SPEECH CLOSING THE CONGRESS
Comrades, in making a brief summary of the work of our Congress we must, in my opinion, first of all dwell upon the tasks of our Party. The Congress has adopted a detailed resolution on the question of organisation, and as might have been expected, a very important place in that resolution is occupied by the question of the education, the training, the organisational deployment of the members of our Party. The Credentials Committee has reported that over 600,000 members of our Party are represented at this Congress. We are all fully aware of the tremendous difficulties the Party has had to cope with in these strenuous times, when measures had to be taken to prevent the worst elements, the offal of the old capitalist system, from seeping into the government party, from fastening themselves on to it -- it is naturally an open party, for it is the government party, and as such opens the way to power. One of these measures was the institution of Party Weeks. Under such conditions, at such moments, when the Party and the movement were in exceptionally trying situations, when Denikin stood north of Orel, and Yudenich within fifty versts of Petrograd, it was only people who were sincerely devoted to the cause of the emancipation of the working people who could have joined the Party.
Such conditions will not occur again, at least not in the near future, and it must be said that the huge membership (as compared with previous congresses) our Party has attained gives rise to a certain apprehension. And there is one very real danger, which is that the rapid growth of our
Party has not always been commensurate with the extent to which we have educated this mass of people for the performance of the tasks of the moment. We must always bear in mind that this army of 600,000 must be the vanguard of the working class, and that we should scarcely have been able to carry out our tasks during these two years if it had not been for iron discipline. The basic condition for the maintenance and continuance of strict discipline is loyalty; all the old means and sources of discipline have ceased to exist, and we base our activities solely on a high degree of understanding and political consciousness. This has enabled us to achieve a discipline which is superior to that of any other state and which rests on a basis different from that of the discipline which is being maintained with difficulty, if it can be maintained at all, in capitalist society. We must therefore remember that our task in the coming year, after the brilliant successes achieved in the war, is not so much the growth of the Party as work inside the Party, the education of the membership of our Party. It is not for nothing that our resolutions on organisation devote as much space as possible to this question.
We must spare no effort to make this vanguard of the proletariat, this army of 600,000 members, capable of coping with the tasks that confront it. And it is confronted by tasks of gigantic international and internal importance. As to the international tasks, our international position has never been as good as it is now. News about the life of the workers abroad seldom reaches us, yet every time you receive a couple of letters or a few issues of European or American working-class socialist newspapers you experience real pleasure, because everywhere, in all parts of the world, you see among masses formerly entirely untouched by propaganda, or steeped in wretched opportunism, in purely parliamentary socialism, a tremendous growth of interest in the Soviet power, in the new tasks, a growth much greater than we imagine; everywhere you see intense revolutionary movement, ferment, and revolution has become a current issue.
I had occasion yesterday to glance through an issue of the newspaper of the British Socialist Labour Party. The British workers, whose leaders were intellectuals and who for decades were distinguished by their contempt for theory,
are talking in quite definite tones; and the paper shows that the British workers are now taking an interest in the question of revolution, that there is a growing interest in the fight against revisionism, opportunism, and parliamentary socialism, the social-treachery we have got to know so well. This struggle is becoming an issue of the day. We can say quite definitely that our American Comrade R., who has published a voluminous book containing a number of articles by Trotsky and myself, thus giving a summary of the history of the Russian revolution, was quite right when he said that the French Revolution was victorious on a world-wide scale, and that, if it was directly crushed, it was only because it was surrounded on the European continent by more backward countries, in which a movement of emulation, sympathy and support could not immediately arise. The Russian revolution, which, owing to the yoke of tsarism and a number of other factors (continuity with 1905, etc.), started before the others, is surrounded by countries which are on a higher level of capitalist development and are approaching the revolution more slowly, but more surely, durably and firmly. We find that with every year, and even with every month, the number of supporters and friends of the Soviet Republic is increasing tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousandfold in every capitalist country; and it must be said that we have more friends and allies than we imagine!
The attempt of world imperialism to crush us by military force has collapsed completely. The international situation has now given us a much longer and more durable respite than the one we had at the beginning of the revolution. But we must remember that this is nothing more than a respite. We must remember that the whole capitalist world is armed to the teeth and is only waiting for the moment, choosing the best strategical conditions, and studying the means of attack. We must never under any circumstances forget that all the economic power and all the military power is still on its side. We are still weak on an international scale, but we are rapidly growing and gaining strength, wresting one weapon after another from the hands of the enemy. But the enemy is lurking in wait for the Soviet Republic at every step. International capital has definite designs, a calculated plan, now that the blockade has been removed,
to unite, to fuse, to weld together international food speculation, international freedom of trade, with our own internal food speculation, and on the basis of this speculation to pave the way for a new war against us, to prepare a new series of traps and pitfalls.
And this brings us to that fundamental task which constituted the chief theme, the chief object of attention of our Congress. That is the task of development. In this respect the Congress has done a lot. A resolution has been unanimously adopted on the principal question, the question of economic development and transport. And now, by means of Party education, we shall be able to get this resolution carried into effect by the three million working-class members of the trade unions, acting as one man. We shall ensure that this resolution channels all our strength, discipline and energy to the restoration of the country's economic life -- first of all to the restoration of the railways, and then to the improvement of the food situation.
We have now quite a number of subjects for propaganda and every item of news we get from abroad and every new dozen members of the Party provide us with fresh material. Propaganda must be carried on systematically, without the dispersion and division of forces. We must bear firmly in mind that we achieved successes and performed miracles in the military sphere because we always concentrated on the main and fundamental thing, and solved problems in a way that capitalist society could not solve them. The point is that in capitalist society everything that particularly interests the citizens -- their economic conditions, war and peace -- is decided secretly, apart from society itself. The most important questions -- war, peace, diplomatic questions -- are decided by a small handful of capitalists, who deceive not only the masses, but very often parliament itself. No parliament in the world has ever said anything of weight on the question of war and peace. In capitalist society the major questions affecting the economic life of the working people -- whether they are to live in starvation or in comfort -- are decided by the capitalist -- who is the lord, a god! In all capitalist countries, including the democratic republics, the attention of the people is diverted at such times by the corrupt bourgeois press, which wears the label of freedom of
speech, and which will invent and circulate anything to fool and deceive the masses. In our country, on the other hand, the whole apparatus of state power, the whole attention of the class-conscious worker have been entirely and exclusively centred on the major and cardinal issue, on the chief task. We have made gigantic progress in this way in the military sphere, and we must now apply our experience to the economic sphere.
We are effecting the transition to socialism, and the most urgent question -- bread and work -- is not a private question, not the private affair of an employer, but the affair of the whole of society, and any peasant who thinks at all must definitely realise and understand that if the government raises the question of the railways in its whole press, in every article, in every newspaper issue, it is because it is the common affair of all. This work to develop the country will lead the peasant out of the blindness and ignorance that doomed him to slavery; it will lead him to real liberty, to a state of affairs in which the working folk will be aware of all the difficulties that confront them and will direct all the forces of public organisation, all the forces of the state apparatus, all the forces of agitation to the simplest and most essential things, rejecting all the tinsel and trimmings, all the playing at resolutions and the artful promises which form the subject of the newspaper agitation of all capitalist countries. All our forces, all our attention must be centred on these simple economic tasks, which are clear to every peasant, to which the middle, even the well-to-do, peasant, if he is at all honest, cannot object, and which we are always absolutely right in raising at every meeting. Even the masses of the least politically-conscious workers and peasants will confirm that the chief thing at the moment is to restore the economy in a way that will prevent it from falling again into the hands of the exploiters and will not offer the slightest indulgence to those who, having a surplus of grain in a starving country, use it to enrich themselves and to make the poor starve. You will not find a single man, however ignorant and unenlightened, who does not have the feeling that this is unjust, to whom the idea has not occurred, vague and unclear perhaps, that the arguments of the supporters of the Soviet government fully accord with the interests of the working people.
It is to these simple tasks, which in the big capitalist societies are kept in the background and are regarded as the private affair of the bosses, that we must direct the attention of the whole army of 600,000 Party members, among whom we must not tolerate a single one who does not do his duty; and for the sake of this we must get the whole mass of the workers to join us and to display the greatest self-sacrifice and devotion. It will be difficult to organise this, but since, from the point of view of the working people it is just, it has tremendous moral weight and immense power of conviction. And so, confident that, thanks to the work of the Congress, this task can now be accomplished as brilliantly as we accomplished the military task (although again at the price of a number of defeats and mistakes), we may say that the workers of all European and American countries are now looking towards us, looking with expectancy to see whether we shall accomplish the more difficult task confronting us -- for it is more difficult than the achievement of military victory. It cannot be accomplished by enthusiasm, by self-sacrifice and heroic fervour alone. In this work of organisation, in which we Russians have been weaker than others in this work of self-discipline, in this work of rejecting the incidental and striving for the main thing, nothing can be done in a hurry. And in this sphere of requisitioning grain, repairing the railways, restoring the economy, where progress is made only inch by inch, where the ground is being prepared, and where what is being done is perhaps little, but is durable -- in this work, the eyes of the workers of all countries are upon us, they expect new victories of us. I am convinced that, guided by the decisions of our Congress, with the 600,000 members of the Party working like one man, and establishing closer ties with the economic bodies and the trade union bodies, we shall accomplish this task as successfully as we accomplished the military task, and shall march swiftly and surely towards the victory of the World Socialist Soviet Republic! (Applause.)