I think that our manuals of the "History of the Communist Party" are far from satisfactory, for three main reasons. They are not satisfactory because either they present the history of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. without linking it with the history of the country, or because they limit themselves within the narration, to a simple description of events and achievements of the current struggle without giving the necessary Marxist explanation, or else because they are mistaken in their plan and mistaken in their grouping of events in given periods of time.
In order to avoid these faults, the authors must be aware of the following considerations: firstly, it is necessary to precede each chapter (or part) of the manual with a brief historical introduction on the economic and political situation of the country. Otherwise the history of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. will have the aspect not of a history, but of a superficial recital of incomprehensible things of the past.
Secondly, it is necessary not only to present the facts which show the abundance of contradictions within the Party and in the working class in the period of capitalism in the U.S.S.R., but also to give the Marxist explanations of these facts indicating: a) the presence in Russia before the Revolution of the new classes which were modern from the capitalist viewpoint, equally with the presence of the old pre-capitalist classes; b) the petty-bourgeois characteristics of the country, the heterogenous composition of the working class. It is necessary to indicate these things in so far as they constituted the conditions which favoured the existence of a multitude of contradictions within the Party and within the working class. Otherwise the abundance of these contradictions will remain incomprehensible.
Thirdly it is necessary not only to present a narrative of these facts of this desperate struggle to solve contradictions but also to give the Marxist explanation of these features, indicating that the struggle of the Bolsheviks against these anti-Bolshevik factions and contradictions was chiefly a struggle for the principles of Leninism; that in these capitalist conditions and from a general standpoint, the existence of antagonistic classes, the contradictions and divergencies within the Party are inevitable; that we can only develop and consolidate the proletarian parties, under the conditions indicated by overcoming these contradictions; that without the principle fight against the anti-Leninist groups, without vanquishing them our Party will inevitably degenerate, as have degenerated the Social-Democratic Parties of the Second International which did not accept this struggle. One could use this occasion to mention a well-known letter from Engels to Bernstein (1882), that I cited in the first chapter of my report to the Seventh Plenary Session, enlarging upon "the Social-Democratic deviation in the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R." and added my comments to his subject. Without these explanations the struggle between factions and contradictions in the history of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R., would appear to be merely the facts of an incomprehensible dispute and the Bolsheviks to be incorrigible and tireless quibblers and scrappers.
It is necessary finally to put some order into the grouping by clarifying periods of events in the history of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. I think that the following schema or analogy could serve as a good basis.
1. The struggle for the building of a Social-Democratic Party in Russia. (From the formation of the "Liberation of Labour" group of Plekhanov, in 1883, to the appearance of the first numbers of ISKRA, 1900 – 1901).
2. The formation of the first Social-Democratic Workers Party of Russia, and the appearance within the Party of the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. (1901 – 1904).
3. The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the period of the Russo-Japanese War and the first Russian Revolution (1904 – 1907).
4. The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the period of the reaction of Stolypin. The constitution of the Bolsheviks into an independent Social-Democratic Workers Party (1908 – 1912).
5. The Bolshevik Party in the years of the progress of the Workers movement on the eve of the first imperialist war (1912 – 1914).
6. The Bolshevik Party in the period of the imperialist war, and the second Russian Revolution of February (1914 – March, 1917).
7. The Bolshevik Party in the preparation and realization of the Socialist Revolution of October (April 1917 – 1918).
8. The Bolshevik Party in the period of the Civil War (1918 – 1920).
9. The Bolshevik Party in the period of transition to the peaceful work of building up the National Economy (1921 – 1925).
10. The Bolshevik Party in the struggle for the Socialist industrialization of the country (1926 – 1929).
11. The Bolshevik Party in the struggle for the collectivization of agriculture (1930 – 1934).
12. The Bolshevik Party in the struggle for the achievement of the construction of Socialist society. Also the application of the New Constitution (1935 – 1937).
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