J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol. 10,
August - December, 1927
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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.
Our country, comrades, is living and developing in the conditions of capitalist encirclement. Its external position depends not only on its internal forces, but also on the state of that capitalist encirclement, on the situation in the capitalist countries which surround our country, on their strength and weakness, on the strength and weakness of the oppressed classes throughout the world, on the strength and weakness of the revolutionary movement of those classes. That is apart from the fact that our revolution is a part of the international revolutionary movement of the oppressed classes.
That is why I think that the Central Committee's report must start with a sketch of our country's international position, with a sketch of the situation in the capitalist countries and of the state of the revolutionary movement in all countries.
The basic fact in this sphere, comrades, is that during the past two years, during the period under review, production in the capitalist countries has transcended the pre-war level, has gone beyond the pre-war level.
Here are some figures relating to this.
Index of world output of pig iron: in 1925—97.6 per cent of pre-war; in 1926—already 100.5 per cent of prewar; for 1927 no complete figures are available; figures are available for the first half year, showing a further increase in the output of pig iron.
Index of world output of steel: in 1925—118.5 per cent; in 1926—122.6 per cent of pre-war.
Index of world output of coal: in 1925—97.9 per cent; in 1926—a slight drop—96.8 per cent. This evidently reflects the effect of the British strike.
World consumption of cotton: in 1925-26—108.3 per cent of pre-war; in 1926-27—112.5 per cent of pre-war.
World crop of five cereals 2: in 1925—107.2 per cent of pre-war; in 1926—110.5 per cent; in 1927— 112.3 per cent.
Thus, slowly, in short steps, the general index of world production is moving forward and has exceeded the pre-war level.
On the other hand, however, some capitalist countries are not merely going forward, but leaping forward, leaving behind the pre-war level; for example, the United States of America, and in some respects, Japan. Figures for the United States: growth of manufacturing industry in 1925—148 per cent of pre-war; 1926—152 per cent of pre-war; growth of mining industry in 1925— 143 per cent of pre-war; 1926—154 per cent.
Growth of world trade. World trade is not advancing as rapidly as production, it usually lags behind production, but for all that it has approached the prewar level. Index of foreign trade all over the world and in the chief countries in 1925—98.1 per cent of prewar; in 1926—97.1 per cent. For individual countries: United States of America in 1925—134.3 per cent of pre-war; in 1926—143 per cent; France—98.2 per cent and 99.2 per cent; Germany—74.8 per cent and 73.6 per cent; Japan—176.9 and 170.1 per cent.
Taken as a whole, world trade has already approached the pre-war level, and in some countries, the United States and Japan, for example, it has already exceeded the pre-war level.
Lastly, a third series of facts testifying to technical progress, rationalisation of capitalist industry, creation of new industries, increasing trustification, increasing cartellisation of industry on an international scale. These facts, I think, are known to everybody. Therefore, I shall not dwell on them. I shall merely observe that capital has prospered not only as regards the growth of production and as regards trade as well, but also in the field of improving methods of production, in the field of technical progress and the rationalisation of production; moreover all this has led to the further strengthening of the largest trusts and to the organisation of new, powerful, monopolist cartels.
Such are the facts, comrades, that should be noted, and that should serve as our starting-point.
Does all this mean that, thereby, the stabilisation of capitalism has become firm and lasting? Of course not! It was already stated in the report to the Fourteenth Congress 3 that capitalism might reach the prewar level, might exceed that pre-war level, might rationalise its production, but that this did not mean—did not by a long way mean—that the stabilisation of capitalism could as a result become firm, that capitalism could recover its former, pre-war stability. On the contrary, this very stabilisation, the fact that production is growing, that trade is growing, that technical progress and production potentialities are increasing, whereas the world market, the limits of that market, and the spheres of influence of the individual imperialist groups, remain more or less stable—precisely this is giving rise to a most profound and acute crisis of world capitalism, a crisis which is fraught with new wars and which threatens the existence of any stabilisation at all.
Partial stabilisation is giving rise to an intensification of the crisis of capitalism, and the growing crisis is upsetting stabilisation—such are the dialectics of the development of capitalism in the present period of history.
b) The most characteristic feature of this growth of production and trade of world capitalism is that the development proceeds unevenly. Development is not taking place in such a way that the capitalist countries are moving forward one behind the other, smoothly and evenly, without hindering one another and without upsetting each other, but, on the contrary, in such a way that some countries are being ousted and are declining, while others are pushing forward and moving upward; it is proceeding in the form of a mortal struggle of continents and countries for supremacy in the market.
The economic centre is shifting from Europe to America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The share of world trade of America and Asia is thereby growing at the expense of Europe.
A few figures: in 1913, Europe's share of world foreign trade was 58.5 per cent, America 's—21.2 per cent and Asia's—12.3 per cent; in 1925, however, Europe's share dropped to 50 per cent, America's share rose to 26.6 per cent and Asia's share rose to 16 per cent. Parallel with countries in which capitalism is tearing ahead (the U.S.A. and partly Japan), we have other countries which are in a state of economic decline (Britain). Parallel with growing capitalist Germany and rising countries which have been coming to the front in recent years (Canada, Australia, Argentina, China, India), we have countries in which capitalism is becoming stabilised (France, Italy). The number of claimants to markets is growing, production potentialities are growing, and supply is growing, but the dimensions of markets and the borders of spheres of influence remain more or less stable.
Such is the basis of the growing irreconcilable contradictions of present-day capitalism.
c) This contradiction between the growth of the production potentialities and the relative stability of markets lies at the root of the fact that the problem of markets is today the fundamental problem of capitalism. An aggravation of the problem of markets in general, especially an aggravation of the problem of foreign markets, and an aggravation of the problem of markets for capital exports in particular—such is the present state of capitalism.
This, indeed, explains why it is becoming a common thing for mills and factories to work below capacity. Raising tariff barriers only adds fuel to the flames. Capitalism is becoming cramped in the framework of the present markets and spheres of influence. Peaceful attempts to solve the problem of markets have not produced results, nor could they do so. As everybody knows, the bankers' declaration in 1926 about free trade ended in a fiasco. 4 The Economic Conference of the League of Nations in 1927, the object of which was to "unite the economic interests" of the capitalist countries, also ended in a fiasco. The peaceful road to the solution of the problem of markets remains closed to capitalism. The only "way out" left open for capitalism is a new redivision of colonies and of spheres of influence by force, by means of armed collisions, by means of new imperialist wars.
Stabilisation is intensifying the crisis of capitalism.
a) In this connection, the question of redividing the world and spheres of influence, which constitute the basis of foreign markets, is today the principal question in the policy of world capitalism. I have already said that the existing distribution of colonies and spheres of influence brought about as a result of the last imperialist war has already become obsolete. It now fails to satisfy either the United States, which, not being content with South America, is trying to penetrate Asia (primarily China); or Britain, whose dominions and a number of whose most important Eastern markets are slipping from her hands; or Japan, which every now and again is "obstructed" in China by Britain and America; or Italy and France, which have an incalculable number of "points of dispute" in the Danubian countries and in the Mediterranean; and least of all does it satisfy Germany, which is still bereft of colonies. Hence the "general" striving for a new redivision of markets and sources of raw materials. That the Asiatic markets and the routes to them are the chief arena of the struggle needs no proof. Hence a series of key problems, which are hotbeds of new conflicts. Hence the so-called Pacific problem (the America-Japan-Britain antagonism) as the origin of the struggle for supremacy in Asia and on the routes to it. Hence the Mediterranean problem (the Britain-France-Italy antagonism) as the origin of the struggle for supremacy on the shores of the Mediterranean, as the origin of the struggle for the shortest routes to the East. Hence the aggravation of the oil problem (antagonism between Britain and America), for without oil it is impossible to wage war, and whoever has the advantage as regards oil has a chance of victory in the coming war.
Recently, the-British press published Chamberlain's "latest" plan for "settling" the Mediterranean problem. I cannot guarantee the authenticity of this plan; but there can be no doubt that the appearance of Chamberlain's plan in the press is symptomatic. According to this plan, the "mandate" for Syria is to be transferred from France to Italy, Tangiers is to be transferred to France on the payment of financial compensation to Spain, the Cameroons are to be restored to Germany, Italy is to pledge herself to stop "making trouble" in the Balkans, etc.
All this is on the pretext of fighting the Soviets. It is well known that no dirty work is undertaken nowadays without dragging in the Soviets.
But what is the real intention of this plan? Its intention is to oust the French bourgeoisie from Syria. Since ancient times Syria has been the gate to the East, to Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc. From Syria it is possible to do harm to Britain both in the area of the Suez Canal and in the area of Mesopotamia. And so, apparently, Chamberlain wants to put a stop to this unpleasant state of affairs. Needless to say, the appearance of this plan in the press cannot be called an accident. The value of this fact is that it presents a vivid picture of the squabbles, conflicts and military collisions which can arise from the present relations between the so-called "great powers."
As regards the present state of the oil problem and the struggle around it, this is spoken of rather eloquently in the October issue of the well-known American magazine The World's Work 5:
"Herein lies a very real danger to peace and understanding between the Anglo-Saxon peoples. . . . The support of American businessmen by the State Department will inevitably become stronger as the need for it increases. If the British Government becomes identified with the British oil industry, sooner or later the American Government will become identified with the American oil industry. The struggle cannot be transferred to the governments without vastly increasing the danger of war."
This leaves no room for doubt: things are moving towards the organisation of new coalitions of powers in order to prepare new wars for foreign markets, for sources of raw materials, and for the routes to them.
b) Have attempts been made during the period under review to bring about a "peaceful settlement" of the maturing military conflicts? Yes, there have been more of them than might have been expected; but they have led to nothing, absolutely nothing. Not only that; those attempts have turned out to be merely a screen for the preparations that the "powers" are making for new wars, a screen intended to deceive the people, to deceive "public opinion."
Take the League of Nations, which, according to the mendacious bourgeois press, and the no less mendacious Social-Democratic press, is an instrument of peace. What has all the League of Nations' talk about peace, disarmament, reduction of armaments led to? To nothing, except the deception of the masses, except new spurts in armaments, except a further aggravation of the maturing conflicts. Can it be regarded as accidental that although the League of Nations has been talking about peace and disarmament for three years, and although the so-called Second International has been giving its support to this mendacious talk for three years, the "nations" are continuing to arm more and more, expanding the old conflicts among the "powers," piling up new conflicts, and thus undermining the cause of peace?
What does the failure of the tripartite conference for the reduction of naval armaments (Britain, America and Japan) 6 indicate, if not that the Pacific problem is the source of new imperialist wars, that the "powers" do not want either to disarm or to reduce armaments? What has the League of Nations done to avert this danger?
Or take, for example, the recent declarations of the Soviet delegation in Geneva on the question of genuine disarmament (and not window-dressing).7 What is the explanation of the fact that Comrade Litvinov's straightforward and honest declaration in favour of complete disarmament struck the League of Nations with paralysis and came as a "complete surprise" to it? Does not this fact show that the League of Nations is not an instrument of peace and disarmament, but an instrument for covering up new armaments and the preparation of new wars?
The venal bourgeois press of all countries, from Japan to Britain, from France to America, is shouting at the top of its voice that the Soviet disarmament proposals are "insincere." In that case, why not test the sincerity of the Soviet proposals and proceed at once, in practice, to disarm, or at least considerably to reduce armaments? What prevents this?
Or, for example, the present system of "friendship pacts" between capitalist states: the pact between France and Yugoslavia, the pact between Italy and Albania, the "pact of friendship" between Poland and Lithuania that Pilsudski is preparing, the "Locarno system," 8 the "spirit of Locarno," etc.—what is this if not a system of preparation of new wars and of alignment of forces for future military collisions?
Or take, for example, the following facts: from 1913 to 1927 the numerical strength of the armies of France, Britain, Italy, the United States and Japan increased from 1,888,000 to 2,262,000 men; in the same period the military budgets of the same countries grew from 2,345 million gold rubles to 3,948 million; in the period from 1923 to 1927, the number of aircraft in commission in these five countries rose from 2,655 to 4,340; the cruiser tonnage of these five powers rose from 724,000 tons in 1922 to 864,000 tons in 1926; the position as regards war chemicals is illustrated by the well-known statement of General Fries, Chief of the United States Chemical Warfare Service: "One chemical air-bomb of 450 kilograms charged with Lewisite can make ten blocks of New York uninhabitable, and 100 tons of Lewisite dropped from 50 aeroplanes can make the whole of New York uninhabitable, at least for a week."
What do these facts show if not that the preparation of a new war is in full swing?
Such are the results of the "peace policy" and of the "disarmament" policy of the bourgeois states in general, of the League of Nations especially, and of Social-Democratic servility to capital in particular.
Formerly, the justification put forward for the growth of armaments was that Germany was armed from head to foot. Today this "justification" falls to the ground because Germany has been disarmed.
Is it not obvious that the growth of armaments is dictated by the inevitability of new imperialist wars between the "powers," that the "spirit of war" is the principal content of the "spirit of Locarno"?
I think that the present "peaceful relations" could be likened to an old, worn-out shirt consisting of patches held together by a thin thread. It is enough to pull this thread fairly hard, to break it in some place or other, for the whole shirt to fall to pieces, leaving nothing but patches. It is enough to shake the present "peaceful relations" somewhere in Albania or Lithuania, in China or North Africa, for the whole "edifice of peaceful relations" to collapse.
That is how things were before the last imperialist war, when the assassination in Sarajevo 9 led to war.
That is how things are now.
Stabilisation is inevitably giving rise to new imperialist wars.
a) For waging war, increased armaments are not enough, the organisation of new coalitions is not enough. For this it is necessary in addition to strengthen the rear in the capitalist countries. Not a single capitalist country can wage an important war unless it first strengthens its own rear, unless it curbs "its" workers, unless it curbs "its" colonies. Hence the gradual fascisation of the policy of the bourgeois governments.
The fact that the Right bloc now rules in France, the Hicks-Deterding-Urquhart bloc in Britain, the bourgeois bloc in Germany, the war party in Japan, and fascist governments in Italy and Poland, cannot be called accidental.
Hence the pressure that is being brought to bear upon the working class: the Trade-Union Act in Britain, 10 the law on "arming the nation" in France, 11 the abolition of the eight-hour day in a number of countries, and the offensive of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat everywhere.
Hence the increased pressure that is being brought to bear upon the colonies and dependent countries, the reinforcement there of imperialist troops, whose number has now reached a million, of which over 700,000 are quartered in the British "spheres of influence" and "possessions."
b) It is not difficult to understand that this brutal pressure of the fascisised governments was bound to meet with a counter-movement on the part of the oppressed peoples in the colonies and of the working class in the metropolises. Facts like the growth of the revolutionary movement in China, Indonesia, India, etc., cannot fail to have a decisive significance for the fate of world imperialism.
Judge for yourselves. Of the 1,905 million inhabitants of the entire globe, 1,134 million live in the colonies and dependent countries, 143,000,000 live in the U.S.S.R., 264,000,000 live in the intermediate countries, and only 363,000,000 live in the big imperialist countries, which oppress the colonies and dependent countries.
Clearly, the revolutionary awakening of the colonial and dependent countries presages the end of world imperialism. The fact that the Chinese revolution has not yet led to direct victory over imperialism cannot be of decisive significance for the prospects of the revolution. Great popular revolutions never achieve final victory in the first round of their battles. They grow and gain strength in the course of flows and ebbs. That has been so everywhere, including Russia. So it will be in China.
The most important result of the Chinese revolution is the fact that it has awakened from age-long slumber and has set in motion hundreds of millions of exploited and oppressed people, has utterly exposed the counter-revolutionary character of the cliques of generals, has torn the mask from the faces of the Kuomintang servitors of counter-revolution, has raised the prestige of the Communist Party among the masses of the common people, has raised the movement as a whole to a higher stage and has roused new hope in the hearts of the millions of the oppressed classes in India, Indonesia, etc. Only the blind and the faint-hearted can doubt that the Chinese workers and peasants are moving towards a new revolutionary upsurge.
As regards the revolutionary working-class movement in Europe, here in this sphere, too, we have obvious signs of a swing to the Left on the part of the rank-and-file workers and of a revolutionary revival. Facts like the British general strike and coal strike, the revolutionary action of the workers in Vienna, the revolutionary demonstrations in France and Germany in connection with the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, the election successes achieved by the German and Polish Communist Parties, the obvious differentiation that is taking place in the British working-class movement, whereby the workers are moving to the Left while the leaders are moving to the Right, into the camp of avowed social-imperialism, the degeneration of the Second International into a direct appendage of the imperialist League of Nations, the decline of the prestige of the Social-Democratic parties among the broad masses of the working class, the universal growth of the influence and prestige of the Comintern and its sections among the proletarians in all countries, the growth of the prestige of the U.S.S.R. among the oppressed classes all over the world, the "Congress of the Friends of the U.S.S.R.," 12 etc.—all these facts undoubtedly indicate that Europe is entering a new period of revolutionary upsurge.
If a fact like the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti could give rise to working-class demonstrations, it undoubtedly indicates that revolutionary energy has accumulated in the depths of the working class and is seeking, and will continue to seek, a cause, an occasion, sometimes seemingly most insignificant, to break to the surface and hurl itself upon the capitalist regime.
We are living on the eve of a new revolutionary upsurge both in the colonies and in the metropolises.
Stabilisation is giving rise to a new revolutionary upsurge.
a) Thus, we have all the symptoms of a most profound crisis and of the growing instability of world capitalism.
Whereas the temporary post-war economic crisis of 1920-21, with the chaos within the capitalist countries, and the breakdown of their external ties, may be regarded as having been overcome, as a result of which a period of partial stabilisation has begun, the general and fundamental crisis of capitalism ushered in as a result of the victory of the October Revolution and the dropping out of the U.S.S.R. from the world capitalist system, far from being overcome is, on the contrary, becoming deeper and deeper, and is shaking the very foundations of the existence of world capitalism.
Far from hindering the development of this general and fundamental crisis, stabilisation, on the contrary, has provided the basis and source for its further development. The growing struggle for markets, the necessity of a new redivision of the world and of spheres of influence, the bankruptcy of bourgeois pacifism and of the League of Nations, the feverish efforts to form new coalitions and to align forces in view of the possibility of a new war, the furious growth of armaments, the savage pressure upon the working class and the colonial countries, the growth of the revolutionary movement in the colonies and in Europe, the growth of the prestige of the Comintern throughout the world, and lastly, the consolidation of the might of the Soviet Union and its enhanced prestige among the workers of Europe and the labouring masses in the colonies—all these are facts which cannot but shake the very foundations of world capitalism.
The stabilisation of capitalism is becoming more and more putrid and unstable.
Whereas a couple of years ago it was possible and necessary to speak of the ebb of the revolutionary tide in Europe, today we have every ground for asserting that Europe is obviously entering a period of new revolutionary upsurge; to say nothing of the colonies and dependent countries, where the position of the imperialists is becoming more and more catastrophic.
b) The capitalists' hopes of taming the U.S.S.R., of its capitalistic degeneration, of the decline of its prestige among the workers of Europe and the labouring masses of the colonies, have collapsed. The U.S.S.R. is growing and developing precisely as a country which is building socialism. Its influence among the workers and peasants all over the world is growing and gaining strength. The very existence of the U.S.S.R. as a country which is building socialism is one of the greatest factors in the disintegration of world imperialism and in the undermining of its stability both in Europe and in the colonies. The U.S.S.R. is obviously becoming the banner of the working class of Europe and of the oppressed peoples of the colonies.
Therefore, to clear the ground for future imperialist wars, to secure a tighter grip on "their" working class and to curb "their" colonies with the object of strengthening the capitalist rear, it is necessary, the bourgeois bosses think, first of all to curb the U.S.S.R., that seat and hotbed of revolution, which, moreover, could be one of the biggest markets for the capitalist countries. Hence the revival of interventionist tendencies among the imperialists, the policy of isolating the U.S.S.R., the policy of encircling the U.S.S.R., the policy of preparing the conditions for war against the U.S.S.R.
The strengthening of interventionist tendencies in the camp of the imperialists and the threat of war (against the U.S.S.R.) is one of the basic factors in the present situation.
It is considered that the most "threatened" and "injured" party under the conditions of the developing crisis of capitalism is the British bourgeoisie. And it is the British bourgeoisie that has taken the initiative in strengthening interventionist tendencies. Obviously, the assistance that the Soviet workers rendered the British coal miners, and the sympathy of the working class of the U.S.S.R. for the revolutionary movement in China, could not but add fuel to the flames. All these circumstances determined Britain's rupture with the U.S.S.R. and the worsening of relations with a number of other states.
c) The struggle between two tendencies in the relations between the capitalist world and the U.S.S.R., the tendency towards military aggression (primarily Britain) and the tendency to continue peaceful relations (a number of other capitalist countries), is, in view of this, the basic fact in our foreign relations at the present time.
Facts which denote the tendency towards peaceful relations during the period under review are: the Non-Aggression Pact with Turkey; the Guarantee Pact with Germany; the Tariff Agreement with Greece; the agreement with Germany on credits; the Guarantee Pact with Afghanistan; the Guarantee Pact with Lithuania; the initialling of a Guarantee Pact with Latvia; the Trade Agreement with Turkey; the settlement of the conflict with Switzerland; the Treaty of Neutrality with Persia; improvement in relations with Japan; growth of commercial intercourse with America and Italy.
Facts which denote the tendency towards military aggression during the period under review are: the British Note in connection with financial assistance to the striking coal miners; the raid on the Soviet diplomatic representatives in Peking, Tientsin and Shanghai; the raid on Arcos; Britain's rupture with the U.S.S.R.; the assassination of Voikov; terroristic acts by British hirelings in the U.S.S.R.; strained relations with France on the question of the recall of Rakovsky.
Whereas a year or two ago it was possible and necessary to speak of a period of a certain equilibrium and "peaceful co-existence" between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist countries, today we have every ground for asserting that the period of "peaceful co-existence" is receding into the past, giving place to a period of imperialist assaults and preparation for intervention against the U.S.S.R.
True, Britain's attempts to form a united front against the U.S.S.R. have failed so far. The reasons for this failure are: the contradiction of interests in the camp of the imperialists; the fact that some countries are interested in economic relations with the U.S.S.R.; the peace policy of the U.S.S.R.; the counter-action of the working class of Europe; the imperialists' fear of unleashing revolution in their own countries in the event of war against the U.S.S.R. But this does not mean that Britain will abandon her efforts to organise a united front against the U.S.S.R., that she will fail to organise such a front. The threat of war remains in force, despite Britain's temporary setbacks.
Hence the task is to take into account the contradictions in the camp of the imperialists, to postpone war by "buying off" the capitalists and to take all measures to maintain peaceful relations.
We must not forget Lenin's statement that as regards our work of construction very much depends upon whether we succeed in postponing war with the capitalist world, which is inevitable, but which can be postponed either until the moment when the proletarian revolution in Europe matures, or until the moment when the colonial revolutions have fully matured, or, lastly, until the moment when the capitalists come to blows over the division of the colonies.
Therefore, the maintenance of peaceful relations with the capitalist countries is an obligatory task for us.
Our relations with the capitalist countries are based on the assumption that the co-existence of two opposite systems is possible. Practice has fully confirmed this. Sometimes the question of debts and credits is a stumbling-block. In this our policy is clear. It is based on the formula: "give and take." If you give us credits with which to fertilise our industry, you will get some part of the pre-war debts, which we regard as extra interest on the credits. If you give nothing, you will get nothing. Facts show that we have some achievements to record as regards receiving industrial credits. I have in mind just now not only Germany, but also America and Britain. Wherein lies the secret? In the fact that our country could be a vast market for imports of equipment, while the capitalist countries need markets for precisely that kind of goods.
To sum up, we have:
Firstly, the growth of the contradictions within the capitalist encirclement; the necessity for capitalism of a new redivision of the world by means of war; the interventionist tendencies of one part of the capitalist world headed by Britain; the reluctance of the other part of the capitalist world to become involved in war against the U.S.S.R., preferring to establish economic relations with it; a conflict between these two tendencies and a certain possibility for the U.S.S.R. to turn these contradictions to account for the purpose of maintaining peace.
Secondly, we have the collapsing stabilisation; the growth of the colonial-revolutionary movement; the signs of a new revolutionary upsurge in Europe; the growth of the prestige of the Comintern and its sections throughout the world; the obvious growth of the sympathy of the working class of Europe for the U.S.S.R.; the growing might of the U.S.S.R. and the growing prestige of the working class of our country among the oppressed classes throughout the world.
Hence the Party's tasks:
1) In the sphere of the international revolutionary movement:
a) to strive to develop the Communist Parties throughout the world;
b) to strive to strengthen the revolutionary trade unions and the workers' united front against the capitalist offensive;
c) to strive to strengthen the friendship between the working class of the U.S.S.R. and the working class in the capitalist countries;
d) to strive to strengthen the link between the working class of the U.S.S.R. and the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries.
2) In the sphere of the U.S.S.R.'s foreign policy:
a) to combat the preparations for new imperialist wars;
b) to combat Britain's interventionist tendencies and to strive to strengthen the U.S.S.R. 's defensive capacity;
c) to pursue a policy of peace and to maintain peaceful relations with the capitalist countries;
d) to expand our trade with the outside world on the basis of strengthening the monopoly of foreign trade;
e) rapprochement with the so-called "weak" and "unequal" states, which are suffering from oppression and exploitation by the ruling imperialist powers.
Permit me, comrades, to pass to the internal situation in our country, to the successes of our socialist construction, to the question of the fate of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of its development, of its consolidation.
The Fourteenth Congress of our Party instructed the Central Committee to direct the development of our national economy from the standpoint of the following principal tasks:
firstly, that our policy should promote the progressive growth of production in the national economy as a whole;
secondly, that the Party's policy should promote the acceleration of the rate of development of industry and ensure for industry the leading role in the whole of the national economy;
thirdly, that in the course of development of the national economy, the socialist sector of the national economy, the socialist forms of economy, should be ensured ever-increasing relative importance at the expense of the private-commodity and capitalist sectors;
fourthly, that our economic development as a whole, the organisation of new branches of industry, the development of certain branches for raw materials, etc., should be conducted along such lines that the general development should ensure the economic independence of our country, that our country should not become an appendage of the capitalist system of world economy;
fifthly, that the dictatorship of the proletariat, the bloc of the working class and the peasant masses, and the leadership by the working class in this bloc, should be strengthened, and
sixthly, that the material and cultural conditions of the working class and of the rural poor should be steadily improved.
What has our Party, the Central Committee of our Party, done in regard to carrying out these tasks during the period under review?
First question—development of the national economy as a whole. I shall quote here some of the principal figures showing the growth of the national economy as a whole, and of industry and agriculture in particular, during the period under review. I take these figures from the estimates of the State Planning Commission. I have in mind the State Planning Commission's control figures for 1927-28 and the rough draft of the five-year plan.
a) Growth of production in the whole of the national economy of the U.S.S.R. during the two years. Whereas in 1924-25, according to the State Planning Commission's new calculations, the gross output of agriculture amounted to 87.3 per cent of the pre-war level and the output of industry as a whole amounted to 63.7 per cent of the pre-war level, now, two years later, in 1926-27, agricultural output already amounts to 108.3 per cent, and industrial output to 100.9 per cent. According to the State Planning Commission's control figures for 1927-28, a further increase in agricultural output to 111.8 per cent of pre-war and of industrial output to 114.4 per cent of pre-war is anticipated.
The growth of trade turn-over (wholesale and retail) in the country during the two years. Taking the volume of trade in 1924-25 at 100 (14,613 million chervonets rubles), we have an increase in 1926-27 by 97 per cent (28,775 million rubles), and in 1927-28 a further growth to over 116 per cent of the previous year (33,440 million rubles) is anticipated.
The development of our credit system during the two years. Taking the combined balance-sheets of all our credit institutions on October 1, 1925, at 100 (5,343 million chervonets rubles), we have an increase on July 1, 1927 by 53 per cent (8,175 million rubles). There are no grounds for doubting that 1927-28 will show a further growth of our nationalised credit system.
The development of railway transport during the two years. Whereas the freight turn-over of the whole of our railway system in 1924-25 amounted to 63.1 per cent of pre-war, now, in 1926-27, it amounts to 99.1 per cent, and in 1927-28 it will amount to 111.6 per cent. That is apart from the fact that during these two years the total length of our railways increased from 74,400 kilometres to 76,200 kilometres, which is an increase of 30.3 per cent above the pre-war level and of 8.9 per cent above the level of 1917.
The growth of the state budget during the two years. Whereas our combined budget (the single state budget plus the local budgets) in 1925-26 amounted to 72.4 per cent of pre-war (5,024 million rubles), at the present time, i.e., 1927-28, the combined budget should amount to 110-112 per cent of pre-war (over 7,000 million rubles). The increase during the two years is 41.5 per cent.
The growth of foreign trade during the two years. Whereas our total foreign trade turn-over in 1924-25 amounted to 1,282 million rubles, i.e., about 27 per cent of pre-war, now, in 1926-27, we have a turn-over of 1,483 million rubles, i.e., 35.6 per cent of pre-war, and it is anticipated that in 1927-28 we shall have a turn-over of 1,626 million rubles, i.e., 37.9 per cent of pre-war.
The causes of the slow rate of development of foreign trade:
firstly, the fact that the bourgeois states often place obstacles in the way of our foreign trade which sometimes amount to a secret blockade;
secondly, the fact that we cannot trade according to the bourgeois formula: "we shall export, even if we go short of food."
A good feature is the favourable balance of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade in 1926-27, amounting to 57 million rubles. This is the first year since 1923-24 that we have had a favourable balance of foreign trade.
Summing up, we have the following picture of the general growth of the total national income during the two years: whereas the national income of the U.S.S.R. in 1924-25 amounted to 15,589 million chervonets rubles, in 1925-26 we had 20,252 million rubles, i.e., an increase for the year of 29.9 per cent; and in 1926-27 we had 22,560 million rubles, i.e., an increase of 11.4 per cent for the year. According to the State Planning Commission's control figures, in 1927-28 we shall have 24,208 million rubles, i.e., an increase of 7.3 per cent.
Bearing in mind that the average annual increase in the national income of the United States does not exceed 3-4 per cent (only once, in the eighties of the last century, did the United States have an increase in national income of about 7 per cent), and that the annual increase in the national income of other countries, Britain and Germany, for example, does not exceed 1-3 per cent, it must be admitted that the rate of growth of the national income of the U.S.S.R. during the last few years is a record one compared with that of the major capitalist countries of Europe and America.
Conclusion: the national economy of our country is growing at a rapid rate.
The Party's task: further to promote the development of our country's national economy in all branches of production.
b) The growth of our national economy is proceeding not blindly, not along the line of a simple quantitative increase in production, but in a known, strictly defined direction. The decisive factors in the development of the national economy during the past two years have been the following two principal circumstances:
Firstly, the key-note of the development of our national economy is the industrialisation of the country, the increasingly important role of industry in relation to agriculture.
Secondly, the development of the national economy, the industrialisation of the country, is proceeding in the direction of an increase in the relative importance and commanding role of the socialist forms of economy, in both production and trade, at the expense of the private-commodity and capitalist sectors.
Figures showing the increase of the relative importance of industry in the national economy (exclusive of transport and electrification). Whereas in 1924-25, industry's share of the gross output of the national economy, calculated at pre-war prices, amounted to 32.4 per cent, and the share of agriculture to 67.6 per cent, in 1926-27 industry's share rose to 38 per cent while the share of agriculture dropped to 62 per cent. In 1927-28, industry's share should rise to 40.2 and that of agriculture should drop to 59.8 per cent.
Figures showing the increase in the relative importance of the production of instruments and means of production — which is the chief core of industry, as compared with the whole of industry during the two years: in 1924-25 the share of production of means of production—34.1 per cent; in 1926-27—37.6 per cent; in 1927-28 it is proposed to bring it up to 38.6 per cent.
Figures showing the increase of the relative importance of the production of means of production in state large-scale industry during the two years: in 1924-25— 42.0 per cent; in 1926-27—44.0 per cent; in 1927-28 it is proposed to bring it up to 44.9 per cent.
As regards industry's output of commodities and the relative importance of this output in the total volume of commodities, industry's share in the two years rose from 53.1 per cent in 1924-25 to 59.5 per cent in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 it should reach 60.7 per cent, whereas agriculture's share of the output of commodities amounted to 46.9 per cent in 1924-25, dropped to 40.5 per cent in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 should drop further to 39.3 per cent.
Conclusion: our country is becoming an industrial country.
The Party's task: to take all measures further to promote the industrialisation of our country.
Figures showing the growth of the relative importance and commanding role of the socialist forms of economy at the expense of the private-commodity and capitalist sectors during the two years. Whereas capital investments in the socialised sector of the national economy (state and co-operative industry, transport, electrification, etc.) increased from 1,231 million rubles in 1924-25 to 2,683 million rubles in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 should rise to 3,456 million rubles, which amounts to an increase from 43.8 per cent of total investments in 1924-25 to 65.3 per cent in 1927-28—investments in the non-socialised sector of the national economy have been relatively decreasing all the time, and in absolute figures have increased only slightly from 1,577 million rubles in 1924-25 to 1,717 million rubles in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 should reach the figure of 1,836 million rubles, which will be a fall in the relative importance of investments in the non-socialised sector from 56.2 per cent in 1924-25 to 34.7 per cent in 1927-28.
Whereas the gross output of the socialised sector of industry rose from 81 per cent in 1924-25 to 86 per cent of the total industrial output in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 should rise to 86.9 per cent, the share of the non-socialised sector of industry has been falling year by year: from 19 per cent of the total industrial output in 1924-25 to 14 per cent in 1926-27, and in 1927-28 it should fall still further to 13.1 per cent.
As regards the part played by private capital in large-scale (statistically registered) industry, it is falling not only relatively (3.9 per cent in 1924-25 and 2.4 per cent in 1926-27), but also absolutely (169 million pre-war rubles in 1924-25 and 165 million pre-war rubles in 1926-27).
The same ousting of private capitalist elements is seen in the sphere of home trade. Whereas in 1924-25 the socialised sector's share of the total trade turn-over (wholesale and retail) amounted to 72.6 per cent— wholesale 90.6 per cent and retail 57.3 per cent, in 1926-27 the socialised sector's share of total trade rose to 81.9 per cent—wholesale to 94.9 per cent and retail to 67.4 per cent. On the other hand, the private sector's share dropped in this period from 27.4 per cent of total trade to 18.1 per cent—wholesale from 9.4 per cent to 5.1 per cent and retail from 42.7 per cent to 32.6 per cent, and in 1927-28 a further drop in the private sector's share in all branches of trade is anticipated.
Conclusion: our country is confidently and rapidly proceeding towards socialism, pushing the capitalist elements into the background and step by step ousting them from the national economy.
This fact reveals to us the basis of the question: "Who will beat whom?" This question was raised by Lenin in 1921, after the New Economic Policy was introduced. Shall we succeed in linking our socialised industry with peasant economy, ousting the private trader, the private capitalist, and learning to trade; or will private capital beat us by causing a split between the proletariat and the peasantry?—that is how the question stood at that time. Now we can say that, in the main, we have already achieved decisive successes in this sphere. Only the blind or the imbecile can deny that.
Now, however, the question: "Who will beat whom?" assumes a different character. This question is now shifting from the sphere of trade to the sphere of production, to the sphere of handicraft production, to the sphere of agricultural production, where private capital is of a certain importance, and from which it must be systematically eliminated.
The Party's task: to extend and consolidate our socialist key positions in all branches of the national economy, both in town and country, pursuing a course towards the elimination of the capitalist elements from the national economy.
a) The growth of the output of large-scale nationalised industry, which constitutes over 77 per cent of all industry in the country. Whereas in 1925-26 the increase in output (calculated in pre-war rubles) of large-scale nationalised industry over that of the preceding year amounted to 42.2 per cent, in 1926-27 to 18.2 per cent, and in 1927-28 will amount to 15.8 per cent, the State Planning Commission's rough and very conservative five-year estimates provide for an increase in output during five years of 76.7 per cent, with an average arithmetical annual increase of 15 per cent and an increase in industrial output in 1931-32 to double the pre-war output.
If we take the gross output of all industry in the country, both large-scale (state and private) and small industry, then the annual, average arithmetical increase in output, according to the State Planning Commission's five-year estimates, will be about 12 per cent, which will be an increase in total industrial output in 1931-32 of nearly 70 per cent compared with the prewar level.
In America, the annual increase in total industrial output for the five years 1890-95 was 8.2 per cent, for the five years 1895-1900—5.2 per cent, for the five years 1900-05—2.6 per cent, for the five years 1905-10—3.6 per cent. In Russia, for the ten years 1895-1905, the average annual increase was 10.7 per cent, for the eight years 1905-13—8.1 per cent.
The percentage of annual increase in the output of our socialist industry, and also in the output of all industry, is a record one, such as not a single big capitalist country in the world can show.
And that is in spite of the fact that American industry, and especially Russian pre-war industry, were abundantly fertilised by a powerful flow of foreign capital, whereas our nationalised industry is compelled to base itself on its own accumulations.
And that is in spite of the fact that our nationalised industry has already entered the period of reconstruction, when the re-equipment of old factories and the erection of new ones has acquired decisive importance for increasing industrial output.
In the rate of its development, our industry in general, and our socialist industry in particular, is overtaking and outstripping the development of industry in the capitalist countries.
b) How is this unprecedented rate of development of our large-scale industry to be explained?
Firstly, by the fact that it is nationalised industry, thanks to which it is free from the selfish and anti-social interests of private capitalist groups and is able to develop in conformity with the interests of society as a whole.
Secondly, by the fact that it is conducted on a larger scale and is more concentrated than industry anywhere else in the world, thanks to which it has every possibility of beating private capitalist industry.
Thirdly, by the fact that the state, controlling nationalised transport, nationalised credit, nationalised foreign trade and the general state budget, has every possibility of directing nationalised industry in a planned way, as a single industrial enterprise, which gives it enormous advantages over all other industry and accelerates its rate of development many times over.
Fourthly, by the fact that nationalised industry, being industry of the biggest and most powerful kind, has every possibility of pursuing a policy of steadily reducing production costs, of reducing wholesale prices and cheapening its products, thereby expanding the market for its products, increasing the capacity of the home market and creating for itself a continuously increasing source for the further expansion of production.
Fifthly, by the fact that nationalised industry is able for many reasons, one of them being that it pursues the policy of reducing prices, to develop under conditions of gradual rapprochement between town and country, between the proletariat and the peasantry, in contrast with capitalist industry, which develops under conditions of increasing enmity between the bourgeois town, which bleeds the peasantry white, and the decaying countryside.
Lastly, by the fact that nationalised industry is based on the working class, which is the leader in all our development, thanks to which it is able more easily to develop technology in general, and the productivity of labour in particular, and to apply rationalisation to production and management, with the support of the broad masses of the working class, which is not and cannot be the case under the capitalist system of industry.
All this is proved beyond doubt by the rapid growth of our technology during the past two years and the rapid development of new branches of industry (machines, machine-tools, turbines, automobiles and aircraft, chemicals, etc.).
It is also proved by the rationalisation of production that we are carrying out, along with a shorter working day (a 7-hour day) and along with a steady improvement in the material and cultural conditions of the working class, which is not and cannot be the case under the capitalist system of economy.
The unprecedented rate of development of our socialist industry is direct and indubitable proof of the superiority of the Soviet system of production over the capitalist system.
Lenin was right in saying, as far back as September 1917, before the Bolsheviks had captured power, that after establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat we can and must "overtake and outstrip the advanced countries economically as well" (Vol. XXI, p. 191).
The Party's task: to maintain the achieved rate of development of socialist industry and to increase it in the near future with the object of creating the favourable conditions necessary for overtaking and outstripping the advanced capitalist countries.
a) In the countryside, on the other hand, we have a relatively slow growth of output. Whereas in 1925-26 the increase in gross output (calculated in pre-war rubles) compared with the preceding year amounted to 19.2 per cent, in 1926-27 to 4.1 per cent, and in 1927-28 will amount to 3.2 per cent, the State Planning Commission's rough and very conservative five-year estimates provide for an increase in output during five years of 24 per cent, with an average arithmetical annual increase in output of 4.8 per cent, and with an increase in agricultural output in 1931-32 of 28-30 per cent compared with prewar output.
This is a more or less tolerable annual increase in agricultural output. But it cannot possibly be called either a record one compared with the capitalist countries, or an adequate one for maintaining in the future the necessary equilibrium between agriculture and our nationalised industry.
In the U.S.A., the annual increase in the gross output of agriculture was 9.3 per cent in the decade 18901900, 3.1 per cent in the decade 1900-10, and 1.4 per cent in the decade 1910-20. In pre-war Russia the annual increase in agricultural output in the decade 1900-11 was 3.2-3.5 per cent.
True, the annual increase in the output of our agriculture in the five-year period 1926-27—1931-32 will amount to 4.8 per cent; moreover, as is seen, the percentage increase in agricultural output under Soviet conditions has grown compared with that in the period of capitalist Russia. But it must not be forgotten that whereas the gross output of nationalised industry in 1931-32 will be double that of pre-war industry and the output of all industry in 1931-32 will show an increase of about 70 per cent above the pre-war level, the output of agriculture by that time will exceed the pre-war agricultural output only by 28-30 per cent., i.e., by less than a third.
In view of this, the rate of development of our agriculture cannot be regarded as quite satisfactory.
b) How is this relatively slow rate of development of agriculture compared with the rate of development of our nationalised industry to be explained?
It is due to the extreme backwardness of our agricultural technique and the exceedingly low cultural level in the countryside, and particularly to the fact that our scattered agricultural production does not have the advantages that our large-scale, united, nationalised industry has. First of all, agricultural production is not nationalised and not united, but broken up and scattered. It is not carried on in a planned way, and for the time being an enormous part of it is subjected to the anarchy of small production. It is not united and organised in large units on the lines of collective farming and for that reason still provides a convenient field for exploitation by kulak elements. These circumstances deprive scattered agriculture of the colossal advantages of large-scale, united and planned production which our nationalised industry possesses.
What is the way out for agriculture? Perhaps the slowing down of the rate of development of our industry in general and of our nationalised industry in particular? Under no circumstances! That would be most reactionary, anti-proletarian utopianism. (Voices : "Quite right!") Nationalised industry must and will develop at an accelerated rate. That is the guarantee of our advance to socialism. That is the guarantee that, finally, agriculture itself will be industrialised.
What is the way out? The way out is to turn the small and scattered peasant farms into large united farms based on cultivation of the land in common, to go over to collective cultivation of the land on the basis of a new and higher technique.
The way out is to unite the small and dwarf peasant farms gradually but surely, not by pressure, but by example and persuasion, into large farms based on common, co-operative, collective cultivation of the land with the use of agricultural machines and tractors and scientific methods of intensive agriculture.
There is no other way out.
Unless this is done, our agriculture will be unable either to overtake or to outstrip the capitalist countries with the most developed agriculture (Canada, etc.).
All the measures we have taken to restrict the capitalist elements in agriculture, to develop the socialist elements in the countryside, to draw the peasant farms into the channel of co-operative development, to exercise planned influence by the state on the countryside by embracing peasant economy both as regards supplies and marketing, and as regards production—all these measures are decisive, it is true, but for all that they are only preparatory to putting agriculture on to a collectivist basis.
c) What has the Party done in this direction during the two years? Not a little has been done, but it is far from all that could have been done.
As regards embracing agriculture from outside, so to speak, along the line of supplying agriculture with the manufactured goods it needs and the marketing of agricultural produce, we have the following achievements: the agricultural co-operatives now unite about a third of all peasant households; the consumers co-operatives have increased their share of supplies to the countryside from 25.6 per cent in 1924-25 to 50.8 per cent in 1926-27; the co-operative and state bodies have increased their share of the marketing of agricultural produce from 55.7 per cent in 1924-25 to 63 per cent in 1926-27.
As regards embracing agriculture from inside, so to speak, along the line of agricultural production, terribly little has been done. Suffice it to say that at the present time the collective farms and state farms provide only a little over 2 per cent of the total agricultural produce and a little over 7 per cent of the total marketed produce.
There are quite a few reasons for this, of course, both objective and subjective. Unskilful approach to the matter, insufficient attention to it on the part of our officials, the conservatism and backwardness of the peasants, the shortage of funds necessary for financing the passing over of the peasants to the common cultivation of the land, etc. And quite large funds are needed for this purpose.
Lenin said at the Tenth Congress that we still lacked the funds necessary for making agriculture subject to the state or collective principle. I think that now we shall have those funds, and they ought to increase in the course of time. But, meanwhile, things are taking such a turn that unless the scattered peasant farms are united, unless they go over to cultivation of the land in common, it will be impossible to make serious progress either in the intensification or in the mechanisation of agriculture, it will be impossible to arrange things in such a way that the rate of development of our agriculture can exceed that of capitalist countries, such as Canada, for example.
Therefore, the task is to concentrate the attention of our officials in the countryside on this important matter.
I think that in this matter the machine-hiring stations under the People's Commissariats of Agriculture and of the agricultural co-operatives must play an exceedingly important role.
Here is an example how the state farms sometimes help the peasants to go over to collective cultivation of the land with enormous benefit to the peasants. I have in mind the assistance in the way of tractors which the Association of Ukrainian State Farms rendered the peasants in the Odessa District, and the letter from those peasants, recently published in Izvestia, expressing thanks for this assistance. Permit me to read this letter. (Voices : "Please do!")
"We settlers in the hamlets of Shevchenko, Krasin, Kalinin, Red Dawn and Rising Sun express our profound gratitude to the Soviet Government for the enormous assistance afforded us in restoring our farms. The majority of us—being poor, possessing neither horses nor implements—were unable to cultivate the land allotted to us and were obliged to lease it to the long-resident kulaks, receiving part of the crop in return. The crop was a bad one because, naturally, a tenant will not trouble to cultivate properly other people's land. The small credits we received from the state we used up for food and we sank into deeper poverty every year.
"This year a representative of the Association of Ukrainian State Farms visited us and proposed to us that instead of taking financial credits we should allow our land to be ploughed with tractors. All the settlers, except for a few kulaks, agreed to this, although we had little confidence that the work would be done efficiently. To our great joy, and to the chagrin of the kulaks, the tractors ploughed up all the virgin land and fallow land; they ploughed and harrowed 5-6 times to clear the land of weeds and finally sowed all the fields with high-grade wheat. The kulaks are not jeering at the work of the tractor team now. This year, owing to the absence of rain, the peasants in our district planted hardly any winter wheat, and where it was planted it has not come up yet. But our, settlers', fields, stretching for hundreds of dessiatins, are green with splendid fallow-sown wheat such as cannot be seen even in the richest German settlements.
"In addition to sowing winter wheat, the tractors ploughed up the whole of the winter fallow for the spring crops. Now, not a dessiatin of our land has been left unploughed, or leased out. There is not a single poor peasant among us who has not several dessiatins of winter wheat.
"After we have seen the way the tractors work we do not want to carry on poor, small farming any more, and we have decided to organise common tractor farming in which there will be no separate peasant plots. The organisation of tractor farming for us has already been undertaken by the Taras Shevchenko State Farm, with which we have signed a contract" (Izvestia, No. 267, November 22, 1927).
That is what the peasants write.
If we had more examples like this, comrades, it would be possible to make great progress in the collectivisation of the countryside.
The Party's task: to enlarge the extent of peasant economy embraced by the co-operatives and state bodies in the matter of marketing and supplies, and to make it the immediate practical task of our work in the countryside gradually to transform the scattered peasant farms into united, big farms, to introduce collective cultivation of the land on the basis of the intensification and mechanisation of agriculture, calculating that such a path of development is a most important means of accelerating the rate of development of agriculture and of defeating the capitalist elements in the countryside.
Such, on the whole, are the results and achievements in the sphere of the work of economic construction.
This does not mean that all is well with us in this sphere. No, comrades, by no means everything is well with us.
For example, we have elements of a goods shortage. That is an unfavourable feature in our economy, but, unfortunately, for the time being an inevitable one. For the fact that we are developing the production of instruments and means of production at a faster rate than light industry, this fact in itself predetermines that there will still be elements of a goods shortage in the country during the next few years. But we cannot act otherwise if we want to push forward the industrialisation of the country to the utmost.
There are people, our opposition for example, who draw material for their ideology in profiteers' queues and shout about the goods shortage, and at the same time demand a policy of "super-industrialisation." But that, of course, is stupid, comrades. Only ignoramuses can talk like that. We cannot, we must not, cut down our heavy industry for the sake of developing light industry to the utmost. And, besides, it is impossible to develop light industry to a sufficient extent unless the development of heavy industry is accelerated.
We could have increased imports of finished goods and thus have mitigated the goods shortage, and that is what the opposition insisted on at one time. But that proposal was so silly that the opposition had to drop it. Whether we are working efficiently enough to mitigate the elements of the goods shortage, which it is quite possible to do under our conditions and on which our Party has always insisted, is another question. I think that it is precisely in this sphere that not all is well with us.
Further, we have a fact like the relatively large number of capitalists both in the sphere of industry and in the sphere of trade. The relative importance of these elements is really not quite so small as some of our comrades sometimes depict it. That, too, is a liability in the balance-sheet of our economy.
Recently I read what is in every respect an interesting book by Comrade Larin: Private Capital in the U.S.S.R. I would advise you to read this book, comrades. In it you will see how adroitly and skilfully the capitalist hides himself behind the flag of producers' co-operation, behind the flag of agricultural co-operation, behind the flag of state trading bodies of one kind or other. Is everything being done to restrict, reduce and, finally, to oust the capitalist elements from the sphere of our national economy? I do not think that everything is being done. I know, for example, that in handicraft industry in general, and in the leather and textile industries in particular, there are quite a number of new millionaires, who are enslaving the handicraft workers and small producers generally. Is everything being done economically to surround and oust these exploiting elements by linking the handicraft workers with the co-operatives or with state bodies? There can scarcely be any doubt that far from everything is being done in this sphere. And yet this question is of extreme importance for us.
Further, there has been a certain increase in the number of kulaks in the countryside. That is a liability in the balance-sheet of our economy. Is everything being done economically to restrict and isolate the kulaks? I do not think that everything is being done. Those comrades are wrong who think that it is possible and necessary to put an end to the kulaks by means of administrative measures, through the GPU: give an order, affix a seal, and that settles it. That is an easy way, but it is far from being effective. The kulak must be defeated by means of economic measures and in conformity with Soviet law. Soviet law, however, is not a mere phrase. This does not, of course, preclude the taking of certain necessary administrative measures against the kulaks. But administrative measures must not take the place of economic measures. Serious attention must be paid to the fact that the Party's line in the fight against the kulaks is being distorted in the practice of our co-operative bodies, especially in the matter of agricultural credits.
Further, we have a fact like the extremely slow rate of reduction of production costs in industry, of reduction of wholesale prices of manufactured goods, and especially of retail prices of urban goods. This, too, is a liability in the balance-sheet of our work of economic construction. We cannot but observe that in this we encounter the tremendous resistance of the apparatus— state, co-operative and Party. Evidently, our comrades fail to understand that the policy of reducing the prices of manufactured goods is one of the principal levers for improving our industry, expanding the market and strengthening the very basis on which alone our industry can expand. There can scarcely be any doubt that only by ruthlessly combating this inertia of the apparatus, this resistance of the apparatus to the policy of reducing prices, will it be possible to wipe out this liability.
Lastly, we have liabilities like vodka in the budget, the extremely slow rate of development of foreign trade and the shortage of reserves. I think that it would be possible to start gradually to reduce the output of vodka and, instead of vodka, to resort to sources of revenue such as the radio and the cinema. Indeed, why not take these extremely important means in hand and put on this job real Bolsheviks, shock workers, who could successfully expand the business and make it possible, at last, to reduce the output of vodka?
As regards foreign trade, it seems to me that a number of the economic difficulties we are encountering are due to the insufficiency of exports. Can we push exports forward? I think we can. Is everything being done to increase exports to the utmost? I do not think that everything is being done.
The same must be said about reserves. Those comrades are wrong who say, sometimes thoughtlessly and sometimes because of their ignorance of the matter, that we have no reserves. No, comrades, we have some kind of reserves. All the organs of our state, from uyezd and gubernia to regional and central, try to put something in reserve for a rainy day. But these reserves are small. That must be admitted. Therefore, the task is to increase reserves as much as possible, even if that sometimes entails cutting down some current requirements.
Such, comrades,, are the darker sides of our work of economic construction, to which attention must be paid, and which must be eliminated at all costs in order to be able to move forward at a faster rate.
From questions of the country's economic situation let us pass to questions of the political situation.
a) The working class. Figures showing the numerical growth of the working class and of wage-workers generally. In 1924-25 there were 8,215,000 wage-workers (not including unemployed); in 1926-27 there were 10,346,000. An increase of 25 per cent. Of these, manual workers, including agricultural and seasonal, numbered 5,448,000 in 1924-25, and in 1926-27—7,060,000. An increase of 29.6 per cent. Of these, workers in large-scale industry numbered 1,794,000 in 1924-25, and in 1926-27—2,388,000. An increase of 33 per cent.
The material conditions of the working class. In 1924-25 the wage-workers' share of the national income amounted to 24.1 per cent, and in 1926-27 it grew to 29.4 per cent, which is 30 per cent above the wage-workers' share of the national income before the war, whereas the share of the national income received by other social groups, including the bourgeoisie, diminished during this period (for example, the share of the bourgeoisie dropped from 5.5 per cent to 4.8 per cent). In 1924-25 real wages (exclusive of social services) of the workers in state industry as a whole amounted to 25.18 Moscow computed rubles per month; in 1926-27 they amounted to 32.14 rubles, which is an increase of 27.6 per cent for the two years and is 5.4 per cent above the pre-war level. If we add social insurance and cultural, municipal and other services, wages in 1924-25 were 101.5 per cent of pre-war and in 1926-27—128.4 per cent of pre-war. The social insurance funds increased from 461 million rubles in 1924-25 to 852 million rubles in 1926-27, i.e., by 85 per cent, which made it possible to send 513,000 persons to rest homes and sanatoriums, to provide allowances for 460,000 unemployed and 700,000 pensioners (disabled workers and disabled civil war veterans) and to pay workers full wages during sickness.
Two years ago, in 1924-25, expenditure on workers' housing amounted to something over 132,000,000 rubles; in 1925-26—to something over 230,000,000 rubles; in 1926-27—282,000,000 rubles, and in 1927-28 it will amount to something over 391,000,000 rubles, including 50,000,000 rubles provided for in the Manifesto of the Central Executive Committee. The total expenditure on workers' housing in the past three years by industry, transport, local Executive Committees and co-operatives (not including individual construction) was 644,700,000 rubles, and including the assignments for 1927-28—1,036 million rubles. These assignments for the three years made it possible to build housing accommodation with a floor space of 4,594,000 sq. metres and to provide accommodation for 257,000 workers, and, counting their families, for about 900,000 persons.
The question of unemployment. I must say that there is a discrepancy here between the figures of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions and those of the People's Commissariat of Labour. I take the figures of the People's Commissariat of Labour because they cover the truly unemployed element connected with the labour exchanges. According to the returns of the People's Commissariat of Labour, the number of unemployed during the two years increased from 950,000 to 1,048,000. Of these, industrial workers constitute 16.5 per cent and brain workers and unskilled labourers 74 per cent. Thus, the chief source of unemployment in our country is the over-population in the countryside; the fact that our industry has to some extent failed to absorb a certain minimum of industrial workers is only a subsidiary source.
To sum up: there is an undoubted rise in the standard of living of the working class as a whole.
The Party's task: to continue along the line of further improving the material and cultural conditions of the working class, offurther raising the wages of the working class.
b) The peasantry. I do not think it is worth while quoting figures on differentiation among the peasantry because my report is already too long, and everybody is familiar with the figures. There can be no doubt that differentiation under the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be identified with differentiation under the capitalist system. Under capitalism the extremes grow, the poor peasants and the kulaks, while the middle peasants melt away. In our country the opposite is the case; the number of middle peasants is growing, because a certain part of the poor peasants rise to the position of middle peasants; the number of kulaks is growing; the number of poor peasants is diminishing. This fact shows that the central figure in agriculture is, as previously, the middle peasant. The bloc with the middle peasants, while relying on the poor peasants, is of decisive importance for the fate of our entire work of construction, for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The general improvement of material conditions in the countryside. We have figures on the increase in the incomes of the peasant population. Two years ago, in 1924-25, the income of the peasant population amounted to 3,548 million rubles, in 1926-27 this income grew to 4,792 million rubles, i.e., it increased 35.1 per cent, whereas the peasant population during this period increased only 2.38 per cent. This is an indubitable indication that material conditions in the countryside are improving.
This does not mean that the material conditions of the peasantry have improved in all districts of the country. It is well known that in some places the harvest was uneven during these two years, and the effects of the crop failure of 1924 have not yet been fully overcome. Hence the assistance the state renders the working peasantry in general and the poor peasants in particular. In 1925-26 state assistance to the working peasantry amounted to 373,000,000 rubles and in 1926-27 to 427,000,000 rubles. Special assistance to the rural poor in 1925-26 in the shape of grants to the poorest farms amounted to 38,000,000 rubles, tax exemptions for poor farms amounted to 44,000,000 rubles and insurance exemptions for poor peasants to 9,000,000 rubles, making a total of 91,000,000 rubles. Special assistance to the rural poor in 1926-27 under the same heads: 39,000,000 rubles, 52,000,000 rubles and 9,000,000 rubles, making a total of about 100,000,000 rubles.
To sum up: there is an improvement in the material conditions of the main mass of the peasantry.
The Party' s task: to continue along the line of further improving the material and cultural conditions of the main mass of the peasantry, primarily of the poor peasants, to strengthen the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, to raise the prestige of the working class and of its Party in the countryside.
c) The new bourgeoisie. The intelligentsia. A characteristic feature of the new bourgeoisie is that, unlike the working class and the peasantry, it has no reason to be satisfied with the Soviet regime. Its dissatisfaction is not accidental. It has its roots in life.
I have spoken about the growth of our national economy, I have spoken about the growth of our industry, about the growth of the socialist elements of our national economy, about the decline in the relative importance of the private owners, about the elimination of the small traders. But what does that mean? It means that while our industry and our trading bodies are growing, tens of thousands of small and medium capitalists are being ruined. How many small and medium shops have been closed during these years? Thousands. And how many small manufacturers have been proletarianised? Thousands. And how many civil servants have been discharged in connection with the reduction of staffs in our state apparatus? Hundreds and thousands.
The progress of our industry, the progress of our trading and co-operative bodies, the improvement of our state apparatus, is progress and improvement of benefit to the working class, of benefit to the main mass of the peasantry, but of disadvantage to the new bourgeoisie, of disadvantage to the middle strata generally and to the urban middle strata in particular. Is it to be wondered at that discontent with the Soviet regime is growing among those strata? Hence the counter-revolutionary moods in those circles. Hence the Smena-Vekhist ideology, as a fashionable commodity on the political market of the new bourgeoisie.
But it would be a mistake to think that the whole of the civil service element, the whole of the intelligentsia is in a state of discontent, in a state of grumbling or unrest against the Soviet regime. Parallel with the growth of discontent in the depths of the new bourgeoisie we have the fact of a differentiation among the intelligentsia, a desertion from Smena-Vekhism, the passing of hundreds and thousands of working intellectuals to the side of the Soviet regime. This fact, comrades, is undoubtedly a favourable fact, which must be noted.
The pioneers in this are the technical intelligentsia, because, being closely connected with the process of production, they cannot but see that the Bolsheviks are leading the country forward, to a better future. Such gigantic works of construction as the Volkhov Power Plant, the Dnieper Power Plant, the Svir Power Plant, the Turkestan Railway, the Volga-Don project and a whole series of new gigantic industrial plants with which the fate of whole strata of the technical intelligentsia is bound up, cannot but exercise some beneficial influence upon these strata. It is not only a bread and butter question for them, it is also a matter of honour, a matter of creative effort, which naturally draws them to the working class, to the Soviet regime.
That is apart from the rural working intelligentsia, especially village school-teachers, who began to support the Soviet regime long ago, and who cannot help welcoming the development of education in the countryside.
Therefore, parallel with the growth of dissatisfaction among certain strata of the intelligentsia, we have the bond between the working intelligentsia and the working class.
The Party' s task is to continue along the line of isolating the new bourgeoisie and to strengthen the bond between the working class and the working Soviet intelligentsia in town and country.
d) The state apparatus and the struggle against bureaucracy. So much is being said about bureaucracy that there is no need to dilate on it. That elements of bureaucracy exist in our state, co-operative and Party apparatus, there can be no doubt. That it is necessary to combat the elements of bureaucracy, and that this task will confront us all the time, as long as we have state power, as long as the state exists, is also a fact.
But one must know how far one can go. To carry the struggle against bureaucracy in the state apparatus to the point of destroying the state apparatus, of discrediting the state apparatus, of attempts to break it up— that means going against Leninism, means forgetting that our apparatus is a Soviet apparatus, which is a state apparatus of a higher type than any other state apparatus in the world.
Wherein lies the strength of our state apparatus? In that it links the state power with the millions of workers and peasants through the Soviets. In that the Soviets are schools of administration for tens and hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants. In that the state apparatus does not fence itself off from the vast masses of the people, but merges with them through an incalculable number of mass organisations, all sorts of commissions, committees, conferences, delegate meetings, etc., which encompass the Soviets and in this way buttress the organs of government.
Wherein lies the weakness of our state apparatus? In the existence within it of elements of bureaucracy, which spoil and distort its work. In order to eliminate bureaucracy from it—and this cannot be done in one or two years—we must systematically improve the state apparatus, bring it closer to the masses, reinvigorate it by bringing in new people loyal to the cause of the working class, remodel it in the spirit of communism, but not break it up or discredit it. Lenin was a thousand times right when he said: "Without an 'apparatus' we would have perished long ago. If we do not wage a systematic and stubborn struggle to improve the apparatus we shall perish before we have created the base for socialism." 13
I shall not dilate on those defects in our state apparatus that are glaring enough as it is. I have in mind, primarily, "Mother Red Tape." I have at hand a heap of materials on the matter of red tape, exposing the criminal negligence of a number of judicial, administrative, insurance, co-operative and other organisations.
Here is a peasant who went to a certain insurance office twenty-one times to get some matter put right, and even then failed to get any result.
Here is another peasant, an old man of sixty-six, who walked 600 versts to get his case cleared up at an Uyezd Social Maintenance Office, and even then failed to get any result.
Here is an old peasant woman, fifty-six years old, who, in response to a summons by a people's court, walked 500 versts and travelled over 600 versts by horse and cart, and even then failed to get justice done.
A multitude of such facts could be quoted. It is not worth while enumerating them. But this is a disgrace to us, comrades! How can such outrageous things be tolerated?
Lastly, facts about "demoting." It appears, that in addition to workers who are promoted, there are also such as are "demoted," who are pushed into the background by their own comrades, not because they are incapable or inefficient, but because they are conscientious and honest in their work.
Here is a worker, a tool-maker, who was promoted to a managerial post at his plant because he was a capable and incorruptible man. He worked for a couple of years, worked honestly, introduced order, put a stop to inefficiency and waste. But, working in this way, he trod on the toes of a gang of so-called "Communists," he disturbed their peace and quiet. And what happened? This gang of "Communists" put a spoke in his wheel and thus compelled him to "demote himself," as much as to say: "You wanted to be smarter than us, you won't let us live and make a bit in quiet—so take a back seat, brother."
Here is another worker, also a tool-maker, an adjuster of bolt-cutting machines, who was promoted to a managerial post at his factory. He worked zealously and honestly. But, working in this way, he disturbed somebody's peace and quiet. And what happened? A pretext was found and they got rid of this "troublesome" comrade. How did this promoted comrade leave, what were his feelings? Like this: "In whatever post I was appointed to I tried to justify the confidence that was placed in me. But this promotion played a dirty trick on me and I shall never forget it. They threw mud at me. My wish to bring everything into the light of day remained a mere wish. Neither the works committee, nor the management, nor the Party unit would listen to me. I am finished with promotion, I would not take another managerial post even if offered my weight in gold" (Trud, 14 No. 128, June 9, 1927).
But this is a disgrace to us, comrades! How can such outrageous things be tolerated?
The Party's task is, in fighting against bureaucracy and for the improvement of the state apparatus, to extirpate with a red-hot iron such outrageous things in our practical work as those I have just spoken about.
e) Concerning Lenin's slogan about the cultural revolution. The surest remedy for bureaucracy is raising the cultural level of the workers and peasants. One can curse and denounce bureaucracy in the state apparatus, one can stigmatise and pillory bureaucracy in our practical work, but unless the masses of the workers reach a certain level of culture, which will create the possibility, the desire, the ability to control the state apparatus from below, by the masses of the workers themselves, bureaucracy will continue to exist in spite of everything. Therefore, the cultural development of theworking class and of the masses of the working peasantry, not only the development of literacy, although literacy is the basis of all culture, but primarily the cultivation of the ability to take part in the administration of the country, is the chief lever for improving the state and every other apparatus. This is the sense and significance of Lenin's slogan about the cultural revolution.
Here is what Lenin said about this in March 1922, before the opening of the Eleventh Congress of our Party, in his letter to the Central Committee addressed to Comrade Molotov:
"The chief thing we lack is culture, ability to administer. . . . Economically and politically NEP fully ensures us the possibility of laying the foundation of socialist economy. It is 'only' a matter of the cultural forces of the proletariat and of its vanguard." 15
These words of Lenin's must not be forgotten, comrades. (Voices : "Quite right!")
Hence the Party's task: to exert greater efforts to raise the cultural level of the working class and of the working strata of the peasantry.
* * *
How can the internal political situation in our country be summed up?
It can be summed up in this way: The Soviet regime is the most stable regime in the world. (Stormy applause.)
But while the Soviet regime is stronger than all the other regimes existing in the world, a regime that any bourgeois government may envy, that does not mean that all is well with us in this sphere. No, comrades, we have shortcomings in this sphere too, which we, as Bolsheviks, cannot and must not conceal.
Firstly, we have unemployment. This is a serious shortcoming, which we must overcome, or at least reduce to a minimum at all costs.
Secondly, we have grave defects in housing construction for the workers, a housing crisis, which we must also overcome, or at least reduce to a minimum within the next few years.
We have some manifestations of anti-Semitism, not only among certain circles of the middle strata of the population, but also among a certain section of the workers, and even in some quarters in our Party. This evil must be combated, comrades, with all ruthlessness.
We also have a shortcoming like the slackening in the struggle against religion.
And lastly, we have a terrible cultural backwardness, not only in the broad sense of the term, but also in its narrow sense, in the sense of elementary literacy, for the percentage of illiteracy in the U.S.S.R. is still not inconsiderable.
All these and similar shortcomings must be eliminated, comrades, if we want to advance at a more or less rapid rate.
To finish with this section of my report, permit me to say a few words about the most characteristic appointments during the period under review. I shall not touch on the appointment of the Vice-Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. Nor shall I touch on the appointment of the People's Commissars of the Supreme Council of National Economy, of the People's Commissariat of Trade, and of the Joint State Political Administration of the U.S.S.R. I would like to deal with three appointments that are significant. You know that Lobov has been appointed Chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy of the R.S.F.S.R. He is a metalworker. You know that Ukha-nov, a metalworker, has been elected Chairman of the Moscow Soviet in place of Kamenev. You know also that Komarov, also a metalworker, has been elected Chairman of the Leningrad Soviet in place of Zinoviev. Thus the "Lord Mayors" of our two capitals are metalworkers. (Applause.) It is true that they are not of the nobility, but they are managing the affairs of our capitals better than any member of the nobility. (Applause.) You may say that this is a tendency towards metallisation, but I don't think there is anything bad about that. (Voices: "On the contrary, it is very good.")
Let us wish the capitalist countries, let us wish London, let us wish Paris, success in catching up with us at last and in putting up their own metalworkers as "Lord Mayors." (Applause.)
Comrades, I shall not deal at length with the numerical and ideological growth of our Party, I shall not quote figures, because Kosior will report to you on this in detail.
Nor shall I speak about the social composition of our Party, or about the figures relating to this, because Kosior will give you exhaustive data on it in his report.
I should like to say a few words about the higher level, the qualitative improvement, in our Party's work of leadership both in the sphere of economics and in the sphere of politics. There was a time, comrades, two or three years ago, when a section of our comrades, headed by Trotsky, I think (laughter, voices: "Think?"), rebuked our Gubernia Committees,our Regional Committees and our Central Committee, asserting that the Party organisations were not competent to interfere in the country's economic affairs and had no business to do so. Yes, there was such a time. Today, however, it is doubtful whether anybody would dare to cast such accusations at the Party organisations. That the Gubernia and Regional Committees have mastered the art of economic leadership, that the Party organisations are leading the work of economic construction and not trailing in its rear, is such a glaring fact that only the blind or imbecile would dare to deny it. The very fact that we have decided to put on the agenda of this congress the question of a five-year plan of development of the national economy, this very fact alone shows that the Party has made immense progress in the planned leadership of our work of economic construction both in the districts and at the centre.
Some people think that there is nothing special about this. No, comrades, there is something special and important about this, which must be noted. Reference is sometimes made to American and German economic bodies which, it is alleged, also direct their national economy in a planned way. No, comrades, those countries have not yet achieved this, and never will achieve it, as long as the capitalist system exists there. To be able to lead in a planned way it is necessary to have a different system of industry, a socialist and not a capitalist system; it is necessary to have at least a nationalised industry, a nationalised credit system, nationalised land, a socialist bond with the countryside, working-class rule in the country, etc.
True, they also have something in the nature of plans; but these are forecast plans, guess-work plans, not binding on anybody, and they cannot serve as a basis for directing the country's economy. Things are different in our country. Our plans are not forecast plans, not guess-work plans, but directive plans, which are binding upon our leading bodies, and which determine the trend of our future economic development on a country-wide scale.
You see, we have a fundamental difference here.
That is why I say that even the mere fact that the question of a five-year plan of development of the national economy has been put on the congress agenda, even this fact is a sign of the qualitatively higher level of our leadership in planning.
Nor shall I deal at length with the growth of inner-Party democracy in our Party. Only the blind fail to see that inner-Party democracy, genuine inner-Party democracy, an actual upsurge of activity on the part of the mass of the Party membership, is growing and developing in our Party. There is talk about democracy. But what is democracy in the Party? Democracy for whom? If by democracy is meant freedom for a couple or so of intellectuals divorced from the revolution to engage in endless chatter, to have their own press organ, etc., then we have no use for such "democracy," because it is democracy for an insignificant minority that sets at naught the will of the overwhelming majority. If, however, by democracy is meant freedom for the mass of the Party membership to decide questions connected with our work of construction, an upsurge of activity of the Party membership, drawing them into the work of Party leadership, developing in them the feeling that they are the masters in the Party, then we have such democracy, that is the democracy we need, and we shall steadily develop it in spite of everything. (Applause.)
Nor shall I, comrades, deal at length with the fact that, parallel with inner-Party democracy, collective leadership is growing, step by step, in our Party. Take our Central Committee and the Central Control Commission. Together they constitute a leading centre of 200-250 comrades, which meets regularly and decides highly important questions connected with our work of construction. It is one of the most democratic and collectively functioning centres our Party has ever had. Well? Is it not a fact that the settlement of highly important questions concerning our work is passing more and more from the hands of a narrow upper group into the hands of this broad centre, which is most closely connected with all branches of our work of construction and with all the districts of our vast country?
Nor shall I dilate on the growth of our Party cadres. It is indisputable that during the past few years the old cadres of our Party have been permeated with new, rising cadres, consisting mainly of workers. Formerly, we counted our cadres in hundreds and thousands, but now we have to count them in tens of thousands. I think that if we begin from the lowest organisations, the shop and team organisations, and proceed to the top, all over the Union, we shall find that our Party cadres, the overwhelming majority of whom are workers, now number not less than 100,000. This indicates the immense growth of our Party. It indicates the immense growth of our cadres, the growth of their ideological and organisational experience, the growth of their communist culture.
Lastly, there is one further question, which there is no need to deal with at length but which ought to be mentioned. That is the question of the growth of the Party's prestige among the non-Party workers and the masses of the working people in general of our country, among the workers and the oppressed classes in general all over the world. There can scarcely be any doubt now that our Party is becoming the banner of liberation for the masses of the working people all over the world, and that the title of Bolshevik is becoming a title of honour for the best members of the working class.
Such, in general, comrades, is the picture of our achievements in the sphere of Party affairs.
This does not mean, comrades, that there are no shortcomings in our Party. No, there are shortcomings, and grave ones at that. Permit me to say a few words about them.
Let us take, for example, the guidance of economic and other organisations by our Party organisations. Is all well with us in this respect? No, not all. Often we settle questions, not only in the districts, but also at the centre, by the family, domestic-circle method, so to speak. Ivan Ivanovich, a member of the top leadership of such and such an organisation, has, say, made a gross mistake and has messed things up. But Ivan Fyodorovich is reluctant to criticise him, to expose his mistakes and to correct them. He is reluctant to do so because he does not want to "make enemies." He has made a mistake, he has messed things up—what of it? Who of us does not make mistakes? Today I shall let him, Ivan Fyodorovich, off; tomorrow he will let me, Ivan Ivanovich, off; for what guarantee is there that I, too, shall not make a mistake? Everything in order and satisfactory. Peace and good will. They say that a mistake neglected is detrimental to our great cause? Never mind! We'll muddle through somehow.
Such, comrades, is the way some of our responsible workers usually argue.
But what does that mean? If we Bolsheviks, who criticise the whole world, who, in the words of Marx, are storming heaven, if we, for the sake of this or that comrade's peace of mind, abandon self-criticism, is it not obvious that that can lead only to the doom of our great cause? (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
Marx said that what, among other things, distinguishes the proletarian revolution from every other revolution is that it criticises itself and, in criticising itself, strengthens itself. 16 That is an extremely important point of Marx's. If we, the representatives of the proletarian revolution, shut our eyes to our defects, settle questions by the family-circle method, hush up each other's mistakes and drive the ulcers inwards into the organism of the Party, who will correct these mistakes, these defects?
Is it not obvious that we shall cease to be proletarian revolutionaries, and that we shall certainly perish if we fail to eradicate from our midst this philistinism, this family-circle method of settling highly important questions of our work of construction?
Is it not obvious that by refraining from honest and straightforward self-criticism, by refraining from honest and open correction of our mistakes, we close our road to progress, to the improvement of our work, to new successes in our work?
After all, our development does not proceed in the form of a smooth, all-round ascent. No, comrades, we have classes, we have contradictions within the country, we have a past, we have a present and a future, we have contradictions between them, and our onward progress cannot take the form of a smooth rocking on the waves of life. Our advance takes place in the process of struggle, in the process of the development of contradictions, in the process of overcoming these contradictions, in the process of bringing these contradictions to light and eliminating them.
As long as classes exist we shall never be in a position to say: Well, thank God, everything is all right now. We shall never be in such a position, comrades.
Something in life is always dying. But that which is dying refuses to die quietly; it fights for its existence, defends its moribund cause.
Something new in life is always being born. But that which is being born does not come into the world quietly; it comes in squealing and screaming, defending its right to existence. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
The struggle between the old and the new, between the dying and the nascent—there you have the basis of our development. By failing to note and bring to light openly and honestly, as befits Bolsheviks, the defects and mistakes in our work, we close our road to progress. But we want to go forward. And precisely because we want to go forward we must make honest and revolutionary self-criticism one of our most important tasks. Without this there is no progress. Without this there is no development.
But it is precisely along this line that things with us are still in a bad way. More than that, it is enough for us to achieve a few successes to forget about the shortcomings, to take it easy and get conceited. Two or three big successes—and already we become reckless. Another two or three big successes—and already we become conceited, we expect a "walk-over"! But the mistakes remain, the defects continue to exist, the ulcers are driven inwards into the organism of the Party and the Party begins to sicken.
A second shortcoming. It consists in introducing administrative methods in the Party, in replacing the method of persuasion, which is of decisive importance for the Party, by the method of administration. This shortcoming is a danger no less serious than the first one. Why? Because it creates the danger of our Party organisations, which are independently acting organisations, being converted into mere bureaucratic institutions. If we take into account that we have not less than 60,000 of the most active officials distributed among all sorts of economic, co-operative and state institutions, where they are fighting bureaucracy, it must be admitted that some of them, while fighting bureaucracy in those institutions, sometimes become infected with bureaucracy themselves and carry that infection into the Party organisation. And this is not our fault, comrades, but our misfortune, for that process will continue to a greater or lesser degree as long as the state exists. And precisely because that process has some roots in life, we must arm ourselves for the struggle against this shortcoming, we must raise the activity of the mass of the Party membership, draw them into the decision of questions concerning our Party leadership, systematically implant inner-Party democracy and prevent the method of persuasion in our Party practice being replaced by the method of administration.
A third shortcoming. This consists in the desire of a number of our comrades to swim with the stream, smoothly and calmly, without perspective, without looking into the future, in such a way that a festive and holiday atmosphere should be felt all around, that we should have celebration meetings every day, with applause everywhere, and that all of us should be elected in turn as honorary members of all sorts of presidiums. (Laughter, applause.)
Now it is this irresistible desire to see a festive atmosphere everywhere, this longing for decoration, for all sorts of anniversaries, necessary and unnecessary, this desire to swim with the stream without noticing where it is taking us (laughter, applause)—it is all this that forms the substance of the third shortcoming in our Party practice, the basis of the defects in our Party life.
Have you seen boatmen, rowing conscientiously, in the sweat of their brows, but not seeing where the current is carrying them? I have seen such boatmen on the Yenisei. They are honest and tireless boatmen. But the trouble is that they do not see, and refuse to see, that the current may carry them against the rocks, where doom awaits them.
The same thing happens to some of our comrades. They row conscientiously, without stopping, their boat floats smoothly with the stream, only they do not know where it is taking them, and they do not even want to know. Working without perspective, floating without sail or rudder—that is what the desire to swim with the stream necessarily leads to.
And the results? The results are obvious: first they become coated with mould, then they become drab, after that they sink into the quagmire of philistinism and subsequently turn into regular philistines. That is the path of real degeneration.
There you have, comrades, some of the shortcomings in our Party practice and in our Party life, about which I wanted to say a few bitter words to you.
And now permit me to pass to questions connected with the discussion and our so-called opposition.
Is there any sense, any value in a Party discussion?
Sometimes people say: Why on earth was this discussion started, what good is it to anyone, would it not have been better to settle the disputed questions privately, without washing dirty linen in public? That is wrong, comrades. Sometimes a discussion is absolutely necessary, and indubitably useful. The whole point is—what kind of discussion? If the discussion is conducted within comradely limits, within Party limits, if its object is honest self-criticism, criticism of shortcomings in the Party, if, therefore, it improves our work and arms the working class, then such a discussion is necessary and useful.
But there is another kind of discussion, the object of which is not to improve our common work but to worsen it; not to strengthen the Party, but to disintegrate and discredit it. Such a discussion usually leads not to the arming, but to the disarming of the proletariat. Such a discussion we do not need. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
When the opposition demanded an all-Union discussion about three months before the congress, before the Central Committee's theses had been drawn up, before the publication of those theses, it tried to thrust upon us the kind of discussion that would inevitably have facilitated the task of our enemies, the task of the enemies of the working class, the task of the enemies of our Party. That was precisely the reason why the Central Committee opposed the opposition's plans. And it is precisely because it opposed the opposition's plans that we succeeded in placing the discussion on the right lines by giving it a basis in the shape of the Central Committee's theses for the congress. Now we can say without hesitation that, on the whole, the discussion has been a gain.
As regards washing dirty linen in public, that is nonsense, comrades. We have never been, and never will be, afraid of openly criticising ourselves and our mistakes before the whole Party. The strength of Bolshevism is precisely that it is not afraid of criticism and that, in criticising its defects, it acquires the energy for making further progress. Thus, the present discussion is a sign of our Party's strength, a sign of its might.
It must not be forgotten that in every big party, especially a party like ours, which is in power, and which contains a certain proportion of peasants and civil servants, there accumulate in the course of a certain time some elements who are indifferent to questions of Party practice, who vote blindly and swim with the stream. The presence of a large number of these elements is an evil which must be combated. These elements constitute the marsh in our Party.
A discussion is an appeal to this marsh. The oppositionists appeal to it in order to win over some part of it. And they do indeed win over its worst part. The Party appeals to it in order to win over its best part to draw it into active Party life. As a result, the marsh is compelled to exercise self-determination in spite of all its inertia. And it does indeed exercise self-determination as a result of these appeals, by giving up one section of its ranks to the opposition and another to the Party, thus ceasing to exist as a marsh. In the general balance-sheet of our Party development this is an asset. As a result of our present discussion, the marsh has diminished; it has wholly ceased, or is ceasing, to exist. Herein lies the advantage of the discussion.
The results of the discussion? The results are known. Up to yesterday, it turns out, 724,000 comrades voted for the Party and a little over 4,000 voted for the opposition. Such are the results. Our oppositionists thundered that the Central Committee had become divorced from the Party, that the Party had become divorced from the class, that if "ifs" and "ans" were pots and pans they, the oppositionists, would certainly have had 99 per cent on their side. But since "ifs" and "ans" are not pots and pans, it turns out that the opposition has not even one per cent. Such are the results.
How could it happen that the Party as a whole, and after it the working class as well, so thoroughly isolated the opposition? After all, the opposition is headed by well-known people with well-known names, people who know how to advertise themselves (voices: "Quite right!"), people who are not afflicted with modesty (applause) and who are able to blow their own trumpets, to make the most of their wares.
It happened because the leading group of the opposition proved to be a group of petty-bourgeois intellectuals divorced from life, divorced irom the revolution, divorced from the Party, from the working class. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
A little while ago I spoke about the successes we have achieved in our work, about our achievements in the sphere of industry, in the sphere of trade, in the sphere of our economy as a whole, and in the sphere of foreign policy. But the opposition is not concerned with those achievements. It does not see, or does not wish to see them. It does not wish to see them partly because of its ignorance and partly because of the obstinacy characteristic of intellectuals who are divorced from life.
You will ask, what then, after all, are the disagreements between the Party and the opposition, on what questions do they disagree?
On all questions, comrades. (Voices: "Quite right!") Recently I read a statement made by a non-Party worker in Moscow, who is joining the Party, or has already joined. Here is how he formulates the disagreements between the Party and the opposition:
"Formerly we tried to find out what the Party and the opposition disagreed about. Now we cannot find out on what the opposition agrees with the Party. (Laughter, applause.) The opposition is against the Party on all questions, therefore if I sided with the opposition I would not join the Party." (Laughter, applause.) (See Izvestia, No. 264.)
You see how aptly and at the same time concisely workers are sometimes able to express themselves. I think that this is the aptest and truest characterisation of the opposition's attitude to the Party, to its ideology, its programme and its tactics.
It is precisely the fact that the opposition disagrees with the Party on all questions that makes it a group with its own ideology, its own programme, its own tactics and its own organisational principles.
The opposition possesses everything that is needed to form a new party, everything except a "trifle"—the strength to do so. (Laughter, applause.)
I could mention seven main questions on which there is disagreement between the Party and the opposition.
First. The question of the possibility of the victorious building of socialism in our country. I shall not refer to the opposition's documents and declarations on this question. Everybody is familiar with them and there is no point in repeating them. It is clear to everybody that the opposition denies the possibility of the victorious building of socialism in our country. In denying that possibility, however, it is directly and openly slipping into the position of the Mensheviks.
The opposition's line on this question is not a new one for its present leaders. It was the line taken by Kamenev and Zinoviev when they refused to go towards the October uprising. They stated plainly at the time that by making an uprising we were heading for destruction, that we must wait for the Constituent Assembly, that the conditions for socialism had not matured and would not mature soon.
Trotsky took the very same line when he went towards the uprising; for he said plainly that if a victorious proletarian revolution in the West did not bring timely assistance in the more or less near future, it would be foolish to think that a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe.
Indeed, how did Kamenev and Zinoviev on the one side, Trotsky on the other, and Lenin and the Party on the third, go towards the uprising? That is a very interesting question, about which it is worth while saying a few words, comrades.
You know that Kamenev and Zinoviev were driven towards the uprising with a stick. Lenin drove them with a stick, threatening them with expulsion from the Party (laughter, applause), and they were compelled to drag themselves to the uprising. (Laughter, applause.)
Trotsky went towards the uprising voluntarily. He did not go whole-heartedly, however, but with a slight reservation, which already at that time brought him close to Kamenev and Zinoviev. It is an interesting fact that it was precisely before the October Revolution, in June 1917, that Trotsky deemed it appropriate to publish in Petrograd a new edition of his old pamphlet A Peace Programme, as if wishing to show thereby that he was going towards the uprising under his own flag. What does he speak about in that pamphlet? In it he pole-mises with Lenin on the question of the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, considers this idea of Lenin's incorrect and asserts that we shall have to take power, but that if timely aid does not come from the victorious West-European workers it is hopeless to think that a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe, and whoever does not agree with Trotsky's criticism suffers from national narrow-mindedness.
Here is an excerpt from Trotsky's pamphlet of that time:
"Without waiting for the others, we begin and continue the struggle nationally, in the full confidence that our initiative will give an impetus to the struggle in other countries, but if this should not occur, it would be hopeless to think—as historical experience and theoretical considerations testify—that, for example, a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe". . . . "To accept the perspective of a social revolution within national bounds is to fall a prey to that very national narrow-mindedness which constitutes the essence of social-patriotism." (Trotsky, The Year 1917, Vol. III, Part 1, p. 90.)
Such, comrades, was Trotsky's slight reservation, which goes far to explain to us the roots and the subsoil of his present bloc with Kamenev and Zi-noviev.
But how did Lenin, how did the Party, go towards the uprising? Also with a slight reservation? No, Lenin and his Party went towards the uprising without any reservations. Here is an excerpt from one of Lenin's splendid articles "The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution," published abroad in September 1917:
"The victory of socialism in one country does not at one stroke altogether eliminate all war. On the contrary, it presupposes wars. The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under commodity production. From this it follows irrefutably that socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time. This is bound to create not only friction, but a direct striving on the part of the bourgeoisie of the other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the socialist state. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for socialism, for the liberation of other peoples from the bourgeoisie." (Lenin, "The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution," Notes of the Lenin Institute, Part II, p. 7. 17)
You see that we have a totally different line here. Whereas Trotsky went towards the uprising with a slight reservation that brought him close to Kamenev and Zinoviev, asserting that, taken by itself, proletarian power cannot amount to anything much if timely aid does not come from outside, Lenin, on the contrary, went to the uprising without reservations, asserting that proletarian power in our country must serve as a base for assisting the proletarians of other countries to emancipate themselves from the yoke of the bourgeoisie.
That is how the Bolsheviks went towards the October uprising, and that is why Trotsky, and Kamenev and Zinoviev found common ground in the tenth year of the October Revolution.
One could depict in the form of a dialogue the conversation between Trotsky on the one hand, and Kame-nev and Zinoviev on the other, when the opposition bloc was being formed.
Kamenev and Zinoviev to Trotsky: "So you see, dear comrade, in the end we proved to be right when we said that we ought not to go towards the October uprising, that we ought to wait for the Constituent Assembly, and so forth. Now, everybody sees that the country is degenerating, the government is degenerating, we are heading for destruction and there won't be any socialism in our country. We ought not to have gone towards the uprising. But you went to the uprising voluntarily. You made a big mistake."
Trotsky replies to them: "No, dear colleagues, you are unjust towards me. True, I went towards the uprising, but you forgot to say how I went. After all, I did not go to the uprising whole-heartedly, but with a reservation. (General laughter.) And since it is evident now that aid cannot be expected from anywhere outside, it is clear that we are heading for destruction, as I foretold at the time in A Peace Programme."
Zinoviev and Kamenev: "Yes, you may be right. We forgot about your slight reservation. It is clear now that our bloc has an ideological foundation." (General laughter. Applause.)
That is how the opposition's line of denying the possibility of victoriously building socialism in our country came into being.
What does that line signify? It signifies surrender. To whom? Obviously to the capitalist elements in our country. To whom else? To the world bourgeoisie. But the Left phrases, the revolutionary gestures—what has become of them? They have vanished. Give our opposition a good shaking, cast aside the revolutionary phraseology, and at bottom you will find that they are defeatists. (Applause.)
Second. The question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Have we the dictatorship of the proletariat or not? Rather a strange question. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, the opposition raises it in every one of its declarations. The opposition says that we are in a state of Thermidor degeneration. What does that mean? It means that we have not got the dictatorship of the proletariat, that both our economics and our politics are a failure and are going backwards, that we are not moving towards socialism, but towards capitalism. That, of course, is strange and foolish. But the opposition insists on it.
There you have, comrades, yet another divergence. It is on this that Trotsky's well-known thesis about Clemenceau is based. If the government has degenerated, or is degenerating, is it worth while sparing, defending, upholding it? Clearly, it is not worth while. If a situation arises favourable to the "removal" of such a government, if, say, the enemy comes within 80 kilometres of Moscow, is it not obvious that advantage should be taken of that situation to sweep this government away and to set up a new, Clemenceau, i.e., Trotskyist, government?
Clearly, there is nothing Leninist in this "line." It is Menshevism of the purest water. The opposition has slipped into Menshevism.
Third. The question of the bloc between the working class and the middle peasants. The opposition has all along concealed its hostility to the idea of such a bloc. Its platform, its counter-theses, are remarkable not so much for what they say as for what the opposition has tried to conceal from the working class. But a man was found, I. N. Smirnov, also one of the leaders of the opposition, who had the courage to tell the truth about the opposition, to drag it into the light of day. And what do we find? We find that we "are heading for destruction," and if we want to "save ourselves," we must go in for discord with the middle peasants. Not very clever, but clear.
Here, too, the opposition's Menshevik ears have at last become exposed for everybody to see.
Fourth. The question of the character of our revolution. If the possibility of victoriously building socialism in our country is denied, if the existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat is denied, if the necessity of a bloc between the working class and the peasantry is denied, what then remains of our revolution, of its socialist character? Obviously, nothing, absolutely nothing. The proletariat came to power, it carried the bourgeois revolution to completion, the peasantry now has nothing to do with the revolution since it has already received land, so the proletariat can now retire and make room for other classes.
There you have the opposition's line, if we delve down to the roots of the oppositionist views.
There you have all the roots of the defeatism of our opposition. No wonder the Bundist defeatist Abramo-vich praises it.
Fifth. The question of Lenin's line on the leadership of colonial revolutions. Lenin took as his starting-point the difference between imperialist countries and oppressed countries, between communist policy in imperialist countries and communist policy in colonial countries. Taking this difference as his starting-point, he said, already during the war, that the idea of defending the fatherland, which is inacceptable and counterrevolutionary for communism in imperialist countries, is quite acceptable and legitimate in oppressed countries that are waging a war of liberation against imperialism.
That is why Lenin conceded the possibility, at a certain stage and for a certain period, of a bloc and even of an alliance with the national bourgeoisie in colonial countries, if this bourgeoisie is waging war against imperialism, and if it is not hindering the Communists from training the workers and poor peasants in the spirit of communism.
The sin of the opposition here is that it has completely abandoned this line of Lenin's and has slipped into that of the Second International, which denies the expediency of supporting revolutionary wars waged by colonial countries against imperialism. And it is this that explains all the misfortunes that have befallen our opposition on the question of the Chinese revolution.
There you have yet another divergence.
Sixth. The question of united front tactics in the world working-class movement. The sin of the opposition here is that it has abandoned the Leninist tactics on the question of gradually winning the vast masses of the working class to the side of communism. The vast masses of the working class are not won over to the side of communism merely by the Party pursuing a correct policy. The Party's correct policy is a big thing, but it is by no means everything. In order that the vast masses of the working class should come over to communism, the masses themselves should become convinced through their own experience that the communist policy is correct. And for the masses to become convinced requires time, requires that the Party should work skilfully and ably in leading the masses to its positions, that the Party should work skilfully and ably to convince the vast masses that its policy is correct.
We were absolutely right in April 1917, for we knew that things were moving towards the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and to the establishment of Soviet power. But we did not yet call upon the broad masses of the working class to rise in revolt against the power of the bourgeoisie. Why? Because the masses had not yet had the opportunity to become convinced that our absolutely correct policy was correct. Only when the petty-bourgeois Socialist-Revolutionary and Men-shevik parties had utterly discredited themselves on the fundamental questions of the revolution, only when the masses began to be convinced that our policy was correct, only then did we lead the masses to the uprising. And it is precisely because we led the masses to the uprising at the proper time that we achieved victory then.
There you have the roots of the united front idea. Lenin put the united front tactics into operation precisely for the purpose of helping the vast masses of the working class in the capitalist countries, who are infected with the prejudices of the Social-Democratic policy of compromise, to learn from their own experience that the Communists' policy is correct, and to pass to the side of communism.
The sin of the opposition is that it utterly repudiates these tactics. At one time it was infatuated, stupidly and unwisely infatuated, with the tactics of the united front, and it enthusiastically welcomed the conclusion of an agreement with the General Council in Britain, believing that that agreement was "one of the surest guarantees of peace," "one of the surest guarantees against intervention," one of the surest means of "rendering reformism in Europe harmless" (see Zinoviev's report to the Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)). But when its hopes of rendering reformism "harmless" through the aid of the Purcells and Hickses were cruelly dashed to the ground, it rushed to the other extreme and utterly repudiated the idea of united front tactics.
There you have, comrades, yet another divergence demonstrating the opposition's complete abandonment of the Leninist united front tactics.
Seventh. The question of the Leninist Party principle, of Leninist unity in the C.P.S.U.(B.) and in the Comintern. Here, the opposition utterly abandons the Leninist organisational line and takes the path of organising a second party, the path of organising a new International.
There you have seven main questions, showing that on all of them the opposition has slipped into Menshevism.
Can these Menshevik views of the opposition be regarded as compatible with our Party's ideology, with our Party's programme, with its tactics, with the tactics of the Comintern, with the organisational line of Leninism?
Under no circumstances; not for a single moment!
You will ask: how could such an opposition come into being among us, where are its social roots? I think that the social roots of the opposition lie in the fact of the ruin of the urban petty-bourgeois strata in the circumstances of our development, in the fact that these strata are discontented with the regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the striving of these strata to change that regime, to "improve" it in the direction of establishing bourgeois democracy.
I have already said that as a result of our progress, as a result of the growth of our industry, as a result of the growth of the relative importance of the socialist forms of economy, a section of the petty bourgeoisie, particularly of the urban bourgeoisie, is being ruined and is going under. The opposition reflects the grumbling of these strata and their discontent with the regime of the proletarian revolution.
Such are the social roots of the opposition.
What is to be done now with the opposition?
Before passing to this question I should like to tell you the story of an experiment in joint work with Trotsky that Kamenev made in 1910. This is a very interesting question, the more so as it could give us some clue to the proper approach to the question raised. In 1910 a plenum of our Central Committee was held abroad. It discussed the question of the relations between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, and Trotsky in particular (we were then a part of one party that included the Mensheviks, and we called ourselves a group). The plenum decided in favour of conciliation with the Men-sheviks and, consequently, with Trotsky, in spite of Lenin, in opposition to Lenin. Lenin was left in the minority. But what about Kamenev? Kamenev undertook to co-operate with Trotsky. His co-operation was with Lenin's knowledge and consent, because Lenin wanted to prove to Kamenev by experience that it was harmful and impermissible to co-operate with Trotsky against Bolshevism.
Listen to what Kamenev relates about this:
"In 1910, the majority of our group made an attempt at conciliation and agreement with Comrade Trotsky. Vladimir Ilyich was strongly opposed to this attempt and, 'as a punishment,' as it were, for my persistence in the attempt to reach agreement with Trotsky, insisted that I should be the one sent by the Central Committee as its representative on the editorial board of Comrade Trotsky's newspaper. By the autumn of 1910—having worked on this editorial board for several months—I was convinced that Vladimir Ilyich was right in his opposition to my 'conciliatory' line, and with his consent I resigned from the editorial board of Comrade Trotsky's organ. Our rupture with Comrade Trotsky at that time was marked by a series of sharply-worded articles in the Central Organ of the Party. It was at that time that Vladimir Ilyich suggested to me that I should write a pamphlet summing up our disagreements with the Menshevik-Liquidators and with Comrade Trotsky. "You have made an experiment at agreement with the extreme Left (Trotskyist) wing of the anti-Bolshevik groups, you have become convinced that agreement is impossible, and so you must write a summarising pamphlet,' Vladimir Ilyich said to me. Naturally, Vladimir Ilyich particularly insisted that precisely on the subject of the relations between Bolshevism and what we then called Trotskyism everything should be told . . . to the very end." (L. Kamenev's preface to his pamphlet Two Parties.)
What were the results of this? Listen further:
"The experiment in joint work with Trotsky—which, I make bold to say, I performed with sincerity, as is proved precisely by the way Trotsky is now exploiting my letters and private conversations—showed that conciliation irresistibly slips into defence of Liq-uidationism and definitely takes the side of the latter." (L. Kame-nev, Two Parties.)
"Oh, had 'Trotskyism' been victorious as a mood in the Party, what a clear field there would have been for Liquidationism, for Ot-zovism, and for all the trends that were fighting the Party" (ibid.).
There, comrades, you have an experiment in joint work with Trotsky. (A voice: "An instructive experiment.") Kamenev, at the time, described the results of that experiment in a special pamphlet that was published in 1911 under the title Two Parties. I have no doubt that this pamphlet was very useful to all those comrades who still harboured illusions about co-operation with Trotsky.
And now I would ask: would not Kamenev try to write another pamphlet, also bearing the title Two Parties, about his present experiment in co-operating with Trotsky? (General laughter. Applause.) Perhaps there would be some use in his doing so. Of course, I can give Kamenev no guarantee that Trotsky will not now use his letters and intimate conversations against him as he did then. (General laughter.) But it is scarcely worth while being afraid of that. At all events, a choice has to be made: either to be afraid that Trotsky will use Kamenev's letters and divulge his secret conversations with Trotsky, in which case the danger arises of being outside the Party; or to cast off all fear and remain in the Party.
That is how the question stands now, comrades: one thing or the other.
It is said that the opposition intends to present to the congress some kind of a declaration to the effect that it, the opposition, submits and will in future submit to all Party decisions (a voice: "Just as it did in October 1926?"), dissolve its faction (a voice: "We have heard that twice!") and defend its views, which it does not renounce (voices: "Oh!" "No, we had better dissolve it ourselves!"), within the framework of the Party Rules. (Voices: "With slight reservations." "Our framework is not made of rubber.")
I think, comrades, that nothing will come of this. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.) We too, comrades, have made some experiment with declarations (applause), we made an experiment with two declarations (voices: "Quite right!"), that of October 16, 1926 and that of August 8, 1927. What did that experiment lead to? Although I do not intend to write a pamphlet Two Parties, I make bold to say that that experiment led to the most negative results (voices: "Quite right!"), to the deception of the Party on two occasions, to the slackening of Party discipline. What grounds has the opposition now for demanding that we, the congress of a great Party, the congress of Lenin's Party, should take its word after such an experiment? (Voices: "It would be foolishness." "Whoever does so will get into trouble.")
It is said that they are also raising the question of the reinstatement in the Party of those who have been expelled. (Voices: "That won't come off." "Let them go into the Menshevik marsh.") I think, comrades, that that, too, will not come off. (Prolonged applause.)
Why did the Party expel Trotsky and Zinoviev? Because they are the organisers of the entire work of the anti-Party opposition (voices: "Quite right!), because they set out to break the laws of the Party, because they thought that nobody would dare to touch them, because they wanted to create for themselves the position of a nobility in the Party.
But do we want to have a privileged nobility and an unprivileged peasantry in the Party? Shall we Bolsheviks, who uprooted the nobility, restore them now in our Party? (Applause.)
You ask: why did we expel Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party? Because we do not want a nobility in the Party. Because there is a single law in our Party, and all members of the Party have equal rights. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.)
If the opposition wants to be in the Party let it submit to the will of the Party, to its laws, to its instructions, without reservations, without equivocation. If it does not want to do that—let it go where it will find more freedom. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.) We do not want new laws providing privileges for the opposition, and we will not create them. (Applause.)
The question is raised about conditions. We make only one condition: the opposition must disarm wholly and entirely, both ideologically and organisationally. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.)
It must renounce its anti-Bolshevik views openly and honestly, before the whole world. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.)
It must brand the mistakes it has committed, mistakes which have grown into crimes against the Party, openly and honestly, before the whole world.
It must surrender its units to us in order that the Party may be able to dissolve them so that nothing is left. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.)
Either that, or let them go out of the Party. And if they do not go out, we shall throw them out. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.)
That is how the matter stands with the opposition, comrades.
I am concluding, comrades.
What is the general summary for the period under review? It is as follows:
1) we have maintained peace with the surrounding states, in spite of enormous difficulties, in spite of the provocative attacks of the bourgeoisie of the "great powers";
2) we have strengthened the link between the working class of the U.S.S.R. and the workers in the imperialist countries and in the colonies, in spite of a multitude of obstacles, in spite of the ocean of slander poured out against us by the venal, hundred-mouthed bourgeois press;
3) we have raised the prestige of the proletarian dictatorship among the vast masses of the working people in all parts of the world;
4) we, as a party, have helped the Comintern and its sections to increase their influence in all countries in the world;
5) we have done everything one party can do to develop and accelerate the world revolutionary movement;
6) we have raised further our socialist industry, establishing for it a record rate of development and consolidating its hegemony in the entire national economy;
7) we have established a bond between socialist industry and peasant economy;
8) we have strengthened the alliance between the working class and the middle peasants, while relying on the peasant poor;
9) we have strengthened the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country, in spite of the hostile international encirclement, and have shown the workers of all countries that the proletariat is able not only to destroy capitalism, but also to build socialism;
10) we have strengthened the Party, upheld Leninism and utterly routed the opposition.
Such is the general summary.
What is the conclusion? Only one conclusion can be drawn: we are on the right road; our Party's policy is correct. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
And from this it follows that, continuing along this road, we shall certainly achieve the victory of socialism in our country, the victory of socialism in all countries. (Prolonged applause.)
But that does not mean that we shall not encounter difficulties on our road. There will be difficulties. But difficulties do not daunt us, for we are Bolsheviks who have been steeled in the fire of revolution.
There will be difficulties. But we shall surmount them, as we have surmounted them up to now, for we are Bolsheviks, who have been wrought by Lenin's iron Party in order to combat difficulties and surmount them, and not to whine and moan.
And precisely because we are Bolsheviks we shall certainly be victorious.
Comrades! Forward to the victory of communism in our country, to the victory of communism all over the world! (Stormy and prolonged applause. All rise and give Comrade Stalin an ovation. The "Internationale" is sung.)
Comrades, after the speeches delivered by a whole series of delegates, there is little left for me to say. Concerning the speeches of Yevdokimov and Muralov I cannot say anything of their substance, for they provide no material for that. Only one thing could be said about them: Allah, forgive them their trespasses, for they know not what they are talking about. (Laughter, applause?) I should like to deal with the speeches delivered by Rakovsky and, particularly, Kamenev, whose speech was the most hypocritical and lying of all the speeches of the oppositionists. (Voices: "Quite right!")
a) Concerning foreign policy. I think that it was to no purpose that Rakovsky touched upon the question of war and foreign policy here. Everybody knows that at the Moscow conference Rakovsky made a fool of himself on the question of war. Evidently, he came here and took the floor in order to correct that stupidity, but he made an even bigger fool of himself. (Laughter.) I think it would have been better for Rakovsky not to say anything about foreign policy.
b) Concerning Left and Right. Rakovsky asserts that the opposition is the Left sector of our Party. That is enough to make a cat laugh, comrades. Obviously, such statements are made for political bankrupts to console themselves with. It has been proved that the opposition is the Menshevik wing of our Party, that the opposition has slipped into Menshevism, that, objectively, the opposition has become a tool of the bourgeois elements. All this has been proved over and over again. How then can there be any talk here about the opposition's Leftism? How can a Menshevik group which, objectively, has become a tool of the "third force," of the bourgeois elements, how can such a group be more Left than the Bolsheviks? Is it not obvious that the opposition is the Right, Menshevik wing of the C.P.S.U.(B.)? Evidently, Rakovsky has got himself thoroughly mixed up and has confused the right with the left. Do you remember Gogol's Selifan?—"Oh you, dirty legs. . . . You don't know which is right and which is left!"
c) Concerning the opposition' s assistance. Rakovsky says that the opposition is prepared to support the Party if the imperialists attack us. How generous, to be sure! They, a tiny group, scarcely half of one per cent of our Party, graciously promise to assist us if the imperialists attack our country. We have no faith in your assistance, and we don't need it! We ask only one thing of you: Don't hinder us, stop hindering us! All the rest we shall do ourselves, you can be sure of that. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
d) Concerning "signalmen." Rakovsky states further that the opposition is signalling to us about the dangers, the difficulties, the "destruction" facing our country. Fine "signalmen," indeed, who want to save the Party from "destruction" when they themselves are rushing to their doom and really need saving! They can barely keep on their feet themselves and yet want to save others! Isn't it ridiculous, comrades? (Laughter.)
Picture to yourselves a tiny boat at sea, barely able to keep afloat, ready to founder at any moment, and picture to yourselves a magnificent steamship powerfully cutting the waves and confidently making headway. What would you say if this tiny boat thrust itself forward to save the huge steamship? (Laughter.) It would be more than ridiculous, would it not? That is exactly the position the "signalmen" of our opposition are in now. They are signalling to us about dangers, difficulties, "destruction," and what not, but they themselves are sinking, they do not realise that they have already gone to the bottom.
Speaking of themselves as "signalmen," the oppositionists thereby lay claim to the leadership of the Party, of the working class, of the country. The question is— on what grounds? Have they, the oppositionists, given any practical proof that they are capable of leading anything, let alone the Party, the class, the country? Is it not a fact that the opposition, headed by people like Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, has been leading its group for two years already and that, by their leadership, the leaders of the opposition have brought it to complete bankruptcy? Is it not a fact that during these two years the opposition has led its group from defeat to defeat? What does this show if not that the leaders of the opposition are bankrupt, that their leadership has proved to be leadership to defeat, not to victory? But since the leaders of the opposition failed in a small matter, what grounds are there for thinking that they will be successful in a big one? Is it not obvious that people who have gone bankrupt in leading a small group cannot possibly be entrusted with the leadership of such a big thing as the Party, the working class, the country?
That is what our "signalmen" refuse to understand.
I pass on to Kamenev's speech. That speech was the most lying, hypocritical, fraudulent and scoundrelly of all the opposition speeches delivered here, from this rostrum. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
a) Two faces in one person. The first thing Kamenev tried to do in his speech was to cover up his tracks. The representatives of the Party spoke here about our Party's achievements, about our successes in construction, about the improvement in our work, etc. Further, they spoke of the Menshevik sins of the oppositionists, of their having slipped into Menshevism by denying the possibility of successfully building socialism in our country, denying the existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R., denying the expediency of the policy of alliance between the working class and the middle peasants, spreading slanders about a Thermidor, etc. Lastly, they said that these views of the opposition are incompatible with membership of our Party, that the opposition must abandon these Menshevik views if it wants to remain in the Party.
Well? Kamenev could think of nothing better than to evade these questions, to cover up his tracks and pass on. He was asked about vital questions of our programme, our policy, our work of construction; but he evaded them, as if they did not concern him. Can this behaviour of Kamenev's be called a serious attitude towards the matter? How is this behaviour of the opposi tion to be explained? It can be explained only by one thing: the desire to deceive the Party, to lull its vigilance, to fool the Party once again.
The opposition has two faces: a hypocritically genial one, and a Menshevik anti-revolutionary one. It shows the Party its hypocritically genial face when the Party puts pressure on it and demands that it should abandon its factionalism, its splitting policy. It shows its Menshe-vik anti-revolutionary face when it sets out to appeal to the non-proletarian forces, when it sets out to appeal to the "street" against the Party, against the Soviet regime. Just now, as you see, it has turned its hypocritically genial face to us in the endeavour to deceive the Party once again. That is why Kamenev tried to cover up his tracks by evading the highly important questions on which we disagree. Can this duplicity, this double-facedness, be tolerated any longer?
One thing or the other: either the opposition wants to talk seriously to the Party, in which case it must throw off its mask; or it intends to keep its two faces, in which case it will find itself outside the Party. (Voices: "Quite right!")
b) Concerning the traditions of Bolshevism. Kamenev asserts that there is nothing in the traditions of our Party, in the traditions of Bolshevism, that justifies the demand that a member of the Party should give up certain views that are incompatible with our Party's ideology, with our programme. Is that correct? Of course not. More than that, it is a lie, comrades!
Is it not a fact that all of us, including Kamenev, expelled Myasnikov and the Myasnikovites from the Party? Why did we expel them? Because their Men-shevik views were incompatible with the Party's views.
Is it not a fact that all of us, including Kamenev, expelled part of the "Workers' Opposition" from the Party? Why did we expel it? Because its Menshevik views were incompatible with our Party's views.
Why were Ossovsky and Dashkovsky expelled from the Party? Why were Maslow, Ruth Fischer, Katz and others expelled from the Comintern? Because their views were incompatible with the ideology of the Comintern, with the ideology of the C.P.S.U.(B.).
Our Party would not be a Leninist Party if it permitted the existence of anti-Leninist elements within our organisations. If this were permitted, then why not bring the Mensheviks into our Party? What is to be done with people who, while in the ranks of our Party, have slipped into Menshevism and propagate their anti-Leninist views? What can there be in common between the Leninist Party and such people? Kamenev slanders our Party, abandons the traditions of our Party, abandons the traditions of Bolshevism by asserting that we can tolerate within our Party people who profess and preach Menshevik views. And it is precisely because Kamenev, and the entire opposition with him, trample upon the revolutionary traditions of our Party that the Party demands that the opposition should abandon its anti-Leninist views.
c) The opposition' s pretended devotion to principle. Kamenev asserts that it is difficult for him and the other oppositionists to abandon their views because they are accustomed to defend their views in the Bolshevik manner. He says that it would be unprincipled on the part of the opposition to abandon its views. It appears, then, that the leaders of the opposition are men of high principle. Is that true, comrades? Do the leaders of the opposition really value their principles, their views, their convictions so highly? It does not seem like it, comrades. It does not seem like it, bearing in mind the history of the formation of the opposition bloc. (Laughter.) The very opposite is the case. History shows, facts show, that nobody has jumped so easily from one set of principles to another, nobody has changed his views so easily and freely as the leaders of our opposition have done. Why, then, should they not give up their views now, too, if the interests of the Party demand it?
Here are some examples from the history of Trotskyism.
It is well known that Lenin, mustering the Party, convened a conference of Bolsheviks in Prague in 1912. It is well known that that conference was of very great importance in the history of our Party, for it drew a dividing line between the Bolsheviks and the Menshe-viks and united the Bolshevik organisations all over the country into a single Bolshevik Party.
It is well known that in that same year, 1912, a Men-shevik conference of the August bloc, headed by Trotsky, took place. Further, it is well known that that conference proclaimed war on the Bolshevik conference and called upon the workers' organisations to liquidate Lenin's Party. What did the conference of Trotsky's August bloc accuse the Prague Bolshevik conference of at that time? Of all the mortal sins. It accused it of usurpation, sectarianism, of organising a "coup d'etat" in the Party, and the devil knows what else.
Here is what the conference of the August bloc said at that time about the Bolshevik conference in Prague in its statement to the Second International:
"The conference declares that that conference (the Bolshevik conference in Prague in 1912—J. St.) is an open attempt of a group of persons, who have quite deliberately led the Party to a split, to usurp the Party's flag, and it expresses its profound regret that several Party organisations and comrades have fallen victims to this deception and have thereby facilitated the splitting and usurpatory policy of Lenin's sect. The conference expresses its conviction that all the Party organisations in Russia and abroad will protest against the coup d'etat that has been brought about, will refuse to recognise the central bodies elected at that conference, and will by every means help to restore the unity of the Party by the convocation of a genuine all-Party conference." (From the statement of the August bloc to the Second International, published in Vorwdrts, March 26, 1912.)
As you see, everything is here: Lenin's sect, usurpation, and a "coup d'etat" in the Party.
And what happened? A few years passed—and Trotsky abandoned those views of his about the Bolshevik Party. He not only abandoned his views, but crawled on his belly to the Bolshevik Party, joining it as one of its active members. (Laughter.)
What grounds are there for assuming, after all this, that Trotsky and the Trotskyists will not be able once again to abandon their views about Thermidor tendencies in our Party, about usurpation, etc.?
Another example from the same sphere.
It is known that at the end of 1924, Trotsky published a pamphlet entitled The Lessons of October. It is known that in this pamphlet Trotsky described Kamenev and Zinoviev as the Right, semi-Menshevik wing of our Party. It is known that Trotsky's pamphlet was the cause of a whole discussion in our Party. And what happened? Only about a year passed—and Trotsky abandoned his views and proclaimed that Zinoviev and Kamenev were not the Right wing of our Party but its Left, revolutionary wing.
Another example, this time from the history of the Zinoviev group. It is known that Zinoviev and Kamenev have written a whole pile of pamphlets against Trotskyism. It is known that as far back as 1925 Zinoviev and Kamenev declared, together with the whole Party, that Trotskyism is incompatible with Leninism. It is known that both Zinoviev and Kamenev, together with the whole Party, carried resolutions, both at the congresses of our Party and at the Fifth Congress of the Comintern, about Trotskyism being a petty-bourgeois deviation. And what happened? Less than a year passed after that before they renounced their views and proclaimed that Trotsky's group was a genuinely Leninist and revolutionary group within our Party. (A voice: "A mutual amnesty!")
Such, comrades, are the facts, many more of which could be quoted if desired.
Is it not obvious from this that the high devotion to principle of the leaders of the opposition that Kamenev tells us about here is a fairy-tale that has nothing in common with reality?
Is it not obvious that nobody in our Party has managed to renounce his principles so easily and freely as Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev? (Laughter.) The question arises: what grounds are there for assuming that the leaders of the opposition, who have abandoned their principles and their views several times already, will not be able to abandon them once again?
Is it not obvious that our demand that the opposition should abandon its Menshevik views is not as harsh for the leaders of the opposition as Kamenev tries to make out? (Laughter.) This is not the first time they have had to abandon their views, so why should they not abandon them just once again? (Laughter.)
d) Either the Party, or the opposition. Kamenev asserts that it is wrong to require the oppositionists to abandon certain views of theirs which have become incompatible with the Party's ideology and programme. I have already shown how foolish this assertion of Kamenev's is, bearing in mind the opposition bloc's past and present. But let us assume for a moment that Kamenev is right. What will the position be then? Can the Party, our Party, abandon its views, convictions, principles? Can our Party be required to abandon its views, its principles? The Party has arrived at the definite conviction that the opposition must abandon its anti-Leninist views, that if it does not do so it will be sent flying out of the Party. If it is wrong to require the opposition to abandon its convictions, why is it right to require the Party to abandon its views and convictions about the opposition? According to Kamenev, however, the opposition cannot abandon its anti-Leninist views, but the Party must abandon its view that the opposition cannot be allowed to remain in our Party unless the opposition abandons its anti-Leninist views. Where is the logic in this? (Laughter, applause.)
Kamenev asserts that the oppositionists are courageous men who stand up for their convictions to the last. I have little belief in the courage and devotion to principle of the leaders of the opposition. I have especially little belief in the courage, for example, of Zinoviev or Kamenev (laughter), who abuse Trotsky one day and embrace him the next. (A voice: "They are accustomed to play leap-frog.") But let us assume for a moment that the leaders of our opposition have retained some modicum of courage and devotion to principle. What grounds are there for assuming that the Party is less courageous and devoted to principle than, say, Zinoviev, Kamenev or Trotsky? What grounds are there for assuming that the Party will more easily abandon its convictions about the opposition, its conviction that the latter's Menshevik views are incompatible with the Party's ideology and programme, than that the leaders of the opposition will abandon their views, which they change every now and again like gloves? (Laughter.)
Is it not clear from this that Kamenev is requiring the Party to abandon its views about the opposition and the latter's Menshevik mistakes? Is not Kamenev going too far? Will he not agree that it is dangerous to go so far?
The question is this: either the Party, or the opposition. Either the opposition abandons its anti-Leninist views; or it does not do so—in which case not even the memory of it will remain in the Party. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
e) The opposition has broken away from the traditions of Bolshevism. Kamenev asserts that there is nothing in Bolshevik traditions that justifies the demand that members of the Party should abandon their views. Speakers here have fully proved that is not correct. Facts confirm that Kamenev is telling a downright untruth.
But the question is: is there in Bolshevik traditions any instance of what the opposition permits itself to do and continues doing? The opposition organised a faction and converted it into a party within our Bolshevik Party. But who has ever heard that Bolshevik traditions permitted anybody to commit such an outrageous act? How can one talk about Bolshevik traditions while at the same time bringing about a split in the Party and the formation of a new, anti-Bolshevik party within it?
Further. The opposition organised an illegal printing press, entering into a bloc with bourgeois intellectuals, who, in their turn, were found to be in a bloc with avowed whiteguards. The question arises: how can one talk about the traditions of Bolshevism when one permits such an outrageous act, which borders on downright treachery to the Party and the Soviet regime?
Lastly, the opposition organised an anti-Party, anti-Soviet demonstration, appealing to the "street," appealing to non-proletarian elements. But how can one talk about Bolshevik traditions when one appeals to the "street" against one's own Party, against one's own Soviet regime? Who has ever heard that Bolshevik traditions permitted such an outrageous act, which borders on downright counter-revolution?
Is it not obvious that Kamenev speaks of the traditions of Bolshevism in order to screen his rupture with those traditions in the interests of his anti-Bolshevik group?
The opposition gained nothing from its appeal to the "street" because the opposition proved to be an insignificant coterie. That was not its fault but its misfortune. And what if the opposition had a little more strength behind it? Is it not obvious that its appeal to the "street" would have turned into an open putsch against the Soviet regime? Is it difficult to understand that, in essence, this attempt of the opposition's differed in no way from the well-known attempt of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries in 1918? (Voices: "Quite right!") By rights, for those attempts we ought to have arrested all the active members of the opposition on November 7. (Voices: "Quite right!" Prolonged applause.) We did not do so only because we took pity on them, we displayed magnanimity and wanted to give them an opportunity to come to their senses. But they interpreted our magnanimity as weakness.
Is it not obvious that Kamenev's talk about Bolshevik traditions is empty and deceitful talk intended to screen the opposition's rupture with the traditions of Bolshevism?
f) Concerning sham unity and genuine unity. Kamenev gave us a song here about unity. He positively warbled, begging the Party to come to the rescue and establish unity "at all costs." They, the leaders of the opposition, don't you see, are opposed to the two-party policy. They, don't you see, are in favour of Party unity "at all costs." And yet, we know for certain that at the very moment that Kamenev was singing about Party unity here, his supporters were passing resolutions at their secret meetings to the effect that the opposition's declaration on unity was a manoeuvre designed to preserve its forces and enable its splitting policy to be continued. On the one hand, the opposition sings about Party unity at the congress of the Leninist Party. On the other hand, the opposition works underground to split the Party, to organise a second party, to undermine Party unity. That is what they call unity "at all costs." Is it not time to stop this criminal, swindling game?
Kamenev talked about unity. Unity with whom? Unity with the Party, or with Shcherbakov? Is it not time to understand that Leninists and Messieurs the Shcherbakovs cannot be united in one Party?
Kamenev talked about unity. Unity with whom? With Maslow and Souvarine, or with the Comintern and the C.P.S.U.(B.)? Is it not time to understand that one cannot speak of unity with the C.P.S.U.(B.) and the Comintern while persisting in unity with the Maslows and Souvarines? Is it not time to understand that it is impossible to unite Leninist views with the opposition's Menshevik views?
Unite Lenin and Abramovich? No thank you, comrades! It is time to stop this swindling game.
That is why I think that Kamenev's talk about unity "at all costs" is a hypocritical game intended to deceive the Party.
We need genuine unity and not playing at unity. Have we genuine, Leninist unity in our Party? Yes, we have. When 99 per cent of our Party vote for the Party and against the opposition, that is real, genuine, proletarian unity such as we have not had in our Party before. Here you have the Party Congress, at which there is not a single opposition delegate. (Applause.) What is that if not the unity of our Leninist Party? That is what we call the Leninist unity of the Bolshevik Party.
g) "Finish with the opposition!" The Party has done all that could possibly be done to put the opposition on the Leninist road. The Party has displayed the utmost leniency and magnanimity to enable the opposition to come to its senses and rectify its mistakes. The Party has called upon the opposition to renounce its anti-Leninist views openly and honestly, before the whole Party. The Party has called upon the opposition to admit its mistakes and denounce them in order to free itself of them once and for all. The Party has called upon the opposition completely to disarm, both ideologically and organisationally.
What is the Party's object in doing so? Its object is to finish with the opposition and to pass on to positive work. Its object is to liquidate the opposition at last and obtain the opportunity to get right down to our great work of construction.
Lenin said at the Tenth Congress: "We do not want an opposition now . . . we must now put an end to the opposition, finish with it, we have had enough of oppositions now!" 18
The Party wants this slogan of Lenin's to be put into effect at last in the ranks of our Party. (Prolonged applause.)
If the opposition disarms—well and good. If it refuses to disarm—we shall disarm it ourselves. (Voices: "Quite right!" Applause.)
From Kamenev's speech it is evident that the opposition does not intend to disarm completely. The opposition's declaration of December 3 indicates the same thing. Evidently, the opposition prefers to be outside the Party. Well, let it be outside the Party. There is nothing terrible, or exceptional, or surprising, in the fact that they prefer to be outside the Party, that they are cutting themselves off from the Party. If you study the history of our Party you will find that always, at certain serious turns taken by our Party, a certain section of the old leaders fell out of the cart of the Bolshevik Party and made room for new people. A turn is a serious thing, comrades. A turn is dangerous for those who do not sit firmly in the Party cart. Not everybody can keep his balance when a turn is made. You turn the cart—and on looking round you find that somebody has fallen out. (Applause.)
Let us take 1903, the period of the Second Congress of our Party. That was the period of the Party's turn from agreement with the liberals to a mortal struggle against the liberal bourgeoisie, from preparing for the struggle against tsarism to open struggle against it for completely routing tsarism and feudalism. At that time the Party was headed by the six: Plekhanov, Zasulich, Martov, Lenin, Axelrod and Potresov. The turn proved fatal to five out of the six. They fell out of the cart. Lenin alone remained. (Applause.) It turned out that the old leaders of the Party, the founders of the Party (Ple-khanov, Zasulich and Axelrod) plus two young ones (Martov and Potresov) were against one, also a young one, Lenin. If only you knew how much howling, weeping and wailing there was then that the Party was doomed, that the Party would not hold out, that nothing could be done without the old leaders. The howling and wailing subsided, however, but the facts remained. And the facts were that precisely thanks to the departure of the five the Party succeeded in getting on to the right road. It is now clear to every Bolshevik that if Lenin had not waged a resolute struggle against the five, if the five had not been pushed aside, our Party could not have rallied as a Bolshevik Party capable of leading the proletarians to the revolution against the bourgeoisie. (Voices: "That's true!")
Let us take the next period, the period 1907-08. That was the period of our Party's turn from open revolutionary struggle against tsarism to flanking methods of struggle, to the use of all kinds of legal possibilities —from insurance funds to the floor of the Duma. It was the period of retreat after we had been defeated in the 1905 Revolution. This turn required of us that we should master new methods of struggle in order, after mustering our forces, to resume the open revolutionary struggle against tsarism. But this turn proved fatal to a number of old Bolsheviks. Alexinsky fell out of the cart. At one time he was quite a good Bolshevik. Bogdanov fell out. He was one of the most prominent leaders of our Party. Rozhkov—a former member of the Central Committee of our Party—fell out. And so forth. There was, perhaps, at that time no less howling and wailing that the Party would perish than in 1903. The howling, however, subsided but the facts remained. And the facts showed that the Party would not have been able to get on to the right road under the new conditions of struggle had it not purged itself of the people who were wavering and hindering the cause of the revolution. What was Lenin's object at that time? He had only one object: to rid the Party of the unstable and whining elements as quickly as possible, so that they should not get in our way. (Applause.) That is how our Party grew, comrades. Our Party is a living organism like every organism, it undergoes a process of metabolism: the old and obsolete passes away (applause), the new and growing lives and develops. (Applause.) Some go away, both at the top and at the bottom. New ones grow, both at the top and at the bottom, and lead the cause forward. That is how our Party grew. That is how it will continue to grow.
The same must be said about the present period of our revolution. We are in the period of a turn from the restoration of industry and agriculture to the reconstruction of the entire national economy, to its reconstruction on a new technical basis, when the building of socialism is no longer merely in prospect, but a living, practical matter, which calls for the surmounting of extremely great difficulties of an internal and external character.
You know that this turn has proved fatal to the leaders of our opposition, who were scared by the new difficulties and intended to turn the Party in the direction of surrender. And if certain leaders, who do not want to sit firmly in the cart, now fall out, it is nothing to be surprised at. It will merely rid the Party of people who are getting in its way and hindering its progress. Evidently, they seriously want to free themselves from our Party cart. Well, if some of the old leaders who are turning into trash intend to fall out of the cart— a good riddance to them! (Stormy and prolonged applause. The whole congress rises and gives Comrade Stalin an ovation.)
Pravda, Nos. 279, 282 December 6 and 9, 1927
1. The Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) took place in Moscow, December 2-19, 1927. The congress discussed the political and organisational reports of the Central Committee, the reports of the Central Auditing Commission, of the Central Control Commission and Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, and of the C.P.S.U.(B.) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern; it also discussed the directives for the drawing up of a five-year plan for the development of the national economy and a report on work in the countryside; it heard the report of the congress commission on the question of the opposition and elected the central bodies of the Party. On December 3, J. V. Stalin delivered the political report of the Central Committee of the C.P. S.U.(B.) and on December 7 he replied to the discussion. On December 12, the congress elected J. V. Stalin a member of the commission for drafting the resolution on the report about the work of the C.P.S.U.(B.) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern. The congress approved the political and organisational line of the Party's Central Committee and instructed it to continue to pursue a policy of peace and of strengthening the defence capacity of the U.S.S.R., to continue with unrelaxing tempo the socialist industrialisation of the country, to extend and strengthen the socialist sector in town and countryside and to steer a course towards eliminating the capitalist elements from the national economy. The congress passed a resolution calling for the fullest development of the collectivisation of agriculture, outlined a plan for the extension of collective farms and state farms and indicated the methods of fighting for the collectivisation of agriculture. The Fifteenth Congress has gone into the history of the Party as the Collectivisation of Agriculture Congress. It gave in-structions for the drawing up of the First Five-Year Plan for the Development of the National Economy of the U.S.S.R. In its decisions on the opposition directed towards the liquidation of the Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc, the congress noted that the disagreements between the Party and the opposition had developed into programmatic disagreements, that the Trotskyist opposition had taken the path of anti-Soviet struggle, and declared that adherence to the Trotskyist opposition and the propagation of its views were incompatible with membership of the Bolshevik Party. The congress approved the decision of the joint meeting of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the C.P.S.U.(B.) of November 1927 to expel Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party and decided to expel from the Party all active members of the Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc. (On the Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1954, pp. 447-49. For the resolutions and decisions of the congress, see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 313-71.)
2. This refers to the grain crops: wheat, rye, barley, oats and maize.
3. J. V. Stalin, Political Report of the Central Committee to the Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), December 18, 1925 (see Works, Vol. 7, pp. 267-361).
4. This refers to the declaration of bankers, industrialists and merchants of the United States, Britain and other countries, published in October 1926, calling for the removal of the tariff barriers set up by the European states. Actually, it was an attempt on the part of Anglo-American finance capital to establish its hegemony in Europe.
5. The World's Work — a magazine that expressed the views of the ruling circles of the big bourgeoisie of the United States, published in Garden City, New York State, from 1899 to 1932.
6. The tripartite conference on the reduction of naval armaments took place in Geneva, from June 20 to August 4, 1927.
7. On November 30, 1927, the fourth session was opened in Geneva of the League of Nations Preparatory Commission for the forthcoming conference on disarmament. The Soviet delegation made a declaration at the session proposing a programme of universal and total disarmament. The Soviet disarmament project was rejected.
8. The "Locarno system"—a system of treaties and agreements concluded by the imperialist states at a conference held in Locarno, Switzerland, October 5-16, 1925, for the purpose of consolidating the post-war order in Europe created by the Versailles Peace Treaty and of utilising Germany against the Soviet Union. (On the Locarno Conference, see J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 7, pp. 277-78, 279-80.)
9. This refers to the assassination by a Serbian nationalist of the Austrian Crown Prince, Francis-Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, which served as the ostensible reason for unleashing the world imperialist war of 1914-18.
10. The Trade-Union Act passed by the Conservative Government of Britain in 1927 encouraged strike-breaking, restricted the right of the trade unions to collect dues for political purposes, and prohibited civil servants from belonging to trade unions affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party. The Act authorised the government to ban any strike.
11. The law on "arming the nation," passed by the French Chamber of Deputies in March 1927, was part of a general plan for the reorganisation of the war machine of French imperialism and for the preparation of a new war. It provided for the militarisation of the political and economic life of the country, the mobilisation of the entire population of the metropolis and the colonies in the event of war, the militarisation of the trade unions and other workers' organisations, the abolition of the right to strike, the increase of the standing army and the employment of the armed forces to suppress revolutionary actions by the proletariat of France and the oppressed peoples of the colonies.
12. The World Congress of the Friends of the U.S.S.R. was held in Moscow, November 10-12, 1927. It was convened on the initiative of the foreign workers' delegations that had come to the Soviet Union for the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The congress was attended by 947 delegates from 43 countries. The delegates heard reports on the progress of socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. during the ten years and on the protection of the first proletarian state in the world from the danger of war. The congress adopted an appeal to the working people of all countries ending with the words "Make use of all means and all methods to fight for, defend and protect the U.S.S.R., the motherland of the working people, the bulwark of peace, the centre of liberation, the fortress of socialism"
13. V. I. Lenin, "Outline of the Pamphlet The Tax in Kind" (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 32, p. 301).
14. Trud (Labour) — a daily newspaper, organ of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, issued in Moscow since February 19, 1921.
15. V. I. Lenin, Letter to V. M. Molotov on a Plan of the Political Report for the Eleventh Congress of the Party (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 33, pp. 223-24).
16. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow 1951, p. 228).
17. V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 23, p. 67.
18. V. I. Lenin, Reply to the Discussion on the Report of the Central Committee to the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), March 9, 1921 (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 32, p. 177).