November 30, 2018

October, Lenin and the Prospects of Our Development

J. V. Stalin
November 7, 1925

Works, Vol. 7

I think that the period of preparation for October, eight years ago, and the present period, eight years after October, have a certain common feature notwithstanding the enormous difference between them. This common feature is that both periods mark turning points in the development of our revolution. Then, in 1917, the task was to make the transition from the power of the bourgeoisie to the power of the proletariat. Now, in 1925, the task is to make the transition from the present economy, which cannot, as a whole, be called socialist, to socialist economy, to the economy that must serve as the material basis of a socialist society.

What was the situation in the period of October, when, on October 10, 1917, the Central Committee of our Party, under Lenin's leadership, took the decision to organise the armed uprising?

Firstly, the war between the two European coalitions, the growth of the elements of a socialist revolution all over Europe, and the threat of a separate peace with Germany with the object of strangling the revolution in Russia. That was the external situation. Secondly, the fact that our Party had won a majority in the Soviets, peasant revolts throughout the country, the upsurge of the revolutionary movement at the front, the isolation of the bourgeois Kerensky Government and the threat of another Kornilov revolt. That was the internal situation.

That was mainly a front of political struggle.

At that time the turning point resulted in the victorious uprising of the workers and peasants and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

What is the situation now, eight years after the overthrow of bourgeois rule?

Firstly, there are two camps in the world: the camp of capitalism, which is temporarily undergoing stabilisation, along with an obvious growth of the revolutionary movement in the colonial and dependent countries (China, Morocco, Syria, etc.); and the camp of socialism, the Soviet Union, the economic development of which is increasing and which is rallying around itself both the workers of the advanced countries and the oppressed peoples of the colonial and dependent countries — a circumstance which makes it possible to convert the brief "respite" into a whole period of "respite." That is the external situation. Secondly, the increasing industrial and co-operative development of our country, the improvement in the material conditions of the workers and peasants, the undoubted improvement in the relations between the proletariat and the peasantry, and the enhanced prestige of the Party among the workers and peasants — a circumstance which makes it possible to go ahead with the building of socialism in conjunction with the peasantry and under the leadership of the proletariat and its Party. That is the internal situation.

That is mainly a front of economic construction.

Whether the present turning-point period will end with the victory of the proletariat depends primarily upon the successes we achieve in our work of construction, upon the successes achieved by the revolutionary movement in the West and East, upon the development of the contradictions that are corroding the capitalist world.

Eight years ago, the task was to link the proletariat with the poorest strata of the peasantry, to neutralise the middle strata of the peasantry, to take advantage of the mortal struggle between the two imperialist coalitions and to overthrow the bourgeois government in Russia in order to organise the dictatorship of the proletariat, to get out of the imperialist war, to strengthen the ties with the proletarians of all countries and to promote the cause of the proletarian revolution in all countries.

Now, eight years later, the task is, on the one hand, to link the proletariat and poor peasants with the middle peasants on the basis of a firm alliance between them, to ensure the leadership of the proletariat within that alliance, to accelerate the development and re-equipment of our industry, to draw the vast masses of the peasantry into the co-operatives and thereby ensure the victory of the socialist core of our economy over the capitalist elements; on the other hand, the task is to establish an alliance both with the proletarians of all countries and with the colonial peoples of the oppressed countries in order to help the revolutionary proletariat in its struggle for victory over capitalism.

The neutralisation of the middle peasants is not enough now. The task now is to establish a firm alliance with the middle peasants in order to establish correct relations between the proletariat and the peasantry; for if Lenin's thesis that "ten or twenty years of correct relations with the peasantry, and victory on a world scale is assured"1* is true, then Lenin's words ". . . to advance now as an immeasurably wider and larger mass, and only together with the peasantry" 2* are equally true.

The simple development of state industry is not enough now. Still less is the pre-war level of industry enough. The task now is to push forward the re-equipment of our state industry and to expand it further on a new technical basis; for our state industry is a socialist type of industry, it is the principal base of the proletarian dictatorship in our country. Without such a base it is impossible to talk of transforming our country into an industrial country, of converting NEP Russia into socialist Russia.

The simple development of the co-operatives in the countryside is not enough now. The task now is to draw the vast masses of the peasantry into the co-operatives and to implant a co-operative communal life in the countryside; for under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and with the existence of a socialist type of industry, co-operation is the principal means by which the peasantry can be drawn into the work of building socialism.

Such, in general, are the necessary conditions for victory in building socialism in our country.

Eight years ago, the Party achieved victory over bourgeois rule because it was able to display Leninist firmness in carrying out the tasks of the proletariat in spite of incredible difficulties, in spite of the wavering of some of its detachments.

Today, eight years later, the Party has every possibility of ensuring victory over the capitalist elements in our national economy, provided it is able to display the old, Leninist firmness in carrying out its tasks in spite of the host of difficulties that confront it, in spite of the possible wavering of some of its detachments.

Leninist firmness in carrying out the immediate tasks of the proletariat is also one of the essential conditions for victory in building socialism.



Pravda, No. 255, November 7, 1925

* My italics. — J. St.
Notes

1.V. I. Lenin, "Outline of the Pamphlet The Tax in Kind" (see works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 32, p. 302).

2.V. I. Lenin, speech in closing the Eleventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), April 2, 1922 (see works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol 33) p. 291).