obtain the assistance of well-equipped modern capitalist industry. And unless we utilise the latter, we shall be unable to lay a proper foundation for our own large-scale production in such industries as oil, which is of exceptional importance for the whole of the world economy. We have not yet concluded a single concession agreement, but we shall do all we can to do so. Have you read in the newspapers about the opening of the Baku-Tiflis oil pipeline? There will soon be news of a similar pipeline to Batum. This will give us an outlet to the world market. We have to improve our economic position, and the technical equipment of our Republic, and give our workers more food and goods. Everything that helps to ease things in this respect is of tremendous value to us. That is why we are not afraid of leasing parts of Grozny and Baku. By leasing out one-fourth of Grozny and one-fourth of Baku, we shall be able—if we succeed—to raise the rest of them to the modern technical level of advanced capitalism. There is no other way for us to do this at present. Those who know the state of our economy will understand this. But once we have a base, even if it costs us hundreds of millions of gold rubles, we shall do everything to develop the rest.

The second question that I ask not to be published is the Presidium’s special decision concerning the manner of reporting. You know that at this Congress we have repeatedly had to work in an atmosphere of excessive tension and a larger number of delegates were kept away from the sittings of the Congress than has usually been the case. We must, therefore, be more calm and thoughtful in drawing up a plan of how the reports are to be made in the localities, and we must be guided by a definite decision. Let me read you a comrade’s draft of the Presidium’s instructions to the delegates returning home (reads ).[40] I have summed it up, and I think these few lines are sufficient to cause every delegate to ponder over the question and in his report to exercise the necessary caution, taking care not to exaggerate the danger of the situation or allow himself or those around him to panic, whatever the circumstances.

Now that world capitalism has started its incredibly frenzied, hysterical campaign against us, it would be particularly inappropriate for us to panic, and there is no reason to do so. Yesterday, by arrangement with Comrade Chicherin, I received a summary of the news on this question, and I think you will find it instructive. It is a summary of the news on the slander campaign about the situation in Russia. The comrade who made the summary writes: “Never before has the West-European press indulged in such an orgy of lies or engaged in the mass production of fantastic inventions about Soviet Russia as in the last fortnight. Since the beginning of March, the whole of the West-European press has been daily pouring out torrents of fantastic reports about insurrections in Russia; a counter-revolutionary victory; Lenin and Trotsky’s flight to the Crimea; the white flag over the Kremlin; barricades in Petrograd and Moscow and their streets running with blood; hordes of workers converging on Moscow from the hills to overthrow the Soviet government; Budyonny’s defection to the rebels; a counter-revolutionary victory in a number of Russian towns, a succession of names adding up to virtually all the gubernia capitals of Russia. The scope and method of the campaign betray it as a far-reaching plan adopted by all the leading governments. On March 2, the British Foreign Office announced through the Press Association that it regarded these reports as improbable, but immediately thereafter issued its own bulletin about a rising in Petrograd, a bombardment of Petrograd by the Kronstadt fleet, and fighting in the streets of Moscow.

On March 2, all the British newspapers published cabied reports about uprisings in Petrograd and Moscow: Lenin and Trotsky have fled to the Crimea; 14,000 workers in Moscow are demanding a constituent assembly; the Moscow arsenal and the Moscow-Kursk railway station are in the hands of the insurgent workers; in Petrograd, Vasilyevsky Ostrov is entirely in the hands of the insurgents.

Let me quote a few of the radio broadcasts and cables received on the following days: on March 3, Klyshko cabled from London that Reuter had picked up some absurd rumours about a rising in Petrograd and was assiduously circulating them.

March 6. The Berlin correspondent Mayson cables to New York that workers from America are playing an important part in the Petrograd revolution, and that Chicherin has radioed an order to General Hanecki to close the frontier to émigrés from America.

March 6. Zinoviev has fled to Oranienbaum; Red artillery is shelling the working-class quarter in Moscow; Petrograd is beleaguered (cable from Wiegand).

March 7. Klyshko cables that according to reports from Revel, barricades have been erected in the streets of Moscow; the newspapers carry reports from Helsingfors that anti-Bolshevik troops have taken Chernigov.

March 7. Petrograd and Moscow are in the hands of the insurgents; insurrection in Odessa; Semyonov advancing in Siberia at the head of 25,000 Cossacks; a Revolutionary Committee in Petrograd is in control of the fortifications and the fleet (reported by the Poldhu wireless station in England).

Nauen, March 7. The factory quarter in Petrograd is in revolt; an anti-Bolshevik insurrection has broken out in Volhynia.

Paris, March 7. Petrograd in the hands of a Revolutionary Committee; Le Matin [41] quotes reports from London saying the white flag is flying over the Kremlin.

Paris, March 8. The rebels have captured Krasnaya Gorka; Red Army regiments have mutinied in Pskov Gubernia; the Bolsheviks are sending Bashkirs against Petrograd.

March 10. Klyshko cables: the newspapers are asking whether Petrograd has fallen or not. According to reports from Helsingfors three-quarters of Petrograd is in the hands of the insurgents. Trotsky, or according to other reports, Zinoviev is in command of operations and has his headquarters in Tosna, or else in the Peter and Paul Fortress. According to other reports, Brusilov has been appointed Commander-in-Chief. Reports from Riga say that Petrograd, except for the railway stations, was captured on the 9th; the Red Army has retreated to Gatchina; strikers in Petrograd have raised the slogan: “Down with the Soviets and the Communists.” The British War Office states that it is not yet known whether or not the Kronstadt rebels have joined up with the Petrograd rebels but, according to information at its disposal, Zinoviev is in the Peter and Paul Fortress, where he is in command of the Soviet troops.

Of a vast number of fabrications in this period I am taking only a few samples: Saratov has become an in dependent anti-Bolshevik republic (Nauen, March 11). Fierce anti-Communist riots in towns along the Volga (same source). Fighting between Byelorussian detachments and the Red Army in Minsk Gubernia (same source).

Paris, March 15. Le Matin reports that large numbers of Kuban and Don Cossacks are in revolt.

Nauen reported on March 14 that Budyonny’s cavalry has joined up with the rebels near Orel. At various times insurrections were reported in Pskov, Odessa and other towns.

Krasin cabled on March 9 that the Washington correspondent of The Times said the Soviet regime was on its last legs and America was therefore deferring establishment of relations with the border states. Reports at various times quoted American banking circles as saying that in the circumstances trade with Russia would be a gamble.

The New York correspondent of The Daily Chronicle reported as early as March 4 that business circles and the Republican Party in America considered trade relations with Russia at the present time to be a gamble.

This campaign of lies is being undoubtedly conducted not only with an eye to America, but also to the Turkish delegation in London, and the plebiscite in Silesia.

Comrades, the picture is absolutely clear. The world press syndicate—over there they have a free press, which means that 99 per cent of the press is in the pay of the financial magnates, who have command of hundreds of millions of rubles—has launched a world-wide campaign on behalf of the imperialists with the prime object of disrupting the negotiations for a trade agreement with Britain, which Krasin has initiated, and the forthcoming trade agreement with America, which, as I have stated, we have been negotiating here, and reference to which was made at this Congress. This shows that the enemies around us, no longer able to wage their war of intervention, are now pinning their hopes on a rebellion. And the Kronstadt events revealed their connection with the international bourgeoisie. Moreover, we see that what they fear most, from the practical angle of international capital, is the resumption of proper trade relations. But they will fail in their attempts to disrupt them. There are some big businessmen here in Moscow, and they have stopped believing these false rumours. They have told us that a group of citizens in America has used an original method of propaganda in favour of Soviet Russia.

It has collected the diverse press reports about Russia over the past few months—about the flight of Lenin and Trotsky, about Trotsky shooting Lenin, and vice versa—and has published them in a pamphlet. You couldn’t find a better way of popularising the Soviet power. Day after day they collected reports of the assassination of Lenin and Trotsky and showed how many times each had been shot or killed; such reports were repeated month after month. Finally, all these reports were collected in a pamphlet and published. The American bourgeois press has got a bad name for itself. That is the enemy whom two million Russian émigrés, landowners and capitalists, are serving; this is the army of the bourgeoisie confronting us. Let them try to disrupt trade relations and belittle the practical achievements of the Soviet power. We know that they will fail. And the reports of the international press, which controls hundreds of thousands of newspapers and supplies news to the whole world, show once again how we are surrounded by enemies and how much weaker they are as compared with last year. That, comrades, is what we must understand. I think that the majority of the delegates present here have realised just how far we can let our disagreements go. It was naturally impossible to keep within these bounds during the struggle at the Congress. Men who have just emerged from the heat of battle cannot be expected to see these limits all at once. But we must have no doubts in our own mind when we look at our Party as the nucleus of the world revolution, and at the campaign which the world syndicate of states is now waging against us. Let them wage their campaign. We have sized it up, and we have egactly sized up our own disagreements. We know that by closing our ranks at this Congress we shall emerge from our disagreements solidly united, with the Party much stronger and marching with ever greater resolution towards international victories! (Stormy applause.)


[28] The Fifth All-Ukraine Party Conference was held in Kharkov in November 1920. Out of 316 delegates, only 23, or 7 per cent voted for the Workers’ Opposition platform.

[29] Diskussionny Listok (Discussion Bulletin )—a non-periodical publication of the Party Central Committee, issued under a decision of the Ninth All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) heldin September 1920. See K.P.S.S. v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, p. 509).

Two issues—in January and in February 1921—came out before the Tenth Congress, and it was subsequently issued during discussions and before Party congresses.

[30] The resolution “On the Syndicalist and Anarchist Deviation in Our Party”. See K.P.S.S. v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, pp. 530-33).

[31] Under a decision of the Tenth Congress, Point 7 of the resolution, “On Party Unity”, was not published at the time. See K.P.S.S. v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, p. 785, item 14). It appeared in the Bulletin of the Thirteenth Party Conference.

[32] Lenin gave a report on Party unity and the anarcho-syndicalist deviation at the final, sixteenth, sitting of the Congress on March 16, 1921. The Workers’ Opposition and the Democratic Centralism groups came out against Lenin’s draft resolutions on these questions. But after Lenin’s summing-up speech, his resolutions were carried by an overwhelming majority.

[33] See Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme; Marx’s letter to J. Weydemeyer of March 5, 1852; and Engels, Anti-Dühring; The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

[34] An anarchist “Leftist” group broke away from the German Communist Party and in April 1920 formed the so-called Communist Workers’ Party of Germany. The “Leftists” held petty-bourgeois, anarcho-syndicalist views. Their representatives to the Second Congress of the Comintern, Otto RühIe and A. Merges, failed to win any support, and walked out. The party had no support within the working class and later degenerated into an insignificant sectarian group.

[35] Its resolution on the agrarian question adopted on August 4, 1920. See Vtoroi kongress ... (The Second Congress of the Communist International, July-August 1920, Moscow, 1934, pp. 522-31).

[36] The reference is to A. Z. Kamensky’s speech.

[37] On behalf of the Workers’ Opposition, S. P. Medvedyev motioned a resolution to counter Lenin’s draft resolution “On Party Unity”. The former was rejected by a majority of the Tenth Party Congress.

[38] The resolution was adopted, with somc slight changes, by the Tenth Party Congress. See K.P.S.S. v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, p. 533).

[39] D. B. Ryazanov motioned an amendment to Lenin’s draft resolution “On Party Unity”. It said: “While condemning all factional activity, the Congress vigorously opposes any election to the Congress by platform.” Desyaty syezd . . . (The Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), March 1921, Moscow, 1963, p. 539). On Lenin’s motion, the amendment was rejected by the Congress.

[40] The draft instructions of the Presidium of the Tenth Congress to the delegates going to the localities are at the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the C.P.S.U. Central Committee.

[41] Le Matin—a French bourgeois daily, published in Paris from 1884. Its last issue appeared in August 1944.