Lenin Collected Works: Volume 42: Preface by Progress Publishers

Lenin Collected Works:
Volume 42

Preface by Progress Publishers

Volume Forty-Two contains items written after the October Revolution, which were first published in the Complete Russian Edition of Lenin’s Collected Works or which were published in Lenin Miscellanies, magazines and newspapers. These documents form an important supplement to the works included in the various volumes of this edition.

The first group of documents dates to the period from November 1917 to July 1918—the period of continued development of the socialist revolution and consolidation of Soviet power. Mention should be made first of all of “Theses on the Tasks of the Party + the Present Situation”, the article “Plekhanov on Terror”, the “Draft Resolution for the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.) Concerning the Expulsion from the Party of S. A. Lozovsky”, the “Outline of a Programme of Economic Measures” and a number of chapters of the original version of the article “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government”. These deal with the tasks that faced the working class after the conquest of power, stress the necessity for strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat and suppressing the resistance of the overthrown exploiting classes, and sharply criticise the Right-opportunist elements within the Party.

Several documents relate to Lenin’s fight to get Russia out of the war, to conclude the Brest peace treaty ("Speech at a Joint Meeting of the Bolshevik and Left S.R. Groups in the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, February 19, 1918", “Speech to the Lettish Riflemen, February 20, 1918” and others). The numerous decisions for the Council of People’s Commissars drafted by Lenin reflect the first steps of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government in the field of political, economic and cultural activities.

A large part of the materials relate to the period of foreign military intervention and the civil war, among them: notes on “The Tasks and Organisation of the Work of the Council of Defence”, “Notes at a Meeting of the Commission on Cartridges”, “Draft Resolution for the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on Sending Groups of Workers Out on Food Transportation Jobs”, “Draft Decision for the Council of Defence on the Mobilisation of Soviet Employees”, “Draft Decisions for the C.C. Politbureau on Measures to Fight Mamontov”, “Proposals on Military Questions”, “Decisions of the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Western Front” and Lenin’s speeches: “Speech to Ivanovo-Voznesensk Communist Workers Leaving for the Front, October 24, 1919", “Speech at the Eleventh Issue of Red Commanders of the First Moscow Machine-Gunners Training Courses, May 12, 1920", “Report on the Internal and External Position of the Republic at a Meeting of Activists of the Moscow Organisation of the R.C.P.(B.), October 9, 1920". These and many other documents strikingly illustrate the gigantic activities of the Central Committee and the Soviet Government, headed by Lenin, in organising the defeat of the interventionists and whiteguards.

A considerable part of the volume is made up of items and documents written after the war, when the problems of economic rehabilitation and socialist construction bulked large. Industry, agriculture, science and technology, public education, improvement of the machinery of state, the national question, foreign policy—all these problems were dealt with daily by Lenin, who directed the activities of the Party and the Government.

The items included in this volume contain important supplementary material showing how Lenin worked on the plan of socialist construction.

Of great significance are the chapters of the original version of “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government” (the end of Chapter IV, chapters V-IX and the beginning of Chapter X) which were first published in 1962. In these chapters Lenin sets forth in greater detail than in the final text a number of questions relating to the task of starting construction of a new society and reveals the importance of solving economic problems and the need for proper management of the national economy during the period of transition from capitalism to socialism. In interviews given to Lincoln Eyre, correspondent of the American newspaper The World, and to the correspondent of the Japanese newspaper Osaka Asahi and in his “Notes on Electrification” Lenin characterises the role of electrification in building the economic foundation of socialism and developing the productive forces. Questions of the New Economic Policy are dealt with in the “Reply to the Debate on the Report on Concessions” at the meeting of the Communist group of the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions on April 11, 1921, in speeches made at the Tenth All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) during the debate on the resolution on questions of the New Economic Policy, and in a letter “To the Russian Colony in North America”.

Consistent application of democratic centralism in running the economy, scientific planning, rational and efficient management, proper organisation of labour, the introduction of cost accounting, the running of enterprises on a paying basis, and the use of moral and material incentives for developing production were considered by Lenin to be the most vital principles and methods of socialist management. Mention can here be made of such documents as the “Speech at a Meeting of the Presidium of the S.E.C., April 1, 1918", “Comments on the Draft 'Regulations for the Management of the Nationalised Enterprises"', “Salaries for Specialists”, “Addendum to the Draft Regulations on Subbotniks”, “Draft of the Main Point of the C.L.D. Decision on the General Planning Commission”, “Plan of an Article 'Commercial Organisation' ", “Motion to the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on Bonuses for Enterprises” and others.

Defining the tasks of economic construction in his “Plan of a Speech at the Trade Union Congress”, Lenin wrote: "Work discipline, higher labour productivity, work organisation, increased output, relentless fight against slipshod work and red tape. By this sign shall ye conquer” (p. 308).

Materials such as: “Addendum to the Draft Decision for the C.P.C. 'On the Distribution of Agricultural Machines' ", “Draft Decision for the C.L.D. on Fowler Ploughs”, the draft decision on “Measures for Improving the Organisation of State Farms” and others show Lenin’s concern for the revival of agriculture, for the supply of the peasants with machines, for the development of the state farms, for support of the co-operatives on the part of the state and for the creation of conditions for the socialist transformation of the village.

A number of materials deal with questions of cultural development: the draft decision for the C.P.C. on “Library Organisation”, “Instructions for Compiling a Reading Book for Workers and Peasants”, “Draft Decision for the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Chief Committee for Political Education”, “Rough Draft of a Resolution on Proletarian Culture”, “Addendum to the Draft Decision for the C.P.C. on an Obligatory Science Minimum in the Higher Schools”, “Draft Decision for the Plenum of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Reorganisation of the People’s Commissariat for Education”, “Directives on the Film Business”. These and other documents contain important propositions regarding the substance and ways of effecting a cultural revolution, the communist education of the working people, the political enlightenment of the masses.

Of exceptionally great significance. is the letter “On the Establishment of the U.S.S.R.” in which Lenin put forward the idea of creating a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a single multinational socialist state based on a voluntary association of equal and sovereign Soviet Republics. Questions concerning the national policy of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government are dealt with also in the “Notes at a Meeting of Delegates to the Second All-Russia Congress of Communist Organisations of the Peoples of the East”, “Draft Decision for the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Tasks of the R.C.P.(B.) in Turkestan”, “Draft Decision for the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Tasks of the R.C.P.(B.) in Localities Inhabited by Eastern Peoples” and other items, in which Lenin urges the need for unity and fraternal co-operation among all the nationalities of the Soviet land and for waging a vigorous fight against chauvinism and nationalism.

The speech winding up the debate on the report on concessions at the meeting of the R.C.P.(B.) group at the Eighth Congress of Soviets contains Lenin’s important thesis on Soviet patriotism: “The patriotism of a person who is prepared to go hungry for three years rather than surrender Russia to foreigners is genuine patriotism, without which we could not hold out for three years. Without this patriotism we would not have succeeded in defending the Soviet Republic, in doing away with private property.... This is the finest revolutionary patriotism” (p. 245).

In his note “The Democratism and Socialist Nature of Soviet Power” and his “Speech at a Meeting in Presnya District, July 26, 1918", Lenin characterises the Soviets and reveals the genuine democratism of the Soviet Constitution.

Many documents reflect Lenin’s efforts to improve the working of the machinery of state, and strengthen state, Party and public control: “Proposals for the Distribution of Functions Between the Deputy Chairmen of the C.P.C. and the C.L.D.", “Proposals Concerning the Work Routine of the Deputy Chairmen and the Chairman of the C. P.C.", “Letter to L. B. Kamenev, A. I. Rykov and A. D. Tsyurupa on the Distribution of Work Between the Deputy Chairmen of the C.P.C. and the C.L.D.", "Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) Directives on a Workers' Inspection”, “Materials to the Article 'How We Should Reorganise the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection"', etc. A number of documents are devoted to the strengthening of socialist Legality: “Rough Theses of a Decision on the Strict Observance of the Laws”, “Proposals Concerning the Work of the Vecheka”, “Speech at the Fourth Conference of Gubernia Extraordinary Commissions, February 6. 1920” and others.

Lenin regarded the Communist Party as the guiding and directing force of Soviet society. He never relaxed his efforts to strengthen the ideological and organisational unity of the Party, he urged the need for doing everything to develop inner-Party democracy, to rigidly adhere to the principle of collective leadership and to strengthen the Party’s ties with the masses. These questions are dealt with in many documents included in this volume: “Speech on the Immediate Tasks of Party Development” at the Ninth All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.), draft resolution and proposals for the resolution on this question, speech to the R.C.P.(B.) group at the Eighth Congress of Soviets during the debate on the report of the All-Russia C.E.C. and C.P.C. concerning home and foreign policies, “Speech at a Meeting of Moscow Party Activists, February 24, 1921", “Draft of a Letter of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Attitude to Non-Party Workers”, “Outline of a Speech at a Meeting of Supporters of the 'Platform of Ten"'—delegates to the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), “Remarks Concerning the Work Plan of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.)".

Lenin’s draft resolution for the Politbureau of the C.C. concerning Maxim Gorky’s articles in the magazine Communist International is a striking illustration of his high-principled attitude, his intolerance towards the cult of personality.

Of great importance is the series of documents dealing with the Soviet state’s foreign policy: the interviews with foreign correspondents, the “Draft Directives to the Deputy Chairman and All Members of the Genoa Delegation”, “Draft Directives of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) for the Soviet Delegation to the Genoa Conference”, “Draft Decision for the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Tasks of the Soviet Delegation at Genoa”, “Amendments and Remarks to the Draft Declaration of the Soviet Delegation at the Genoa Conference” and others, which formulate the fundamental principles of the Soviet Republic’s foreign policy and the aims and methods of Soviet diplomacy.

These documents show how consistently the Soviet Government, headed by Lenin, pursued its policy of peace and establishment of business relations with the capitalist countries. In his interview given to an American correspondent, Lenin said: “I know of no reason why a socialistic commonwealth like ours cannot do business indefinitely with capitalistic countries” (p. 177). At the same time the Soviet Government strongly rebuffed all attempts of the imperialist powers to interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet Republic or to impose upon it fettering terms of an economic agreement. Lenin said: “We have reiterated and reiterated our desire for peace.... But we do not propose to be strangled to death for the sake of peace” (ibid.).

Notable items in this volume are the documents which reveal the friendly fraternal relations between the Soviet State and the countries where the people had come to power. This volume contains the draft decisions for the C.P.C. concerning a treaty with the Socialist Workers' Republic of Finland. This was the first treaty in history to be signed between two socialist republics, and represented a new type of international relations between equal sovereign states. The text of Lenin’s “Talk With a Delegation of the Mongolian People’s Republic” contains important guidelines on the paths of development towards socialism for countries with a pre-capitalist social system, and on the specific features of the tactics which the revolutionary parties in these countries should adopt.

The writings included in this volume are a valuable supplement to the well-known works of Lenin dealing with the international labour and communist movements. Mention should first of all be made of Lenin’s letter to Chicherin (at the end of December 1918) outlining the basic ideological platform and organisational principles of the Communist International. Of considerable interest are the materials relating to the Second Congress of the Comintern—the “Plan of a Resolution Concerning the Meaning of the Concept 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' and the Fight Against the 'Fashionable' Distortion of This Slogan”, “Remarks on the Report of A. Sultan-Zade Concerning the Prospects of a Social Revolution in the East” and others. A number of documents deal with the Third Congress of the Comintern and show what a tremendous job Lenin performed in preparing the basic decisions of the Congress and guiding its proceedings. These include: “Letter to 0. W. Kuusinen and Remarks on the Draft 'Theses on the Organisational Activities of the Communist Parties, on the Methods and Content of Their Work"', “Remarks on the Draft Theses on Tactics for the Third Congress of the Communist International”, “Speeches at a Meeting of Members of the German, Polish, Czechoslovak, Hungarian and Italian Delegations”.

These documents reflect the irreconcilable struggle which Lenin carried on against Right-wing opportunism, reformism and revisionism, and at the same time against Leftism, adventurism, dogmatism and sectarianism in the international communist movement. They contain very important guidelines on questions of the strategy and tactics of the international communist movement. The Communist Parties, Lenin emphasised, should focus their attention on the task of winning over the majority of the working class, the bulk of the working masses, and prepare them for the socialist revolution. In a number of documents—"Draft Decision of the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on the Tactics of the United Front”, “Letter to Members of the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) with Remarks to the Draft Resolution for the First Extended Plenary Meeting of the Comintern Executive on Participation in a Conference of the Three Internationals”, “Proposal to the Draft Resolution for the Eleventh Party Congress on the Report of the R.C.P.(B.) Delegation in the Comintern"—Lenin argues the case for the tactics of a united front, the adoption of a united action by the working class.

The Appendix to the volume contains questionnaires filled in by Lenin in the capacity of delegate to Communist Party congresses and conferences, in the course of reregistration of members of the Moscow organisation of the R.C.P. and under the All-Russia census of the R.C.P. members.

Of considerable interest are the records of Lenin’s official orders and instructions, reception of visitors and other facts entered in the Journal of Lenin’s Duty Secretaries. This document reveals how manfully Lenin fought his illness, giving all his strength to the cause of the Party, the cause of the working class.

Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.

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