March 18, 1939
Foreign Languages Publishing House
Comrades, in his report to the Eighteenth Congress, Comrade Stalin summed up the magnificent socialist victories achieved by our Party in the period of the Second Five-Year Plan. He made an exceedingly profound and sagacious analysis of the circumstances of our victories and outlined a great program of work connected with the gradual transition of the U.S.S.R. from socialism to communism.
The victory of socialism is a triumph for our Party, a triumph for its Leninist-Stalinist leadership.
It is a victory for the policy of the Party, for its theory, its ideology and its organizational principles.
The millions of working people of our country have rallied around our Party. Its ideas, the ideas of communism, have become the banner of the Soviet people.
In order to accomplish the historic tasks involved in the building of socialism, and in order to protect the gains of victorious socialism from the surrounding capitalist world and its agents inside the U.S.S.R., the Party had to effect a radical readjustment of its political and organizational work.
By purging its ranks of the enemy scum and thus consolidating the Bolshevik unity and firmness of its ranks, and by readjusting its political and organizational work, the Party immensely enhanced its strength and power and its ideological and organizational armament.
The Party is now stronger than ever before!
And this we owe to the leadership of Comrade Stalin! (Stormy applause and cheers. All rise.)
The source of our Party’s strength, the source of its epoch-making victories lies in the fact that it is a party of a new type, the Leninist-Stalinist type, a party which is irreconcilable towards opportunists and towards all enemies of the working class. Our Party is the party of social revolution; it has grown up on the firm foundation of the theory of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin. Its program, tactics and organizational principles are based on the granite foundation of Marxism-Leninism. In its ranks are the finest representatives of the working class, the most devoted of its sons, the most class-conscious, revolutionary, courageous and disciplined. Thanks to this, the Bolshevik Party has become the militant staff of the working class, its revolutionary vanguard, a Party
“…bold enough to lead the proletarians in the struggle for power, experienced enough to find its bearings amidst the complex conditions of a revolutionary situation, and flexible enough to steer clear of all submerged rocks in the path to its goal.” (Stalin, Leninism.)
The Bolshevik Party performs its role of vanguard of the working class not only through its consistent revolutionary and scientific program and tactics, but also through its organization. A distinguishing feature of our Party is that it has attributed exclusive importance to organization at every stage of its revolutionary activities. It has been relentless towards opportunism in matters of organization and has always devised organizational forms, and rules and laws for the government of its internal life that corresponded to the historical conditions of the Party’s activities and ensured the performance of its political tasks.
The organizational principles of Bolshevism are an instrument for the carrying out of a consistently revolutionary program and tactics, for a revolutionary program cannot be carried out without a firm, centralized organization. The Leninist-Stalinist organizational principles of Party structure have been embodied in the Party Rules, which define the methods of practical activity of the Party organizations, the forms of the Party’s structure and the rules governing its internal life. The historic mission of our Party, as the organizer and leader of the socialist revolution and of the realization of the dictatorship of the working class determined the basic principles of its organizational structure, namely: strict centralism in the activities of the Party organizations; a conscious inner discipline; unity of purpose and unity of action; prohibition of factions and groupings; careful selection of new members of the Party; protection of the Party from the penetration of opportunist petty-bourgeois elements into its ranks; constant care to increase the activity of Party members and to develop inner-party democracy. These principles, which are embodied in the Party Rules, constitute the unshakable foundation of the Party.
The Party has always regarded its Rules as the inviolable basis of Party life and Party structure. It has always fought for the strict observance of all the provisions of the Rules. Knowing the tremendous power contained in the Bolshevik principles of organization and in their concentrated expression – the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – bourgeois henchmen and double-dealers of every kind have time and again used the great name of Party member as a screen in their attempts to undermine the Party Rules, to destroy the unity of the Party and to weaken it, with the object of paving the way for the restoration of capitalism in the U.S.S.R. The events of the past few years have shown what wide use the vile enemies of the people – the Trotsky-Bukharin and bourgeois-nationalist agents of fascism, spies and diversionists – made of violations of Party Rules for their own subversive ends. These violations – departures from the principles of democratic centralism, wholesale admissions into the Party, chaos in the conduct of Party business, etc. – were due to a blunting of Bolshevik vigilance and forgetfulness of the organizational principles of our Party. That is why departures from the Party Rules, violations of their provisions and laws, are a violation of the Leninist-Stalinist doctrine of the Party and injurious to the Party.
The Party of revolutionary Marxism determines the organizational forms and methods of its work in conformity with the concrete conditions. On these grounds, the Bolshevik Party has never converted the established forms of Party structure into a dogma, into a lifeless stereotype. As in the development of Marxist theory, so in the organizational forms laid down in its Rules, our Party bases itself on creative Marxism and enriches these organizational forms with new experience as the conditions of the class struggle develop and new political tasks arise.
Allow me to remind you of the following precepts laid down on this subject by the Tenth Party Congress in its resolution on “Party Affairs”:
“1. The party of revolutionary Marxism utterly rejects the quest for an absolutely correct form of party organization and methods of work suited to all stages of the revolutionary process. On the contrary, the form of organization and the methods of work must be entirely determined by the specific features of the given concrete historical situation and by the tasks directly arising from this situation.
“2. From this standpoint it is clear that, with a change in the objective conditions of the development of the revolution, any organizational form, and the methods of work corresponding to it, may become converted from forms of development of the Party into a fetter on its development; and, vice versa, an organizational form which has grown unsuitable may again become an essential, and the only expedient, form should there be a recurrence of the corresponding objective conditions.
“3. The contradiction between the requirements of a newly arising situation, on the one hand, and the established form of an organization and its methods of work, on the other, generally become evident before the necessity for a change of line is definitely felt. The line should be changed only when the task that gave rise to the preceding type of organization and the corresponding method of work has in general – on the whole and in the main – been accomplished.”
There have been numerous instances of changes in the forms and methods of organizational activity in the history of our Party. While holding its basic and fundamental organizational principles inviolate, the Party has always established such organizational forms as facilitate the development of the content of its work, ensure the performance of its political tasks, the unity of word and deed. On this basis, the Party has repeatedly altered its Rules in conformity with changes in the situation, new tasks and the experience gained in its work. It is not by chance that big changes and turns in the political life of the country and the rise of new political tasks for our Party have been accompanied by changes in the Party Rules. I would remind you that the principal amendments to the Party Rules were made in 1922 – the period of development of the New Economic Policy; in 1925 – when the Party, at its Fourteenth Congress, faced the task of socialist industrialization; and in 1934 – the period of the Seventeenth Party Congress, when the Party proceeded to tackle the historic tasks of the Second Five-Year Plan.
Questions of party work and party structure have acquired particular significance during the past few years. The tremendous scope of the socialist transformations, the swift rate at which the Party and state are developing, and the enlistment of the millions of Soviet people in the work of socialist construction increase the demands on the Party and on its leadership.
The enhanced importance of the question of organization denotes an enhancement of the role of the vanguard of the working class, which our Party is.
At the Seventeenth Party Congress, questions of organization, of bringing organizational work into conformity with the demands of the political line, were dealt with in their full scope in the report of Comrade Stalin, the report of Comrade Kaganovich and the resolutions of the Congress.
The role of vanguard of the working class, of the advanced detachment of the working people, such as our Party is, becomes all the greater with the victory of socialism, when the U.S.S.R. has entered a new phase of development – the phase of completion of the building of classless, socialist society and of gradual transition from socialism to communism.
The past few years have been a period in which the Party has constantly armed itself and sharpened its organizational weapon. Whereas Lenin, in his remarkable work One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, developed the organizational precepts which later became the organizational principles of the party of the new type, the Bolshevik Party, Comrade Stalin – both as regards theory, ideology and tactics, as regards placing our whole organizational work on a scientific footing – has developed still further the organizational principles of Lenin’s doctrine of the Party, has supplemented the doctrine of the Party on organization by new precepts and new laws, and has advanced the Bolshevik science of organization, thus arming the Party and the working class for the accomplishment of the historic task of building socialism in our country. (Applause.)
Here I would only like to stress the tremendous importance of the interval between the Seventeenth Congress and the Eighteenth Congress of the Party as regards the enrichment of the latter’s organizational experience.
Comrade Stalin has given the Party brilliant examples of creative Marxism on the subject of the organizational structure of the Party. I refer to the doctrine of the interrelation between the political line and organizational work; regarding the scientific organization of the selection, training, promotion and allocation of cadres; regarding the Bolshevik organization of the work of keeping a check on the fulfilment of decisions; regarding the Party’s methods of combating enemies who have penetrated its ranks, and its methods of purging its ranks of degenerates and double-dealers; and regarding vigilance and the mastering of Bolshevism.
On all these questions Comrade Stalin has armed the Party with wise and farsighted precepts which constitute a most valuable contribution to the treasure-store of the Bolshevik theory of organization and a guide to action.
Why is it necessary to amend the Rules of the C.P.S U4B.)?
The Eighteenth Party Congress has met at a time when fundamental changes have taken place in the economic life and class structure of the U.S.S.R.
There is no need for me to dwell in detail on these questions as they have been treated with exhaustive fullness and clarity in the reports of Comrade Stalin and Comrade Molotov.
The victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. has ensured the dominance of the socialist economic system. The class composition of the U.S.S.R. has changed in conformity with the profound changes in the economic sphere. All exploiting elements – capitalists, merchants, kulaks and profiteers – have been eliminated in the period of socialist construction. The working people of the U.S.S.R. – the workers, peasants and intellectuals – have undergone profound change in the period of socialist construction.
The class boundaries dividing the working people are being obliterated; the economic and political contradictions between workers, peasants and intellectuals are disappearing – becoming obliterated. It is this that has formed the basis for the moral and political unity of Soviet society. This moral and political unity of Soviet society has been brilliantly confirmed in the creation and complete victory of the Communist and non-Party bloc in the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics.
A numerous body of non-Party Bolsheviks has grown up around the Party, consisting of advanced workers, peasants and intellectuals, active and conscious fighters in the cause of the Party and vehicles of its policy among the masses.
In view of these fundamental changes in the economic and class structure of the U.S.S.R the time is ripe to amend the conditions of admission to the Party laid down in the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.).
Abolition of the Categories of Admission to the Party
The existing system, as prescribed in the Party Rules, of admitting new members into the Party in accordance with four different categories, depending upon the social status of the applicant, is obviously incompatible with the changes in the class structure of Soviet society resulting from the victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. The need for different categories of admission of new members and of varying probationary periods has disappeared.
The different categories of admission, depending upon the social status of the applicants for Party membership, were established, as you know, at the Eleventh Party Congress in 1922, at the beginning of the New Economic Policy, with the object of making it difficult for non-proletarian elements to enter our Party. The situation at that time was entirely different from what it is now. At that time the proletariat was in part declassed. The peasants farmed individually. The exploiting classes had not yet been fully abolished. The New Economic Policy was exercising a demoralizing influence on a section of the Party members, especially its non-proletarian elements. Under those conditions, if the Party was to exercise its role of vanguard with success, such a barrier to the penetration of unstable, petty-bourgeois elements into its ranks as the establishment of different categories of admission was essential. It played a big part in strengthening our Party and in helping it to perform its historical mission.
However, in view of the victory of socialism in our country, the need for these restrictions has disappeared. These restrictions are already hindering and hampering the reinforcement of the ranks of the Party with advanced workers, peasants and intellectuals devoted to the cause of the working class. The Party can no longer adhere to its old framework, to its old standards. The need for the different categories of admission has disappeared.
To what incongruities and anomalies the existing system of admission into the Party leads in practice may be illustrated by numerous examples to be found in any Party organization.
Our best Stakhanovites, once they become foremen or directors, that is, have been promoted to executive posts because of their abilities and services, find themselves, when applying to join the Party, in the position of second-rate people.
The worker, or son of a worker, who has received an education is passed in the fourth category when applying for admission to the Party.
Take, for example, Comrade Smetanin, one of the finest Stakhanovites in Leningrad, a former laster in the Skorokhod Shoe Factory and now Assistant People’s Commissar of Light Industry of the U.S.S.R. As one of the finest Stakhanovites, he was promoted to shop superintendent, and as shop superintendent he was admitted to the Party as a candidate member under the second category. Then, because of his services and capabilities, he was appointed director of the factory, and when, in February 1939, the question arose of transferring him from candidate membership to full membership, he was obliged to enter the Party under the fourth category.
Here is a man who advances and develops, yet the conditions of his admission into the Party become more complex and difficult. Comrade Smetanin, and all comrades in his position, are perplexed why admission to the Party should be made more difficult as they advance. Comrade Smetanin protested, and quite rightly. “Did I become worse,” he asked, “when I was promoted from worker to shop superintendent? Did I become worse when they made me director of the factory? Why should I now have to find a larger number of ‘recommenders,’ with a longer Party standing, than when I was an ordinary worker?”
Or take the case of Comrade Kartashev, who spoke here bringing greetings to the Congress from Leningrad. Not a bad worker, one would think, and it was not a bad speech he made. He came to the fore as a non-Party agitator during the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. Comrade Kartashev is a fitter by trade; he was a Stakhanovite, and he has now been promoted along the lines of the Engineers and Technicians Organization. When he applied for membership in the Party he was admitted under the second category. What is the sense of this? One might think the Party has to “protect” itself from men like Kartashev.
Here is another example which was cited at a conference of the Stalin District of the Stalingrad Region. Comrade Mussin, a first-class worker, who was promoted to an executive post, went back to work in the shop in order to be admitted into the Party under the first category.
Such examples could be quoted by the thousand. They give rise to a legitimate feeling of perplexity and sense of injury in comrades whose only crime is that they have been promoted. All this shows that the existing requirements of admission are antiquated and have begun to act as a hindrance to really advanced workers, peasants and intellectuals joining the Party.
You know what the practice of admission under various categories led to: people began to rack their brains trying to decide under what category to class a mechanic, foreman, and so on. Regular “rate cards” were devised to show under what category various professions should be classed. But whichever way you turn, whatever “rate cards” you devise, one thing is clear – the requirements are antiquated, they have ceased to answer the purpose for which they were introduced. These requirements of the Rules are out-of-date; they are a cracked mould, as the foundrymen say. (Laughter.)
These antiquated requirements are clung to by retrograde people who are not anxious for the advancement of new and young forces.
The antiquated standards furnish a pretext for the cultivation of retrograde, essentially anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist tendencies with regard to the new, Soviet intelligentsia, with regard to foremost people of the working class and the peasantry; they furnish a pretext for the cultivation of an attitude of disdain towards advanced people who because of their education or services have been promoted to leading posts.
All this goes to show that a form which was once essential has now become antiquated, a form without content. A thing of value has been transformed into its own antithesis, into a defect. The organizational form should correspond with the content; and our content will proceed along the line of bringing the classes closer together and abolishing class distinctions.
Accordingly, the theses submitted to the Congress propose to amend the existing system of admission of new members to the Party under different categories and to establish uniform conditions of admission and a uniform period of probation, irrespective of whether the applicants belong to the working class, the peasantry or the intelligentsia.
The amendments to the conditions of admission proposed in the theses are a direct result of the victory of socialism.
The theses propose to establish a one-year probationary period as candidate members for all persons joining the Party. This period is quite sufficient to enable the candidate member to become thoroughly acquainted with the rules, program and tactics of the Party and to enable the Party organization to test the personal qualities of the candidate member.
It must not be forgotten that it is the foremost people, people who have been tested in various sectors of the fight for socialism, who are now joining our Party.
As you know, admission to the Party was at one time suspended. It was not resumed until November 1, 1936. It is the active body of people that grew up around the Party when admission to its ranks was suspended who constitute the principal source of the present influx of new members into the Party.
The existing system of probationary membership suffers from very serious defects. The most serious is that the work of many Party organizations in educating candidate members is absolutely unsatisfactory, the result being what is known as “eternal probationers,” people who remain candidate members for six, seven or eight years, and more. (Animation and laughter.)Instead of the body of candidate members serving as a living reservoir from which the Party constantly draws fresh reinforcements, it has, in the case of many organizations, become a sort of “permanent reserve.”
Latterly, just before the Congress, the Party organizations have shown some improvement in the matter of advancing candidate members to full membership. But even so, there are still quite a number of candidate members whose probationary period has lasted many years. And if we bear in mind that in the sympathizers’ groups, too, there are people who have been waiting for years to be accepted as candidate members, the question arises, when will they be admitted into the Party? Some four years in the sympathizers’ groups, another seven or eight years as candidate members – when will they become full-fledged members of the Party? (Animation.) There is no need to show that this obnoxious practice arises from that formal and bureaucratic attitude to people, to Party members, which the Party has condemned.
The purpose of the proposal to establish a one-year probation period is to put a stop to this obnoxious practice and to compel Party organizations to get busy, to improve educational and organizational work among candidate members and to make the probation period something more than a mere formality.
According to the theses, all persons wishing to join the Party must obtain recommendations from three Party members who have been in the Party for at least three years and who know the applicants from having worked together with them for not less than one year.
This proposal springs from what Comrade Lenin proposed in a note to Comrade Molotov on September 15, 1921, in which he said:
“Recommendations may be given only by those who have personally observed the work of the person recommended for a period of not less than one year from having worked with him in one or another Party organization.”
This proposal should increase the responsibility of the recommender for the person he recommends.
As to the number of recommenders and their period of membership, the formulation proposed in the theses has the object of enabling members who have joined the Party in the last few years to give recommendations. This proposal is undoubtedly timely and advisable.
The ranks of the Party have been reinforced by active and advanced people who have received a solid political education. It would be wrong to deprive these new Party members of the right to give recommendations.
Comrades, the existing system of different categories in the matter of recommendations has, as you know, created unnecessary difficulties and excessive obstacles.
You know that it is no easy matter to obtain recommendations, especially in the case of persons who join the Party under the fourth category. A man sometimes wears himself out trying to find the requisite number of recommendations. (Animation.)
The new system with regard to recommendations proposed in the theses would remove these restrictive and unnecessary obstacles.
The new conditions of admission into the Party provide that district committees, or city committees in towns with no district divisions, are to be the final instance to confirm the decision of a primary Party organization to admit a new member. This will place a great responsibility on our district committees and city committees for the selection and admission into the Party of really the best members among the working class, the collective farm peasantry and the intelligentsia.
The new system will facilitate the selection of the best people for the Party; it will facilitate the creation of full-blooded Party organizations, especially in the rural localities, where the number of Party organizations is particularly inadequate. There are no primary Party organizations in a large number of collective farms. The formation of strong party organizations in the rural localities will be of great value in improving Party work in the collective farms and state farms.
Rights of Party Members
The next proposal for the amendment of the Rules is to add to the section on Party members and their duties a clause on the rights of Party members, rights which are taken for granted but are not mentioned in the Rules.
The theses provide that the Rules should specify the following rights of Party members:
a) The right of Party members-to criticize any Party worker at Party meetings;
b) The right of Party members to elect and be elected to Party organs;
c) The right of Party members to demand to be present on all occasions when decisions are adopted regarding their activities or conduct;
d) The right of Party members to address any question or statement any Party body up to and including the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B).
The inclusion in the Rules of these additions regarding the rights of Party members will have a tremendous effect in increasing the activity of Party members, in heightening the responsibility of Party members for the cause of the Party, and in protecting Party members from bureaucracy.
Experience has shown that in practice the rights of Party members are often violated. There have been frequent cases of bureaucratic and hostile elements hounding and persecuting members for criticism and self-criticism. There have been frequent cases of decisions concerning the activities or conduct of Party members being adopted in their absence.
We know of quite a number of cases of hostile and bureaucratic elements forbidding Party members to address certain given statements to the higher Party bodies. Hostile elements widely cultivated the practice of setting official discipline up against and higher than Party discipline, thus demoralizing honest Party members.
The theses proceed from the premise that there is no higher discipline than Party discipline.
There have also been cases of infringement of the rights of Party members to elect and be elected.
You all remember the explanation given by the Central Committee prior to the elections of Party bodies last year in correction of the false practice of not allowing comrades who had already been transferred from candidate membership to full membership, but had not yet received their Party cards, to take part in the election of Party bodies.
In order to illustrate the infringement of the rights of Party members that have taken place in practice, 1 will cite a few examples.
Comrade Sedenkov is employed in the Barricade Works in Stalingrad; he has been a member of the C.P.S.U.(B.) since 1924, and has been a worker for twenty-eight years. He repeatedly pointed to defects in the work of his shop, but the shop management and the social organizations would not listen to him. Comrade Sedenkov then decided to send a statement to the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B) describing certain shortcomings in the work of his shop. He handed this statement to the secretary of the shop Party organization to be transmitted to the Central Committee. Instead of complying with the request of the Party member and transmitting the letter, the bureau of the shop nucleus preferred to discuss Comrade Sedenkov's “offence” and compelled him to admit that he had made a mistake in writing to the Central Committee and to promise not to commit such “mistakes” in future. And so the letter was never sent to the Central Committee. During the verification of Party records this incident was recalled and the Party organization of the works expelled Comrade Sedenkov from the Party for “instability.” (Animation.)
On January 9, 1936, the Stalingrad Regional Committee endorsed the expulsion of Comrade Sedenkov. He had been so intimidated by the local Party organizations that when appealing to the Party Control Commission in 1937 he again wrote repenting his “mistakes” – so “convincing” had been the influence brought to bear on him. The Party Collegium of the Party Control Commission reinstated Comrade Sedenkov in the Party.
There was a similar case with regard to Comrade Tolstikov, director of the Ikoretsk Machine and Tractor Station, Liskinsk District, Voronezh Region. Comrade Tolstikov sent a letter to Comrades Stalin and Molotov complaining that he was being unjustly persecuted by the secretaries of his district committee, who were themselves guilty of distortions of policy with regard to grain deliveries.
An investigation made on the spot by representatives of the Party Control Commission fully confirmed Comrade Tolstikov's statement, and the secretaries of the district committee were exposed as enemies of the people. But even after they were arrested, the district committee continued to persecute Comrade Tolstikov and secured his expulsion from the Party and even his arrest.
He lodged numerous complaints with the Voronezh Regional Committee of the Party, but they received no attention for three months, despite repeated reminders from the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.). Only when the Party Control Commission again intervened, in August 1938, was Comrade Tolstikov fully rehabilitated and penalties imposed on those guilty of persecution and tyranny.
There are frequent violations of the right of Party members to be present on all occasions when their activities or conduct are being examined. Unfortunately, expulsion of members in their absence is no rare thing in many Party organizations.
Mention of the rights of Party members in the Rules will also be of great value in respect to the observance of one of the most important precepts of Leninism, namely, that we must not only teach the masses, but learn from the masses.
At the Plenum of the Central Committee held in February-March 1937, Comrade Stalin said:
“Our experience alone, the experience of the leaders, is far from enough.... In order to lead properly the experience of the leaders must be supplemented by the experience of the Party membership, the experience of the working class, the experience of the working people, the experience of the so-called ‘little people.’ ”
This means that we must not weaken, still less sever, our connections with the masses even for a single minute.
Hence the necessity for a special clause in the Rules on the right of Party members to address any question or statement to any Party body, up to and including the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.). State and Party questions of major importance, facts of exclusive value in the disclosure of abnormalities in Party or Soviet organizations, frequently come to light just as the result of statements made by “little people.”
It has been repeatedly pointed out by Lenin and Stalin that a bureaucrat with a Party card in his pocket is the most dangerous and pernicious kind of bureaucrat, because, possessing a Party card, he imagines that he may ignore Party and Soviet laws and the needs and interests of the working people.
By inscribing the rights of Party members in the Rules we shall place in the hands of the Party a powerful weapon for combating swell-headedness, bureaucratic self-importance and conceit, and for improving the contacts between leaders and led, and, consequently, for improving the whole work of the Party and the state.
Abolition of Mass Purges
The theses further propose to abolish mass Party purges. Experience has shown that they now can be, and should be, dispensed with, for the following reasons.
The method of the mass purge, which was introduced at the beginning of the New Economic Policy, when capitalist elements had received a new spurt of life, in order to guard the ranks of the Party from people who had been demoralized owing to the New Economic Policy, has lost its purpose under present conditions when capitalist elements have been eliminated.
The point must be stressed that mass purges have played a tremendous part in strengthening the Party. If our Party now represents a far more organized force than ever before, if the Party has increased its strength by purifying its ranks of every kind of dross, this is to a large extent due to the mass purges.
However, now that the capitalist elements have been eliminated, now that Bolshevik order has been introduced in Party affairs, now that the Party has already rid itself of unreliable and dubious elements, the method of the mass purge obviously no longer conforms to the new conditions and no longer achieves its purpose.
The Party can apply the ordinary procedure to rid its ranks or people who violate its program and rules.
The objectionable feature of the mass purges is that, bearing as they do the character of a campaign, they are attended by many mistakes, primarily by the infringement of the Leninist principle of an individual approach to people.
By establishing a definite standard and measuring everybody by one criterion, the method of the mass purge encourages a formal approach and does not permit the full observance of the Party principle that Party members, people, must be treated with careful attention, and in practice it often leads to the infringement of the rights of Party members.
The result of this was that during mass purges there were numerous cases of unwarranted expulsion from the Party, and of hostile elements who had wormed their way into the Party taking advantage or the purges to persecute and ruin honest people.
Hence, now that the Party has done so much to purify its ranks, there is no necessity for the method of the mass purge. This is shown by the fact that by far the most important work of purifying the ranks of the Party of enemies of the people, traitors, treason mongers and fascist agents was performed after the mass purges. And there is good reason for this. The new methods of subversive activities practised by hostile elements who had insinuated themselves into the ranks of the Party were double-dealing, masking their subversive activities by an external show of agreement with the line of the Party, feigning a readiness to fight in support of its decisions. We know that the hostile elements made wide use of noisy displays, sham activity, toadying, creating an atmosphere of flattery, pompous speeches, greetings and so on, in order to deceive and lull the vigilance of certain of our leaders.
Consequently, the method of the mass purge was of very little effect and did not achieve its purpose with regard to hostile elements who had wormed their way into the Party and who masked their true character by double-dealing and deceiving the Party.
It was found that the method of the mass purge was chiefly turned against the so-called passive Party members and led to the expulsion of honest and conscientious members on the alleged grounds of passivity.
During the purge of 1933 the largest group of persons expelled from the Party comprised the so-called passive elements. It was in respect to them that most mistakes were committed by the Party organizations. It frequently happened that honest and devoted people, exemplary workers in their factories, were classed among the passive elements. Under this category were comrades who did not have some trifling and futile assignment of duty, who were tied by large families, or who several times missed attending a study circle, or who failed to answer some brainracking or pigheaded question at a political examination.
There is no need to cite instances of unwarranted expulsions on the ground of passivity. Plenty of them can be found in any organization.
Hence, with the consolidation of the Party, the need for mass purges has disappeared.
At the Plenum of the Central Committee of February-March 1937 and the Plenum of January 1938, the Party condemned the formal and heartlessly bureaucratic attitude to the fate of Party members, to the question of expulsion from the Party and reinstatement in the Party. As we know this was a practice which was made wide use of by careerist elements who had made their way into the Party and who tried to distinguish and advance themselves by expelling people from its ranks, as well as by masked enemies within the Party who endeavoured by the wholesale infliction of penalties to ruin honest Party members and to sow unnecessary suspicion in the Party ranks. Changing his tactics, the enemy fastened on the question of vigilance and made capital out of it, endeavouring under a mask of hypocritical talk about vigilance to victimize as many honest Communists as possible with the object of fostering mutual distrust and disorganizing our ranks.
The slandering of honest people under the guise of “vigilance” is at the present time the most widespread method used to mask and screen hostile activities. If you want to discover still unexposed enemy wasps’ nests, look for them above all among the slanderers.
The Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) held in January 1938 adopted a number of measures to put a stop to the practice of wholesale expulsions from the Party and to really ensure a differentiated approach in deciding whether members should be expelled or expelled members reinstated.
The Central Committee based itself on the well-known precept laid down by Comrade Stalin at the Plenum of the Central Committee in February-March 1937:
“...Some of our Party leaders suffer from a lack of concern for people, for members of the Party, for workers. More than that, they do not study members of the Party, do not know what interests they have, how they are developing; generally, they do not know their workers. That is why they have no individual approach to Party members, to Party workers. And because they have no individual approach in appraising Party members and Party workers they usually act in a haphazard way: either they praise them wholesale, without measure, or roundly abuse them, also wholesale and without measure, and expel thousands and tens of thousands of members from the Party. Such leaders generally try to think in tens of thousands, not caring about ‘units,’ about individual members of the Party, about their fate. They regard the expulsion of thousands and tens of thousands of people from the Party as a mere trifle and console themselves with the thought that our Party has two million members and that the expulsion of tens of thousands cannot in any way affect the Party’s position. But only those who are in fact profoundly anti-Party can have such an approach to members of the Party.
“As a result of this heartless attitude towards people, towards members of the Party and Party workers, discontent and bitterness is artificially created among a section of the Party, and the Trotskyite double-dealers artfully hook on to such embittered comrades and skilfully drag them into the bog of Trotskyite wrecking.”
Comrades, you have apparently noticed that in the discussion of the theses on amendments to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) by no means the least attention was paid to the question of measures to prevent the vilification of honest Party members. The Central Committee and Pravda have also received a large number of letters on this subject.
I will cite a few examples of hostile activities under the flag of “vigilance.”
A certain Kalyakaikin was secretary of the district Party committee of Isinsk, Tambov Region. Out of a total of one hundred and seventy-five members of the Party organization, he managed in a short period to have fifty-eight expelled. Kalyakaikin acted as follows: when he had somebody expelled he at once raised the question of calling to account before the Party all Communists who had had any relations whatever with the expelled person. He operated on a sort of “belt” system. For example, Kalyakaikin had a certain Nazarov expelled from the Party. Nazarov was later arrested at the demand of the district committee. He was under remand for about seven months and was then released by the investigating authorities because the charges brought against him were not proved. But while Nazarov was in custody, his wife and seven other Communists were expelled from the Party for having had connections with him; furthermore, twenty-eight Young Communist Leaguers were expelled from the League and ten teachers, not members of the Party, were dismissed from their posts. In the end, as was to be expected, Kalyakaikin was exposed as an enemy of the people, expelled from the Party and arrested.
In the Archangel Party organization, for example, there was exposed a malicious slanderer by the name of Priluchny, who had filed statements against one hundred and forty-two Communists, not a single one of which was substantiated.
In Leningrad, an anti-Party group headed by one Napolskaya was active for a long time; this group zealously fabricated compromising material against honest Communists, sent in statements about them to the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs and tried to cause the ruin of honest people. This group calumniated scores of honest people.
Gladkikh, former secretary of the district committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) in Rodvino, Archangel Region, instructed every Communist to discover an enemy of the people, and announced in advance that “there will be no distortion of policy here.”
Peskovskaya, an enemy of the people in the Kluchi district, Aktyubinsk Region, brought about the expulsion from the Party of one hundred and fifty-six Communists, or sixty-four per cent of the membership of the organization. In the Progress Collective Farm, in this same district, the whole Party organization, consisting of thirteen members, was expelled.
The enemies directed their main efforts to ruining honest Bolshevik cadres. Kudryavtsev, an enemy of the people, who before his exposure held an important post in one of the Ukrainian Party organizations, stated in his testimony as follows:
“We endeavoured to expel as many people from the Party as possible. We expelled people when there were no grounds for expulsion. We had one aim in view – to increase the number of embittered people and thus increase the number of our allies.”
It was also part of the plan of subversive activities of the enemies of the people to destroy the Party apparatus. Here is the testimony of another enemy of the people who had wormed his way by deceit on to one of the regional Party committees in the Ukraine.
“In the course of five or six days I dispersed the apparatus of the regional committee, dismissed nearly every one of the departmental managers of the committee, discharged twelve or fifteen instructors and also took on a new office staff.
“I did all this on the pretence of combating enemies and purging the Regional Committee of the Ukr.C.P.(B.) of people who had lost vigilante. Having ‘purged’ the apparatus of the regional committee, 1 proceeded to disperse the city committees and district committees on the same pretext. In a very short time I dismissed fifteen secretaries and a large number of other functionaries against whom I had no compromising material whatever. I made a pretence of combating enemies, thus incensing against the Party a number of Communists who had been dismissed by me without any good reason. In addition, I demoted a number of members of our counter-revolutionary organization to lower posts, thus saving them from defection.”
In some organizations the slanderers lost all sense of restraint and simply put their feet on the table.
For example, a slanderer by the name of Khanevsky was exposed in one of the districts of the Kiev Region. Not a single one of the numerous charges brought by Khanevsky against Communists was substantiated. Nevertheless, this calumniator was not in the least perturbed, and in one of his denunciatory epistles to the regional committee of the Ukr.C.P. (B.) he inserted the following request: “I have worn myself out fighting the enemies, and therefore request to be sent to a health resort to rest up.” (Loud laughter.)
In line with this was the statement made by one, Nefedov, secretary of the Party committee of the Regional Land Department, at a meeting of the active members of Irkutsk. He divides Party members into three groups. “The first type is the fellow who shows a lot of activity; that means he is worth checking up; you may be certain the trail will lead to the enemy. The second type is the fellow with a past, the fellow with a load on his mind. He's bound to lag – the load will tell; keep an eye on him, check him up; this trail will also most likely lead to the enemy. And the third type is the man who works because he's got to; there too you can't go wrong – he's an enemy.” (Loud laughter.)
A regular “theory,” you see.
The “activities” of some of the slanderers became so extensive that they found it necessary to introduce a certain amount of “rationalization.”
There is the case of Alexeyev, for example, a member of the Party since 1925, manager of the district Party consultation centre in Irbeiskoye, Krasnoyarsk Territory. He was not much of a worker; he spent all his time writing calumnies against honest Communists and non-Party teachers. His “business” was so big that he made a list for himself with several columns: “big enemy”; “little enemy”; “wee enemy”; “tiny enemy.” (Loud laughter.) It need hardly be said that he created an absolutely intolerable situation in the district. In the end, he was expelled from the Party as a slanderer.
This Alexeyev made me wonder where I had read of such a type, and I at last recalled Sobakevich in Gogol's Dead Souls. Sobakevich, you know, considered everybody a thief and swindler. When Chichikov admitted to him that the man he liked most in the provincial town was the chief of police, because of his bluntness and simplicity, Sobakevich nonchalantly remarked:
“A rascal! He'll cheat you, give you away, and then go and dine with you! I know them all: they are all scoundrels, every one of them. A pack of thoroughgoing rascals from top to bottom. All Judases. There's only one decent fellow among them, that's the public prosecutor. But if the truth be told, he is a swine too.” (Laughter.)
Apparently, some of Sobakevich's great-great-grandchildren are alive to this day, and have even managed here and there to get into the Party. We must get an iron broom and sweep our Party house clean of this garbage. (Loud applause.)
The refusal to be worried about human beings, the reluctance to investigate the charges brought against a man on their merits, is a malady which still ails a good many leaders of our Party organizations. There are still quite a number of people in our organizations who like to insure themselves and be on the safe side.
Expulsions from the Party on the grounds of “connections” .with enemies at one time assumed very large proportions, and are still to be met with.
On these grounds honest people were expelled from the Party wholesale, their only fault being that they were brought into contact with enemies of the people by their work – “passed them on the street,” so to speak.
This fashionable formula – “connections with enemies of the people” – was made wide use of by anti-Party elements to cause the ruin of honest Communists. It was employed in such a broad and vague sense as to include all sorts of things – ordinary acquaintanceship, contact with, enemies at work owing to official duties, actual connections with enemies, and participation in counter-revolutionary activities – without any gradation whatever, all covered by one general formula.
A great many mistakes were made, and are still being made, on these grounds.
Because of such wholesale condemnations on purely formal grounds, real out-and-out enemies of the people, first-class scoundrels, managed to escape justice.
Slanderers are active wherever they are assisted by self-insurers.
Here is an example of self-insurance of this kind. The manager and chief engineer of one of the collieries of the Sverdlovsk Coal Trust gave one of the section chiefs the following character:
“Knows his job. Chronic drinker. Quite capable of drinking with his subordinates. Has recently been fulfilling his program of output. Good organizer. Runs his section well. Does not like big jobs. Thorough conservative and opportunist with regard to output. Tries to get as light a program as possible, to work as little as he can and to earn as much as he can.” (Laughter.)
Certain Party members have resorted to the aid of medical institutions in the effort to insure themselves. Here is a medical certificate issued to one of these citizens:
“Owing to his state of health and mind Comrade (so and so) is not fit to be used as a tool by any class enemy."
“October District, City of Kiev (signature).”
A sort of “biological” approach to people, to Party members, has become quite a widespread practice. This is a theory by which Communists are judged not by their own deeds, but by the deeds of their relatives, near and distant. An unsound ideology or social preferences in some great-grandmother may spoil the careers of many generations of her descendants. (Laughter.)
Such an attitude is absolutely alien to Marxism. We must proceed from the principle repeatedly enunciated and stressed by Comrade Stalin, namely, that the son is not answerable for his father, and that a Party member must be judged by his own deeds. Unfortunately, it is a widespread practice among us to judge the business and political character of a man not by his own work, but by the character of his relatives and ancestors, near and distant.
It must not be thought that the upholders of this “theory” come out into the open. Nevertheless, they steadily work away on the quiet and judge people not by their deeds but by their genealogy.
This “biological” approach must be put a stop to. (Laud applause.).
There is quite a breed of people in our ranks whom I would call pseudo-moralists. They see only the bad sides of a Party member and refuse to consider and assess his whole life's career, to learn his merits and demerits. These people regard a man as something set and fixed for all time, as a lifeless and unchangeable pattern.
These people are great inventors of shibboleths and schemes which they apply to individuals to judge whether they are good or bad, whether they fit into the scheme or not. (Laughter.)
These people forget that our whole work of building socialism, our whole educational work, is designed to remould the minds of men. That is what our Party exists for, that is why we strove for and achieved the victory of socialism, that is why we are undertaking the tasks of communist development, namely, to remould people, their ego. If there are some who think that remoulding the minds of men does not apply to Party members, that Communists are born free of all prejudices and absolutely require no re-education, this is nothing but an idealistic and schematic view of people. This way of judging people abstractly, in accordance with a ready-made standard, instead of studying them in all their connections and manifestations, condemns one to passivity, to a pessimistic view of people. This pessimistic view looks back on the past. This way of judging people has nothing in common with Bolshevism. Its method is profoundly hostile to Bolshevism.
It seems to me that all this is a Menshevik backsliding, a peculiar form of opportunism in relation to living people, which does not try to lead people forward, to correct their defects and to re-educate them, but exaggerates, over-emphasizes their defects and does not perceive the valuable qualities in people which should be developed and encouraged in every way. If you scratch these pseudo-moralists, you will find plenty of hypocrites and humbugs among them. You can never cook your porridge with a lot of gravediggers like this. (Loud applause.)
At the same time, we must stop the practice of half-hearted rehabilitation of reinstated members. There is a fairly widespread type of Party official who to insure himself, to be on the safe side, “not to run any risks,” leaves a tag or taglet attached to a rehabilitated Party member or candidate member: if a man has been expelled, and they then have to reinstate him, they give him a reprimand, though nobody knows why; if he had a reprimand, they put an admonishment in his record – for no reason at all, just as a reminder. (Laughter.)
A definite stop must be put to this practice of half-hearted rehabilitation. If a man deserves to be fully rehabilitated, all penalties should be expunged from his record.
These facts make it clear that the decision of the January Plenum of the Central Committee which spoke of the necessity of completely eradicating masked enemies who have wormed their way into our ranks and who strive to conceal their hostility to the Party under a disguise of hypocritical talk about vigilance, is not yet being carried out by some of the organizations with sufficient vigour.
The method of an individual approach to Party members has not yet been fully restored. Wholesale and unwarranted expulsions from the Party are still practised.
The decision of the January Plenum of the Central Committee was designed to create the maximum guarantees in combating unwarranted expulsions, to completely restore the method of individual approach, to ensure the utmost care in matters concerning the fate of Party members.
In view of the extreme importance of this question, the Rules should be supplemented by a number of clauses to ensure an attentive approach and careful investigation of accusations brought against Party members, to protect the rights of Party members from all arbitrary procedure and to abolish the resort to expulsion from the Party – which is the supreme Party penalty – for trifling misdemeanours.
We must recall what Comrade Stalin said:
“The Party has become a big and serious thing to Party members, and joining the Party or being expelled from the Party is a crucial event in a man's life.”
“Whether he remains in the Party or is expelled from the Party is a matter of life and death to the ordinary Party member.”
Comrade Stalin says in another place that the supreme Party penalty is expulsion from its ranks, just as the supreme penalty in the army is shooting. (See Stalin, On the Opposition.)
The decisions of the Plenum of the Central Committee of February-March 1937, and of the Plenum of the Central Committee of January 1938 on the subject of expulsion from the Party resolve themselves to this, that expulsions from the Party must be reduced to a minimum. If expulsion from the Party is equivalent to the supreme penalty in the army, that is, shooting, it cannot be imposed right and left.
We must restore to their full use the measures of Party punishment laid down in the Party Rules for various offences. You cannot judge all offences in the same way, without discriminating between grave and unimportant. Expulsions from the Party at one time became a sort of small change in many Party organizations, while such measures of Party punishment as caution, rebuke, admonition, reprimand, strict reprimand, and final warning – all that fairly flexible scale of measures of Party influence provided for in our Rules and corresponding to various kinds and degrees of Party offences, was forgotten.
The measures of Party education and influence laid down in the Rules must be restored to their full use.
A few words must be said on the subject of old penalties which have been withdrawn. Much has been said about this subject too at Party meetings before the Congress. If a man has reformed and the penalty inflicted on him has been withdrawn, there is no need to be constantly recalling it, to exact revenge for old mistakes which have been corrected, to exercise moral repression on the Party member.
There are many cases like the following: a man may have committed an offence ten years ago and received a penalty; then he mends his ways and the penalty is withdrawn. Nevertheless, this penalty is unfailingly brought up every time the man comes under discussion. This does a lot of harm, from the standpoint, for example, of the right to be elected to Party bodies. We know that when candidates are discussed in elections to Party bodies, the nomination of such comrades is often rejected. That is wrong: if a man has mended his ways, why should he go about with a stain on his character all his life? It is wrong to avenge old faults. (“Hear, hear!”)
Mastering or Accepting the Party Program
The theses point to the necessity of abolishing the demand contained in the Rules that new members, on joining the Party, in addition to accepting the program and rues of the Party and going through a specified probationary period as candidate members, must also have mastered the program.
In his report at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) in February-March 1937, Comrade Stalin said:
“In order to master the Party program one must be a real Marxist, a tried and theoretically trained Marxist. I do not know whether we have many members of the Party who have mastered our program, who have become real Marxists, theoretically trained and tried. If we continue further along this path we would have to leave only intellectuals and learned people generally in our Party. Who wants such a Party? We have Lenin's thoroughly tried and tested formula defining a member of the Party. According to this formula a member of the Party is one who accepts the program of the Party, pays membership dues and works in one of its organizations. Please note: Lenin's formula does not speak about mastering the program, but about accepting the program. These are two very different things. It is not necessary to prove that Lenin is right here and not our Party comrades who chatter idly about mastering the program. That should be clear. If the Party had proceeded from the assumption that only those comrades who have mastered the program and have become theoretically trained Marxists could be :members of the Party it would not have created thousands of Party circles, hundreds of Party schools where the members of the Party are taught Marxism, and where they are assisted to master our program. It is quite clear that if our Party organizes such schools and circles for members of the Party it is because it knows that the members of the Party have not yet mastered the Party program, have not yet become theoretically trained Marxists.”
Mastery of the program implies the ability to explain its underlying principles. Accepting the program means subscribing to its principles, agreeing with it and being ready to defend it. It is clear that by demanding that candidates for membership should master the program, that is, should be able to explain its underlying principles, we frighten people away from the Party. There is no theoretical justification for such a demand, and in practice it has led to an incorrect attitude towards applicants for membership. Many candidate members have hesitated to apply for full membership of the Party from fear of being subjected to a political examination and, what is more, often by ignorant people. This unwarranted demand has in practice led to violations of the fundamental principles of the Party and created a vagueness and uncertainty about the status of many Party members.
Of course, comrades, this does not mean that a candidate member is forbidden to master the program during his probationary period. What we are talking about is whether there should be such a demand in the Rules. It is quite clear that by demanding that a candidate member shall have mastered the program we frighten people away from the Party.
Acceptance of the program and rules of the Party, payment of membership dues, and work in one of the Party organizations – that is what the Rules demand of a Party member. The tried and tested Leninist-Stalinist definition of a Party member stands in no need of improvement. That is why the demand in the present Party Rules about mastering the program should be abolished.
Comrades, the turn in the political life of the country brought about by the new Constitution of the U.S.S.R. faced the Party with new tasks. This turn meant the complete democratization of the system, the substitution of universal suffrage for restricted suffrage, equal suffrage for not entirely equal suffrage, direct elections for indirect elections, and secret ballot for open ballot.
The new electoral system was bound to result, and actually did result, in an enhancement of the political activity of the people, in greater control by the masses over the organs of Soviet power, and. in the increased responsibility of the organs of Soviet power to the people.
In order to be fully prepared for this turn in the political life of the country, the Party had to be its moving spirit, and the leading role of the Party in the forthcoming elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics had to be fully ensured. But this could be done only if the Party organizations themselves became thoroughly democratic in their everyday work, only if they fully observed the principles of democratic centralism in their inner-party life, as the Party Rules demand, only if all the organs of the Party were elected, only if criticism and self-criticism in the Party developed to the full, only if the responsibility of the Party bodies to the members of the Party were complete, and if the members of the Party themselves became thoroughly active.
At the February-March Plenum of the Central Committee it was established that quite a number of Party organizations were systematically violating the Party Rules and the principles of democratic centralism in their everyday work, substituting co-option for election, voting by lists for voting for individual candidates, and so forth. It was therefore first of all necessary to put a stop to the anti-democratic practices of Party organizations and to reorganize Party work on the broad lines of inner-party democracy.
What is the essence of Bolshevik inner-party democracy? The essence of Bolshevik inner-party democracy, as Comrade Stalin has repeatedly told us, resolves itself to the independent initiative, the active participation of Party members in the work of Party leadership. “Inner-party democracy means heightening the activity of the Party membership and strengthening the unity of the Party, strengthening conscious proletarian discipline within the Party” – so Comrade Stalin teaches us.
It was with this purpose in view that the Party put an end to the violations of the principles of democratic centralism which formerly prevailed in the Party, and re-established the system of electing the leading bodies of Party organizations, as laid down in the party Rules.
The Party adopted a number of additional measures to ensure the observance of consistent democracy: it abolished the practice of co-option; it forbade voting by lists in elections of Party bodies and introduced voting for individual candidates; it ensured for all Party members the unlimited right to challenge candidates and criticize them; it introduced the secret ballot in the election of Party bodies; and it made the periodical summoning of city meetings of the Party active, and, in large cities, of district meetings of the Party active, a compulsory rule.
The Rules should reflect these new measures of the Party, for they have been tested in practice and ensure the further development of criticism and self-criticism, increased responsibility of Party bodies to the Party membership, and greater activity of the Party membership, and have thus helped to arm the Party for the successful performance of the new tasks of political leadership.
We know that in the elections to the Supreme Soviets of the U.S.S.R. and the Union Republics, the Party achieved a complete victory for the Communist and non-Party bloc just because Party work was reorganized on the principles of inner-party democracy.
The consistent application of democratic principles has had a fruitful influence on the whole life of the Party organizations. The increased activity and knowledge of Party members and their heightened sense of responsibility for the cause of the Party were epitomized in the pre-Congress discussion and in the results of the elections to Party bodies, which demonstrated that Party democracy is in full flower. (Applause.) This has stimulated immense new strata of Party members to take an active share in Party life.
During the elections of Party bodies in 1938 criticism of the work of poorly functioning Party bodies assumed wide proportions. This criticism revealed the unsatisfactory state of the work of a large number of committees and organizers of primary Party organizations, of district committees, city committees, regional committees and territorial committees.
Many new people were elected to leading Party bodies in the 1938 elections, a large number of them for the first time. This is the younger generation. In all, 35 per cent of the members of committees of primary Party organizations, 41 per cent of the members of district committees, 46 per cent of the members of city committees, and 60 per cent of the members of regional committees, territorial committees and Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the national republics were elected for the first time.
Reports received from local Party organizations show that over two million members and candidate members attended the discussion at Party meetings of the theses for the Eighteenth Party Congress. About one million comrades took part in the discussions at these meetings. (Applause.)
Comrades, our Party has never known a discussion like the one that preceded the Eighteenth Congress. It was marked by unprecedented solidarity and unity of our Party, and an exceptional growth in the activity of Party members.
Everybody who took part in the discussion made some amendment or suggestion to help the Party and to strengthen the common party cause.
The results of the discussion bear out that inner-party democracy is in full flower, that there is an unprecedented increase of activity and initiative among Party members.
The work performed by the Party on the basis of the well-known decisions of the Plenum of the Central Committee of February-March 1937, and of the recommendations made to the Party by Comrade Stalin at this plenum, has borne valuable fruit. Every member feels that his contact with the Party and its work has grown stronger; every Party member has come to feel his full value as one who is bound up with the general body of the Party and responsible for the common entity. This is a most important and valuable result of the development of inner-party democracy.
And, secondly, what is no less important and what we must note as a result of the development of the Party in the last few years, is that new relations have taken root between the leaders and the masses; the confidence of the masses in the leaders has increased tremendously, and so has their mutual contact and closeness. The masses have become accustomed to regard the leaders as their emissaries, their own kith and kin, who at the same time are responsible to the Party, to the masses, to the people. That is the second highly valuable result of the work of the Party during the past few years. (Loud applause.)
The conclusion to be drawn is that the new methods of political work of the Party, based on the consistent application of the principles of Bolshevik inner-party democracy, have increased the strength of our Party. The Party is on the way to the complete activization of its membership, and that is an important condition for the performance by the Party as a whole and by each Communist in particular of their vanguard role among the masses, and, .consequently, for further victories of socialist construction.
The Party will continue to develop and ensure inner-party democracy as a means of increasing the activity and initiative of Party members and of cleansing the ranks of the Party of inimical dross and scum. (Prolonged applause.)
Selection of Cadres. Checking the Fulfilment of Decisions. Promotion of New Party Workers
I shall now deal with the reorganization of the Party apparatus, the selection of cadres and the check on the fulfilment of decisions.
In his report to this Congress, Comrade Stalin gave an exhaustive definition of the importance of cadres and of their proper selection.
“The proper selection of cadres means:
“Firstly, valuing cadres as the gold reserve of the Party and the state, treasuring them, respecting them.
“Secondly, knowing cadres, carefully studying their individual merits and shortcomings, knowing in what post the capacities of a given worker are most likely to develop.
“Thirdly, carefully fostering cadres, helping every promising worker to advance, not grudging time on patiently ‘bothering’ with such workers and accelerating their development.
“Fourthly, boldly promoting new and young cadres in time, so as not to allow them to stagnate in their old posts and grow stale.
“Fifthly, allocating workers to posts in such a way that each feels he is in the right place, that each may contribute to our common cause the maximum his personal capacities enable him to contribute, and that the general trend of the work of allocating cadres may fully answer to the demands of the political line for the carrying out of which this allocation of cadres is designed.”
Comrade Stalin further indicated what is the task of the Party now with regard to the proper selection of cadres:
“Our task now is to concentrate the work of selecting cadres, from top to bottom, in the hands of one body and to raise it to a proper, scientific, Bolshevik level.
“This entails putting an end to the division of the work of studying, promoting and selecting cadres among various departments and sectors, and concentrating it in one body.
“This body should be the Cadres Administration of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) and a corresponding cadres department in each of the republican, territorial and regional Party organizations.”
From this point of view the existing organization of the Party apparatus has proven inadequate.
In accordance with the Party Rules, industrial-branch departments were set up in the regional committees, territorial committees, Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the national republics and the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) to perform the practical work involved in carrying out Party resolutions and decisions and to keep a check on the way they are fulfilled by Soviet bodies, business organizations and the lower Party organizations. The idea was to concentrate in each industrial-branch department all the work relating to the given branch, namely, Party organizational work, training and allocation of cadres, mass educational work, industrial propaganda, and supervision of the way Party decisions are fulfilled by the appropriate Soviet and business organs and Party organizations.
The defect of the existing organization was that the selection of cadres, which should be directed from one centre – for the selection of cadres necessitates the concentration of the entire experience and knowledge of cadres in one place, that being the art of Bolshevik leadership – was divided up among numerous industrial-branch departments. This resulted in an incorrect utilization of cadres, the absence of uniform methods of studying cadres, and, consequently, in serious defects in the selection of people. The division of the work of selecting cadres among different industrial-branch departments also resulted in artificially pigeon-holing cadres under separate departments, whereas the proper selection of cadres demands skilful and flexible manoeuvring.
Comrades, many of you know from experience how divided and split up the work of selecting cadres is. The regional committees and territorial committees have their industrial departments, Soviet and trading departments, educational and cultural departments, and so forth. These departments fight and contend among themselves for people. This militates against the proper study, selection and promotion of cadres.
This functional division of the work of selecting cadres makes it impossible to utilize people properly in accordance with their capacities and the demands of the work.
Experience has taught us that such an organization of the Party apparatus does not answer our requirements.
It is this that makes it necessary to create a strong cadre apparatus of the Central Committee – the Cadres Administration – which would be able properly and scientifically, as Comrade Stalin puts it, to perform the job of selecting and allocating cadres, the work of Party organizational leadership being assigned to a special Organization and Instruction Department.
The Central Committee has already adopted certain measures in the last year or two with the object of more and more centralizing in the present Leading Party Organs Department of the Central Committee the work of selecting and promoting leading cadres not only for Party bodies but also for Soviet and business organizations and all People’s Commissariats.
This reconstruction of the work of selecting, studying and allocating cadres must be carried out in the spirit of the directions given by Comrade Stalin in his report on the work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) at the Eighteenth Party Congress.
I should like, further, to dwell on one more amendment to the Rules submitted by the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Party Congress. I refer to the proposal to reduce the length of Party membership required of comrades nominated to leading Party posts, such as secretaries of regional committees, city committees, district committees, etc. The Central Committee proposes to amend this clause in the Party Rules and to reduce the required length of Party membership. This proposal arises from the aim of creating suitable conditions for the promotion of new cadres to leading Party posts.
This proposal is of the highest importance from the point of view of principle and practice.
In his report to our Congress, Comrade Stalin gave a brilliant formulation of the task of promoting new cadres:
“The thing is not,” he said, “whether to rely on the old cadres or on the new cadres; but to steer for a combination, a union of the old and the young cadres in one common symphony of leadership of the Party and the state.”
That is why we must boldly and in good time promote young cadres to leading posts.
It was precisely by promoting young cadres to leading posts boldly and in. good time that our Party gained one of its most important successes, namely, the promotion to leading state and Party posts of over 500,000 young Bolsheviks, members of the Party and people standing close to the Party.
Mention should be made of the improvement in the quality of our leading cadres. Our Party cadres now include quite a number of people with a higher education, people of culture, knowledge and education.
||With higher incomplete higher, or secondary education1||Workers by social status before appointment||Under 40 years of age||From 31 to 35 years of age||Party members since 1924|
|Secretaries of regional committees, territorial committees and Central Committees of Communist Parties of national republics||333||196||175||303||177||268|
|Secretaries of district committees, city committees and area committees||10,902
|Managers of departments of regional committees, territorial committees, and Central Committees of Communist Parties of national republics||510||327||231||469||263||431|
Whereas several years ago there was a tendency to shrink from promoting educated people and young people to leading Party posts, while the wreckers put a regular strangle-hold on young cadres, not allowing them to rise, it is the most important achievement of the Party that, having rid itself of wreckers, it has been able to clear the way for the advancement of cadres who have grown up in recent years and to promote them to leading posts. That is a pledge .of the strength and invincibility of our Party (Stormy applause.)
The work of keeping a practical check on the fulfilment of Party directions has also been unsatisfactory. This function is divided among the various industrial-branch departments. It, too, must be centralized and the character of the work of the Party Control Commission altered accordingly. The Party’s control must be effective, it must prevent mistakes in good time.
Proper control presumes not only keeping a check on the fulfilment of directions, but also testing their correctness and ascertaining whether any of them need to be replaced by others.
Comrade Stalin has repeatedly and insistently explained to us that
“leadership does not just mean writing resolutions and issuing directions. Leadership means keeping a check on the fulfilment of directions; and not only keeping a check on the fulfilment of directions, but verifying the directions themselves, whether they are correct or mistaken. It would be absurd to think that all our directions are correct one hundred per cent. That is not, and cannot be, the case, comrades. Keeping a check on fulfilment precisely means that our workers must test in the fire of practical experience not only the fulfilment of our directions, but the correctness of the directions themselves (my italics – A, Z.). Shortcomings in this respect are shortcomings in our whole work of leadership.” (J. Stalin, “The Work of the April Joint Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission,” 1928.)
Checking up on fulfilment of decisions is a most valuable antidote to stagnation, to the gathering of rust in our work. It is a highly valuable means of preventing the activities of wreckers. Where a proper check is kept of fulfilment, there the wrecker is paralyzed.
It will now be the chief task of the Party Control Commission to improve the work of keeping a check on the fulfilment of Party instructions.
In view of this, it must be decided that the Party Control Commission shall work under the auspices of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.). In that case it will be unnecessary for the Party Control Commission to be elected directly at Party congresses. The Party Control Commission should be elected at a Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) and function under the guidance and direction of the Central Committee.
Remedying the Theoretical and. Political Deficiencies of Cadres
Comrade Stalin has given us in his report a very clear and precise formulation of our tasks in the sphere of Party propaganda, in the sphere of the Marxist-Leninist education of our cadres.
“The work of regulating the composition of the Party and of bringing the leading bodies closer to the activities of the lower bodies may be organized satisfactorily; the work of promoting, selecting and allocating cadres may be organized satisfactorily; but, with all this, if our Party propaganda for some reason or other goes lame, if the Marxist-Leninist training of our cadres begins to languish, if our work of raising the political and theoretical level of these cadres flags, and the cadres themselves cease on account of this to show interest in the prospect of our further progress, cease to understand the truth of our cause and are transformed into narrow plodders with no outlook, blindly and mechanically carrying out instructions from above – then our entire state and Party work must inevitably languish. It must be accepted as an axiom that the higher the political level and the Marxist-Leninist knowledge of the workers in any branch of state or Party work, the better and more fruitful will be the work itself, and the more effective the results of the work; and, vice versa, the lower the political level of the workers, and the less they are imbued with the knowledge of Marxism-Leninism, the greater will be the likelihood of disruption and failure in the work, of the workers themselves becoming shallow and deteriorating into paltry plodders, of their degenerating altogether.”
Comrade Stalin pointed out that we possess all the means and opportunities required for training our cadres ideologically and schooling them politically, and that on this nine-tenths of the fulfilment of our practical task will depend.
The task of remedying the theoretical and political deficiencies of our Party cadres, of arming our Party members with the theory of Marxism-Leninism and helping them to master Bolshevism demands that the work of Party propaganda and education should be raised to a proper level, in accordance with the decision of the Central Committee “On the Organization of Party Propaganda in Connection with the Publication of the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course” and with the indications given on this subject by Comrade Stalin in his report at our Congress.
The task of mastering Bolshevism arises directly from the tasks of the present stage of socialist construction.
In order to successfully cope with the principal task of the Third Five-Year Plan, namely, the communist education of the people and the elimination of the survivals of capitalism in the minds of men, in order to successfully cope with the practical problems of socialist construction, and in order to be properly equipped for the struggle against the surrounding capitalist world and its agents, bur cadres must be armed with theory, that is, with a knowledge of the laws of social development and of the political struggle.
The basic defects of Party propaganda are enumerated in the well-known decision of the Central Committee. This decision also indicates the methods of reorganizing Party propaganda in connection with the publication of the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course.
The reorganization of propaganda work has already begun. The first steps in this direction show that the publication of the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course and the decision of the Central Committee have given a mighty impetus to the raising of the entire ideological and political work to a new level. Millions of people have begun to study Marxism-Leninism, the History of the C.P.SCU.(B.) – Short Course. This is an immense achievement for our Party. About twelve million copies have been sold of the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course in Russian (loud applause) and about two million copies in other languages of the nations of the U.S.S.R. It has been translated into twenty-eight foreign languages and has already been published in over 673,000 copies. It may quite definitely be said that this is the first Marxist book in all the existence of Marxism to have been disseminated so widely. (Applause.)
Party members have begun to study independently. The demand for Marxist-Leninist literature has grown tremendously. The attention of all Party organizations is now focussed on the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism.
A certain amount of experience in new forms of work has already been gained.
Since the decision of the Central Committee the best theoreticians and propagandists in the Party have been enlisted for the oral and printed propaganda of Marxism-Leninism. A body of experienced professional propagandists is being formed.
Before the reorganization of Party propaganda there were over 112,000 propagandists in the Party. It goes without saying that there were quite a number of people among them who were poorly fitted for the job. This number has now been considerably reduced. The Party organizations now select as propagandists people who are really fitted for the work.
The number of study circles has also diminished. For example, before the decision of the Central Committee there were over 9,000 study circles in Moscow and over 5,000 in Leningrad; now there are a little over 500 in Moscow and about 300 in Leningrad.
Independent study has now become the principal method.
Printed propaganda, which is of decisive importance in this work, is being extended.
All this, however, is only the beginning of that development of propaganda work which our Party is striving for. In this a decisive part will be played by our Bolshevik press. The demand for printed literature has grown enormously and will continue to grow.
We are on the eve of a tremendous development of all forms of propaganda work of our Party. Wide use must be made of such powerful instruments as the cinema, radio and art for propaganda purposes.
In order to be able properly to lead the work of Marxist-Leninist propaganda in Party and state, and to successfully cope with the task of remedying the theoretical and political deficiencies of Party cadres, the Central Committee needs a powerful apparatus of propaganda and agitation, in the shape of a Propaganda and Agitation Administration, in which all the work of printed and oral propaganda and agitation would be centralized.
Ideological schooling fosters in Soviet people a consciousness of the dignity of the Soviet citizen and confidence in their own strength. More impressively than ever before ring the words of Comrade Stalin that theory endows practical workers with the power of orientation, with confidence in themselves, with a perspective, with the ability not only to see events but to foresee them.
The reorganization of our Party propaganda work will ensure the flourishing progress of our theoretical work and will even more thoroughly arm our Party ideologically. (Stormy applause.)
Reconstruction of the Party Apparatus. All-Union Conferences
Comrades, the theses on amendment to the Rules of the C.PS.U.(B.) propose to reorganize the apparatus of the departments both in the Central Committee and in the localities.
Today, the industrial-branch departments do not know what their functions are, properly speaking; they encroach on the functions of the business organizations, compete with them, and this gives rise to a vagueness as to who is responsible for a job, or kills responsibility altogether.
The industrial-branch departments of the Central Committee should be abolished. An exception should be made in the case of the Agricultural Department, in view of the particular importance of controlling and supervising the activities of the Soviet and Party organizations in the sphere of agriculture.
The urgent task now faces the Party of strengthening organization in the collective farms, of guiding their business affairs, and of organizing work in the collective farms, state farms and machine and tractor stations. Comrade Andreyev has spoken very forcibly and convincingly of these tasks at this Congress.
In view of a certain weakness in the work of the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture and the People’s Commissariat of State Farms, and in view of the fact that agriculture demands the exclusive attention and care of the local Party organizations, the agricultural Departments of the Central Committee, the territorial committees and the regional committees must be preserved.
The School Department of the Central Committee should also be preserved, in view of the fact that we have no People’s Commissariat of Education for the U.S.S.R. and in view of the necessity of controlling the work of public education in all the republics, territories and regions.
The following departments should be set up in the regional committees, territorial committees and Central Committees of the Communist Parties in the national republics: cadres, propaganda and agitation, organization and instruction, and agricultural. All the other industrial-branch departments should be abolished.
The district committees and city committees should have the following departments: cadres, propaganda and agitation, and organization and instruction.
The direction of the propaganda and agitation departments and the cadre departments in the regional committees, territorial committees and Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the national republics should be entrusted to special secretaries.
Comrades, after what I have already said about our tasks in relation to the selection of cadres and the checking up on fulfilment of decisions, and in relation to propaganda work, I think there is no necessity for me to explain why such a reorganization of the apparatuses of the Central Committee and of the local Party bodies is necessary. The structure of the apparatus of the Central Committee aid of the local Party organs proposed to the Eighteenth Party Congress will make it possible to strengthen Party leadership of the various branches of our work.
With the rapid progress of the socialist economic system and the rapid political and cultural development of the workers, peasants and intellectuals, the pace of Party and state life has markedly increased. In order to be able to guide state and Party affairs, to react rapidly to new demands as they arise, and to provide timely solutions for new problems, the existing scheme of central organizations of the Party – the Party Congress and the Central Committee – should be supplemented by a new body, namely, the All-Union Party Conference. This is rendered all the more necessary by the fact that the long interval between Party congresses limits the possibility of advancing to leading posts, and especially to the Central Committee, people who have developed in Party work, whereas a conference would provide this opportunity. The time is therefore ripe to supplement the scheme of central Party organizations – Party Congress and Central Committee – by an All-Union Party Conference, to be summoned not less than once a year and to consist of representatives of the local organizations; the chief purpose of the All-Union Conference being to discuss urgent problems of Party policy.
The All-Union Party Conference should be invested with the right to replace part of the membership of the Central Committee, that is, to remove such members of the Central Committee as are unable to cope with their duties as members of that body, and to replace them by others, in the number, however, of not more than one-fifth of the membership of the Central Committee elected by the Party Congress. The conference shall replenish the membership of the Central Committee from among the alternate members of that body elected by the Party Congress, and elect in their place a corresponding number of new alternate members.
The decisions of the Conference shall be subject to endorsement by the Central Committee, with the exception of decisions to elect new members and alternate members of the Central Committee. Decisions of Conferences endorsed by the Central Committee shall be binding on all Party organizations. The delegates to the Conference shall be elected at plenary meetings of the regional committees, territorial committees and the Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the national republics. Members of the Central Committee who have not been elected as delegates from local organizations shall have a voice at the Conference, but no vote.
The Duties of Primary Organizations in Industry and in Soviet Institutions
Comrades, during this period the primary organizations, which constitute the foundation of our Party, have grown stronger, their contacts with the masses have improved, the vanguard role of the Communists has been enhanced, and Party life has risen to a higher plane. The Party organizations are taking a closer interest in the practical economic and cultural problems of socialist construction.
Experience has shown that the Party organizations have worked well wherever they have been able to combine Party political work with the fight for the fulfilment of production plans, for the improvement of the work of the state apparatus, for the mastery of new technique, for strict labour discipline, for the development of the Stakhanov movement, and for the promotion of new cadres to Party and business posts. And, vice versa, wherever the Party organizations have held aloof from production, confining their duties to propaganda and agitation, or wherever the Party organizations have taken upon themselves the unwarranted function of directing business affairs, assuming the duties of the business bodies and detracting from their responsibility, there the work has inevitably found itself in difficulties.
Comrade Stalin has repeatedly pointed to the necessity for a correct combination of Party political work and business work. He said as far back as 1923:
“Our industrial nuclei must be brought to take an interest in the questions arising from the course of affairs in the factories and trusts. Matters must be arranged so to enable the nuclei to keep in touch with the work of the managerial bodies of our factories and trusts, so that they may be in a position to influence this work. You, as representatives of nuclei, know how great is the moral responsibility of our industrial nuclei to the non-Party masses for the course of affairs in the factories. If a nucleus is to be in a position to guide and lead the non-Party masses in its factory, if it is to be in a position to bear responsibility for the course of affairs in the factory – and that it is morally responsive to the non-Party masses for any shortcomings in the factory is unquestionable – it must be in touch with the course of affairs, it must have the opportunity to influence them one way or another. It is therefore necessary that the nuclei should be drawn into the discussion of the business problems of the factory, that business conferences of representatives of the nuclei in the factories forming part of a trust should be summoned from time to time for the discussion of questions affecting the affairs of the trust. This is a sure and necessary means of enriching our Party masses with business experience and of organizing control from below.” (J. Stalin, “The Tasks of the Party.”)
I shall mention, by way of example, the experience of the Party organization at the huge Kirov Works in Leningrad. The Trotsky-Bukharin bandits who at one time had charge of this plant did it a lot of damage and reduced it to such a plight that in the middle of 1937 it was scarcely fulfilling its program 45-50 per cent in many :branches.
Now the plant is being managed by new people who have risen from the ranks of its technical intelligentsia, from the ranks of its Stakhanovites and shock workers.
In the past year there has been a marked improvement in the work of the Kirov plant, and in this a big part was played by the Party organization and its committee, who succeeded in correctly combining Party political work with production work.
The experience of the Communists of the Kirov Works shows that a correct combination of Party political work and production work does not result either in violating the principle of one-man management, or in forgetting Party mass work.
What largely contributed to this was the advancement to the leadership of the Party organization of people well acquainted with the technical and business affairs of the plant, people from the shops, from the various sections of the plant, people closely connected with the whole body of workers, technicians and engineers.
The Party organization of the Kirov Works boldly rooted out the hostile elements in the plant and promoted new cadres – about five hundred of the best Stakhanovites, engineers and technicians, who are now managing the plant, and managing it not at all badly.
Paying attentive heed to the signals coming from the rank-and- file workers and office employees, the Party organization was able to contribute to the solution of a number of important business problems of the plant. The Party organization took a lively part in the reform of the wages system in the plant, which had been reduced to chaos by the wreckers. Instead of one hundred different rate categories there are now only four, and hundreds of thousands of rates have been revised. This was of the greatest significance for the proper organization of labour and for the improvement of productivity of labour.
During the past six months the plant has been fulfilling its production programs without excess expenditure on wages, and the new standards of output have been greatly exceeded.
The Party committee of the Kirov Works helped the management to regulate power consumption at the plant, recommending fresh people for this job and helping to work out practical measures of improvement. As a result, the plant has successfully coped with the government program of doubling the output of tractors by the spring sowing of 1939.
Here is another example. The Yaroslavl Rubber Works had not been fulfilling its production program for seven years running. The whole country suffered from the unsatisfactory work of the Rubber Works, whose management had at one time fallen into the hands of enemies of the people.
The Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) helped the Bolsheviks of the Rubber Works to expose and eliminate the enemies of the people and demanded that the plant should at an early date be made one of the foremost in the country in respect to fulfilment of program. The Party organization of the Yaroslavl Rubber Works has fulfilled the demand of the Central Committee with honour. The plant carried out its program of output of automobile tyres 100 per cent in the fourth quarter of 1938, 106 per cent in January 1939, and 108 per cent in February. Success in production was accompanied by the growth of the Party organization, the membership of which increased more in the fourth quarter of 1938 than in the preceding two years.
What did the Party organization of the Rubber Works owe its success to? To the fact that it correctly combined production work with political work. It arranged its work in such a way as to make the fulfilment of the production program a high political duty and the whole body of employees of the works was imbued with this spirit. The Party organization distributed its Party cadres in a way that enabled it to keep in touch with what was being done in every part of the plant. Neither the district committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) nor the Party organization encroached on the functions of the plant management. On the contrary, they created the conditions to enable the management to display independence and initiative; but the Party organization kept in touch with every step of the management, and, being well informed of the state of affairs in the plant, when necessary guided, taught, and assisted the management.
While vigorously criticizing the chaos and irresponsibility which the enemies of the people had fostered over a long period of time, the Party organization gave moral and political support to every executive, to every worker and office employee in the plant who worked with a will.
Scores and hundreds of examples like that of the Kirov Works and the Yaroslavl Rubber Works could be cited. The Calibre Works and the First Watch and Clock Factory in Moscow, a number of aircraft factories, a number of iron and steel works, the Svet Shakhtyora Works in Kharkov, the New Sormovo Works in the Gorky Region and many other plants are also setting an example of correct combination of Party and production work in the life of the primary Party organizations.
In all the republics, territories and regions numbers of Party organizations are to be found which have succeeded in adopting a correct attitude to production questions, in instituting control over the work of their plants and in helping the managements to fulfil and overfulfil the programs of output.
I also want to mention the experience of the Central Committee Party organizers in the munitions plants. Comrade Stalin attributes the greatest importance to this matter. He proposed the institution in the munitions plants of a system of Party organizers subordinated to the Central Committee, and the selection of skilled engineers, experts at their job and good Party men, for this purpose. This measure has proved its value and has yielded very good results. We now have a new type of functionary in the munitions plants, men who combine Party work with the ability to form an opinion about any particular business or technical problem.
We know that the ignorance of technical and business matters displayed by certain Party functionaries played into the hands of the wreckers. Our primary Party organizations constitute the vanguard in our factories, the flower of the personnel. We must benefit by the experience of that vanguard body which Communists represent in the factories. If you want to ascertain the state of affairs with regard to the fulfilment of an important order, or the way the director’s fund is being expended, or the housing conditions of the workers, or the state of the workers’ dining rooms, you must throw into the scales the whole experience of the Party organizations, you must illuminate every side of the production life of the factories with the Bolshevik searchlight. In this way we shall render real service to the whole cause of socialist economic development.
During the discussion voices were raised claiming that to grant the right of control to primary Party organizations in production units would be a blow to the principle of one-man management. It seems to me that those who think that one-man management just means commanding a factory without relying on the active personnel have no conception of what one-man management means.
Our Soviet, Bolshevik principle of one-man management implies the ability to direct, to organize, to select cadres, to issue correct orders, to demand a report of work done, and to eliminate irresponsibility and divided responsibility. But it also implies the ability to secure the support in this work of the Party organization, the active of the factory, and of its whole personnel.
It is therefore wrong to say that we can dispense with control by the primary Party organizations. Those executives who fear this kind of control are making a mistake.
In this connection, the time is ripe for precisely defining the duties of the various types of primary Party organizations, and, in particular, of those in production units (factories, mills, state farms and collective farms) and those in People’s Commissariats.
Party organizations of the production type should be given the right to exercise control over the state of affairs in factories, state farms and collective farms. This should result in enhancing the role and sense of responsibility of primary Party organizations in production units.
As to the Party organizations of the People’s Commissariat type, inasmuch as they cannot exercise functions of control, owing to the specific conditions of their work, they should play a greater part in improving the work of the apparatus. It is their duty to draw attention to defects in their particular People’s Commissariat, to note shortcomings in the work of any of the personnel, and to inform the Central Committee and the heads of the People’s Commissariat of them.
Comrade Stalin defined the duties of nuclei in Sovie tinstitutions at a meeting of the Organization Bureau of the Central Committee on March 15, 1926, when he said:
“Our nuclei in Soviet institutions must be the guardians of real Soviet order in our institutions.... The nuclei must see that at least elementary order, elementary responsiveness, a readiness to listen to people, and less bureaucracy are displayed in Soviet institutions, both government and business.... We must see to it that the nuclei in Soviet institutions live the life of the whole Party, help the Party to improve and simplify the Soviet and business apparatus and bring it closer to the people, to make it honest and economical.” (See Izvestia of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.[B.], No. 16-17, 1926.)
All Party members working in a given People’s Commissariat should be united in one general Party organization of that People’s Commissariat. The secretary of the Party organization of a People’s Commissariat should be endorsed by the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.). It is hardly necessary to go into long explanations of the necessity for this latter proposal – it is self-evident.
Comrades, I have set forth the principal amendments and additions to the Rules of the C.P.S.U. (B.) proposed in the theses.
Besides these amendments and additions, mention should be made of other additions that are prompted by the experience of the Party, such as, that regional committees and territorial committees should have four or five secretaries; that the rights of area Party organizations should be defined in the Rules; that the clauses in the Rules relating to Party organizations in the Red Army should be extended to Party organizations in the Navy. These additions, I believe, do not need explanation.
In amendment of the existing rule it is proposed henceforth to call the elected organs of primary organizations bureaus instead of committees.
The reason for this change is that committees are formed to unite several Party organizations of equal status. That is the tradition in our Party and it is an expedient one. As for the elected organs of the primary Party organizations, it is more advisable to call them bureaus to distinguish them from committees.
The Central Committee also attributes great importance to granting Party organizations in factory shops the right – under certain conditions, namely, if they have not less than fifteen members – to elect a bureau. You know that, by decision of the Central Committee, shop committees were set up in the larger industrial plants. Experience has fully justified their formation.
Summary of the Discussion of the Theses of the Report on “Amendments to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.)”
I shall now proceed to discuss the corrections and amendments which were proposed during the discussion in the Party organizations of the theses of the report on amendments to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.).
A very wide discussion developed over the theses, the result of which was that the theses were approved by the vast majority of Party members and by all Party organizations. (Stormy applause.)
The discussion yielded a fairly large number of corrections and amendments both to the theses themselves and to a number of clauses of the existing Rules to which no amendments were proposed in the theses.
In view of the great variety of the amendments, it would be fitting to divide them into several categories.
There are a number of meaningless corrections of no practical value, as, for example, that Party organs should be elected once in five years; that secretaries of Party organizations should be elected at general meetings and not by the committees or bureaus, that is, that the secretaries should be made independent of the committees or bureaus; that new members should be admitted into the Party at ceremonial meetings, and so on.
The uselessness of these corrections and amendments are self-evident, and there is no need to argue against them. They fall to the ground as worthless. (Laughter and applause.)
Secondly, there are a large number of corrections, amendments and comments which do not relate directly to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) but to the current work of Party organization.
Such, for example, are the proposals that at least three evenings in five be kept free of all meetings and conferences, so that comrades might rest and study theory; to institute Party days; to forbid the adoption of decisions by a canvass of opinion; that a bureau of the district committee should be elected in districts where the Party organizations are small; that the Party organizations of Machine and Tractor Stations should register tractor drivers and harvester combine operators; that Party committees of railway junctions should be abolished, and so on and so forth.
The subject of all these corrections and amendments relate, as you see, to practical Party affairs. The authors of these corrections have apparently not grasped the difference between the Rules and current Patty affairs, and therefore try to squeeze into the Rules as large a number of clauses as possible, forgetting that the Rules only lay down the general framework, the basic forms of organizational activity of the Party, and that they do not preclude, but on the contrary presume, current activity by Party bodies.
The Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) which the Eighteenth Party Congress will endorse lay down the organizational basis for the future activities of the directing Party bodies. Corrections and amendments of this kind should be submitted to the new Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) to be elected.
The third group of amendments relate directly to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.). A large number of them concern questions of formulation and should be submitted to the Rules Commission of the Eighteenth Congress which I presume the Congress will set up and instruct to draft the Rules in their final form.
As to the corrections and amendments of real importance, it is advisable to divide them into three categories: those that are unacceptable and should be rejected; those whose advisability should be ventilated at the Congress; and, lastly, those that should be adopted.
I shall first deal with the unacceptable proposals.
1. There are amendments designed to preserve the categories of admission in one form or another. They include proposals of the most varied kind. They are all based on the belief of their authors that the abolition of the different categories is untimely. It is proposed to establish two or three categories: one for workers, another for peasants and intellectuals, or to set up a special category for members of the old intelligentsia, and so on. These proposals should not be adopted.
The feature of these amendments is that their authors either ignore or have failed to grasp the essence of the fundamental changes in the relations of classes that have taken place in the U.S.S.SR. They either cling to the old and fail to see the new, or they are simply dead asleep and do not notice what is going on around them. (Applause.)
2. There are a number of amendments of a diametrically opposite type, amendments which go further than the requirements for admission to the Party proposed in the theses. Whereas the first group of amendments, as we have just seen, proposed to preserve the old conditions of admission, the second group proposes to go much further than the requirements proposed in the theses. For example, it is proposed that the period of probation membership should be not one year, but nine months, six months, or even three months; that the requirements regarding the length of Party membership of recommenders should be abolished; that the number of recommenders should be reduced, and so on and so forth. I think that amendments of this kind spring from the failure of certain Party members to understand the-character of our Party and show that some Party members have forgotten the basic principle that the strength of our Party does not lie in abolishing the boundaries between Party and non- Party, between Party members and non-Party people, and in dissolving itself; diffusing itself among the masses, but in the fact that, acting as a rallying ground for the foremost people of the working class, the peasantry and the intelligentsia, it does not strive for size of membership but for quality of membership, is concerned for the high title of Party member, for the staunchness of Party members and their devotion to the cause of the working class.
The authors of such amendments have the wrong idea that the Party does not intend to show any further concern for the quality of its members and is throwing its doors wide open to all who want to join it. This mistaken view has nothing in common with the Party’s policy of a strictly individual selection of really foremost people for the ranks of the Party.
Do the substantial changes in the procedure of admission of new members imply that the Party is in any way relaxing the tried and tested Leninist principle of individual selection for the ranks to the Party? Not in the least.
The Central Committee and Comrade Stalin have many times made it absolutely clear that what is important for the Party is not so much the number of its members as their quality, their staunchness. Here, for example, is what Comrade Stalin said on July 6, 1921, in his report at a general meeting of the Tiflis Organization of the Georgian Communist Party:
“It should be remembered once and for all that the strength and weight of a party, and especially of the Communist Party, depends not so much on the number of its members as on their quality, their staunchness and devotion to the cause of the proletariat.”
In the solemn vow Comrade Stalin made at the Second All-Union Congress of Soviets on January 26,1924, at the time of Lenin’s death, he said:
“It is not given to everyone to be a member of such a party. It is not given to everyone to withstand the hardships and storms connected with membership of such a party. It is the sons of the working class, the sons of want and struggle, the sons of incredible privation and heroic efforts who before all should be members of such a party. That is why the party of the Leninists, the party of the Communists is also called the party of the working class.”
In the resolution of the Thirteenth Party Congress on “The Immediate Tasks of Party Development,” the Party pointed that what was important when admitting new members was not formalities, but essentials. This resolution stated:
“Not only must the established formal requirements be observed when admitting a new member into the Party, but it is essential to ascertain his real capacity to help the Party and the organs of the proletarian dictatorship in practice.”
This principle of strict individual approach to applicants for membership of the Party is an immutable law of our Party, it is not subject to change.
In the interval between the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Party Congresses the Central Committee of the Party has repeatedly pointed to the danger of forgetting the principle of individual admission into the Party.
Alien and hostile elements have always striven to enter the ranks of the C.P.S.U. (B.) so as to use the title of Party member as a screen in their work of undermining the great cause of the working class.
The Central Committee has done immense work to combat violations of the principle of individual selection of new members of the Party.
The Central Committee has vigorously fought attempts to ignore Lenin’s precept that ours is the only Party in the world which is concerned not so much to increase the number of its members as to improve their quality.
The Central Committee of the Party has strictly warned Party organizations of the danger of distortions of policy and of repetitions of mistakes, of the danger of substituting for a careful individual selection of new members for the Party a pernicious wholesale campaign for new members, which in the past has contaminated the ranks of the C.P.S.U.(B.) with alien and hostile elements.
The verification of Party records and exchange of Party cards disclosed the extreme neglect and chaos that reigned in this respect. It is therefore clear that the principle of individually selecting for the Party the really foremost people, people really devoted to the cause of the working class, the best people of our country among the ranks of the workers, peasants and working intelligentsia, people who have been tested on various sectors of the struggle for socialism, who do not shrink from difficulties but become steeled in the fight to overcome them, was, is and will be the decisive principle of our Party in the matter of admitting new members into its ranks.
At the same time the Party is interested in creating all the conditions to enable the really foremost people to enter its ranks. The amendments to the Rules will in fact create these conditions.
3. A number of comrades propose to establish a special category for persons who have once been Party members. This seems to me unnecessary. If, while they were outside the ranks of the Party, such comrades proved that they are devoted and active workers, they can be accepted on the same terms as comrades newly entering the Party. If, however, while they were outside the ranks of the Party they did not prove their devotion, they will evidently not be accepted and nobody will give them a recommendation.
4. Further, amendments are proposed with regard to the requirement that the recommender should have known the person he recommends from having worked with him. It is proposed in the case of persons in the ranks of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army to fix the period at six months, on the grounds of the specific conditions of life prevailing in the Red Army. I think we should reject this proposal. Firstly, it creates different conditions for territorial Party organizations and for army Party organizations, which is undesirable. Secondly; recommendations may be given not only by comrades who know the applicant from working with him in his present factory or institution, but by those who worked with him in other places; and, furthermore, there is no need to make the attendance of the recommender obligatory when the application for membership is being discussed. Finally, a Party organization may, if necessary, when sufficient recommendations cannot be obtained locally, make enquiries about the applicant for membership at the organizations where he previously worked, or of comrades who could recommend him from having worked with him before.
5. A number of proposals have been made to confer on shop Party meetings in large Party organizations, with over five hundred members, the right to admit members into the Party, instead of their being admitted at the general Party meeting. Proposals have also been made to grant all shop Party organizations the right to admit members into the Party, instead of their being admitted at the general meeting of the primary Party organization.
I think the proposal we should here adopt is as follows: large factory Party organizations of over five hundred or seven hundred members (this should be discussed at the Congress) should be allowed to form a factory committee instead of a bureau of the primary organization.
Some comrades have proposed that district committees should be formed in such factories. In my opinion this would be wrong, for we should then have two different kinds of district committees – territorial district committees and industrial district committees. In factory Party organizations with over five hundred or seven hundred members it would be advisable to form factory Party committees and to give the shop Party organizations in such large factories rights under the Rules.
As to the proposal to grant the right of admitting new members into the Party to all shop organizations, that is, to extend to all shop primary organizations rights under the Rules, it should be rejected, because it tends to diminish the importance of the general factory organization. It is the factory above all that is our fortress, and it would be wrong to split up the general Party organization in the factory by giving prime importance to the shop. We must not minimize the educational role of the general Party organization in the factory and the significance of the general factory Party meeting in the matter of admitting new members into the Party.
6. A number of proposals have been made to set up various new departments in Party organs. The theses of the Central Committee, as you know, aim at reducing the number of departments, and propose that the chief departments should be the Cadres Administration and the Propaganda and Agitation Administration of the Central Committee and the corresponding departments in the localities. But these comrades want just the opposite and would have the number of departments enlarged. They propose to set up new departments like a Health Department, Stakhanov Movement Department, and so on. (Laughter.)
This proposal should be rejected. Only in the case of one department is the matter debatable: I am referring to the proposal to set up Defence Departments, which is worth discussing at the Congress.
7. It is proposed to extend the clause concerning Party actives to rural organizations. I think this is also a question which the Congress should discuss, for there are arguments for and against it.
What are the arguments for? They are that in rural districts, especially large ones, it is not always convenient to call general district meetings of Communists, and that meetings of the Party active should be called, as in the case of the towns, to discuss current questions of Party policy. As to the arguments against, they are that in the majority of the rural districts general meetings of the organizations can be called whenever necessary. We know that general meetings are of great educational and organizational value. Some comrades fear that the actives might encroach on the functions of the general Party meeting, and point out that the summoning of actives should not be abused. As you see, it would be advisable to ventilate the question at the Congress.
8. It is proposed to establish secretariats, in addition to bureaus, in all regional committees and city committees. This is also a proposal which needs to be discussed at the Congress. There are arguments for and against it. The arguments for are that when the leadership has to discuss a large number of questions of organization, some supplementary body like a secretariat is required. There is no need to summon a bureau for every question, it is claimed. At a first glance, this seems a very alluring and practical proposal. But on the other hand, there are fears that the creation of secretariats might minimize the role of the bureau, the role of collective leadership! Might it not lead to a certain shifting of the centre of leadership from the bureau to a narrower body, the secretariat? I think that this is also a question that requires discussion at the Congress.
9. It is proposed to reduce the length of Party membership required of leading Party officials, and some even propose not to make any length of membership a requirement when electing comrades to leading Party posts. I think this proposal is wrong, because length of membership is required not only as a formal criterion but as a testimony of a certain experience in Party work. We must not forget what Comrade Stalin said about the necessity of combining the experience of young and old Party members. Hence the proposal to amend the requirements of the Rules in respect to the length of membership of leading Party workers which is contained in the theses of the Central Committee should be sufficient to ensure the promotion of young cadres, and to go to greater lengths in the way of reduction would be inexpedient.
10. It is proposed that the right of control should he granted to Soviet nuclei as well as production nuclei. I consider this proposal unacceptable, for it springs from a forgetfulness of the specific conditions in which the Soviet nuclei work.
To what extremes this forgetfulness may lead is shown by the case of the Party organizations in the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture of the U.S.S.R. and the People’s Commissariat of State Farms of the U: S.S.R.
These Party organizations became obsessed with the idea of controlling the activities of the heads of the People’s Commissariats. They set up within the People’s Commissariats what was essentially a second centre, which established connections with the provincial organizations, giving them instructions, and so on. And just see what questions these Party organizations took upon themselves to discuss. The Party organization of the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture discussed the state of sowing in the U.S.S.R.! (Laughter.) Why, this is ludicrous! As if it can judge from here how the sowing is going in the Kuban or in Central Asia. Yet it presumes to issue “directives”! It discussed preparations for the harvesting season, supply of fuel to Machine and Tractor Stations, normal financing of the Machine and Tractor Stations, and so on and so forth – that is to say, it tried to duplicate and assume the functions of the People’s Commissariat. No good can come of that.
The Party organization of the People’s Commissariat of State Farms discussed the state of haymaking in the eastern state farms. (Laughter.) What on earth can it know about this subject? Yet it, too, tried to issue directives.
Instead of taking measures to ensure that Party and state discipline are observed and to keep a proper check on the fulfilment of government instructions, instead of interesting themselves in the state of the apparatus and the ability and political fitness of its personnel, and drawing attention to defects in the work of the People’s Commissariat, they tried to assume the functions of the heads of the People’s Commissariat and to direct the provincial organizations.
This is a vicious practice and should not be encouraged. It is a sample of confusion of elementary concepts regarding the duties of Soviet nuclei. It is a parody on leadership, an attempt to create a People’s Commissariat within a People’s Commissariat.
It is a specific feature of the Soviet nuclei that they cannot undertake functions of control over the work of the Soviet institutions as such – that is a matter for higher Party and Soviet bodies.
But this does not mean that the primary Party organizations in Soviet institutions have no opportunity of influencing affairs. On the contrary, the role of these Party organizations is an extremely important one. If the Party organization in a Soviet institution notices defects in the work of the institution in good time – for example, in relation to the examination of complaints and applications from the public, the treatment of visitors (which are matters of utmost importance in the work . of Soviet institutions), labour discipline, the work of the apparatus, etc. – if the Party nucleus draws the attention of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) and of the heads of the People’s Commissariat to such defects, it will be performing an important function in improving the government apparatus.
11. It is proposed to sanction the formation of bureaus in primary Party organizations and in shop Party organizations with seven to ten members.
Seven members are to elect a bureau of three! This would be substituting bureau meetings for the general meetings of the Party organization, which would be wrong.
Such are the proposals and additions which directly relate to the Rules, but which in my opinion are unacceptable.
I shall now pass to the proposals which in my opinion are acceptable.
1. A number of comrades point to the necessity of revising the preamble to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) so as to make it conform with the changes in the situation in the country.
I think this proposal is a right one and should be adopted.
2. There was a very lively exchange of opinions during the discussion over the question of the sympathizers’ groups. Judging by the most prevalent opinion, the sympathizers groups should be abolished.
Comrades point out that in view of the growth of a large non-Party active around the Party, and in view of the resumption of the admission of new members, the sympathizers’ groups have outlived their function. Admissions into the Party do not proceed in the main by way of the sympathizers’ groups. This is borne out by the fact, for example, that of the new candidate members accepted during the past two years only twenty-one per cent came from the sympathizers’ groups.
Are we not bound to draw the lesson from this practical experience? I think we are.
There are a large number of organizations around the Party which connect it with the masses. I am referring to an organization like the trade unions, the effect of whose work in educating its members should be to raise them to an understanding of the tasks of the Communist vanguard, that is, to a Party level, and to prepare its best people to join the Party.
Unfortunately, our trade unions do not set themselves this aim quite as much as they should; yet it is the direct duty of Communists working in trade unions to carry on educational work within them in such a way as to raise the level of the foremost, the most active people in the trade unions, to a Party level.
We have a ramified system of social organizations of various kinds – Soviets, the Young Communist League, the cooperative societies, the Chemical and Air Defence Society, etc. – each of which has large number of active non-Party workers, the best of whom could be selected for admission to the Party.
From this point of view, the sympathizers’ groups narrow the field in preparing the best people among the working class, the collective farm peasantry and the intelligentsia to join the Party.
I think it would be better to accept the best, most prepared, foremost people not into sympathizers’ groups, but directly into the Party as candidate members. (Hear, hear! Applause.)
3. It is proposed that the reinstatement of persons wrongfully expelled from the Party should be announced in the press.
This is a good suggestion and should be adopted.
4. It is proposed to delete from the Rules the clause concerning the Soviet Control Commission, in view of the fact that the proposal to change the character of the work of the Party Control Commission must lead to a change in the character of the activities of the Soviet Control Commission, and that the Regulations governing that body have to be confirmed by the government.
I consider the proposal a correct one, inasmuch as constitutional changes in the structure of our legislative and executive organs of Soviet government undoubtedly demand corresponding changes in the case of the Soviet Control Commission.
5. Next, there is another addition to the Rules which should be accepted. It is proposed to state in the Rules that comrades may be admitted to the Party from the age of eighteen. (Applause.)
6. Very important additions have been proposed designed to give a more precise definition in the Rules of a number of points concerning the Young Communist League. The question of the Young Communist League is not sufficiently reflected in our Rules, where there are three clauses relating to the League. The first provides that young people up to the age of twenty are admitted to the Party only through the Y.C.L. The second clause states that the recommendation of a district committee of the Y.C.L. is equivalent to two recommendations of Party members; and the third clause relates to the formation of joint Party-Y.C.L. groups where there are no primary Party organizations.
These clauses in the Rules defining the relations between the Party and the Y.C.L. are no longer adequate. I think it necessary to discuss two proposals at the Congress.
The first is that Y.C.L. members who join the Party and do not belong to the “commanding” staff of the Y.C.L. – I am referring to rank-and-file members – should not be obliged to belong to the two organizations, the Party and the Y.C.L. If they are not performing important duties on leading bodies of the Y.C.L. on the instructions of the Party, it would be better if they belonged only to the Party organization. (Applause.)
The practice (and it is not altogether a right one) is to begin to transfer to the Party Y.C.L. members of the age of twenty-five or twenty-six, i.e., chiefly over-aged Y.C.L. members. And it is now the common thing in the Y.C.L. to say: “We will first select for the Party the over-aged, and then we will tackle the younger members.” The proposed addendum to the Rules that persons of the age of eighteen may be admitted to the Party will help greatly to strengthen educational work in the Y.C.L. The “twenty-year olders” (laughter) are in a bad way, because they are kept to “mature” in the Y.C.L. and no hurry is shown to transfer them to the Party; yet they are people in the flush of life and health and enjoy full civil rights. I think it would be inadvisable to keep these people five or six extra years in the Y.C.L. by making it difficult for them to join the Party.
Y.C.L. members not holding leading posts in that organization should be allowed, on joining the Party, to belong to only one organization, namely, the Party organization. They will then receive their training in both educational and organizational work wholly in the Party. Why should they be under two district committees and two primary organizations? Why should they have to think about what study circle to join – Y.C.L. or Party? I think the position of Y.C.L. members who belong to the Party should be clearly defined. A man has passed through the preparatory school of the Y.C.L., is worthy of joining the Party, and has been accepted into its ranks. Let him then work in its organization. I think this will clarify the position of Communists of Y.C.L. age and at the same time will help to improve the whole work of the Y.C.L. in educating and preparing its best people to join the Party. (Applause.)
Secondly, I think the time has also come to strengthen the role of the Y.C.L. in state and economic affairs, and to have this reflected in the Party Rules.
Comrades, in spite of the immense importance of the Y.C.L., and in spite of the immense assistance it renders the Party, it suffers from one defect to which the attention both of the Y.C.L. and of our Party organizations should be drawn, and that is that it does not take a sufficient part in the life of the state and is too prone to confine itself to its own Y.C.L. affairs.
We must now examine the matter from another aspect: as far as the agitation and propaganda work of the Y.C.L. is concerned, it is perfectly clear, in the light of the recent decision of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.), that this work will to a considerable extent be conducted by the Party. We must give the utmost help to the Y.C.L. in this respect both in the way of forces and experience. It would be unthinkable otherwise.
The internal work of the Y.C.L. is very important. But what is its purpose? It obviously must not be an aim in itself. I think the whole work of the Y.C.L. should be radically switched over to training its members to take an active part in state and Party affairs, to the performance of those important tasks of the Y.C.L. which arise from its role of helper of the Party.
And what does this mean practically? It means, for example, that where there is no primary Party organization, but there is a primary Y.C.L. organization, it should assume the function of an active vehicle of the Party’s directions. Why should it not take part in the discussion and decision of economic questions? Let us say, for example, that there is chaos in the administration of a collective farm, that the sowing is going badly, that labour discipline is at a low level – what is to prevent the Y.C.L. organization discussing these questions ? Why cannot a Y.C.L. organization take up the question of incompetent work of the management board of a collective farm and set to work to have a bad board replaced by a good one? Why cannot a Y.C.L. organization discuss the shortcomings of a village Soviet? Why cannot it, on the instructions of the Party district committee, undertake to carry out the Party’s instructions and directions if they are not being attended to simply because there is no primary Party organization? I consider that the Y.C.L. organization can do this and should do it. The Y.C.L. organizations should have the right of initiative in submitting to Party organizations big and little questions affecting state and economic affairs, questions concerning the improvement of production work in factory or collective farm, the Stakhanov movement, the state of public baths or public laundries, bad traffic regulation, disorderliness in schools, and so on – I will not enumerate all the big and little problems of our Soviet and economic affairs. Are Y.C.L. organizations paying much attention to these questions now? I affirm that they are not. If the Y.C.L. organizations set to work on these questions, and do not only discuss internal Y.C.L. affairs, do not stew in their own juice, they will enter the broad field of more active participation in all our work of socialist construction. The growth of the cadres of future Party and state workers will be greatly accelerated. The Y.C.L. members will receive a real schooling. (Applause.)
In view of this, I do not think that we should adopt the proposal to abolish joint Party-Y.C.L. groups, a proposal which is based on the alleged grounds that these groups have no virility. They have no virility just now because they do not know what to do. If we put a new content into the work of the Party-Y.C.L. groups, if, for example, Communists in the rural localities, wherever there are not enough of them to form a Party organization, get together with the Y.C.L. members to discuss how to improve the work of the collective farm, how to improve cultural and political work, to work out a general line of conduct with regard to important political, economic and cultural affairs in their locality, such Party-Y.C.L. groups should be preserved and not abolished. (Applause.)
7. The next proposal is that Party cards should not be taken away from persons when expelled from the Party until the expulsion has been endorsed by the regional committee. This proposal is a right one and should be adopted.
8. There was a proposal that plenary meetings of city committees and district committees should be held not less than once in six weeks. It would be advisable to adopt this proposal too.
9. It has been proposed, in amendment of the existing clause of the Rules, to sanction the formation of Party groups in Party organizations with less than one hundred Communists. As you know, the Rules provide for the formation of Party groups only where there are one hundred Communists and over. I think that this is also a proposal that should be accepted.
10. There is one other amendment suggested to the Rules; it is that the opinion of social organizations regarding an applicant for membership in the Party should not be demanded. I think this proposal is advisable. The recommendations of Party comrades are quite sufficient when a person applies to join the Party.
Such are the proposals and additions to the Rules which it would be advisable to adopt.
Comrades, the discussion of the Rules has been of great benefit to the Party. It has revealed a heightened sense of responsibility in Party members for the affairs of the Party, an increased concern of every Party member for his mother, the Party. The discussion has revealed a tremendous growth in the ideological solidarity of the members of our Party.
For its dimensions, the discussion was an absolutely unprecedented event in the life of our Party. It revealed that the Party is moving at full speed to the complete activization of its ranks, denoting a hitherto unprecedented scope of Party activity.
The U.S.S.R. has entered a new phase of development – the phase of the completion of the building of socialism and of gradual transition from socialism to communism.
This new phase of our historic cause still more enhances the role and significance of our Party.
New grand and impressive prospects are opening up before our Party; new great and complex tasks are confronting it. If it is to accomplish these tasks and perform its role of vanguard fighter in the building of a communist society, our Party must ceaselessly sharpen its organizational weapon. The Party Rules adopted by our congress will be the Rules of the Party of victorious socialism, Rules which will arm our Party members for the successful accomplishment of the task of gradual transition to communism. (Stormy applause.)
Armed with the advanced theory, armed with the advanced policy, organization and ideology of the foremost class, and, having rallied around itself the great and vast Soviet people, our Party is entering the fight for the gradual transition to communism. (Stormy applause.)
Many a time have the forces of decaying capitalism attempted to halt our victorious advance, and they will try to many a time again.
We know that difficulties await us. We realize the complexity of the new tasks we have taken upon ourselves. But we know both the means and conditions of our ultimate victory.
Comrade Stalin said at the Sixteenth Party Congress that our Party will be invincible if it does not fear difficulties and knows how to shape its course. Our great Bolshevik Party is such an invincible Party. (Stormy applause. All rise.)
Comrades, we, the warriors in the army of the great proletarian strategists, the army of Lenin and Stalin, solidly welded around the Leninist-Stalinist Central Committee, around our teacher and leader, Comrade Stalin, will carry forward our glory-wreathed banner, the banner of Bolshevism, to the complete victory of communism. (Stormy applause.)
Long live our great Party!
Long live the genius, the brain, the heart of the Bolshevik Party, of
the whole Soviet people, of the whole of progressive and advanced
humanity – our Stalin! (Loud and prolonged applause and cheers. All rise.)