Bolshevik Writers: J. V. Stalin (1879-1953)

J.V. Stalin

Concerning the Policy of Eliminating of the Kulaks as a Class


 Krasnaya Zvezda, No. 18,
 January 21, 1930
From J. V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism,
Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1976

pp. 477-82.

Based on J. V. Stalin, Works,
Foreign Languages Publishing House,
Moscow, 1955

Vol. 12, pp. 184-89.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE

The present English edition of J. V. Stalin's Problems of Leninism corresponds to the eleventh Russian edition of 1952. The English translation up to page 766 (including the relevant notes at the end of the book) is taken from Stalin's Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953-55, Vol. 6 and Vols. 8-13, while the rest is taken from the same publishers' 1953 edition of Problems of Leninism. Minor changes have been made in the translation and the notes.

    Volume and page references to Lenin's Works made in the text are to the third Russian edition. References to English translations are added, as footnotes, by the present publisher.

 

The article, "The Elimination of the Kulaks as Class," in No. 16 of Krasnaya Zvezda1 is undeniably correct in the main, but it contains two inaccuracies of formulation. It seems to me that these inaccuracies must be corrected.

1. The article says:

"In the restoration period, we conducted a policy of restricting the capitalist elements of town and country. With the inauguration of the reconstruction period, we passed from the policy restricting to the policy of ousting them."

This statement is incorrect. The policy of restrict ing the capitalist elements and the policy of ousting them are not two different policies. They are one and the same policy. Ousting the capitalist elements in the countryside is an inevitable result and component part of the policy of restricting the capitalist elements, the policy of restricting the kulaks' exploiting tendencies. Ousting the capitalist elements in the countryside must not be regarded as equivalent to ousting the kulaks as a class. Ousting the capitalist elements in the countryside means ousting and overcoming individual sections of the kulaks, those unable to bear the burden of taxation and the Soviet government's system of restrictive measures.

Naturally, the policy of restricting the kulaks' exploiting tendencies, the policy of restricting the capitalist elements in the countryside, cannot but lead to the ousting of individual sections of the kulaks. Consequently, ousting individual sections of the kulaks cannot be regarded otherwise than as an inevitable result and a component part of the policy of restricting the capitalist elements in the countryside.

We pursued this policy not only in the restoration period, but also in the period of reconstruction, and in the period following the Fifteenth Congress (December 1927), and in the period of the Sixteenth Conference of our Party (April 1929), as well as after that conference right down to the summer of 1929, when the phase of complete collectivisation set in, and when the change to the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class began.

If one examines the most important documents of our Party from, say, the Fourteenth Congress in December 1925 (see the resolution on the report of the Central Committee2 ) to the Sixteenth Conference in April 1929 (see the resolution on "Ways and Means of Promoting Agriculture"3 ), one cannot fail to notice that the thesis about "restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks," or about "restricting the growth of capitalism in the countryside" always goes side by side with the thesis about "ousting the capitalist elements in the countryside," about "overcoming the capitalist elements in the countryside."

What does that mean?

It means that the Party does not separate the ousting of the capitalist elements in the countryside from the policy of restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks, from the policy of restricting the capitalist elements in the countryside.

Both the Fifteenth Party Congress and the Sixteenth Conference stood wholeheartedly for the policy of "restricting the exploiting proclivities of the agricultural bourgeoisie" (Fifteenth Congress resolution on "Work in the Countryside"4 ), for the policy of "adopting new measures to restrict the development of capitalism in the countryside" (ibid.), for the policy of "resolutely restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks" (see Fifteenth Congress resolution on the five-year plan5 ), for the policy of "an offensive against the kulaks" in the sense of "passing to further, more systematic and persistent restriction of the kulak and private trader" (ibid.), for the policy of "still more resolute economic ousting" of the "elements of private-capitalist economy" in town and country (see Fifteenth Congress resolution on the report of the Central Committee6 ).

Consequently, a) the author of the above-mentioned article is wrong in depicting the policy of restricting the capitalist elements and the policy of ousting them as two different policies. The facts show that what we have here is one general policy of restricting capitalism, a component part and result of which is the ousting of individual sections of the kulaks.

Consequently, b) the author of the above-mentioned article is wrong in asserting that the ousting of the capitalist elements in the countryside began only in the period of reconstruction, in the period of the Fifteenth Congress. In point of fact, the ousting took place both before the Fifteenth Congress, in the restoration period, and after the Fifteenth Congress, in the reconstruction period. In the period of the Fifteenth Congress the policy of restricting the kulaks' exploiting tendencies was only intensified by new and additional measures, as a result of which the ousting of individual sections of the kulaks was also bound to be intensified.

2. The article says:

"The policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class entirely follows from the policy of ousting the capitalist elements, being a continuation of this policy in a new stage."

This statement is inaccurate and, therefore, untrue. Naturally, the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class could not have fallen from the skies. The way for it was prepared by the entire preceding period of restricting, and hence of ousting, the capitalist elements in the countryside. But this does not mean that it does not differ radically from the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside, that it is a continuation of the restriction policy. To say what our author says is to deny that there has been a change in the development of the countryside since the summer of 1929. To say what he does is to, deny that during this period we have executed a turn in our Party's policy in the countryside. To say what he does is to create a certain ideological refuge for the Right elements in our Party, who are now clinging to the Fifteenth Congress decisions in opposition to the Party's new policy, just as at one time Frumkin clung to the Fourteenth Congress decisions in opposition to the policy of promoting collective farms and state farms.

What was the point of departure of the Fifteenth Congress in proclaiming an intensification of the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Its point of departure was that, despite this restricting of the kulaks, they, as a class, nevertheless were bound to remain for the time being. On those grounds, the Fifteenth Congress left in force the law on renting land, although it knew very well that it was mostly kulaks who rented land. On those grounds, the Fifteenth Congress left in force the law on hiring labour in the countryside, and demanded that it should be strictly observed. On those grounds, it was again proclaimed that dekulakisation was impermissible. Do these laws and decisions contradict the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Certainly not. Do these laws and decisions contradict the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class? Certainly, they do! Consequently, these laws and decisions must now be set aside in the areas of complete collectivisation, which is spreading by leaps and bounds. Incidentally, they have already been set aside by the very progress of the collective-farm movement in the areas of complete collectivisation.

Can it, then, be affirmed that the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class is a continuation of the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Obviously, it cannot.

The author of the above-mentioned article forgets that the kulak class, as a class, cannot be ousted by taxation measures or any other restrictions, if this class is allowed to retain instruments of production and the right to free use of land, and if in our practical activity we preserve in the countryside the law on hiring labour, the law on renting land, and the ban on dekulakisation. The of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Its point of departure was that, despite this restricting of the kulaks, they, as a class, nevertheless were bound to remain for the time being. On those grounds, the Fifteenth Congress left in force the law on renting land, although it knew very well that it was mostly kulaks who rented land. On those grounds, the Fifteenth Congress left in force the law on hiring labour in the countryside, and demanded that it should be strictly observed. On those grounds, it was again proclaimed that dekulakisation was impermissible. Do these laws and decisions contradict the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Certainly not. Do these laws and decisions contradict the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class? Certainly, they do! Consequently, these laws and decisions must now be set aside in the areas of complete collectivisation, which is spreading by leaps and bounds. Incidentally, they have already been set aside by the very progress of the collective-farm movement in the areas of complete collectivisation.

Can it, then, be affirmed that the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class is a continuation of the policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside? Obviously, it cannot.

The author of the above-mentioned article forgets that the kulak class, as a class, cannot be ousted by taxation measures or any other restrictions, if this class is allowed to retain instruments of production and the right to free use of land, and if in our practical activity we preserve in the countryside the law on hiring labour, the law on renting land, and the ban on dekulakisation. The author forgets that the policy of restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks enables us to count only on ousting individual sections of the kulaks, which does not contradict, but, on the contrary, presumes the preservation for the time being of the kulaks as a class. As a means of ousting the kulaks as a class, the policy of restricting and ousting individual sections of the kulaks is inadequate. In order to oust the kulaks as a class, the resistance of this class must be smashed in open battle and it must be deprived of the productive sources of its existence and development (free use of land, instruments of production, land-renting, right to hire labour, etc.).

That is a turn towards the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class. Without it, talk about ousting the kulaks as a class is empty prattle, acceptable and profitable only to the Right deviators. Without it, no substantial, let alone complete, collectivisation of the countryside is conceivable. That is well understood by our poor and middle peasants, who are smashing the kulaks and introducing complete collectivisation. That, evidently, is not yet understood by some of our comrades.

Hence, the Party's present policy in the countryside is not a continuation of the old policy, but a turn away from the old policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside towards the new policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class.

J. Stalin


Notes

1. Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star)—a military and political daily newspaper founded in January 1924. In March 1953 it became the central organ of the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Defence.

2. See Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 73-82.

3. For the Sixteenth Party Conference resolution on "Ways and Means of Promoting Agriculture and Tax Relief for the Middle Peasant," see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Con- gresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 455-69.

4.See Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 350-68.

5. For the Fifteenth Party Congress resolution on "Directives for the Compilation of a Five-Year Economic Plan," see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums Part II, 1953, pp. 330-49.

6. See Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 313-21.