MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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The Party apparatus in the countryside

To understand the Bolshevik Party's line during the collectivization, it is important to keep in mind that on the eve of 1930, the State and Party apparatus in the countryside was extremely weak --- the exact opposite of the `terrible totalitarian machine' imagined by anti-Communists. The weakness of the Communist apparatus was one of the conditions that allowed the kulaks to throw all their forces into a vicious battle against the new society.

On January 1, 1930, there were 339,000 Communists among a rural population of about 120 million people! Twenty-eight Communists for a region of 10,000 inhabitants.

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Ibid. , p. 29.

Party cells only existed in 23,458 of 70,849 village Soviets and, according to the Central Volga Regional Secretary, Khataevich,  some village Soviets were `a direct agency of the kulaks'.

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Davies,  op. cit. , p. 226.

The old kulaks and the old Tsarist civil servants, who better understood how public life took place, had done their best to infiltrate the Party. The Party nucleus was composed of young peasants who had fought in the Red Army during the Civil War. This political experience had fixed their way of seeing and acting. They had the habit of commanding and hardly knew what political education and mobilization meant.

`The rural administrative structure was burdensome, the line of command confused, and the demarcation of responsibility and function blurred and poorly defined. Consequently, rural policy implementation often tended either to the extreme of inertia or, as in the civil war days, to campaign-style polities.'

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Viola,  op. cit. , p. 29.

It was with this apparatus, which often sabotaged or distorted the instructions of the Central Committee, that the battle against the kulaks and the old society had to take place. Kaganovich  pointed out that `if we formulate it sharply and strongly, in essence we have to create a party organization in the countryside, capable of managing the great movement for collectivization'.

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Davies,  op. cit. , pp. 225--226.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995