From For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!
No. 6 (222), February 6, 1953

On Class Struggle in Countries of People’s Democracy

Alexej Cepicka
Member, Presidium,
Central Committee,
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Socialist construction in the European countries of people’s democracy is taking place in conditions of sharpening class struggle.

Lenin and Stalin teach us that the transition from capitalism to Socialism cannot proceed peacefully, without bitter class struggle; they teach us that Socialism is achieved only by means of class struggle. Way back in 1919, Lenin, developing the teaching on the dictatorship of the proletariat, pointed out that the dictatorship of proletariat is the continuation of the class struggle of the proletariat but in new forms.

The historic victory of the Soviet Army over Hitler fascism was a decisive condition for the rise of the countries of people’s democracy. The fraternal aid rendered by the mighty Soviet Union saved these countries from civil war and the horrors of foreign intervention. However, the continuation of the class struggle in new forms in the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as indicated by V. I. Lenin, are characteristic for all countries of people’s democracy. The resistance of the exploiters taken on different forms and is manifested in political and economic life, and in the ideological sphere.

Collapse of counter-revolutionary plans of world reaction

After the liberation of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe by the heroic Soviet Army the exploiting classes, relying on their political parties, tried to prevent the establishment of the new socialist system in these countries. They calculated on frustrating democratic changes and on preserving capitalism with the help of these parties. Representatives of the bourgeois parties sought, by means of demagogic speeches in parliament, to sow mistrust in the strength of the working class, mistrust of the Communist Parties and the Soviet Union. The bourgeoisie concentrated in the non-Communist parties the hangers-on of capitalism and fascism, the betrayers of the people whom it saved from just punishment, and the reactionary clergy. Organising resistance to the new system, the bourgeoisie relied in all countries of people’s democracy on the Right-wing Social Democrats, the tried servants of capitalism and betrayers of working-class interests.

There is not a single people’s democratic country in which the criminal activity of bourgeois political parties is not carried out under the leadership of the imperialist aggressors and their diplomatic establishment and representative organs. It was only the presence of Soviet troops which in the early phase prevented the bourgeoisie in the People’s Democracies from unleashing a bloody civil war with the help of foreign armed intervention, from attempting to restore capitalist rule by force, against the will and interests of the people.

The outcome of the attempts by the bourgeoisie to organise anti-popular putsches and to seize power is generally known. In all countries of people’s democracy the bourgeoisie, in the final analysis, suffered defeat; the non–Communist parties were purged of traitors and the working people, under the leadership of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, relying on the selfless extensive aid of the Soviet Union, took the road of socialist construction. As a result of this struggle there strengthened and develop the people’s democratic state as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, called upon to smash the resistance of the overthrown exploiting classes, to rally all working people around the proletariat and to arm the revolution for struggle against the insidious machinations of the foreign enemy-imperialism.

After this defeat, the bourgeoisie, acting on the orders of the U.S. imperialists, threw its reserves onto the front of class struggle. The imperialists began forming these reserves long before the second world war, in the course of war and in the post-war period. Long before the war the chieftains of the imperialist camp discerned the danger which the Communist Parties constituted to the rule of world capitalism, parties that were becoming stronger year by year and growing all the time. It is precisely this that explains why imperialist reaction, using all ways and means, sent its agents, spies and traitors into the Communist Parties with assignment to smash them from within, to sap their strength. In this way the imperialists succeeded in creating inside the Communist Parties agencies which were to further the restoration of capitalism in the countries of people’s democracy. But only one of these fifth columns in the service of the U.S.-British imperialists – the gang of Tito spies and assassins – succeeded in carrying through its black act of foul betrayal of the people’s interests. The exposure of the criminal Tito gang which once again plunged the peoples of Yugoslavia into the grim capitalist slavery was a crushing blow to the machinations of the enemies of the people’s democratic countries. The vigilance of the Communist and Workers’ Parties helped to frustrate in good time the criminal designs of the espionage-conspiracy gangs of Rajk in Hungary, Kostov in Bulgaria, Xoxe in Albania, Slansky in Czechoslovakia, Gomulka-Spychalski in Poland.

The exposure of the fifth column which Slansky organised on the orders of the U.S. imperialists shows most strikingly the dangerous forms of struggle to which the class enemy resorts in order to frustrate socialist construction. The trail of the far-reaching, anti-state conspiracy centre, headed by Slansky, revealed that the subversive and wrecking activity of the conspirators was a vital link in the war plans of the U.S. imperialist in preparing an assault against the Soviet Union and the countries of people’s democracy. At this trial there was also exposed the role of international Zionism as an agency of U.S. imperialism, an agency used by the enemy in order to infiltrate into the Communist Parties. Hence, these fifth columns, which constituted the reserves thrown into battle, also sustained defeat. The attempts by the enemies of democracy and Socialism to seize power in the Communist and Workers’ Parties and in the People’s democratic countries were frustrated.

But the class struggle in the countries of people’s democracy is not confined simply to attempts by reaction to seize power and restore capitalism.

Having nationalised large-scale industry and the banks and having liquidated ownership of land by landlords, the people’s democratic states deprived the capitalist and landlords of their economic base. But in these countries there still remain remnants of exploiters who have had their enterprises taken away from them, former bankers and landlords, big merchants, reactionary military, the clerical hierarchy and reactionary civil servants. There are the kulaks, the most brutal exploiting class. All these holistic elements constitute the pillars on which the Western imperialists rely in their undermining activity against the countries of people’s democracy.

The imperialist seek in every way to support and encourage the resistance of these hostile elements. They send spies, assassins and terrorists into these countries with a view to hampering by subversive means the advance of the working people toward their final goal. The aim of the wrecker-criminals is, in the first place, sabotage in the economic sphere, in industry and agriculture. They organise espionage and sabotage in mills and factories, on the railways and the countryside; they resort to arson, intimidation and assassination, seeking to do as much harm as possible to the economic and in this way to prevent the establishment of the economic base of the new, socialist society, to disrupt the peaceful life of the working people.

But vain are the attempts of the enemies to frustrate the peaceful socialist construction. Smashing the frantic resistance of the class enemies the working people in all people’s-democratic countries are at the same time successfully fulfilling and over fulfilling their national-economic plans, confidently advancing forward towards a happy, well-to-do-life.

Intensified struggle of ideological front

Bitter class struggle is also underway on the ideological front. From the first day of the liberation by the Soviet Army of a number of countries in Central and South-East Europe from the Hitler yoke, the bourgeoisie, which long before the outbreak of World War II had bartered the national interest of their countries to the Hitler fascists and then to the U.S.-British imperialists sought to cover up this fact, to deceive the masses, spreading false theories about class harmony. After the defeat of Hitler fascism the bourgeoisie in the country of people’s democracy tried to assert that all, without exception, that is, exploiters and their victims – the exploited, suffered under the yoke of Hitler fascism, and that all, without exception, fought against this fascist yoke. In this way the bourgeoisie wanted to distract the attention of the working people from the internal forces of reaction, to make them forget that the bourgeoisie had collaborated with the Nazi thugs and that afterward they tried to harness the peoples to the yoke of U.S.-British imperialism, to make them forget the suffering, poverty and exploitation which the “native” bourgeoisie brought upon the working class and working population. But the bourgeoisie did not succeed in deceiving the working people. Thanks to the firmness and steadfastness of the Communist Parties, which headed the struggle against the Hitler oppressors, the Marx-Lenin theory of class struggle became in all countries the mighty weapon of the working people for liberation from capitalist exploitation.

There collapsed also all the attempts of the enemy who penetrated into the Communist and Worker’s Parties to distract them from their leading role in the class struggle by the means of the old, hostile Bukharin theory about the peaceful growing over capitalism into Socialism. The Bukharin capitulatory theory about the dying out of the class struggle in the period of dictatorship of the proletariat, exposed and smashed by Comrade Stalin, likewise suffered defeat in the countries of people’s democracy.

Bourgeois nationalism and cosmopolitanism are particularly dangerous weapons used by the enemies of the people. History teaches that the bourgeoisie resorts to nationalism in order to distract the attention of the masses from the class struggle and to utilise the working-class movement in its own interests. The bourgeoisie in the countries of the people’s democracy strove to act in this manner.

The exploiting classes are widely using cosmopolitanism – the poisoned weapon of U.S. imperialism- in the ideological struggle. Cosmopolitanism is manifested, on the other hand, in cultivating among the masses mistrust in the strength of the people, in denying patriotism, national pride and national consciousness, in scorning the role of Soviet socialist culture, art and science, the role of the proletarian internationalism, and on the other, in cultivating fulsome adoration of the Western way of life, capitalist technique decadent bourgeois culture and so on.

The bourgeoisie uses in its criminal aims also the clergy who are hostile to the people’s-democratic system and particularly the reactionary hierarchy of the Catholic church.

But all this did not help the exploiters. Educated by the Communist and Workers’ Parties, the working people in the people’s-democratic countries are becoming more and more convinced from personal experience that they can correctly solve all questions of life in their country only if they are guided by the teaching of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin.

The struggle on the ideological front continues and is very complex in character. We need to wage an irreconcilable struggle against the bourgeois ideology, to step up Communist education of the working people.

Inculcation of new labour discipline

The overthrown of capitalist rule in the people’s-democratic countries did not destroy all roots of capitalism. Lenin teaches that the petty bourgeoisie in town and countryside daily and hourly throw up from their ranks capitalists, both big and small, and that these capitalist elements do all their power to preserve their existence. This resistance can be overcome only in bitter class struggle. Since the working peasantry has not yet been completely won for collective agriculture, and since part of it still wavering, adhering to private-property farming, the class enemy strives to attract the working peasantry onto their side.

Right from the inception the people’s democratic countries the working class realized that it was necessary to win the working peasantry to its side as a reliable and firm ally. The land reform carried out on a wide scale in the countries of the people’s democracy, and the correct policy of the Communist and Workers’ Parties in the sphere of agriculture, a policy based, on the one hand, on supporting and convincing the working peasantry, and, on the other, on restricting and dislodging the capitalist elements, created favourable conditions for binding the working peasants to the working class by firms bounds and common interests. The development of the co-operative movement in the countryside is living proof that here too, in the process of class struggle, the resistance of the exploiting elements is being overcome and that in all the countries of people democracy the idea of large-scale agriculture, of joint cultivation, is making rapid headway, despite frantic resistance on the part of kulaks.

The People’s-democratic countries, being young countries, did not have sufficient specialists of working-class and working-peasant origin for the work of the state and economic administration. Hence, they had to employ the old intelligentsia both in state administration and in all branches of the national economy, to win to their side all honest specialists and re-educate them. The employment of the old specialist under the leadership and control of the working class was accompanied by a number of difficulties, since not all those who formerly worked for the bourgeoisie were ready to work honestly and conscientiously for the people’s democratic states, to share their experience with the working people. The trials and especially the trial of the anti-state conspiracy centre headed by Slansky, established that it was through these old specialists-saboteurs that the overthrown bourgeoisie directed its main blow at the very heart of the countries of people’s democracy and unfolded wide subversive activity.

The consolidation of the people’s-democratic system and successful development of socialist construction-striking testimony to the great force of the Marxist-Leninist ideas-exert a powerful influence in the matter of re-educating the old intelligentsia for whom the people’s-democratic state provides unprecedented opportunities for applying their knowledge and abilities. Simultaneously, the people’s democratic countries are conducting large-scale training of specialists from the ranks of the workers, from among the working population.

One of the main forms of class struggle in the epoch of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the inculcation of a new discipline. Lenin wrote: “Does not class struggle in the transition period from capitalism to Socialism lie precisely in the fact that it is essential to uphold the interests of the working class against encroachments by the handful, groups and sections of workers who cling might and main to capitalist habits and look on the Soviet state in the same way as before: give ‘it’ as little as possible and as poor quality as possible and grab from ‘it’ as much as possible.”

Education in the spirit of the new discipline constitutes struggle for a socialist attitude towards labour, towards state and public property, a struggle against the survivals of private property, against private-property egoism, etc.

In inculcating the new, conscious discipline, the Party and the state utilise as their main weapon, the weapon of convincing people. It is essential to ensure that every working man becomes convinced that Socialism cannot be built without conscious discipline. Stubborn struggle for conscious discipline must be waged until every working man is convinced that a bad attitude towards labour on his part only helps the class enemy.

Invaluable significance of aid of the U.S.S.R and its experience

The experience of the Soviet Union, the country in which the exploiting classes have been abolished, is of great significance for the working people of the countries of people’s democracy stepping out along the road to Socialism. From the experience they learn how to fight against their class enemies and to triumph over them. The aid and support rendered by the Soviet Union enables the working people in these countries to cope successfully with all difficulties and overcome all the obstacles in the struggle for the new life, for Socialism.

As distinct from the Soviet people who, after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, had to fight against enemies on the fronts of the Civil War, against the armed intervention of the imperialists, the working people of the countries of people’s democracy, thanks to the Soviet Union, were spared this. Had there been no Soviet Union, then the imperialists, undoubtedly, just as they did after the October Revolution, would without hesitating, have organised joint intervention against the people’s-democratic countries in order to smash the forces of democracy and Socialism.

The liberation of the people’s-democratic countries by the heroic Soviet Army created particularly favourable conditions for the working people to deal with their own exploiters without civil war. It goes without saying, however, that the winning of political power by the working class under the leadership of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, took place in conditions of bitter and complicated class struggle in the political, economic and ideological spheres. In this struggle there was achieved unity of the working class which won the majority of the population to its side, and the people’s democratic system triumphed.

The fact that the people’s-democratic states are marching along the road to Socialism not in isolation but in the united camp of peace-loving states, relying on the might of the Soviet Union is the decisive factor in the fierce struggle against the internal and external enemies.

It is necessary to stress particularly the enormous significance of the economic aid rendered by the Soviet Union to all the countries of the people’s democracy. The economic blockade by means of which the imperialist banked on strangling the countries which have ended with the rule of capitalist, has suffered a complete fiasco. The countries of the socialist camp have joined together economically and have established economic co-operation and mutual aid. This cooperation is based on the sincere desire to help each other and to achieve a common economic advance. In effect, as Comrade Stalin points out, not the strangling but the strengthening of the new world market took place.

These peculiarities of the development of the class struggle in the countries of people’s democracy do not signify, however, that the working people of these countries will not experience intensification of class struggle in the transition period from capitalism to Socialism. It is impossible to build the new social system without completely abolishing the exploiting classes in general. And the exploiting classes cannot be abolished overnight – this is a process that embraces an entire historical period. Lenin wrote: “The abolition of the classes is a matter of long, difficult and stubborn class struggle, which, after the overthrow of the power of capital, after the destruction of the bourgeois state, after the establishment of dictatorship of the proletariat, does not disappear (as the vulgar representative of the old Socialism and the old Social-Democracy imagine), but merely changes its forms, in many respects becoming fiercer”.

In this period the working class wages political, economic and ideological struggle, but already with the help of new methods, new forms and with the help of the organs of state power.

Raise revolutionary vigilance!

The experience of the class struggle waged by the working people of the Soviet Union, as well as the course of the class struggle in the countries of the people’s democracy fully confirms the thesis that the class struggle in the transition period from capitalism to Socialism, does not die down and weaken, but, on the contrary, flares up and becomes more and more acute. The exploiting classes and their accomplices, supported and egged on by the Western imperialists, do not become reconciled to the fact that the countries of people’s democracy have taken the path of free, democratic and socialist development. The counter-revolutionary, hostile and terrorist activity of the enemies of Socialism in the countries of the people’s democracy fully confirms Comrade Stalin’s well-known thesis that “There have been no cases in history where dying classes have voluntarily departed from the scene. There have been no cases in history where the dying bourgeoisie has not exerted all its remaining strength to preserve its existence…. Our advance, our offensive, will reduce the capitalist elements and squeeze them out, and they, the dying classes will still carry on their resistance”.

The growing strength of the people’s democratic system, the successes in building Socialism, which are an important contribution to the cause of consolidating the camp of peace and democracy, evoke animal hatred and malice both among the U.S.-British imperialist and the remnants of the overthrown exploiting classes inside the countries of people’s democracy. The frantic resistance of the defeated reactionaries and exploiters is explained not by the fact that these classes are growing stronger but by the fact that, increasingly, they are becoming weaker. In the words of Comrade Stalin, the dying classes feel that their doom is approaching, and consequently, they resist with all the forces and all the means at their disposal. It is precisely now that the imperialist criminals, headed by U.S. imperialist driving for world domination, unfolding preparations for a new world slaughter, are doing all in their power to further the resistance of the overthrown exploiting classes.

In the conditions of sharpening class struggle of special significance is the ideological work of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, the education of the Party members and of the entire working people in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, in the spirit of high political vigilance and socialist patriotism, the inculcation of love for and loyalty to their own people’s democratic state and the Soviet Union - bulwark of peace and security of the peoples, the best friend of the people’s democratic countries.

The sharpening of the class struggle demands from the Communist and Workers’ Parties that they raise revolutionary vigilance in every way. Any slackening of vigilance plays into the hands of the class enemy. Negligence is the most dangerous because it stems from the complacency and smugness that follow from success. The working people in the countries of people’s democracy have achieved considerable success on all sectors of socialist construction. But in no circumstance must these successes lead to negligence which the class enemy will always strive to utilise. It is necessary in the future too, to strengthen the state apparatus in every way, and particularly those state organs which have the function of guarding the home and external-security of the country, the creative labour of the people, their freedom and independence.

We should always remember Comrade Stalin’s profound words to the effect that “the tactical basis of scientific Socialism is the doctrine of irreconcilable class struggle, since this is the best weapon in the hand of the proletariat. The class struggle of the proletariat – that is the weapon with which it will capture political power and then expropriate the bourgeoisie in order to establish Socialism.”

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