Fourteenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)
December 18 - December 31, 1925
The Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) took place in Moscow, December 18-31, 1925.
The congress discussed the political and organisational reports of the Central Committee the reports of the Auditing Commission, of the Central Control.
1925 - the Bolshevik nucleus of the party - with Stalin at the head
In the struggle against the doubters and capitulators, the Trotskyites and Zinovievites, against Bukharin and Kamenev, and after the great leader Lenin left the battlefield, finally a leading core of the party was formed, consisting of
Molotov, Voroshilov, Kuibyshev, Frunze, Dzerzhinsky, Kaganpwitsch, Ordzhonikidze, Kirov, Yaroslavsky, Mikoyan, Andreyev, Shvernik, Shadanow, Schkirjatow and other,
Under the great banner of Lenin the party merged the legacy of Lenin and the Soviet people towards the broad road of industrialization of the country and the collectivization of agriculture.
The leader of this core team and the leading man of the party and the state was Comrade Stalin.
By means of the New Economic Policy, decisive results were obtained in the restoration of the economic life of the country. The Soviet Union emerged from the period of economic restoration with success and entered a new period, the period of industrialization of the country.
The transition from Civil War to peaceful Socialist construction was accompanied by great difficulties, especially in the early stages. The enemies of Bolshevism, the anti-Party elements in the ranks of the C.P.S.U.(B.), waged a desperate struggle against the Leninist Party all through this period. These anti-Party elements were headed by Trotsky. His henchmen in this struggle were Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin. After the death of Lenin, the oppositionists calculated on demoralizing the ranks of the Bolshevik Party, on splitting the Party, and infecting it with disbelief in the possibility of the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. In point of fact, the Trotskyites were trying to form another party in the U.S.S.R., a political organization of the new bourgeoisie, a party of capitalist restoration.
The Party rallied under the banner of Lenin around its Leninist Central Committee, around Comrade Stalin, and inflicted defeat both on the Trotskyites and on their new friends in Leningrad, the Zinoviev Kamenev New Opposition.
History of the CPSU (B)
- short course -
The victory of the proletarian revolution in the capitalist countries was a matter of vital concern to the working people of the U.S.S.R.
The Central Committee demanded that this line be discussed at the forthcoming Fourteenth Party Conference, and that it be endorsed and accepted as the line of the Party, as a Party law, binding upon all Party members.
This line of the Party came as a thunderbolt to the oppositionists, above all, because the Party lent it a specific and practical character, linked it with a practical plan for the Socialist industrialization of the country, and demanded that it be formulated as a Party law, as a resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference, binding upon all Party members.
The Trotskyites opposed this Party line and set up against it the Menshevik "theory of permanent revolution," which it would be an insult to Marxism to call a Marxist theory, and which denied the possibility of the victory of Socialist construction in the U.S.S.R.
The Bukharinites did not venture to oppose the Party line outspokenly. But they furtively set up against it their own "theory" of the peaceful growing of the bourgeoisie into Socialism, amplifying it with a "new" slogan -- "Get Rich!" According to the Bukharinites, the victory of Socialism meant fostering and encircling the bourgeoisie, not destroying it.
Zinoviev and Kamenev ventured forth with the assertion that the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. was impossible because of the country's technical and economic backwardness, but they soon found it prudent to hide under cover.
The Fourteenth Party Conference (April, 1925) condemned all these capitulatory "theories" of the open and covert oppositionists and affirmed the Party line of working for the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., adopting a resolution to this effect.
Driven to the wall, Zinoviev and Kamenev preferred to vote for this resolution. But the Party knew that they had only postponed their struggle and had decided to "give battle to the Party" at the Fourteenth Party Congress. They were mustering a following in Leningrad and forming the so-called "New Opposition."
The situation within the Party was tense and strained. Never in its history had there been a case when the whole delegation from an important Party centre like Leningrad had prepared to come out in opposition to their Central Committee.
The congress was attended by 665 delegates with vote and 641 with voice but no vote, representing 643,000 Party members and 445,000 candidate members, or a little less than at the previous congress. The reduction was due to a partial purge, a purge of the Party organizations in universities and offices to which anti-Party elements had gained entrance.
The political report of the Central Committee was made by Comrade Stalin. He drew a vivid picture of the growth of the political and economic might of the Soviet Union. Thanks to the advantages of the Soviet economic system, both industry and agriculture had been restored in a comparatively short space of time and were approaching the pre-war level. But good as these results were, Comrade Stalin proposed that we should not rest there, for they could not nullify the fact that our country still remained a backward, agrarian country. Two-thirds of the total production of the country was provided by agriculture and only one-third by industry. Comrade Stalin said that the Party was now squarely confronted with the problem of converting our country into an industrial country, economically independent of capitalist countries. This could be done, and must be done. It was now the cardinal task of the Party to fight for the Socialist industrialization of the country, for the victory of Socialism.
"The conversion of our country from an agrarian into an industrial country able to produce the machinery it needs by its own efforts -- that is the essence, the basis of our general line," said Comrade Stalin.
The Zinovievites opposed the general line of the Party. As against Stalin's plan of Socialist industrialization, the Zinovievite Sokolnikov put forward a bourgeois plan, one that was then in vogue among the imperialist sharks. According to this plan, the U.S.S.R. was to remain an agrarian country, chiefly producing raw materials and foodstuffs, exporting them, and importing machinery, which it did not and should not produce itself. As conditions were in 1925, this was tantamount to a plan for the economic enslavement of the U.S.S.R. by the industrially developed foreign countries, a plan for the perpetuation of the industrial backwardness of the U.S.S.R. for the benefit of the imperialist sharks of the capitalist countries.
The adoption of this plan would have converted our country into an impotent agrarian, agricultural appendage of the capitalist world; it would have left it weak and defenceless against the surrounding capitalist world, and in the end would have been fatal to the cause of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.
Equally unsuccessful were the other sorties of the "New Opposition" as, for instance, when they asserted (in defiance of Lenin) that our state industries were not Socialist industries, or when they declared (again in defiance of Lenin) that the middle peasant could not be an ally of the working class in the work of Socialist construction.
Comrade Stalin laid bare the Trotskyite-Menshevik essence of the "New Opposition." He showed that Zinoviev and Kamenev were only harping on the old tunes of the enemies of the Party with whom Lenin had waged so relentless a struggle.
Comrade Stalin stressed the point that the main task of our Party was to maintain a firm alliance between the working class and the middle peasant in the work of building Socialism. He pointed to two deviations on the peasant question existing in the Party at that time, both of which constituted a menace to this alliance. The first deviation was the one that underestimated and belittled the kulak danger, the second was the one that stood in panic fear of the kulak and underestimated the role of the middle peasant. To the question, which deviation was worse, Comrade Stalin replied: "One is as bad as the other. And if these deviations are allowed to develop they may disintegrate and destroy the Party. Fortunately there are forces in our Party capable of ridding it of both deviations."
Summing up the debate on the question of economic development, the Fourteenth Party Congress unanimously rejected the capitulatory plans of the oppositionists and recorded in its now famous resolution:
"In the sphere of economic development, the congress holds that in our land, the land of the dictatorship of the proletariat, there is 'every requisite for the building of a complete Socialist society' (Lenin ). The congress considers that the main task of our Party is to fight for the victory of Socialist construction in the U.S.S.R."
Though defeated at the congress, the Zinovievites did not submit to the Party. They started a fight against the decisions of the Fourteenth Congress. Immediately following the congress, Zinoviev called a meeting of the Leningrad Provincial Committee of the Young Communist League, the leading group of which had been reared by Zinoviev, Zalutsky, Bakayev, Yevdokimov, Kuklin, Safarov and other double-dealers in a spirit of hatred of the Leninist Central Committee of the Party. At this meeting, the Leningrad Provincial Committee passed a resolution unparalleled in the history of the Y.C.L.: it refused to abide by the decisions of the Fourteenth Party Congress.
But the Zinovievite leaders of the Leningrad Y.C.L. did not in any way reflect the mind of the mass of Young Communist Leaguers of Leningrad. They were therefore easily defeated, and soon the Leningrad organization recovered the place in the Y.C.L. to which it was entitled.
Towards the close of the Fourteenth Congress a group of congress delegates -- Comrades Molotov, Kirov, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Andreyev and others -- were sent to Leningrad to explain to the members of the Leningrad Party organization the criminal, anti-Bolshevik nature of the stand taken up at the congress by the Leningrad delegation, who had secured their mandates under false pretences. The meetings at which the reports on the congress were made were marked by stormy scenes. An extraordinary conference of the Leningrad Party organization was called. The overwhelming majority of the Party members of Leningrad (over 97 per cent) fully endorsed the decisions of the Fourteenth Party Congress and condemned the anti-Party Zinovievite "New Opposition." The latter already at that time were generals without an army.
"The historical significance of the Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U. lies in the fact that it was able to expose the very roots of the mistakes of the New Opposition, that it spurned their scepticism and sniveling, that it clearly and distinctly indicated the path of the further struggle for Socialism, opened before the Party the prospect of victory, and thus armed the proletariat with an in vincible faith in the victory of Socialist construction." (Stalin, Leninism, Vol. I, p. 319.)
* * *
After the Fourteenth Congress, the Party launched a vigorous struggle for the realization of the general line of the Soviet Government -- the Socialist industrialization of the country.
In the restoration period the task had been to revive agriculture before all else, so as to obtain raw materials and foodstuffs, to restore and to set going the industries, the existing mills and factories.
Secondly, industry in the restoration period rested on too narrow a foundation: it lacked machine-building plants absolutely indispensable to the country. Hundreds of these plants had to be built, for without them no country can be considered as being really industrialized. The task now was to build these plants and to equip them on up-to-date lines.
Thirdly, the industries in this period were mostly light industries. These were developed and put on their feet. But, beyond a certain point, the further development even of the light industries met an obstacle in the weakness of heavy industry, not to mention the fact that the country had other requirements which could be satisfied only by a well-developed heavy industry. The task now was to tip the scales in favour of heavy industry.
It was necessary to build up a large number of new industries, industries which had not existed in tsarist Russia -- new machinery, machine tool, automobile, chemical, and iron and steel plants -- to organize the production of engines and power equipment, and to increase the mining of ore and coal. This was essential for the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.
It was necessary to create a new munitions industry, to erect new works for the production of artillery, shells, aircraft, tanks and machine guns. This was essential for the defence of the U.S.S.R., surrounded as it was by a capitalist world.
It was necessary to build tractor works and plants for the production of modern agricultural machinery, and to furnish agriculture with these machines, so as to enable millions of small individual peasant farms to pass to large-scale collective farming. This was essential for the victory of Socialism in the countryside.
Clearly, construction work on so large a scale would necessitate the investment of thousands of millions of rubles. To count on foreign loans was out of the question, for the capitalist countries refused to grant loans. We had to build with our own resources, without foreign assistance. But we were then a poor country.
Capitalist countries as a rule built up their heavy industries with funds obtained from abroad, whether by colonial plunder, or by exacting indemnities from vanquished nations, or else by foreign loans. The Soviet Union could not as a matter of principle resort to such infamous means of obtaining funds as the plunder of colonies or of vanquished nations. As for foreign loans, that avenue was closed to the U.S.S.R., as the capitalist countries refused to lend it anything. The funds had to be found inside the country.
And they were found. Financial sources were tapped in the U.S.S.R. such as could not be tapped in any capitalist country. The Soviet state had taken over all the mills, factories, and lands which the October Socialist Revolution had wrested from the capitalists and landlords, all the means of transportation, the banks, and home and foreign trade. The profits from the state-owned mills and factories, and from the means of transportation, trade and the banks now went to further the expansion of industry, and not into the pockets of a parasitic capitalist class.
The Soviet Government had annulled the tsarist debts, on which the people had annually paid hundreds of millions of gold rubles in interest alone. By abolishing the right of the landlords to the land, the Soviet Government had freed the peasantry from the annual payment of about 500,000,000 gold rubles in rent. Released from this burden, the peasantry was in a position to help the state to build a new and powerful industry. The peasants had a vital interest in obtaining tractors and other agricultural machinery.
All these sources of revenue were in the hands of the Soviet state. They could yield hundreds and thousands of millions of rubles for the creation of a heavy industry. All that was needed was a business-like approach, the strictly economical expenditure of funds, rationalization of industry, reduction of costs of production, elimination of unproductive expenditure, etc.
Thanks to a regime of strict economy, the funds available for capital development increased from year to year. This made it possible to start on gigantic construction works like the Dnieper Hydro-Electric Power Station, the Turkestan-Siberian Railway, the Stalingrad Tractor Works, a number of machine-tool works, the AMO (ZIS) Automobile Works and others.