Speech . . . Collective-Farm Shock Brigaders

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J. V. Stalin


February 19, 1933

From J. V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism,
Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1976

pp. 650-70.

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

Vol. 13, pp. 242-63.

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@marx2mao.org (... 1998)


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 Collective-Farm Path Is the Only Right Path



Our Immediate Task -- To Make All the Collective
Farmers Prosperous



Miscellaneous Remarks





February 19, 1933

    Comrade collective farmers, men and women! I did not intend to speak at your congress. I did not intend to because the previous speakers have said all that had to be said -- and have said it well and to the point. Is it worth while to speak after that? But as you insist, and the power is in your hands (prolonged applause ), I must submit.

    I shall say a few words on various questions.



    First question. Is the path which the collective-farm peasantry has taken the right path, is the path of collective farming the right one?

    That is not an idle question. You shock brigaders of the collective farms evidently have no doubt that the collective farms are on the right path. Possibly, for that reason, the question will seem superfluous to you. But not all peasants think as you do. There are still not a few among the peasants, even among the collective farmers, who have doubts as to whether the collective-farm path is the right one. And there is nothing surprising about it.

    Indeed, for hundreds of years people have lived in the old way, have followed the old path, have bent their backs to the kulaks and landlords, to the usurers and speculators. It cannot be said that that old, capitalist path was approved by the peasants. But that old path was a beaten path, the customary path, and no one had actually proved that it was possible to live in a different way, in a better way. The more so as in all bourgeois countries people are still living in the old way. . . . And suddenly the Bolsheviks break in on this old stagnant life, break in like a storm and say: It is time to abandon the old path, it is time to begin living in a new way, in the collective-farm way; it is time to begin living not as everyone lives in bourgeois countries, but in a new way, co-operatively. But what is this new life -- who can tell? May it not turn out to be worse than the old life? At all events, the new path is not the customary path, it is not a beaten path, not yet a fully explored path. Would it not be better to keep to the old path? Would it not be better to wait a little before embarking on the new, collective-farm path? Is it worth while to take the risk?

    These are the doubts that are now troubling one section of the labouring peasantry.

    Ought we not to dispel these doubts? Ought we not to bring these doubts out into the light of day and show what they are worth? Clearly, we ought to.

    Hence, the question I have just put cannot be described as an idle one.

    And so, is the path which the collective-farm peasantry has taken the right one?

    Some comrades think that the transition to the new path, to the collective-farm path, started in our country three years ago. This is only partly true. Of course, the development of collective farms on a mass scale started in our country three years ago. The transition, as we know, was marked by the routing of the kulaks and by a movement among the vast masses of the poor and middle peasantry to join the collective farms. All that is true. But in order to start this mass transition to the collective farms, certain preliminary conditions had to be available, without which, generally speaking, the mass collective-farm movement would have been inconceivable.

    First of all, we had to have the Soviet power, which has helped and continues to help the peasantry to take the collective-farm path:

    Secondly, it was necessary to drive out the landlords and the capitalists, to take the factories and the land away from them and declare these the property of the people.

    Thirdly, it was necessary to curb the kulaks and to take machines and tractors away from them.

    Fourthly, it was necessary to declare that the machines and tractors could be used only by the poor and middle peasants united in collective farms.

    Finally, it was necessary to industrialize the country, to set up a new tractor industry, to build new factories for the manufacture of agricultural machinery, in order to supply tractors and machines in abundance to the collective-farm peasantry.

    Without these preliminary conditions there could have been no question of the mass transition to the collective-farm path that started three years ago.

    Hence, in order to adopt the collective-farm path it was necessary first of all to accomplish the October Revolution, to overthrow the capitalists and landlords, to take the land and factories away from them and to set up a new industry.

    It was with the October Revolution that the transition to the new path, to the collective-farm path, started. This transition developed with fresh force only three years ago because it was not until then that the economic results of the October Revolution made themselves fully felt, it was not until then that success was achieved in pushing forward the industrialization of the country.

    The history of nations knows not a few revolutions. But those revolutions differ from the October Revolution in that all of them were one-sided revolutions. One form of exploitation of the working people was replaced by another form of exploitation, but exploitation itself remained. One set of exploiters and oppressors was replaced by another set of exploiters and oppressors, but exploiters and oppressors, as such, remained. Only the October Revolution set itself the aim of abolishing all exploitation and of eliminating all exploiters and oppressors.

    The revolution of the slaves eliminated the slave-owners and abolished the form of exploitation of the toilers as slaves. But in their place it set up the serf-owners and the form of exploitation of the toilers as serfs. One set of exploiters was replaced by another set of exploiters. Under the slave system the "law" permitted the slave-owner to kill his slaves. Under serfdom the "law" permitted the serf-owner "only" to sell his serfs.

    The revolution of the peasant-serfs eliminated the serfowners and abolished the form of exploitation through serfdom. But in their place it set up the capitalists and landlords, the capitalist and landlord form of exploitation of the toilers. One set of exploiters was replaced by another set of exploiters. Under the serf system the "law" permitted the sale of serfs. Under the capitalist system the "law" permits "only" of the toilers being doomed to unemployment and destitution, to ruin and death from starvation.

    It was only our Soviet revolution, only our October Revolution that dealt with the question, not of substituting one set of exploiters for another, not of substituting one form of exploitation for another, but of eradicating all exploitation, of eradicating all exploiters, all the rich and oppressors, old and new. (Prolonged applause.)

    That is why the October Revolution was a preliminary condition and a necessary prerequisite for the peasants' transition to the new, collective-farm path.

    Did the peasants act rightly in supporting the October Revolution? Yes, they did. They acted rightly, because the October Revolution helped ehem to shake off the yoke of the landlords and capitalists, the usurers and kulaks, the merchants and speculators.

    But that is only one side of the question. It is all very well to drive out the oppressors, to drive out the landlords and capitalists, to curb the kulaks and speculators. But that is not enough. In order to become entirely free from the old fetters it is not enough merely to rout the exploiters; it is necessary also to build a new life -- to build a life that will enable the labouring peasants to improve their material conditions and culture and make continuous progress from day to day and year to year. In order to achieve this, a new system must be

set up in the countryside, the collective-farm system. That is the other side of the question.

    What is the difference between the old system and the new, collective-farm system?

    Under the old system the peasants worked singly, following the ancient methods of their forefathers and using antiquated implements of labour; they worked for the landlords and capitalists, the kulaks and speculators; they worked and lived half-starved while they enriched others. Under the new, collective-farm system the peasants work in common, cooperatively, with the help of modern implements -- tractors and agricultural machinery; they work for themselves and their collective farms; they live without capitalists and landlords, without kulaks and speculators; they work with the object of raising their standard of welfare and culture from day to day. Over there, under the old system, the government is a bourgeois government, and it supports the rich against the labouring peasantry. Here, under the new, collective-farm system, the government is a workers' and peasants' government, and it supports the workers and peasants against all the rich of whatever kind. The old system leads to capitalism. The new system leads to socialism.

    There you have the two paths, the capitalist path and the socialist path: the path forward -- to socialism, and the path backward -- to capitalism.

    There are people who think that some sort of third path could be followed. This unknown third path is most eagerly clutched at by some wavering comrades who are not yet convinced that the collective-farm path is the right one. They want us to return to the old system, to return to individual farming, but without capitalists and landlords. Moreover, they "only" want us to permit the existence of the kulaks and

other small capitalists as a legitimate phenomenon of our economic system. Actually, this is not a third path, but the second path -- the path to capitalism. For what does it mean to return to individual farming and to restore the kulaks? It means restoring kulak bondage, restoring the exploitation of the peasantry by the kulaks and giving the kulaks power. But is it possible to restore the kulaks and at the same time to preserve the Soviet power? No, it is not possible. The restoration of the kulaks is bound to lead to the creation of a kulak power and to the liquidation of the Soviet power -- hence, it is bound to lead to the formation of a bourgeois government. And the formation of a bourgeois government is bound to lead in its turn to the restoration of the landlords and capitalists, to the restoration of capitalism. The so-called third path is actually the second path, the path leading back to capitalism. Ask the peasants whether they want to restore kulak bondage, to return to capitalism, to destroy the Soviet power and restore power to the landlords and capitalists. Just ask them, and you will find out which path the majority of the labouring peasants regard as the only right path.

    Hence, there are only two paths: either forward and uphill -- to the new, collective-farm system; or backward and down hill -- to the old kulak-capitalist system.

    There is no third path.

    The labouring peasants did right to reject the capitalist path and take the path of collective-farm development.

    It is said that the collective-farm path is the right path, but a difficult one. That is only partly true. Of course, there are difficulties on this path. A good life cannot be obtained with out effort. But the point is that the main difficulties are over, and those difficulties which now confront you are not worth

talking about seriously. At all events, compared with the difficulties which the workers experienced 10-15 years ago, your present difficulties, comrade collective farmers, seem mere child's play. Your speakers here have praised the workers of Leningrad, Moscow, Kharkov, and the Donbas. They said that these workers have achievements to their credit and that you, collective farmers, have far fewer achievements. It seems to me that even a certain comradely envy was apparent in the remarks of your speakers, as if to say: How good it would be if we collective-farm peasants had the same achievements as you workers of Leningrad, Moscow, the Donbas, and Kharkov. . . .

    That is all very well. But do you know what these achievements cost the workers of Leningrad and Moscow, what privations they had to endure in order finally to attain these achievements? I could relate to you some facts from the life of the workers in 1918, when for whole weeks not a piece of bread, let alone meat or other food, was distributed to the workers. The best times were considered to be the days on which we were able to distribute to the workers in Leningrad and Mos-cow one-eighth of a pound of black bread each, and even that was half bran. And that lasted not merely a month or six months, but for two whole years. But the workers bore it and did not lose heart; for they knew that better times would come and that they would achieve decisive successes. Well -- you see that the workers were not mistaken. Just compare your difficulties and privations with the difficulties and privations which the workers have endured, and you will see that they are not even worth talking about seriously.

    What is needed to push forward the collective-farm movement and extend collective-farm development to the utmost?

    What is needed, in the first place, is that the collective farms should have land fully secured to them and suitable for cultivation. Do you have that? Yes, you do. It is well known that the best lands have been transferred to the collective farms and have been durably secured to them. Hence, the collective farmers can cultivate and improve their land as they please without any fear that it will be taken from them and given to somebody else.

    What is needed, secondly, is that the collective farmers should have at their disposal tractors and machines. Do you have them? Yes, you do. Everyone knows that our tractor works and agricultural machinery works produce primarily and mainly for the collective farms, supplying them with all modern implements.

    What is needed, finally, is that the government should support the collective-farm peasants to the utmost both with men and money, and that it should prevent the last remnants of the hostile classes from disrupting the collective farms. Have you such a government? Yes, you have. It is called the Workers' and Peasants' Soviet Government. Name another country where the government supports, not the capitalists and landlords, not the kulaks and other rich, but the labouring peasants. There is not, nor has there ever been, another country like this in the world. Only here, in the Land of Soviets, does a government exist which stands solidly for the workers and collective-farm peasants, for all the working people of town and country, against all the rich and the exploiters. (Prolonged applause.)

    Hence, you have all that is needed to extend collective-farm development and to free yourself entirely from the old fetters.

    Of you only one thing is demanded -- and that is to work conscientiously; to distribute collective-farm incomes accord ing to the amount of work done; to take care of collective farm property, to take care of the tractors and machines; to see to it that the horses are well looked after; to fulfil the as signments of your workers' and peasants' state; to consolidate the collective farms and to expel from the collective farms the kulaks and kulak agents who have wormed their way into them.

    You will surely agree with me that to overcome these difficulties, i.e., to work conscientiously and to take good care of collective-farm property, is not so very difficult. The more so that you are now working, not for the rich and not for exploiters, but for yourselves, for your own collective farms.

    As you see, the collective-farm path, the path of socialism, is the only right path for the labouring peasants.



    Second question. What have we achieved on the new path, on our collective-farm path, and what do we expect to achieve within the next two or three years?

    Socialism is a good thing. A happy, socialist life is unquestionably a good thing. But all that is a matter of the future. The main question now is not what we shall achieve in the future. The main question is: What have we already achieved at present? The peasantry has taken the collective-farm path. That is very good. But what has it achieved on this path? What tangible results have we achieved by following the collective-farm path?

    One of our achievements is that we have helped the vast masses of the poor peasants to join the collective farms. One of our achievements is that by joining the collective farms, where they have at their disposal the best land and the finest instruments of production, the vast masses of the poor peasants have risen to the level of middle peasants. One of our achievements is that the vast masses of the poor peasants, who formerly lived in semi-starvation, have now, in the collective farms, become middle peasants, have attained material security. One of our achievements is that we have put a stop to the differentiation of the peasants into poor peasants and kulaks; that we have routed the kulaks and have helped the poor peasants to become masters of their own labour in the collective farms, to become middle peasants.

    What was the situation before the expansion of collective-farm development about four years ago? The kulaks were growing rich and were on the upgrade. The poor peasants were becoming poorer, were sinking into ruin and falling into bondage to the kulaks. The middle peasants were trying to climb up to the kulaks, but they were continually tumbling down and swelling the ranks of the poor peasants, to the amusement of the kulaks. It is not difficult to see that the only ones to profit by this scramble were the kulaks, and perhaps, here and there, some of the well-to-do peasants. Out of every 100 households in the countryside you could count 4 to 5 kulak households, 8 or 10 well-to-do peasant households, 45 to 50 middle-peasant households, and some 35 poor-peasant households. Hence, at the lowest estimate, 35 per cent of all the peasant households were poor-peasant households, compelled to bear the yoke of kulak bondage. That is apart from the economically weaker strata of the middle peasants, comprising more than half of the middle peasantry, whose condi-

tion differed little from that of the poor peasants and who were directly dependent upon the kulaks.

    By the expansion of collective-farm development we have succeeded in abolishing this scramble and injustice; we have smashed the yoke of kulak bondage, brought this vast mass of poor peasants into the collective farms, given them a secure existence there, and raised them to the level of middle peasants, able to make use of the collective-farm land, the privileges granted to collective farms, tractors and agricultural machinery.

    And what does that mean? It means that not less than 20 million of the peasant population, not less than 20 million poor peasants have been rescued from destitution and ruin, have been rescued from kulak bondage, and have attained material security thanks to the collective farms.

    This is a great achievement, comrades. It is an achievement such as has never been known in the world before, such as no other state in the world has yet made.

    There you have the practical, tangible results of collective-farm development, the results of the fact that the peasants have taken the collective-farm path.

    But this is only our first step, our first achievement on the path of collective-farm development.

    It would be wrong to think that we must stop at this first step, at this first achievement. No, comrades, we cannot stop at this achievement. In order to advance further and defini tively consolidate the collective farms we must take a second step, we must secure a new achievement. What is this second step? It is to raise the collective farmers, both the former poor peasants and the former middle peasants, to a still higher level. It is to make all the collective farmers prosperous. Yes, comrades, prosperous. (Prolonged applause.)

    Thanks to the collective farms we have succeeded in raising the poor peasants to the level of the middle peasants. That is very good. But it is not enough. We must now succeed in taking another step forward, and help all the collective farmers -- both the former poor peasants and the former middle peasants -- to rise to the level of prosperous peasants. This can be achieved, and we must achieve it at all costs. (Prolonged applause.)

    We now have all that is needed to achieve this aim. At present our machines and tractors are badly utilized. Our land is not well cultivated. We need only make better use of the machines and tractors, we need only improve the cultivation of the land, to increase the quantity of our produce two-fold and three-fold. And this will be quite sufficient to convert all our collective farmers into prosperous tillers of collective-farm fields.

    What was the position previously as regards the prosperous peasants? In order to become prosperous a peasant had to wrong his neighbours; he had to exploit them; to sell to them dear and buy from them cheap; to hire some labourers and thoroughly exploit them; to accumulate some capital and then, having strengthened his position, to creep into the ranks of the kulaks. This, indeed, explains why formerly, under individual farming, the prosperous peasants aroused suspicion and hatred among the poor and middle peasants. Now the position is different. And the conditions are now different, too. For collective farmers to become prosperous it is not at all necessary now that they wrong or exploit their neighbours. And besides, it is not easy to exploit anybody now; for private ownership of land and the renting of land no longer exist in our country, the machines and tractors belong to the state, and people who own capital are not in fashion in the collective farms. There

was such a fashion in the past, but it is gone for ever. Only one thing is now needed for the collective farmers to become prosperous, namely, to work in the collective farms conscientiously, to make proper use of the tractors and machines, to make proper use of the draught cattle, to cultivate the land properly and to take care of the collective-farm property.

    Sometimes it is said: If we are living under socialism, why do we have to toil? We toiled before and we are toiling now; is it not time we left off toiling? Such talk is fundamentally wrong, comrades. It is the philosophy of loafers and not of honest working people. Socialism does not in the least repudiate work. On the contrary, socialism is based on work. Socialism and work are inseparable from each other.

    Lenin, our great teacher, said: "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." What does this mean? Against whom are Lenin's words directed? Against the exploiters, against those who do not work themselves, but compel others to work for them, and get rich at the expense of others. And against whom else? Against those who loaf and want to live at the expense of others. Socialism demands, not loafing, but that all should work conscientiously; that they should work, not for others, not for the rich and the exploiters, but for themselves, for the community. And if we work conscientiously, work for ourselves, for our collective farms, then we shall succeed in a matter of two or three years in raising all the collective farmers, both the former poor peasants and the former middle peasants, to the level of prosperous peasants, to the level of people enjoying an abundance of produce and leading a fully cultured life.

    That is our immediate task. We can achieve it, and we must achieve it at all costs. (Prolonged applause.)



    And now permit me to make a few miscellaneous remarks.

    First of all about our Party members in the countryside. There are Party members among you, but still more of you are non-Party people. It is very good that more non-Party people than Party members are present at this congress, because it is precisely the non-Party people that we must enlist for our work first of all. There are Communists who approach the non-Party collective farmers in a Bolshevik manner. But there are also those who plume themselves on being Party members and keep non-Party people at a distance. That is bad and harmful. The strength of the Bolsheviks, the strength of the Communists lies in the fact that they are able to rally millions of active non-Party people around our Party. We Bolsheviks would never have achieved the successes we have now achieved had we not been able to win for the Party the confidence of millions of non-Party workers and peasants. And what is needed for this? What is needed is for the Party members not to isolate themselves from the non-Party people, for the Party members not to withdraw into their Party shell, not to plume themselves on being Party members, but to heed the voice of the non-Party people, not only to teach the non-Party people, but also to learn from them.

    It must not be forgotten that Party members do not drop from the skies. We must remember that all Party members were at some time non-Party people. Today a man does not belong to the Party; tomorrow he will become a Party member. What is there to get conceited about? Among us old Bolsheviks there are not a few who have been working in the Party for 20 or 30 years. But there was a time when we, too, were non-Party people. What would have happened to us 20 or 30

years ago if the Party members at that time had domineered over us and had not let us come close to the Party? Perhaps we would then have been kept away from the Party for a number of years. Yet we old Bolsheviks are not people of the least account in the world, comrades. (Laughter, prolonged applause.)

    That is why our Party members, the present young Party members who sometimes turn up their noses at non-Party people, should remember all this, should remember that it is not conceit but modesty that is the adornment of the Bolshevik.

    Now a few words about the women, the women collective farmers. The question of women in the collective farms is a big question, comrades. I know that many of you underestimate the women and even laugh at them. But that is a mistake, comrades, a serious mistake. The point is not only that women constitute half the population. Primarily, the point is that the collective-farm movement has advanced a number of remarkable and capable women to leading positions. Look at this congress, at the delegates, and you will realize that women have long ago ceased to be backward and have come into the front ranks. The women in the collective farms are a great force. To keep this force down would be criminal. It is our duty to bring the women in the collective farms forward and to make use of this force.

    Of course, not so long ago, the Soviet government had a slight misunderstanding with the women collective farmers. That was over the cow. But now this business about the cow has been settled, and the misunderstanding has been removed. (Prolonged applause.) We have achieved a position where the majority of the collective-farm households already have a cow each. Another year or two will pass and there will not be a single collective farmer without his own cow. We Bolshe- viks will see to it that every one of our collective farmers has a cow. (Prolonged applause.)

    As for the women collective farmers themselves, they must remember the power and significance of the collective farms for women; they must remember that only in the collective farm do they have the opportunity of being on an equal footing with men. Without collective farms -- inequality; in collective farms -- equal rights. Let our comrades, the women collective farmers, remember this and let them cherish the collective-farm system as the apple of their eye. (Prolonged applause.)

    A few words about the members of the Young Communist League, young men and women, in the collective farms. The youth are our future, our hope, comrades. The youth have to take our place, the place of the old people. They have to carry our banner to final victory. Among the peasants there are not a few old people, borne down by the burden of the past, burdened with the habits and the recollections of the old life. Naturally, they are not always able to keep pace with the Party, to keep pace with the Soviet system. Our youth are different. They are free from the burden of the past, and it is easiest for them to assimilate Lenin's behests. And precisely because it is easiest for the youth to assimilate Lenin's behests it is their mission to give a helping hand to the laggards and waverers. True, they lack knowledge. But knowledge is a thing that can be acquired. They may not have it today, but they will have it tomorrow. Hence, the task is to study and study again the principles of Leninism. Comrade members of the Young Communist League! Learn the principles of Bolshevism and lead the waverers forward! Talk less and work more, and your success will be assured. (Applause.)

    A few words about the individual peasants. Little has been said here about the individual peasants. But that does not mean that they no longer exist. No, it does not mean that. Individual peasants do exist, and we must not leave them out of our calculations; for they are our collective farmers of tomorrow. I know that one section of the individual peasants has become utterly corrupt and has taken to speculating. That, no doubt, explains why the collective farmers accept individual peasants into the collective farms with great circumspection, and sometimes do not accept them at all. This, of course, is quite right, and there cannot be any objection to it. But there is another, larger section of individual peasants, who have not taken to speculating and who earn their bread by honest labour. These individual peasants, perhaps, would not be averse to joining the collective farms. But they are hindered in this, on the one hand, by their hesitation as to whether the collective-farm path is the right path; and, on the other hand, by the bitter feelings now existing amongst the collective farmers against the individual peasants.

    Of course, we must understand the feelings of the collective farmers and appreciate their situation. During the past years they have suffered not a few insults and jeers at the hands of the individual peasants. But insults and jeers must not be allowed to have decisive importance here. He is a bad leader who cannot forget an offence, and who puts his own feelings above the interests of the collective-farm cause. If you want to be leaders, you must be able to forget the insults to which you were subjected by certain individual peasants. Two years ago I received a letter from a peasant woman, a widow, living in the Volga region. She complained that the collective farm refused to accept her as a member, and she asked for my support. I made inquiries at the collective farm. I received a reply from the collective farm stating that they could not accept her because she had insulted a collective-farm meeting. Now, what was it all about? It seems that at a meeting of peasants at which the collective farmers called upon the individual peasants to join the collective farm, this very widow, in reply to this appeal, had lifted up her skirt and said -- Here, take your collective farm! (Laughter.) Undoubtedly she had behaved badly and had insulted the meeting. But should her application to join the collective farm be rejected if, a year later, she sincerely repented and admitted her error? I think that her application should not be rejected. That is what I wrote to the collective farm. The widow was accepted into the collective farm. And what happened? It turns out that she is now working in the collective farm, not in the last, but in the front ranks. (Applause.)

    There you have another example, showing that leaders, if they want to be true leaders, must be able to forget an offence if the interests of the cause demand it.

    The same thing must be said about individual peasants generally. I am not opposed to the exercise of circumspection in accepting people into the collective farms. But I am against barring the path to the collective farms to all individual peasants without discrimination. That is not our policy, not the Bolshevik policy. The collective farmers must not forget that not long ago they themselves were individual peasants. <"p668">

    Finally, a few words about the letter written by the collective farmers of Bezenchuk.[117] This letter has been published, and you must have read it. It is unquestionably a good letter. It shows that among our collective farmers there are not a few experienced and politically conscious organizers and agitators

in the cause of collective farming, who are the pride of our country. But this letter contains one incorrect passage with which we cannot possibly agree. The point is that the Bezenchuk comrades describe their work in the collective farm as modest and all but insignificant work, whereas they describe the efforts of orators and leaders, who sometimes make speeches of inordinate length, as great and creative work. Can we agree with that? No, comrades, we cannot possibly agree with it. The Bezenchuk comrades have made a mistake here. Perhaps they made the mistake out of modesty. But the mistake does not cease to be a mistake for all that. The times have passed when leaders were regarded as the only makers of history, while the workers and peasants were not taken into account. The destinies of nations and of states are now determined, not only by leaders, but primarily and mainly by the vast masses of the working people. The workers and the peasants, who without fuss and noise are building factories and mills, constructing mines and railways, building collective farms and state farms, creating all the values of life, feeding and clothing the whole world -- they are the real heroes and the creators of the new life. Apparently, our Bezenchuk comrades have forgotten this. It is not good when people overrate their strength and begin to be conceited about the services they have rendered. That leads to boasting, and boasting is not a good thing. But it is still worse when people begin to underrate their strength and fail to see that their "modest" and "insignificant" work is really great and creative work that decides the fate of history.

    I would like the Bezenchuk comrades to approve this slight amendment of mine to their letter.

    With that, let us conclude, comrades.

    (Loud and prolonged applause, increasing to an ovation. All rise and greet Comrade Stalin. Loud cheers. Shouts : "Long live Comrade Stalin, hurrah!" "Long live the advanced collective farmer!" "Long live our leader, Comrade Stalin!")



  <"en116">[116] The First All-Union Congress of Collective-Farm Shock Brigaders took place in Moscow, February 15-19, 1933, attended by 1,513 delegates. Stalin took part in the work of the congress, which elected him to its honorary presidium and addressed greetings to him in the name of the millions of collective-farm peasants. The congress discussed the question of strengthening the collective farms and the tasks of the spring sowing. On February 19, when the closing session was held, the congress was addressed by Stalin. Other speakers at the congress were V. M. Molotov, L. M. Kaganovich, M. I. Kalinin, K. Y. Voroshilov and S. M. Budyonny. In its appeal to all collective-farm peasants of the U.S.S.R. the congress called for the collective farms to be made Bolshevik and for the development of all-Union socialist emulation of the state and collective farms for a bumper harvest and exemplary preparation and carrying out of the spring sowing.    [p. 650]

  <"en117">[117] This refers to a letter sent by the collective farmers of the area served by the Bezenchuk Machine and Tractor Station of the Middle Volga territory (now Kuibyshev Region) to Stalin, published in Pravda, No. 28, January 29, 1933.    [p. 668]