MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE | History of CP Bolshevik

H I S T O R Y O F  T H E C O M M U N I S T   P A R T Y

O F  T H E

S O V I E T  U N I O N

(B O L S H E V I K S)

C H A P T E R   T E N

PROGRESS OF SOCIALIST INDUSTRIALIZATION. AGRICULTURE LAGS. FIFTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS. POLICY OF COLLECTIVIZATION IN AGRICULTURE. ROUT OF THE BLOC OF TROTSKYITES AND ZINOVIEVITES. POLITICAL DUPLICITY

    By the end of 1927 the decisive success of the policy of Socialist industrialization was unmistakable. Under the New Economic Policy industrialization had made considerable progress in a short space of time. The gross output of industry and agriculture (including the timber in dustry and fisheries) had reached and even surpassed the pre-war level. Industrial output had risen to 42 per cent of the total output of the country, which was the pre-war ratio.

    The Socialist sector of industry was rapidly growing at the expense of the private sector, its output having risen from 81 per cent of the total output in 1924-25 to 86 per cent in 1926-27, the output of the private sector dropping from 19 per cent to 14 per cent in the same period.

    This meant that industrialization in the U.S.S.R was of a pronounced Socialist character, that industry was developing towards the victory of the Socialist system of production, and that as far as industry was concerned, the question -- "Who will win?" -- had already been decided in favour of Socialism.

    No less rapid was the displacement of the private dealer in the sphere of trade, his share in the retail market having fallen from 42 per cent in 1924-25 to 32 per cent in 1926-27, not to mention the wholesale market, where the share of the private dealer had fallen from 9 per cent to 5 per cent in the same period.

    Even more rapid was the rate of growth of large-scale Socialist industry, which in 1927, the first year after the restoration period, increased its output over the previous year by 18 per cent. This was a record increase, one beyond the reach of the large-scale industry of even the most advanced capitalist countries.

    But in agriculture, especially grain growing, the picture was different. Although agriculture as a whole had passed the pre-war level, the gross yield of its most important branch -- grain growing -- was only 91 per cent of pre-war, while the marketed share of the harvest, that is, the amount of grain sold for the supply of the towns, scarcely attained 37 per cent of the pre-war figure. Furthermore, all the signs pointed to the danger of a further decline in the amount of marketable grain.

    This meant that the process of the splitting up of the large farms that used to produce for the market, into small farms, and of the small farms into dwarf farms, a process which had begun in 1988, was still going on; that these small and dwarf peasant farms were reverting practically to a natural form of economy and were able to supply only a negligible quantity of grain for the market; that while in the 1927 period the grain crop was only slightly below that of the pre-war period, the marketable surplus for the supply of the towns was only a little more than one-third of the pre-war marketable surplus.

    There could be no doubt that if such a state of affairs in grain farming were to continue, the army and the urban population would be faced with chronic famine.

    This was a crisis in grain farming which was bound to be followed by a crisis in livestock farming.

    The only escape from this predicament was a change to large-scale farming which would permit the use of tractors and agricultural machines and secure a several-fold increase of the marketable surplus of grain. The country had the alternative: either to adopt large-scale capitalist farming, which would have meant the ruin of the peasant masses, destroyed the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, increased the strength of the kulaks, and led to the downfall of Socialism in the countryside; or to take the course of amalgamating the small peasant holdings into large Socialist farms, collective farms, which would be able to use tractors and other modern machines for a rapid advancement of grain farming and a rapid increase in the marketable surplus of gain.

    It is clear that the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet state could only take the second course, the collective farm way of developing agriculture.

    In this, the Party was guided by the following precepts of Lenin regarding the necessity of passing from small peasant farming to large scale, co-operative, collective farming:

    a) "There is no escape from poverty for the small farm." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 195.)
    b) "If we continue as of old on our small farms, even as free citizens on free land, we shall still be faced with inevitable ruin." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VI, p. 370.)
    c) "If peasant farming is to develop further, we must firmly assure also its transition to the next stage, and this next stage must inevitably be one in which the small, isolated peasant farms, the least profitable and most backward, will by a process of gradual amalgamation form large-scale collective farms." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. IX, p. 151.)

    d) "Only if we succeed in proving to the peasants in practice the advantages of common, collective, co-operative, artel cultivation of the soil, only if we succeed in helping the peasant by means of co-operative or artel farming, will the working class, which holds the state power, be really able to convince the peasant of the correctness of its policy and to secure the real and durable following of the millions of peasants." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 198.)

    Such was the situation prior to the Fifteenth Party Congress.

    The Fifteenth Party Congress opened on December 2, 1927. It was attended by 898 delegates with vote and 771 delegates with voice but no vote, representing 887,233 Party members and 348,957 candidate members.

    In his report on behalf of the Central Committee, Comrade Stalin referred to the good results of industrialization and the rapid expansion of Socialist industry, and set the Party the following task:

    "To extend and consolidate our Socialist key position in all economic branches in town and country and to pursue a course of eliminating the capitalist elements from the national economy."

    Comparing agriculture with industry and noting the backwardness of the former, especially of grain growing, owing to the scattered state of agriculture, which precluded the use of modern machinery, Comrade Stalin emphasized that such an unenviable state of agriculture was endangering the entire national economy.

    "What is the way out?" Comrade Stalin asked.
    "The way out," he said, "is to turn the small and scattered peasant farms into large united farms based on the common cultivation of the soil, to introduce collective cultivation of the soil on the basis of a new and higher technique. The way out is to unite the small and dwarf peasant farms gradually but surely, not by pressure, but by example and persuasion, into large farms based on common, co-operative, collective cultivation of the soil with the use of agricultural machines and tractors and scientific methods of intensive agriculture. There is no other way out."

    The Fifteenth Congress passed a resolution calling for the fullest development of collectivization in agriculture. The congress adopted a plan for the extension and consolidation of the collective farms and state farms and formulated explicit instructions concerning the methods to be used in the struggle for collectivization in agriculture.     At the same time, the congress gave directions:

    "To develop further the offensive against the kulaks and to adopt a number of new measures which would restrict the development of capitalism in the countryside and guide peasant farming towards Socialism." (Resolutions of the C.P.S.U.[B.], Russ. ed., Part II, p. 260.)

    Finally, in view of the fact that economic planning had taken firm root, and with the object of organizing a systematic offensive of Socialism against the capitalist elements along the entire economic front, the congress gave instructions to the proper bodies for the drawing up of the First Five-Year Plan for the development of the national economy.

    After passing decisions on the problems of Socialist construction, the congress proceeded to discuss the question of liquidating the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites.

    The congress recognized that "the opposition has ideologically broken with Leninism, has degenerated into a Menshevik group, has taken the course of capitulation to the forces of the international and home bourgeoisie, and has objectively become a tool of counter-revolution against the regime of the proletarian dictatorship." (Ibid., p. 232.)

    The congress found that the differences between the Party and the opposition had developed into differences of program, and that the Trotsky opposition had taken the course of struggle against the Soviet power. The congress therefore declared that adherence to the Trotsky opposition and the propagation of its views were incompatible with membership of the Bolshevik Party.

    The congress approved the decision of the joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission to expel Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party and resolved on the expulsion of all active members of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites, such as Radek, Preobrazhensky, Rakovsky, Pyatakov, Serebryakov, I. Smirnov, Kamenev, Sarkis, Safarov, Lifshitz, Mdivani, Smilga and the whole "Democratic-Centralism" group (Sapronov, V. Smirnov, Boguslavsky, Drobnis and others).

    Defeated ideologically and routed organizationally, the adherents of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites lost the last vestiges of their influence among the people.

    Shortly after the Fifteenth Party Congress, the expelled anti-Leninists began to hand in statements, recanting Trotskyism and asking to be reinstated in the Party. Of course, at that time the Party could not yet know that Trotsky, Rakovsky, Radek, Krestinsky, Sokolnikov and others had long been enemies of the people, spies recruited by foreign espionage services, and that Kamenev, Zinoviev, Pyatakov and others were already forming connections with enemies of the U.S.S.R in capitalist countries for the purpose of "collaboration" with them against the Soviet people. But experience had taught the Party that any knavery might be expected from these individuals, who had often attacked Lenin and the Leninist Party at the most crucial moments. It was therefore sceptical of the statements they had made in their applications for reinstatement. As a preliminary test of their sincerity, it made their reinstatement in the Party dependent on the following conditions:

    a) They must publicly denounce Trotskyism as an anti-Bolshevik and anti-Soviet ideology.

    b) They must publicly acknowledge the Party policy as the only correct policy.

    c) They must unconditionally abide by the decisions of the Party and its bodies.

    d) They must undergo a term of probation, during which the Party would test them; on the expiration of this term, the Party would consider the reinstatement of each applicant separately, depending on the results of the test.

    The Party considered that in any case the public acceptance of these points by the expelled would be all to the good of the Party, because it would break the unity of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite ranks, undermine their morale, demonstrate once more the right and the might of the Party, and enable the Party, if the applicants were sincere, to reinstate its former workers in its ranks, and if they were not sincere, to unmask them in the public eye, no longer as misguided individuals, but as unprincipled careerists, deceivers of the working class and incorrigible double-dealers.

    The majority of the expelled accepted the terms of reinstatement and made public statements in the press to this effect.

    Desiring to be clement to them, and loath to deny them an opportunity of once again becoming men of the Party and of the working class, the Party reinstated them in its ranks.

    However, time showed that, with few exceptions, the recantations of the "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites were false and hypocritical from beginning to end.

    It turned out that even before they had handed in their applications, these gentry had ceased to represent a political trend ready to defend their views before the people, and had become an unprincipled gang of careerists who were prepared publicly to trample on the last remnants of their own views, publicly to praise the views of the Party, which were alien to them, and -- like chameleons -- to adopt any colouring, provided they could maintain themselves in the ranks of the Party and the working class and have the opportunity to do harm to the working class and to its Party.

    The "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites proved to be political swindlers, political double-dealers.

    Political double-dealers usually begin with deceit and prosecute their nefarious ends by deceiving the people, the working class, and the Party of the working class. But political double-dealers are not to be regarded as mere humbugs. Political double-dealers are an unprincipled gang of political careerists who, having long ago lost the confidence of the people, strive to insinuate themselves once more into their confidence by deception, by chameleon-like changes of colour, by fraud, by any means, only that they might retain the title of political figures. Political double-dealers are an unprincipled gang of political careerists who are ready to seek support anywhere, even among criminal elements, even among the scum of society, even among the mortal enemies of the people, only that they might be able, at a "propitious" moment, again to mount the political stage and to clamber on to the back of the people as their "rulers."

    The "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites were political double-dealers of this very description.