MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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Bolsheviks against bureaucratization

Lenin  and the Bolsheviks always led a revolutionary struggle against the bureaucratic deviations that, in a backward country, inevitably occurred within the apparatus of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They estimated that the dictatorship was also menaced `from inside' by the bureaucratization of the Soviet state apparatus.

The Bolsheviks had to `retake' part of the old Tsarist state apparatus, which had only been partially transformed in the socialist sense.

Futhermore, the Party and government apparatus in the countryside posed great problems, throughout the country. Between 1928 and 1931, the Party accepted 1,400,000 new members. Among this mass, many were in fact political illiterates. They had revolutionary sentiments, but no real Communist knowledge. Kulaks, old Tsarist officers and other reactionaries easily succeeded in infiltrating the Party. All those who had a certain capacity for organization were automatically accepted into the Party, as there were so few cadres. Between 1928 and 1938, the weight of the Party in the countryside remained weak, and its members were heavily influenced by the upper strata that intellectually and economically dominated the rural world. These factors all lead to problems of bureaucratic degeneration.

The first generation of revolutionary peasants had experienced the Civil War, when they were fighting the reactionary forces. The War Communism spirit, giving and receiving orders, maintained itself and gave birth to a bureaucratic style of work that was little based on patient political work.

For all these reasons, the struggle against the bureaucracy was always considered by Lenin  and Stalin as a struggle for the purity of the Bolshevik line, against the influences of the old society, the old social classes and oppressive structures.

Under Lenin  as under Stalin, the Party sought to concentrate the best revolutionaries, the most far-seeing, active, firm and organically tied to the masses, within the Central Committee and the leading organs. The leadership of the Party always sought to mobilize the masses to implement the tasks of socialist construction. It was at the intermediate levels, most notably in the Republic apparatuses, that bureaucratic elements, careerists and opportunists could most easily set up and hide. Throughout the period in which Stalin was the leader of the Party, Stalin called for the leadership and the base to mobilize to hound out the bureaucrats from above and from below. Here is a 1928 directive, typical of Stalin's view.

`Bureaucracy is one of the worst enemies of our progress. It exists in all our organizations .... The trouble is that it is not a matter of the old bureaucrats. It is a matter of the new bureaucrats, bureaucrats who sympathize with the Soviet Government and finally, communist bureaucrats. The communist bureaucrat is the most dangerous type of bureaucrat. Why? Because he masks his bureaucracy with the title of Party member.'

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Stalin, Speech delivered at the Eighth Congress of the All-Union Leninist  Young Communist League. Selected Works, p. 286.

After having presented several grave cases, Stalin continued:

`What is the explanation of these shameful instances of corruption and moral deterioration in certain of our Party organizations? The fact that Party monopoly was carried to absurd lengths, that the voice of the rank and file was stifled, that inner-Party democracy was abolished and bureaucracy became rife .... I think that there is not and cannot be any other way of combating this evil than by organizing control from below by the Party masses, by implanting inner-Party democracy. What objection can there be to rousing the fury of the mass of the Party membership against these corrupt elements and giving it the opportunity to send these elements packing?'

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Ibid. , p. 287.

`There is talk of crit(i)cism from above, criticism by the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, by the Central Committee of the Party and so on. That, of course, is all very good. But it is still far from enough. More, it is by no means the chief thing now. The chief thing now is to start a broad tide of criticism against bureaucracy in general, against shortcomings in our work in particular. Only (then) ... can we count on waging a successful struggle against bureaucracy and on rooting it out.'

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Ibid. , p. 288.



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Next: Reinforce public education Up: The struggle against Previous: Anti-Communists against `bureaucracy'



Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995