PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY IN EASTERN EUROPE
by HILARY MINC
Member of the Political Bureau of the Polish United Workers’ Party
Reprinted from the Bulletin of the International Affairs, Department of the
Polish United Workers’ Party, February-March 1950
The theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the fundamental and central
part of the science of Marxism-Leninism. Marx and Engels created the theory of
the dictatorship of the proletariat, established theoretically the necessity of
smashing the bourgeois state machine and showed that, as a result of the
proletarian revolution, the proper content of the period of transition from
capitalism to Communism can only be the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Lenin fought mercilessly against revisionist and centrist attempts to distort
and efface the Marxian theory of the State, the proletarian revolution and the
dictatorship of the proletariat.
“The fundamental thing in Leninism is the problem of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, the elaboration of this problem, the substantiation and
concretisation of this problem,” wrote Comrade Stalin. (Stalin, “On the Problems
of Leninism”, Section 2, Problems of Leninism, English Edition, Moscow, 1947, p.
As Comrade Stalin indicated, the new elements which Lenin introduced into the
teachings on the dictatorship of the proletariat consist in the fact that he:
(a) discovered the Soviet form of government as the state form of the
dictatorship of the proletariat;
(b) developed the formula of the dictatorship of the proletariat, defining it as
a special form of the class alliance of the proletariat and the peasantry with
the proletariat playing the leading role in this alliance;
(c) elaborated the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the highest
type of democracy in class society, expressing the interest of the majority (the
exploited) as against bourgeois democracy which expresses the interest of the
minority (the exploiters).
(See Stalin, “Interview given to the first American Labour Delegation”
Essentials of Leninism, 2 volumes, English Edition, Moscow, 1947, vol. I, p.40)
Comrade Stalin, the co-creator and continuator of Lenin’s work, creatively
developed further the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the State and the
dictatorship of the proletariat, victoriously directed State and directs its
Just as Lenin, in the struggle against the revisionists and the centrists,
safeguarded the Marxian theory of the State and the dictatorship of the
proletariat from distortion and effacement and raised this theory to a new,
level by generalising upon the historical experience of the epoch of imperialism
and proletarian revolutions, so Stalin, in the struggle against Trotskyites and
right-wing deviationists, safeguarded Leninism from distortion and effacement,
and generalising upon the historical experience of the period of the general
crisis of capitalism and upon socialist construction, developed the
Marxist-Leninist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, thus developing
the science of Marxism-Leninism creatively and universally. On the basis of
Stalin’s teachings and under his leadership, the Soviet Socialist State
developed into a mighty and invincible power, the building of Socialism in the
U.S.S.R. was completed, and in the U.S.S.R. the period of a gradual transition
towards Communism was commenced.
On the basis of Stalin’s teachings and under his leadership the mighty,
invincible Soviet Socialist State smashed Hitlerite Germany. As a result of this
victory, the world front of capitalism was broken in a number of new places and
Stalin’s brilliant prophecy, made in 1934 was completely fulfilled:
“And let not Messieurs the bourgeoisie blame us if some of the governments so
near and dear to them, which today rule happily ‘by the grace of God’ are
missing on the to the morrow after such a war.” (Stalin, “Report to the
Seventeenth Congress C.P.S.U.(B)”, Problems of Leninism, p.464.)
On the ruins of these governments “by the grace of God” the States of People’s
Democracy have arisen.
The class nature of these States is the realisation of the dictatorship of the
proletariat through the hegemony of the proletariat; their aim is the building
of Socialism in their countries.
The States of People’s Democracy which arose as a result of the victory of the
U.S.S.R. over Hitlerism, develop on the basis of the experience of the
dictatorship of the proletariat and socialist construction in the U.S.S.R., of
the theoretical generalisation of this experience given by Comrade Stalin and of
the invaluable direct indications and advice of the C.P.S.U.(B,) and Comrade
“All nations”, wrote Lenin, “will come to Socialism-this is inevitable, but they
will not all reach it in the same way, every one will contribute its specific
nature in one or another form of democracy, in one or another variant of the
dictatorship of the proletariat, in one or another tempo in the socialist
transformation of the various aspects of social life.” (Lenin. A Caricature of
Marxism, Collected Works, Fourth Russian Edition, vol. XXIII, p.58.)
The Communist and Workers’ Parties in the People’s Democracies, basing
themselves on Stalin’s teachings, his indications and advice, have understood
the particular traits of the international situation and the specific internal
situation of their countries in the period after the Second World War, and on
this basis they have determined their specific way of exercising the function of
the dictatorship of the proletariat, forging a variant of it, People’s
Democracy, and in this way they marked out the best and most advantageous road
towards Socialism in their countries in the given historical conditions.
On the other hand, the science of Marxism-Leninism developed by Stalin was a
weapon with the aid of which the Communist and Workers’ Parties in the People’s
Democracies grasped the fact that the road of their countries towards Socialism
is the result of the victorious path of the U.S.S.R., that their type of State
is a variant of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that, as Lenin wrote:
“The transition from capitalism to Communism will certainly create a great
variety and abundance of political forms, but their essence will inevitably be
the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Lenin, The State and
Revolution: Essentials of Leninism, vol. II, p. 164; L.L.L. No, 14; L.S.W. vol
On the basis of this understanding, the right-wing and nationalist deviation
which sought to present the road of People’s Democracy as a “third” road between
Socialism and capitalism and to oppose the road of People’s Democracy to the
Soviet road was overcome and smashed.
Therefore, the arising and successful development of the People’s Democratic
States is not only yet one more proof of the correctness of the Marxist-Leninist
teachings on the State and the dictatorship of the proletariat developed by
Stalin, it is the further development of this theory under new historical
conditions, a development which took place on the basis of Stalin’s teachings
and under the direct ideological influence of the C.P.S.U.(B.) and Comrade
In the science of Marxism-Leninism the concept of the dictatorship of the
proletariat is inseparably linked with the concept of the proletarian
revolution. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument and principal
content of the proletarian revolution.
“The question of the proletarian dictatorship”, Comrade Stalin wrote, “is above
all a question of the main content of the proletarian revolution. The
proletarian revolution, its movement, its scope and its achievements, acquire
flesh and blood only through the dictatorship of the proletariat. The
dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument of the proletarian revolution,
its organ, its most important mainstay” (Stalin, “Foundations of Leninism”,
Section 4, Problems of Leninism, English Edition, Moscow, 1947, p, 39; L.S.L.
The tremendous social upheaval which took place after the war in the countries
of Southern and South-Eastern Europe, an upheaval which resulted in the
consolidation in these countries of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the
form of the People’s Democratic State, had the character of a proletarian
revolution, of a socialist revolution. It was, however, a socialist revolution
which was achieved in special historical conditions, differing from those in
which the Great October Socialist Revolution occurred.
What did the difference of these conditions consist of?
1. The People’s Democracies were liberated by the Soviet Army. The coming of the
Soviet Army made possible the growing of the national liberation struggle
conducted by partisan forces into a national liberation war conducted in state
form at the side of the Soviet Union by the entire nation and its regular army
which arose with Soviet aid. The working class which led the struggle against
the occupiers, now gained extensive possibilities of seizing political power and
carrying out a broad struggle for the abolition of the rule of the capitalists
“The working masses, the working class, and its political organisations had a
class ally in the Soviet Army, an ally who liberated the nation from the yoke of
Hitlerite slavery, an ally who by his very presence rendered powerless the camp
of reaction and made it incapable of dealing by force of arms with the
revolutionary government, an ally who guaranteed that the imperialist powers
would not decide the fate of a given country against the interests of the
people.” (Boleslaw Bierut: Speech delivered at the Unification Congress of the
Polish Workers’ Party and the Polish Workers’ Party and the Polish Socialist
Party on December 15, 1948.)
It is a historical fact that in the countries which were occupied by the
imperialist Anglo-American armies, as for example France or Italy, the working
class, in spite of the great scope of the national liberation struggle and the
tremendous role and influence of the Communist Party in the struggle, was unable
to seize power and these countries, under the influence of brutal imperialist
force, were unable to depart from the road of capitalism.
In this way, in contradistinction from the Soviet Union, where the socialist
proletarian revolution was carried out without any external aid and exclusively
with internal forces, the socialist revolution in the People’s Democracies was
based in its sources on the aid and power of the Soviet Union and its Army.
2. The revolutionary struggle of the masses under the leadership of the working
class and its Communist and Workers’ Parties against the landowners and the
capitalists was interwined in this upheaval with the national liberation war
against the Hitlerite occupiers.
Rosa Luxemburg in her time, when formulating erroneous conceptions of the
national question, which later were to be a burden upon the ideology of the
Communist Party of Poland, advanced a thesis in her polemics with Lenin to the
effect “there can be no more national wars”, understanding by this, that the
epoch of national wars was past, due to the consolidation of imperialism and the
imperialist division of the world between the great powers.
In answer to Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin in 1916 wrote the following on this question:
“One cannot maintain that such a transformation (of the imperialist war into a
national one-H.M.) is impossible; if the proletariat of Europe were to prove
itself impotent for some twenty years; if the given war (the imperialist war of
1914-H.M.) were to end in victorious like the Napoleonic ones and in the
subjugation of a number of national States capable of existence; if some
extra-European imperialism (above all Japanese and American) were to maintain
itself also for some twenty years, without passing into Socialism –for example
as a result of a Japanese-American war, then a great national war in Europe
would be possible.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Fourth Russian Edition, vol XXII.,
This brilliant hypothesis of Lenin’s was fully confirmed. During the Second
World War, Europe was the arena of a great liberation struggle of a number of
nations against the Hitlerite yoke. This struggle was closely connected with the
great war of the Soviet nation in the defence of its homeland. The guiding force
of the struggle against the German occupiers was the working class and its
Communist and Workers’ Parties. The working class and its Communist parties
closely linked’ the national liberation struggle with the struggle against the
capitalists and landowners, discredited by capitulation to Hitlerite Germany or
collaboration with it-and with the struggle for the overthrow of the rule of the
capitalists and landowners.
In this way, at the sources of the socialist revolution in the People’s
Democracies lies the intertwining, already during the period of the occupation,
of the national liberation struggle with the revolutionary struggle against the
capitalists and landowners.
Herein lies the second trait which differentiates the socialist revolution in
the People’s Democracies from the October Revolution.
3. In the People’s Democracies the formation of the People’s Democratic State as
the organ of the dictatorship of the proletariat took place as a long-term
process. The bourgeoisie and the landowners as well as their political
organisations were not smashed by a frontal attack of the working masses.
The political arena was not completely cleared. In the existing political system
many organisations were active which not only vacillated in relation to the
great tasks of the socialist revolution, but were thoroughly hostile toward them
and aimed at the restoration of capitalism.
The concrete setting of internal and international circumstances often called
for an at least partial sharing of the government, on the part of the Communist
and Workers’ Parties, not only with their wavering allies but also with
thoroughly bourgeois parties. Hence, the apparatus of bourgeois power was not
broken fully or in all its sectors-and hence, the relatively slow tempo of great
social transformations, etc. In the process of a long and stubborn class
struggle, the discrediting and shattering of hostile political organisations,
the overcoming of the vacillations of political allies, the forging-through the
united front-of the organic unity of the working class; in the process of
extending the foundations of a new system among the masses of the nation, the
activisation of these masses in the ever growing conviction that the new system
is their system; in the process of fortifying the apparatus of the new state
power and purging it from bourgeois trash, deepening the social transformations,
extending the front of the class struggle and directing the fire of this
struggle not only against the village rich; in the process of a long series of
difficult but victorious class battles-the new States of People’s Democracy
fulfil the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat in an ever greater
scope and with ever greater effectiveness.
It is clear that boundaries in nature and society are “conventional” and
“movable” as Lenin said. The process of the crystallisation of the dictatorship
of the proletariat in the People’s Democracies occurred differently in various
countries. The point of departure in respect to the composition of forces, the
achieved degree of breaking the old apparatus, etc., also differed in these
countries. In the view of long duration, complicated nature and difficulties of
this process, it is clear and understandable why the formulation of the People’s
Democracy as fulfilling effectively the functions of the dictatorship of the
proletariat-a formulation which called for the theoretical generalisation of the
experiences of People’s Democracy-was given by Comrades Dimitrov and Bierut at
the end of 1948.
Thus, in contradistinction from the Soviet Union, where the dictatorship of the
proletariat was fixed in the form of Soviet power from the first days of the
socialist revolution, the crystallisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat
in the People’s Democracies took place as a long-lasting and difficult process.
Herein lies the third trait which differentiates the socialist revolution in the
People’s Democracies from October Revolution.
Regardless of the divergence of the social upheaval in the People’s Democracies
from the October Revolution, this upheaval accomplished the same historical
Political power was snatched from the hands of the bourgeoisie peasantry and
passed into the hands of the working class and the working peasantry. Large and
medium industry, banks and transport became the property of the State and the
landowners were expropriated. The People’s Democracies left the capitalist world
and ceased to be subject to capitalism’s laws of development, which gave them
the possibility of entering on the road of Socialism.
Thus both in respect to the fulfilled historical tasks and in respect to the
driving class forces, the socialist upheaval accomplished in the People’s
Democracies is the same type as the October Revolution, and possesses all the
traits of the proletarian socialist revolution.
The fact that the social upheaval in the People’s Democracies decided and solved
a number of the tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution (for example-the
liquidation of feudal survivals in agriculture) does not in any case change its
character as a socialist revolution, for the Great October Revolution also
resolved “in passing” a number of tasks of this type.
There, is no doubt that the point of departure for the formation of right wing
and nationalist deviations in the Communist and Workers’ Parties is precisely
the denial of the fact that the great social upheaval that has been accomplished
in the People’s Democracies has the character of a socialist revolution. The
right-wing and nationalist deviationists do not wish to see the fundamental,
revolutionary, socialist content of this upheaval-they bring to the forefront
only the fact that the upheaval was closely connected with the war of national
liberation. This is the source of opportunism in the treatment of the question
of the question of the national front. Comrade Bierut, in unmasking the
opportunist, right-wing and nationalist stand of Comrade Gomulka, characterised
this opportunism as follows:
“What does opportunism in the question of the national front consist of? In the
fact that it loses sight of the hegemony of the working class. Herein lay the
error, the actual stand of opportunism.
“Similarly to all the revolutionary parties in the whole world, we have never
put forth the slogan of the national front as anything else in which the working
class and the worker’s party is the guide, leader and chief. Any other way of
comprehending the national must be opportunist. This opportunism lay in the
stand of a certain number of the comrades who later erred in a right-wing,
opportunist and nationalist deviation on a number of other sectors of work. In
their position the false approach to the national front was that trait which led
them to errors.” (Boleslaw Bierut: Concluding speech at the Third Plenum of the
Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party, November 13, 1949.)
The negating of the hegemony of the proletariat and of its socialist aims in the
national front is closely connected in the stand of the right-wing and
nationalist deviationists with a narrowing of the tasks of the working class
solely to the tasks of the war of liberation, of the bourgeois democratic
revolution-it is closely connected with the negation of the fact that the
upheaval which took place in the People’s Democracies is of the same class type
as the Great October Socialist Revolution.
It is connected with the counterposing of the road of the People’s Democracies
to the Soviet road, with acting against the deepening of the upheaval, the
extension of the front of class struggle to embrace the kulaks, and the decisive
entry upon the road of socialist construction in town and country. Finally, it
is connected with the creation of radically false theories which regard the
system of People’s Democracy as a third, intermediary road between the
capitalist and tile Soviet roads.
The People’s Democratic States which arose as a result of a socialist
revolution, and have crystallised into an instrument of the dictatorship of the
proletariat in the span of a long and difficult process, are States which set
for themselves the task of building a classless socialist society.
Therefore, although capitalist elements are still strong in many fields of the
economy of these countries and the small-production economy which is still
dominant in the villages is the foundation for the formation of these elements;
although elements of the old bourgeois apparatus still rest in many of the
sectors of the state apparatus of these States and the terrain has not yet been
completely cleared of the remnants of the broken bourgeois state apparatus and
the remnants of broken bourgeois political formations-the People’s Democracy
States are States of a socialist type.
Lenin wrote in 1918 as follows:
“There has been no one as yet, who, if he asked himself a question regarding
Russia’s economy, would deny that this economy is of a transitory nature. No
Communist would deny, it seems, also the fact that the expression-Socialist
Soviet Republic-signifies that the Soviet Power is determined to carry out the
transition to Socialism, and that it does not in the least signify a recognition
of the new economic order as a Socialist order,” (Lenin, Collected Works, Third
Russian Edition, vol. XXII, p. 513.)
At the Third All-Union Congress of Soviets, Lenin said:
“We have never erred in this matter and we know how difficult is the road
leading from capitalism to Socialism-but we are bound to state that our Soviet
Republic is socialist because we have entered this road and these words will not
be empty words.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Third Russian Edition, vol. XXII,
These words of Lenin can be applied in full to the People’s Democratic States.
These are States in which Socialism has not conquered ultimately, but in spite
of this, these are States which have set for themselves the decided task of
building a socialist society and the successful course this construction
indicates in full that this decision is not based on empty words. Thus, they are
Socialist States, in their class nature of the same type as the Soviet State in
that phase of its development when antagonistic social classes still existed in
it. Thus, they are States of Socialism under construction, as was the U.S.S.R.
in its first phase of development (before it became the State of victorious
In the Socialist States of People’s Democracy, derived from a socialist
revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat is exercised, as a result of
different historical conditions, in a different form than the Soviet form.
“At the foundations of our difference from the Soviet road”, Comrade Bierut
stated, “lies the all-sided aid of the Soviet Union and the help of the
experiences and achievements of the victorious dictatorship of the proletariat
in the U.S.S.R.” (B. Bierut, The Ideological Foundations of the Polish United
Regardless of this difference, the People’s Democratic form of the dictatorship
of the proletariat fulfils the same functions as the Soviet State in the first
phase of its development. These functions include, primarily, the forcible
suppression of the resistance of the over-thrown classes of the exploiters
within the country. This suppression of the exploiters’ resistance takes place
in our country often in different forms than in the Soviet Union during the
first phase of its development. As is known, the bourgeoisie and other classes
of exploiters were at that time deprived of the right to participate in the
elections to the Soviets, which is not the case in the People’s Democracies
where the universal right to vote exists. Lenin did not consider the limitation
of the electoral rights of the bourgeoisie as an indispensable condition of the
dictatorship of the proletariat. On the contrary, Lenin considered that these
limitations arose in the setting of the specific conditions of the Russian
Revolution and wrote that this limitation:
“… is not absolutely necessary for the exercise of the dictatorship. It is not
an essential earmark of the logical concept ‘dictatorship’, it does not enter as
an essential condition into the historical and class concept ‘dictatorship’.
“The necessary earmark, the essential condition of dictatorship, is the forcible
suppression of the exploiters as, a class.” (Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution
and the Renegade Kautsky, Essentials of Leninism, vol. II, p. 380; L.L.L. No.
18; L.S.W. vol. 7.)
In his article “Lenin and Stalin on the state form of the dictatorship of the
proletariat”, D.I. Chesnokov correctly writes:
“On the one hand, the peculiarities of the country’s internal development” the
relation of class forces and tension of class conflicts-on the other hand, the
specific nature of the international situation, determine the form, methods and
scale of the force employed by the proletariat against the exploiters. For the
working class, force is not the goal, but solely the means for suppressing the
resistance of the bourgeoisie and consolidating the workers’ State. The ‘degree’
of force is determined mainly by the ‘degree’ of ,the bourgeoisie’s resistance
and its ‘fury’ in the struggle with the proletariat and the working classes in
general” (Problems of Philosophy, November 3, 1948.)
Historical conditions have caused the dictatorship of the proletariat to be
realised in the People’s Democracies in a different form than the Soviet. This
form is the most advantageous, best and most adapted to the conditions of these
countries, and is for them the most suitable road’ for the transition to
One must be, however, fully aware of the fact that this most advantageous, in
given historical conditions, form, has also a number of negative aspects and
dangers connected with them. The dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet
form arose as a result of the frontal attack of the working masses led by the
working class on the exploiters’ class and its state apparatus. It swept away
and shattered rapidly and radically the machine of the bourgeois State,
bourgeois political formations, bourgeois norms and legal regulations, the
privileged positions of the church hierarchy, etc., etc.
In his work, The Foundations of Leninism, Comrade Stalin particularly emphasises
Lenin’s statement in which Lenin affirms that:
“The Soviet organisation of the State alone is capable of immediately and
effectively smashing and finally destroying the old, i.e., the bourgeois,
bureaucratic and judicial apparatus.” (My italics-H.M.) (Stalin, “Foundations of
Leninism”, Section 4, Problems of Leninism, p.48; L.S.L. No.1.)
It is clear that the People’s Democratic form of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, due to the circumstances of its development and of formation,
cannot accomplish “immediately” and “finally” these tasks of clearing the
terrain for socialist construction with the same sweep and consistency.
Therefore, even at present, after years of a long and difficult process of the
crystallisation of the People’s Democratic State as a variant of the
dictatorship of the proletariat which retains the fundamental levers of
power-the People’s Democracies still trail behind themselves long “tails”, made
up of obsolete institutions and norms of the past period-and at times, even of
particular elements of the old bourgeois state apparatus which have not been
subjected to revolutionary transformation. This hampers the development of
socialist construction and creates certain dangers, for, in definite
circumstances, the “tails” from the preceding period become advantageous points
of entrenchment for the class enemy.
Historical development has shown, in accord with the science of
Marxism-Leninism, that the existence of two forms of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, the Soviet and People’s Democratic forms, is possible.
The People’s Democratic form has proved itself, in the special historical
conditions which arose in a number of countries after the Second World War, to
be vital and effective.
It is a fact that a new chapter, rich in content, on the People’s Democracy has
been contributed to the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the State, the socialist
revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is a fact that this new
chapter has been contributed on the basis of Stalin’s teachings and under his
direct ideological influence and leadership.
In developing the Leninist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat,
Comrade Stalin elaborated in detail the problem of the system of functioning of
the dictatorship of the proletariat, the problem of its “mechanism”, i.e., the
problem of the Bolshevik Party as the leading force of the Soviet State and the
“transmission” of the Party to the masses: the trade unions, Soviets,
co-operatives, Young Communist League, etc.
“The Party is the organised detachment of the working class but the Party is
Party is not, the only organisation of, the working class. The proletariat has
also a number of other organisations, without which it cannot properly wage the
struggle against capital: trade unions, co-operative societies, factory and
works organisations, parliamentary groups, non-Party women’s associations, the
Press, cultural and educational organisations, youth leagues, revolutionary
fighting organisations (in times of open revolutionary action), Soviets of
deputies as the form of state organisation (if, the proletariat, is in power),
etc. The overwhelming majority of these organisations are non-Party, and only a
certain part of them adhere directly to the Party, or represent its offshoots,”
(Stalin, “Foundations of Leninism”, Section 8, Problems of Leninism, p.86; L.S.L.
And further on Comrade Stalin writes:
“... all these organisations should work in one direction for they serve one
class, the class of the proletarians. The question then arises; who is to
determine the line, the general direction, along which the work of all these
organisations is to be conducted? Where is that central organisation which is
not only able, because it has the necessary experience, to work out such a
general line, but, in addition, is in a position because it has sufficient
prestige for that, to induce all these organisations to carry out this line, so
as to attain unity of leadership and to preclude the possibility of working at
cross purposes?” (ibid, p. 86.)
Such an organisation is the Party of the proletariat.
Does this “mechanism” of the dictatorship of the proletariat function” and in
what fashion, in the conditions of its People’s Democratic form?
It is clear that it functions fully, for without this mechanism, whose core is
the leading role of the workers’ party, there is no, and can be no, dictatorship
of the proletariat.
In the People’s Democracies the Communist and Workers’ Parties were “an
instrument in the hands of the proletariat for the conquest of the dictatorship”
(Stalin), they elaborated the general line which led to the conquest of this
dictatorship, and now, when the dictatorship of the proletariat is already
achieved, they are the instrument “for the strengthening and extension of the
The Communist and Workers’ Parties elaborate the general line, which aims at,
the most rapid and effective building of Socialism, and, having sufficient
authority, they stimulate to action on this line the central and local
government organs, the trade unions, youth organisations, the Co-operative
movement, press, etc.
Without this leading role of the Party as the highest form of the class union of
proletarians, without the coherence and discipline of the Party and without the
confidence in it of the broad masses, the dictatorship of the proletariat not
only would not be able to strengthen and extend itself, in order to lead to the
complete victory of Socialism, but it would not be able even to maintain itself.
In 1920 Lenin wrote:
“Certainly, almost everyone now realises that the Bolsheviks could not have
maintained themselves in power for two and a half months, let alone two and a
half years, unless the strictest, truly iron discipline had prevailed in our
Party, and unless the latter had been rendered the fullest and unreserved
support of the ,whole mass of the working class, that is, of all its thinking,
honest, self-sacrificing and influential elements who are capable of leading or
of carrying with them the backward strata.” (Lenin, Left-wing Communism; L.S.W.,
vol. 10; Essentials of Lenin, vol. 2, p. 573; L.L.L. No. 16.)
These words of Lenin can be applied in full to the historic role which the
Communist Parties played in the achievement and maintenance of the dictatorship
of the proletariat, and play in its extension and strengthening.
Although there is a complete, fundamental harmony in the functioning of the
mechanism of the dictatorship of the proletariat, based on the leading role of
the Party, in both the Soviet and People's Democratic form of dictatorship, a
certain specific nature does exist, however, at the present stage of development
of the People's Democratic form. This specific nature lies in the existence of
not only one single party, the party of the proletariat, but also of other
political organisations and parties, which function mainly in the field of the
peasant and petty bourgeois strata.
It must, however, be stated distinctly that these parties do not possess any
more the character of political organisations representing the interests of
“antagonistic classes whose interests are hostile and cannot be reconciled”
A number of these political organisations and parties are derived historically
from the era of the bourgeois State. In the period after the Second World War,
when the socialist revolution was developing in the People's Democracies and an
arduous struggle was being waged for the consolidation “and crystallisation of
the dictatorship of the proletariat, some of these parties were the more or less
wavering allies of the Communist and Workers' Parties while some of them held
openly hostile positions in relation to them.
However, in the process of the great class battles which took place in the
People’s Democracies-in the process of smashing and liquidating the hostile
bourgeois-landowner political formations, in the process of detaching the
toiling and exploited masses from the bourgeoisie, the overcoming of the
vacillations of the masses of middle peasants and the fortifying of the
worker-peasant alliance as the basis of the dictatorship of the
proletariat-these parties changed their class nature. In this period a thorough
revision of their ideology, a thorough cleansing of their leadership and
apparatus took place. At present these parties recognise the general political
line, worked out by the Communist and Workers’ Parties, which aims at the
building of Socialism, as binding for them and corresponding to the interest of
the social strata amongst which they function. These parties develop their
practical activity along this line. These parties recognise also, both in theory
and in practice, the leading role of the Communist and Workers’ Parties.
In these circumstances the class nature of these parties and their function must
be, and is, fundamentally different from the class nature and function of
parties of the bourgeois State. In the present stage of development of the
People’s Democracies these parties are fulfilling in reality the function of
special ally formations, a special bridge for the leading detachment of the
working class to a part of the working masses, especially to the peasants. Hence
entrance of the representatives of these parties into the government does not in
any case endow the governments in the People’s Democracies with the character of
coalition governments in the bourgeois meaning of the word, does not deprive
them of coherence and compactness, does not infringe in principle their unity of
action and does not undermine the stability and durability of the people’s
It should not be forgotten, however, that the existence of these parties, while
historically justified, necessary and purposeful in the present stage of
development of People’s Democracy, can, in certain circumstances, be connected
with definite dangers, derived from the fact that the class enemy attempts to
entrench himself in some of the sectors of these parties.
There is no doubt that the further development of People’s Democracy will
consolidate, deepen and extend the leading role of the Communist and Workers’
Parties in the entirety of the country’s political life, in forms that
correspond for each country and each period.
In any case it is clear that the prediction formulated by Comrade Dimitrov in
1948 to the effect that progressive social development “does not lead to a
multitude of parties and small groups” has been already confirmed by the uniting
of particular parties, which has taken place in some of the People’s
In developing the theory of Marxism-Leninism, Comrade Stalin made a great, new
contribution to the teachings on the Party of the proletariat. For the Communist
and Workers’ Parties of the People’s Democracies, that part of the
Leninist-Stalinist teachings which deals with the problem of the Party as the
vanguard of the working class is especially timely.
Here is what Comrade Stalin writes on this problem:
“But in order that it may really be the vanguard, the Party must be armed with
revolutionary theory, with a knowledge of the laws of the movement, with a
knowledge of the laws of the revolution. Without this it will be incapable of
directing the struggle of the proletariat, of leading the proletariat. The Party
cannot be a real Party, if it limits itself to registering what the masses of
the working class feel and think, if it drags at the tail of the spontaneous
movement, if it is unable to overcome the inertness and political indifference
of the spontaneous movement, if it is unable to rise above the momentary
interests of the proletariat, if it is unable to elevate the masses to the level
of the class interests of the proletariat. The Party must stand at the head of
the working class; it must see further, than the working class; it must lead the
proletariat, and not allow in the tail of the spontaneous movement.” (Stalin,
“Foundations of Leninism”; Problems of Leninism, p.81, 82; L.S.L. No.1.)
Without the Party as the vanguard of the working class, without the Party as the
“political leader of the working class” (Stalin), there is, and can be, no
dictatorship of the proletariat capable of consolidating, developing and
It is understandable, therefore, that the traitors and spies of the Tito clique,
preparing since long ago a counter-revolutionary coup in Yugoslavia at the
behest of American imperialism, recognised as the fundamental element of their
traitorous work the deprivation of the Communist Party of its role as the
vanguard of the working class by detaching it from the working class and
dissolving it in the so-called National Front.
It is also not a matter of accident that the bearers of the right wing and
nationalist deviation, led by Comrade Gomulka, wanted to deprive our Party of
the role of the vanguard of the working class by detaching it from revolutionary
traditions, by uniting with the Polish Socialist Party without first shattering
the right wing-of the P.S.P., and not on the platform of Marxism-Leninism.
The Communist and Workers' Parties in the People’s Democracies, due to the
specific conditions in which they arose and developed, do not as yet possess in
full the traits of a Bolshevik Party, although they fulfil in principle the
functions of the leading detachment of the working class.
Hence the immense and intensive organisational work that is being carried out at
present by the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the People’s Democracies, in
order to make up for the delay, in order to assimilate in full Bolshevik methods
of organisational work, in order to purge themselves of hostile and foreign
elements, to prevent the effacement of the line between the Party and the class
and in order to perform the function of the political leader of the working
class, completely, universally and in a Bolshevik manner
In developing the Leninist teaching on the Patty, Comrade Stalin formulated as a
law of the development of the Party the strengthening of the Party by the
purging of opportunist elements.
“Our Party”, Comrade Stalin writes, “succeeded in creating internal unity and
unexampled cohesion of its ranks primarily because it was able in good time to
purge itself of the opportunist pollution, because it was able to rid its ranks
of the liquidators, the Mensheviks.” (ibid, p.91).
During the period when the direct task facing the People’s Democracies was only
the struggle for the consolidation of regained State-hood and the reconstruction
of national economy, the opportunist elements in the parties did not as yet
reveal themselves fully.
When, however, a new stage of development began, when the building of the
foundations of Socialism and the sharp struggle against the capitalist elements
in town and country became a direct task, in the period which coincided with an
ever more acute division of the world into the camp of imperialism and the camp
of peace, in this period the opportunist elements in the parties revealed their
features and sought to turn the parties from their proper road.
We know from our own experience that the routing of the right wing and
nationalist deviation in our Party fortified it, and armed it for the
accomplishment of the tasks of the leading detachment of the working class, the
directing force of the dictatorship of the proletariat, carrying out the
transition to Socialism.
Basing itself on Stalin’s teachings and his ideological influence, the
dictatorship of the proletariat in the People’s Democracies develops and
strengthens itself-the Communist and Workers’ Parties directing it-and develops
on the road of Bolshevik theory and practice.
The experience of the State and Party building in these countries is a further
splendid confirmation and development of the Leninist-Stalinist teachings on the
“mechanism” of the functioning of the dictatorship of the proletariat and on the
guiding role of the Party as the vanguard of the working class.
In 1939, at the Eighteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Comrade Stalin
presented a profound, thorough analysis of the development of the Soviet
Socialist State and determined two phases of this development: the first the
period from the October Revolution to the liquidation of the exploiting classes,
and the second the period from the liquidation of the capitalist elements of
town and country to the complete victory of the Socialist system of economy and
the enactment of the new Constitution.
The principal task in the first place, Comrade Stalin writes:
“Was to suppress the resistance of the overthrown classes, to organise the
defence of the country against the attack of the interventionists, to restore
industry and agriculture and to prepare the conditions for the elimination of
the capitalist elements. Accordingly, in this period our State performed two
And further on, characterising these two main functions, Comrade Stalin writes:
“The first function was to suppress the overthrown classes inside the country.
“The second function was to defend the country from foreign attack. “Our State
had yet a third function: this was the work of economic organisation and
cultural education performed by our State bodies with the purpose of developing
the infant shoots of the new, socialist economic system and re-educating the
people in the spirit of Socialism. But this new function did not attain to any
considerable development in that period.” (My italics-H.M.) (Stalin, Problems of
In regard to the second phase, the principal task of this period, as Comrade
Stalin stated, lay in the organisation of the socialist economy, corresponding
to which the functions of the Socialist State also changed.
The function of suppressing resistance inside the country fell and died away. In
its place arose the function of safeguarding of the socialist property. The
function of armed defence of the country from external attack was completely
preserved' and, as Comrade Stalin writes:
“The function of economic organisation and cultural education by the state
organs also remained, and was developed to the full. Now the main task of our
State inside the country is the work of peaceful economic organisation and
cultural education. As for our army, punitive organs and intelligence service,
their edge is no longer turned to the inside of the country but to the outside,
against the external enemies.
“As you see, we now have an entirely new, Socialist State, without precedent in
history and differing considerably in form and functions from the Socialist
State .of the first phase.” (ibid, p, 633.)
In the light of Comrade Stalin's analysis of the development of the Socialist
State and the determined two phases of its development, it should be clear that
the People's Democracies are in the first phase, in the period when the main
task is the breaking of the resistance of the overthrown classes and the
preparation of conditions for the liquidation of the capitalist classes.
However, in new historical conditions, this first phase of development of the
Socialist State takes 'a somewhat different course in the People's Democracies
than took place in the U.S.S.R.
Wherein does this difference chiefly rest?
It rests in the fact that, due to basing themselves on the U.S.S.R., the
People's Democracies were able to approach relatively faster the realisation of
the economic-organisational and cultural-educational functions of the Socialist
State. This was caused by the following circumstances:
1. Due to the support of the might and aid of the U.S.S.R., the People's
Democracies avoided armed imperialist intervention. It is true that the
overthrown classes of exploiters benefited and benefit from the close aid of the
imperialists, and here and there, on the basis of this aid, attempts at armed
resistance arose-as, for example, in Poland during a certain period of the
activities of the bands and the underground which had even some elements of a
civil war-but all these attempts of resistance cannot be compared in their
destructive results with the burdens, devastations and tension o forces brought
about by the armed imperialist intervention in the U.S.S.R., and the
long-lasting civil war which grew on its soil. As is known, the rebuilding of
the country in the U.S.S.R. was able to begin, due to the armed imperialist
intervention, only four to five years after the October Revolution. In Poland,
on the other hand, where the armed resistance of the overthrown classes had
relatively the greatest scope and lasted the longest, it was unable to halt for
an instant the work of rebuilding the country.
Therefore, in the People's Democracies, industry and agriculture were restored
already in the first phase of the development of the Socialist State and already
in the first phase of development, production, especially in industry, has very
considerably surpassed the pre-war level.
2. The People's Democracies benefited from the very first instant of their
formation from the all-sided aid of the Soviet Union in the form of deliveries
of goods, food, commodity and investment credits, technical aid, cultural
In the recent past the mutual aid of the People’s Democracies carried out on the
basis of the Mutual Economic Aid Council has begun to play an ever more
3. The People's Democracies have the possibility of benefiting, and benefit,
from the experiences of the Soviet Union, of marching along the path it has
cleared. This saves them many vain efforts, many unsuccessful attempts and
pursuits, much national energy, labour and material costs which otherwise would
be expended without the proper effect.
These are the circumstances which cause a relatively more rapid development of
the economic-organisational work in the People’s Democracies than in the
U.S.S.R. in the first phase of its development. This has, of course, a highly
positive bearing on the whole of the development of these countries.
Having avoided, due to basing themselves on the strength and aid of the
U.S.S.R., imperialist intervention, the People’s Democracies also did not have
to pass through the stage of War Communism in their economy, the necessity of
which in the U.S.S.R. was primarily caused precisely by the imperialist
The economy of the People’s Democracies was, and is, based up to the present on
the taking over by the State of the principal economic positions (large and
medium industry, the banks, transport, etc.), on the permitting within definite
limits and utilisation of market relations, and on such a planned direction of
economic life on the basis of the principal economic positions, as to cause the
growth of the socialist sector and development in the direction of Socialism.
Comrade Stalin foresaw brilliantly already in 1928 that:
“The new economic policy with its market relations and the utilisation of the
market relations is absolutely necessary for every capitalist country in the
period of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Stalin, Collected Works,
Russian Edition, vol. XI, p.145.)
This brilliant prediction of Comrade Stalin was completely confirmed by the
development of the economy of the People’s Democracies, which at present are in
a period having many common practical traits and many analogies with the Soviet
N.E.P. (New Economic Policy) period.
But the N.E.P. is not only the permitting on definite conditions and utilisation
of market relations.
“The N.E.P.,” Comrade Stalin states, “is the Party’s policy which permits of the
struggle between the socialist and capitalist elements, and is calculated to
bring about the victory of the Socialist elements over the capitalist elements.
In actual fact N.E.P. only began as a retreat; but the calculation was that in
the course of this retreat our forces would be regrouped and we would launch an
offensive. As a matter of fact, we have been pursuing the offensive for several
years now, and are doing so successfully, developing our industries, developing
Soviet trade, and pressing hard. upon private capital” (Stalin, “On the Problems
of Leninism”, Section 7, Problems of Leninism, p. 172.)
In the People’s Democracies, where the permitting and utilisation of market
relations was not a period of retreat because there had been no period of War
Communism which eliminated these market conditions, the offensive against the
limitation and gradual dislodging of capitalist elements is taking place. As a
result of this development the perspective of the total liquidation of
capitalist elements becomes ever more clearly apparent, similarly to the plan
outlined and accomplished in the U.S.S.R. under Stalin’s leadership -i.e.,
through the industrialisation of the country and the gradual collectivisation of
agriculture. It is precisely this perspective, formulated in the resolution of
the Information Bureau on the issue of the situation in the Communist Party of
Yugoslavia, which caused in our Party, amongst others, the complete unmasking of
the rightwing and nationalist group, led by Comrade Gomulka, and the
unsuccessful attempt to turn back our Party from the road leading to the
realisation of Socialism.
The right-wing and nationalist group in our Party was thoroughly routed, and the
attempt to turn our Party back from its road towards the realisation of
Socialism ended in infamous disaster and bankruptcy.
There is no doubt as well that our country, like all the other People’s
Democracies, suppressing the resistance of the bourgeoisie, developing its
defensive power on the support of the U.S.S.R., will extend ever more., the
economic-organisational and cultural-educational function of the Socialist State
so that, as a result of the liquidation of the capitalist elements, the
liquidation of antagonistic social classes and the victorious building of
Socialism, this function becomes the principal and fundamental function of our
Comrade Stalin, in developing the theory of the State and in particular the
theory of the Socialist State, has contributed a new chapter to this theory,
dealing with the question of the State in the period of Communism.
This is what Comrade Stalin stated on this question in 1939 in the report to the
Eighteenth Party Congress:
“We are going ahead, towards Communism. Will our State remain in the period of
“Yes, it will, unless the capitalist encirclement is liquidated, and unless the
danger of foreign military attack has disappeared. Naturally, of course, the
forms of our State will again change in conformity with the change in the
situation at home and abroad.
“No, it will not remain and will atrophy if the capitalist encirclement is
liquidated and a Socialist encirclement takes its place.” (Stalin, Problems of
Leninism. p. 637-638.).
This extension and deepening of the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the State was
based on a profound elaboration of the problem of the internal and external
functions of the State and on a thorough definition and determination of the
consequences and dangers deriving from the existence of the capitalist
In this same report to the Eighteenth Party Congress, which contributed a new
chapter to the theory of the State, Comrade Stalin, raising an objection to
those who considered that since there were no more antagonistic classes in the
U.S.S.R. then the State was also unnecessary, stated
“These questions not only betray an underestimation of the capitalist
encirclement, but also an underestimation of the role and significance of the
bourgeois States and their organs, which send in spies, assassins, and wreckers
into our country and are waiting for a favourable moment to attack it by armed
force.” (ibid, p. 632.)
And further on Comrade Stalin says:
“Is it not surprising that we learned about the espionage and conspiratorial
activities of the Trotskyite and Bukharinite leaders only quite recently, in
1937 and 1938, although, as the evidence shows, these gentry were in the service
of foreign espionage organisations and carried on conspiratorial activities from
the very first days of the October Revolution?
“This blunder is to be explained by an underestimation of the strength and
consequence of the mechanism of the bourgeois States surrounding us and of their
espionage organs which endeavour to take advantage of people's weaknesses, their
vanity, their slackness of will, to enmesh them in their espionage nets and use
them to surround the organs of the Soviet Stat~.” (ibid, p. 632-633.)
The People's Democracies are not in a capitalist encirclement in the sense that
the U.S.S.R. was when it was the only Socialist State in the world.
The People's Democracies find a powerful support in the mighty Soviet Union.
But the People's Democracies, along with the Soviet Union, face an imperialist
camp armed to the teeth and led by the American warmongers.
In the great anti-imperialist camp of peace and Socialism the People’s
Democracies are less strong links than the U.S.S.R. In their countries there are
still remnants of the routed classes of exploiters, and especially the class of
the village rich, remnants of the bourgeois state apparatus and bourgeois
political formations. The connections of some strata with native and foreign
capitalism are still fresh; a broad stratum of people's intelligentsia has not
yet emerged, the organs of justice and the organs of struggle with foreign
intelligence services have not yet grown firm and acquired sufficient
experience;” the Communist and Workers' Parties do not possess as yet the
Bolshevik characteristics in full.
Therefore it is understandable that the imperialists direct their blows and
attacks at the People's Democracies and that for a long time already they have
been setting up long-range plans, aimed at, detaching these countries from the
U.S.S.R. and guiding them on to the road to capitalism.
The provocation of many years standing of the spying Tito band for the benefit
of the imperialists, the provocation; diversion and espionage of many years
standing of the Rajk and Kostov bands and of the Titoite band in Hungary and
Bulgaria, the provocation of many years standing of the pre-war Polish
counter-intelligence agents in our Party, which spread on the ground of the
opportunism and absolute lack of revolutionary vigilance on the part of Comrades
Gomulka and Spychalski-all this shows how dangerous is the underestimation of
the mechanism of the internal and external action of the class enemy.
“We cannot for an instant,” said Comrade Bierut, “lose sight of the class enemy
and his cunning and insidious moves. Be vigilant! This is an order which should
accompany every one of us constantly, in every moment of our Party’s
professional and social work, as well as at every step of our collective and
personal life. As long as the class enemy exists and acts-we must be, vigilant.
To be vigilant, means to hasten the destruction of the imperialists, to fortify
the foundations of socialist construction.” (B. Bierut. Report delivered at the
Third Plenum of the Central Committee of the P.U.W.P., November II, 1949.)
There is no doubt that, basing themselves on Stalin’s teachings and the
experiences of the C.P.S.U.(B), the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the
People’s Democracies will be able to intensify their revolutionary vigilance and
frustrate even the most satanic’ provocations of the foreign imperialists and of
the native bourgeoisie and landowners.
The People’s Democracies arose as the result of a socialist revolution,
occurring in special historical conditions. This revolution was of the same
type, in class nature, as the Great October Socialist Revolution. The State in,
the People’s Democracies is a State of the socialist type, of the same type in
class nature as the Soviet State. The Soviet and People’s Democratic form of the
State are variants of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Socialist State
in the People’s Democracies differs from the contemporary Soviet State:
1. In the difference of historical conditions and the difference derived
therefrom in the forms of exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat.
2. In the different phase of development in which it rests, the different stage
of historical development: in the People’s Democracies, antagonistic social
classes still exist, capitalism has not been completely liquidated and Socialism
is only being boot. In the U.S.S.R., there are no antagonistic social classes,
capitalism bas been totally liquidated, Socialism has been built and a Communist
society is being boot.
Under these circumstances, what is and what can be the tendency of development
of the People s Democracies?
This tendency can only be, and is, to make up for the historical delay, to build
Socialism on the basis of the experience of the U.S.S.R. It is clear that as the
People’s Democracies pass over from the first phase of development of the
Socialist State to the second the divergences of system in relation to the
U.S.S.R. will decrease.
The line of development of the U.S.S.R. and the line of the People’s Democracy
are not in any case parallel lines, which if they intersect anywhere then only
at infinity. On the contrary, the line of development of the People’s
Democracies tends sharply towards the second phase of development of the
Socialist State, towards a socialist society.
What does the direction of this line signify?
It signifies nothing else but the striving towards making up the historical
delay, catching up with the U.S.S.R., and marching together with it and under
its leadership towards Communism. Armed with Stalin’s teaching we shall reach