The October Revolution (October 25 [November 7], 1917) in Russia brought about the dictatorship of the proletariat, which with the support of the poorest peasantry, or semi-proletariat, began to lay down the foundation of communist society. The course of the revolution in Germany and Austria-Hungary, the growth of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat in all the progressive countries, the spread of the Soviet form of this movement, i.e., a form which directly aims at the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat – all this showed that the era of world proletarian communist revolution had been inaugurated.
The revolution was the inevitable result of the development of capitalism, which is still dominant in most civilized countries. Our old program correctly (if the incorrect title given to the Party – Social-Democratic – is left out of account) characterized the nature of capitalism and of bourgeois society in the following postulates:
The chief feature of such a society is commodity production on the basis of capitalist production relations, under which the most important and considerable part of the means of production and exchange belongs to a numerically small class of persons, while the enormous majority of the population consists of proletarians and semi-proletarians, who owing to their economic position are compelled permanently or periodically to sell their labor power, i.e., to hire themselves to the capitalists and to create by their labor the income of the upper classes of society.
The sphere of dominion of capitalist production relations is extending wider and wider as the constant improvement in technology, by increasing the economic importance of big enterprises, leads to the squeezing out of the petty independent producers, to the conversion of some of them into proletarians and to the restriction of the part played by the remainder in the social and economic life and at times subjecting them to the more or less obvious, more or less burdensome dependence on capital.
However, technical progress enables the capitalists to apply female and child labor to an ever greater extent in the process of production and exchange of goods. And since, on the other hand, this progress brings about a relative decrease in the capitalists’ demand for human labor power, the demand for labor necessarily lags behind the supply and this increases the dependence of wage labor on capital and raises the level of exploitation of labor.
This state of things in the bourgeois countries and the growing competition among them in the world market make it more and more difficult for them to sell the goods, which are produced in ever increasing quantities. Overproduction, which manifests itself in more or less acute industrial crises, followed by more or less lengthy periods of industrial stagnation, is an inevitable consequence of the development of the productive forces in bourgeois society. Crises and periods of industrial stagnation in their turn still further ruin the small producers, still further increase the dependence of wage labor on capital, and lead still more rapidly to a relative and sometimes to an absolute deterioration of the conditions of the working class.
Thus the improvement in technology, which implies an increase in the productivity of labor and an increase of social wealth, brings about in bourgeois society an increase in social inequality, a greater disparity between property owners and proletarians, a greater precariousness of existence, as well as unemployment and various hardships for ever increasing strata of the toiling masses.
But the more the contradictions inherent in bourgeois society grow and develop, the more the dissatisfaction of the toilers and of the exploited masses with the existing state of affairs increases, their numerical strength and solidarity increases, and their struggle against their exploiters becomes more intense. At the same time the improvement in technology by concentration of the means of production and exchange, and socialization of the process of labor in capitalist enterprises, more and more rapidly creates the material possibility of substituting communist industrial relations for capitalist relations, i.e., the possibility of bringing about the social revolution which is the final goal of the entire activity of the international Communist Party, the conscious exponent of, the class movement.
Having replaced private property in the means of production and exchange by social property, and having introduced a planned organization of the socially productive process in order to secure the well being and many-sided development of all the members of society, the proletarian social revolution will abolish the division of society into classes and thereby free the whole of oppressed humanity, for it will put an end to all forms of exploitation of one section of society by another.
The necessary prerequisite of this social revolution is the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the conquest by the proletariat of political power which will enable it to suppress all resistance on the part of the exploiters. Setting itself the task of making the proletariat capable of performing its great historic mission, the international Communist Party organizes it into an independent political party opposed to all the bourgeois parties, guides all the manifestations of its class struggle, reveals to it the irreconcilable opposition between the interests of the exploiters and those of the exploited masses, and explains to the proletariat the historical importance and the necessary prerequisites of the coming social revolution. At the same time it reveals to all the other toiling and exploited masses the hopelessness of its position in capitalist society and the necessity of a social revolution for the purpose of liberating itself from the yoke of capital. The Communist Party, the party of the working class, calls on all strata of the toiling and exploited population to join its ranks to the extent that these strata adopt the standpoint of the proletariat.
The process of the concentration and centralization of capital by abolishing free competition led, at the beginning of the twentieth century, to the creation of powerful monopolistic associations of capitalists – syndicates, cartels, trusts, which acquired decisive importance in the whole of economic life. This process led to the merging of banking capital with industrial capital, to the enormous concentration of capital and to an increase in the export of capital to foreign countries. Trusts covering entire groups of capitalist powers commenced the economic partition of the world, which has already been divided territorially among the richest countries. This epoch of finance capital, which inevitably intensifies the struggle between the capitalist countries, is the epoch of imperialism.
The inevitable corollary of all this is imperialist wars for markets, for spheres of investment of capital, for raw materials and labor, i.e., for world domination and for power over small and weak nationalities. This was precisely the nature of the first great imperialist war of 1914-1918.
The extremely high degree of development of world capitalism in general and the replacement of free competition by state monopoly capitalism, the fact that the banks and the capitalist corporations are creating an apparatus for the social regulation of the process of production and distribution of products, the rise in prices and increased oppression of the working class by the syndicates due to the growth of capitalist monopolies, the enslavement of the working class by the imperialist state, the gigantic handicaps imposed on the economic and political struggle of the proletariat, the horrors, calamities and ruin caused by the imperialist war – all make the collapse of capitalism and the transition to a higher type of social economic system inevitable.
The imperialist war could not result in either a just peace or in the capitalist governments’ establishing a more or less stable peace. At the present stage of capitalist development such a war was bound and is bound to be transformed before our very eyes into the civil war of the exploited working masses, led by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.
The growing proletarian offensive, especially when it is victorious in various countries, increases the resistance of the exploiters and induces them to create new forms of international associations of capitalists (the League of Nations, etc.), which while organizing, on a world scale, the systematic exploitation of all the nations of the world, at present direct their efforts towards the immediate suppression of the revolutionary movements of the proletariat of all countries.
All this inevitably leads to the combination of civil war within separate countries with revolutionary wars of self-defense on the part of proletarian countries and of oppressed nations against the yoke of the imperialist powers.
In such conditions, the slogans of pacifism, of international disarmament under capitalism, of arbitration, etc., are not only a reactionary Utopia but the down-right deception of the toilers, intended to disarm the proletariat and to divert it from the task of disarming the exploiters.
Only a proletarian communist revolution can lead humanity out of the deadlock created by imperialism and imperialist wars. No matter what difficulties the revolution may have to encounter and in spite of temporary failure of waves of counter-revolution the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable.
This victory of the world proletarian revolution calls for the greatest confidence, the closest fraternal union and the greatest possible unity of revolutionary action on the part of the working class in progressive countries.
These conditions cannot be achieved unless a determined rupture is made on matters of principle, and a ruthless struggle is waged against the bourgeois distortion of socialism which has gained the upper hand among the leadership of the official Social-Democratic and Socialist Parties.
Such a distortion is, on the one hand, the opportunist and social-chauvinist trend which professes to be socialist in words, yet is chauvinist in practice, and covers up the defense of the rapacious interests of the fatherland, both in general and especially during the imperialist war of 1914-1918. This trend was created by the fact that in the progressive capitalist countries the bourgeoisie by robbing the colonial and weak nations were able, out of the surplus profits obtained by this robbery to place the upper strata of the proletariat in their countries in a privileged position, to bribe them, to secure for them in peace time tolerable, petty-bourgeois conditions of life, and to take into its service the leaders of that stratum. Opportunists and social-chauvinists, being the servants of the bourgeoisie, are actually the direct class enemies of the proletariat, specially now, when, in alliance with the capitalists, they are suppressing by force of arms the revolutionary movement of the proletariat both in their own countries and in foreign countries.
On the other hand, the “centrist” movement is also a bourgeois distortion of socialism. That movement is also found in all capitalist countries. It vacillates between the social-chauvinists and the Communists, advocates union with the former, and strives to revive the bankrupt Second International. The only leader in the proletarian struggle for emancipation is the new, Third, Communist International, of which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is a detachment. This International was created by the formation in a number of countries, particularly in Germany, of Communist Parties which were made up of the genuinely proletarian elements of former Socialist Parties. It was formally established in March, 1919, at its First Congress, held in Moscow. The Communist International, which is winning increasing sympathy among the masses of the proletariat of all countries, reverts to Marxism, not only in name, but also in its entire ideological and political content, and in all its activities applies the revolutionary teachings of Marx, purged of bourgeois opportunist distortions.
In developing the concrete tasks of the proletarian dictatorship as applied to Russia, the principal feature of which is the numerical preponderance of the petty-bourgeois strata of the population, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union defines these tasks in the following manner:
In the Sphere of General Politics
1. The bourgeois republic, even the most democratic one, sanctified by the slogans of national or non-class will of the people, inevitably has proved in fact to be – owing to the existence of private property in land and in other means of production – a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, a machine for the exploitation and suppression of the overwhelming majority of the toilers by a handful of capitalists.
Contrary to this, proletarian or Soviet democracy has transformed the mass organizations of just those classes oppressed by capitalism, the proletarians and the poorest peasants (semi-proletarians), i.e., the enormous majority of the population, into the sole and permanent basis of the entire state apparatus, local and central, from top to bottom.
In this way, the Soviet government introduced (and, incidentally, in a much wider form than anywhere else) local and regional self-government, without any official authorities appointed from above. The task of the Party is to work untiringly for the complete and actual realization of this highest type of democracy which, in order that it may function properly, requires a steady improvement in the level of culture, organization and activity of the masses.
2. Contrary to bourgeois democracy, which conceals the class nature of its state, the Soviet power openly recognizes that every state must inevitably be a class state until the division of society into classes and along with it all state power finally disappears. The Soviet state, by its very essence, has the object of crushing the resistance of the exploiters, and the Soviet constitution, proceeding from the standpoint that freedom of any kind is a deception if it runs contrary to the liberation of labor from the yoke of capital, does not hesitate to deprive the exploiters of their political rights.
The task of the Party of the proletariat, while persistently suppressing the resistance of the exploiters and combating ideologically the deep-rooted prejudices concerning the absolute nature of bourgeois rights and liberties, is at the same time to explain that deprivation of political rights and restriction of liberty are necessary only as temporary measures to fight any attempts of the exploiters to maintain or restore their privileges. To the extent that the objective possibility of exploitation of man by man disappears, the necessity for such temporary measures will disappear, and the Party will strive to diminish these measures.
3. Bourgeois democracy confined itself to the formal extension of political rights and liberties, such as the right of assembly, right of association, and freedom of the press, to all citizens alike. But in reality, administrative practice, and above all the economic enslavement of the toilers under bourgeois democracy, has always rendered it impossible for the toilers to make any wide use of these rights and liberties.
On the contrary, proletarian democracy, instead of formally claiming rights and liberties, actually grants them primarily and mainly to those classes of the population which have been oppressed by capitalism, namely the proletariat and the peasantry. For this purpose the Soviet government expropriates the bourgeoisie from buildings, printing plants, paper stores, etc., and places them at the complete disposal of the workers and of their organizations.
The task of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is to draw ever wider masses of the toiling population into the enjoyment of democratic rights and liberties and to widen the material possibilities for this.
4. For centuries bourgeois democracy has been proclaiming the equality of men, irrespective of sex, religion, race and nationality, but capitalism never allowed this equality to be realized in practice anywhere and during its imperialist stage brought about the most intense oppression of races and nationalities, Only because the Soviet government is the government of the toilers was it able for the first time in history to introduce this equality of rights completely and in all spheres of life, including the absolute elimination of the last traces of inequality of women in the sphere of marriage and general family rights.
The task of the Party at the present moment is mainly to carry on ideological and educational work for the purpose of finally stamping out all traces of the former inequality and prejudices, especially among the backward strata of the proletariat and the peasantry. Not satisfied with the formal equality of women, the Party strives to free women from the material burden of obsolete domestic economy, by replacing this with the house-communes, public dining-halls, central laundries, crèches, etc.
5. While affording the toiling masses incomparably greater opportunities than those enjoyed under bourgeois democracy and parliamentary government, to elect and recall deputies in a manner easiest and most accessible to the workers and peasants, the Soviet government at the same time abolishes the negative aspect of parliamentary government, especially the separation of the legislature and the executive, the isolation of the representative institutions from the masses, etc.
The Soviet government draws the state apparatus closer to the masses also by the fact that the electoral constituency and the basic unit for the state is no longer a territorial district, but an industrial unit (works, factory).
The task of the Party is to conduct work in this direction in order to bring the organs of power still closer to the masses of the toilers on the basis of an ever stricter and fuller application of practical democracy by the masses, especially by making functionaries responsible and accountable for their actions.
6. Whereas bourgeois democracy, in spite of its declarations, has converted its army into a weapon of the propertied classes, separating it from the toiling masses and opposing it to them, and has rendered it difficult or even impossible for soldiers to exercise their political rights, the Soviet state combines in its organs the Soviets, workers and soldiers on a basis of complete equality of rights and identity of interests. The task of the Party is to maintain and develop this solidarity of workers and soldiers in the Soviets, to strengthen the indissoluble ties between the armed forces and the organizations of the proletariat and the semi-proletariat.
7. The industrial urban proletariat played a leading role throughout the revolution, because it was the most concentrated, united and enlightened section of the toiling masses, and was most hardened in the struggle. It assumed the leading role from the very inception of the Soviets and throughout the whole course of their evolution into organs of power. Our Soviet constitution reflects this circumstance by preserving certain privileges for the industrial proletariat as compared with the more scattered petty-bourgeois masses in the villages.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, while explaining the temporary nature of these advantages which are historically bound up with the difficulties attending the organization of the countryside on socialistic lines, must strive to secure the persistent and systematic utilization of this position by the industrial workers in order, in contrast to the narrow craft and narrow trade union interests fostered by capitalism among the workers, to unite more closely the progressive workers with the most backward and scattered masses of the rural proletarians, semi-proletarians and also the middle peasantry.
8. Only the Soviet organization of the state enabled the proletarian revolution to smash at once and radically destroy the old bourgeois bureaucratic and juridical state apparatus. However, the inadequate cultural level of the broad masses, the lack of necessary experience in administrative affairs among the workers, appointed by the masses to occupy responsible posts, the necessity to hurriedly and under difficult conditions appoint specialists of the old school and the diversion of the most educated stratum of the urban workers to military work brought about a partial revival of bureaucracy within the Soviet apparatus.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, while conducting a most determined struggle against bureaucratic tendencies, advocates the following measures for the complete elimination of this evil:
(1) The obligatory participation of every member of the Soviet in definite work connected with the administration of the state.
(2) Consecutive rotation in this work so that every member is able to acquire experience in all branches of administration.
(3) The entire toiling population to be gradually drawn into the work of state administration.
The complete and all-sided application of all these measures, which represent further progress along the path taken by the Paris Commune, and the simplification of the functions of administration, with the raising of the cultural level of the toilers, will lead towards the abolition of the state power. In the Sphere of National Relations
9. In the national question the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is guided by the following postulates:
(1) The cornerstone of our policy is the policy of drawing together the proletarians and the semi-proletarians of the various nationalities for the purpose of waging a joint revolutionary struggle for the overthrow of the landowners and the bourgeoisie.
(2) In order to overcome the distrust felt by the working masses of oppressed countries towards the proletariat of states which used to oppress those countries, it is necessary to abolish all the privileges enjoyed by any national group, to establish complete equality of rights for all nationalities, to recognize the right of colonies and dependent nations to separation.
(3) With the same aim in view the Party proposes, as a transitional form towards complete unity, a federation of states organized according to the Soviet type.
(4) As for the question as to who is to express the will of the nation to separate, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union adopts the historical class viewpoint, taking into consideration the stage of the historical development of the given nation: whether it is evolving from medievalist to bourgeois democracy, or from bourgeois democracy to Soviet or proletarian democracy, etc.
In any case, the proletariat of the nation which has been the oppressing nation must exercise special caution and pay special attention to the survivals of national sentiment among the toiling masses of oppressed nations or those not possessing full rights. Only by following such a policy will it be possible to create conditions for really durable, voluntary unity among the nationally heterogeneous elements of the international proletariat, as was shown by the experience of uniting a number of national Soviet republics around Soviet Russia,
In the Military Sphere
10. In the military sphere the tasks of the Party are set out in the following fundamental postulates:
(1) In the epoch of disintegration of imperialism and growing civil war it is impossible either to preserve the old army or build up a new one on the so-called non-class or national basis. The Red Army as a weapon of the proletarian dictatorship must of necessity bear an openly class character, i.e., it must be made up exclusively of the proletariat and the semi-proletarian strata of peasantry which are akin to it. Only when classes are abolished will this class army be transformed into a national socialist militia.
(2) It is necessary widely to extend military training to all proletarians and semi-proletarians, and to introduce the teaching of the corresponding subjects in the schools.
(3) The work of the military instruction and training of the Red Army is proceeding on the basis of class solidarity and socialist education. Therefore, reliable and devoted Communists must be appointed to work with the military commanders, and communist nuclei must be established in each unit in order to maintain internal contact of ideas and class-conscious discipline.
(4) Contrary to the regime of the old army it is necessary to reduce the period of barrack training to the shortest possible time; to transform military barracks into military-political schools, to establish the closest possible contact between military units and factories, works, trade unions and the organizations of the rural poor.
(5) The necessary organizational contacts and stability can be given the young revolutionary army only if the commanding personnel, although at first only the commanders of the lower units, are recruited from among class-conscious workers and peasants. The training of the most capable and energetic soldiers devoted to the cause of socialism for the position of commanders is therefore one of the most important tasks in creating an army.
(6) The widest utilization and application of the operative and technical experience of the last world war is necessary. In this connection military specialists who have passed through the school of the old army must be attracted to the organization of the army and to its operative guidance. At the same time, the necessary condition for such utilization of specialists is the concentration in the hands of the working class of the political guidance of the army and all-embracing supervision over the commanding personnel.
(7) The demand that commanders be elected, which was of enormous importance in point of principle in regard to the bourgeois army, where the commanding personnel was selected and trained as an apparatus of class subjection of the soldiers and through them of the working masses, has now lost its importance in principle for the Red Army of workers and peasants, which is based on a class principle. The possibility of combining the principles of election and appointment is dictated to the revolutionary class army exclusively by practical considerations and depends on the level reached in its formation, the degree of solidarity of army units, the existence of cadres of commanders, etc.
In the Sphere of Administration of Justice
11. Having taken all power in its hands and having completely abolished all the organs of bourgeois domination – the courts of the former system – proletarian democracy substitutes for the bourgeois-democratic formula: “Judges elected by the people,” the class slogan: “Judges elected of the toilers and only by the toilers,” applies this slogan throughout the whole juridical system, and at the same time levels the rights of both sexes in regard to electing judges and the exercise of judicial functions.
In order to draw the broadest masses of the proletariat and the poorest peasantry into the administration of justice, the system of constantly alternating temporary judge-assessors has been inaugurated. The mass labor organizations, the trade unions, etc., should take part in compiling the lists of these judge-assessors.
Having set up a uniform people’s court in place of the endless number of former courts of diverse structure and numerous judicial instances, the Soviet government has simplified the organization of the court and has made it completely accessible to the population and abolished all red tape in legal procedure.
After repealing the laws of the deposed governments the Soviet government has charged the judges elected by the Soviets to carry out the will of the proletariat and apply its decree; and failing such, or if they do not fully cover the case, to be guided by socialist ideas of justice.
In the sphere of punishment the courts organized in this fashion have already brought about a radical change in the character of penalties. The courts widely apply conditional sentences, they have introduced public censure as a form of punishment, they have substituted compulsory labor without loss of liberty for deprivation of liberty, replaced prisons by educational institutions and introduced the practice of comrades’ courts.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in advocating the further development of the courts in the same direction, must strive to attract the entire toiling population to the exercise of judicial functions and to have the system of punishment finally replaced by a system of educational measures.
In the Sphere of Education
12. In the sphere of education the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has set itself the task of completing the work commenced with the Revolution of October, 1917, of transforming the school from a weapon of class domination of the bourgeoisie into an instrument for the complete abolition of the division of society into classes, into an instrument for the communist regeneration of society.
During the period of proletarian dictatorship, i.e., during the period of preparation of the conditions for the complete realization of communism, the school must not only be a vehicle of communist principles in general, but a vehicle of the ideological, organizational and educational influence of the proletariat over the proletarian and non-proletarian strata of the toiling masses, for the purpose of educating a generation capable of finally establishing communism. The immediate task along that path is the further development of the following school and educational principles which have already been applied by the Soviet government:
(1) The inauguration of free, compulsory, general and polytechnic education (which in the theory and practice acquaints the students with all the main branches of industry) for all children of both sexes up to the age of 17.
(2) The establishment of a network of preschool institutions, crÂches, kindergartens, children’s homes, etc., in order to improve social education and to emancipate women.
(3) The complete application of the principles of the uniform labor schools with teaching in the native language, co-education, absolutely secular education, i.e., free from any kind of religious influence, establishment of close connection between instruction and socially productive work, in order to train fully educated members of communist society.
(4) Food, clothing, footwear and school requirements to be supplied to all school children and students at the expense of the state.
(5) The training of new cadres of educationalists imbued with the ideas of communism.
(6) The attraction of the toiling population to active participation in the work of education (the development of “education councils,” mobilization of literate persons).
(7) All-round state assistance to self-education and self-development of workers and peasants (the establishment of a network of institutions for out-of-school education, such as libraries, adult schools, people’s palaces and universities, courses, lectures, cinematography, studios, etc.).
(8) The extensive development of vocational education for persons of the age of 17 and upwards in connection with general polytechnic knowledge.
(9) Universities to be thrown wide open to all those wishing to study, but primarily the workers; all competent persons to be drawn to the universities as teachers; the removal of all artificial obstacles preventing young scientific workers from aspiring to professional chairs, students to be materially provided for in order that workers and peasants may be able to attend the universities.
(10) It is equally necessary to open and make accessible to the toilers all the art treasures that were created on the basis of the exploitation of their labor, treasures which hitherto were exclusively at the disposal of the exploiters.
(11) The development of the most far-reaching propaganda of communist ideas, for which purpose the machinery and means of state power must be utilized.
In the Sphere of Religion
13. With regard to religion, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union does not confine itself to the already decreed separation of church and state and of school and church, i.e., measures advocated in the programmed of bourgeois democracy, which the latter has nowhere consistently carried out to the end owing to the diverse and actual ties which bind capital with religious propaganda.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is guided by the conviction that only conscious and deliberate planning of all the social and economic activities of the masses will cause religious prejudices to die out. The Party strives for the complete dissolution of the ties between the exploiting classes and the organizations of religious propaganda, facilitates the real emancipation of the working masses from religious prejudices and organizes the widest possible scientific educational and anti-religious propaganda. At the same time it is necessary carefully to avoid giving offence to the religious sentiments of believers, which only leads to the strengthening of religious fanaticism.
In the Sphere of Economics
14. Persistently to continue and to complete the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, which has been started and which in the main has already been completed. The means of production and exchange to be made the property of the Soviet Republic, i.e., the common property of all the toilers.
15. The principal and basic objective which determines the entire economic policy of the Soviet Union is the utmost development of the productive forces. In view of the state of ruin in the country, the immediate practical line to be pursued and to which all else must be subordinated is at any cost to increase the output of commodities most needed by the people.
The success of the work performed by each Soviet institution connected with national economy shall be insured by the practical results achieved in this field. In this connection it is necessary in the first instance to draw attention to the following:
(1) The disintegration of the imperialist system of economics left as a legacy to the initial period of Soviet construction a somewhat chaotic state of production and management of production. The more imperative, therefore, is the fundamental task of uniting the entire economic activity of the country in a uniform national plan: the maximum centralization of production, i.e., unification of separate branches and groups of branches of industry, its concentration in the best production units and the rapid fulfillment of economic tasks; the maximum co-ordination of the entire production machinery; the rational and economic utilization of all the material resources of the country.
At the same time efforts must be made to establish economic co-operation and political contact with other nations and simultaneously to strive to establish a single economic plan coordinated with those nations which have already adopted the Soviet system.
(2) With regard to petty and handicraft industries, these must be widely utilized by placing government orders with the handicraftsmen, by including the handicrafts and petty industries in the general plan of supply of raw materials and fuel and by giving them financial assistance, provided the separate handicraftsmen, handicraft artels, producers’ co-operatives and petty enterprises combine in bigger production and industrial units; such associations must be encouraged by granting them economic privileges, which along with other measures are directed towards paralyzing the tendency of the handicraftsmen to become petty enterprises and towards effecting the painless transition of these backward methods of production to the higher forms of big mechanized industry.
(3) The organizational apparatus of socialized industry must in the first place rely on the trade unions. The latter must to an increasing degree free themselves from the narrow craft spirit and become big industrial associations embracing the majority and gradually all the workers in the given branch of production.
Since, according to the laws of the Soviet Republic and by established practice, the trade unions already participate in all the local and central organs of management of industry, they must eventually concentrate in their hands the entire management of the whole of national economy as a single economic unit.
Establishing in this way indissoluble ties between the central state administration, national economy and the broad masses of the workers, the trade unions must draw the latter as much as possible into the immediate work of business management. The participation of the trade unions in business management, and their drawing the broad masses into this work, represent at the same time the principal means of struggle against the bureaucratization of the economic apparatus of the Soviet government and render possible the establishment of genuine popular control over the results of production.
(4) The utmost utilization of all the available labor in the state which is essential for the planned development of national economy, its proper distribution and redistribution among the various territorial regions as well as branches of national economy must be the immediate task of the economic policy of the Soviet government; it can be achieved only in close alliance with the trade unions. The complete mobilization by the Soviet government in conjunction with the trade unions of all persons capable of working, for definite social work, must be carried out much more widely and systematically than has been done hitherto.
(5) At a time when the capitalist method of organizing labor is falling to pieces, the productive forces of the country can be restored and developed and the socialist method of production consolidated only on the basis of the comradely discipline of the toilers, of a maximum degree of initiative on their part, of their sense of responsibility and of the strictest mutual control over the productivity of labor.
The attainment of that object requires persistent, systematic work of re-educating the masses, which work is now rendered easier precisely because the masses see that the capitalists, landowners and merchants are really being eliminated and by their own practical experience arrive at the conclusion that their welfare depends exclusively on the discipline they display.
In this work of creating new socialist discipline, the principal part falls to the share of the trade unions. The latter, abandoning the beaten track, must, in order to realize this aim, apply and test in practice various measures, such as the fixing of methods of accounting and of rates of output, the establishment of responsibility before special workers’ (comrades’) courts, etc.
(6) The same task of developing the productive forces requires the immediate, wide and all-sided utilization of specialists in science and technology who are left as a legacy of capitalism, despite the fact that in most cases they are inevitably imbued with bourgeois ideas and habits. The Party believes that the period of acute struggle with this stratum, caused by their organized sabotage, is over, because this sabotage has on the whole been broken down. The Party, in close alliance with trade unions, must pursue its former policy: on the one hand, not to make the slightest political concession to this bourgeois stratum, and ruthlessly suppress all its counter-revolutionary tendencies, and on the other hand fight with equal ruthlessness against the pseudo-radical and in reality ignorant conceit that the toilers can overcome capitalism and the bourgeois regime without learning from the bourgeois specialists, without making use of them, without going through a long schooling alongside with them.
While striving for equality of remuneration for every kind of work and for full realization of communism, the Soviet government cannot set itself the immediate task of realizing this equality at the present time, when only the first steps are being taken from capitalism to communism. Therefore it is necessary for some time to come to pay a higher remuneration to specialists, in order that they may work not worse, but better than before, and for the same reason it is impossible to dispense with the system of bonuses for the most successful speedy organizational work.
It is equally necessary to place the bourgeois specialists in a comradely environment, common work, hand in hand with the masses of rank and file workers, led by class-conscious Communists, thereby contributing to the mutual understanding and rapprochement between the physical workers and brain workers, whom capitalism has divided.
(7) The Soviet government has already passed a number of measures for the development of science and for bringing it into closer connection with production: the establishment of a whole network of new applied science institutes, laboratories, experimental stations, experimental work of testing new technical methods, improvements and inventions, the registration and organization of all scientific resources and means, etc. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union supports all these measures and strives for their further development and the creation of most favorable conditions for scientific work in connection with the raising of the productive forces of the country.
In the Sphere of Agriculture
16. The Soviet government, having completely abolished private property in land, proceeded to carry out a whole series of measures towards the organization of large-scale socialist agriculture. The following are the most important of these measures: (1) the organization of state farms, i.e., big socialist farms; (2) support to societies and co-operatives for the collective cultivation of land; (3) the organization of state sowing on all unsowed lands, no matter to whom they belong; (4) state mobilization of all agronomists in order to carry out energetic measures for the raising of the level of agriculture; (5) support to agricultural communes, the latter being absolutely voluntary associations of farmers for the purpose of joint farming on a big scale.
Regarding all these measures as the only road to the absolutely necessary raising of the productivity of agricultural labor, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union strives to secure the most complete realization of these measures, for their extension to the more backward regions of the country and for still further steps in the same direction.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union specially advocates the following:
(1) All-sided state support to the agricultural cooperatives, which are working up agricultural produce.
(2) An extensive system of land improvement and reclamation.
(3) Wide and planned loaning of implements to the poor and middle peasants through hire-stations set up for that purpose.
Taking into consideration that small peasant farming will exist for a long time to come, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union strives for the fulfillment of a number of measures directed towards the raising of the productivity of peasant farming. Such measures are: (1) rationalization of the system of the peasant land tenure; (2) supplying the peasants with improved seeds and fertilizers; (3) improvement of the breed of peasants’ cattle; (4) spreading of agronomic knowledge; (5) agronomic aid to the peasants; (6) repair of agricultural implements of the peasants in the Soviet repair shop; (7) organization of stations for hiring implements, experimental stations, model fields, etc.; (8) reclamation of peasant lands.
17. In view of the fact that out contrast between town and country is one of the most far-reaching causes of the economic and cultural backwardness of the villages and that in a period of great crisis like the present, both town and country are faced with the immediate danger of degeneration and ruin, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regards the abolition of this contrast as one of the fundamental tasks of communist construction and in addition to general measures regards the following as necessary: far-reaching and planned recruiting of industrial workers for communist construction in the field of agriculture, stimulating the activity of the national “workers’ assistance committees” already organized by the Soviet government for this purpose, and so on.
18. In all its work in the villages, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union continues, as before, to rely on the proletarian and semi-proletarian strata of the village; it organizes, first of all, these strata into an independent force in the villages, by setting up Party nuclei, organizations of poor peasants, special types of trade unions of rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, etc., brings them into closer contact with the town proletariat and wrests them from the influence of the village bourgeoisie and the small property interests.
With respect to the kulak class – the village bourgeoisie – the policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is resolutely to combat their exploiting tendencies, to suppress their resistance to the Soviet policy.
With respect to the middle peasants the policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is resolutely to combat their exploiting tendencies, to suppress their resistance to the Soviet policy. With respect to the middle peasants the policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is gradually and systematically to draw them into the work of socialist construction. The Party sets itself the task of separating them from the kulaks, winning them to the side of the working class by carefully attending to their needs, and of fighting their backwardness with ideological weapons and not by measures of repression, of striving, in all cases where their vital interests are concerned, to come to practical agreements with them making concessions to them in determining the methods of carrying out socialist reforms.
In the Sphere of Distribution
19. In the sphere of distribution the task of the Soviet government at the present time is persistently to continue to replace trade by planned, organized distribution of products on a national scale. The aim is to organize the entire population into a single system of consumers’ communes, capable of distributing all the necessary products with the maximum of speed, plan and economy with the minimum expenditure of labor, strictly centralizing the entire machinery for distribution.
The consumers’ communes and their associations must be based on the existing general and workers’ cooperatives which are the largest organization of consumers and constitute the best apparatus for mass distribution created by the history of capitalism.
Being of the opinion that, in principle, the further communist development of the co-operative apparatus and not its rejection is the only correct line to pursue, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union must systematically continue its policy and must impose on all Party members the duty of working in the co-operatives; they must guide them with the help of the trade unions in a communist spirit, develop the initiative and discipline of the toiling population organized in co-operatives, strive to organize the entire population in the co-operatives and to unite all these co-operatives into a single co-operative society embracing the entire Soviet Union.
Finally, and most important, the predominating influence of the proletariat over all the other sections of the toilers must always be maintained, and various measures facilitating and achieving the transition from petty-bourgeois co-operatives of the old capitalist type to consumer communes led by proletarians and semi-proletarians must be tried in practice.
In the Sphere of Money and Banking
20. The Soviet government avoided the mistakes made by the Paris Commune; it immediately seized the State Bank and then proceeded to nationalize the private commercial banks, to unite the nationalized banks, the saving banks and treasuries with the State Bank, thus creating the basis for a single national bank of the Soviet republic and transforming the bank from a centre of economic domination of the exploiters into a weapon of the workers’ government and a lever for economic revival. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, having set itself the aim of consistently completing the work started by the Soviet government, brings to the forefront the following principles:
(1) The monopolization of the whole banking system by the Soviet state.
(2) A radical change and simplification of banking operations by transforming the banking apparatus into an apparatus for uniform registration and general accounting in the Soviet republic, in proportion as planned national economy is organized; this will lead to the abolition of the bank and to its transformation into the central bookkeeping department of communist society.
21. During the initial stages of the transition period from capitalism to communism, pending the complete organization of communist production and distribution of products, it is impossible to abolish money. Under these circumstances the bourgeois elements of the population continue to make use of money still remaining in private possession for the purpose of speculation, profiteering and robbing the toilers. Basing its policy on the nationalization of the banks, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union strives to carry out a number of measures which will widen the sphere of non-cash transactions, measures preparatory to the abolition of money: the compulsory depositing of money in the people’s bank, the introduction of budget books, the replacement of money by checks, short term notes entitling the possessor to receive products, etc.
In the Sphere of Finance
22. At the epoch when the means of production from which the capitalists have been expropriated have begun to be socialized, the state ceases to be a parasitic apparatus standing above the production process; it begins to transform itself into an organization directly performing the function of managing the economics of the country and to this extent the state budget becomes the budget of national economy as a whole.
Under such conditions, the balancing of revenue and expenditure is possible only if there are proper systems of planned state production and distribution of products. As regards the covering of immediate state expenditure during the transition period, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will advocate the transition from the system of contributions imposed upon the capitalists, which was historically necessary and lawful during the initial period of the socialist revolution, to a progressive income and property tax. And since this tax is exhausting itself, becoming out of date, owing to the far-reaching expropriation of the propertied classes, state expenditure must be covered by transferring part of the revenue derived from various state monopolies directly to the state treasury.
In the Sphere of Housing
23. Striving to solve the housing question, which became particularly acute during the war period, the Soviet government completely took over all the houses owned by capitalist householders and turned them over to the town soviets; it transferred masses of workers from the slum districts in the suburbs to bourgeois houses; it turned the best of these houses over to the workers’ organizations and placed the cost of maintenance of these houses upon the state; it has started to provide workers’ families with furniture, etc.
The task of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is, while following this path and in no way prejudicing the interests of non-capitalist house ownership, to do its utmost to improve the housing conditions of the toiling masses, to abolish overcrowding and the unsanitary state of the old residential districts, to remove houses unfit for habitation, to reconstruct old and construct new houses which will correspond to the new conditions of life of the working masses, and to distribute the working population in a rational manner.
In the Sphere of Protection of Labor and Social Insurance
24. With the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat it has become possible for the first time to realize in full the minimum program of the socialist party in the sphere of the protection of labor.
The Soviet government has passed legislation which has been embodied in the Code of Labor Laws providing for the following measures: an eight-hour day for all the toilers as the maximum working day; for persons under 18, workers in especially dangerous trades and miners working underground, the working day must not exceed 6 hours, 42 hours uninterrupted rest per week for all toilers; prohibition of overtime, as a general rule; prohibition of child labor and the labor of juveniles under 16; prohibition of night work and of work in especially dangerous trades as well as of overtime for all women and young persons under 18; eight weeks’ leave for expectant mothers and eight weeks after childbirth with full pay and free medical treatment and medicines; a nursing mother to be allowed not less than half an hour every three hours for feeding her baby; mothers breast-feeding their babies are entitled to additional allowance, factory inspections and sanitary inspectors to be elected by the councils of trade unions.
The Soviet government has passed legislation extending complete social insurance to all toilers who do not exploit the labor of others. This provides insurance against all cases of loss of earning capacity and for the first time in the world introduces unemployment insurance at the expense of the employers and the state. Insurance affairs are managed by the insured with the active co-operation of the trade unions.
Moreover, the Soviet government in some respects has gone further than the minimum program and has provided, in the said Code of Labor Laws, for the participation of the workers’ organizations in deciding questions appertaining to the engagement and dismissal of workers. This code provides also for one month’s vacation with full pay for all toilers who have worked uninterruptedly for not less than one year, and the state regulation of wages on the basis of rates worked out by the trade unions; definite organizations, namely, the distribution and registration of labor departments of the Soviets and trade unions are charged with finding work for the unemployed.
However, owing to the extreme ruin caused by the war and the attacks of world imperialism, the Soviet government was obliged to make the following exception: to allow overtime in exceptional cases, which, however, must not exceed 50 days a year; to allow the labor of young persons between the ages of 14 and 16, limiting the work to 4 hours per day; to reduce temporarily the month’s leave to two weeks; to prolong the hours of night work to seven.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union must conduct wide propaganda to secure the active participation of the toilers themselves in the energetic fulfillment of all measures in the sphere of labor protection, for which purpose it is necessary:
(1) To intensify the work of organizing and extending the system of factory inspection by selecting and training for that purpose active workers from the ranks of the workers themselves, and to extend factory inspection to the small and home industries.
(2) To extend labor protection regulations to all kinds of labor (building workers, land and water transport, domestic servants and farm laborers).
(3) Finally, to prohibit all juvenile labor and further to reduce the working hours of young persons.
Moreover, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union must set itself the following tasks:
(1) When the productivity of labor has generally increased, to establish a six-hour day without reduction of wages, on the condition that the workers devote two hours per day to the study of the theory of their craft or trade.
(2) The introduction of a bonus system in order to encourage the increase of productivity of labor.
In the sphere of social insurance the Communist Party of the Soviet Union strives to organize far-reaching state assistance not only to the victims of war and natural calamities, but also to the victims of abnormal social relations; it is waging a determined struggle against all parasites and idlers and has set itself the task of restoring to the sphere of useful labor all those who have been dropped out of it.
In the Sphere of Public Health
25. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union takes as the basis for its activity in the sphere of the protection of people’s health, primarily, the carrying out of far-reaching health and sanitary measures, for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease. The dictatorship of the proletariat has already rendered possible the introduction of a number of measures in the domain of public health and medical service which were impossible under capitalism, such as nationalization of drug stores, big privately owned hospitals and health resorts, the introduction of obligatory labor for doctors, etc.
Accordingly, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union sets itself the following immediate tasks:
(1) The determined application of wide measures of sanitation in the interests of the toilers, such as:
(a) Improvement of sanitary conditions of inhabited areas (protection of soil, water and air).
(b) Organization of public catering on scientific and hygienic lines.
(c) Adoption of measures to prevent the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases.
(d) Introduction of sanitary legislation.
(2) To combat social diseases (tuberculosis, venereal diseases, alcoholism, etc.).
(3) Free and skilled medical treatment and medicines to be accessible to all.
Eighth Congress of the Russian Communist Party 1919