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July 29, 1927

Dear Comrades, having acquainted itself with the resolution on the current situation passed by the Seventh Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the AUMTU, with the collective letter of Yevdokimov, Zinoviev and Trotsky to the Metalworkers’ CC and with the reply of the metalworkers, the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Agricultural and Forestry Workers’ Trade Union feels that inasmuch as the comrades of the opposition have circulated their letter to all the central committees, including the Agricultural and Forestry Workers’ Central Committee, and have thereby appealed to the opinion of these organisations, it has to state the following:

(1) The Presidium of the CC fully approves and associates itself with the reply of the Metalworkers’ CC.

(2) The factional struggle started by the opposition against the Central Committee of the CPSU(B), against the Party line, and, in particular, the attempt to provoke a discussion and draw into it not only the Party membership but also the non-Party masses are, in our view, impermissible, especially at a time when the Party and the working class of our country are faced with the militant tasks of socialist construction, when these tasks, difficult in themselves, are made more complicated by the threat of war.

(3) The Presidium of the CC is confident that despite the opposition’s playing up to the interests of the poor peasants and farm labourers, the organised mass of agricultural and forestry proletarians will not let themselves be deceived, and that among them there will be no sympathy for the opposition’s irresponsible statements.

In letters to the trade union CC foremost agricultural and forestry workers declare that they have in many ways learned to see through and understand the true essence of the opposition. The opposition’s petty-bourgeois character, exposed by its general platform and the methods of its actions, is, in our view, most striking in its attitude to the rural proletariat.

It is characteristic that despite the florid demagogical statements about the rural poor and so on, the opposition cannot lay claim to having made any constructive suggestion or to having even simply raised questions aimed at improving the condition of agricultural and forestry workers, supporting their struggle against exploiting elements in the countryside or promoting the social activity of these masses.

The leaders of the opposition are experts at inserting the words “farm labourer” and “poor peasant” in their speeches and documents regardless of whether they are opportune or not, and at complaining that few farm labourers have been elected to the Soviets and the co-operatives (to make political capital out of this “concern”—everything will come in useful in the struggle against the Party), but they are unable (because of their isolation from life, particularly from life in the countryside) and have no desire (being preoccupied not with day-to-day creative work but with political intrigues) to consider practically, for example, the question of strengthening the state farms, which employ several hundred thousand workers, or real measures to improve the condition of the millions of seasonal, day and permanent agricultural and forestry workers.

And here again, what. is the opposition doing at a time when the Party CC distinctly and in a Leninist way approaches the work of organising the farm labourers, safeguarding their class interests, strengthening the state farms, promoting the development of co-operatives in the countryside and giving its assistance to the poor peasants (poor peasant funds, co-operatives, cash credits and so on)? It makes deliberately impracticable promises concerning the poor peasants, shouts about the kulak menace with the hysteria of a political neurotic (the Party sees and knows the actual not exaggerated danger) and, still worse, instead of calling attention to the real threat hanging over the Union of Socialist Republics at the present moment, raises demoralising questions and “doubts, asking: What are the worker, farm labourer and peasant going to fight for?

For its part, casting away these doubts without panic, the Party is, by its correct policy and work, strengthening the alliance of the working class with the main mass of peasants, building up the forces, including the agricultural consumers’ co-operatives and the farm labourers’ trade unions, in opposition to the growth of kulak elements, boosting the influence of the poor peasants and farm labourers in the rural Soviets, directing the upsurge of agriculture and giving the utmost support to the state and collective farms. Under the leadership of the Party the working class is surmounting the kulak influence in the countryside not by empty words but by persevering work, by deeds, and thereby prepares the workers, including the farm-labourer masses, for war with the bourgeois world if such a war is forced on us.

Those who obstruct this work, sow doubt in the success of socialist construction and in the ability of the worker, farm-labourer and peasant masses to give a timely rebuff to hostile class forces in and outside the country, try to shatter the iron ranks of the Leninist Party, and contrapose the will of individuals and groups to the collective will of the Party, are, regardless of their past services, bringing grist to the mill of our enemies.

That is why the CC of the trade union unanimously aligns itself with the assessment of the opposition as defeatist given by the Plenary Meeting of the Metalworkers’ CC.

We are for iron discipline in the Party because that is the prime condition for the further strengthening of the proletarian dictatorship, for consolidating the alliance of the working class with the main mass of peasants and for the successful building of socialism in our country.

We are against all who undermine the Party’s unity and flout Party discipline, against all who by their policy aimed against the Central Committee of the CPSU(B) and, thereby, against the entire Party, are trying to split its ranks and divide the working class.

The farm labourers are the most backward section of the working class in the USSR, but the rural proletariat and semi-proletariat, which has gone through the school of Civil War and several years of peaceful Soviet construction, know that there is no better champion of their interests than the Communist Party and its Central Committee.

The difficulties of building socialism in the countryside are especially great, the living standard of the farm labourers is extremely low, the condition of the rural poor is very hard indeed, but for all their backwardness and despite the hard conditions of their life and work, the farm labourers and poor peasants do not believe in the miracles held out by the opposition, they do not believe the irresponsible promises however alluring they may be.

The Central Committee of the CPSU(B), in its decisions on the work among agricultural and forestry workers and on strengthening the state farms, and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection and the CCC, as a result of their study of hired labour in the countryside, have correctly mapped out the line and practical steps that can improve the organisation, protection and class education of the agricultural and forestry proletariat.

This is a hard but sure road.

The growing activity and organisation of the agricultural and forestry proletariat (on April 1, 1927 the trade union had more than a million members) may serve as confirmation that the Party is effectively working in this sphere.

Under the leadership of the Central Committee of their trade union the agricultural and forestry workers are advancing and, we are certain, will continue to advance along the road charted by the Communist Party.

Presidium, Central Committee of the
Agricultural and Forestry Workers’
Trade Union of the USSR
Sovetskiye arkhivy, 1967,
No. 3, pp. 33-34
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