The Programme of the Communist International. Comintern Sixth Congress 1929

IV. The period of Transition from Capitalism to Socialism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.


Between capitalist society and Communist society a period of revolutionary transformation intervenes, during which the one changes into the other. Correspondingly, there is also an intervening period of political transition~ in which the essential State form is the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The transition from the world dictatorship of imperialism to the world dictatorship of the proletariat extends over a long period of proletarian struggles with defeats as well as victories; a. period of continuous general crisis in capitalist relationships and growth of social revolutions, i.e., of proletarian civil wars against the bourgeoisie; a period of national wars and colonial rebellions which, although not in themselves revolutionary proletarian socialist movements, are nevertheless, objectively, in so far as they undermine the domination of imperialism, constituent parts of the world proletarian revolution; a period in which capitalist and socialist economic and social systems exist side by side in “peaceful” relationships as well as in armed conflict; a period of formation of a Union of Soviet Republics; a period of wars of imperialist States against Soviet States; a period in which the ties between the Soviet States and colonial peoples become more and more closely established, etc.

Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. This unevenness is still more pronounced and acute in the epoch of imperialism. Hence, it follows that the international proletarian revolution cannot be conceived as a single event occurring simultaneously all over the world. At first socialism may be victorious in a few, or even in one single capitalist country. Every such proletarian victory, however, broadens the basis of the world revolution and consequently, still further intensifies the general crisis of capitalism. Thus, the capitalist system as a whole reaches the point of its final collapse; the dictatorship of finance capital perishes and gives place to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Bourgeois revolutions brought about the political liberation of a system of productive relationships which had already established itself and become economically dominant by transferring political power from the hands of one class of exploiters to the hands of another. Proletarian revolution, however, signifies the forcible invasion of the proletariat into the domain of property relationships of bourgeois society, the expropriation of the expropriating classes, and the transference of power to a class that aims at the radical reconstruction of the economic foundations of society and the abolition of all exploitation of man by man. The political domination of the feudal barons all over the world was broken in a series of separate bourgeois revolutions that extended over a period of centuries. The international proletarian revolution, however, although it will not be a single simultaneous act, but one extending over a whole epoch, nevertheless-thanks to the closer ties that now exist between the countries of the world, will accomplish its mission in a much shorter period of time. Only after the proletariat has achieved victory and consolidated its power all over the world will a prolonged period of the intensive construction of socialist world economy set in.

The conquest of power by the proletariat is a necessary condition precedent to the growth of socialist forms of economy and to the cultural growth of the proletariat, which changes its own nature, perfects itself for the leadership of society in all spheres of life, and draws into this process of transformation all other classes; this preparing the ground for the abolition of classes altogether.

In the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and later for the transformation of the social system, as against the alliance of capitalists and landlords an alliance of workers and peasants is formed, under the intellectual and political leadership of the former, an alliance which serves as the basis for the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The characteristic features of this transition period as a whole, are the ruthless suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, the organisation of socialist construction, the mass training of men and women in the spirit of socialism and the gradual disappearance of classes. Only to the extent that these great historical tasks are fulfilled will society of the transition period become transformed into Communist society.

Thus, the dictatorship of the world proletariat is an essential and vital condition precedent to the transformation of world capitalist economy into socialist economy. This world dictatorship can be established only when the victory of socialism has been achieved in certain countries or groups of countries, when the newly established proletarian republics enter into a federal union with the already existing proletarian republics, when the number of such federations has grown and extended also to the colonies which have emancipated themselves from the yoke of imperialism, and when these federations of republics have grown finally into a World Union of Soviet Socialist Republics uniting the whole of mankind under the hegemony of the international proletariat organised as a State.

The conquest of power by the proletariat does not mean peacefully “capturing” the ready-made bourgeois State machinery by means of a parliamentary majority. The bourgeoisie resorts to every means of violence and terror to safeguard and strengthen its predatory property and its political domination. Like the feudal nobility of the past, the bourgeoisie cannot abandon its historical position to the new class without a desperate and frantic struggle. Hence, the violence of the bourgeoisie can be suppressed only by the stern violence of the proletariat. The conquest of power by the proletariat is the violent overthrow of bourgeois power, the destruction of the capitalist State apparatus (bourgeois armies, police, bureaucratic hierarchy, the judiciary, parliaments, etc.), and the substitution in its place of new organs of proletarian power, to serve primarily as instruments for the suppression of the exploiters.


As has been shown by the experience of the October revolution of 1917 and by the Hungarian revolution, which immeasurably enlarged the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871, the most suitable form of proletarian state is the Soviet State-a new type of State, which differs in principle from the bourgeois State, not only in its class content, but also in its internal structure. This is precisely the type of State which, emerging as it does directly out of the broadest possible mass movement of the toilers, secures the maximum of mass activity and is, consequently, the surest guarantee of final victory.

The Soviet form of State, being the highest form of democracy, namely, proletarian democracy, is the very opposite of bourgeois democracy, which is bourgeois dictatorship in a masked form. The Soviet State is the dictatorship of the proletariat, the rule of a single class-the proletariat. Unlike bourgeois democracy, proletarian democracy openly admits its class character and aims avowedly at the suppression of the exploiters in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. It deprives its class enemies of political rights and, under special historical conditions, may grant the proletariat a number of temporary advantages over the diffused petty bourgeois peasantry in order to strengthen its role of leader. While disarming and suppressing its class enemies, the proletarian State at the same time regards this deprivation of political rights and partial restriction of liberty as temporary measures in the struggle against the attempts on the part of the exploiters to defend or restore their privileges. It inscribes on its banner the motto: the proletariat holds power not for the purpose of perpetuating it, not for the purpose of protecting narrow craft and professional interests, but for the purpose of uniting the backward and scattered rural proletariat, the semi-proletariat and the toiling peasants still more closely with the more progressive strata of the workers, for the purpose of gradually and systematically overcoming class divisions altogether. Being an all-embracing form of the unity and organisation of the masses under the leadership of the proletariat, the Soviets, in actual fact, draw the broad masses of the proletariat, the peasants and all toilers into the struggle for socialism, into the work of building up socialism, and into the practical administration of the State. In the whole of their work they rely upon the working class organisations and practice the principles of broad democracy among the toilers to an extent far greater and immeasurably more close to the masses than does any other form of government. The right of electing and recalling delegates, the combination of the executive with the legislative power, the electoral system based on a productive and not on a residential qualification (election by workshops, factories, etc.)-all this secures for the working class and for the broad masses of the toilers who march under its leadership, systematic, continuous and active participation in all public affairs-economic, social, political, military and cultural-and marks the sharp difference that exists between the bourgeois-parliamentary republic and the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat.

Bourgeois democracy, with its formal equality of all citizens before the law, is in reality based on a glaring material and economic inequality of classes. By leaving inviolable, defending and strengthening the monopoly of the capitalist and landlord classes in the vital means of production, bourgeois democracy, as far as the exploited classes (especially the proletariat) is concerned, converts this formal equality before the law and these democratic rights and liberties-which in practice are curtailed systematically, into a juridical fiction and, consequently, into a means for deceiving and enslaving the masses. Being the expression of the political domination of the bourgeoisie, so-called democracy is therefore capitalist democracy. By depriving the exploiting classes of the means of production, by placing the monopoly of these means of production in the hands of the proletariat as the dominant class in society, the Soviet State, first and foremost guarantees to the working class and to the toilers generally the material conditions for the exercise of these rights by providing them with premises, public buildings, printing plants, travelling facilities, etc.

In the domain of general political rights the Soviet State, while depriving the exploiters and the enemies of the people of political rights, completely abolishes for the first time all inequalities of citizenship, which under systems of exploitation are based on distinctions of sex, religion and nationality; in this sphere it establishes an equality that is not to be found in any bourgeois country. In this respect also, the dictatorship of the proletariat steadily lays down the material basis upon which this equality may be truly exercised by introducing measures for the emancipation of women, the industrialisation of former colonies, etc.

Soviet democracy, therefore, is proletarian democracy, democracy of the toiling masses, democracy directed against the exploiters.

The Soviet State completely disarms the bourgeoisie and concentrates all arms in the hands of the proletariat; it is the armed proletarian State. The armed forces under the Soviet State are organised on a class basis, which corresponds to the general structure of the proletarian dictatorship, and guarantees the role of leadership to the industrial proletariat. This organisation, while maintaining revolutionary discipline, ensures to the warriors of the Red Army and Navy close and constant contacts with the masses of the toilers, participation in the administration of the country and in the work of building up socialism.


The victorious proletariat utilises the conquest of power as a lever of economic revolution, i.e., the revolutionary transformation of the property relations of capitalism into relationships of the socialist mode of production. The starting point of this great economic revolution is the expropriation of the landlords and capitalists, i.e., the conversion of the monopolist property of the bourgeoisie into the property of the proletarian State.

In this sphere the Communist International advances the following fundamental tasks of the proletarian dictatorship:

(A) Industry, Transport and Communication Services

(a) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of all large private capitalist undertakings (factories, works, mines and electric power stations), and the transference of all State and municipal enterprises to the Soviets.

(b) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of private capitalist railway, waterway, automobile and air transport services (commercial and passenger air fleet) and the transference of all State and municipal transport services to the Soviets.

(c) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of private capitalist communication services (telegraph, telephones and radio) and the transference of State and municipal communication services to the Soviets.

(d) The organisation of workers’ management of industry. The establishment of State organs for the management of industry with provision for the close participation of the trade unions in this work of management. Appropriate functions to be guaranteed for the factory and works councils.

(e) Industrial activity to be directed towards the satisfaction of the needs of the broad masses of the toilers. The reorganisation of the branches of industry that formerly served the needs of the ruling class (luxury trades, etc.). The strengthening of the branches of industry that will facilitate the development of agriculture, with the object of strengthening the ties between industry and peasant economy, of facilitating the development of State farms, and of accelerating the rate of development of national economy as a whole.

(B) Agriculture

(a) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of all large landed estates in town and country (private, church, monastery and other lands) and the transference of State and municipal landed property including forests, minerals, lakes, rivers, etc., to the Soviets with subsequent nationalisation of the whole of the land.

(b) The confiscation of all property utilised in production belonging to large landed estates, such as: buildings, machinery, etc., cattle, enterprises for the manufacture of agricultural products (large flour mills, cheese plants, dairy farms, fruit and vegetable drying plants, etc.).

(c) The transfer of large estates, particularly model estates and those of considerable economic importance to the management of the organs of the proletarian dictatorship and of the Soviet farm organisations.

(d) Part of the land confiscated from the landlords and others, particularly where the land was cultivated by the peasants on a tenant basis and served as a means of holding the peasantry in economic bondage-to be transferred to the use of the peasantry (to the poor and partly also to the middle strata of the peasantry). The amount of land to be so transferred to be determined by economic expediency as well as by the degree of necessity to neutralise the peasantry and to win them over to the side of the proletariat; this amount must necessarily vary according to the different circumstances.

(e) Prohibition of buying and selling of land, as a means of preserving the land for the peasantry and preventing its passing into the hands of capitalists, land speculators, etc. Offenders against this law to be severely prosecuted.

(f) To combat usury. All transactions entailing terms of bondage to be annulled. All debts of the exploited strata of the peasantry to be annulled. The poorest stratum of the peasantry to be relieved from taxation, etc.

(g) Comprehensive State measures for developing the productive forces of agriculture; the development of rural electrification; the manufacture of tractors; the production of artificial fertilisers; the production of pure quality seeds and raising thoroughbred stock on Soviet farms; the extensive organisation of agricultural credits for land reclamation, etc.

(h) Financial and other support for agricultural co-operation and for all forms of collective production in the rural districts (co-opera tive societies, communes, etc.). Systematic propaganda in favour of peasant co-operation (selling, credit and supply co-operative societies) to he based on the mass activity of the peasants themselves; propaganda in favour of the transition to large-scale agricultural production which-owing to the undoubted technical and economic advantages of large-scale production-provide the greatest immediate economic gain and also a method of transition to socialism most accessible to the broad masses of the toiling peasants.

(C) Trade and Credit

(a) The proletarian nationalisation of private banks (the entire gold reserve, all securities, deposits, etc., to he transferred to the proletarian State); the proletarian State to take over State, municipal, etc. banks.

(b) The centralisation of banking; all nationalised big banks to be subordinated to the central State bank.

(c) The nationalisation of wholesale trade and large retail trading enterprises (wharehouses, elevators, stores, stocks of goods, etc.), and their transfer to the organs of the Soviet State.

(d) Every encouragement to be given to consumers’ co-operatives as representing an integral part of the distributing apparatus, while preserving uniformity in their system of work and securing the active participation of the masses themselves in their work.

(e) The monopoly of foreign trade.

(f) The repudiation of State debts to foreign and home capitalists.

(D) Conditions of Life, Labour, etc.

(a) Reduction of the working day to seven hours, and to six hours in industries particularly harmful to the health of the workers. Further reduction of the working day and transition to a five-day week in countries with developed productive forces. The regulation of the working day to correspond to the increase of the productivity of labour.

(b) Prohibition, as a rule, of night work and employment in harmful trades for all females. Prohibition of child labour. Prohibition of overtime.

(c) Special reduction of the working day for the youth (a maximum six-hour day for young persons up to 18 years of age). Socialist reorganisation of the labour of young persons so as to combine employment in industry with general and political education.

(d) Social insurance in all forms (sickness, old age, accident, unemployment, etc.), at State expense (and at the expense of the owners of private enterprises where they still exist), insurance affairs to be managed by the insured themselves.

(e) Comprehensive measures of hygiene; the organisation of free medical service. To combat social diseases (alcoholism, venereal diseases, tuberculosis).

(f) Complete equality between men and women before the law and in social life : a radical reform of marriage and family laws; recognition of maternity as a social function; protection of mothers and infants. Initiation of social care and, upbringing of infants and children (creches, kindergarten, children’s homes, etc.). The establishment of institutions that will gradually relieve the burden of house drudgery (public kitchens and laundries), and systematic cultural struggle against the ideology and traditions of female bondage.

(E) Housing

(a) The confiscation of big house property.

(b) The transfer of confiscated houses to the administration of the local Soviets.

(c) Workers to be removed to bourgeois residential districts.

(d) Palaces and large private and public buildings to be placed at the disposal of labour organisations.

(e) The carrying out of an extensive programme of house construction.

(F) National and Colonial Questions

(a) The recognition of the right of all nations, irrespective of race, to complete self-determination, that is, self-determination inclusive of the right to State separation.

(b) The voluntary unification and centralisation of the military and economic forces of all nations liberated from capitalism for the purpose of fighting against imperialism and for building up socialist economy.

(c) Wide and determined struggle against the imposition of any kind of limitation and restriction upon any nationality, nation or race. Complete equality for all nations and races.

(d) The Soviet State to guarantee and support with all the resources at its command the national cultures of nations liberated from capitalism, at the same time to carry out a consistent proletarian policy directed towards the development of the content of such cultures.

(e) Every assistance to be rendered to the economic, political and cultural growth of the formerly oppressed “territories,” “ dominions” and “colonies,” with the object of transferring them to socialist lines, so that a durable basis may be laid for complete national equality.

(f) To combat all remnants of chauvinism, national hatred, race prejudices and other ideological products of feudal and capitalist barbarism.

(G) Means of Ideological Influence

(a) The nationalisation of printing plants.

(b) The monopoly of newspapers and book-publishing.

(c) The nationalisation of big cinema enterprises, theatres, etc.

(d) The utilisation of the nationalised means of “intellectual production” for the most extensive political and general education of the toilers and for the building up of a new socialist culture on a proletarian class basis.


In carrying out all these tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the following postulates must be borne in mind:

(1) The complete abolition of private property in land, and the nationalisation of the land, cannot be brought about immediately in the more developed capitalist countries, where the principle of private property is deep-rooted among a broad strata of the peasantry. In such countries, the nationalisation of all land can only be brought about gradually, by means of a series of transitional measures.

(2) Nationalisation of production should not, as a rule, be applied to small and middle-sized enterprises (peasants, small artisans, handicrafts, small and medium shops, small manufacturers, etc.). Firstly, because the proletariat must draw a strict distinction between the property of the small commodity producer working for himself, who can and must be gradually brought into the groove of socialist construction, and the property of the capitalist exploiter, the liquidation of which is an essential condition precedent for socialist construction.

Secondly, because the proletariat, after seizing power, may not have sufficient organising forces at its disposal, particularly in the first phases of the dictatorship, for the purpose of destroying capitalism and at the same time to organise with the smaller and medium individual units of production on a socialist basis. These small individual enterprises (primarily peasant enterprises) will be drawn into the general socialist organisation of production and distribution only gradually, with the powerful and systematic aid which the proletarian State will render to organise them in all the various forms of collective enterprises. Any attempt to break up their economic system violently and to complete them to adopt collective methods by force will only lead to harmful results.

(3) Owing to the prevalence of a large number of small units of production (primarily peasant farms, farmers’ enterprises, small artisans, small shopkeepers, etc.) in colonies, semi-colonies and economically backward countries, where the petty-bourgeois masses represent the overwhelming majority of the population, and even in centres of capitalist world industry (the United States of America, Germany, and to some degree also England), it is necessary, in the first stage of development to preserve to some extent, market forms of economic contacts, the money system, etc. The variety of prevailing economic forms (ranging from socialist large scale industry to small peasant and artisan enterprises), which unavoidably come into conflict with each other; the variety of c1asses and class groups corresponding to this variety of economic forms, each having different stimuli for economic activity and conflicting class interests; and finally, the prevalence in all spheres of economic life, of habits and traditions inherited from bourgeois society, which cannot be removed all at once-all this demands that the proletariat, in exercising its economic leadership, shall properly combine, on the basis of market relationships, large- scale socialist industry with the small enterprises of the simple commodity producers, i.e., it must combine them in such a way as to guarantee the leading role to socialist industry and at the same time bring about the greatest possible development of the mass of peasant enterprises. Hence, the greater the importance of scattered, small peasant labour in the general economy of the country, the greater will be the volume of market relations, the smaller will be the significance of directly planned management, and the greater will be the degree to which the general economic plan will depend upon forecasts of uncontrollable economic relations. On the other hand, the smaller the importance of small production, the greater will be the proportion of socialised labour, the more powerful will be the concentrated and socialised means of production, the smaller will be the volume of market relations, the greater will be the importance of planned management as compared with uncoordinated management and the more considerable and universal will be the application of planned management in the sphere of production and distribution.

Provided the proletarian dictatorship carries out a correct class policy, i.e., provided proper account is taken of class-relationships, the technical and economic superiority of large-scale socialised production, the centralisation of all the most important economic key positions (industry, transport, large-scale agriculture enterprises, banks, etc.) in the hands of the proletarian State, planned management of industry, and the power wielded by the State apparatus as a whole (the budget, taxes, administrative legislation and legislation generally), render it possible continuously and systematically to dislodge private capital and the new outcrops of capitalism which, in the period of more or less free commercial and market relations will emerge in town and country with the development of simple commodity production (big farmers, kulaks). At the same time by organising peasant farming on co-operative lines, and as a result of the growth of collective forms of economy, the great bulk of the peasant enterprises will be systematically drawn into the main channel of developing socialism. The outwardly capitalist forms and methods of economic activity that are bound up with market relations (money form of accounting, payment for labour in money, buying and selling, credit and banks, etc.), serve as levers for the socialist transformation, in so far as they to an increasing degree serve the consistently socialist type of enterprises, i.e., the socialist section of economy.

Thus, provided the State carries out a correct policy, market relations under the proletarian dictatorship destroy themselves in the process of their own development by helping to dislodge private capital, by changing the character of peasant economy-what time the means of production become more and more centralised and concentrated in the hands of the proletarian State-they help to destroy market relations altogether.

In the probable event of capitalist military intervention, and of prolonged counter-revolutionary wars against the dictatorship of the proletariat, the necessity will arise for a war-Communist economic policy (“War Communism “), which is nothing more nor less than the organisation of rational consumption for the purpose of military defence, accompanied by a system of intensified pressure upon the capitalist groups (confiscation, requisitions, etc.), with the more or less complete liquidation of freedom of trade and market relations and a sharp disturbance of the individualist, economic stimuli of the small producers, which results in a diminution of the productive forces of the country. This policy of “War-Communism,” while it undermines the material basis of the strata of the population in the country that are hostile to the working class, secures a rational distribution of the available supplies and facilitates the military struggle of the proletarian dictatorship-which is the historical justification of this policy-nevertheless, cannot be regarded as the “normal” economic policy of the proletarian dictatorship.


The dictatorship of the proletariat is a continuation of the class struggle under new conditions. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a stubborn fight-bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, pedagogical and administrative-against the forces and traditions of the old society, against external capitalist enemies, against the remnants of the exploiting classes within the country, against the upshoots of the new bourgeoisie that spring up on the basis of still prevailing commodity production.

After the civil war has been brought to an end the stubborn class struggle continues in new forms; primarily in the form of a struggle between the survivals of previous economic systems and fresh upshoots of them on the one hand, and socialist forms of economy on the other. The forms of the struggle undergo a change at various stages of socialist development, and in the first stages, the struggle, under certain conditions, may be extremely severe.

In the initial stage of the proletarian dictatorship, the policy of the proletariat towards other classes and social groups within the country is determined by the following postulates:

(1) The big bourgeoisie and the landowners, a section of the officer corps, the higher command of the forces, and the higher bureaucracy-who remain loyal to the bourgeoisie and the landlords-are consistent enemies of the working class against whom ruthless war must be waged. The organising skill of a certain section of these strata may be utilised, but as a rule, only after the dictatorship has been consolidated and all conspiracies and rebellions of exploiters have been decisively crushed.

(2) In regard to the technical intelligentsia, which was brought up in the spirit of bourgeois traditions and the higher ranks of which were closely linked up with the commanding apparatus of capital-the proletariat, while ruthlessly suppressing every counter-revolutionary action on the part of hostile sections of the intelligentsia, must at the same time give consideration to the necessity of utilising this skilled social force for the work of socialist construction; it must give every encouragement to the groups that are neutral, and especially to those that are friendly towards the proletarian revolution. In widening the economic, technical and cultural perspectives of socialist construction to its utmost social limits, the proletariat must systematically win over the technical intelligentsia to its side, subject it to its ideological influence and secure its close co-operation in the work of social reconstruction.

(3) In regard to the peasantry, the task of the Communist Parties, is, while placing its reliance in the agricultural proletariat, to win over all the exploited and toiling strata of the countryside. The victorious proletariat must draw strict distinctions between the various groups among the peasantry, weigh their relative importance, and render every support to the propertyless and semi-proletarian sections of the peasantry by transferring to them a part of the land taken from the big landowners and by helping them in their struggle against usurer’s capital, etc. Moreover, the proletariat must neutralise the middle strata of the peasantry and mercilessly suppress the slightest opposition on the part of the village bourgeoisie who ally themselves with the landowners. As its dictatorship become consolidated and socialist construction develops, the proletariat must proceed from the policy of neutralisation to a policy of durable alliance with the masses of middle peasantry, but must not adopt the viewpoint of sharing power in any form. The dictatorship of the proletariat implies that the industrial workers alone are capable of leading the entire mass of the toilers. On the other hand, while representing the rule of a single class, the dictatorship of the proletariat at the same time represents a special form of class alliance between the proletariat, as the vanguard of the toilers, and the numerous non-proletarian sections of the toiling masses, or the majority of them. It represents an alliance for the complete overthrow of capital, for the complete suppression of the opposition of the bourgeoisie and its attempts at restoration, an alliance aiming at the complete building up and consolidation of socialism.

(4) The petty urban bourgeoisie, which continuously wavers between extreme reaction and sympathy for the proletariat, must likewise be neutralised and as far as possible, won over to the side of the proletariat. This can be achieved by leaving to them their small property and permitting a certain measure of free trade, by releasing them from the bondage of usurious credit and by the proletariat helping them in all sorts of ways in the struggle against all and every form of capitalist oppression.


In the process of fulfilling these tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, a radical change takes place in the tasks and functions of the mass organisations, particularly of the Labour organisations. Under capitalism, the mass labour organisations, in which the broad masses of the proletariat were originally organised and trained, i.e., the trade (industrial) unions, serve as the principal weapons in the struggle against trustified capital and its State. Under the proletarian dictatorship, they become transformed into the principal lever of the State; they become transformed into a school of Communism by means of which vast masses of the proletariat are drawn into the work of socialist management of production; they are transformed into organisations directly connected with all parts of the State apparatus, influencing all branches of its work, safeguarding the permanent and day to day interests of the working class and fighting against bureaucracy in the departments of the State. Thus, in so far as they promote from their ranks leaders in the work of construction, drawn into this work of construction broad sections of the proletariat and aim at combatting bureaucracy, which inevitably arises as a result of the operation of class influences alien to the proletariat and of the inadequate cultural development of the masses, the trade unions become the backbone of the proletarian economic and State organisation as a whole.

Notwithstanding reformist utopias, working class co-operative organisations under capitalism are doomed to play a very minor role and in the general environment of the capitalist system not infrequently degenerate into mere appendages of capitalism. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, these organisations can and must become the most important units of the distributing apparatus.

Lastly, peasant agricultural co-operative organisations (selling, purchasing, credit and producing), under proper management, and provided a systematic struggle is carried on against the capitalist elements, and that really broad masses of the toilers who follow the lead of the proletariat take a really active part in their work, can and must become one of the principal organisational means for linking up town and country. To the extent that they were able to maintain their existence at all under capitalism, co-operative peasant enterprises inevitably became transformed into capitalist enterprises, for they were dependent upon capitalist industry, capitalist banks and upon capitalist economic environment. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, such enterprises develop amidst a different system of relationships, depend upon proletarian industry, proletarian banks, etc. Thus, provided the proletariat carries out a proper policy, provided the class struggle is systematically conducted against the capitalist elements outside as well as inside the co-operative organisations, and provided socialist industry exercises its guidance over it, agricultural co-operation will become one of the principal levers for the socialist transformation and collectivisation of the countryside. All this, however, does not exclude the possibility that in certain countries the consumers’ societies, and particularly the agricultural co-operative societies led by the bourgeoisie and their social-democratic agents will at first be hotbed of counter-revolutionary activity and sabotage against the work of economic construction of the workers’ revolution.

In the course of this militant and constructive work, carried on through the medium of these multifarious proletarian organisations-which should serve as effective levers of the Soviet State and the link between it and the masses of all strata of the working class-the proletariat secures unity of will and action, and exercises this unity through the medium of the Communist Party, which plays the leading role in the system of the proletarian dictatorship.

The Party of the proletariat relies directly on the trade unions and other organisations that embrace the masses of the workers, and through these relies on the peasantry (Soviets, co-operative societies, Young Communist League, etc.); by means of these levers it guides the whole Soviet system. The proletariat can fulfil its role as organiser of the new society only if the Soviet Government is loyally supported by all the mass organisations; only if class unity is maintained, and only under the guidance of the Party.


The role of organiser of the new human society presupposes that the proletariat itself will become culturally mature, that it will transform it own nature, that it will continually promote from its ranks increasing numbers of men and women capable of mastering science, technique and administration in order to build up socialism and a new socialist culture.

Bourgeois revolution against feudalism presupposes that a new class has arisen in the midst of feudal society that is culturally more advanced than the ruling class, and is already the dominant factor in economic life. The proletarian revolution, however, develops under other conditions. Being economically exploited, politically oppressed and culturally downtrodden under capitalism, the working class transforms its own nature only in the course of the transition period, only after it has conquered State power, only by destroying the bourgeois monopoly of education and mastering all the sciences, and only after it has gained experience in the great work of construction. The mass awakening of Communist consciousness, the cause of socialism itself, calls for a mass change of human nature, which can be achieved only in the course of the practical movement, in revolution. Hence revolution is not only necessary because there is no other way of overthrowing the ruling class, but also because only in the process of revolution is the overthrowing class able to purge itself of the dross of the old society and become capable of creating a new society.

In destroying the capitalist monopoly of the means of production, the working class must also destroy the capitalist monopoly of education, that is, it must take possession of all the schools, from the elementary schools to the universities. It is particularly important for the proletariat to train members of the working class as experts in the sphere of production (engineers, technicians, organisers, etc.), as well as in the sphere of military affairs, science, art, etc. Parallel with this work stands the task of raising the general cultural level of the proletarian masses, of improving their political education, of raising their general standard of knowledge and technical skill, of training them in the methods of public work and administration, and of combatting the survivals of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois prejudices, etc.

Only to the extent that the proletariat promotes from its own ranks a body of men and women capable of occupying the key positions of socialist construction, only to the extent that this body grows, and draws increasing numbers of the working class into the process of revolutionary-cultural transformation and gradually obliterates the line that divides the proletariat into an “ advanced” and a “ backward section will the guarantees be created for successful socialist construction and against bureaucratic decay and class degeneracy.

However, in the process of revolution the proletariat not only changes its own nature, but also the nature of other classes, primarily the numerous petty-bourgeois strata in town and country and especially the toiling sections of the peasantry. By drawing the wide masses into the process of cultural revolution and socialist construction, by uniting and communistically educating them with all the means at its disposal, by strongly combatting all anti-proletarian and narrow craft ideologies, and by persistently and systematically overcoming the general and cultural backwardness of the rural districts, the working class, on the basis of the developing collective forms of economy, prepares the way for the complete removal of class divisions in society.

One of the most important tasks of the cultural revolution affecting the wide masses, is the task of systematically and unswervingly combatting religion-the opium of the people. The proletarian government must withdraw all State support from the Church, which is the agency of the former ruling class; it must prevent all church interference in State-organised educational affairs, and ruthlessly suppress the counter-revolutionary activity of the ecclesiastical organisations. At the same time, the proletarian State, while granting liberty of worship and abolishing the privileged position of the formerly dominant religion, carries on anti-religious propaganda with all the means at its command and reconstructs the whole of its educational work, on the basis of scientific materialism.


The international proletarian revolution represents a combination of processes which vary in time and character; purely proletarian revolutions; revolutions of a bourgeois-democratic type which grow into proletarian revolutions; wars for national liberation; colonial revolutions. The world dictatorship of the proletariat comes only as the final result of the revolutionary process.

The uneven development of capitalism, which became more accentuated in the period of imperialism, has given rise to a variety of types of capitalism, to different stages of ripeness of capitalism in different countries, and to a variety of specific conditions of the revolutionary process. These circumstances make it historically inevitable that the proletariat will come to power by a multiplicity of ways and degrees of rapidity; that a number of countries must pass through certain transition stages leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and must adopt varied forms of socialist construction.

The variety of conditions and ways by which the proletariat will achieve its dictatorship in the various countries may be divided schematically into three main types.

Countries of highly-developed capitalism (United States of America, Germany, Great Britain, etc.), having powerful productive forces, highly centralised production, with small scale production reduced to relative insignificance, and a long established bourgeois-democratic political system. In such countries the fundamental political demand of the programme is direct transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the economic sphere, the most characteristic demands are: expropriation of the whole of the large-scale industry; organisation of a large number of State Soviet farms and, in contrast to this, a relatively small portion of the land to be transferred to the peasantry; unregulated market relations to be given comparatively small scope; rapid rate of socialist development generally, and of collectivisation of peasant farming in particular.

Countries with a medium development of capitalism (Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, the Balkan countries, etc.), having numerous survivals of semi-feudal relationships in agriculture, possessing, to a certain extent, the material pre-requisites for socialist construction, and in which the bourgeois-democratic reforms have not yet been completed. In some of these countries a process of more or less rapid development from bourgeois democratic revolution to socialist revolution is possible. In others, there may be types of proletarian revolution which will have a large number of bourgeois-democratic tasks to fulfil. Hence, in these countries, the dictatorship of the proletariat may not come about at once, but in the process of transition from the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry to the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. Where the revolution develops directly as a proletarian revolution it is presumed that the proletariat exercises leadership over a broad agrarian peasant movement. In general, the agrarian revolution plays a most important part in these countries, and in some cases a decisive role :-in the process of expropriating large landed property a considerable portion of the confiscated land is placed at the disposal of the peasantry; the volume of market relations prevailing after the victory of the proletariat is considerable; the task of organising the peasantry along co-operative lines and later, of combining them in production, occupies an important place among the tasks of socialist construction. The rate of this construction is relatively slow.

Colonial and semi-colonial countries (China, India, etc.) and dependent countries (Argentine, Brazil, etc.), have the rudiments of and in some cases a considerably developed industry-in the majority of cases inadequate for independent socialist construction-with feudal medieval relationships, or “Asiatic mode of production” relationships prevailing in their economies and in their political superstructures. In these the principal industrial, commercial and banking enterprises, the principal means of transport, the large landed estates (latifundia), plantations, etc., are concentrated in the hands of foreign imperialist groups. The principal task in such countries is, on the one hand, to fight against the feudal and pre-capitalist forms of exploitation, and to develop systematically the peasant agrarian revolution; on the other hand, to fight against foreign imperialism for national independence. As a rule, transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat in these countries will be possible only through a series of preparatory stages, as the outcome of a whole period of transformation of bourgeois-democratic revolution into socialist revolution, while in the majority of cases, successful socialist construction will be possible only if direct support is obtained from the countries in which the proletarian dictatorship is established.

In still more backward countries (as in some parts of Africa) where there are no wage workers or very few, where the majority of the population still lives in tribal conditions, where survivals of primitive tribal forms still exist, where the national bourgeoisie is almost non-existent, where the primary role of foreign imperialism is that of military occupation and usurpation of land, the central task is to fight for national independence. Victorious national uprisings in these countries may open the way for their direct development towards socialism and their avoidance of the stage of capitalism, provided real and powerful assistance is rendered them by the countries in which the proletarian dictatorship is established.

Thus, in the epoch in which the proletariat in the most developed capitalist countries is confronted with the immediate task of capturing power-that in which the dictatorship of the proletariat already established in the U.S.S.R. is a factor of world significance-the movement for liberation in colonial and semi-colonial countries, which was brought into being by the penetration of world capitalism, may lead to social development-notwithstanding the immaturity of social relationships in these countries taken by themselves-provided they receive the-assistance and support of the proletarian dictatorship and of the international proletarian movement generally.


The special conditions of the revolutionary struggle prevailing in colonial and semi-colonial countries, the inevitably long period of struggle required for the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry and for the transformation of this dictatorship into the dictatorship of the proletariat, and, finally, the decisive importance of the national aspects of the struggle, impose upon the Communist Parties of these countries a number of special tasks, which are preparatory stages to the general tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Communist International considers the following to be the most important of these special tasks:

(1) To overthrow the rule of foreign imperialism, of the feudal rulers and of the landlord bureaucracy.

(2) To establish the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry on a Soviet basis.

(3) Complete national independence and national unification,

(4) Annulment of State debts.

(5) Nationalisation of large-scale enterprises (industrial, transport, banking and others) owned by the imperialists.

(6) The confiscation of landlord, church and monastery lands. The nationalisation of all the land.

(7) Introduction of the 8-hour day.

(8) The organisation of revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ armies.

In the colonies and semi-colonies where the proletariat is the leader of and commands hegemony in the struggle, the consistent bourgeois-democratic revolution will grow into proletarian revolution in proportion as the struggle develops and becomes more intense (sabotage by the bourgeoisie, confiscation of the enterprises belonging to the sabotaging section of the bourgeoisie, which inevitably extends to the nationalisation of the whole of large-scale industry). In the colonies where there is no proletariat, the overthrow of the domination of the imperialists implies the establishment of the rule of people’s (peasant) Soviets, the confiscation and transfer to the State of foreign enterprises and lands.

Colonial revolutions and movements for national liberation play an extremely important part in the struggle against imperialism, and in the struggle for the conquest of power by the working class. Colonies and semi-colonies are also important in the transition period because they represent the world rural district in relation to the industrial countries, which represent the world city. Consequently the problem of organising socialist world economy, of properly combining industry with agriculture is, to a large extent, the problem of the relation towards the former colonies of imperialism. Hence the establishment of a fraternal, militant alliance with the masses of the toilers in the colonies represents one of the principal tasks the world industrial proletariat must fulfil as leader in the struggle against imperialism.

Thus, in rousing the workers in the home countries for the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the progress of the world revolution also rouses hundreds of millions of colonial workers and peasants for the struggle against foreign imperialism. In view of the existence of centres of socialism represented by Soviet Republics of growing economic power, the colonies which break away from imperialism economically gravitate towards and gradually combine with the industrial centres of world socialism, are drawn into the current of socialist construction, and by skipping the further stage of development of capitalism, as a dominating system, obtain opportunities for rapid economic and cultural progress. The Peasants’ Soviets in the backward ex-colonies and ,the Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviets in the more developed ex-colonies group themselves politically around the centres of proletarian dictatorship, join the growing Federation of Soviet Republics, and thus enter the general system of the world proletarian dictatorship.

Socialism, as the new method of production, thus obtains worldwide scope of development.