Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Bukharin

Evgenii Preobrazhensky*

The ABC of Communism

Written: 1920
Source: Bukharin and Preobrazhensky "The ABC of Communism", Penguin Books, 1969
First Published in English: 1922
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive ( 2001
Transcription/Markup: Mathias Bismo



Part One: Theoretical - Growth and Decay of Capitalism

Introduction: Our Programme

1. What is a programme?
2. What was our previous programme?
3. Why was it necessary to draw up a new programme?
4. The meaning of our programme?
5. The scientific character of our programme?

I. The Capitalistic Social Order

6. Commodity economy
7. Monopolization of the means of production by the capitalist class
8. Wage labour
9. Conditions of production under capitalism
10. The exploitation of labour power
11. Capital
12. The capitalist state
13. Fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system

II. The Development of the Capitalistic Social Order

14. The struggle between small-scale and large-scale production
15. The dependent position of the proletariat; the reserve army of labour, women's labour and child labour
16. The anarchy of production; competition; crises
17. The development of capitalism and class. The intensification of the class struggle
18. The concentration and centralization of capital as causal factors of communism

III. Communism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

19. Characteristics of the communist system. Production under communism
20. Distribution in the communist system
21. Administration in the communist system
22. The development of productive forces in the communist system. (The advantages of communism)
23. The dictatorship of the proletariat
24. The conquest of political power
25. The Communist Party and the classes of capitalist society

IV. How the Development of Capitalism Led to the Communist Revolution (Imperialism, the War, and the Collapse of Capitalism)

26. Financial capital
27. Imperialism
28. Militarism
29. The imperialist war of 1914 to 1918
30. State capitalism and the classes
31. The collapse of capitalism, and the working class
32. The civil war
33. The forms of civil war and its costs
34. Chaos or communism

V. The Second and the Third International

35. Internationalsm of the workers' movement essential to the victory of the communist revolution
36. The collapse of the Second International and its causes
37. The watchwords "National Defence" and "Pacifism"
38. Jingo socialists
39. The Centre
40. The Third International


Part Two: Practical - The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Upbuilding of Communism

Introduction: The Conditions of Communist Activity in Russia

41. The international situation of Russia
42. Large-scale industry in Russia
43. The disastrous legacy of imperialist war
44. The civil war and the struggle with international imperialism
45. The petty-bourgeois character of Russia, the lack of extensive organizatory experience on the part of the proletariat, etc.

VI. The Soviet Power

46. The Soviet Power as a form of proletarian dictatorship
47. Proletarian democracy and bourgeois democracy
48. The class character and the transitoryness of the proletarian dictatorship
49. Rights of the workers under bourgeois democracy and under the Soviet Power
50. The equality of the workers, irrespective of sex, creed and race
51. Parliamentarism and the Soviet system
52. The army and the Soviet Power
53. The leading role of the proletariat
54. Bureaucracy and the Soviet Power

VII. Communism and the Problem of Nationality

55. The oppression of subject nationalities
56. The unity of the proletariat
57. The causes of national enmity
58. The equal rights of the nations and the right to self-determination; federation
59. Who expresses the "Will of the Nation"?
60. Antisemitism and the proletariat

VIII. The Programme of the Communists in Relation to Army Organization

61. Our old programme, and the question of war in a socialist state
62. The need for the Red Army; its class composition
63. Universal military training of the workers
64. Self-imposed discipline versus discipline imposed from above
65. The political commissars and the communist groups
66. Structure of the Red Army
67. The officers of the Red Army
68. Should army officers be elected, or should they be appointed from above?
69. The Red Army is provisional

IX. Proletarian Justice

70. The administration of justice in bourgeois society
71. The election of the judiciary by the workers
72. Unified popular law-courts
73. Revolutionary tribunals
74. Proletarian penal methods
75. Proletarian justice in the future

X. Communism and Education

76. The school under the bourgeois regime
77. The destructive tasks of communism
78. The school as an instrument of communist education and enlightenment
79. Preparation for school life
80. The unified labour school
81. Specialist education
82. The university
83. Soviet schools and party schools
84. Extra-scholastic instruction
85. New workers on behalf of enlightenment
86. The treasures of art and science made available to the workers
87. The state propaganda of communism
88. Popular education under tsarism and under the Soviet Power

XI. Communism and Religion

89. Why religion and communism are incompatible
90. Separation of the church from the state
91. Separation of the school from the church
92. Struggle with the religious prejudice of the masses

XII. The Organization of Industry

93. The expropriation of the bourgeoise and the proletarian nationalization of large-scale industry
94. Our goal, the development of productivity
95. The purposive organization of economic life
96. The development of economic cooperation with other lands
97. The organization of small-scale industry, handicraft, and home industry
98. The organization of industry and trade unions
99. The utilization of labour power
100. Comradely labour discipline
101. The employment of bourgeois experts
102. The union of production and science

XIII. The Organization of Agriculture

103. Agrarian conditions in Russia prior to the revolution
104. Agrarian conditions in Russia subsequent to the revolution
105. Why does the future belong to large-scale socialist agriculture?
106. Soviet agriculture
107. Urban and suburban agriculture (market gardening)
108. Communes and artels
109. Cooperative farming
110. Agricultural cooperation
111. The state utilization of abandoned areas; the mobilization of agricultural experts; lending stations; improvement to the land; land settlements
112. State assistance to peasant agriculture
113. The union of manufacturing industry with agriculture
114. The tactics of the Communist Party in relation to the peasants

XIV. The Organization of Distribution

115. The abolition of private trade
116. The apparatus of distribution
117. Cooperation in former days
118. Contemporary cooperation
119. Other organs of distribution

XV. The Organization of Banks and Monetary Circulation

120. The Nationalization of the banks and the unified people's bank. The bank as a central book-keeping establishment
121. Money and the dying-out of the monetary system

XVI. Finance in the Proletarian State

122. The state as a parasitic apparatus
123. The proletarian state as a productive apparatus
124. The budget of the proletarian state

XVII. The Housing Problem

125. The housing problem in capitalist society
126. The housing problem in the proletarian state

XVIII. Labour Protection and Social Welfare Work

127. What is labour protection?
128. The chief fields of labour protection
129. What has been done in Russia as regards labour protection?
130. What is social welfare work?
131. The chief provinces of social welfare work
132. Social welfare work in Russia
133. Other measures for the improvement of the condition of the working class
134. Further tasks of the party

XIX. Public Hygiene

135. The need for the special protection of public health
136. The nationalization of medical institutions
137. The labour duty of medical workers
138. Immediate tasks in the domain of public hygiene

Appendix: Programme of the Communist Party of Russia


Evgenii Alekseevich Preobrazhensky (1886-1937)

Joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party in 1903 where he quickly became a part of the Bolshevik-wing. Played no significant part until he met Bukharin with whom he wrote The ABC of Communism as his first and only major work. Shortly after he joined the editorial board of Pravda, and in 1920 he was elected to the secretariat of the party central committee. Supported war-communism and spoke about the depreciation of the currency as a factor leading to the abolishment of classes. Resisted NEP and was removed from the secretariat. In 1922 he criticized the attempts to create greater equality in the countryside, and this led to his break with Bukharin. After Lenin's death a signator of the "Declaration of the 46" which definitely made him a part of the opposition, though without any important position. Exiled to Siberia in 1927, but was re-admitted to the party in 1929. Arrested in 1935 or 1936 and died in prison, not subject to any of the Moscow Trials.