MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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Bukharin's position

 

The social struggle to come was reflected inside the Party. Bukharin,  at the time Stalin's main ally in the leadership, stressed the importance of advancing socialism using market relations. In 1925, he called on peasants to `enrich themselves', and admitted that `we shall move forward at a snail's pace'. Stalin, in a June 2, 1925 letter to him, wrote: `the slogan enrich yourself is not ours, it is wrong .... Our slogan is socialist accumulation'.

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Ibid. , p. 32.

The bourgeois economist Kondratiev  was at the time the most influential specialist in the People's Commissariats for Agriculture and for Finance. He advocated further economic differentiation in the countryside, lower taxes for the rich peasants, reduction in the `insupportable rate of development of industry' and reorientation of resources from heavy industry to light industry.

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Ibid. , p. 33.

Shayanov,  a bourgeois economist belonging to another school, called for `vertical co-operatives', first for the sale, then for the industrial processing of agricultural products, instead of an orientation towards production co-operatives, i.e. kolkhozy. This political line would have weakened the economic basis of socialism and would have developed new capitalist forces in the countryside and in light industry. By protecting capitalism at the production level, the rural bourgeoisie would have also dominated the sales co-operatives.

Bukharin  was directly influenced by these two specialists, particularly when he declared in February 1925, `collective farms are not the main line, not the high road, not the chief path by which the peasant will come to socialism'.

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Ibid. , p. 34.

In 1927, the countryside saw a poor harvest. The amount of grain sold to the cities dropped dramatically. The kulaks, who had reinforced their position, hoarded their wheat to speculate on shortages so that they could force a significant price hike. Bukharin  thought that the official buying prices should be raised and that industrialization should be slowed down. According to Davies,  `Nearly all of the non-party economists supported these conclusions'.

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Ibid. , p. 41.



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Next: Betting on the Up: From rebuilding production Previous: Towards confrontation



Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995