MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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The struggle for revolutionary democracy

To finish with bureaucracy, the leadership began a struggle for democracy within the Party.

It is on this basis of difficulties in applying the instructions during the purification campaign that on December 17, 1934, the Central Committee focused for the first time on more fundamental problems. It criticized `bureaucratic methods of leadership', where essential questions are treated by small groups of cadres without any participation from the base.

On March 29, 1935, Zhdanov  passed a resolution in Leningrad, criticizing certain leaders for neglecting education work and only doing economic tasks. Ideological tasks disappeared in paperwork and bureaucracy. The resolution underscored that the leaders must know the qualities and capacities of their subordinates. Evaluation reports of their work were needed, as were closer contacts between leaders and cadres and a political line of promoting new cadres.

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Ibid. , p. 99.

On May 4, Stalin spoke about this subject. He condemned

`(T)he outrageous attitude towards people, towards cadres, towards workers, which we not infrequently observe in practice. The slogan ``Cadres decide everything'' demands that our leaders should display the most solicitous attitude towards our workers, ``little'' and ``big,'' assisting them when they need support, encouraging them when they show their first successes, promoting them, and so forth. Yet in practice we meet in a number of cases with a soulless, bureaucratic, and positively outrageous attitude towards workers.'

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Stalin, Address to the Graduates of the Red Army Academies. Leninism,  p. 364.

Arch Getty,  in his brilliant study, Origins of the great purges, makes the following comment.

`The party had become bureaucratic, economic, mechanical, and administrative to an intolerable degree. Stalin and other leaders at the center perceived this as an ossification, a breakdown, and a perversion of the party's function. Local party and government leaders were no longer political leaders but economic administrators. They resisted political control from both above and below and did not want to be bothered with ideology, education, political mass campaigns, or the individual rights and careers of party members. The logical extension of this process would have been the conversion of the party apparatus into a network of locally despotic economic administrations. The evidence shows that Stalin, Zhdanov,  and others preferred to revive the educational and agitational functions of the party, to reduce the absolute authority of local satraps, and to encourage certain forms of rank-and-file leadership.'

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Getty,  op. cit. , p. 105.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995