Eleventh Congress of the C.P.SU (B.)
March 27 - April 2, 1922
Quotation of Lenin's Speech
The only nation that emerged from a reactionary war by revolutionary methods not for the benefit of a particular government, but by overthrowing it, was the Russian nation, and it was the Russian revolution that extricated it. What has been won by the Russian revolution is irrevocable. No power on earth can erase that; nor can any power on earth erase the fact that the Soviet state has been created. This is a historic victory. For hundreds of years states have been built according to the bourgeois model, and for the first time a non-bourgeois form of state has been discovered. Our machinery of government may be faulty, but it is said that the first steam engine that was invented was also faulty. No one even knows whether it worked or not, but that is not the important point; the important point is that it was invented. Even assuming that the first steam engine was of no use, the fact is that we now have steam engines. Even if our machinery of government is very faulty, the fact remains that it has been created; the greatest invention in history has been made; a proletarian type of state has been created. Therefore, let all Europe, let thousands of bourgeois newspapers broadcast news about the horrors and poverty that prevail in our country, about suffering being the sole lot of the working people in our country; the workers all over the world are still drawn towards the Soviet state. These are the great and irrevocable gains that we have achieved. But for us, members of the Communist Party, this meant only opening the door. We are now confronted with the task of laying the foundations of socialist economy. Has this been done? No, it has not. We still lack the socialist foundation. Those Communists who imagine that we have it are greatly mistaken. The whole point is to distinguish firmly, clearly and dispassionately what constitutes the historic service rendered by the Russian revolution from what we do very badly, from what has not yet been created, and what we shall have to redo many times yet. (Lenin, 11th Congress)
History of the CPSU (B) [Short Course]
March 27 - April 2, 1922
In March 1922, the Party held its Eleventh Congress. It was attended by 522 voting delegates, representing 532,000 Party members, which was less than at the previous congress. There were 165 delegates with voice but no vote. The reduction in the membership was due to the Party purge which had already begun.
At this congress the Party reviewed the results of the first year of the New Economic Policy. These results entitled Lenin to declare at the congress:
"For a year we have been retreating. In the name of the Party we must now call a halt. The purpose pursued by the retreat has been achieved. This period is drawing, or has drawn, to a close. Now our purpose is different -- to regroup our forces." (Ibid., p. 238.)
Lenin said that NEP meant a life and death struggle between capitalism and Socialism. "Who will win?" -- that was the question. In order that we might win, the bond between the working class and the peasantry, between Socialist industry and peasant agriculture, had to be made secure by developing the exchange of goods between town and country to the utmost. For this purpose the art of management and of efficient trading would have to be learned.
At that period, trade was the main link in the chain of problems that confronted the Party. Unless this problem were solved it would be impossible to develop the exchange of goods between town and country, to strengthen the economic alliance between the workers and peasants, impossible to advance agriculture, or to extricate industry from its state of disruption.
Soviet trade at that time was still very undeveloped. The machinery of trade was highly inadequate. Communists had not yet learned the art of trade; they had not studied the enemy, the Nepman, or learned how to combat him. The private traders, or Nepmen, had taken advantage of the undeveloped state of Soviet trade to capture the trade in textiles and other goods in general demand. The organization of state and co-operative trade became a matter of utmost importance.
After the Eleventh Congress, work in the economic sphere was resumed with redoubled vigour. The effects of the recent harvest failure were successfully remedied. Peasant farming showed rapid recovery. The railways began to work better. Increasing numbers of factories and plants resumed operation.
Messages of Solidarity
Greeting Message of the Comintern (SH)
95. anniversary of the XI Congress of the RCP (B)
March 27, 1922 - March 27, 2017
The 11th Congress was the fourth main chain link, which the Bolsheviks had successfully tackled since the October Revolution.
a) The main chain link in 1917 was the withdrawal from the imperialist First World War.
b) In the years 1919 and 1920, the main chain link, which had to be tackled, that was the military resistance to the counter-revolution and to the intervention by the imperialist world powers.
c) In 1921, it was about the NEP retreat to maintain proletarian order and to maintain Soviet power by strengthening the alliance with the peasants.
d) And in 1922 it was necessary to end the period of the NEP retreat and to go into the offensive for the construction of socialism. This task was discussed and decided on the 11th Congress of the RCP (B).
The XI Congress was the last congress on which Lenin took part. Despite his illness, Lenin gave the political accountability report. In this, he exercised Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism about the results of the NEP (New Economic Policy).
What was the main task of the NEP?
The main task of the NEP was to build up the economic basis of socialism with the help of the peasants, that is, to combine the peasants' merchandize economy with the large-scale socialist production. In this temporary transition period, 5 different socio-economic forms did co-exist:
1) the old patriarchal peasant economy (natural economy)
2) small production (the majority of grain farmers)
3) private capitalism
4) state capitalism
It was Lenin's chief concern to secure the combination of the socialist industry and the peasant economy.
This merger goes slowly, but once it gets underway, "such an acceleration of this movement will begin, of which we can not even dream of at the moment." (Lenin)
At the party congress Lenin spoke frankly about the difficulties which occured during the implementation of the NEP, and he said:
"The whole point is that the responsible Communists, even the best of them, who are unquestionably honest and loyal, who in the old days suffered penal servitude and did not fear death, do not know how to trade, because they are not businessmen, they have not learnt to trade, do not want to learn and do not understand that they must start learning from the beginning. Communists, revolutionaries who have accomplished the greatest revolution in the world, on whom the eyes of, if not forty pyramids, then, at all events, forty European countries are turned in the hope of emancipation from capitalism, must learn from ordinary salesmen. But these ordinary salesmen have had ten years’ warehouse experience and know the business, whereas the responsible Communists and devoted revolutionaries do not know the business, and do not even realise that they do not know it."
In all the preceding periods, the Bolshevik Party was the decisive lever for the overthrow of tsarism and the bourgeoisie, for the conquest of the political power of the proletariat. These were periods of revolutionary upheaval. This changed with the victory of the October revolution. From now on, it was necessary to protect the October revolution and to build up the proletarian state and to take over economical tasks. If it was necessary in the past to smash the old state order, it became now necessary to establish a new state order, and create a new economical order. We recommend the study the writing of Stalin: "The Party Before and After Taking Power" (August 28, 1921).
After the proletariat has taken power, the party did not stop to be a revolutionary party ( as some "left" radicals claimed), but rather protected the revolution by consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is no different in the socialist world revolution. A proletarian party of the revolutionary overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie remains a revolutionary party only if it is ready and able to turn into a party of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
At the 11th Congress, the Bolshevik Party had thus to fight against such elements in its own ranks, which had not yet understood or did not want to understand that the party of the October Revolution had meanwhile become a party which paves the way towards socialism. Instead of the battle forms of the insurrection and the strike, new economic forms (NEPs) had to be set up to pave the way for socialist construction.
There are also still today "rrr-revolutionary" noisy troublemakers who disqualify this process of transformation of the party into an instrument of the power of the proletariat as "reactionary" and "counterrevolutionary". If the 11th Congress would not have decided to implement the course for the consolidation of the proletarian state, the Soviet power would not have existed anymore after a few days. It was Lenin who, at the 11th Congress, made it clear who was really revolutionary in the implementation of the NEP and who was counter-revolutionary in truth.
It must not be forgotten today that the Bolsheviks had to break totally new ground, where mistakes and deficiencies were unavoidable. Therefore, the 11th Congress of the RCP (B) can be characterized as a Congress of learning from experiences about the first uncertain steps of the transformation from capitalism to socialism in a period of retreat. Today we are lucky not only to learn from the mistakes and shortcomings of the past, but above all from their successful overcoming. Thanks to the historical experience of the 11th Congress, certain mistakes and shortcomings in the construction of world socialism are no longer inevitable. It is an invaluable internationalist contribution by the Bolsheviks, that will infinitely facilitate the creation of world socialism.
We're going to make mistakes unavoidably, too, because we have to break new ground on a global scale. But the Bolsheviks in Russia have shown us that even mistakes on a global scale can be victoriously overcome.
The implementation of the NEP encountered resistance of both the rightist and "leftist" opportunistic elements within the ranks of the Party. The "leftist opposition" attacked Lenin's NEP as so called "betrayal of the October revolution", which would allegedly end up in the "restoration of capitalism". The "left" opposition spread panic about the NEP and put the kiss of death on the Soviet power.
However, Lenin gave them the right answer:
"It is terribly difficult to retreat after a great victorious advance, for the relations are entirely different. During a victorious advance, even if discipline is relaxed, everybody presses forward on his own accord. During a retreat, however, discipline must be more conscious and is a hundred times more necessary, because, when the entire army is in retreat, it does not know or see where it should halt. It sees only retreat; under such circumstances a few panic-stricken voices are, at times, enough to cause a stampede. The danger here is enormous. When a real army is in retreat, machine-guns are kept ready, and when an orderly retreat degenerates into a disorderly one, the command to fire is given, and quite rightly, too." [highlighted by the Comintern (SH)]
And Lenin turned his weapon not only against the "revolutionary" phrases of the "workers' opposition", but also against the open opportunists.
The open, the rightist opportunists, such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kanenev, Radek, Bukharin, Rykov, Sokolnikov, and others, did not believe in socialism "in one country." They tried in vain to weaken the socialist position and to strengthen, instead, the position of capitalism. At the congress, Lenin criticized both the "leftist" and the rightist capitulants, rebuffed them and consolidated the unity of the party. The party's purification campaign of 170,000 members, initiated in 1921, had a positive effect on the eleventh Congress, and was an expression of the vigilance and determination of the Bolsheviks. The implementation of the NEP remained strictly under the power of the dictatorship of the proletariat. During the unavoidable economic retreat the workers kept the political reins firmly in hand.
Lenin taught the party not only to march forward in the revolution, but also to master a disciplined, orderly retreat in order to launch an even broader and wider offensive. The further success of the Soviet revolution depended on the support of the peasants, and this support would not have been possible without the NEP. Lenin said:
"We can only reign, if we correctly express, what the people recognize."
"The idea of building communist society exclusively with the hands of the Communists is childish, absolutely childish."
"To build communism with the hands of non-Communists, to acquire the practical ability to do what is economically necessary, we must establish a link with peasant farming; we must satisfy the peasant."
To consolidate the alliance with the masses was, above all, what Lenin demanded from the 11th Congress, namely to pave the way of the masses to the proletarian revolution, to the socialist construction.
Lenin drew the conclusion of the NEP at the eleventh congress, and announced the necessary ending of the NEP:
"For a year we have been retreating. In the name of the Party we must now call a halt. The purpose pursued by the retreat has been achieved. This period is drawing, or has drawn, to a close. Now our purpose is different -- to regroup our forces... as preparation for the offensive against private capital. "
On the new economic basis the alliance of workers and peasants had consolidated. The kulak banditry was almost completely liquidated. Large industries, transport, banks, land, domestic and foreign trade, that is, all commands remained firmly in the hands of Soviet power. The Bolsheviks had achieved a turn at the economic front, and a slow but sure recovery began in all areas of economic development. The correctness of Lenin's NEP was brilliantly confirmed by the glorious history of the Soviet Union. Lenin was firmly convinced that the socialist elements would be victorious in the course of the struggle against the capitalist elements.
Lenin's NEP was not only calculated for the instantaneous victory over capitalism, but in the perspective for the construction of communism. By means of the NEP, Lenin laid the foundation for the classless society. Lenin had distinctly emphasized this already at the eleventh party congress:
"The economic power in the hands of the proletarian state of Russia is quite sufficient to ensure the transition to communism."
The historical tasks, announced by Lenin at the 11th Party Congress, were put into action under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. Finally, it was Comrade Stalin who put this prediction of Lenin into action when he led the Soviet Union to the threshold of communism "in one country." It was only with the murder of Stalin that the modern revisionists succeeded in destroying this work of Lenin and Stalin. At the suggestion of Lenin, the Central Committee of the Party, at its plenary meeting of 3 April 1922, elected Stalin, the best and most faithful pupil and combatant of Lenin, as Secretary-General of the Central Committee. Since that long time, Stalin continued in this post until his last breath.
Some lessons of the 11th Congress
The catastrophes that had broken out at the time of the 11th Congress proved even more difficult than in the first years after the victory of the October Revolution. These were the consequences of the imperialist war, of the civil war and of the famine, which had put the young Soviet power to a heavy test. With the preceding 10th Congress, under the leadership of Lenin, the Bolsheviks had to carry out a sharp turn from war communism to the NEP. It was a life-and-death struggle, between bourgeoisie and proletariat, between capitalism and socialism. "Who - whom ?" This question had not yet been decided in March 1922, and the initial difficulties had been still not overcome.
If we want to build world socialism, then we will be faced with similar difficulties, because by the victory of the socialist world revolution, the emerging problems will in no case be solved by themselves. The class struggle does not cease with the victory of the socialist world revolution. This teaches us the October Revolution and the Civil War in Russia. There will be a tough, more or less protracted struggle with capitalism throughout the world. The question: "who will win - world capitalism or world socialism?" then cannot be answered with finality. In such a critical phase, AFTER the socialist world revolution has already triumphed, capitalism is no longer strong enough to assert itself, but world socialism is still too weak to completely destroy world capitalism. Already Marx and Engels taught in their Communist Manifesto that it is impossible to destroy capital with one stroke.
This is particularly true of today's conditions of globalization, which is characterized by the worldwide network of capital. World capital can only be destroyed on a world scale, and namely not with one stroke, but piece for piece in a toughest class struggle within every country of the world.
Lenin's NEP was of utmost importance not only for the development of the Soviet Union. The NEP is also important for world socialism. Lenin himself said:
"In fact, this is a task that has to be solved by the socialists all over the world."
If we are forced to make an orderly retreat after the victory of the socialist world revolution in order to be able to mobilize broader masses of the peasants for building up the socialist world, then we will surely draw valuable lessons from the 11th Congress of the RCP (B).
The construction of world socialism can not be made by a drop in the sea, called Comintern (SH), but by the majority of the world's population. As a result, the development of world socialism is likely to be slower, but more solid and secure. Then we must retain control, learning revolutionary patience and keeping our nerve. We must not be misled by people who want to create confusion about a global NEP. For some, world socialism develops not fast enough, and for others, world socialism develops too slowly. Both of these trends involve dangers, which we must face in a Stalinist-Hoxhaist way.
State capitalism in a world socialist state?
"On the question of state capitalism, I think that generally our press and our Party make the mistake of dropping into intellectualism, into liberalism; we philosophise about how state capitalism is to be interpreted, and look into old books. But in those old books you will not find what we are discussing; they deal with the state capitalism that exists under capitalism. Not a single book has been written about state capitalism under communism. It did not occur even to Marx to write a word on thissubject; and he died without leaving a single precise statement or definite instruction on it. That is why we must overcome the difficulty entirely by ourselves. And if we make a general mental survey of our press and see what has been written about state capitalism, as I tried to do when I was preparing this report, we shall be convinced that it is missing the target, that it is looking in an entirely wrong direction.
The state capitalism discussed in all books on economics is that which exists under the capitalist system, where the state brings under its direct control certain capitalist enterprises. But ours is a proletarian state it rests on the proletariat; it gives the proletariat all political privileges; and through the medium of the proletariat it attracts to itself the lower ranks of the peasantry (you remember that we began this work through the Poor Peasants Committees). That is why very many people are misled by the term state capitalism. To avoid this we must remember the fundamental thing that state capitalism in the form we have here is not dealt with in any theory, or in any books, for the simple reason that all the usual concepts connected with this term are associated with bourgeois rule in capitalist society. Our society is one which has left the rails of capitalism, but has not yot got on to new rails. The state in this society is not ruled by the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat. We refuse to understand that when we say “state” we mean ourselves, the proletariat, the vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This state capitalism is connected with the state, and the state is the workers, the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard. We are the state.
State capitalism is capitalism that we must confine within certain bounds; but we have not yet learned to confine it within those bounds. That is the whole point. And it rests with us to determine what this state capitalism is to be. We have sufficient, quite sufficient political power; we also have sufficient economic resources at our command, but the vanguard of the working class which has been brought to the forefront to directly supervise, to determine the boundaries, to demarcate, to subordinate and not be subordinated itself, lacks sufficient ability for it. All that is needed here is ability, and that is what we do not have.
Never before in history has there been a situation in which the proletariat, the revolutionary vanguard, possessed sufficient political power and had state capitalism existing along side it. The whole question turns on our understanding that this is the capitalism that we can and must permit, that we can and must confine within certain bounds; for this capitalism is essential for the broad masses of the peasantry and for private capital, which must trade in such a way as to satisfy the needs of the peasantry. We must organise things in such a way as to make possible the customary operation of capitalist economy and capitalist exchange, because this is essential for the people. Without it, existence is impossible. All the rest is not an absolutely vital matter to this camp. They can resign themselves to all that. You Communists, you workers, you, the politically enlightened section of the proletariat, which under took to administer the state, must be able to arrange it so that the state, which you have taken into your hands, shall function the way you want it to. Well, we have lived through a year, the state is in our hands; but has it operated the New Economic Policy in the way we wanted in this past year? No. But we refuse to admit that it did not operate in the way we wanted. How did it operate? The machine refused to obey the hand that guided it. It was like a car that was going not in the direction the driver desired, but in the direction someone else desired; as if it were being driven by some mysterious, lawless hand, God knows whose, perhaps of a profiteer, or of a private capitalist, or of both. Be that as it may, the car is not going quite in the direction the man at the wheel imagines, and often it goes in an altogether different direction. This is the main thing that must be remembered in regard to state capitalism. In this main field we must start learning from the very beginning, and only when we have thoroughly understood and appreciated this can we be sure that we shall learn."
Lenin was right with his NEP, and these are the decisive lessons we must draw if we want to build up world socialism not without the peasant masses under conditions of the dictatorship of the world proletariat. State capitalism will be only one of different co-existing social formations in the beginning of the upbuilding of world socialism, comparable with the initial transition period in times of Lenin. We can not yet know, to what extent we will be forced to resort to Lenin's NEP in the first transition period of world socialism. This depends on conditions for which the time is still not ripe.
We want to close our greeting message with Lenin's concluding speech on the 11th Party Congress:
"Comrades, we have reached the end of our Congress.
The proletarian revolutions maturing in all advanced countries of the world will be unable to solve their problems unless they combine the ability to fight heroically and to attack with the ability to retreat in good revolutionary order. The experience of the second period of our struggle, i.e., the experience of retreat, will in the future probably be just as useful to the workers of at least some countries, as the experience of the first period of our revolution, i.e., the experience of bold attack, will undoubtedly prove useful to the workers of all countries."
After 95 years we will never forget the magnificent heroism displayed by the workers and peasants during the years of intervention and civil war while defending their young Soviet Republic.
Neither the hunger, devastation, lack of fuel, clothing and footwear, the epidemics of typhus and other misfortunes, nor the kulak revolts organized by the agents of the imperialist plunderers who dreamed of carving up Russia and of transforming it into a colony of the imperialist powers - nothing could break the indomitable will of the working people for victory over the exploiting classes, for construction of the new socialist life.
Beneath the banner of the 11th Congress of the RCP (B), the Comintern (SH) marches forward to the triumph of World Socialism and World Communism !
March 27, 2017
March 27- April 2, 1922
Minutes, speeches, decisions, resolutions, etc.
XI. Party Congress
of the RCP (B)
in Russian language
Edited by the Comintern (SH)
On the occasion of the 95th anniversary
27. 3. 1922 - 27. 3. 2017
РЕЗОЛЮЦИИ И ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЯ XI СЪЕЗДА РКП(б)
1. По докладу Центрального комитета 553—554
2. По отчету делегации РКП(б) в Коминтерне 554—556
3. Роль и задачи профсоюзов в условиях новой
экономической политики . . . 556—565
4. О проверке и обновлении руководящих организаций
5. О финансовой политике 566—572
6. О работе в деревне 572—573
7. Об укреплении и новых задачах партии 573—582
8. Резолюция декабрьской 1921 г. конференции РКП(б) по
вопросу об укреплении партии, в связи с учетом опыта
проверки личного состава ее 583—586
9. Практические предложения по организационным вопросам
партстроительства как дополнение к резолюции об
укреплении партии в связи с ее чисткой ......... 587—591
10. О задачах и целях контрольных комиссий 591
11. Положение о контрольных комиссиях 591—594
12. Положение о Центральной ревизионной комиссии . . . 594
13. По вопросу о РКСМ 595—597
14. О печати и пропаганде , 597—603
15. По вопросу о работе среди работниц и крестьянок . . 603
16. Постановление по вопросу об укреплении Красной армии 604—605
17. О некоторых членах бывшей „рабочей оппозиции" . . 605—608
ЛЕНИН И XI СЪЕЗД
1. О роли и задачах профсоюзов в условиях новой
экономической политики 611—618
2. О тезисах тов. Преображенского 618—620
3. Об условиях приема новых членов в партию. Две
записки В. М. Молотову:
4. План политического отчета ЦК РКП(б) на XI съезде
5. Письмо В. М. Молотову о плане Политдоклада на
XI съезде партии . . 626—627
6. План речи на 27 марта 1922 г 628—630
7. Запись прений по отчету ЦК РКП(б) на XI съезде партии. 630—632
8. Набросок плана заключительного слова по отчету ЦК
РКП(б) на XI съезде партии 632—633
9. Письмо т. Осинскому 633—634
10. Записка В. И. Ленина Л. Каменеву на заседании
XI съезда 2 апреля 1922 г 634
11. Письмо Я. А. Яковлева В. И. Ленину 634
1. Отчет за год работы ЦК РКП(б) 637—664
2. Отчет Центрального комитета РКСМ 664—674
3. Основные положения финансовой программы 674—678
4. Об укреплении и новых задачах партии 678—683
5. Тезисы доклада об РКСМ на XI съезде РКП(б) . . . 683—685
6. О печати и пропаганде 686—688
7. Проект положения о контрольных комиссиях 688—692
8. Проект положения о Центральной ревизионной комиссии. 692
9. Постановления, принятые на совещании военных делегатов
XI партсьезда . . . 693
10. Отчет комиссии XI съезда РКП(б) о группе „рабочей
оппозиции" . . . 693—700
11. Список делегатов XI съезда РКП(б) с решающим голосом 701—711
12. Список делегатов съезда с совещательным голосом . 712—715
13. Список организаций, представленных на съезде . . . 716—717
14. Регламент XI съезда Российской коммунистической партии 718
1. Об XI съезде РКП(б) воем организациям РКП(б) . . . 721
2. К сведению всех организаций РКП(б) —
3. Всем Губкомам и Уездкомам РКП(б) —
4. О чистке партии 722—725
5. Итоги проверки, пересмотра и чистки РКП(б) в 1921 г. 725—730
6. Материалы по вопросу о группе „рабочей оппозиции"
на XI съезде РКП(б) 730—739
7. Карточка по учету всероссийских и губернских съездов
И конференций . 739—741
1. Указатель ораторов 779—783
2. Указатель имен 784—812
3. Предметный указатель 813—825
4. Указатель местных партийных организаций 826—827
5. Указатель цитируемых и упоминаемых литературных
работ и источников 828—833
Фотоиллюстрациия—личная анкета В. И. Ленина на
XI съезде (уменьшена) между 4 и 5 стр.
Личная анкета Б. И. Л е н и н а на XI съезде.