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The 25,000

The Central Committee called on 25,000 experienced industrial workers from the large factories to go to the countryside and to help out with collectivization. More than 70,000 presented themselves and 28,000 were selected: political militants, youth who had fought in the Civil War, Party and Komsomol members.

These workers were conscious of the leading rôle of the working class in the socialist transformations in the countryside. Viola  writes:

`(They) looked to the Stalin revolution for the final victory of socialism after years of war, hardship, and deprivation .... They saw the revolution as a solution to backwardness, seemingly endemic food shortages, and capitalist encirclement.'


Viola,  op. cit. , p. 211.

Before leaving, it was explained to them that they were the eyes and the ears of the Central Committee: thanks to their physical presence on the front lines, the leadership hoped to acquire a materialist understanding of the upheavals in the countryside and the problems of collectivization. They were also told to discuss with the peasants their organizational experience, acquired as industrial workers, since the old tradition of individual work constituted a serious handicap for the collective use of the land. Finally, they were told that they would have to judge the Communist quality of the Party functionaries and, if necessary, purge the Party of foreign and undesirable elements.

It was during the month of January 1930 that the 25,000 arrived on the front line of collectivization. The detailed analysis of their activities and of the rôle that they played can give a realistic idea of the collectivization, that great revolutionary class struggle. These workers maintained regular correspondence with their factories and their unions; these letters give a precise idea of what was happening in the villages.

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995