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, I do not think there is any point in examining here in detail the resolutions adopted at the Fourteenth Conference of our Party. 1 That would take up a great deal of time, and besides, there is no need to do so. I think it will be enough to note the main lines that stand out in these resolutions. That will enable us to emphasise the main conclusions of the resolutions that were adopted. And this, in its turn, will facilitate a further study of these resolutions.
If we turn to the resolutions we shall find that the diverse questions touched upon in them can be reduced to six main groups of questions. The first group consists of questions concerning the international situation. The second group consists of questions concerning the immediate tasks of the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries. The third group consists of questions concerning the immediate tasks of the communist elements in the colonial and dependent countries. The fourth group consists of questions concerning the fate of socialism in our country in connection with the present international situation. The fifth group consists of questions concerning our Party policy in the countryside and the tasks of Party leadership under the new conditions. And, lastly, the sixth group consists of questions concerning the vital nerve of all our industry, namely, the metal industry.
What is new and specific in the international situation, which, in the main, determines the character of the present period?
The new feature that has revealed itself lately, and which has laid its impress upon the international situation, is that the revolution in Europe has begun to ebb, that a certain lull has set in, which we call the temporary stabilisation of capitalism, while at the same time the economic development and political might of the Soviet Union are increasing.
What is the ebb of the revolution, the lull? Is it the beginning of the end of the world revolution, the beginning of the liquidation of the world proletarian revolution? Lenin said that the victory of the proletariat in our country ushered in a new epoch, the epoch of world revolution, an epoch replete with conflicts and wars, advances and retreats, victories and defeats, an epoch leading to the victory of the proletariat in the major capitalist countries. Does the fact that the revolution in Europe has begun to ebb mean that Lenin's thesis concerning a new epoch, the epoch of world revolution, no longer holds good? Does it mean that the proletarian revolution in the West has been cancelled?
No, it does not.
The epoch of world revolution is a new stage of the revolution, a whole strategic period, which will last for a number of years, perhaps even a number of decades. During this period there can and must be ebbs and flows of the revolution.
Our revolution passed through two stages, two strategic periods, in the course of its development, and after October it entered a third stage, a third strategic period. The first stage (1900-17) lasted over fifteen years. The aim then was to overthrow tsarism, to achieve the victory of the bourgeois democratic revolution. During that period we had a number of ebbs and flows of the revolution. The tide of revolution flowed in 1905. That tide ended with the temporary defeat of the revolution. After that we had an ebb, which lasted a number of years (1907-12). Then the tide flowed anew, beginning with the Lena events (1912), and later it ebbed again, during the war. In 1917 (February) the tide began to flow once again and it culminated in the victory of the people over tsarism, the victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. With each ebb the Liquidators asserted that the revolution was done for. After ebbing and flowing several times, however, the revolution swept on to victory in February 1917.
The second stage of the revolution began in February 1917. The aim then was to extricate the country from the imperialist war, to overthrow the bourgeoisie and to achieve the victory of the proletarian dictatorship. That stage, or strategic period, lasted only eight months, but these were eight months of profound revolutionary crisis, during which war and economic ruin spurred on the revolution and quickened its pace to the utmost. Precisely for that reason, those eight months of revolutionary crisis can and should be counted as being equal to at least eight years of ordinary constitutional development. That strategic period, like the preceding one, was not marked by a steady rise of the revolution in a straight ascending line, as the philistines of revolution usually picture it, but by alternating ebbs and flows. During that period we had an immense rise in the tide of the revolutionary movement in the days of the July demonstration. Then the revolutionary tide ebbed after the July defeat of the Bolsheviks. The tide flowed again immediately after the Kornilov revolt and it carried us to the victory of the October Revolution. The Liquidators of that time talked of the complete liquidation of the revolution after the July defeat. After passing through a number of trials and ebbs, however, the revolution, as is known, culminated in the victory of the proletarian dictatorship.
After the October victory we entered the third strategic period, the third stage of the revolution, in which the aim is to overcome the bourgeoisie on a world scale. How long this period will last it is difficult to say. At all events, there is no doubt that it will be a long one, and there is no doubt also that it will contain ebbs and flows. The world revolutionary movement at the present time has entered a period of ebb of the revolution, but, for a number of reasons, of which I shall speak later, the tide must turn again, and it may end in the victory of the proletariat. On the other hand, it may not end in victory, but be replaced by a new ebb, which in its turn is bound to be followed by another rise in the tide of the revolution. The present-day Liquidators say that the lull that has now set in marks the end of the world revolution. But they are mistaken, just as they were mistaken before, in the periods of the first and second stages of our revolution, when they regarded every ebb of the revolutionary movement as the utter defeat of the revolution.
Such are the fluctuations within each stage of the revolution, within each strategic period.
What do those fluctuations show? Do they show that Lenin's thesis about the new epoch of world revolution has lost, or may lose, its significance? Of course not! They merely show that, usually, revolution develops not in a straight ascending line, not in a continuously growing upsurge, but in zigzags, in advances and retreats, in flows and ebbs, which in the course of development steel the forces of the revolution and prepare for its final victory.
Such is the historical significance of the present ebb of the revolution, the historical significance of the lull we are now experiencing.
But the ebb is only one aspect of the matter. The other aspect is that simultaneously with the ebb of the revolution in Europe we have the impetuous growth of the economic development of the Soviet Union and its increasing political might. In other words, we have not only the stabilisation of capitalism; we also have the stabilisation of the Soviet system. Thus, we have two stabilisations: the temporary stabilisation of capitalism and the stabilisation of the Soviet system. A certain temporary equilibrium between these two stabilisations has been reached — such is the characteristic feature of the present international situation.
But what is stabilisation? Is it not stagnation? And if it means stagnation, can that term be applied to the Soviet system? No. Stabilisation is not stagnation. Stabilisation is the consolidation of a given position and further development. World capitalism has not only consolidated itself in its present position; it is going on and developing further, expanding its sphere of influence and increasing its wealth. It is wrong to say that capitalism cannot develop, that the theory of the decay of capitalism advanced by Lenin in his Imperialism 2 precludes the development of capitalism. Lenin fully proved in his pamphlet Imperialism that the growth of capitalism does not cancel, but presupposes and prepares the progressive decay of capitalism.
Thus, we have two stabilisations. At one pole capitalism is becoming stabilised, consolidating the position it has achieved and developing further. At the other pole the Soviet system is becoming stabilised, consolidating the positions it has won and advancing further along the road to victory.
Who will win? That is the essence of the question.
Why are there two stabilisations, one parallel with the other? Why are there two poles? Because there is no longer a single, all-embracing capitalism in the world. Because the world has split into two camps — the capitalist camp, headed by Anglo-American capital, and the socialist camp, headed by the Soviet Union. Because the international situation will to an increasing degree be determined by the relation of forces between these two camps.
Thus, the characteristic feature of the present situation is not only that capitalism and the Soviet system have become stabilised, but also that the forces of these two camps have reached a certain temporary equilibrium, with a slight advantage for capital, and hence, a slight disadvantage for the revolutionary movement; for, compared with a revolutionary upsurge, the lull that has now set in is undoubtedly a disadvantage for socialism, although a temporary one.
What is the difference between these two stabilisations? Where does the one and where does the other lead to?
Stabilisation under capitalism, while temporarily strengthening capital, at the same time inevitably leads to the aggravation of the contradictions of capitalism :
a) between the imperialist groups of the various countries; b) between the workers and the capitalists in each country; c) between imperialism and the peoples of all colonial countries.
Stabilisation under the Soviet system, however, while strengthening socialism, at the same time inevitably leads to an alleviation of contradictions and to an improvement in the relations: a) between the proletariat and the peasantry in our country; b) between the proletariat and the colonial peoples of the oppressed countries; c) between the proletarian dictatorship and the workers of all countries.
The fact of the matter is that capitalism cannot develop without intensifying the exploitation of the working class, without a semi-starvation existence for the majority of the working people, without intensifying the oppression of the colonial and dependent countries, without conflicts and clashes between the different imperialist groups of the world bourgeoisie. On the other hand, the Soviet system and the proletarian dictatorship can develop only if there is a continuous rise in the material and cultural level of the working class, if there is a continuous improvement in the conditions of all the working people in the Land of Soviets, if the workers of all countries draw closer and closer together and unite, if the oppressed peoples of the colonial and dependent countries rally around the revolutionary movement of the proletariat.
The path of development of capitalism is the path of impoverishment and a semi-starvation existence for the vast majority of the working people, while a small upper stratum of these working people is bribed and pampered.
The path of development of the proletarian dictatorship, on the contrary, is the path of continuous improvement in the welfare of the vast majority of the working people.
Precisely for this reason the development of capitalism is bound to create conditions which aggravate the contradictions of capitalism. Precisely for this reason capitalism cannot resolve these contradictions.
Of course, if there were no law of the uneven development of capitalism, leading to conflicts and wars between the capitalist countries on account of colonies; if capitalism could develop without exporting capital to backward countries, countries where raw materials and labour are cheap; if the surplus capital accumulated in the "metropolises" were used not for export of capital, but for seriously developing agriculture and for improving the material conditions of the peasantry; and lastly, if this surplus were used for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the entire mass of the working class, there would be no intensification of the exploitation of the working class, no impoverishment of the peasantry under capitalism, no intensification of oppression in colonial and dependent countries, and no conflicts and wars between capitalists.
But then, capitalism would not be capitalism.
The whole point is that capitalism cannot develop without aggravating all these contradictions, and without thereby developing the conditions which, in the final analysis, facilitate the downfall of capitalism.
The whole point is that the dictatorship of the proletariat, on the contrary, cannot develop further without creating the conditions which raise the revolutionary movement in all countries to a higher stage and prepare for the final victory of the proletariat.
Such is the difference between the two stabilisations.
That is why the stabilisation of capitalism cannot be either lasting or firm.
Let us now examine the question of the stabilisation of capitalism concretely.
In what way has the stabilisation of capitalism found concrete expression?
Firstly, in the fact that America, Britain and France have temporarily succeeded in striking a deal on the methods of robbing Germany and on the scale on which she is to be robbed. In other words, they have struck a deal on what they call the Dawesation of Germany. Can that deal be regarded as being at all durable? No, it cannot. Because, firstly, it was arrived at without reckoning with the host, i.e., the German people; secondly, because this deal means imposing a double yoke upon the German people, the yoke of the national bourgeoisie and the yoke of the foreign bourgeoisie. To think that a cultured nation like the German nation and a cultured proletariat like the German proletariat will consent to bear this double yoke without making repeated serious attempts at a revolutionary upheaval means believing in miracles. Even such an essentially reactionary fact as the election of Hindenburg as President, 3 leaves no doubt that the Entente's temporary deal directed against Germany is unstable, ridiculously unstable.
Secondly, the stabilisation of capitalism has found expression in the fact that British, American and Japanese capital have temporarily succeeded in striking a deal about the division of spheres of influence in China, that vast market for international capital, about the methods for plundering that country. Can that deal be regarded as being at all durable? Again, no! Firstly, because the partners to it are fighting, and will fight to the death, over the division of the spoils; secondly, because that deal was struck behind the back of the Chinese people, who have no wish to submit to the laws of the alien robbers, and will not do so. Does not the growth of the revolutionary movement in China show that the machinations of the foreign imperialists are doomed to failure?
Thirdly, the stabilisation of capitalism has found expression in the fact that the imperialist groups of the advanced countries have temporarily succeeded in striking a deal about mutual non-intervention in the plunder and oppression of "their" respective colonies. Can that deal, or that attempt at a deal, be regarded as being at all durable? No, it cannot. Firstly, because each imperialist group is striving, and will go on striving, to snatch a piece of the others' colonies; secondly, because the pressure the imperialist groups exercise in the colonies and the policy of oppression they pursue there only serve to steel and revolutionise those colonies and thereby intensify the revolutionary crisis. The imperialists are trying to "pacify" India, to curb Egypt, to tame Morocco, to tie Indo-China and Indonesia hand and foot, and are resorting to all sorts of cunning devices and machinations. They may succeed in achieving some "results" in this respect, but there can scarcely be any doubt that these machinations will not, and cannot, suffice for long.
Fourthly, the stabilisation of capitalism may find expression in an attempt on the part of the imperialist groups of the advanced countries to strike a deal concerning the formation of a united front against the Soviet Union. Let us assume that the deal comes off. Let us assume that they succeed in establishing something in the nature of a united front by resorting to all sorts of trickery, including the scoundrelly forgeries in connection with the explosion in Sofia, 4 etc. Are there any grounds for assuming that a deal directed against our country, or stabilisation in this sphere, can be at all durable, at all successful? I think that there are no such grounds. Why? Because, firstly, the threat of a capitalist united front and united attack would act like a gigantic hoop that would bind the whole country around the Soviet Government more tightly than ever before and transform it into an even more impregnable fortress than it was, for instance, during the invasion of the "fourteen states." Recall the threat of an invasion by fourteen states uttered by the notorious Churchill. You know that the mere utterance of that threat was enough to unite the entire country around the Soviet Government against the imperialist vultures. Because, secondly, a crusade against the Land of Soviets would certainly set in motion a number of revolutionary key points in our enemies' rear, which would disintegrate and demoralise the ranks of imperialism. There can scarcely be any doubt that a host of such key points have developed of late, and they bode imperialism no good. Because, thirdly, our country no longer stands alone; it has allies in the shape of the workers in the West and the oppressed peoples in the East. There can scarcely be any doubt that war against the Soviet Union will mean for imperialism that it will have to wage war against its own workers and colonies. Needless to say, if our country is attacked we shall not sit with folded arms; we shall take all measures to unleash the revolutionary lion in all countries of the world. The leaders of the capitalist countries cannot but know that we have some experience in this matter.
Such are the facts and considerations which show that the stabilisation of capitalism cannot be durable, that this stabilisation signifies the creation of conditions that lead to the defeat of capitalism, while the stabilisation of the Soviet system, on the contrary, signifies the continuous accumulation of conditions that strengthen the proletarian dictatorship, raise the revolutionary movement in all countries and lead to the victory of socialism.
This fundamental antithesis between the two stabilisations, capitalist and Soviet, is an expression of the antithesis between the two systems of economy and government, between the capitalist system and the socialist system.
Whoever fails to understand this antithesis will never understand the basic character of the present international situation.
Such is the general picture of the international situation at the present time.
I pass to the second group of questions.
The new and specific feature of the present position of the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries is that the period of the flow of the revolutionary tide has given way to a period of its ebb, a period of lull. The task is to take advantage of the period of lull that we are passing through to strengthen the Communist Parties, to Bolshevise them, to transform them into genuine mass parties relying on the trade unions, to rally the labouring elements among the non-proletarian classes, above all among the peasantry, around the proletariat, and lastly, to educate the proletarians in the spirit of revolution and proletarian dictatorship.
I shall not enumerate all the immediate tasks that confront the Communist Parties in the West. If you read the resolutions on this subject, especially the resolution on Bolshevisation passed by the enlarged plenum of the Comintern, 5 it will not be difficult for you to understand what these tasks are concretely.
I should like to deal with the main task, with that task confronting the Communist Parties in the West, the elucidation of which will facilitate the fulfilment of all the other immediate tasks.
What is that task?
That task is to link the Communist Parties in the West with the trade unions. That task is to develop and bring to a successful conclusion the campaign for trade-union unity, to see that all Communists without fail join the trade unions, to work systematically in them for combining the workers in a united front against capital, and in this way to create the conditions that will enable the Communist Parties to have the backing of the trade unions.
If this task is not carried out it will be impossible to transform the Communist Parties into genuine mass parties or to create the conditions necessary for the victory of the proletariat.
The trade unions and parties in the West are not what the trade unions and the Party are here in Russia. The relations between the trade unions and the parties in the West are quite different from those that have been established here in Russia. In our country the trade unions arose after the Party, and around the Party of the working class. Trade unions had not yet arisen in our country when the Party and its organisations were already leading not only the political but also the economic struggle of the working class, down to small and very small strikes. That, mainly, explains the exceptional prestige of our Party among the workers prior to the February Revolution, in contrast to the rudimentary trade unions which then existed here and there. Real trade unions appeared in our country only after February 1917. Before October we already had definitely formed trade-union organisations, which enjoyed tremendous prestige among the workers. Already at that time Lenin said that without trade-union support it would be impossible either to achieve or to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat. The most powerful development of the trade unions in our country was reached after the capture of power, particularly under the conditions of NEP. There is no doubt that our powerful trade unions now constitute one of the chief supports of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The most characteristic feature of the history of the development of our trade unions is that they arose, developed and became strong after the Party, around the Party, and in friendship with the Party.
The trade unions in Western Europe developed under entirely different circumstances. Firstly, they arose and became strong long before working-class parties appeared. Secondly, there it was not the trade unions that developed around the working-class parties; on the contrary, the working-class parties themselves emerged from the trade unions. Thirdly, since the economic sphere of the struggle, the one that is closest to the working class, had already been captured, so to speak, by the trade unions, the parties were obliged to engage mainly in the parliamentary political struggle, and that could not but affect the character of their activities and the importance attached to them by the working class. And precisely because the parties there arose after the trade unions, precisely because the trade unions came into being long before the parties, and in fact became the proletariat's principal fortresses in its struggle against capital — precisely for that reason, the parties, as independent forces that did not have the backing of the trade unions, were pushed into the background.
From this it follows, however, that if the Communist Parties want to become a real mass force, capable of pushing the revolution forward, they must link up with the trade unions and get their backing.
Failure to take this specific feature of the situation in the West into account means leading the cause of the communist movement to certain doom.
Over there, in the West, there are still individual "Communists" who refuse to understand this specific feature and continue to make play with the anti-proletarian and anti revolutionary slogan: "Leave the trade unions!" It must be said that nobody can do more harm to the communist movement in the West than these and similar "Communists." Regarding the trade unions as an enemy camp, these people contemplate "attacking" them from without. They fail to understand that if they pursue such a policy the workers will indeed regard them as enemies. They fail to understand that the trade unions, whether good or bad, are regarded by the rank-and-file worker as his fortresses, which help him to protect his wages, hours, and so forth. They fail to understand that such a policy, far from facilitating, hinders Communists from penetrating among the vast working-class masses.
The average rank-and-file worker may say to such "Communists": "You are attacking my fortress. You want to wreck the organisations that took me decades to build, and are trying to prove to me that communism is better than trade-unionism. I don't know, perhaps your theoretical arguments about communism are right. How can I, an ordinary working man, grasp the meaning of your theories? But one thing I do know: I have my trade-union fortresses; they have led me into the struggle, they have protected me, well or ill, from the attacks of the capitalists, and whoever thinks of destroying these fortresses wants to destroy my own cause, the workers' cause. Stop attacking my fortresses, join the trade unions, work in them for five years or so, help to improve and strengthen them. In the meantime I shall see what sort of fellows you are, and if you turn out to be real good fellows, I, of course, will not refuse to support you," and so forth.
That is the attitude, or approximately the attitude, of the average rank-and-file workers in the West today towards the anti-trade-unionists.
Whoever fails to understand this specific feature of the mentality of the average worker in Europe will understand nothing about the position of our Communist Parties at the present time.
Wherein lies the strength of Social-Democracy in the West?
In the fact that it has the backing of the trade unions. Wherein lies the weakness of our Communist Parties in the West?
In the fact that they have not yet linked up with the trade unions, and certain elements in these Communist Parties do not wish to link up with them.
Hence, the main task of the Communist Parties in the West at the present time is to develop and bring to a successful conclusion the campaign for trade-union unity, to see that all Communists without exception join the trade unions, to work in them systematically and patiently for uniting the working class against capital, and in this way to enable the Communist Parties to have the backing of the trade unions.
Such is the meaning of the decisions of the enlarged plenum of the Comintern concerning the immediate tasks of the Communist Parties in the West at the present time.
I pass to the third group of questions.
The new featues in this sphere are the following:
a) owing to the increase in the export of capital from the advanced to the backward countries, an increase encouraged by the stabilisation of capitalism, capitalism in the colonial countries is developing and will continue to develop at a rapid rate, breaking down the old social and political conditions and implanting new ones;
b) the proletariat in these countries is growing and will continue to grow at a rapid rate;
c) the revolutionary working-class movement and the revolutionary crisis in the colonies are growing and will continue to grow;
d) in this connection, there is a growth, which will continue, of certain strata of the national bourgeoisie, the richest and most powerful strata, which, fearing revolution in their countries more than they fear imperialism, will prefer a deal with imperialism to the liberation of their countries from imperialism and will thereby betray their own native lands (India, Egypt, etc.);
e) in view of all this, those countries can be liberated from imperialism only if a struggle is waged against the compromising national bourgeoisie;
f) but from this it follows that the question of the alliance between the workers and peasants and of the hegemony of the proletariat in the industrially developed and developing colonies is bound to become an urgent one, as it did before the first revolution in Russia in 1905.
Until now the situation has been that the East was usually spoken of as a homogeneous whole. It is now obvious to everybody that there is no longer a single, homogeneous East, that there are now capitalistically developed and developing colonies and backward and lagging colonies, and they cannot all be measured with the same yardstick.
Until now the national-liberation movement has been regarded as an unbroken front of all the national forces in the colonial and dependent countries, from the most reactionary bourgeois to the most revolutionary proletarians. Now, after the national bourgeoisie has split into a revolutionary and an anti-revolutionary wing, the picture of the national movement is assuming a somewhat different aspect. Parallel with the revolutionary elements of the national movement, compromising and reactionary elements which prefer a deal with imperialism to the liberation of their countries are emerging from the bourgeoisie.
Hence the task of the communist elements in the colonial countries is to link up with the revolutionary elements of the bourgeoisie, and above all with the peasantry, against the bloc of imperialism and the compromising elements of "their own" bourgeoisie, in order, under the leadership of the proletariat, to wage a genuinely revolutionary struggle for liberation from imperialism.
Only one conclusion follows: a number of colonial countries are now approaching their 1905.
The task is to unite the advanced elements of the workers in the colonial countries in a single Communist Party that will be capable of leading the growing revolution.
Here is what Lenin said about the growing revolutionary movement in the colonial countries as far back as 1922:
"The present 'victors' in the first imperialist massacre are unable to vanquish even a small, insignificantly small, country like Ireland, they are not even able to unravel the tangle they have got themselves into in financial and currency questions. And India and China are seething. They have a population of over seven hundred million. With the surrounding Asiatic countries quite like them they account for more than half the population of the world. In these countries, 1905 is approaching, irresistibly and with ever increasing speed, but with this essential and enormous difference: in 1905 the revolution in Russia could still (at the outset at any rate) proceed in isolation, that is to say, without immediately drawing other countries into the revolution, whereas the revolutions that are growing in India and China are already being drawn, and have been drawn, into the revolutionary struggle, into the revolutionary movement into the international revolution" (see Vol. XXVII, p. 293). 6
The colonial countries are on the threshold of their 1905 — such is the conclusion.
Such is also the meaning of the resolutions on the colonial question adopted by the enlarged plenum of the Comintern.
I pass to the fourth group of questions.
So far I have spoken about the resolutions of our Party conference on questions directly concerning the Comintern. We shall now pass to questions which directly concern both the Comintern and the R.C.P.(B.), and thus serve as a link between the external and internal problems.
How will the temporary stabilisation of capitalism affect the fate of socialism in our country? Does that stabilisation mark the end, or the beginning of the end, of the building of socialism in our country?
Is it at all possible to build socialism by our own efforts in our technically and economically backward country if capitalism continues to exist in the other countries for a more or less prolonged period?
Is it possible to create a complete guarantee against the dangers of intervention, and hence, against the restoration of the old order of things in our country, while we are encircled by capitalism, and, at the present moment, by stabilised capitalism at that?
All these are questions which inevitably confront us as a result of the new situation in the sphere of international relations, and which we cannot ignore. They demand a precise and definite answer.
Our country exhibits two groups of contradictions. One group consists of the internal contradictions that exist between the proletariat and the peasantry. The other group consists of the external contradictions that exist between our country, as the land of socialism, and all the other countries, as lands of capitalism.
Let us examine these two groups of contradictions separately.
That certain contradictions exist between the proletariat and the peasantry cannot, of course, be denied. It is sufficient to recall everything that has taken place, and is still taking place, in our country in connection with the price policy for agricultural produce, in connection with the price limits, in connection with the campaign to reduce the prices of manufactured goods, and so forth, to understand how very real these contradictions are. We have two main classes before us: the proletarian class and the class of private-property-owners, i.e., the peasantry. Hence, contradictions between them are inevitable. The whole question is whether we shall be able by our own efforts to overcome the contradictions that exist between the proletariat and the peasantry. When the question is asked: can we build socialism by our own efforts? what is meant is: can the contradictions that exist between the proletariat and the peasantry in our country be overcome or not?
Leninism answers that question in the affirmative: yes, we can build socialism, and we will build it together with the peasantry under the leadership of the working class.
What is the basis, the grounds, for such an answer?
The grounds are that, besides contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry, there are also common interests between them on fundamental problems of development, interests which outweigh, or, at all events, can outweigh those contradictions, and are the basis, the foundation, of the alliance between the workers and the peasants.
What are those common interests?
The point is that there are two paths along which agriculture can develop: the capitalist path and the socialist path. The capitalist path means development by impoverishing the majority of the peasantry for the sake of enriching the upper strata of the urban and rural bourgeoisie. The socialist path, on the contrary, means development by a continuous improvement in the well-being of the majority of the peasantry. It is in the interest of both the proletariat and the peasantry, particularly of the latter, that development should proceed along the second path, the socialist path, for that is the peasantry's only salvation from impoverishment and a semi-starvation existence. Needless to say, the proletarian dictatorship, which holds in its hands the main threads of economic life, will take all measures to secure the victory of the second path, the socialist path. It goes without saying, on the other hand, that the peasantry is vitally interested in development proceeding along this second path.
Hence the community of interests of the proletariat and the peasantry which outweighs the contradictions between them.
That is why Leninism says that we can and must build a complete socialist society together with the peasantry on the basis of the alliance between the workers and the peasants.
That is why Leninism says, basing itself on the common interests of the proletarians and the peasants, that we can and must by our own efforts overcome the contradictions that exist between the proletariat and the peasantry.
That is how Leninism regards the matter.
But, evidently, not all comrades agree with Leninism. The following, for example, is what Trotsky says about the contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry:
"The contradictions in the position of a workers' government in a backward country with an overwhelmingly peasant population could be solved only* on an international scale, in the arena of the world proletarian revolution" (see preface to Trotsky's book The Year 1905).
In other words, it is not within our power, we are not in a position, by our own efforts to overcome, to eliminate the internal contradictions in our country, the contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry, because, it appears, only as a result of a world revolution, and only on the basis of a world revolution, can we eliminate those contradictions and, at last, build socialism.
Needless to say, this proposition has nothing in common with Leninism.
The same Trotsky goes on to say:
"Without direct state support from the European proletariat, the working class of Russia will not be able to maintain itself in power and to transform its temporary rule into a lasting socialist dictatorship. This we cannot doubt for an instant" (see Trotsky's Our Revolution, p. 278).
In other words, we cannot even dream of maintaining power for any length of time unless the Western proletariat takes power and renders us state support.
"It would be hopeless to think . . . that, for example, a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe" (see Trotsky's Works, Vol. III, Part I, p. 90).
In other words, it appears that not only are we unable to build socialism, but we cannot even hold out albeit for a brief period "in the face of a conservative Europe," although the whole world knows that we have not only held out, but have repulsed a number of furious attacks upon our country by a conservative Europe.
"Real progress of a socialist economy in Russia," says Trotsky, "will become possible only after the victory* of the proletariat in the major European countries" (ibid., p. 93).
Clear, one would think.
I have quoted these passages, comrades, in order to contrast them with passages from the works of Lenin, and thus to enable you to grasp the quintessence of the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society in the land of the proletarian dictatorship, which is surrounded by capitalist states.
Let us now turn to passages from the works of Lenin.
Here is what Lenin wrote as far back as 1915, during the imperialist war:
"Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible, first in several or even in one capitalist country taken separately. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organised its own socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, raising revolts in those countries against the capitalists, and in the event of necessity, coming out even with armed force against the exploiting classes and their states." . . . Because "the free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward states" (see Vol. XVIII, pp. 232-33).
In other words, the land of the proletarian dictatorship, which is surrounded by capitalists, can, it appears, not only by its own efforts eliminate the internal contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry, but can and must, in addition, build socialism, organise its own socialist economy and establish an armed force in order to go to the aid of the proletarians in the surrounding countries in their struggle to overthrow capital.
Such is the fundamental thesis of Leninism on the victory of socialism in one country.
Lenin said the same thing, although in a slightly different way, in 1920, at the Eighth Congress of Soviets, in connection with the question of the electrification of our country:
"Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country. Otherwise, the country will remain a small peasant country, and we have got to understand that clearly. We are weaker than capitalism, not only on a world scale, but also within the country. Everybody knows this. We are conscious of it, and we shall see to it that our economic base is transformed from a small peasant base into a large-scale industrial base. Only when the country has been electrified, only when our industry, our agriculture, our transport system have been placed upon the technical basis of modern large-scale industry, shall we achieve final* victory" (see Vol. XXVI, pp. 46-47).
In other words, Lenin was fully aware of the technical difficulties connected with the building of socialism in our country, but he did not by any means draw from this the absurd conclusion that "real progress of a socialist economy in Russia will become possible only after the victory of the proletariat in the major European countries"; on the contrary, he was of the opinion that we could by our own efforts surmount those difficulties and achieve "final victory," i.e., build complete socialism.
And here is what Lenin said a year later, in 1921:
"Ten or twenty years of correct relations with the peasantry, and victory on a world scale* is assured (even if the proletarian revolutions, which are growing, are delayed)" ("Outline and Synopsis of the Pamphlet The Tax in Kind," 1921 — see Vol. XXVI, p. 313).
In other words, Lenin was fully aware of the political difficulties connected with the building of socialism in our country, but he did not by any means draw from this the false conclusion that "without direct state support from the European proletariat, the working class of Russia will not be able to maintain itself in power"; on the contrary, he was of the opinion that, given a correct policy towards the peasantry, we would be quite able to ensure "victory on a world scale," meaning that we could build complete socialism.
But what is a correct policy towards the peasantry? A correct policy towards the peasantry is something that depends wholly and entirely upon us, and upon us alone, as the Party which directs the building of socialism in our country.
Lenin said the same thing, but still more definitely, in 1922, in his notes on co-operation:
"As a matter of fact, state power over all large-scale means of production, state power in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc. — is not this all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society from the co-operatives, from the co-operatives alone, which we formerly looked down upon as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we have the right to look down upon as such now, under the NEP? Is this not all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society?* This is not yet the building of socialist society, but it is all that is necessary and sufficient* for this building" (see Vol. XXVII, p. 392).
In other words, under the dictatorship of the proletariat we possess, it appears, all that is needed to build a complete socialist society, overcoming all internal difficulties, for we can and must overcome them by our own efforts.
Clear, one would think.
As regards the objection that the relative economic backwardness of our country precludes the possibility of building socialism, Lenin attacked and refuted it as something incompatible with socialism:
"Infinitely hackneyed is the argument," says Lenin, "that they learned by rote during the development of West-European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe for socialism, that, as certain 'learned' gentlemen among them express it, the objective economic prerequisites for socialism do not exist in our country" (see Vol. XXVII, p. 399).
Had it been otherwise, there was no point in taking power in October and carrying out the October Revolution. For if the possibility and necessity of building a complete socialist society is precluded for some reason or other, the October Revolution becomes meaningless. Anyone who denies the possibility of building socialism in one country must necessarily deny that the October Revolution was justified; and vice versa, anyone who has no faith in the October Revolution cannot admit the possibility of the victory of socialism in the conditions of capitalist encirclement. The connection between lack of faith in October and denial of the socialist potentialities in our country is complete and direct.
"I know," says Lenin, "that there are, of course, sages who think they are very clever and even call themselves Socialists, who assert that power should not have been seized until the revolution had broken out in all countries. They do not suspect that by speaking in this way they are deserting the revolution and going over to the side of the bourgeoisie. To wait until the toiling classes bring about a revolution on an international scale means that everybody should stand stock-still in expectation. That is nonsense" (see Vol. XXIII, p 9).
That is how the matter stands with the contradictions of the first order, with the internal contradictions, with the question of the possibility of building socialism in the conditions of capitalist encirclement.
Let us now pass to the contradictions of the second order, to the external contradictions that exist between our country, as the country of socialism, and all the other countries, as the countries of capitalism.
What are these contradictions?
They are that, as long as capitalist encirclement exists, there is bound to be the danger of intervention by the capitalist countries, and as long as such a danger exists, there is bound to be the danger of restoration, the danger of the capitalist order being re-established in our country.
Can those contradictions be fully overcome by one country? No, they cannot; for the efforts of one country, even if that country is the land of the proletarian dictatorship, are insufficient for the purpose of fully guaranteeing it against the danger of intervention. Therefore, a full guarantee against intervention, and hence the final victory of socialism, are possible only on an international scale, only as a result of the joint efforts of the proletarians of a number of countries, or — still better — only as a result of the victory of the proletarians in a number of countries.
What is the final victory of socialism?
The final victory of socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and hence against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital. Therefore, the support of our revolution by the workers of all countries, and still more the victory of the workers in at least several countries, is a necessary condition for fully guaranteeing the first victorious country against attempts at intervention and restoration, a necessary condition for the final victory of socialism.
"As long as our Soviet Republic," says Lenin, "remains an isolated borderland of the entire capitalist world, just so long will it be quite ludicrously fantastic and utopian to hope ... for the disappearance of all danger. Of course, as long as such fundamental opposites remain, dangers will remain too, and we cannot escape them" (see Vol. XXVI, p. 29). And further:
"We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist states for a long time is unthinkable. One or the other must triumph in the end" (see Vol. XXIV, p. 122). That is why Lenin says that:
"Final victory can be achieved only on a world scale, and only by the joint efforts of the workers of all countries" (see Vol. XXIII, p. 9).
That is how the matter stands with the contradictions of the second order.
Anyone who confuses the first group of contradictions, which can be overcome entirely by the efforts of one country, with the second group of contradictions, the solution of which requires the efforts of the proletarians of several countries, commits a gross error against Leninism. He is either a muddle-head or an incorrigible opportunist.
An example of such confusion is provided by a letter I received from a comrade in January this year on the question of the victory of socialism in one country. He writes in perplexity:
"You say that the Leninist theory ... is that socialism can triumph in one country. I regret to say that I have not found in the relevant passages of Lenin's works any references to the victory of socialism in one country."
The trouble, of course, is not that this comrade, whom I regard as one of the best of our young student comrades, "has not found in the relevant passages of Lenin's works any references to the victory of socialism in one country." He will read and, some day, will at last find such references. The trouble is that he confused the internal contradictions with the external contradictions and got entirely muddled up in this confusion. Perhaps it will not be superfluous to inform you of the answer I sent to this comrade's letter. Here it is:
"The point at issue is not complete victory, but the victory of socialism in general, i.e., driving away the landlords and capitalists, taking power, repelling the attacks of imperialism and beginning to build a socialist economy. In all this, the proletariat in one country can be fully successful; but a complete guarantee against restoration can be ensured only by the 'joint efforts of the proletarians in several countries.'
"It would have been foolish to have begun the October Revolution in Russia with the conviction that the victorious proletariat of Russia, obviously enjoying the sympathy of the proletarians of other countries, but in the absence of victory in several countries, 'cannot hold out in the face of a conservative Europe.' That is not Marxism, but the most ordinary opportunism, Trotskyism, and whatever else you please. If Trotsky's theory were correct, Ilyich, who stated that we shall convert NEP Russia into socialist Russia, and that we have 'all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society'* (see the article "On Co-operation"), would be wrong. . . .
"The most dangerous thing in our political practice is the attempt to regard the victorious proletarian country as something passive, capable only of marking time until the moment when assistance comes from the victorious proletarians in other countries. Let us assume that the Soviet system will exist in Russia for five or ten years without a revolution taking place in the West; let us assume that, nevertheless, during that period our Republic goes on existing as a Soviet Republic, building a socialist economy under the conditions of NEP — do you think that during those five or ten years our country will merely spend the time in collecting water with a sieve and not in organising a socialist econonny? It is enough to ask this question to realise how very dangerous is the theory that denies the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country.
"But does that mean that this victory will be complete, final? No, it does not . . . for as long as capitalist encirclement exists there will always be the danger of military intervention" (January 1925).
That is how the matter stands with the question of the fate of socialism in our country from the standpoint of the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Conference of our Party.
I pass to the fifth group of questions.
Before passing to the resolutions of the Fourteenth Conference dealing with the Party's policy in the countryside, I should like to say a few words about the hullabaloo raised by the bourgeois press in connection with the criticism which our Party has made of our own shortcomings in the countryside. The bourgeois press leaps and dances and assures all and sundry that the open criticism of our own shortcomings is a sign of the weakness of the Soviet power, a sign of its disintegration and decay. Needless to say, all this hullabaloo is thoroughly false and mendacious.
Self-criticism is a sign of our Party's strength and not of its weakness. Only a strong party, which has its roots in life and is marching to victory, can afford the ruthless criticism of its own shortcomings that it has permitted, and always will permit, in front of the whole people. A party which hides the truth from the people, which fears the light and fears criticism, is not a party, but a clique of impostors, whose doom is sealed. Messieurs the bourgeois measure us with their own yardstick. They fear the light and assiduously hide the truth from the people, covering up their shortcomings with ostentatious proclamation of well-being. And so they think that we Communists, too, must hide the truth from the people. They fear the light, for it would be enough for them to permit anything like serious self-criticism, anything like free criticism of their own shortcomings, to cause the downfall of the bourgeois system. And so they think that if we Communists permit self-criticism, it is a sign that we are surrounded and that the ground is slipping from under our feet. Those honourable gentlemen, the bourgeois and Social-Democrats, measure us with their own yardsticks. Only parties which are departing into the past and whose doom is sealed can fear the light and fear criticism. We fear neither the one nor the other, we do not fear them because we are a party that is in the ascendant, that is marching to victory. That is why the self-criticism that has been going on for several months already is a sign of our Party's immense strength, and not of its weakness, it is a means of consolidating and not of disintegrating the Party.
Let us now pass to the question of the Party's policy in the countryside.
What new facts are to be noted in the countryside in connection with the new internal and international situation?
I think that four chief facts are to be noted:
1) the change in the international situation and the slowing down of the tempo of the revolution, which compel us to choose the least painful, although slower, methods of drawing the peasantry into socialist construction, of building socialism together with the peasantry;
2) the economic progress in the countryside and the process of differentiation among the peasantry, which call for the elimination of the survivals of war communism in the countryside;
3) the political activity of the peasantry, which requires that the old methods of leadership and administration in the countryside be changed;
4) the elections to the Soviets, which revealed the indubitable fact that in a number of districts in our country the middle peasants were found to be on the side of the kulaks against the poor peasants.
In view of these new facts, what is the Party's main task in the countryside?
Proceeding from the fact that differentiation is going on in the countryside, some comrades draw the conclusion that the Party's main task is to foment class struggle there. That is wrong. That is idle talk. That is not our main task now. That is a rehash of the old Menshevik songs taken from the old Menshevik encyclopedia.
To foment class struggle in the countryside is not by any means the main task at present. The main task at present is to rally the middle peasants around the proletariat, to win them over to our side again. The main task at present is to link up with the main masses of the peasantry, to raise their material and cultural level, and to move forward together with those main masses along the road to socialism. The main task is to build socialism together with the peasantry, without fail together with the peasantry, and without fail under the leadership of the working class; for the leadership of the working class is the basic guarantee that our work of construction will proceed along the path to socialism.
That is now the Party's main task.
Perhaps it will not be superfluous to recall Ilyich's words on this subject, the words he uttered at the time NEP was introduced, and which remain valid to this day:
"The whole point now is to advance as an immeasurably wider and larger mass, and only together with the peasantry" (see Vol. XXVII, p. 272).
"Link up with the peasant masses, with the rank-and-file toiling peas ants, and begin to move forward immeasurably, infinitely, more slowly than we imagined, but in such a way that the entire mass will actually move forward with us. If we do that we shall in time get such an acceleration of progress as we cannot dream of now" (ibid., pp. 231-32).
In view of this, two main tasks confront us in the countryside.
1) Firstly, we must see to it that peasant economy is included in the general system of Soviet economic development. Formerly things proceeded in such a way that we had two parallel processes: the town went its own way and the country went its way. The capitalist strove to include peasant economy in the system of capitalist development, but that inclusion took place through the impoverishment of the peasant masses and the enrichment of the upper stratum of the peasantry. As is known, that path was fraught with revolution. After the victory of the proletariat the inclusion of peasant economy in the general system of Soviet economic development must be brought about by creating conditions that can promote the progress of our national economy on the basis of a gradual but steady improvement of the welfare of the majority of the peasants, that is, along a road which is the very opposite to the one along which the capitalists led the peasantry and proposed that they should go prior to the revolution.
But how is peasant economy to be included in the system of economic construction? Through the co-operatives. Through the credit co-operatives, agricultural co-operatives, consumers' co-operatives and producers' co-operatives.
Such are the roads and paths by which peasant economy must be slowly but thoroughly drawn into the general system of socialist construction.
2) The second task consists in gradually but steadily pursuing the line of eliminating the old methods of administration and leadership in the countryside, the line of revitalising the Soviets, the line of transforming the Soviets into genuinely elected bodies, the line of implanting the principles of Soviet democracy in the countryside. Ilyich said that the proletarian dictatorship is the highest type of democracy for the majority of the working people. Ilyich said that this highest type of democracy can be introduced only after the proletariat has taken power and after we have obtained the opportunity of consolidating this power. Well, this phase of consolidating the Soviet power and of implanting Soviet democracy has already begun. We must proceed along this path cautiously and unhurriedly, and in the course of our work we must create around the Party a numerous active consisting of non-Party peasants.
While the first task, the task of including peasant economy in the general system of economic construction, makes it possible for us to put the peasantry in joint harness with the proletariat on the road of building socialism, the second task, the task of implanting Soviet democracy and revitalising the Soviets in the countryside, should make it possible for us to reconstruct our state apparatus, to link it with the masses of the people, to make it sound and honest, simple and inexpensive, in order to create the conditions that will facilitate the gradual transition from a society with a dictatorship of the proletariat to communist society.
Such are the main lines of the resolutions adopted by the Fourteenth Conference of our Party on the question of our Party's policy in the countryside.
Hence, the methods of Party leadership in the countryside must change accordingly.
We have people in the Party who assert that since we have NEP, and since capitalism is beginning to be temporarily stabilised, our task is to pursue a policy of the utmost pressure both in the Party and in the state apparatus, pressure so strong as to make everything creak. I must say that such a policy would be wrong and fatal. What we need now is not the utmost pressure, but the utmost flexibility in both policy and organisation, the utmost flexibility in both political and organisational leadership. Unless we have that we shall be unable to remain at the helm under the present complicated conditions. We need the utmost flexibility in order to keep the Party at the helm and to ensure that the Party exercises complete leadership.
Further. The Communists in the countryside must refrain from improper forms of administration. We must not rely merely on giving orders to the peasants. We must learn to explain to the peasants patiently the questions they do not understand, we must learn to convince the peasants, sparing neither time nor effort for this purpose. Of course, it is much easier and simpler to issue an order and leave it at that, as some of our Volost Executive
Committee Chairmen often do. But not all that is simple and easy is good. Not long ago, it appears, when the representative of a Gubernia Committee asked the secretary of a volost Party unit why there were no newspapers in his volost, the answer was given: "What do we want newspapers for? It's quieter and better without them. If the peasants begin reading newspapers they will start asking all sorts of questions and we shall have no end of trouble with them." And this secretary calls himself a Communist! It scarcely needs proof that he is not a Communist, but a calamity. The point is that nowadays it is utterly impossible to lead without "trouble," let alone without newspapers. This simple truth must be understood and assimilated if we want the Party and the Soviet power to retain the leadership in the countryside.
Further. To lead, nowadays, one must be a good manager, one must be familiar with and understand economic affairs. Merely talking about "world politics," about Chamberlain and MacDonald, will not carry one very far now. We have entered the period of economic construction. Hence, the one who can lead is one who understands economic affairs, who is able to give the peasant useful advice about economic development, who can give the peasant assistance in economic construction. To study economic affairs, to be directly linked with economic affairs, to go into all the details of economic construction — such is now the task of the Communists in the countryside. Unless they do that, it is no use even dreaming of leadership.
It is now impossible to lead in the old way, because the peasants are displaying more political activity, and it is necessary that this activity should assume a Soviet form, that it should flow through the Soviets and not past them. A leader is one who revitalises the Soviets and creates a peasant active around the Party in the countryside.
It is impossible to lead in the old way nowadays, because the economic activity of the rural population has increased, and it is necessary that this activity should assume the form of co-operation, that it should flow through the co-operatives and not past them. A leader is one who implants a co-operative communal life in the countryside.
Such, in general, are the concrete tasks of Party leadership in the countryside.
I pass to the last group of questions dealt with at the Fourteenth Conference of our Party.
What is new and specific in our economic leadership?
It is that our economic plans have begun to lag behind the actual development of our economy, they turn out to be inadequate and quite often fail to keep pace with the actual growth of our economy.
A striking expression of this fact is our state budget. You know that in the course of half a year we were obliged to revise our state budget three times owing to rapid increases in the revenue side of our budget not foreseen in our estimates. In other words, our estimates and our budget plans failed to keep pace with the increase in state revenues, as a result of which the state treasury found itself with a surplus. That means that the sap of economic life in our country is surging upward with irresistible force, upsetting all the scientific plans of our financial experts. That means that we are experiencing an upsurge of economic and labour activity, at least as powerful as that which America, for example, experienced after the Civil War.
The growth of our metal industry can be taken as the most striking expression of this new phenomenon in our economic life. Last year the output of the metal industry amounted to 191,000,000 pre-war rubles. In November last year the annual output plan for 1924-25 was fixed at 273,000,000 pre-war rubles. In January this year, in view of the discrepancy between that figure and the actual growth of the metal industry, the plan was revised and the figure brought up to 317,000,000. In April this year, even this enlarged plan proved to be unsound and, as a consequence, the figure had to be raised again, this time to 350,000,000. Now we are told that this plan has also proved to be inadequate, for it will have to be enlarged once again and the figure raised to 360-370 millions.
In other words, the output of the metal industry this year has almost doubled compared with that of last year. That is apart from the colossal growth of our light industry, of the growth of our transport system, fuel industry, and so forth.
What does all this show? It shows that as regards the organisation of industry, which is the chief basis of socialism, we have already entered the broad high road of development. As regards the metal industry, the mainspring of all industry, the period of stagnation has passed, and our metal industry now has every opportunity of going ahead and nourishing. Comrade Dzerzhinsky is right in saying that our country can and must become a land of metal.
The enormous importance of this fact both for the internal development of our country and for the international revolution scarcely needs proof.
There is no doubt that, from the standpoint of our internal development, the development of our metal industry and the significance of its growth are colossal, for this development means the growth of our entire industry and of our economy as a whole, for the metal industry is the chief basis of industry as a whole, for neither light industry, nor transport, nor the fuel industry, nor electrification, nor agriculture can be put on their feet unless the metal industry is powerfully developed. The growth of the metal industry is the basis of the growth of industry as a whole, and of our national economy as a whole.
Here is what Lenin says about "heavy industry," meaning by that mainly the metal industry:
"The salvation of Russia lies not only in a good harvest on the peasant farms — that is not enough; and not only in the good condition of light industry, which provides the peasantry with consumer goods — that, too, is not enough; we also need heavy industry. And to put it in good condition will require many years of work."
"Unless we save heavy industry, unless we restore it, we shall not be able to build up any industry; and without that we shall be doomed altogether as an independent country" (see Vol. XXVII, p. 349).
As for the international significance of the development of our metal industry, we may say that it is immeasurable. For what is the surging growth of the metal industry under the proletarian dictatorship if not direct proof that the proletariat is capable not only of destroying the old, but also of building the new, that it is capable of building by its own efforts a new industry, and a new society free from the exploitation of man by man? To prove this in actual fact and not from books means advancing the cause of the international revolution surely and finally. The pilgrimages of West-European workers to our country are not accidental. They are of enormous agitational and practical significance for the development of the revolutionary movement throughout the world. The fact that workers come here and probe every corner at our factories and works shows that they do not believe books, but want to convince themselves by their own experience that the proletariat is capable of building a new industry, of creating a new society. And when they convince themselves of this, you may be sure that the cause of the international revolution will make enormous strides forward.
"At the present time," says Lenin, "we are exercising our main influence on the international revolution by our economic policy. All eyes are turned on the Soviet Russian Republic, the eyes of all toilers in all countries of the world without exception and without exaggeration. . . . That is the field to which the struggle has been transferred on a world-wide scale. If we solve this problem, we shall have won on an international scale surely and finally. That is why questions of economic construction assume absolutely exceptional significance for us. On this front we must win victory by slow, gradual — it cannot be fast — but steady progress upward and forward"* (see Vol. XXVI, pp. 410-11).
Such is the international significance of the growth of our industry in general, and of our metal industry in particular.
At the present time we have an industrial proletariat of about 4,000,000. A small number, of course, but it is something to go on with in building socialism and in building up the defence of our country to the terror of the enemies of the proletariat. But we cannot and must not stop there. We need 15-20 million industrial proletarians, we need the electrification of the principal regions of our country, the organisation of agriculture on co-operative lines, and a highly developed metal industry. And then we need fear no danger. And then we shall triumph on an international scale.
The historical significance of the Fourteenth Conference lies precisely in the fact that it clearly mapped the road to that great goal.
And that road is the right road, for it is Lenin's road, and it will lead us to final victory.
Such, in general, are the results of the work of the Fourteenth Conference of our Party.
Pravda, Nos. 106 and 107, May 12 and 13, 1925
* All italics mine. — J. St.
1.The Fourteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) took place in Moscow, April 27-29, 1925. The conference discussed the following questions: Party affairs; the co-operatives; the single agricultural tax; the metal industry; revolutionary law; the tasks of the Comintern and of the R.C.P.(B.) in connection with the Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I. (For the decisions of the conference see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II 1941, pp. 4-31.)
2.V. I. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (see works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 22, pp. 173-290).
3.Field Marshal Hindenburg, a furious monarchist and an instrument of German imperialism and militarism, was elected President of Germany on April 26, 1925.
4.On April 16, 1925, an explosion occurred at the "Sveta Nedelya" Cathedral in Sofia when the members of the fascist government of Bulgaria, headed by Tsankoff, were attending a service Tsankoff sent to the United States a slanderous statement accusing the Soviet Government of instigating the explosion. The reactionary foreign press launched a campaign against the U.S.S.R., calling upon the governments of their respective countries to revise their relations with the Soviet Union. The Third Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R., held in May 1925, issued an appeal to the working people of the whole world concerning the brutal treatment of the best representatives of the Bulgarian people by the Tsankoff Government and in this statement repudiated the slanderous attacks upon the Soviet Union.
5.This refers to the theses on the Bolshevisation of the parties affiliated to the Communist International adopted by the Fifth Enlarged Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern held in Moscow, March 21-April 6, 1925.
6.References in Roman numerals to Lenin's works here and elsewhere are to the third edition of the Works. — Tr.