MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



next up previous contents index
Next: The November 1929 Up: Collectivization Previous: The 25000 and

The political direction of collectivization

At the same time as these organizational measures, the Central Committee elaborated political measures and directives to give direction to the collectivization.

It is first important to note that vivid and prolonged discussions took place within the Party about the speed and scale of collectivization.

In October 1929, the Khoper okrug in the Lower Volta Region, which had registered 2.2 per cent of collectivized families in June, had already reached 55 per cent. A Kolkhoztsentr (the Union of kolkhozy) commission, which was suspicious of the speed and scale of the collectivization, was sent to conduct an enquiry. Baranov,  its vice-president, declared:

`The local authorities are operating a system of shock-work and a campaign approach. All the work of setting up kolkhozy is carried out under the slogan `The more the better'. The directives of the okrug are sometimes twisted into the slogan `Those who do not join the kolkhoz are enemies of Soviet power'. There has been no extensive activity among the masses .... In some cases sweeping promises of tractors and loans were made --- `You'll get everything --- join the kolkhoz'.'

.

Davies,  op. cit. , pp. 152--153.

On the other hand, in Pravda, Sheboldaev,  the Party Secretary for the Lower Volta Region, defended the rapid expansion of the Khoper collectivization. He `hailed the ``tremendous uplift and enthusiasm'' of collective ploughing, and declared that only 5 to 10 per cent opposed collectivization', which had become `a big mass movement, going far beyond the framework of our notions of work on collectivization'.

.

Ibid. , p. 154.

Contradictory opinions existed in all units, included in this Khoper vanguard unit. On November 2, 1929, the newspaper Krasnyi Khoper reported with enthusiasm the collective ploughing and the formation of new kolkhozy. But in the same issue, a article warned against hurried collectivization and the use of threats to push poor peasants into the kolkhozy. Another article affirmed that in certain areas, kulaks had pushed an entire village into the kolkhoz to discredit collectivization.

.

Ibid. , p. 155.

During the November 1929 Central Committee Plenum, Sheboldaev  defended the Khoper experience with its `horse columns'. Given the absence of tractors, `simple unification and aggregation of farms would increase labor productivity'. He declared that the Khoper collectivization was `a spontaneous movement of the masses of poor and middle peasants' and that only 10 to 12 per cent voted against.

`(T)he party cannot take the attitude of `restraining' this movement. This would be wrong from a political and an economic point of view. The party must do everything possible to put itself at the head of this movement and lead it into organised channels. At present this mass movement has undoubtedly overwhelmed the local authorities, and hence there is a danger that it will be discredited.'

.

Ibid. , pp. 161--162.

Sheboldaev  affirmed that 25 per cent of the families were already collectivized and that towards the end of 1930 or mid-1931, collectivization would essentially be complete.

.

Ibid.

Kossior,  who spoke at the Plenum about the situation in Ukraine, reported that in dozens of villages, collectivization was `blown up and artificially created; the population did not participate in it and knew nothing about it'. But ` ``the very many dark sides'' (could not) block from view the general picture of collectivization as a whole'.

.

Ibid. , p. 165.

It is therefore clear that many contradictory opinions were expressed within the Party, at the time that the movement for collectivization was started up in the countryside. Revolutionaries had the duty to find and protect the wish of the most oppressed masses to get rid of their age-old political, cultural and technical backwardness. The masses had to be encouraged to advance in the struggle, the only method to weaken and destroy the deeply rooted social and economic relations. Right opportunism did everything it possibly could to slow down this difficult and contradictory consciousness-raising. Nevertheless, it was also possible to push collectivization too fast, by rejecting in practice all the Party's principles. This tendency not only included leftism, which came from habits picked up during the Civil War --- when it was normal to `command' the Revolution --- but also bureaucracy, which wanted to please the leadership with `great achievements'; in addition the exaggerations could also come from the counter-revolution, which wanted to compromise collectivization by pushing it to the absurd.





next up previous contents index
Next: The November 1929 Up: Collectivization Previous: The 25000 and



Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995