Up: Socialist industrialization
Previous: Class war
During the industrialization, the Soviet workers achieved economic miracles
that still stagger the imagination.
Here is how
concluded his study of the Stalinist industrialization:
`The breakthrough wrought by the revolution of 1928--31 laid the
foundations of the remarkable industrial expansion in the 1930s that
would sustain the country in the Second World War. By the end of 1932 ...,
the gross industrial output ... had more than doubled since 1928 ....
as the capital projects of the First Five-Year Plan were brought
into operation one after another in the mid-1930s, industrial production
expanded enormously. During 1934--36 ..., ``the official index
showed a rise of 88 per cent for total gross industrial
production ....'' In the decade from 1927/28 to 1937 ..., gross
industrial production leapt from 18,300 million rubles to 95,500 million;
pig iron output rose from 3.3 million tons to 14.5; coal from 35.4 million
metric tons to 128.0; electric power from 5.1 billion kilowatt hours
to 36.2; machine tools from 2,098 units to 36,120. Even discounting the
exaggeration, it may be safely said that the achievements were dazzling.'
, p. 287.
expressed his confidence in the capacity of the Soviet people to
build socialism in one country by declaring,
`Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country'.
Our Foreign and Domestic Position and the Tasks of the Party.
Works, vol. 31, p. 419.
With this viewpoint, in 1920
proposed a general plan of electrification that foresaw, over the next
fifteen years, the construction of 30 electrical power plants generating
1.75 million kW. But, thanks to the will and tenacity of Stalin and the
leadership of the Bolshevik Party, in 1935, the Soviet Union had a
generating capacity of 4.07 million kW.
ambitious dream had
been surpassed by 133 per cent by Stalin!
L'Office central de statistique près le
Conseil des ministres de l'U.R.S.S.
Les Progrès du pouvoir soviétique depuis 40 ans en chiffres:
Recueil statistique (Moscow: Éditions en langues étrangères, 1958),
Incredible rebuttal to all those educated renegades who read in scientific
books that socialist construction in one country, particularly a peasant
one, is not possible. The theory of the `impossibility of socialism in
the USSR', spread by the Mensheviks and the
was a mere
lamentation showing the pessimism and the capitulationist spirit among
the petite bourgeoisie. As the socialist cause progressed,
their hatred for real socialism, that thing that should not exist, only
The increase in fixed assets between 1913 and 1940 gives a precise
idea of the incredible effort supplied by the Soviet people. Starting
from an index of 100 for the year preceding the war, the fixed assets
for industry reached 136 at the beginning of the First Five-Year Plan
in 1928. On the eve of the Second World War, twelve years later, in
1940, the index had risen to 1,085 points, i.e. an eight-fold increase
in twelve years. The fixed assets for agriculture evolved from 100
to 141, just before the collectivization in 1928, to reach 333 points in 1940.
, p. 26.
For eleven years, from 1930 to 1940, the Soviet Union saw an average
increase in industrial production of 16.5 per cent.
, p. 30.
During industrialization, the main effort was focused on creating the
material conditions for freedom and independence for the Socialist
homeland. At the same time, the socialist régime laid down the basis
for future well-being and prosperity. The greatest part of the increase
in national revenue was destined for accumulation. One could hardly
think about improving the material standard of living in the short term.
Yes, the life for workers and peasants was hard.
Accrued capital passed from 3.6 billion rubles in 1928,
representing 14.3 per cent of the national revenue, to 17.7 billion in 1932,
i.e. 44.2 per cent of the national revenue! Consumer spending, on the
other hand, slightly dropped: from 23.1 billion in 1930 to 22.3 billion two
years later. According to
`The real wages of Moscow
industrial workers in 1932 were only 53 percent of the 1928 level'.
, pp. 304--305.
While industrial assets increased
ten-fold from the pre-war period, the housing construction index
had only reached 225 points in 1940. Housing conditions had
Progrès, op. cit.
, p. 26.
It is not true that industrialization took place at the cost of a
`feudal-military exploitation of the peasantry', as claimed
socialist industrialization, which clearly could not take place
through the exploitation of colonies, was achieved through the
sacrifices of all workers, industrial, peasant and intellectual.
Was Stalin `unfeeling towards the terrible difficulties of the life of
understood perfectly well the primary need of the physical survival
of the Socialist homeland and of its people before a substantial and
lasting improvement of the standard of living could take place. Build
housing? The Nazi aggressors destroyed and burnt 1,710 cities and towns
and more than 70,000 villages and hamlets, leaving 25 million people
, p. 31.
In 1921, the Soviet Union was a ruined country, its independence under threat
from all the imperialist powers. After twenty years of titanic efforts,
the workers built a country that could stand up to the most
developed capitalist power in Europe,
Germany. That old and
future Nazis lash out against the `forced' industrialization and the
`terrible suffering imposed on the people' is quite understandable. But
what person in India, Brazil, Nigeria or Egypt would not
stop to think? Since the independences from the colonial powers, what
has been the lot of the ninety per cent of workers in the Third World?
And who profited from this suffering? Did the workers in these
countries knowingly accept these sacrifices, as was the case in the
Soviet Union? And did the sacrifices of the Indian, Brazilian,
Nigerian or Egyptian worker allow the creation of an independent
economic system, capable of resisting the most vicious imperialism, as
did the Soviet worker in the twenties and thirties?
Up: Socialist industrialization
Previous: Class war
Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995