STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DIFFICULTIES OF ECONOMIC RESTORATION. TROTSKYITES
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LENIN'S ILLNESS TO INCREASE THEIR ACTIVITY. NEW PARTY
DISCUSSION. DE-FEAT OF THE TROTSKYITES. DEATH OF LENIN. THE LENIN
ENROLMENT. THIRTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS
C H A P T E R N I N E
THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE
PERIOD OF TRANSITION TO THE PEACEFUL WORK OF ECONOMIC
1. SOVIET REPUBLIC AFTER THE DEFEAT OF
THE INTERVENTION AND END OF THE CIVIL WAR. DIFFICULTIES OF THE
2. PARTY DISCUSSION ON THE TRADE UNIONS. TENTH PARTY CONGRESS.
DEFEAT OF THE OPPOSITION. ADOPTION OF THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP)
3. FIRST RESULTS OF NEP. ELEVENTH PARTY CONGRESS. FORMATION OF
THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS. LENIN'S ILLNESS.
LENIN'S CO-OPERATIVE PLAN. TWELFTH PARTY CONGRESS
4. STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DIFFICULTIES OF ECONOMIC RESTORATION.
TROTSKYITES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LENIN'S ILLNESS TO INCREASE THEIR
ACTIVITY. NEW PARTY DISCUSSION. DE FEAT OF THE TROTSKYITES.
DEATH OF LENIN. THE LENIN ENROLMENT. THIRTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS
5. THE SOVIET UNION TOWARDS THE END OF THE RESTORATION PERIOD.
THE QUESTION OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION AND THE VICTORY OF
SOCIALISM IN OUR COUNTRY. ZINOVIEV- KAMENEV "NEW OPPOSITION."
FOURTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS. POLICY OF SOCIALIST INDUSTRIALIZATION
The struggle to restore the national economy yielded substantial
results in its very first year. By 1924 progress was to be observed in
all fields. The crop area had increased considerably since 1921, and
peasant farming was steadily improving. Socialist industry was growing
and expanding. The working class had greatly increased in numbers. Wages
had risen. Life had become easier and better for the workers and
peasants as compared with 1920 and 1921.
But the effects of the economic disruption still made themselves
felt. Industry was still below the pre-war level, and its development
was still far behind the country's demand. At the end of 1923 there were
about a million unemployed; the national economy was progressing too
slowly to absorb unemployment. The development of trade was being
hindered by the excessive prices of manufactured goods, prices which the
Nepmen, and the Nepman elements in our trading organizations, were
imposing on the country. Owing to this, the Soviet ruble began to
fluctuate violently and to fall in value. These factors impeded the
improvement of the condition of the workers and peasants.
In the autumn of 1923, the economic difficulties were somewhat
page 265 aggravated owing
to violations of the Soviet price policy by our industrial and
commercial organizations. There was a yawning gap between the prices of
manufactures and the prices of farm produce. Grain prices were low,
while prices of manufacturers were inordinately high. Industry was
burdened with excessive overhead costs which increased the price of
goods. The money which the peasants received for their grain rapidly
depreciated. To make matters worse, the Trotskyite Pyatakov, who was at
that time on the Supreme Council of National Economy, gave managers and
directors criminal instructions to grind all the profit they could out
of the sale of manufactured goods and to force up prices to the maximum,
ostensibly for the purpose of developing industry. As a matter of fact,
this Nepman policy could only narrow the base of industry and undermine
it. It became unprofitable for the peasantry to purchase manufactured
goods, and they stopped buying them. The result was a sales crisis, from
which industry suffered. Difficulties arose in the payment of wages.
This provoked discontent among the workers. At some factories the more
backward workers stopped work.
The Central Committee of the Party adopted measures to remove
these difficulties and anomalies. Steps were taken to overcome the sales
crisis. Prices of consumers' goods were reduced. It was decided to
reform the currency and to adopt a firm and stable currency unit, the
chervonetz. The normal payment of wages was resumed. Measures were
outlined for the development of trade through state and co-operative
channels and for the elimination of private traders and profiteers.
What was now required was that everybody should join in the
common effort, roll up his sleeves, and set to work with gusto. That is
the way all who were loyal to the Party thought and acted. But not so
the Trotskyites. They took advantage of the absence of Lenin, who was
incapacitated by grave illness, to launch a new attack on the Party and
its leadership. They decided that this was a favourable moment to smash
the Party and overthrow its leadership. They used everything they could
as a weapon against the Party: the defeat of the revolution in Germany
and Bulgaria in the autumn of 1923, the economic difficulties at home,
and Lenin's illness. It was at this moment of difficulty for the Soviet
state, when the Party's leader was stricken by sickness, that Trotsky
started his attack on the Bolshevik Party. He mustered all the
anti-Leninist elements in the Party and concocted an opposition platform
against the Party, its leadership, and its policy. This platform was
called the Declaration of the Forty-Six Oppositionists. All the
opposition groupings -- the Trotskyites, Democratic-Centralists, and the
remnants of the "Left Communist" and "Workers' Opposition" groups --
united to fight the Leninist Party. In their declaration, they
prophesied a grave economic crisis and the fall of the Soviet power, and
demanded freedom of factions and groups as the only way out of the
This was a fight for the restoration of factionalism which the
Tenth Party Congress, on Lenin's proposal, had prohibited.
The Trotskyites did not make a single definite proposal for the
improvement of agriculture or industry, for the improvement of the
circulation of commodities, or for the betterment of the condition of
the working people. This did not even interest them. The only thing that
interested them was to take advantage of Lenin's absence in order to
restore factions within the Party, to undermine its foundations and its
The platform of the forty-six was followed up by the publication
of a letter by Trotsky in which he vilified the Party cadres and
levelled new slanderous accusations against the Party. In this letter
Trotsky harped on the old Menshevik themes which the Party had heard
from him many times before.
First of all the Trotskyites attacked the Party apparatus. They
knew that without a strong apparatus the Party could not live and
function. The opposition tried to undermine and destroy the Party
apparatus, to set the Party members against it, and the young members
against the old stalwarts of the Party. In this letter Trotsky played up
to the students, the young Party members who were not acquainted with
the history of the Party's fight against Trotskyism. To win the support
of the students, Trotsky flatteringly referred to them as the "Party's
surest barometer," at the same time declaring that the Leninist old
guard had degenerated. Alluding to the degeneration of the leaders of
the Second International, he made the foul insinuation that the old
Bolshevik guard was going the same way. By this outcry about the
degeneration of the Party, Trotsky tried to hide his own degeneration
and his anti-Party scheming.
The Trotskyites circulated both oppositionist documents, viz.,
the platform of the forty-six and Trotsky's letter, in the districts and
among the Party nuclei and put them up for discussion by the Party
They challenged the Party to a discussion.
Thus the Trotskyites forced a general discussion on the Party,
just as they did at the time of the controversy over the trade union
question before the Tenth Party Congress.
Although the Party was occupied with the far more important
problems of the country's economic life, it accepted the challenge and
opened the discussion.
The whole Party was involved in the discussion. The fight took a
most bitter form. It was fiercest of all in Moscow, for the Trotskyites
endeavoured above all to capture the Party organization in the capital.
But the discussion was of no help to the Trotskyites. It only disgraced
them. They were completely routed both in Moscow and all other parts of
the Soviet Union. Only a small number of nuclei in universities and
offices voted for the Trotskyites.
In January 1924 the Party held its Thirteenth Conference. The
conference heard a report by Comrade Stalin, summing up the results of
the discussion. The conference condemned the Trotskyite opposition,
declaring that it was a petty-bourgeois deviation from Marxism.
The decisions of the conference were subsequently endorsed by the
Thirteenth Party Congress and the Fifth Congress of the Communist
International. The international Communist proletariat supported the
Bolshevik Party in its fight against Trotskyism.
But the Trotskyites did not cease their subversive work. In the
autumn of 1924, Trotsky published an article entitled, "The Lessons of
October" in which he attempted to substitute Trotskyism for Leninism. It
was a sheer slander on our Party and its leader, Lenin. This defamatory
broadsheet was seized upon by all enemies of Communism and of the Soviet
Government. The Party was outraged by this un scrupulous distortion of
the heroic history of Bolshevism. Comrade Stalin denounced Trotsky's
attempt to substitute Trotskyism for Leninism. He declared that "it is
the duty of the Party to bury Trotskyism as an ideological trend."
An effective contribution to the ideological defeat of Trotskyism
and to the defense of Leninism was Comrade Stalin's theoretical work,
Foundations of Leninism
published in 1924. This book is a masterly exposition and a weighty
theoretical substantiation of Leninism. It was, and is today, a
trenchant weapon of Marxist-Leninist theory in the hands of Bolsheviks
all over the world.
In the battles against Trotskyism, Comrade Stalin rallied the
Party around its Central Committee and mobilized it to carry on the
fight for the victory of Socialism in our country. Comrade Stalin proved
that Trotskyism had to be ideologically demolished if the further
victorious advance to Socialism was to be ensured.
Reviewing this period of the fight against Trotskyism, Comrade
"Unless Trotskyism is defeated, it will be impossible to achieve
victory under the conditions of NEP, it will be impossible to convert
present-day Russia into a Socialist Russia."
But the successes attending the Party's Leninist policy were
clouded by a most grievous calamity which now befell the Party and the
working class. On January 21, 1924, Lenin, our leader and teacher, the
creator of the Bolshevik Party, passed away in the village of Gorki,
near Moscow. Lenin's death was received by the working class of the
whole world as a most cruel loss. On the day of Lenin's funeral the
international proletariat proclaimed a five-minute stoppage of work.
Railways, mills and factories came to a standstill. As Lenin was borne
to the grave, the working people of the whole world paid homage to him
in overwhelming sorrow, as to a father and teacher, their best friend
The loss of Lenin caused the working class of the Soviet Union to
rally even more solidly around the Leninist Party. In those days of
mourning every class-conscious worker defined his attitude to the
Communist Party, the executor of Lenin's behest. The Central Committee
of the Party received thousands upon thousands of applications from
workers for admission to the Party. The Central Committee responded to
this movement and proclaimed a mass admission of politically advanced
workers into the Party ranks. Tens of thousands of workers flocked into
the Party; they were people prepared to give their lives for the cause
of the Party, the cause of Lenin. In a brief space of time over two
hundred and forty thousand workers joined the ranks of the Bolshevik
Party. They were the foremost section of the working class, the most
class-conscious and revolutionary, the most intrepid and disciplined.
This was the Lenin Enrolment.
The reaction to Lenin's death demonstrated how close are our
Party's ties with the masses, and how high a place the Leninist Party
holds in the hearts of the workers.
In the days of mourning for Lenin, at the Second Congress of
Soviets of the U.S.S.R., Comrade Stalin made a solemn vow in the name of
the Party. He said:
"We Communists are people of a special mould. We are made of a
special stuff. We are those who form the army of the great proletarian
strategist, the army of Comrade Lenin. There is nothing higher than the
honour of belonging to this army. There is nothing higher than the title
of member of the Party whose founder and leader is Comrade Lenin. . . .
"Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to hold high and guard
the purity of the great title of member of the Party. We vow to you,
Comrade Lenin, that we will fulfil your behest with honour! . . .
"Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to guard the unity of
our Party as the apple of our eye. We vow to you, Comrade Lenin, that
this behest, too, we will fulfil with honour! . . .
"Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to guard and strengthen
the dictatorship of the proletariat. We vow to you, Comrade Lenin, that
we will spare no effort to fulfil this behest, too, with honour! . . .
"Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to strengthen with all
our might the alliance of the workers and the peasants. We vow to you,
Comrade Lenin, that this behest, too, we will fulfil with honour! . . .
"Comrade Lenin untiringly urged upon us the necessity of maintaining
the voluntary union of the nations of our country, the necessity for
fraternal co-operation between them within the framework of the Union of
Republics. Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to consolidate
and extend the Union of Republics. We vow to you, Comrade Lenin, that
this behest, too, we will fulfil with honour! . . .
"More than once did Lenin point out to us that the strengthening of
the Red Army and the improvement of its condition is one of the most
important tasks of our Party. . . . Let us vow then, comrades, that we
will spare no effort to strengthen our Red Army and our Red Navy. . . .
"Departing from us, Comrade Lenin adjured us to remain faithful to
the principles of the Communist International. We vow to you, Comrade
Lenin, that we will not spare our lives to strengthen and extend the
union of the toilers of the whole world -- the Communist International!
" (Joseph Stalin, The Lenin Heritage.)
This was the vow made by the Bolshevik Party to its leader,
Lenin, whose memory will live throughout the ages.
In May 1924 the Party held its Thirteenth Congress. It was
attended by 748 voting delegates, representing a Party membership of
735,881. This marked increase in membership in comparison with the
previous congress was due to the admission of some 250,000 new members
under the Lenin Enrolment. There were 416 delegates with voice but no
The congress unanimously condemned the platform of the Trotskyite
opposition, defining it as a petty-bourgeois deviation from Marxism, as
a revision of Leninism, and endorsed the resolutions of the Thirteenth
Party Conference on "Party Affairs" and "The Results of the
With the purpose of strengthening the bond between town and
country, the congress gave instructions for a further expansion of
industry, primarily of the light industries, while placing particular
stress on the necessity for a rapid development of the iron and steel
The congress endorsed the formation of the People's Commissariat
of Internal Trade and set the trading bodies the task of gaining control
of the market and ousting private capital from the sphere of trade.
The congress gave instructions for the increase of cheap state
credit to the peasantry so as to oust the usurer from the countryside.
The congress called for the maximum development of the
co-operative movement among the peasantry as the paramount task in the
Lastly, the congress stressed the profound importance of the
Lenin Enrolment and drew the Party's attention to the necessity of
devoting greater efforts to educating the young Party members -- and
above all the recruits of the Lenin Enrolment -- in the principles of