and create the army which, according to the admission of our enemies, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, as evidenced by a resolution of the last Council of their party, is a people's and not a mercenary army. The working class was able to build up an army the majority of which does not belong to that class and was able to employ specialists hostile to it only because it led and made friends and allies of that mass of working people connected with petty proprietorship, who have property connections and who, therefore, have a profound interest in free trading, i.e., in capitalism, in the return to the power of money. This is at the bottom of everything we have achieved in the past two years. In all our further work, in all our further activities, in those activities that must be begun in the Ukraine now being liberated, in all the organisational work that will be developing in all its difficulty and importance after the victory over Denikin, we must keep this basic lesson always before our eyes, we must remember it more than anything else. This, in my opinion, sums up the political results of all our work.
Comrades, it has been said that war is a continuation of politics. We have experienced that in our own war. The imperialist war that was a continuation of the politics of the imperialists, of the ruling classes, of landowners and capitalists, brought forth the hostility of the masses of the people and was the best means of revolutionising them. Here in Russia the war helped overthrow the monarchy, helped abolish landed proprietorship and overthrow the bourgeoisie, all of which was done with unparalleled ease only because the imperialist war was a continuation and an aggravation of imperialist politics that had become more insolent. And our war was a continuation of our communist politics, the politics of the proletariat. We still read in the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary papers and we hear from non-party and from wavering people, "You promised peace and have given us war, you have deceived the working people." And we say that the masses of the working people who have not studied Marxism have nevertheless learned full well the difference between imperialist and civil war, learned it through their class instinct, the instinct of oppressed people who have themselves for decades experienced what the landowner and capitalist are. Those who have experienced oppression for decades all realise that there is a difference between wars. The imperialist war was a continuation of imperialist politics; it aroused the masses against their masters. The Civil War is a war against the landowners and capitalists and is a continuation of the policy of overthrowing the power of those landowners and capitalists, and each month the development of the war has strengthened the bonds between the mass of working people and the proletariat that has assumed the leadership in the war. No matter how great the trials may have been, no matter how frequent the big defeats, no matter how serious those defeats have been, no matter how many times the enemy has achieved tremendous victories and the existence of Soviet power has hung by a thread -- there have been such moments, and there is no doubt the Entente will again try to fight against us -- it must be said that the experience we have gained is a very sound one. That experience has shown that war strengthens the political consciousness of the working people and shows them the advantages of Soviet power. Naïve people or those who are
wholly wrapped up in the prejudices of the old petty bourgeoisie or of the old bourgeois-democratic parliamentarism expect the peasant to decide through an election slip whether he will follow the Bolshevik Communists or the Socialist-Revolutionaries; they do not want to recognise any other decision because they are in favour of rights for the people, freedom, the Constituent Assembly, etc. Events made it necessary for the peasant to verify the issue in practice. After having given the Socialist-Revolutionaries the majority in the Constituent Assembly, after the policy of the Socialist-Revolutionaries had failed and the peasants had to deal with the Bolsheviks in practice, they realised that our government is a sound one, it is a government that demands rather a lot, it is a government that is able to ensure the fulfilment of those demands at all costs, it is a government that regards the loan of bread to the hungry to be the absolute duty of the peasants even if they receive no equivalent in return, they realised that ours is a government that will ensure the supply of bread to the hungry no matter at what cost The peasant saw this and compared our government with that of Kolchak and Denikin, and he made his choice, not through the ballot-box but by deciding the issue in practice, when he had had the experience of both kinds of government. The peasant is deciding and will continue to decide the question in our favour.
That is what the history of Kolchak's defeat has taught us and that is what our victories in the South have proved. That is why we say that literally masses, millions of people living in the villages, millions of peasants are coming over completely to our side I think this is the chief political lesson that we have learned in this period and which we must apply to the problems of internal organisation that will, with the victory over Denikin near, be placed on the order of the day now that it has become possible for us to concentrate on internal development.
The chief accusation made against us by the European petty bourgeoisie concerns our terrorism, our crude suppression of the intelligentsia and the petty bourgeoisie. "You and your governments have forced all that upon us," we say in reply. When people shout about terror we answer, "When countries who have the world's fleets at their disposal
and have armed forces that are a hundred times greater than ours pounced upon us and compelled small states to make war on us -- was that not terrorism?"
That was real terrorism when all the powers united against a country that was one of the most backward and most weakened by war. Even Germany kept helping the Entente from the time before her defeat when she was supplying Krasnov and up to the present day, when that same Germany is blockading us and giving direct help to our enemies. This attack by world imperialism, this campaign against us, this bribery of conspirators inside the country -- was this not terrorism? The reason for our terrorism was that we were attacked by armed forces against which we had to bend all our efforts. Inside the country we had to act with all persistence, we had to muster all our forces. In this case we did not want to be -- and we decided that we would not be -- in the position in which those who collaborated with Kolchak in Siberia found themselves, the position in which the German collaborationists will find themselves tomorrow, those who imagine they represent a government and are relying on the Constituent Assembly although at any moment a hundred or a thousand officers can push that government out of office. This can be understood because those officers constitute a trained, organised mass with an excellent knowledge of the art of war, that holds all the strings in its hands, that is well-informed about the bourgeoisie and the landowners and enjoys their sympathies.
This has been demonstrated by the history of all countries since the imperialist war, and today, when faced with such terrorism on the part of the Entente, we have the right to resort to terror ourselves.
It follows from this that the accusation of terror, insofar as it is justified, should be against the bourgeoisie and not against us. They forced terror upon us. And we shall be the first to take steps to confine it to the lowest possible minimum as soon as we put an end to the chief source of terrorism -- the invasion of world imperialism, the war plots and the military pressure of world imperialism on our country.
While speaking of terrorism we must say something about our attitude to that middle stratum, the intelligentsia, that
mostly complain about the brutality of Soviet power and that Soviet power puts them in a worse position than before.
Whatever we, with the meagre means at our disposal, can do for the intelligentsia we are doing. We know, of course, the little significance of the paper ruble, but we also know the significance of the black market as an aid to those who cannot get enough food through our food organisations. In this respect we give the bourgeois intelligentsia an advantage. We know that at the moment when world imperialism pounced on us we had to introduce strict military discipline and defend ourselves with all the forces we could muster. When we are pursuing a revolutionary war we cannot, of course, do what all bourgeois states do -- leave the working people to hear the brunt of the war. The burden of the Civil War must be and will be shared by the entire intelligentsia, all the petty bourgeoisie, and all middle-class elements -- all of them will bear the burden. It will naturally be more difficult for them to bear that burden because they have been privileged for decades, but in the interests of the social revolution we must place that burden on their shoulders, too. This is the way we reason and the way we act, and we cannot do otherwise.
The end of the Civil War will be a step towards improving the conditions of those groups. We have already shown by our tariff policy and by the declaration in our programme that we recognise the need to give these groups better conditions because the transition from capitalism to communism is impossible unless the bourgeois specialists are used; and all our victories -- all the victories of the Red Army led by the proletariat that has drawn over to its side the peasantry who are half labourers and half property-owners -- were achieved partly because of our ability to use bourgeois specialists. This policy of ours as expressed in matters military must become the policy of our internal development.
The experience gained in this period tells us that while laying the foundations of the building we have often undertaken work on the dome, on all sorts of ornament, etc. Perhaps this was, to a certain extent, necessary for a socialist republic. Perhaps we had to build up in all spheres of national life. The craving to build up in all spheres is perfectly natural. If we were to look at what has been done
in the sphere of state organisation we would see almost everywhere many things begun and abandoned; these are the sort that make one want to say when looking at them that they could have waited and we should have begun with the main thing. It is quite natural that all our leading people should be interested in the tasks that can be carried out only after the foundations have been laid. But on the basis of this experience we can now say that in future we shall concentrate our efforts more on the main job, on the foundation, on those simple problems that are the most difficult to solve but which we shall nevertheless solve. These are the problem of bread, the problem of fuel and the problem of fighting the lice. These are three simple problems that will make possible the building of a socialist republic and then our victory throughout the world will be a hundred times more certain and more triumphant than that with which we repulsed the attack of the Entente.
The bread problem. We have achieved much with our requisitioning system. Our food policy has made it possible in the second year to acquire three times as much grain as in the first. During three months of the last campaign more grain was procured than during three months of last year, although, as you will hear in the report by the People's Commissar for Food, it was accompanied by what were, without doubt, great difficulties. One raid by Mamontov that took in the whole southern part of the central agricultural zone cost us very dear. But we have learned to carry out the requisitioning system, i.e., we have learned to make the peasants sell their grain to the state at fixed prices, without an equivalent in exchange. We know full well, of course, that paper money is not the equivalent of grain. We know that the peasant is loaning us his grain, and we ask him, "Should you hold back your grain waiting for an equivalent so that the workers can die of starvation? Do you want to trade on a free market and take us thereby back to capitalism?" Many intellectuals who have read Marx do not understand that freedom to trade is a return to capitalism; the peasant, however, understands it more easily. He knows that to sell bread at free prices, when the starving are prepared to pay anything for it, are prepared to give up all they have to escape death from starvation -- he knows that this is a return to
exploitation, that it is freedom for the rich to make a profit and ruination for the poor. We say that this is a crime against the state and we shall not yield an inch in this struggle.
In this struggle to requisition grain the peasant will have to loan his grain to the hungry worker -- that is the only way to begin proper organisation, to restore industry, etc. If the peasant does not do this, there will be a return to capitalism. If the peasant feels that he has ties with the workers he will be prepared to surrender his grain surpluses at fixed prices, i.e., for a simple piece of coloured paper -- this is something essential without which the starving worker cannot be saved from death, without which industry cannot be rehabilitated. It is an extremely difficult problem and it cannot be solved by force alone. No matter how much shouting there may be about the Bolsheviks being a party that coerces the peasantry, we still say, "Gentlemen, it is a lie!" If we were a party that coerces the peasantry, how could we have held out against Kolchak, how could we have formed a conscript army in which four-fifths of the soldiers are peasants, all of whom are armed and who have the example of the imperialist war to show them that a rifle can easily be turned in any direction? How can we be a party that coerces the peasants -- we, a party that is putting into effect the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, a party that tells the peasantry that the transition to free trading is a return to capitalism and that our requisitioning of surpluses by force is directed against the profiteer and not against the working people?
The requisitioning of grain must be the basis of all our activity. The food problem is at the basis of all problems. We have to devote a great deal of effort to defeat Denikin. There must not be the slightest hesitation or carelessness until the victory is complete, for all sorts of turns are possible. Whenever there is the slightest improvement in the war situation, however, we must devote greater effort to the work of food supplies because that is the basis of everything. The requisitioning must be carried out in full. Only when we have solved that problem shall we have a socialist foundation, and on that socialist foundation we shall be able to erect the splendid edifice of socialism that we have so often begun to build from the top and which has so often collapsed
Another basic problem is that of fuel, the main foundation for our development. This is the problem we have come up against now, since we cannot take advantage of our successes in food supplies, since we cannot transport the grain, cannot make full use of our victories because there is no fuel. We still do not have a proper apparatus to settle the fuel problem, but it is possible to settle it.
There is a shortage of coal throughout Europe today. If the fuel problem is so acute in the richest of the victor countries, even those like America that has never been attacked or invaded, it naturally affects us too. It will take us several years to rehabilitate the coal industry, even under the best conditions.
We have to save ourselves with firewood. We are devoting more and more Party forces to this work. During the last week the greatest attention has been paid to this problem in the Council of People's Commissars and the Council of Defence and a number of measures have been adopted that should effect a turning-point in this sphere similar to that effected by our armies on the Southern Front. Our activities in this field must not slacken and every step must bring us closer to victory in the battle against the fuel hunger. The material supplies are available. Until we have restored the coal industry we can manage with firewood and keep industry supplied with fuel. We must devote all Party forces, comrades, to that basic problem.
Our third problem is that of the fight against lice, against the lice that carry typhus. Typhus among a population that is exhausted by hunger, is ill, has no bread, soap or fuel, may prove a calamity that will prevent our tackling any sort of socialist development.
This is the first step in our struggle for culture and this, too, is a struggle for existence.
These are the main problems. To these I should like to draw the attention, more than to anything else, of comrades who are members of the Party. So far the attention we have been paying to these problems is so little as to be out of all proportion. Nine-tenths of the forces that are not engaged in war activities -- which must not be lessened for a single minute -- must be directed to these priority tasks. We now have a clear picture of the issues at stake. Everyone
must make the best possible effort; all our forces must be devoted to these tasks.
With this I shall end the political section of the report. As far as the international part is concerned, Comrade Chicherin will report on that in detail and will read you the proposal we should like to make to the belligerent countries in the name of the Congress of Soviets.
I shall deal very briefly with Party tasks. In the course of the revolution our Party has been confronted with a most important task. It is natural, on the one hand, that all the worst elements should cling to the ruling party merely because it is the ruling party. On the other hand, the working class is exhausted and is naturally weak in a country that is in ruins. Nevertheless it is only the advanced section of the working class, its vanguard, that is capable of leading the country. To accomplish this task in the sphere of state organisation we have employed subbotniks as one of the means. The slogan we have put forward is this -- the first who can join our Party are those who have volunteered for the front; those who cannot fight must show in their own places that they understand what the workers' party is, they must show it by applying the principles of communism in practice. And communism, if you take that word in its strict meaning, is voluntary unpaid work for the common good that does not depend on individual differences, that wipes out all memories of everyday prejudices, wipes out stagnation, tradition, differences between branches of work, differences in the rate of pay for labour, etc. This is one of the greatest guarantees that we are drawing the working class and all working people into the work of peace-time organisation as well as into war-time activities. The further development of communist subbotniks must be a school. Every step must be accompanied by the attraction into the Party of working-class elements and the most reliable people from other classes. We achieve this by means of re-registration. We are not afraid to remove those who are not fully reliable. We also achieve this by trusting a Party member who comes to us in a difficult time. Those Party members, as today's Central Committee report shows, who came to us in hundreds and thousands when Yudenich was a few versts from Petrograd and Denikin was north of Orel, when the bourgeoisie were
already jubilant -- those Party members are worthy of our trust. We value the extension of the Party on these lines.
After we have carried out the expansion of the Party on these lines we must shut the gates, we must be particularly cautious. We must say that now the Party is victorious we do not need new Party members. We know full well that in a disintegrating capitalist society a mass of harmful people will try to worm their way into the Party. We must create a party that will be a party of workers in which there is no place for alien elements, but we must also draw the masses into the work, those who are outside the Party. How is this to be done? The means to this end -- workers' and peasants' non-party conferences. An article on non-party conferences was recently published in Pravda. This article, written by Comrade Rostopchin, deserves special attention. I do not know any other way of solving this problem of profound historical importance. The Party cannot throw its doors wide open, because it is absolutely inevitable that in the epoch of disintegrating capitalism it will gather to itself the worst elements. The Party must be so narrow that it draws into its ranks only those elements from other classes that it has an opportunity to test with great caution.
But we have several hundred thousand Party members in a country with a population of more than a hundred million. How can such a party govern? In the first place there are, and must be, the trade unions to assist it, and these have millions of members; the second assistant is non-party conferences. At these non-party conferences we must be able to approach the non-proletarian section, we must overcome prejudice and petty-bourgeois vacillation -- that is one of our most important, fundamental tasks.
We must assess the success of our Party organisations, not only by the number of Party members engaged in some kind of work, not only by the degree of success in carrying out the re-registration, but by non-party workers' and peasants' conferences, whether they are arranged correctly and often enough, that is, by the ability of the organisation to approach those masses that cannot at the moment join the Party but which we must draw into the work.
If we have beaten the Entente it is probably because we have earned the sympathy of the working class, and of the
non-party masses. If we have succeeded in defeating Kolchak it is probably because he was no longer able to draw more forces from the reservoir of the working people. We have a reservoir that no other government in the world has and which no government in the world except the government of the working class can have, because only the government of the working class can draw with absolute confidence on the most downtrodden and most backward working people. We can and must draw our forces from among the non-party workers and peasants because they are our true friends. For the solution of the bread and fuel problems and for the fight against typhus we can draw forces from these masses that were the most oppressed by the capitalists and landowners. And we are assured of the support of those masses. We shall continue to draw more and more forces from these masses and we may say that in the end we shall defeat all our enemies. And we shall work miracles in the sphere of peaceful construction (to be developed in proper style after Denikin has been defeated) that will be greater than those we have worked in the military sphere in the past two years.