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V. I. Lenin

EIGHTH CONGRESS OF THE R.C.P.(B.)

MARCH 18-23, 1919

  

Published in Pravda,
March-April 1919
 
 
 
 
 

Published according to the
book Eighth Congress of the
Russian Communist Party
(Bolsheviks), Verbatim Report,

Kommunist Publishers, Moscow, 1919
Verified with the shorthand
notes and the Pravda text

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965

Vol. 29, pp. 141-225.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by George Hanna


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@marx2mao.org (December 1999)

EIGHTH CONGRESS OF THE R.C.P.(B.). March 18-23, 1919 [23] .   .


141

1.

SPEECH OPENING THE CONGRESS. MARCH 18   .   .   .   .   .

143

2.

REPORT OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE. MARCH 18 .   .   .   .

146

3.

REPORT ON THE PARTY PROGRAMME. MARCH 19   .   .   .   .

165

4.
 

SPEECH CLOSING THE DEBATE ON THE PARTY PROGRAMME.
MARCH 19 .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


186

5.
 
 

WIRELESS MESSAGE OF GREETING ON BEHALF OF THE CON-
GRESS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE HUNGARIAN SOVIET
REPUBLIC. MARCH 22 .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


 
197

6.

REPORT ON WORK IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. MARCH 23  .   .   .

198

7.
 
 

SPEECH IN OPPOSITION TO A MOTION TO CLOSE THE DE-
BATE ON THE REPORT ON WORK IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.
MARCH 23 .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


 
216

8.

RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TO THE MIDDLE PEASANTS .

217

  9.

SPEECH CLOSING THE CONGRESS. MARCH 23  .   .   .   .   .

221


NOTES




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    NOTES

      [23] This Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), held in Moscow, was attended by 301 delegates with the right to vote who represented 313,766 Party members and 102 delegates with voice but no vote. Lenin opened the Congress with a short speech. The Congress agenda was: report of the Central Committee, the Programme of the R.C.P.(B.), the foundation of the Communist International, the war situation and war policy, work in the countryside, organisational problems, and other business.
        Lenin delivered the report of the Central Committee and also reported on the Party Programme and work in the countryside.
        In a resolution on the report of the Central Committee the Congress expressed its full "approval of the political activities of the Central Committee".
        The Congress adopted the new Party Programme that had been drafted by Lenin. During the discussion on the Programme the Congress rejected the anti-Bolshevik views of Bukharin who proposed removing from the Programme the description of pre-monopoly capitalism and petty commodity production. Bukharin's views amounted to the same thing as the denial by the Mensheviks and Trotsky of the role of the middle peasant in socialist construction. Bukharin also slurred over the fact that kulaks emerge and develop from petty commodity economy. The Congress also rejected the anti-Bolshevik views of Bukharin and Pyatakov on the national question- they spoke against the right of nations to self-determination and, therefore. against equal rights for all nations. The Programme adopted by the Congress defined the tasks of the Communist Party in the building of a socialist society in Russia.
        The Congress passed a resolution on Lenin's report on work in the countryside which called for a transition from the policy of neutralising the middle peasants to that of a sound alliance with them, placing reliance on the poor peasants in the struggle against the kulaks and retaining in that alliance the leading role of the proletariat. The Congress decision on the alliance with the middle peasants was of great importance in mustering all working people in the struggle against the intervention and the whiteguards and for the building of socialism.
        In the sphere of military affairs the Congress adopted a decision to strengthen the regular Red Army, and inculcate iron discipline, stressing especially the role of the proletarian hard core of the army and the role of the commissars and Party cells in the political

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    and military training of the Red Army. The Congress pointed to the need to employ old army specialists and to make use of the highest achievements of the bourgeois art of war. The Congress vehemently rejected the proposal from the group known as the "army opposition" that was against the formation of a regular Red Army and defended the survivals of the guerrilla spirit in the army. At the same time the Congress condemned Trotsky's non-Party acts in the War Department and demanded an improvement in the work of the central army institutions.
        The Congress adopted a decision on Party and Soviet organisation and defeated the opportunist group headed by Sapronov and Osinsky who denied the leading role of the Party in the Soviets.
        Owing to the large influx of new members into the Party the Congress decided to carry out the re-registration of the entire membership and to improve the Party's social composition.
        Among the members of the Central Committee elected by the Congress were Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Kalinin and Stasova; among the alternative members were Artyom (Sergeyev), Vladimirsky and Yaroslavsky.    [p. 141]

      [24] The conference to be held on Prinkipo, one of the Princes Islands, was proposed by the Entente powers and was to include representatives of all governments existing on the territory of Russia; its purpose was to establish peace. The Soviet Government did not receive a direct invitation to attend the conference and learned from foreign press reviews transmitted by wireless that since there had been no answer from the Soviet Government the imperialist powers were trying to prove to their peoples that this was a refusal to take part in the conference. The Soviet Government, in order to put a stop to all misrepresentations of its actions, on February 4, 1919 sent a wireless telegram to the governments of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the U.S.A. consenting to start negotiations immediately and pointing out that it was prepared to make important concessions for the sake of peace. The Entente governments left the Soviet telegram unanswered and the conference did not take place.    [p. 146]

      [25] This refers to the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, a Centrist party that was founded in April 1917. At the Halle Congress in October 1920 a split took place and a considerable number of members joined the Communist Party of Germany in December 1920. Right elements formed a separate party and retained the name of Independent Social-Democratic Party; it continued in existence until 1922.    [p. 150]

      [26] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1962, pp. 481-82.    [p. 152]

      [27] This refers to Rosa Luxemburg's speech at the Inaugural Congress of the Communist Party of Germany held in Berlin from December 30, 1918 to January 1, 1919. She spoke in support of some of the

    page 579

    delegates who favoured the abolition of the trade unions. She was of the opinion that the functions of the trade unions should go to the Councils of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and to the Council's of Workers and Clerks at factories.    [p. 155]

      [28] See pp. 38-46 of this volume.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Session of the First Congress of Farm Laborers of Petrograd Gubernia". -- DJR]    [p. 158]

      [29] See present edition, Vol. 28, pp. 201-24.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Moscow Party Workers' Meeting". -- DJR]    [p. 159]

      [30] The Federation of Foreign Groups was organised in May 1918 as the guiding body of foreign Communists for work among prisoners of war in Russia. The Federation was abolished at the beginning of 1920.    [p. 161]

      [31] Bednota (Poor Peasants ) -- a daily newspaper issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party that appeared in Moscow from March 27, 1918 to January 31, 1931. It was founded by a decision of the Central Committee of the Party to replace the newspaper Derevenskaya Bednota (Rural Poor ), Derevenskaya Pravda (Rural Truth ) and Soldatskaya Pravda (Soldiers' Truth ). On February 1, 1931 Bednota merged with the newspaper Sotsialisticheskoye Zemledeliye (Socialist Farming ).    [p. 162]

      [32] See F. Engels, Einleitung zu Sigismund Borkheims Schrift Zur Erinnerung für die deutschen Mordspatrioten 1806-1807 (Introduction to Sigismund Borkheim's Pamphlet In Memory of the German Arch-Patriots of 1806-1807 ); in K. Marx, F. Engels, Werke, B. 21, Berlin, 1962, S. 346.    [p. 166]

      [33] See Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1959, p. 368.    [p. 168]

      [34] The Programme adopted by the Second Party Congress in 1903 consisted of two parts -- the minimum and maximum programmes. The minimum programme contained demands that could be effected within the framework of the capitalist system -- the overthrow of tsarism, the establishment of a democratic republic, the introduction of the eight-hour day, etc. The maximum programme formulated the final aims of the working class -- the socialist revolution, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the transition to socialism.    [p. 171]

      [35] See present edition, Vol. 26, pp. 169-73.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Revision of the Party Programme". -- DJR]    [p. 171]

      [36] On December 18 (31), 1917, Lenin handed to Svinhufvud, head of the Finnish bourgeois government, the decision of the Council of People's Commissars to recognise the independence of Finland. The decision was confirmed by a session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on December 22, 1917 (January 4, 1918).    [p. 171]

      [37] Here Lenin refers to the negotiations in Moscow in March 1919 with a Bashkirian delegation on the question of forming an autonomous Bashkirian Soviet Republic. On March 23, 1919 the newspaper

    page 580

    Izvestia published the "Agreement Between Central Soviet Power and the Bashkirian Government on the Formation of Autonomous Soviet Bashkiria". The agreement set up an Autonomous Bashkirian Soviet Republic on the basis of the Soviet Constitution, defined the Republic's frontiers and its administrative divisions.    [p. 171]

      [38] The Warsaw Soviet of Workers' Deputies was established on November 11, 1918. Soviets of Workers' Deputies were also set up in many Polish towns and industrial districts. The Warsaw Soviet of Workers' Deputies set about the factual introduction of the eight-hour day in factories, began a struggle against the sabotage of the factory owners, took a decision on contacts with revolutionary Russia, etc. The Soviets were abolished in the summer of 1919 by the Polish bourgeois government.    [p. 174]

      [39] This appeal was published on March 20, 1919.    [p. 176]

      [40] The Erfurt Programme of the German Social-Democratic Party was adopted in October 1891 at a Congress held in Erfurt, it replaced the Gotha Programme of 1875. Engels criticised the errors in the Erfurt Programme in his "Zur Kritik des sozialdemokratischen Programmentwurfes 1891" (Die Neue Zeit, XX . Jg ., Bd . I, 1901-1903, S. 5).    [p. 190]

      [41] The Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) instructed Lenin to send greetings in the name of the Congress to the Hungarian Soviet Re public in connection with the information received to the effect that a Soviet Republic had been formed there on March 21, 1919 and the dictatorship of the proletariat had been established. The Hungarian Soviet Republic continued in existence until August 1919.    [p. 197]

      [42] The committee on work in the countryside was set up at the first sitting of the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) on March 18, 1919. It held three sessions which heard reports on the land policy, and work in the countryside, and elected a commission to draw up resolutions. Lenin's resolution on the attitude to the middle peasantry and a resolution on political propaganda and cultural and educational work in the countryside were then approved by the Congress.    [p. 198]

      [43] See Frederick Engels, "The Peasant Question in France and Germany" (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1962, pp. 436-39).    [p. 205]

      [44] The delegates from the Nizhni-Novgorod (now Gorky) Party organisation handed in a statement to the Presidium of the Eighth Congress in which they pointed out that the pamphlet quoted by Lenin contained a printer's error.    [p. 207]