J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol.
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
Comrades, the first task is to ensure that the Youth League possesses its basic proletarian core, as the core which leads the entire League. The reporter did not say anything on this question. That is not surprising, since we are discussing the work of the Young Communist League in the countryside and not its proletarian core. But this does not prevent the task of acquiring a proletarian core from remaining the League's principal task. I think that the efforts that are being made in the League in this direction are more or less successful. It may be said without exaggeration that the recruiting of young workers for the Young Communist League is proceeding successfully, and the time is not far distant when the League will embrace no less than nine-tenths of the entire working-class youth.
The second task is properly to distribute the responsible workers of the proletarian core in the key points and principal districts of the Union in order to ensure that this core exercises real leadership of the peasant section of the youth. I take as my starting point the fact that the peasant section of the youth is numerically larger than its proletarian section, and also the fact that the proletarian forces among the youth are not numerous enough to be distributed evenly among all the uyezds and volosts of the Soviet Union. It is therefore necessary to place these forces at points from which it will be most easy to ensure leadership of the peasant youth. I do not think that the Young Communist League is carrying out this task as successfully as the first. Nevertheless, there are grounds for supposing that the League is devoting all its energy to the accomplishment of this task and that the results of these efforts will be seen in the very near future.
The third task is to ensure that the Young Communist League has a numerous active of peasant youth in the countryside, to educate this active politically, to make it the instrument of proletarian policy in the countryside, and to transform it into a cement that will bind the proletariat with the toiling masses of the peasantry. That is a difficult and extremely complicated task, and it is quite impossible to carry it out in a short space of time. The proletarian core of the Young Communist League will have to exert tremendous efforts, and to strain every nerve in order to cope with it. But it must be carried out at all costs, for if it is not, it will be impossible either to strengthen the Young Communist League or to maintain the bond between the workers and peasants.
But how can we ensure that the Young Communist League has a peasant active, how can we educate this active, and how can we ensure that this active will become the instrument of proletarian policy in the countryside?
It is said that the secretaries of Y.C.L. village units alone number not less than 27,000. It is said that in addition to secretaries of units there are active Young Communist League workers in the cooperatives, in the Soviets, in the Peasant Committees, cultural institutions, and so forth. It is said that, all together, these should constitute a Young Communist League rural active amounting to no less than 100,000. Whether all this is true, it is difficult to say, but if it is, then I must say that, skilfully utilised, this active can be a tremendous force, capable of performing miracles. This is all the more important because at the present time the Party's active in the countryside is much smaller.
And so the problem is : how is this numerous active to be educated, how can it be made an instrument of proletarian policy in the countryside not only in name, but in fact?
It is not my intention to give an exhaustive answer here. It is quite impossible to do so in a short speech. But it is quite possible even in a short speech to indicate some of the chief conditions that are necessary for a correct approach to this problem. What are these conditions? There are at least eight of them.
Firstly. The youth active in the countryside must be supplied with popular pamphlets and handbooks explaining the decrees the Soviet Government has issued for the benefit of the peasant poor. This active must know these decrees inside out, must be able to explain them to the peasant poor, and must be able on the basis of these decrees to protect the interests of the peasant poor from the domination of the kulaks. I think that ignorance of these decrees and their systematic violation by the "powers that be" in the countryside is one of the chief evils of the existing state of things there. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be the guardian of revolutionary law. It must stand up staunchly for the poor in the countryside. This task is undoubtedly simple and prosaic. Undoubtedly, it is far easier to talk about the world revolution than to carry out this simple and everyday task connected with the Soviet decrees. There is no doubt, however, that unless it is carried out, no bond is possible.
Secondly. The youth active in the countryside must be supplied with popular pamphlets on the elementary principles of agricultural science. This active must study agriculture, must become familiar with measures for improving it, and must be able to give the peasants the necessary advice on this subject. Often the peasants do not take Young Communist League members seriously and ridicule them. That happens because the peasants regard them as having nothing to do with farming, regard them as ignoramuses and idlers. Hence, the task is to bring the Young Communist Leaguers closer to farming, to link them with it. The Young Communist League activist will be able to win the respect and confidence of the peasants only if he becomes directly linked with agriculture, if he learns to give useful advice on how to advance peasant economy, how to improve and strengthen it. That is not an easy matter, of course; it may even be dull work. But that does not prevent it from being an essential means of winning the confidence of the peasantry.
Thirdly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be supplied with popular pamphlets on the agricultural tax, on the local budget and on the financial state of the country. The tax and the local budget are now in the forefront in the countryside. In connection with them innumerable abuses are being committed. How should the taxes be apportioned so that the poor peasant is not wronged or the kulak relieved from the burden of taxation? How should the sums assigned in the local budgets be spent, and for what needs? How can it be ensured that abuses in this connection are exposed and eradicated? All these are questions that the Young Communist League activist cannot ignore. The task is to intervene in all these matters and come to the aid of the labouring peasants. That, too, is by no means easy or attractive. But if it is not done there cannot be any Soviet constructive work in the countryside.
Fourthly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be supplied with popular handbooks on questions concerning Soviet constructive work, on revitalising the Soviets and enlisting the peasants in the work of village, volost, district, uyezd, etc., administration. The Young Communist League activist must know inside out the regulations governing the rights and duties of the local Soviets; the rights and duties of the peasants in relation to the Soviets, the electoral system, the procedure of conducting elections, etc. The task is to explain to the peasants the policy of the Party and the Soviet Government in the countryside and to see to it that this policy is honestly and conscientiously carried out. If that is not done it is useless to think of winning confidence among the peasants, of enlarging the peasant active, or of implanting proletarian democracy in the countryside.
Fifthly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be supplied with popular pamphlets on agricultural, credit and consumer co-operatives, on agricultural artels, and on collective farming generally. The Young Communist League activist must be able to enlist the peasants in the work of implanting a co-operative communal life in the countryside. This is an extremely difficult and complicated task, but it is absolutely necessary to carry it out in order to draw the rural population into the work of socialist construction. Agricultural and credit co-operatives are now a matter of first-rate importance for the peasants. The task is to make co-operation something near and dear to the peasantry. In this connection attention should be paid to the fact that the lack of livestock and farm implements among the poor sections of the peasantry creates in the countryside a special situation favourable to the formation of artels and collective farms, provided the state credit institutions render definite assistance. The task is to make it possible for the poor sections of the peasantry to obtain preferential credits for this purpose. The Young Communist League activist cannot ignore such vital questions.
Sixthly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be supplied with the necessary instructions and information concerning cultural development in the countryside — on the organisation of village reading-rooms, the abolition of illiteracy, etc. The task is to make the Young Communist League activist the natural assistant of the Soviets, and of the rural cultural forces generally, in the work of implanting Soviet culture.
Seventhly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must receive precise instructions concerning the rights and duties of Young Communist Leaguers, concerning the relations between the Young Communist League and the Party, between the Soviets and the Young Communist League. Every Young Communist League activist must regard himself as an assistant of the Party and the Soviet Government in the countryside. High-handed methods in the countryside, disorder during Soviet elections, attempts to usurp the functions of the Party, cooperative and Soviet organisations, and rowdy escapades during so-called anti-religious propaganda — all this must be abandoned and stopped forthwith as something that tarnishes the banner of the Young Communist League and disgraces the name of Young Communist Leaguer. The task is to wage a ruthless struggle against such scandals and to establish proper relations between the Young Communist League and the Soviet and Party bodies.
Eighthly. The Young Communist League active in the countryside must be supplied with popular pamphlets on the alliance between the workers and peasants, on the meaning and significance of this alliance, on the dictatorship of the proletariat, on the principles of communism, and lastly, on the history of the October Revolution and on how the peasants lived before, under the tsar and the landlords, how they are living now, and how they will live if the bond is strengthened and socialism is implanted. The Y.C.L. activist must in no way pander to the peasants' prejudices. There is a difference between reckoning with these prejudices and pandering to them. He must be able to speak to the peasants in the language of the Communists. He must be able to convince the peasants by means of concrete facts that there is no salvation for them outside of socialism.
Such are the conditions that must be fulfilled in order to educate politically the Young Communist League active in the countryside and to make it the instrument of proletarian policy there.
The task of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League is to facilitate and supervise the fulfilment of these conditions.
There is talk about the danger of the colossal growth of the Young Communist League in the countryside. There is talk about an influx of peasant youth into the Young Communist League. Undoubtedly, there is some danger in that. But it is also beyond doubt that the Young Communist League will have no reason to fear that danger if it succeeds in carrying out with honour the tasks mentioned above. A Young Communist League active of 100,000 in the countryside is a force for whom no influx of peasant youth can be dangerous. The whole point is to make energetic efforts to educate this active politically. The whole point is skilfully to direct the efforts of this active towards strengthening the alliance between the workers and peasants. The whole point is to utilise this active for the purpose of drawing the peasantry into the new Soviet constructive work.
Hence: a) to ensure that the Young Communist League has a proletarian core which is the chief leading force; b) to distribute the active forces of this core among the principal districts of the Soviet Union with a view to ensuring this leadership; c) to educate the youth active in the countryside in such a way as to ensure the implementation of proletarian policy there — such are the immediate tasks of the Young Communist League in general and of its Central Committee in particular.
Having these tasks before it, and carrying them out in the course of its daily work, the Young Communist League need not fear the dangers that confront it in the countryside.
Pravda, No. 85, April 15, 1925