In the restoration period the task had been to revive agriculture before all else, so as to obtain raw materials and foodstuffs, to restore and to set going the industries, the existing mills and factories.
The Soviet Government coped with this task with comparative ease.
But in the restoration period there were three major shortcomings:
First, the mills and factories were old, equipped with worn-out and antiquated machinery, and might soon go out of commission. The task now was to re-equip them on up-to-date lines.
Secondly, industry in the restoration period rested on too narrow a foundation: it lacked machine-building plants absolutely indispensable to the country. Hundreds of these plants had to be built, for without them no country can be considered as being really industrialized. The task now was to build these plants and to equip them on up-to-date lines.
Thirdly, the industries in this period were mostly light industries. These were developed and put on their feet. But, beyond a certain point, the further development even of the light industries met an obstacle in the weakness of heavy industry, not to mention the fact that the country had other requirements which could be satisfied only by a well-developed heavy industry. The task now was to tip the scales in favour of heavy industry.
All these new tasks were to be accomplished by the policy of Socialist industrialization.
It was necessary to build up a large number of new industries, industries which had not existed in tsarist Russia – new machinery, machine-tool, automobile, chemical, and iron and steel plants – to organize the production of engines and power equipment, and to increase the mining of ore and coal. This was essential for the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.
It was necessary to create a new munitions industry, to erect new works for the production of artillery, shells, aircraft, tanks and machine guns. This was essential for the defence of the U.S.S.R., surrounded as it was by a capitalist world.
It was necessary to build tractor works and plants for the production of modern agricultural machinery, and to furnish agriculture with these machines, so as to enable millions of small individual peasant farms to pass to large-scale collective farming. This was essential for the victory of Socialism in the countryside.
All this was to be achieved by the policy of industrialization, for that is what the Socialist industrialization of the country meant.
Clearly, construction work on so large a scale would necessitate the investment of thousands of millions of rubles. To count on foreign loans was out of the question, for the capitalist countries refused to grant loans. We had to build with our own resources, without foreign assistance. But we were then a poor country.
There lay one of the chief difficulties.
Capitalist countries as a rule built up their heavy industries with funds obtained from abroad, whether by colonial plunder, or by exacting indemnities from vanquished nations, or else by foreign loans. The Soviet Union could not as a matter of principle resort to such infamous means of obtaining funds as the plunder of colonies or of vanquished nations. As for foreign loans, that avenue was closed to the U.S.S.R., as the capitalist countries refused to lend it anything. The funds had to be found inside the country.
And they were found. Financial sources were tapped in the U.S.S.R. such as could not be tapped in any capitalist country. The Soviet state had taken over all the mills, factories, and lands which the October Socialist Revolution had wrested from the capitalists and landlords, all the means of transportation, the banks, and home and foreign trade. The profits from the state-owned mills and factories, and from the means of transportation, trade and the banks now went to further the expansion of industry, and not into the pockets of a parasitic capitalist class.
The Soviet Government had annulled the tsarist debts, on which the people had annually paid hundreds of millions of gold rubles in interest alone. By abolishing the right of the landlords to the land, the Soviet Government had freed the peasantry from the annual payment of about 500,000,000 gold rubles in rent. Released from this burden, the peasantry was in a position to help the state to build a new and powerful industry. The peasants had a vital interest in obtaining tractors and other agricultural machinery.
All these sources of revenue were in the hands of the Soviet state. They could yield hundreds and thousands of millions of rubles for the creation of a heavy industry. All that was needed was a business-like approach, the strictly economical expenditure of funds, rationalization of industry, reduction of costs of production, elimination of unproductive expenditure, etc.
And this was the course the Soviet Government adopted.
Thanks to a regime of strict economy, the funds available for capital development increased from year to year. This made it possible to start on gigantic construction works like the Dnieper Hydro-Electric Power Station, the Turkestan-Siberian Railway, the Stalingrad Tractor Works, a number of machine-tool works, the AMO (ZIS) Automobile Works and others.
Whereas in 1926-27 about 1,000,000,000 rubles were invested in industry, three years later it was found possible to invest about 5,000,000,000 rubles.
Industrialization was making steady headway.
The capitalist countries looked upon the growing strength of the Socialist economic system in the U.S.S.R. as a threat to the existence of the capitalist system. Accordingly, the imperialist governments did everything they could to bring new pressure to bear on the U.S.S.R., to create a feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness in the country, and to frustrate, or at least to impede, the industrialization of the U.S.S.R.
In May 1927, the British Conservative Die-hards, then in office, organized a provocative raid on Arcos (the Soviet trading body in Great Britain). On May 26, 1927, the British Conservative Government broke off diplomatic and trade relations with the U.S.S.R.
On June 7, 1927, Comrade Voikov, the Soviet Ambassador in Warsaw, was assassinated by a Russian Whiteguard, a naturalized Polish subject.
About this time, too, in the U.S.S.R. itself, British spies and diversionists hurled bombs at a meeting in a Party club in Leningrad, wounding about 30 people, some of them severely.
In the summer of 1927, almost simultaneous raids were made on the Soviet Embassies and Trade Representations in Berlin, Peking, Shanghai and Tientsin.
This created additional difficulties for the Soviet Government.
But the U.S.S.R. refused to be intimidated and easily repulsed the provocative attempts of the imperialists and their agents.
No less were the difficulties caused to the Party and the Soviet state by the subversive activities of the Trotskyites and other oppositionists. Comrade Stalin had good reason to say that "something like a united front from Chamberlain to Trotsky is being formed" against the Soviet Government. In spite of the decisions of the Fourteenth Party Congress and the professions of loyalty of the oppositionists, the latter had not laid down their arms. On the contrary, they intensified their efforts to undermine and split the Party.
In the summer of 1926, the Trotskyites and Zinovievites united to form an anti-Party bloc, made it a rallying point for the remnants of all the defeated opposition groups, and laid the foundation of their secret anti-Leninist party, thereby grossly violating the Party Rules and the decisions of Party congresses forbidding the formation of factions. The Central Committee of the Party gave warning that unless this anti-Party bloc – which resembled the notorious Menshevik August Bloc – were dissolved, matters might end badly for its adherents. But the supporters of the bloc would not desist.
That autumn, on the eve of the Fifteenth Party Conference, they made a sortie at Party meetings in the factories of Moscow, Leningrad and other cities, attempting to force a new discussion on the Party. The platform they tried to get the Party members to discuss was a rehash of the usual Trotskyite-Menshevik anti-Leninist platform. The Party members gave the oppositionists a severe rebuff, and in some places simply ejected them from the meetings. The Central Committee again warned the supporters of the bloc, stating that the Party could not tolerate their subversive activities any longer.
The opposition then submitted to the Central Committee a statement signed by Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Sokolnikov condemning their own factional work and promising to be loyal in the future. Nevertheless, the bloc continued to exist and its adherents did not stop their underhand work against the Party. They went on banding together their anti-Leninist party, started an illegal printing press, collected membership dues from their supporters and circulated their platform.
In view of the behaviour of the Trotskyites and Zinovievites, the Fifteenth Party Conference (November 1926) and the Enlarged Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (December 1926) discussed the question of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites and adopted resolutions stigmatizing the adherents of this bloc as splitters whose platform was downright Menshevism.
But even this failed to bring them to their senses. In 1927, just when the British Conservatives broke off diplomatic and trade relations with the U.S.S.R., the bloc attacked the Party with renewed vigour. It concocted a new anti-Leninist platform, the so-called "Platform of the Eighty-Three" and began to circulate it among Party members, at the same time demanding that the Central Committee open a new general Party discussion.
This was perhaps the most mendacious and pharisaical of all opposition platforms.
In their platform, the Trotskyites and Zinovievites professed that they had no objection to observing Party decisions and that they were all in favour of loyalty, but in reality they grossly violated the Party decisions, and scoffed at the very idea of loyalty to the Party and to its Central Committee.
In their platform, they professed they had no objection to Party unity and were against splits, but in reality they grossly violated Party unity, worked for a split, and already had their own, illegal, anti-Leninist party which had all the makings of an anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary party.
In their platform, they professed they were all in favour of the policy of industrialization, and even accused the Central Committee of not proceeding with industrialization fast enough, but in reality they did nothing but carp at the Party resolution on the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., scoffed at the policy of Socialist industrialization, demanded the surrender of a number of mills and factories to foreigners in the form of concessions, and pinned their main hopes on foreign capitalist concessions in the U.S.S.R.
In their platform, they professed they were all in favour of the collective-farm movement, and even accused the Central Committee of not proceeding with collectivization fast enough, but in reality they scoffed at the policy of enlisting the peasants in the work of Socialist construction, preached the idea that "unresolvable conflicts" between the working class and the peasantry were inevitable, and pinned their hopes on the "cultured leaseholders" in the countryside, in other words, on the kulaks.
This was the most mendacious of all the platforms of the opposition. It was meant to deceive the Party.
The Central Committee refused to open a general discussion immediately. It informed the opposition that a general discussion could be opened only in accordance with the Party Rules, namely, two months before a Party congress.
In October 1927, that is, two months before the Fifteenth Congress, the Central Committee of the Party announced a general Party discussion, and the fight began. Its result was truly lamentable for the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites: 724,000 Party members voted for the policy of the Central Committee; 4,000, or less than one per cent, for the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites. The anti-Party bloc was completely routed. The overwhelming majority of the Party members were unanimous in rejecting the platform of the bloc.
Such was the clearly expressed will of the Party, for whose judgment the oppositionists themselves had appealed.
But even this lesson was lost on the supporters of the bloc. Instead of submitting to the will of the Party they decided to frustrate it. Even before the discussion had closed, perceiving that ignominious failure awaited them, they decided to resort to more acute forms of struggle against the Party and the Soviet Government and to stage an open demonstration of protest in Moscow and Leningrad. The day they chose for their demonstration was November 7, the anniversary of the October Revolution, the day on which the working people of the U.S.S.R. annually hold their countrywide revolutionary demonstration. Thus, the Trotskyites and Zinovievites planned to hold a parallel demonstration. As was to be expected, the supporters of the bloc managed to bring out into the streets only a miserable handful of their satellites. These satellites and their patrons were overwhelmed by the general demonstration and swept off the streets.
Now there was no longer any doubt that the Trotskyites and Zinovievites had become definitely anti-Soviet. During the general Party discussion they had appealed to the Party against the Central Committee; now, during their puny demonstration, they had taken the course of appealing to the hostile classes against the Party and the Soviet state. Once they had made it their aim to undermine the Bolshevik Party, they were bound to go to the length of undermining the Soviet state, for in the Soviet Union the Bolshevik Party and the state are inseparable. That being the case, the ringleaders of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites had outlawed themselves from the Party, for men who had sunk to the depths of anti-Soviet action could no longer be tolerated in the ranks of the Bolshevik Party.
On November 14, 1927, a joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission expelled Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party.
The Socialist sector of industry was rapidly growing at the expense of the private sector, its output having risen from 81 per cent of the total output in 1924-25 to 86 per cent in 1926-27, the output of the private sector dropping from 19 per cent to 14 per cent in the same period.
This meant that industrialization in the U.S.S.R. was of a pronounced Socialist character, that industry was developing towards the victory of the Socialist system of production, and that as far as industry was concerned, the question – "Who will win?" – had already been decided in favour of Socialism.
No less rapid was the displacement of the private dealer in the sphere of trade, his share in the retail market having fallen from 42 per cent in 1924-25 to 32 per cent in 1926-27, not to mention the wholesale market, where the share of the private dealer had fallen from 9 per cent to 5 per cent in the same period.
Even more rapid was the rate of growth of large-scale Socialist industry, which in 1927, the first year after the restoration period, increased its output over the previous year by 18 per cent. This was a record increase, one beyond the reach of the large-scale industry of even the most advanced capitalist countries.
But in agriculture, especially grain growing, the picture was different. Although agriculture as a whole had passed the pre-war level, the gross yield of its most important branch – grain growing – was only 91 per cent of pre-war, while the marketed share of the harvest, that is, the amount of grain sold for the supply of the towns, scarcely attained 37 per cent of the pre-war figure. Furthermore, all the signs pointed to the danger of a further decline in the amount of marketable grain.
This meant that the process of the splitting up of the large farms that used to produce for the market, into small farms, and of the small farms into dwarf farms, a process which had begun in 1918, was still going on; that these small and dwarf peasant farms were reverting practically to a natural form of economy and were able to supply only a negligible quantity of grain for the market; that while in the 1927 period the grain crop was only slightly below that of the pre-war period, the marketable surplus for the supply of the towns was only a little more than one-third of the pre-war marketable surplus.
There could be no doubt that if such a state of affairs in grain farming were to continue, the army and the urban population would be faced with chronic famine.
This was a crisis in grain farming which was bound to be followed by a crisis in livestock farming.
The only escape from this predicament was a change to large-scale farming which would permit the use of tractors and agricultural machines and secure a several-fold increase of the marketable surplus of grain. The country had the alternative: either to adopt large-scale capitalist farming, which would have meant the ruin of the peasant masses, destroyed the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, increased the strength of the kulaks, and led to the downfall of Socialism in the countryside; or to take the course of amalgamating the small peasant holdings into large Socialist farms, collective farms, which would be able to use tractors and other modern machines for a rapid advancement of grain farming and a rapid increase in the marketable surplus of gain.
It is clear that the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet state could only take the second course, the collective farm way of developing agriculture.
In this, the Party was guided by the following precepts of Lenin regarding the necessity of passing from small peasant farming to large-scale, co-operative, collective farming :
a) "There is no escape from poverty for the small farm." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 195.)
b) "If we continue as of old on our small farms, even as free citizens on free land, we shall still be faced with inevitable ruin." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VI, p. 370.)
c) "If peasant farming is to develop further, we must firmly assure also its transition to the next stage, and this next stage must inevitably be one in which the small, isolated peasant farms, the least profitable and most backward, will by a process of gradual amalgamation form large-scale collective farms." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. IX, p. 151.)
d) "Only if we succeed in proving to the peasants in practice the advantages of common, collective, co-operative, artel cultivation of the soil, only if we succeed in helping the peasant by means of co-operative or artel farming, will the working class, which holds the state power, be really able to convince the peasant of the correctness of its policy and to secure the real and durable following of the millions of peasants." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 198.)
Such was the situation prior to the Fifteenth Party Congress.
The Fifteenth Party Congress opened on December 2, 1927. It was attended by 898 delegates with vote and 771 delegates with voice but no vote, representing 887,233 Party members and 348,957 candidate members.
In his report on behalf of the Central Committee, Comrade Stalin referred to the good results of industrialization and the rapid expansion of Socialist industry, and set the Party the following task:
"To extend and consolidate our Socialist key position in all economic branches in town and country and to pursue a course of eliminating the capitalist elements from the national economy."
Comparing agriculture with industry and noting the backwardness of the former, especially of grain growing, owing to the scattered state of agriculture, which precluded the use of modern machinery, Comrade Stalin emphasized that such an unenviable state of agriculture was endangering the entire national economy.
"What is the way out?" Comrade Stalin asked.
"The way out," he said, "is to turn the small and scattered peasant farms into large united farms based on the common cultivation of the soil, to introduce collective cultivation of the soil on the basis of a new and higher technique. The way out is to unite the small and dwarf peasant farms gradually but surely, not by pressure, but by example and persuasion, into large farms based on common, cooperative, collective cultivation of the soil with the use of agricultural machines and tractors and scientific methods of intensive agriculture. There is no other way out."
The Fifteenth Congress passed a resolution calling for the fullest development of collectivization in agriculture. The congress adopted a plan for the extension and consolidation of the collective farms and state farms and formulated explicit instructions concerning the methods to be used in the struggle for collectivization in agriculture.
At the same time, the congress gave directions:
"To develop further the offensive against the kulaks and to adopt a number of new measures which would restrict the development of capitalism in the countryside and guide peasant farming towards Socialism." (Resolutions of the C.P.S.U.[B.], Russ. ed., Part II, p. 260.)
Finally, in view of the fact that economic planning had taken firm root, and with the object of organizing a systematic offensive of Socialism against the capitalist elements along the entire economic front, the congress gave instructions to the proper bodies for the drawing up of the First Five-Year Plan for the development of the national economy.
After passing decisions on the problems of Socialist construction, the congress proceeded to discuss the question of liquidating the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites.
The congress recognized that "the opposition has ideologically broken with Leninism, has degenerated into a Menshevik group, has taken the course of capitulation to the forces of the international and home bourgeoisie, and has objectively become a tool of counter-revolution against the regime of the proletarian dictatorship." (Ibid., p. 232.)
The congress found that the differences between the Party and the opposition had developed into differences of program, and that the Trotsky opposition had taken the course of struggle against the Soviet power. The congress therefore declared that adherence to the Trotsky opposition and the propagation of its views were incompatible with membership of the Bolshevik Party.
The congress approved the decision of the joint meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission to expel Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Party and resolved on the expulsion of all active members of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites, such as Radek, Preobrazhensky, Rakovsky, Pyatakov, Serebryakov, I. Smirnov, Kamenev, Sarkis, Safarov, Lifshitz, Mdivani, Smilga and the whole "Democratic-Centralism" group (Sapronov, V. Smirnov, Boguslavsky, Drobnis and others).
Defeated ideologically and routed organizationally, the adherents of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites lost the last vestiges of their influence among the people.
Shortly after the Fifteenth Party Congress, the expelled anti-Leninists began to hand in statements, recanting Trotskyism and asking to be reinstated in the Party. Of course, at that time the Party could not yet know that Trotsky, Rakovsky, Radek, Krestinsky, Sokolnikov and others had long been enemies of the people, spies recruited by foreign espionage services, and that Kamenev, Zinoviev, Pyatakov and others were already forming connections with enemies of the U.S.S.R. in capitalist countries for the purpose of "collaboration" with them against the Soviet people. But experience had taught the Party that any knavery might be expected from these individuals, who had often attacked Lenin and the Leninist Party at the most crucial moments. It was therefore sceptical of the statements they had made in their applications for reinstatement. As a preliminary test of their sincerity, it made their reinstatement in the Party dependent on the following conditions:
a) They must publicly denounce Trotskyism as an anti-Bolshevik and anti-Soviet ideology.
b) They must publicly acknowledge the Party policy as the only correct policy.
c) They must unconditionally abide by the decisions of the Party and its bodies.
d) They must undergo a term of probation, during which the Party would test them; on the expiration of this term, the Party would consider the reinstatement of each applicant separately, depending on the results of the test.
The Party considered that in any case the public acceptance of these points by the expelled would be all to the good of the Party, because it would break the unity of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite ranks, undermine their morale, demonstrate once more the right and the might of the Party, and enable the Party, if the applicants were sincere, to reinstate its former workers in its ranks, and if they were not sincere, to unmask them in the public eye, no longer as misguided individuals, but as unprincipled careerists, deceivers of the working class and incorrigible double-dealers.
The majority of the expelled accepted the terms of reinstatement and made public statements in the press to this effect.
Desiring to be clement to them, and loath to deny them an opportunity of once again becoming men of the Party and of the working class, the Party reinstated them in its ranks.
However, time showed that, with few exceptions, the recantations of the "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites were false and hypocritical from beginning to end.
It turned out that even before they had handed in their applications, these gentry had ceased to represent a political trend ready to defend their views before the people, and had become an unprincipled gang of careerists who were prepared publicly to trample on the last remnants of their own views, publicly to praise the views of the Party, which were alien to them, and – like chameleons – to adopt any colouring, provided they could maintain themselves in the ranks of the Party and the working class and have the opportunity to do harm to the working class and to its Party.
The "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites proved to be political swindlers, political double-dealers.
Political double-dealers usually begin with deceit and prosecute their nefarious ends by deceiving the people, the working class, and the Party of the working class. But political double-dealers are not to be regarded as mere humbugs. Political double-dealers are an unprincipled gang of political careerists who, having long ago lost the confidence of the people, strive to insinuate themselves once more into their confidence by deception, by chameleon-like changes of colour, by fraud, by any means, only that they might retain the title of political figures. Political double-dealers are an unprincipled gang of political careerists who are ready to seek support anywhere, even among criminal elements, even among the scum of society, even among the mortal enemies of the people, only that they might be able, at a "propitious" moment, again to mount the political stage and to clamber on to the back of the people as their "rulers."
The "leading lights" of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites were political double-dealers of this very description.
The agitation conducted by the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites against the Party policy, against the building of Socialism, and against collectivization, as well as the agitation conducted by the Bukharinites, who said that nothing would come of the collective farms, that the kulaks should be let alone because they would "grow" into Socialism of themselves, and that the enrichment of the bourgeoisie represented no danger to Socialism – all found an eager response among the capitalist elements in the country, and above all among the kulaks. The kulaks now knew from comments in the press that they were not alone, that they had defenders and intercessors in the persons of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov and others. Naturally, this could not but stiffen the kulaks' spirit of resistance against the policy of the Soviet Government. And, in fact, the resistance of the kulaks became increasingly stubborn. They refused en masse to sell to the Soviet state their grain surpluses, of which they had considerable hoards. They resorted to terrorism against the collective farmers, against Party workers and government officials in the countryside, and burned down collective farms and state granaries.
The Party realized that until the resistance of the kulaks was broken, until they were defeated in open fight in full view of the peasantry, the working class and the Red Army would suffer from a food shortage, and the movement for collectivization among the peasants could not assume a mass character.
In pursuance of the instructions of the Fifteenth Party Congress, the Party launched a determined offensive against the kulaks, putting into effect the slogan: rely firmly on the poor peasantry, strengthen the alliance with the middle peasantry, and wage a resolute struggle against the kulaks. In answer to the kulaks' refusal to sell their grain surpluses to the state at the fixed prices, the Party and the Government adopted a number of emergency measures against the kulaks, applied Article 107 of the Criminal Code empowering the courts to confiscate grain surpluses from kulaks and profiteers in case they refused to sell them to the state at the fixed prices, and granted the poor peasants a number of privileges, under which 25 per cent of the confiscated kulak grain was placed at their disposal.
These emergency measures had their effect: the poor and middle peasants joined in the resolute fight against the kulaks; the kulaks were isolated, and the resistance of the kulaks and the profiteers was broken. By the end of 1928, the Soviet state already had sufficient stocks of grain at its disposal, and the collective-farm movement began to advance with surer strides.
That same year, a large organization of wreckers, consisting of bourgeois experts, was discovered in the Shakhty district of the Donetz Coal Basin. The Shakhty wreckers were closely connected with the former mine owners – Russian and foreign capitalists – and with a foreign military espionage service. Their aim was to disrupt the development of Socialist industry and to facilitate the restoration of capitalism in the U.S.S.R. The wreckers had deliberately mismanaged the mines in order to reduce the output of coal, spoiled machinery and ventilation apparatus, caused roof-falls and explosions, and set fire to pits, plants and power-stations. The wreckers had deliberately obstructed the improvement of the workers' conditions and had infringed the Soviet labour protection laws.
The wreckers were put on trial and met with their deserts.
The Central Committee of the Party directed all Party organizations to draw the necessary conclusions from the Shakhty case. Comrade Stalin declared that Bolshevik business executives must themselves become experts in the technique of production, so as no longer to be the dupes of the wreckers among the old bourgeois experts, and that the training of new technical personnel from the ranks of the working class must be accelerated.
In accordance with a decision of the Central Committee, the training of young experts in the technical colleges was improved. Thousands of Party members, members of the Young Communist League and non-Party people devoted to the cause of the working class were mobilized for study.
Before the Party took the offensive against the kulaks, and while it was engaged in liquidating the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites, the Bukharin-Rykov group had been more or less lying low, holding themselves as a reserve of the anti-Party forces, not venturing to support the Trotskyites openly, and sometimes even acting together with the Party against the Trotskyites. But when the Party assumed the offensive against the kulaks, and adopted emergency measures against them, the Bukharin-Rykov group threw off their mask and began to attack the Party policy openly. The kulak soul of the Bukharin-Rykov group got the better of them, and they began to come out openly in defence of the kulaks. They demanded the repeal of the emergency measures, frightening the simple-minded with the argument that otherwise agriculture would begin to "decay," and even affirming that this process had already begun. Blind to the growth of the collective farms and state farms, those superior forms of agricultural organization, and perceiving the decline of kulak farming, they represented the decay of the latter as the decay of agriculture. In order to provide a theoretical backing for their case, they concocted the absurd "theory of the subsidence of the class-struggle," maintaining, on the strength of this theory, that the class struggle would grow milder with every victory gained by Socialism against the capitalist elements, that the class struggle would soon subside altogether and the class enemy would surrender all his positions without a fight, and that, consequently, there was no need for an offensive against the kulaks. In this way they tried to furbish up their threadbare bourgeois theory that the kulaks would peaceably grow into Socialism, and rode roughshod over the well-known thesis of Leninism that the resistance of the class enemy would assume more acute forms as the progress of Socialism cut the ground from under his feet and that the class struggle could "subside" only after the class enemy was destroyed.
It was easy to see that in the Bukharin-Rykov group the Party was faced with a group of Right opportunists who differed from the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites only in form, only in the fact that the Trotskyite and Zinovievite capitulators had had some opportunity of masking their true nature with Left, revolutionary vociferations about "permanent revolution," whereas the Bukharin-Rykov group, attacking the Party as they did for taking the offensive against the kulaks, could not possibly mask their capitulatory character and had to defend the reactionary forces in our country, the kulaks in particular, openly, without mask or disguise.
The Party understood that sooner or later the Bukharin-Rykov group was bound to join hands with the remnants of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites for common action against the Party.
Parallel with their political pronouncements, the Bukharin-Rykov group "worked" to muster and organize their following. Through Bukharin, they banded together young bourgeois elements like Slepkov, Maretsky, Eichenwald, Goldenberg; through Tomsky – high bureaucrats in the trade unions (Melnichansky, Dogadov and others); through Rykov – demoralized high Soviet officials (A. Smirnov, Eismont, V. Schmidt, and others). The group readily attracted people who had degenerated politically, and who made no secret of their capitulatory sentiments.
About this time the Bukharin-Rykov group gained the support of high functionaries in the Moscow Party organization (Uglanov, Kotov, Ukhanov, Ryutin, Yagoda, Polonsky, and others). A section of the Rights kept under cover, abstaining from open attacks on the Party line. In the Moscow Party press and at Party meetings, it was advocated that concessions must be made to the kulaks, that heavy taxation of kulaks was inadvisable, that industrialization was burdensome to the people, and that the development of heavy industry was premature. Uglanov opposed the Dnieper hydro-electric scheme and demanded that funds be diverted from heavy industry to the light industries. Uglanov and the other Right capitulators maintained that Moscow was and would remain a gingham city, and that there was no need to build engineering works in Moscow.
The Moscow Party organization unmasked Uglanov and his followers, gave them a final warning and rallied closer than ever around the Central Committee of the Party. At a plenary meeting of the Moscow Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.), held in 1928, Comrade Stalin said that a fight must be waged on two fronts, with the fire concentrated on the Right deviation. The Rights, Comrade Stalin said, were kulak agents inside the Party.
"The triumph of the Right deviation in our Party would unleash the forces of capitalism, undermine the revolutionary position of the proletariat and increase the chances of restoring capitalism in our country," said Comrade Stalin. (Stalin, Leninism, Vol. II.)
At the beginning of 1929 it was discovered that Bukharin, authorized by the group of Right capitulators, had formed connections with the Trotskyites, through Kamenev, and was negotiating an agreement with them for a joint struggle against the Party. The Central Committee exposed these criminal activities of the Right capitulators and warned them that this affair might end lamentably for Bukharin, Rykov, Tom-sky and the rest. But the Right capitulators would not heed the warning. At a meeting of the Central Committee they advanced a new anti-Party platform, in the form of a declaration, which the Central Committee condemned. It warned them again, reminding them of what had happened to the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites. In spite of this, the Bukharin-Rykov group persisted in their anti-Party activities. Rykov, Tomsky and Bukharin tendered to the Central Committee their resignations, believing that they would intimidate the Party thereby. The Central Committee passed condemnation on this saboteur policy of resignations. Finally, a plenum of the Central Committee, held in November 1929, declared that the propaganda of the views of the Right opportunists was incompatible with membership of the Party; it resolved that Bukharin, as the instigator and leader of the Right capitulators, be removed from the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and issued a grave warning to Rykov, Tomsky and other members of the Right opposition.
Perceiving that matters had taken a lamentable turn, the chieftains of the Right capitulators submitted a statement acknowledging their errors and the correctness of the political line of the Party.
The Right capitulators decided to effect a temporary retreat so as to preserve their ranks from debacle.
This ended the first stage of the Party's fight against the Right capitulators.
The new differences within the Party did not escape the attention of the external enemies of the Soviet Union. Believing that the "new dissensions" in the Party were a sign of its weakness, they made a new attempt to involve the U.S.S.R. in war and to thwart the work of industrialization before it had got properly under way. In the summer of 1929, the imperialists provoked a conflict between China and the Soviet Union, and instigated the seizure of the Chinese Eastern Railway (which belonged to the U.S.S.R.) by the Chinese militarists, and an attack on our Far-Eastern frontier by troops of the Chinese Whites. But this raid of the Chinese militarists was promptly liquidated, the militarists, routed by the Red Army, retreated and the conflict ended in the signing of a peace agreement with the Manchurian authorities.
The peace policy of the U.S.S.R. once more triumphed in the face of all obstacles, notwithstanding the intrigues of external enemies and the "dissensions" within the Party.
Soon after this diplomatic and trade relations between the U.S.S.R. and Great Britain, which had been severed by the British Conservatives, were resumed.
While successfully repulsing the attacks of the external and internal enemies, the Party was busily engaged in developing heavy industry, organizing Socialist emulation, building up state farms and collective farms, and, lastly, preparing the ground for the adoption and execution of the First Five-Year Plan for the development of the national economy.
In April 1929, the Party held its Sixteenth Conference, with the First Five-Year Plan as the main item on the agenda. The conference rejected the "minimal" variant of the Five-Year Plan advocated by the Right capitulators and adopted the "optimal" variant as binding under all circumstances.
Thus, the Party adopted the celebrated First Five-Year Plan for the construction of Socialism.
The Five-Year-Plan fixed the volume of capital investments in the national economy in the period 1928-33 at 64,600,000,000 rubles. Of this sum, 19,500,000,000 rubles were to be invested in industrial and electric-power development, 10,000,000,000 rubles in transport development and 23,200,000,000 rubles in agriculture.
This was a colossal plan for the equipment of industry and agriculture of the U.S.S.R. with modern technique.
"The fundamental task of the Five-Year Plan," said Comrade Stalin, "was to create such an industry in our country as would be able to re-equip and reorganize, not only the whole of industry, but also transport and agriculture – on the basis of Socialism." (Stalin, Problems of Leninism, Russ. ed., p. 485.)
For all the immensity of this plan, it did not nonplus or surprise the
Bolsheviks. The way for it had been prepared by the whole course of development
of industrialization and collectivization and it had been preceded by a wave of
labour enthusiasm which caught up the workers and peasants and which found
expression in Socialist emulation.
Socialist emulation had produced many an instance of exemplary labour and of a new attitude to labour. In many factories, collective farms and state farms, the workers and collective farmers drew up counter-plans for an output exceeding that provided for in the state plans. They displayed heroism in labour. They not only fulfilled, but exceeded the plans of Socialist development laid down by the Party and the Government. The attitude to labour had changed. From the involuntary and penal servitude it had been under capitalism, it was becoming "a matter of honour, a matter of glory, a matter of valour and heroism." (Stalin.)
New industrial construction on a gigantic scale was in progress all over the country. The Dnieper hydro-electric scheme was in full swing. Construction work on the Kramatorsk and Gorlovka Iron and Steel Works and the reconstruction of the Lugansk Locomotive Works had begun in the Donetz Basin. New collieries and blast furnaces came into being. The Urals Machine-Building Works and the Berezniki and Solikamsk Chemical Works were under construction in the Urals. Work was begun on the construction of the iron and steel mills of Magnitogorsk. The erection of big automobile plants in Moscow and Gorky was well under way, as was the construction of giant tractor plants, harvester combine plants, and a mammoth agricultural machinery plant in Rostov-on-Don. The Kuznetsk collieries, the Soviet Union's second coal base, were being extended. An immense tractor works sprang up in the steppe near Stalingrad in the space of eleven months. In the erection of the Dnieper Hydro-Electric Station and the Stalingrad Tractor Works, the workers beat world records in productivity of labour.
History had never known industrial construction on such a gigantic scale, such enthusiasm for new development, such labour heroism on the part of the working-class millions.
It was a veritable upsurge of labour enthusiasm, produced and stimulated by Socialist emulation.
This time the peasants did not lag behind the workers. In the countryside, too, this labour enthusiasm began to spread among the peasant masses who were organizing their collective farms. The peasants definitely began to turn to collective farming. In this a great part was played by the state farms and the machine and tractor stations. The peasants would come in crowds to the state farms and machine and tractor stations to watch the operation of the tractors and other agricultural machines, admire their performance and there and then resolve: "Let's join the collective farm." Divided and disunited, each on his tiny, dwarf individually-run farm, destitute of anything like serviceable implements or traction, having no way of breaking up large tracts of virgin soil, without prospect of any improvement on their farms, crushed by poverty, isolated and left to their own devices, the peasants had at last found a way out, an avenue to a better life, in the amalgamation of their small farms into co-operative undertakings, collective farms; in tractors, which are able to break up any "hard ground," any virgin soil; in the assistance rendered by the state in the form of machines, money, men, and counsel; in the opportunity to free themselves from bondage to the kulaks, who had been quite recently defeated by the Soviet Government and forced to the ground, to the joy of the millions of peasants.
On this basis began the mass collective-farm movement, which later developed rapidly, especially towards the end of 1929, progressing at an unprecedented rate, a rate unknown even to our Socialist industry.
In 1928 the total crop area of the collective farms was 1,390,000 hectares, in 1929 it was 4,262,000 hectares, while in 1930 the ploughing plan of the collective farms was already 15,000,000 hectares.
"It must be admitted," said Comrade Stalin in his article, "A Year of Great Change" (1929), in reference to the collective farms, "that such an impetuous speed of development is unequalled even in our socialized large-scale industry, which in general is noted for its outstanding speed of development."
This was a turning point in the development of the collective-farm movement.
This was the beginning of a mass collective-farm movement.
"What is the new feature of the present collective-farm movement?" asked Comrade Stalin in his article, "A Year of Great Change." And he answered:
"The new and decisive feature of the present collective-farm movement is that the peasants are joining the collective farms not in separate groups, as was formerly the case, but in whole villages, whole volosts (rural districts), whole districts and even whole areas. And what does that mean? It means that the middle peasant has joined the collective-farm movement. And that is the basis of that radical change in the development of agriculture which represents the most important achievement of the Soviet Government...."
This meant that the time was becoming ripe, or had already become ripe, for the elimination of the kulaks as a class, on the basis of solid collectivization.
During the period 1926-29, the Party grappled with and overcame immense difficulties on the home and foreign fronts in the fight for the Socialist industrialization of the country. The efforts of the Party and the working class ended in the victory of the policy of Socialist industrialization.
In the main, one of the most difficult problems of industrialization had been solved, namely, the problem of accumulating funds for the building of a heavy industry. The foundations were laid of a heavy industry capable of re-equipping theentirenational economy.
The First Five-Year Plan of Socialist construction was adopted. The building of new factories, state farms and collective farms was developed on a vast scale.
This advance towards Socialism was attended by a sharpening of the class struggle in the country and a sharpening of the struggle within the Party. The chief results of this struggle were that the resistance of the kulaks was crushed, the bloc of Trotskyite and Zinovievite capitulators was exposed as an anti-Soviet bloc, the Right capitulators were exposed as agents of the kulaks, the Trotskyites were expelled from the Party, and the views of the Trotskyites and the Right opportunists were declared incompatible with membership of the C.P.S.U.(B.).
Defeated ideologically by the Bolshevik Party, and having lost all support among the working class, the Trotskyites ceased to be a political trend and became an unprincipled, careerist clique of political swindlers, a gang of political double-dealers.
Having laid the foundations of a heavy industry, the Party mustered the working class and the peasantry for the fulfilment of the First Five-Year Plan for the Socialist reconstruction of the U.S.S.R. Socialist emulation developed all over the country among millions of working people, giving rise to a mighty wave of labour enthusiasm and originating a new labour discipline.
This period ended with a year of great change, signalized by sweeping
victories of Socialism in industry, the first important successes in
agriculture, the swing of the middle peasant towards the collective farms, and
the beginning of a mass collective-farm movement.