Statement of the Comintern (SH )
26 February 2014
Winter 1894 , Lenin became acquainted with Nadezhna Konstantinovna Krupskaya. She was a teacher at evening classes in Nevsky suburb of Petersburg. Since then N. K. Krupskaya was the closest friend and comrade of Lenin during his whole revolutionary struggle - until the end of his life.
Krupskaya was not always in line with comrade Stalin and the majority of the Bolshevist party, especially not in the time shortly before and after the death of Lenin. The enemies of Leninism tried to take advantage from this critical period in which the question arose: "Who will be the successor of Lenin ?" In the course of this struggle, both the Trotkyism and Bukharinism was smashed by Stalin.
In regard of the assessment of Comrade Krupskaya , the Comintern (SH ) draws a demarcation line against two existing political currents, which appear to be contradictory, however which are in truth complementary - namely two political currents which are anti-Leninist-Stalinist and last not least directed against the person of comrade Krupskaya herself.
Firstly, we defend Krupskaya against those who try to label her falsely as allegedly "Revisionist".
The very thought that Lenin could have shared his whole life with an alleged " Revisionist " is completely absurd. This accusation is not only an attack on Krupskaya , but ultimately also at Lenin. It is a totally unjustified accusation that we must reject categorically, even if this political current is only represented by a very small minority.
Krupskaya was not only the wife of Lenin, but a leading comrade of the Bolshevik Party - and this until the end of her life. She has done important and valuable work for the construction of the Bolshevik Party at the side of Lenin: And after Lenin's death, she has actively participated in the construction of socialism - despite her disease from which she suffered since 1912, and despite some contradictions with the leadership of the Bolshevist party. Stalin, who - as everyone knows - did not always agree with Krupskaya. The party was often forced to correct her. Nevertheless, The Bolshevist party with comrade Stalin at the head appreciated the party-work of Krupskaya on the whole. So, those who call Krupskaya a "Revisionist" do not only oppose to Leninism but also to Stalinism.
Up to the present day there are still attempts of the bourgeoisie to drive a wedge between Lenin and Stalin, between Leninism and Stalinism by means of the figure of Lenin's wife. The lackeys of the bourgeoisie are still trying to discredit communism and its leaders, to separate the communist movement from its leaders, to alienate them from the working class, with the aim to weaken and to liquidate communism.
Krupskaya belongs neither to the Trotskyists , nor to the revisionists . She did not belong to the Fifth Column of the counter-revolutionary camp of the bourgeoisie (like the Trotskyists and revisionists). She belonged to the camp of the proletariat , to the camp of communism , to the camp of the revolution.
Krupskaya was a good communist, if even fraught with partly serious errors.
Just as Rosa Luxemburg has made mistakes, also Krupskaya has made mistakes. But this does not mean that they were allegedly "counter-revolutionaries" - as claimed by some " noble communists". Lenin has never labeled Rosa Luxemburg as a "counter-revolutionary". And also Stalin did not do with Nadezhna Krupskaya .
Stalin liquidated counter-revolutionaries, enemies of the party, in contrast to communists like comrade Krupskaya.
What do our opponents intend with their adventurous assertions?
It is clear - they want to discredit communist leaders - simply because these communist leaders have committed serious errors. This false and dangerous attitude toward the errors of Krupskaya corresponds to the political current of liquidationism .
Stalin said the following :
"We knew that the policy of amputation was fraught with great dangers for the Party, that the method of amputation, the method of blood-letting — and they demanded blood — was dangerous, infectious: today you amputate one limb, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third — what will we have left in the Party?" [ The Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) - December 18-31, 1925, Volume 7 ].
Krupskaya differed from the enemies of the working class because she was able and willing to correct her fatal errors.
Traitors to the working class, on the contrary, are neither able nor willing to give up their treachery, let alone to correct and overcome their betrayal in practice.
This distinguishes such comrades like Krupskaya from traitors like Trotsky.
Those who do not see this decisive difference, respectively those who do not want to see that such comrades with errors must be treated totally different from traitors of the working class, are totally wrong. These people do not understand the meaning of Bolshevist criticism and self-criticism. These elements deny fundamental principles of Marxism- Leninism.
And secondly, we defend Krupskaya against those who conceal her heavy errors. They try to exonerate Krupskaya only in order to put the blame on Stalin.
This latter outrageous policy was once used by the modern revisionists, in particular by the Khrushchevites (see: Khrushchev's shocking "secret report" on the XX . Congress ). Today, the Maoists have raised this revisionist banner. So we must turn our special attention to the second political current – namely to unmask neo-revisionism.
The Maoists ( MLPD in Germany ) took up an anti-Stalinist stance in their newly published " Krupskaya biography" ( by Volker Hoffmann). This anti- Stalinist attitude can not remain unanswered.
The MLPD describes Krupskaya as an alleged "fearless critic of some decisions of the Central Committee led by Stalin."
"Nothing can be further from our mind than to blame Nadezhda Konstantinovna for not having been resolute enough to break openly with the bureaucracy." This typical criticism of so called "Stalinist bureaucracy" often used by the MLPD is - exceptionally not from the MLPD but from Trotsky personally ( 4 March 1939). The striking similarity of both quotations is unambiguously. Obviously, the Maoists follow in the footsteps of Trotsky. This is nothing new. And so it is not surprising that the MLPD praises Krupskaya's mistakes namely in the same manner as Trotsky.
Since when does a Marxist- Leninist party exist which praises the " boldness " of criticism at Stalin? With this, the MLPD directs grist to the mill of the Trotskyites and revisionists. And so the MLPD differs in nothing from the anti - Stalinism of the bourgeoisie ! The MLPD is an anti - Stalinist party , is an anti - Marxist- Leninist party. These anti-Stalinists do not deserve the name of a "Marxist-Leninist Party". This is the view of the Comintern (SH ).
Has there been a decision of the Central Committee, which violated Marxism- Leninism ? We 're all ears , dear Sir and Madam of the MLPD! You know very well that all the critiques at the Central Committee, led by comrade Stalin, has always turned out to be nothing else than critiques at Leninism. Such people, as that of the MLPD, they criticize Stalinism denunciatingly, whereas they want to hit Leninism in truth.
Stalin, and with him the whole party, the CC and even the Comintern have critized the anti -Leninist position of the so called "Opposition" which was supported by Krupskaya. This is proved by historical documents. So it is quite clear why we Stalinist Hoxhaists uphold the Stalinist criticism at Krupskaya.
By the way, Krupskaya did not at all mention the leading role of comrade Stalin in the preface, which Krupskaya had written to the book of John Reed, in which Trotsky is praised to the skies while the word " Stalin" was completely missing [ "10 days that shook the world" ] .
Without a doubt. Krupskaya collaborated hiddenly and finally openly with the Trotskyites, with Kamenev and Zinoviev, and other hostile elements within the party, called the "Opposition". She violated the unity of the party. The leading elements of the "Opposition" wanted to be the successors of Lenin. Their intention was to implement the aims of the international bourgeoisie, namely to overthrow the young Soviet Republic, to keep it away from the course towards socialism and to liquidate the Bolshevik party.
It is clear that we Stalinist-Hoxhaists can not appreciate the merits of Krupskaya without pointing to her grave mistakes.
In their treacherous attitude towards Krupskaya, the Maoists maneuver in the wake of the modern revisionists. In words they "criticize" the Khrushchevites , but in their "Krupskaya biography" they share basically the revisionist criticism at Stalin. The Maoists follow faithfully to Mao's criticism at Stalin. The Maoists "defend" Stalinism in words, while they fight against Stalinism in deeds. This double-dealing is completely consistent with all today's neo- revisionists.
Through resorting to the person of Krupskaya, the Khrushchevites rehabilitated Trotskyism.
Through resorting to the person of Krupskaya, the Maoists of today rehabilitate the Khrushchevites .
Unfortunately, Krupskaya is an easy prey for almost all opponents of Stalinism, though Krupskaya had taken an openly anti-Leninist stance only for a relatively short time during her entire revolutionary life. All the more it is our duty to prevent Krupskaya from every misuse.
We neither support a rightist nor a "leftist " - or a "neutral" position towards comrade Krupskaya.
We share the tough revolutionary stance of comrade Stalin, who openly and relentlessly criticized the mistakes made by Krupskaya. He always helped every comrade to overcome his/her mistakes. Stalin and the Bolshevik Party led Krupskaya back on the right path of socialism , back to the service of the Bolshevik Party.
After having turned away self-critically from the "Opposition", Krupskaya was provided the post of the deputy commissar (government minister) from 1929 to 1939. She earned merits especially in the fields of the Konsomol, the Pinoneer movement as well as the Soviet educational system.
Following the assessment of Comrade Stalin and the Bolshevik party, the Comintern (SH ) likes to appreciate the merits of the Nadezhda Krupskaya, without missing to point to her weaknesses.
Comintern (SH ) - 26 February 2014
February 26, 1869 - February 27, 1939
We created this website on occasion of the
155th Birthday and 75th Death Day
February 26, 2014
Zetkin - Krupskaja
on the Second World Congress of the Comintern
Nadezhda Konstantinova Krupskaya
is forever connected with the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with the entire international communist and workers' movement.
Not alone among the peoples of the former Soviet Union , but in all countries of the world - this name has a good sound. Beginning with a young age, Nadezhda Krupskaya ranks among the revolutionary fighters against Tsarism and capitalism who spread the ideas of Marxism within the workers' movement, and who concentrated their whole energy and knowledge for the liberation of the working class and all working people from oppression and exploitation. Nadezhda Krupskaya was the wife of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and also his closest friend and comrade. Side by side with him she went through his difficult and glorious way. Bravely she bore all persecutions by the Tsarist regime . She took imprisonment , banishment, and long years of involuntary exile on herself .
Clara Zetkin said of her : "The intimate community of life and life's work united her path with Lenin ... She was 'Lenin's right-hand woman', his chief and best secretary, his nearest relative of his revolutionary ideas."
Especially significant is what Nadezhda Krupskaya has done for the victory of the Cultural Revolution in Soviet country, for the socialist education system , political education and communist upbringing. She was an outstanding theoretician of Marxist pedagogy. Therefore, she gained great contributions to the development of educational science as well as to the structure of the school system and the system of adult education in the Soviet Union. Nadezhda Krupskaya has dedicated her whole life to the party of Lenin and the welfare of the working people. She was also active in the communist world movement by means of her membership and leadership in the Communist International of Lenin and Stalin.
We distinguish three political periods in her life , the second ( short ) period of time was not in the service of the revolution, but in the service of the counter-revolution.
1st Period of Life
Krupskaya's party work until shortly before Lenin's death
Krupskaya , born in 1869 , was educated mainly within her family in the first years of her life: With 10 years she attended high school , where her father enables her to change from a conservative to a more democratic-orientated school. With 14 years Krupskaya herself, begins to give lessons to support the family after the death of the father, and to finance especially her schooling . With 18, having excellently finished school, she acquires the right to work as a private tutor, but does not receive any job. In 1891 she begins to work for five years as a teacher at a working evening and Sunday School in a suburb of Petrograd. So Krupskaya has pedagogical practice with which she contributes to the polical struggle.
Her family was originally from the impoverished gentry of Russia, her father is temporarily employed in Poland and is dismissed of the service for democratic aspirations .
In her time as a teacher of the working evening and Sunday school her self-concept was already Marxist .
It is undisputed that Krupskaya sees the only feasible way for the liberation of humanity in the lessons of Marx and Engels. She considered the analysis, created by Marx and Engels, as the only exact scientific analysis of social relations. It was the science of the revolutionary liberation of the working class and the humanity. She understood very well that this science had to be put into practice by revolutionary class-struggle in Russia.
When Krupskaya began working as a teacher in 1891, she was already involved in the illegal work of the Russian Social Democracy. She was politically active and made her students familiar with the revolutionary social democratic ideas.
In these years she met her future husband , Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin. She did this primarily as a political person who worked with Lenin and at a time when he still worked on the construction of social democratic circles like the famous "League of Struggle for liberation of the working class in St. Petersburg". Krupskaya took over the role of the deputy when Lenin was arrested in 1895. In August 1896 she was arrested, too.
Until the 1917 revolution , Krupskaya has held permanently similar positions of responsibility in the Bolshevik movement. So she was, for example, Secretary of the journal " Iskra " , which was headed by Lenin. She organized the network of informants in Russia. After the " bourgeois revolution " of 1905 , she coordinated both the legal and later illegal activities of the " Social Democratic Workers' Party of Russia " ( RSDLP ) , which later became the CPSU . Although the marriage with Lenin gave her access to the powers that others did not have , it would still be completely wrong to consider her as an "appendage". She worked closely with Lenin together, but she made also independently her contributions to the communist movement and later she led the education sector in the Soviet Union in particular.
From 1897 Lenin was exiled for three years in the Siberian village Shushenskoe . 1898 also Krupskaya was exiled for three years , but in the province Ufa (southern Urals ) . One way to settle to Shushenskoe, was the marriage with Lenin. The police had to be requested for performing it ecclesiastically.
Krupskaya was a member of the Communist Party since 1898.
Work in emigration
In 1901, Krupskaya , Lenin and many other Russian revolutionaries are abroad.
Lenin and his group are working to lead the RSDLP from abroad . He founded the famous journal "Iskra" as the most important tool as a collective propagandist, agitator and organizer. Lenin, Krupskaya and all the other comrades of the group are already convinced about the necessity of the avant-garde role of the party at that time. Krupskaya organized the contacts to different groups. The contact to the comrades in Russia could only be maintained by encryption of correspondence. The groups provided information among each other - by means of the central role of the "Iskra". By this intensive preparations in exile, the RSDLP was later formed.
Krupskaya begins to be active in journalism . The first article has been published in exile. Her first brochure " The Worker " and " The working woman " was published in 1901. Most of her work deals with pedagogical issues .
After her exile Krupskaya was almost always there where her husband was. At the same time Krupskaya takes over important posts in the party. After the bourgeois revolution in 1905 they returned to Russia. Then they left once again the country in 1907, after months of illegal residence. End of 1906, she is a secretary of the Central Committee of the Party in Kuokkala (Finland ).
In Geneva, Krupskaya was secretary of the newspaper " proletariat " and the newspaper " social democrat " .
In exile , in Switzerland, she visited a number of schools in order to compare them with schools in Russia. She also dealt with other school projects, especially the reform pedagogy and works out the guidelines of a polytechnic education. Last but not least , she and Lenin were zealous users of libraries in Switzerland , the UK and everywhere else where they were in exile. They both needed the libraries for their revolutionary work - for the organization of the proletariat.
During this period, Krupskaya well adopted the thinking of the Bolshevik movement, especially the idea of proletarian partisanship . She implemented it later
in the entire education system of the Soviet Union.
In 1911, she was a teacher at the party's school .
In 1912 she helped Lenin in Cracow to stay in connection with the newspaper the "truth" and with the Bolshevik faction of the 4th State Duma.
At the end of 1913 - beginning of 1914, she was involved in organizing the publication of the Bolshevik magazine " workers. "
Krupskaya was delegate to the fourth party congress and to the 6th Congress ( Prague). She was responsible for many party meetings until 1917 (eg delegate at the "April 7- Meeting").
In the creation of the socialist youth organization , she was also actively involved.
In the days of the October uprising, Krupskaya was a member of the Vyborg District Committee of the RSDLP (B).
Krupskaya was involved , of course, in the revolution of 1917. She was deputy in the Duma of St. Petersburg's district, heads up the " Commission for Culture and Enlightenment." She maintained the contact between the party leadership and Lenin , who had to go underground again in June.
After the establishment of Soviet power Krupskaya was a member of the People's Commissariat of the RSFSR and worked out the first decrees on public education. She was one of the organizers of political public relations.
In 1918 she was elected a full member of the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences .
Immediately after taking power, she took over the People's Commissariat for Education ( Narodni Commissariat Prosweschtschenija ) and controled the entire non-formal education sector. She is practically Deputy Minister of Education of Soviet Russia from the 20th November 1920. Not only the training but also the libraries are subordinate to her .
Since 1921 she is chair of the scientific and methodological department of the state educational institutions.
It is to her merit that she repeatedly stressed the importance of education in all the central boards and bodies of the Soviet state. It was certainly not a disadvantage that Lenin supported her over again. She solved many educational problems and questions and was engaged in great discussions about education. She was convinced that Marxism -Leninism is a prerequisite for the creation of an educated population . The widest possible education is the basis of the socialist economic construction and later for the communist society.
2nd Period of Life
Krupskaya's deviation from Leninism - in the critical situation, shortly before and after the death of Lenin.
In 1923 Lenin had a ( further ) crippling stroke and was confined to bed for about half a year, and he was no longer able to speak and continue his political work. During this time Krupskaya took care of him . These months deciding on the future course of history.
After Lenin died in January 1924 , Krupskaya joined opposition to Stalin and took side of Trotsky. On the XIV Congress of the CPSU (B ), in January 1925, the so called "left opposition" - formed by Trotsky , was defeated. Also Krupskaya had to suffer a defeat. She was not heard and cheered by the party as in the times before. She had been criticized as an opponent of revolution.
After Lenin's death in 1924, Krupskaya participated actively and openly in this anti -Leninist "opposition". Krupskaya belonged to the "opposition" up to October 1926. She signed the main political appeal that the Trotsky - Zinoviev opposition brought out at this time, the so called 'Declaration of the Thirteen' ( later also a protest against the Soviet policy in the context of the English general strike of 1926 , etc. etc).
She refused to support the general line of the Party concerning the construction of socialism " in one" country - a slogan which was created by Lenin and defended and successfully implemented by Stalin. On the XIV Congress of the CPSU (B ) - [ 18 - 31 December 1925 ] - the opposition's plans of capitulation ( which were also signed by Krupskaya ! ) were rejected by the overwhelming majority of the party. The Congress instructed the Central Committee , to fight against all attempts which undermine the unity of the party. Stalin summed up the results of the XIV Congress in his famous book : " Problems of Leninism " as follows:
"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.)
Krupskaya openly opposed Comrade Stalin , who destroyed the attemot of adaptation of Leninism through Trotskyism. The Bolshevik Party was hit hard not only by the illness and death of Comrade Lenin and weakened, but also by economic and many other difficulties of the young Soviet Republic. In this dangerous situation , the Trotskyists saw their "hour has come" to damage the Soviet Republic and to countersink the Leninist party into the grave of Lenin. Trotsky unified all the anti -Leninist elements in the party and launched the so called "platform of 46 opposition activists " in order to overthrow the party leadership. This "opposition" was composed of elements of the various anti -Leninist groups such as the Trotskyists, the Decists , the remains of the " Left Communists " and the so called " Workers' Opposition " . Krupskaya stood amidst the camp of this anti -Leninist opposition. She supported the discussion initiated by the Trotskyists with the intention of the restoration of the fractions which Lenin had forbidden on the Tenth Congress. So that was a hostile discussion that had been imposed on the party. However, this "discussion" did not lead to the Trotskyists desire of the usurpation of the party. Under the leadership of Comrade Stalin , the Trotskyists were beaten on the head in January 1924. The opposition was convicted as a "petty bourgeois deviation from Marxism " by the XIII Party Conference . The resolutions of the conference were subsequently approved by the XIII Party Congress and also by the Fifth World Congress of the Comintern :
The enlarged plenum of the ECCI observes that comrade Trotsky's behaviour, which has provoked a new discussion within the RCP, represents an attempt to revise Leninism and to change the leadership in the RCP.
The enlarged plenum observes that this behaviour is supported by all the forces hostile to bolshevism. Within the CI it is supported by the right-wing elements in the parties, that is, by those whose tactics have been repeatedly condemned by the international congresses as semi-socialist. Outside the CI it is supported by various people expelled from the communist ranks (Levi, Rosmer, Monatte, Balabanova, Hoglund, etc.).
Finally, the social-democratic and bourgeois press has also tried to exploit this behaviour.
It is thus objectively not merely an attempt to disorganize the ranks of the RCP; it has also done the greatest damage to the entire CI.
The enlarged plenum of the ECCI declares that it fully and completely approves the resolution of the plenum of the CC of the RCP.(RESOLUTION OF THE 5th PLENUM ON THE DISCUSSION IN THE RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY - published on Mai 11,1925).
Thus, the international communist proletariat had supported the Bolshevik Party in its struggle against Trotskyism and thus turned against Krupskaya. Krupskaya participated as delegate at the II, IV, VI and VII Congresses of the Comintern, but just for the Fifth World Congress, which had condemned Trotskyism, Krupskaya was not elected as delegates.
Stalin's criticism at Krupskaja:
Stalin's REPLY TO THE DISCUSSION ON THE POLITICAL REPORT OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
December 23 1926
[ THE FOURTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE C.P.S.U. (B.) ]
6. CONCERNING NEP
The question of NEP. I have in mind Comrade Krupskaya and the speech she delivered on NEP.
She says: “In essence, NEP is capitalism permitted under certain conditions, capitalism that the proletarian state keeps on a chain. . . .” Is that true? Yes, and no.
That we are keeping capitalism on a chain, and will keep it so as long as it exists, is a fact, that is true.
But to say that NEP is capitalism—that is nonsense, utter nonsense. NEP is a special policy of the proletarian state aimed at permitting capitalism while the commanding positions are held by the proletarian state, aimed at a struggle between the capitalist and socialist elements, aimed at increasing the role of the socialist elements to the detriment of the capitalist elements, aimed at the victory of the socialist elements over the capitalist elements, aimed at the abolition of classes
and the building of the foundations of a socialist economy.
Whoever fails to understand this transitional, dual nature of NEP departs from Leninism. If NEP were capitalism, then NEP Russia that Lenin spoke about would be capitalist Russia. But is presentday
Russia a capitalist country and not a country that i s in transition from capitalism to socialism?
Why then, did Lenin not say simply: “Capitalist Russia will be socialist Russia,” but preferred a different formula: “NEP Russia will become socialist Russia”?
Does the opposition agree with Comrade Krupskaya that NEP is capitalism, or does it not? I think that
not a single member of this congress will be found who would agree with Comrade Krupskaya formula.
Comrade Krupskaya (may she forgive me for saying so) talked utter nonsense about NEP. One cannot come out here in defence of Lenin against Bukharin with nonsense like that.
9. CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF THE DISAGREEMENTS
Permit me now to pass to the history of our internal struggle within the majority of the Central Committee.
What did our disaccord start from? It started from the question: “What is to be done with Trotsky?”
Next, the question of Bukharin. I have in mind the slogan “enrich yourselves.” I have in mind the speech Bukharin delivered in April, when he let slip the phrase “enrich yourselves.” Two days later the April Conference of our Party opened. It was I who, in the Conference Presidium, in the presence of Sokolnikov, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Kalinin, stated that the slogan “enrich yourselves” was not our slogan. I do not remember Bukharin making any rejoinder to that protest. When Comrade Larin asked for the floor at the conference, to speak against Bukharin, I think, it was Zinoviev who then demanded that no speeches be permitted against Bukharin. However, after that, Comrade Krupskaya sent in an article against Bukharin, demanding that it be published. Bukharin, of course, gave tit for tat, and, in his turn, wrote an article against Comrade Krupskaya. The majority on the Central Committee decided not to publish any discussion articles, not to open a discussion, and to call on
Bukharin to state in the press that the slogan “enrich yourselves” was a mistake; Bukharin agreed to that and later did so, on his return from holiday, in an article against Ustryalov. Now, Kamenev and Zinoviev think they can frighten somebody with the “prohibition” bogey, expressing indignation like Liberals at our having prohibited the publication of Comrade Krupskaya article.
You will not frighten anybody with that. Firstly,we refrained from publishing not only Comrade Krupskaya article, but also Bukharin’s. Secondly, why not prohibit the publication of Comrade Krupskaya article if the interests of Party unity demand that of us? In what way is Comrade Krupskaya different from every other responsible comrade? Perhaps you think that the interests of
individual comrades should be placed above the interests of the Party and its unity? Are not the comrades of the opposition aware that for us, for Bolsheviks, formal democracy is an empty shell, but the real interests of the Party are everything? (Applause.)
Is the opposition aware of all these facts? Of course it is. In that case, why don’t they stop baiting Bukharin? How much longer are they going to shout about Bukharin’s mistake?
I know of mistakes made by some comrades, in October 1917, for example, compared with which Bukharin’s mistake is not even worth noticing. Those comrades were not only mistaken then, but they had the “audacity,” on two occasions, to violate a vital decision of the Central Committee adopted under the direction and in the presence of Lenin. Nevertheless, the Party forgot about those mistakes as soon as those comrades admitted them.
But compared with those comrades, Bukharin committed an insignificant error. And he did not violate a single Central Committee decision. How is it to be explained that, in spite of this, the unrestrained baiting of Bukharin still continues? What do they really want of Bukharin?
That is how the matter stands with Bukharin’s mistake. (Stalin, Volume 8, XIV Party Congress)
On 14 December 1925, at the 14th Party Congress, Nadezhda Krupskaya, said:
“We cannot reassure ourselves with the idea that the majority is always right. … Let us recall, for example, the Stockholm Congress (of 1906– Ed.)”.
(Nadezhda Krupskaya: Speech at 14th Party Congress (20 December 1925)
On which Stalin commented:
“Krupskaya is a splitter (see her speech about ‘Stockholm’ at the 14th Congress). She has to be beaten, as a splitter, if we want to preserve the unity of the Party”.
(Josef V. Stalin: Letter to Vyacheslav Molotov (16 September 1926).
At the 15th Congress of the CPSU in November 1926 Stalin said:
"Is not it a fact that Comrade Krupskaya is about to leave the opposition bloc?" (Loud applause).
(JV Stalin, contribution to the debate on the report on 'The Socialist Deviation in our party ', in:' Works', Volume 8, p 371).
( Concerning the criticim at the Trotskyite, alleged "Testament of Lenin" and the involvement of Krupskaya, please read the book of the Comintern (SH): "On the fundations and concerning questions of Stalinism"  written in German language)
Krupskaya confirmed her turning away from the "opposition" officially on 20 May 1927 in the "Pravda".
3rd Period of life:
Krupskaya's merits in building the socialist education
Krupskaya corrected her anti-party-position, practiced self- criticism concerning her mistakes and supported from then on, until her death the Soviet education system as the Deputy People's Commissioner.
Krupskaya and her employees planned, organized and guided all the educational tasks in Soviet Russia and then in the Soviet Union.
More or less, she was also responsible for the non-formal education of children and young people. She cared about the Komsomol and pioneer organization in particular. She solved the problems of the orphans and all the children who suffered due to the civil war from 1971 to 1921. Some of these children formed gangs and lived mostly on the streets - being left on their own. Not least, she also took positive influence on the organization of the school system.
She was editor of various magazines such as: "Public education", "teacher of the people," "On the way to a new school," "our children", "self-help for education", "The Red librarian", "folk high school", "communist education "," reading corner ".
Her work was important for the development of the education sector, its control and improvement. She initiated discussions, and she guided the implementation of campaign against illiteracy of the population.
She taught at the Academy for communist education .
She was also the organizer of a series of voluntary societies :
"Down with Illiteracy ", " Friend of Children " , Chairwoman of the Society of Marxist teachers.
Since 1929, Krupskaya was Deputy Commissioner of Education of the RSFSR .
Krupskaya made important contributions to the development of the most burning problems of Marxist pedagogy - definition of the objectives and tasks of communist education , school in connection with the practice of socialist construction , labor and professional higher education, the definition of the content of education, issues of education , basics of organizational forms of communist children's movement , education and collectivism , etc. .
Krupskaya attached great importance to the fight against homelessness and neglect of children. She founded orphanages and many other state institutions for children and mothers.
At the 17th Congress Krupskaya was delegate.
Since 1924 she was a member of the CCC ( Central Control Commission ) . She was a member of the Central Executive Committee and Central Executive Committee of the USSR and present at all meetings.
Krupskaya was a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
She has taken part in all congresses of the Komsomol (except the third congress) .
Krupskaya was an active leader of the international communist movement .
She was delegated to the 2nd, 4th , 6th and 7th World Congress of the Comintern.
Krupskaya was a prominent writer and popular speaker . She spoke at numerous Party meetings , on meetings of the Komsomol , on trade union congresses and conferences and meetings of the workers, peasants and teachers.
She was the author of many works about Lenin and the party , and made a special contribution to anchor the ideas of Lenin in public education and communist upbringing.
The memories of Krupskaya about Lenin are among the most valuable historical sources.
They shed light on the life and activities of Lenin and many important events in the history of the Communist Party .
In 1931, Krupskaya became an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Krupskaya was awarded with the "Order of Lenin" and the "Order of the Red Banner of Labor" (1935 ) .
Krupskaya died on 27 Februar 1939. She was buried in Red Square near the Kremlin wall .
Stalin himself was the one who took over the last vigil after her death, and he took part at the funeral.
SELECTION OF WORKS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
By N. K. Krupskaya
“THE WIFE – HER SOLDIER HUSBAND’S FRIEND AND COMRADE”
, SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE CONFERENCE OF WIVES OF RED ARMY COMMANDERS
BY N. K. KRUPSKAYA.
...All of us know the great role of Comrade Stalin in this work. And let me say that our work, the work of furthering the enlightenment and arousing the activity of the masses of women, was also led by him.
Comrade Stalin has time and again stressed the important part played by women in all spheres of socialist construction, particularly in the collective farms; he has constantly given us exhaustive and very clear, specific instructions on methods of organising work among women.
Take a look at the whole history of our women’s movement. At first we had the Women’s Organisations. In their time these Women’s Organisations fulfilled a very important function. But when the scope of the work became greater, when it became necessary to start a truly mass movement, they proved inadequate. Other methods of developing this movement arose, and the movement became closely linked up with the entire work of socialist construction.
I should like together with you to express the deepest gratitude to Comrade Stalin for what he has done to further the enlightenment of women, to develop their activity in social work, for what he has done to make women active builders not in word, but in deed...
N. K. Krupskaya's
How Women Can Help
Workers’ Weekly, July 3, 1925
The bourgeoisie of all countries understands to a nicety what a great power the experiences of childhood have over people, and for this reason it endeavours to bring the children up in the bourgeois spirit from their earliest years.
The clergy, the teachers servile to the bourgeois Government, the unprincipled penny-a-line children’s authors and the grasping cinema proprietors all work feverishly in this direction.
During recent years the bourgeoisie has resorted to the Boy Scouts system for organising the children in detachments faithful to the old order, Camping, bivouacs, amusing games, sports—all these interests so engross the children that they do not know that in these organisations they are being quietly caught in the net of bourgeois ideas, and that they are being trained as the servile slaves of capitalism. The Fascist children’s organisation in Italy, the “Belilla,” is based on the same principles as the Boy Scouts.
A Million Russian Pioneers
On the other hand we see the Young Communist International, aided by the Communist Parties, striving to organise a Communist Children’s Movement.
In Germany the children’s groups are very well organised. The children do not let themselves be caned in the schools, refuse to say prayers, help the workers on strike, collect money for hungry children, and for all these things they are often taken to the police station, where they conduct themselves manfully. The Children’s Movement organises them and trains them in manliness and the will to struggle.
Here in Russia the Children’s Movement has also begun to grow. The participants in this Movement, aged from eleven to fourteen, are called the “Young Pioneers,” of which there are now already about a million.
It is important that the Children’s Movement be as closely as possible connected with the workers’ organisations, especially the women’s.
What can the working women do for the Young Pioneers? Conscious working women can, above all, carry on wide agitation among the women workers and peasants, who are not class conscious, explaining to them what are the “Young Pioneers.”
Explaining the Movement
Participation in the “Young Pioneers” organisation gives workers’ children friendship with their comrades, many happy experiences and a knowledge of the working-class struggle. It also arouses their curiosity. This must all be explained to those working and peasant women who do not like their children joining the Pioneers and scold them for it.
It must be explained to them that it is no less important for the girls than for the boys to join the Pioneers. The girls must not be tied down to the home, but from the early years should be accustomed to being together, in one organisation with the boys—to be with them on a comradely footing.
Young Pioneers desire, to work, they want to have industrious hands; in fact, they want to be able to do a great deal, and they are prepared to learn from whoever can teach them. The working women are capable of a great deal, let them transmit their knowledge to the Pioneers.
The working women can find a thousand ways in which to help the Young Pioneers to grow up as steadfast fighters, capable workers for the future, and good Communists.
How Lenin Studied Marx
- written in 1933
published in the Magazin "Bolschewik" No 1/2, pages 137-145
OWING to the backwardness of industry in Russia, the workers' movement only began to develop in the nineties, when the revolutionary struggle of the working class was already taking place in a number of other countries. There had already been the experience of the great French Revolution, the experience of the revolution of 1848, the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871. The great ideological leaders of the workers' movement-Marx and Engels-were forged out in the fire of the revolutionary struggle. The teachings of Marx showed the direction taken by social development, the inevitability of the disintegration of capitalist society, the replacement of this society by Communist society, the paths which will be taken by the new social forms, the path of the class struggle; they disclosed the role of the proletariat in this struggle, and the inevitability of its victory.
Our workers' movement developed under the banner of Marxism. It did not grow blindly, groping its way, but its aim and its path were plain.
Lenin did a tremendous amount to illuminate the path of struggle of the Russian proletariat with the light of Marxism. Fifty years have passed since the death of Marx, but for our Party Marxism is still the guide to action. Leninism is merely a further development of Marxism, a deepening of it.
It is therefore obvious why it is of so great an interest to illuminate the question of Lenin's study of Marx.
Lenin had a wonderful knowledge of Marx. In 1893, when he came to St. Petersburg, he astonished all of us who were Marxists at the time with his tremendous knowledge of the works of Marx and Engels.
In the nineties, when Marxist circles began to be formed, it was chiefly the first volume of "Capital" which was studied. It was possible to obtain "Capital," although with great difficulties. But matters were extremely bad with regard to the other works of Marx. Most of the members of the circles had not even read the "Communist Manifesto." I, for example, read it for the first time only in 1898, in German, when I was in exile.
Marx and Engels were absolutely prohibited. It is sufficient to mention that in 1897, in his article "The Characteristics of Economic Romanticism" written for the New Word, Lenin was compelled to avoid using the words "Marx" and "Marxism." and to speak of Marx in a roundabout way so as not to get the journal into trouble.
Lenin understood foreign languages, and he did his best to dig out everything that he could by Marx and Engels in German and French. Anna. Ilyinishna tells how he read "The Poverty of Philosophy" in French together with his sister, Olga. He had to read most in German. He translated into Russian for himself the most important parts of the works of Marx and Engels which interested him.
In his first big work, published illegally by him in 1894, "Who are the Friends of the People?" there are quotations from the "Communist Manifesto," the "Critique of Political Economy," the "Poverty of Philosophy," "German Ideology," "The Letter of Marx to Ruge " in 1843, Engels' books "Anti-Dühring" and "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State."
The "Friends of the People " tremendously widened the Marxist outlook of the majority of the then Marxists, who as yet had very little acquaintance with the works of Marx. It dealt with a number of questions in an entirely new way and was tremendously successful.
In the next work of Lenin, "The Economic Content of the Teachings of the Narodniki and a Criticism of Them in the Book of Struve" we find already references to "The Eighteenth Brumaire" and the "The Civil War in France," to the "The Criticism of the Gotha Programme" and the second and third volumes of "Capital."
Later, life in emigration made it possible for Lenin to become acquainted with all the works of Marx and Engels and to study them.
The biography of Marx written by Lenin in 1914 for "Granat': Encyclopaedia" illustrates better than anything else the wonderful knowledge of the works of Marx by Lenin.
This is also shown by the innumerable extracts from Marx which Lenin constantly made when reading his works. The Lenin Institute has many notebooks with extracts from Marx.
Lenin used these extracts in his work, read them over and over and made notes on them. Lenin not only knew Marx, but he also thought deeply on all his teachings. In his speech at the Third All-Russian Congress of the Y.C.L. in 1920, Lenin said to the youth that it was necessary "to take the whole sum of human knowledge and to take it in such a way that Communism will not be something learned by heart but something which you have thought out yourselves, something which forms the inevitable conclusion from the point of view of modern education." (Volume XXV.) "If a Communist were to boast of Communism on the basis of ready-made conclusions, without doing serious, big and difficult work, without thoroughly understanding the facts towards which he must take a critical attitude, such a Communist would be a very poor one." (Volume XXV.)
Lenin not only studied the works of Marx but he studied what was written about Marx and Marxism by the opponents from the camp of the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie. In a polemic with them he explains the basic positions of Marxism.
His first big work was "Who are the Friends of the People" and how they fight against the Social-Democrats (a reply to an article in "Russian Wealth" against the Marxists), where he drew a contrast between the point of view of the Narodniki (Mikhailovsky, Krivenko, Yushakova) and the point of view of Marx.
In the article, "The Economic Content of the Teachings of the Narodniki, and the Criticism of Them in the Works of Struve," he pointed out in what way the point of view of Struve was different from the point of view of Marx.
When examining the agrarian question, he wrote a book, "The Agrarian Question and the Criticism of Marx" (Volume IV.), where the petty-bourgeois point of view of the Social-Democrats David, Hertz, and the Russian critics, Chernov and Bulgakov was contrasted with the point of view of Marx.
"De choc des opinions jaillit la verite" (Truth arises from a conflict of opinions), says the French proverb. Lenin loved to carry it out. He constantly brought to light and contrasted class points of view on the basis of the questions of the workers' movement.
It is very characteristic how Lenin set forth various points of view side by side. A great deal of light is thrown on this by Volume XIX. or works, where the extracts, conspects, plans for essays, &c., on the agrarian question for the period preceding 1917 are collected.
Lenin carefully recapitulates the statements of the " critics," selects and copies out the clearest and most characteristic phrases and counter-poses them to the statements of Marx. In carefully analysing the statements of the " critics," he tries to show the class essence of their statements, putting forward the most important and urgent questions in prominent relief.
Lenin very frequently deliberately sharpened a question. He considered that the tone was not the important thing. You may express yourself coarsely and bitingly. What is important is that you speak to the point. In the preface to the correspondence of F. A. Sorge, he gives a quotation from Mehring from his Correspondence with Sorge : " Mehring is right in saying that Marx and Engels gave little thought to a ' high tone.' They did not stop long to think before dealing a blow, but they did not whine about every blow they received." (Volume XI.) Incisiveness of form and style were natural to Lenin. He learned it from Marx. He says "Marx relates how he and Engels fought constantly against the miserable conducting of this "Social-Democrat" and often fought sharply (wobei oft scharf hergeht) (Volume XI.). Lenin did not fear sharpness, but he demanded that objections should be to the point. Lenin had one favourite word which he frequently used: " quibbling." If a polemic began which was not to the point, if people began to pick at trifles or juggle with facts, he used to say: "that is mere quibbling." Lenin expressed himself with still greater force against polemics which had not the aim of bringing clearness into the question but of paying off small factional grudges. This was the favourite method of the Mensheviks. Concealing themselves behind quotations from Marx and Engels, taken out of their context, out of the circumstances in which they were written, they served factional aims entirely. In the preface to the correspondence of F. A. Sorge, Lenin wrote: " To imagine that the advice of Marx and Engels to the Anglo-American workers' movement can be simply and directly adapted to Russian conditions means to utilise Marxism, not to elucidate his method, not to study the concrete historic peculiarities of the workers' movement in definite countries, but for petty factional grudges of the intelligentsia." (Volume XI.)
Here we arrive directly at the question of how Lenin studied Marx. This can partly be seen from the previous quotation: It is necessary to elucidate the method of Marx, to learn from Marx how to study the peculiarities of the workers' movement in definite countries. Lenin did this. For Lenin the teachings of Marx were a guide to action. He once used the following expression: "Who wants to consult with Marx ? " . . . It is a very characteristic expression. He himself constantly "consulted with Marx." At the most difficult turning points of the revolution, he once again turned to the reading of Marx. Sometimes when you went into his room, when everyone around was excited, Lenin was reading Marx and could hardly tear himself away. It was not to quieten his nerves, not to arm himself with belief in the power of the working class, belief in its ultimate victory. Lenin had sufficient of this faith. He buried himself in Marx so as to "consult" with Marx, to find a reply from him to the burning questions of the workers' movement. In the article "F. Mehring, on the Second Duma," Lenin wrote : "The argumentation of such people is based on a poor selection of quotations. They take the general position on the support of the big bourgeoisie against the reactionary petty-bourgeoisie and without criticism adapt it to the Russian Cadets and the Russian Revolution. Mehring gives these people a good lesson. Anyone who wants to consult with Marx (my italics, N.K.) on the tasks of the proletariat and the bourgeois revolution must take the reasoning of Marx which apply precisely to the epoch of the German bourgeois revolution. It is not for nothing that our Mensheviks so fearfully avoid this reasoning. In this reasoning we see the fullest and clearest expression of the merciless struggle against the conciliatory bourgeoisie which was carried on by the Russian 'Bolsheviks' in the Russian revolution." (Volume XI.)
Lenin's method was to take the works of Marx dealing with a similar situation and carefully analyse them, compare them with the current moment, discovering resemblances and differences. The adaptation to the revolution of 1905 to 1907 illustrates best of all, how Lenin did this.
In the pamphlet, "What is to be Done? " in 1902, Lenin wrote
"History now puts before us an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks of the proletariat of any other country. The carrying out of this task the destruction of the most powerful support not only for European but also (we may now say) Asiatic reaction would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat." (Volume IV.)
We know that the revolutionary struggle of 1905 raised the international role of the Russian working class, while the overthrow of the Tsarist Monarchy in 1917, really made the Russian proletariat into the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat, but this took place only 15 years after "What is to be Done?" was written. When in 1905, after the shooting of the workers on January 9th, the revolutionary wave from the Dvortsoff Square began to rise higher and higher, the question urgently arose as to where the Party must lead the masses, what policy it must follow. And here Lenin consulted with Marx. He quotes with special, attention the works of Marx dealing with the French and German bourgeois democratic revolutions of 1848: "The Class Struggle of 1848-50" and the third volume of The Literary Heritage of Marx and Engels," published by F. Mehring and dealing with the German revolution.
In June-July, 1905, Lenin wrote a pamphlet, "The. Two Tactics of Social-Democracy and the Democratic Revolution," where the tactic of the Mensheviks, who took the line of conciliation with the liberal bourgeoisie was contrasted to the tactics of the Bolsheviks, who called on the working class to carry on a most determined and irreconcilable struggle against the Monarchy to the point of armed rebellion.
It was necessary to put an end to Tsarism, wrote Lenin in "Two Tactics." "The conference (of the New Iskra-ites) also forgot that as long as the power remains in the hands of the Tsar, any decisions of any representatives remain empty talk and just as pitiful as the 'decisions' of the Frankfurt parliament which are famous in the history of the German Revolution of 1848. For this very reason Marx, in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, mercilessly poured sarcasm on the liberal Frankfurt 'liberators' because they spoke excellent words, adopted all kinds of democratic 'decisions,' 'established' all kinds of freedom, but in reality left the power in the hands of the Monarchy, and did not organise the armed struggle against the troops of the monarchy. And while the Frankfurt liberators chattered, the monarchy bided its time, strengthened its military forces, and counter-revolution, relying on real force, overthrew the democrats with all their beautiful decisions." (Volume VIII.)
Lenin raises the question whether it would be possible for the bourgeoisie to destroy the Russian Revolution by an agreement with Tsarism, "or," as Marx said at one time, "settling with Tsarism in a 'plebeian' manner." "When the revolution decisively conquers, we shall settle with Tsarism in a Jacobine, or if you will, in a plebeian, manner." The whole of French terrorism, wrote Marx in the famous Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1848, was nothing else but the plebeian manner of settling with the enemies of the bourgeoisie with absolutism, feudalism, respectability. (See Marx's Literary Heritage -- published by Mehring.)
Did those people who frightened the Social-Democratic Russian workers with the bogey of "Jacobinism" in the epoch of the democratic revolution ever think of the meaning of these words of Marx ? (Volume VIII.)
The Mensheviks said that their tactics were "to remain the Party of the extreme revolutionary opposition." And that this did not exclude partial seizures of power from time to time and the formation of revolutionary communes in one town or another. What do "revolutionary communes" mean, asks Lenin, and replies:
The confusion of revolutionary thought leads them (the new Iskra-ites), as often happens, to .revolutionary phrases.The use of the words, "Revolutionary commune" in the resolution of representatives of social-democracy is a revolutionary phrase and nothing more. Marx more than once condemned such phrases, when the tasks of the future are concealed behind soothing terms of the dead past. The fascination of terms which have played a rôle in history is converted in such cases into an empty and harmful tinsel, into a rattle. We must give to the workers and to the whole people a clear and unmistakeable idea of why we want to establish a provisional revolutionary government, what changes exactly we shall carry out if we decisively influence the power, even to-morrow, if the national revolt which has commenced is victorious. These are the questions which face the political leaders. (Volume VIII.)
These vulgarisers of Marxism never gave thought to the words of Marx on the necessity of replacing the weapon of criticism by criticism with weapons. Using the name of Marx everywhere, they in reality draw up a tactical resolution entirely in the spirit of the Frankfurt bourgeois cacklers, freely criticising absolutism, deepening democratic consciousness, and not understanding that the time of revolution is a time of action, above and below. (Volume VIII.
"Revolutions are the locomotives of history," says Marx. By this reference to Marx, Lenin appraises the role of the revolution that was breaking out.
In his further analysis of the sayings of Karl Marx in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Lenin makes clear what the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry means. But in drawing the analogy, Lenin dwells also on the question in what way our bourgeois democratic revolution differs from the German bourgeois democratic revolution of 1848. He says:
Thus it was only in April, 1849, after the revolutionary newspaper, Neue Rheinische Zeitung (which had been published since June 1, 1848) had existed almost a year, that Marx and Engels expressed themselves in favour of a separate labour organisation. Hitherto they simply conducted the "organ of democracy," which was not connected by any organisational link with an independent labour party. This fact -- monstrous and improbable from our contemporary point of view -- shows us clearly what an enormous difference there was between the then German and the present Russian social-democratic Labour Party. This fact shows us how much weaker (owing to the backwardness of Germany in 1848, economically and politically -- absence of state unity) were the proletarian features of the movement in the German democratic revolution, the proletarian streak in it.
Particularly interesting are Vladimir Ilyitch's articles which refer to 1907 and are devoted to the correspondence and activity of Marx.
They are "The Foreword to the Translation of Marx's Letters to K.L. Kugelmann," "Mehring on the Second Duma," and "The Foreword to the Letters to F.A. Sorge." These articles throw a particularly vivid light on the method by which Lenin studied Marx. The last article is of exceptional interest. It was written in the period when Lenin had taken up once more seriously the study of philosophy, in connection with his divergencies with Bogdanov, when the issues of dialectical materialism called for his special attention.
While studying simultaneously also the sayings of Marx that referred to questions analogous to those which sprang up among us in connection with the breakdown of the revolution, and questions of dialectical and historical materialism, Lenin learned from Marx how to .apply to the study of historical development the method of dialectical materialism.
In the "Foreword to the Correspondence with F.A. Sorge" he wrote:
"A comparison of what Marx and Engels had to say on questions of the Anglo-American and German labour movements is very instructive. If one takes into consideration that Germany, on the one hand, and Great Britain and America, on the other, represent different stages of capitalist development, different forms of the rule of the bourgeoisie as a class in the whole political life of these countries, the said comparison assumes special significance. From the scientific pointof view we have here a sample of materialist dialectic, ability to bring forward and emphasise different points, different sides of the question in their application to the concrete peculiarities of various political and economic conditions. From the point of view of practical politics and tactics of the worker's party, we have here a sample of the manner in which the creators of the "Communist Manifesto" defined the task of the struggling proletariat as applied to the various phases of the national labour movement of the various countries" (free translation).
The revolution of 1905 brought to the fore a whole series of new essential questions during the solution of which Lenin went more deeply into the works of Karl Marx. The Leninist method (Marxist through and through) of studying Marx was forged in the fire of the revolution.
This method of studying Marx armed Lenin for struggle against the distortions of Marxism with their emasculation of its revolutionary essence. We know what an important part Lenin's book " State and Revolution " has played in the organising of the October Revolution and the Soviet Power. This book is entirely based on a deep study of Marx's revolutionary teachings about the state. There Lenin writes :
Marx's doctrines are now undergoing the same fate which, more than once in the course of history, has befallen the doctrines of other revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes struggling for emancipation. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes have invariably meted out to them relentless persecution, and received their teaching with the most savage hostility, most furious hatred, and a ruthless campaign of lies and slanders. After their death, however, attempts are usually made to turn them into harmless saints, canonising them, as it were, and investing their name with a certain halo by way of "consolation" to the oppressed classes, and with the object of duping them, while at the same time emasculating and vulgarising the real essence of their revolutionary theories and blunting their revolutionary edge. At the present time the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the labour movement are co-operating in this work of adulterating Marxism. They omit, obliterate, and distort the revolutionary side of its teaching, its revolutionary soul, and push to the foreground and extol what is, or seems, acceptable to the bourgeoisie. All the Socialist Chauvinists are now " Marxists " - save the mark! And more and more do German bourgeois professors, erstwhile specialists in the demolition of Marx, now speak of the "National-German" Marx, who, forsooth, has educated the splendidly organised working class for the present predatory war. In these circumstances, when the distortion of Marxism is so widespread, our first task is to resuscitate the real nature of Marx's teachings on the subject of the State. (First page in " The State and Revolution.")
In "The Foundations of Leninism " Comrade Stalin wrote :
Not until the next phase, the phase of direct action, of proletarian revolution, when the overthrow of the bourgeoisie had become a question of practical politics, did the problem of finding reserves for the proletarian army (strategy) become actual, and the problem of the organisation of that army whether on the parliamentary or the extra-parliamentary field (tactics) clearly demand a solution. Not until this phase had begun, could proletarian strategy be systematised and proletarian tactics be elaborated. It was now that Lenin disinterred Marx's and Engels' masterly ideas on strategy and tactics, ideas which the opportunists of the Second International had buried out of sight. (The italics are mine. - N.K.)
But Lenin did not confine himself to re-establishing individual tactical propositions of Marx and Engels. He developed them further and supplemented them by new ideas and propositions, creating out of all this a system of rules and leading principles for the conduct of the class struggle of the proletariat. Such pamphlets of Lenin as "What is to be Done," "Two Tactics," "Imperialism," "State and Revolution," "Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky," and "Left-Wing Communism," will no doubt be a most valuable contribution to the common treasure-house of Marxism, to its revolutionary arsenal. The strategy and tactic of Leninism is a science regarding the leadership of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat." (J. Stalin, " Questions of Leninism.") Marx and Engels said that their teaching "is not a dogma, but a guide to action." These words of theirs were continually repeated by Lenin. The method by which he studied the works of Marx and Engels, and revolutionary practice, all the circumstances of the epoch of proletarian revolutions, helped Lenin to convert just the revolutionary side of Marx into a real guide to action.
I shall dwell on a question which is of decisive significance. Not so long ago we celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the Soviet Power. And in this connection we recalled how the seizure of power was organised in October. it wasn't a spontaneous act, it was deeply thought out by Lenin who was guided by Marx's direct instructions regarding the organising of an uprising.
The October Revolution, by placing dictatorship into the hands of the proletariat, radically changed all the conditions of struggle, but only because Lenin was guided not by the letter of the teachings of Marx and Engels, but by their revolutionary essence, because he knew how to apply Marxism also to the building up of Socialism in the epoch of proletarian dictatorship.
I shall only dwell on a few points. Thorough research work is necessary here: select everything that was taken by Lenin from Marx and Engels, indicating in what periods and in connection with what tasks of the revolutionary movement. I have not even mentioned such important questions as the national question, imperialism, &c. The publication of Lenin's complete collected works makes this work easier. Lenin's way of studying Marx in all the phases of revolutionary struggle from beginning to end will help us to understand better and go deeper not only into Marx, but into Lenin himself, into his method of studying Marx and the method of converting Marx's teachings into a guide to action.
There is one more side of Lenin's study of Marx which must be mentioned owing to its great significance. Lenin did not only study what Marx and Engels wrote as well as what Marx's " critics " wrote about him, he also studied the way which led Marx to his various views, and the works and books which stimulated Marx's thoughts and drove them in a definite direction. He studied, so to speak, the sources of Marxist philosophy, what and how precisely Marx took from this or that writer. He was specially concerned in making a deep study of the method of dialectical materialism. In 1922, in the article "Meaning of Militant Materialism," Lenin said that it was up to the contributors to the periodical "Under the Banner of Marxism " to organise the work for a systematic study of Hegel's dialectics from the materialist point of view. He believed that without a serious philosophical basis it is impossible to hold out in the struggle against the pressure of bourgeois ideas and the restoration of bourgeois philosophy. It was on the basis of his own experience that Lenin wrote about the manner of studying Hegel's dialectics from the materialist point of view. We give here the corresponding paragraph from Lenin's article "On the Meaning of Militant Materialism."
But in order to avoid reacting to such a phenomenon unintelligently, we must understand that no natural science, no materialism whatever, can hold out in the struggle against the onslaught of bourgeois ideas and the restoration of bourgeois philosophy without a solid philosophical basis. In order, to give aid to this struggle and help to carry it out to its successful conclusion, the natural scientist must be a modern Materialist--a conscious adherent of that Materialism which Marx-represents that is, he must be a dialectical Materialist. To achieve this the staff of Under the Banner of Marxism must organise a systematic study of Hegelian dialectics from the Materialist point of view, i.e., the dialectics which Marx applied concretely in his Capital and used in his historical and political works. . . .
. . . Basing ourselves on the manner in which Marx applied the materialist conception of Hegelian dialectics we can, and must, work out these dialectics from all sides. The magazine must publish excerpts from the principal works of Hegel; must interpret them materialistically, and give examples of how Marx applied dialectics, as well as examples of dialectics from the field of economic and political relations. Modern history, particularly modern imperialist war and revolution, provide innumerable examples of this kind. The editors and staff of Under the Banner of Marxism should, I think, represent a sort of "Association of Materialist Friends of Hegelian Philosophy." Modern natural scientists will find (if they will seek and if we can learn to help them) in the materialist interpretation of Hegelian dialectics a number of answers to those brought forward to the front and which cause the intellectual admirers of bourgeois fashions to "slip" into the reactionary camp. (P. 41, Lenin on Religion, Little Lenin Library, Volume VII.)
The IX. and XII. volumes of Lenin's collected works have already been published in the Soviet Union. They divulge the whole process of Lenin's thought when he was working through Hegel's chief works, they show how he applied the method of dialectical materialism to the study of Hegel, how closely he connected this study with a deep study of Marx's sayings, with the ability of converting Marxism into a guide to action in the most varied circumstances.
But Hegel was not the only object of Lenin's study. He read Marx's letter to Engels of November 1859, in which he criticises severely Lassalle's book, " The Philosophy of Heraclitus, the Dark, of Ephesus " (two volumes), and calls this work "amateurish." Lenin gives, to begin with, a brief formulation of Marx's criticism: "Lassalle simply repeats Hegel, he describes him, ruminates millions of times on certain sayings of Heraclitus, embellishing his work with a surfeit of Most learned Gellertian ballast." But, nevertheless, Lenin plunges into the study of this work of Lassalle, makes conspects and extracts of it, writes notes to it, and sums it up thus: "Marx's criticism is on the whole correct. It isn't worth while to read Lassalle's book." But the work over this book gave Lenin himself a deeper understanding of Marx : he understood why this book of Lassalle displeased Marx to such an extent.
In conclusion, I will mention one more form of Lenin's work over Marx - the popularisation of Marx's teachings. If the populariser takes his work "seriously," if his aim is to give in a very simple and intelligible form an explanation of the very essence of this or that theory, this work will help him very much.
Lenin treated this work very seriously indeed. "There is nothing I would like so much as being able to write for the workers," he wrote from exile to Plekhanov and Axelrod.
He wanted to explain and bring near to the masses the teachings of Marx. In the nineties, when he worked in workers' circles, he endeavoured to explain to them first of all the first volume of "Capital," and illustrated the propositions brought forward there by examples from the life of his hearers. In 1911, in the Party school in Lonjumeau (near Paris), where Lenin was working hard for the preparation of cadres of leaders for the budding revolutionary movement, he lectured to the workers on political economy, and tried to bring home to them as simply as possible the foundations of Marx's teachings. In his articles to Pravda, Ilyitch -tried to popularise various points from Marx's teachings. A sample of Leninist popularisation is his characterisation during the 1921 disputes on trade unions of the manner of studying the subject with the application of the dialectical method. Lenin said :
To know the subject thoroughly, one must take hold of and study all its sides, all the connections and its proper place in the given situation. We shall never fully attain this, but the demand of many-sidedness will make us steer clear of errors and inertia. This comes first. Secondly, dialectical logic demands that the subject be taken in its development, in its "self-motion" (as Hegel says) and its changes. Thirdly, human practice must concentrate on full "definition" of the subject, as a criterion of truth, as well as a practical indicator of the connection of the subject with what man needs. Fourthly, dialectical logic teaches us that "There is no abstract truth, that truth is always concrete," as the late Plekhanov, who was a follower of Hegel, liked to say.
These few lines are the quintessence of what Lenin came to as a result of long years of work over philosophical questions, in which he always made use of the method of dialectical materialism, " consulting " all the time, Marx. In a compressed form, these lines indicate all that is essential, that must be a guide to action, while studying phenomena.
The way in which Lenin worked over Marx is a lesson in how to study Lenin himself. His teaching is inseparably connected with the teaching of Marx, it is Marxism in action, it is the Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.
The Emancipation of Women
November 30, 1933
In the course of his revolutionary activities Lenin often wrote and spoke about the emancipation of working women in general and peasant women in particular. To be sure, the emancipation of women is inseparably bound up with the entire struggle for the workers' cause, for socialism. We know Lenin as the leader of the working people, as the organiser of the Party and Soviet government, as a fighter and builder. Every working woman, every peasant woman must know about all that Lenin did, every aspect of his work, without limiting herself to what Lenin said about the position of working women and their emancipation. But because there exists the closest connection between the entire struggle of the working class and improving the position of women, Lenin often--on more than forty occasions, in fact--referred to this question in his speeches and articles, and every one of these references was inseparably bound up with all the other things that were of interest and concern to him at the time.
From the very start of his revolutionary career Comrade Lenin paid special attention to the position of women workers and peasants and to drawing them into the working-class movement. Lenin did his first practical revolutionary work in St. Petersburg (now Leningrad), where he organised a group of Social-Democrats which became extremely active among the St. Petersburg workers, publishing illegal leaflets and distributing them at factories. The leaflets were usually addressed to the workmen. At that time the class consciousness of the mass of the workers was still little developed, the most backward among them being working women. They received very low wages and their rights were flagrantly violated. So the leaflets were usually addressed to the men (the two leaflets addressed to the working women of the Laferm tobacco factory were an exception). Lenin also wrote a leaflet for the workers of the Tornton cloth mill (in 1895) and although the women working there were most backward, he entitled the leaflet: "To the Working Men and Women of the Tornton Mill." This is a detail, but a very important one.
When he was in exile in 1899, Lenin corresponded with the Party organisation (the First Party Congress was held in 1898) and mentioned the subjects he wanted to write about in the illegal press. These included a pamphlet called "Women and the Workers' Cause". In this pamphlet Lenin intended to describe the position of women factory workers and peasant women and to show that the only salvation for them was through their participation in the revolutionary movement, and that only the victory of the working class would bring emancipation to women workers and peasants.
Writing in 1901 about the women who took part in the Obukhov defence, about the speech delivered by a woman worker Marfa Yakovleva in court, Lenin said:
"The memory of our heroic comrades murdered and tortured to death in prison will increase tenfold the strength of the new fighters and will rouse thousands to rally to their aid, and like the eighteen-year-old Marfa Yakovleva, they will openly say:'We stand by our brothers!' In addition to reprisals by the police and the military against participants in demonstrations, the government intends to prosecute them for rebellion; we will retaliate by uniting our revolutionary forces and winning over to our side all who are oppressed by the tyranny of tsarism, and by systematically preparing for the uprising of the whole people!"[CW, Vol 5, p248-9] Lenin made a close study of the life and labour conditions of women factory workers, peasants and women employed in the handicrafts.
While in prison, Lenin studied the position of peasants as revealed by statistical reports; he studied the influence of the handicrafts, the drift of the peasants to the factories and the influence exerted by the factories on their culture and way of life. At the same time he studied all these questions from the viewpoint of women's labour. He pointed out that the peasant's proprietorial psychology places on women a burden of unnecessary and senseless drudgery (every peasant woman of a large family clearing only the small part of the table she eats on, cooking a separate meal for her own child and milking a cow to get only just enough milk for her own child).
In his book The Development of Capitalism in Russia Lenin describes how cattle farmers exploit peasant women, how the merchant-buyers exploit women lace-weavers; he shows that large-scale industry emancipates women and that the work at factories broadens their outlook, makes them more cultured and independent and helps them to break the shackles of patriarchal life. Lenin said that the development of large-scale industry would create the basis for complete emancipation of women. Characteristic in this respect is Lenin's article "A Great Technical Achievement" written in 1913.
Workers in the bourgeois countries must fight for equal rights for men and women.
In exile Lenin devoted much of his time to working out the Party programme. At that time the Party had no programme. There was only a draft programme compiled by the Emancipation of Labour group. Examining this programme in his article "A Draft Programme of Our Party" and commenting on #9 of the practical part of the programme, which demanded "the revision of our entire civil and criminal legislation, the abolition of social-estate divisions and of punishments incompatible with the dignity of man", Lenin wrote that it would be well to add here: "complete equality of rights for men and women." [CW Vol 4, p239] (My italics--N. K.)
In 1903, when the Party Programme was adopted, this clause was included in it.
In 1907, in his report on the International Congress in Stuttgart Lenin noted with satisfaction that the Congress condemned the opportunist practices of the Austrian Social-Democrats who, while conducting a campaign for electoral rights for men, put off the struggle for electoral rights for women to "a later date".
The Soviet government established full equality of rights for men and women.
"We in Russia no longer have the base, mean and infamous denial of rights to women or inequality of the sexes, that disgusting survival of feudalism and medievalism which is being renovated by the avaricious bourgeoisie ... in every other country in the world without exception."
In 1913, studying the forms of bourgeois democracy and exposing the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, Lenin also dealt with the problem of prostitution and showed how, while encouraging white slave traffic and raping girls in the colonies, representatives of the bourgeoisie at the same time hypocritically pretended to be campaigning against prostitution.
Lenin returned to this question in December 1919, when he wrote that "free, civilised" America was touting for women for bawdy houses in the vanquished countries.[CW Vol 30]
In close connection with this question Lenin examined the question of child-bearing and indignantly wrote of the appeal of some intellectuals to the workers to practise birth control on the grounds that their children were doomed to poverty and privation. This is a petty-bourgeois view, wrote Lenin. The workers take a different view. Children are our future. As for poverty and so on, this can be remedied. We are fighting against capitalism and when we win a victory we shall build a bright future for our children....
And finally, in 1916-17, when he could see the socialist revolution was drawing near and was considering what the essential elements of socialist construction would be, and how to draw the masses into this construction, he particularly stressed the need to draw working women into social work, the need to enable all women to work for the benefit of society. Eight of his articles written in this period deal with this question, which he links up with the need to organise social life under socialism along new lines. Lenin saw a direct connection between this and the drawing of the most backward groups of women into the work of ruling the country, the need for re-educating the masses in the actual process of social work.
Social work teaches the art of government. "We are not utopians," Lenin wrote before the October Revolution. "We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administration. In this we agree with the Cadets, with Breshkovskaya, and with Tsereteli. We differ, however. from these citizens in that we demand an immediate break with the prejudiced view that only the rich, or officials chosen from rich families, are capable of administering the state, of performing the ordinary, everyday work of administration. We demand that training in the work of state administration be conducted by class-conscious workers and soldiers and that this training be begun at once, i.e., that a beginning be made at once in training all the working people, all the poor, for this work."
We know that the Soviet government has done all it can to draw working women in the town and countryside into the work of administration. And we know what great successes have been achieved on this front.
Lenin warmly greeted the awakening of the women of the Soviet East. Since he attached particular importance to raising the level of the nationalities that had been oppressed by tsarism and capitalism, it is quite understandable why he so warmly greeted the conference of delegates of the Women's Departments of Soviet regions and republics in the East.
Speaking of the achievements of the Second Congress of the Communist International, Lenin pointed out that "the Congress will strengthen the ties with the communist movement of women, thanks to the international conference of working women called at the same time."[CW Vol 31]
In October 1932 we observed the fifteenth anniversary of Soviet power and summed up our achievements on all fronts, including the front of women's emancipation.
We know that women took a very active part in the Civil War, that many of them died in action but many others were steeled in battle. Some women were awarded the Order of the Red Banner for the active part they played in the struggle for Soviets during the Civil War. Many former women partisans now occupy important posts. Women have been persistent in learning to conduct social work.
Delegates' conferences are a school of social work. In 15 years almost 10 million women delegates have passed through this school.
At the time when we observed the fifteenth anniversary of the October Revolution 20 to 25 per cent of the deputies of the village Soviets, district executive committees and city Soviets were women. There were 186 women members of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.R. On this work they attain ever higher standards.
The number of women members of the Communist Party has also been steadily growing. In 1922 there were only 40,000 but by October 1932 the number exceeded 500,000.
Much progress has been made recently in fulfilling Lenin's behest concerning the complete emancipation of women.
In the last few years large-scale industry has been developing on a tremendous scale. It is being reorganised on the basis of modern technology and scientific organisation of labour. The socialist emulation and shock-workers' movement which have now been widely adopted stimulate a new, communist attitude towards labour. And it must be said that women are not lagging behind men in this. Every day we see more and more front-rank women workers who display great stamina and perseverance in labour. Labour is not something women have to get used to. Under the old regime the lives of women were full of continual, unending labour, but it was the kind of labour that was looked down upon and bore the imprint of bondage. And now this labour training and perseverance in labour place women in the front ranks of the builders of socialism and heroes of labour.
Collectivisation of agriculture was of the utmost importance for the emancipation of women. From the very start Lenin regarded the collectivisation of agriculture as a way of reorganising it along socialist lines. Back in 1894, in his book What the Friends of the People Are Lenin quoted Marx's words to the effect that after "the expropriation of the expropriators" is accomplished, that is, when the landowners are dispossessed of their landed estates and the capitalists of their factories, free workers will be united into co-operatives and the communal ("collective", as Lenin explained) ownership of the land and the means of production they create will be established.
Following the October Revolution, which marked the beginning of "the expropriation of the expropriators", the Soviet government raised the question of organising agricultural artels and communes. Particular attention was paid to this back in 1918 and 1919, but many years passed (as Lenin had predicted) before collectivisation became extensive and struck deep roots. The years of the Civil War, when the class struggle swept the country, the progress of Soviet power in the villages, the help, the cultural assistance rendered by the Soviet government to the countryside--all this prepared the ground for collectivisation, which is developing and growing stronger in the struggle against the kulaks.
Small-scale and middle peasant farming shackled women, tied them to the individual households, and narrowed their outlook; they were in fact slaves of their husbands, who often beat them cruelly. Small scale farming paved the way for religion. The peasants used to say: "Each man for himself and God for all." Lenin quoted this saying on many occasions, as it perfectly expressed the psychology of a small proprietor. Collectivisation transforms the peasant from a small proprietor into a collectivist, undermines the peasants' isolation and the hold of religion and emancipates women. Lenin said that socialism alone would bring emancipation for women. His words are now coming true. We can see how women's position has changed in the collective farms.
The Congress of front-rank collective farmers held in the middle of February is striking evidence of the headway made in the collective cultivation of the land. There are now 200,000 collective farms, as compared with the 6,000 we had before. The Congress discussed the question of the best way to organise work on the collective farms. There were many women among the delegates. Sopina, a collective farmer from the Central Black Earth Region, made a fine speech which evoked thunderous applause. When she takes a hand in collective-farm development, the peasant woman grows in stature, learns to govern and to fight resolutely against the kulaks, the class enemy....
Religion is losing Ground. Now collective-farm women come to the library and say: "You always give me books that simply say that there is no God. I know that without reading books. Give me a book that will tell me how and why religion arose and how and why it will die away." In the last few years there has been a tremendous growth of political consciousness of the masses. Political departments at the machine and tractor stations' (whose membership also includes women's organisers) will help not only to consolidate the collective farms, but will also help collective farmers, men and women, to get rid of surviving prejudices and cultural backwardness; lack of rights for women will become a thing of the past.
Ten years have passed since the day of Lenin's death. On that sad day we shall check the fulfilment of all of Lenin's behests. We shall sum up the results. Lenin's behest concerning the emancipation of women is being fulfilled under the guidance of the Party. We shall continue to advance along this path.
November 30, 1933
A Strong Soviet Family
(Preface to the pamphlet “The New Law on Mother and Child”, 1936. Preface written by N. K. Krupskaya.)
After widespread discussion at meetings and in the press of the draft decree ”on the prohibition of abortions, increased material assistance to young mothers, the establishment of government aid for large families, the extension of the network of maternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens, increased penalties for failure to pay alimony, and certain alterations in the divorce laws”, this decree with certain additions and amendments, has been passed by the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the U.S.S.R.
The carrying out of this decree will entail great expenditures on the part of the Soviet state. But our Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has become so strong that it can afford to take them upon itself.
Why does the government undertake these large expenditures? Because it considers the measures comprised in the decree to be of great importance in remoulding people’s personal lives, in actually emancipating the working women, in establishing proper family relations.
It was just because the law now adopted is of such great importance that it was first put up for discussion by the people.
Such discussion is of the greatest importance. In the first place, it has been brought home to the broadest of masses.
Everyone made his suggestions. Of course, only a small number of these suggestions – the most important, the most essential – could be included in the decree.
People working in the People’s Commissariats of Justice, Health and Education will time and again read over these suggestions from various strata of people, in order to be able to carry out this decree in the proper Soviet way, as Lenin would have wanted it carried out, as Stalin demands.
The universal discussion of the decree will help its correct application.
Lenin spoke many times about the necessity of drawing every cook into the work of governing the state. And the discussion of the decree furthers this knowledge, fills the decree with living, practical matter. The discussion of the decree made it possible to accumulate quantities of practical material about the living conditions and personal life of our working people. The subcommittees of the Soviets will themselves be able to engage in organising every-day like on a now basis, without entrusting this work to their bureaus.
The problems dealt with in the decree vitally concern every family, and they particularly agitate the women.
It is common knowledge that Lenin attached enormous importance to the matter of emancipating women, furthering their enlightenment and drawing them into social work.
Ten years ago, could the state have assigned such funds for the maternity homes, nurseries, kindergartens? Ten years ago, would it have been possible to arrange such widespread discussion of the decree, to draw the villages into the discussion? Would the peasant women’s voices have sounded so loudly at that time?
Especially heated discussion was provoked by the clause on the prohibition of abortions, which had been legalised in 1920. Looking over some old articles of mine, I found one in which I dealt in detail with the question of abortions. The article was printed in the Kommunistka, No. 1-2, for 1920. It was called “The War and Childbirth”.
“The war”, I wrote in that article, “has brought the country to the extreme of poverty and ruin. Poverty forces women to sell their bodies, forces women who are not prostitutes making a trade of it, but mothers of families, who often do it for the sake of their children, for the sake of their old mothers.”
The Soviet laws have changed the nature of marriage, transforming it from the purely commercial deal that it often was before the Socialist October Revolution into a union on the basis of mutual sympathies. But the Civil War, constant evacuations, the break-up of old habits that were established in the course of centuries, made marital ties very unstable.
This instability of marriage and the material hardships – the Civil War, the ruined state of the country, the food shortage – led to the fact that in many cases the entire burden of rearing and training her child fell on the mother alone.
How is one to help the mother, breaking under the burden of childbirth and the rearing and upbringing of children?” I wrote in my article, “The answer is clear – the state must not only undertake the protection of the mother and child, must not only care for women during pregnancy, and during and after confinement, but must set up tens of thousands of nurseries, kindergartens, children’s colonies, and dormitories where children receive care and food, where they would live, develop and study under conditions ten times better then even the most loving mother could provide for them by her own unaided efforts.
The Soviet government did away with the old homes that took the children away from their mothers forever; it shut down the “establishments for the manufacture of angels” which had existed under the old regime and had in reality been institutions for concealed infanticide. It set up children’s homes, kindergartens and nurseries, but at that time all this was but a drop in the ocean.
The situation was especially grave in the countryside, where the kulaks were active in agitating against the nurseries. In 1919 we still used to receive petitions signed with crosses by illiterates, begging that the children should not be put in the nurseries, not be taken away from their parents forever. Children’s homes were often materially exploited by ”teachers” who had no connection whatever with pedagogy, with the teaching and raising of children.
So in 1920 this matter of abortions became acute. Up to that time abortions had been punishable by law. But the penalty descended not on those who compelled women to have abortions, not on those who performed illegal abortions under extremely unsanitary conditions, and by methods which for a long time after impaired the health of the women concerned – it was the woman who was held responsible. At that time I wrote:
The fight against abortions must be carried on not by persecuting the mothers, who resort to abortions often at great risk to their own lives, but must be directed towards eliminating the social causes that have made it necessary for women to resort to abortions.
...Of course, impunity with respect to abortions cannot rid the mother of the depression produced by an abortion. Her whole organism has, as it were, entered on the path of childbirth, the organism has begun to adapt itself to nourishing the embryo within it, and the mother usually feels an interruption of this process to be a crime against herself and her child. The nervous excitement and yearning that can often be seen in the eyes of a woman who has resorted to an abortion are enough to show at what price the mother buys her freedom.
;It was bitter want that compelled the working women to reject motherhood.
Improvement of general living conditions, and particularly the protection of mother and child and the public education of children, will remove this main cause.
Those who really want to remove from the order of the day all these horrible questions of infanticide, of abortions, of contraceptions, must work without pause to build the new life in which motherhood will take the place due to it.
Fifteen years have passed since that article was written. Our country has become rich, mighty, and prosperous. Our people are better educated and more enlightened. Women have become a force in the collective farm. They have become active in social work. Many of the women are Stakhanovites. They are studying hard. The Party and the government surround the children with public care. They make their childhood a happy one. It is with good cause that millions of working women are so devoted to Stalin – they see his solicitude for the working women.
Under these new conditions the questions of the family and of abortions appear in a new light. The new decree will play an extremely important part in remoulding people’s modes of life.
It is essential to carry out this decree on the widest possible scale, to fight for good maternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens. There is much work ahead.
* * *
From the Speech at the
Sixth Congress of the Russian Leninist Young Communist League
July 12, 1924
...We should try to link our personal lives with the cause for which we struggle, with the cause of building communism.
This, of course, does not mean that we should renounce our personal life. The Party of communism is not a sect, and so such asceticism should not be advocated. At a factory, I once heard a woman addressing her work-mates say: "Comrades working women, you should remember that once you join the Party you have to give up husband and children."
Of course, this is not the approach to the question. It is not a matter of neglecting husband and children, but of training the children to become fighters for communism, to arrange things so that the husband becomes such a fighter, too. One has to know how to merge one's life with the life of society. This is not asceticism. On the contrary, the fact of this merging, the fact that the common cause of all working people becomes a personal matter, makes personal life richer. It does not become poorer, it offers deep and colourful experiences which humdrum family life has never provided. To know how to merge one's life with work for communism, with the work and struggle of the working people to build communism, is one of the tasks that face us. You, young people, are only just starting out on your lives, and you can build them so that there is no gap between your personal life and that of society....
From the Article "Lenin as a Man"
Lenin was a revolutionary Marxist and collectivist to the depths of his being. All his life and work was devoted to one great goal--the struggle for the triumph of socialism. This left its imprint on all his thoughts and feelings. He had none of the pettiness, petty envy, anger, revengefulness and vanity so much to be found in small-property-minded individualists.
Lenin fought, he put questions sharply; in argument he introduced nothing personal but approached questions from the point of view of the matter in question, and, because of this, comrades were not usually offended at his sharp manner. He observed people closely, listened to what they had to say, tried to grasp the essential point, and so he was able, out of a number of insignificant points, to catch the nature of the person, he was able to approach people with remarkable sensitivity, to find in them all that was good and of value and could be put to the service of the common cause.
I often noticed how after meeting Ilyich people became different, and for this the comrades loved Ilyich and he himself gained as much from his meetings with them, as very few people could gain. Not everyone can learn from life, from other people. Ilyich knew how to. He never used artifice or diplomacy in dealing with people, never hoodwinked them, and people sensed his sincerity and candour.
Concern for his comrades was characteristic of him. He was concerned about them when he was in prison, at liberty, in exile, in emigration and when he became Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars. He was concerned not only about his comrades, but even about people complete strangers who needed his help. The only letter to me from Ilyich which I have preserved contains this phrase: "The letters for help which sometimes come to you I read and try to do what is possible." This was in the summer of 1919, when Ilyich had more than enough other concerns. The civil war was at its height. In the same letter he wrote: "It seems the Whites are in control of the Crimea again. There were more than enough things to see to, but I never heard Ilyich say he had no time, when it was a matter of helping people.
He was always telling me that I should be more concerned about the comrades I worked with and once, when during a party purge one of my workers from the People's Commissariat for Education was unjustly attacked, he found time to look through back numbers of publications in order to find material confirming that the worker, even before October, when still a member of the Bund, had defended the Bolsheviks.
Lenin was kind, some people say. But the word "kind" from the old language of "virtue" hardly suits Ilyich, it is somehow inadequate and inaccurate.
The family or group clannishness so characteristic of the old days was alien to Ilyich. He never separated the personal from the social. With him it was all merged into one. He could never have loved a woman whose views differed from his own, who was not his comrade in work. He had a habit of becoming passionately attached to people. His attachment to Plekhanov from whom he got so much, was typical in this respect, but it never prevented him from fighting hard against Plekhanov when he saw that Plekhanov was wrong, that his point of view harmed the cause; it did not prevent him from breaking completely with him when Plekhanov became a defencist.
Successful work delighted Ilyich. Work for the cause was the mainspring of his life, what he loved and what carried him away. Lenin tried to get as close as he could to the masses and he was able to do so. Association with workers gave him a very great deal. It gave him a real understanding of the tasks of the struggle of the proletariat at every stage. If we attentively study how Lenin worked as a scholar, a propagandist, a man of letters, an editor and organiser, we shall also understand him as a man. ...
From the Article "Lenin on Communist Morality"
Lenin was of the generation that grew up under the influence of Pisarev, Shchedrin, Nekrasov, Dobrolyubov and Chernyshevsky, of the revolutionary-democratic poets of the sixties. The Iskra poets mercilessly ridiculed the survivals of the old serfdom, they flayed depravity, servility, toadying, double-dealing, philistinism and bureaucratic methods. The writers of the 1860's advocated making a closer study of life and disclosing the survivals of the old feudal system. From his earliest years Lenin loathed philistinism, gossip, futile time-wasting, family life "separated from social interests", making women a plaything, an amusement, or a submissive slave. He despised the sort of life that is full of insincerity and easy adaptation to circumstances. Ilyich was particularly fond of Chernyshevsky's novel What Is to Be Done?; he loved the keen satire of Shchedrin, loved the Iskra poets, many of whose verses he knew by heart, and he loved Nekrasov.
For many long years Vladimir Ilyich had to live in emigration in Germany, Switzerland, England and France. He went to workers' meetings, looked closely at the lives of the workers, saw how they lived at home and spent their leisure hours in cafes or out walking.....
...Abroad we lived pretty poorly, for the most part lodging in cheap hired rooms where all kinds of people lived; we were bearded by a variety of landladies and ate in cheap restaurants. Ilyich was very fond of the Paris cafes, where in democratic songs singers sharply criticised bourgeois democracy and the day-to-day aspect of life. Ilyich particularly liked the songs of Montegus, the son of a Communard, who wrote good verses about life in the faubourgs (city outskirts). Ilyich once met and talked with Montegus at an evening party, and they conversed long after midnight about the revolution, the workers' movement and how socialism would create a new, socialist way of life.
Vladimir Ilyich always closely associated the questions of morality with those of the world outlook....
...In his speech on October 2, 1920, at the Third Congress of the Young Communist League, Vladimir Ilyich dwelt on communist morality, gave simple, concrete examples to explain the essence of communist morality. He told his audience that feudal and bourgeois morality is downright deception, the hoodwinking and befooling of workers and peasants in the interests of the landlords and capitalists; and that communist morality derives from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. He said that communist morality should aim at raising human society to a higher level, getting rid of the exploitation of labour. At the root of communist morality lies the struggle to strengthen and finally achieve communism. Lenin gave concrete examples to show the importance of solidarity, the ability to master oneself, to work tirelessly for what is needed to consolidate the new social system, the need for great and conscious discipline to this end, the need for strong solidarity in the fulfilment of set tasks. Ilyich told the young people that it was necessary for them to devote all their work, all their efforts to the common cause.
And Lenin's own life was a model of how this should be done. Ilyich could not live any other way, he did not know how to. But he was not an ascetic; he loved skating and fast cycling, mountain-climbing and hunting; he loved music and life in all its many-sided beauty; he loved his comrades, loved people in general. Everyone knows of his simplicity, his merry, infectious laughter. But everything about him was subordinated to the one thing--the struggle for a bright, enlightened, prosperous life of meaning and happiness for all. And nothing gladdened him so much as the successes achieved in this struggle. The personal side of him merged naturally with his social activity....
From a Letter to A. M. Gorky
1 September 20, 1932
...To build socialism means not only building gigantic factories and flour mills. This is essential but not enough for building socialism. People must grow in mind and heart. And on the basis of this individual growth of each in our conditions a new type of mighty socialist collective will in the long run be formed, where "I" and "we" will merge into one inseparable whole. Such a collective can only develop on the basis of profound ideological solidarity and an equally profound emotional rapprochement, mutual understanding.
And here, art, and literature in particular, can play a quite exceptional role. In Capital, Marx has a marvellous chapter [Ed. note--Ch. XI] which I want to translate into the simplest language that even the semi-literate can understand, the chapter on co-operation, where he writes that the collective gives birth to a new force. It is not just the sum-total of people, the sum-total of their forces, but a completely new, much more powerful, force. In his chapter on co-operation Marx writes about the new material force. But when, on its basis, unity of consciousness and will springs up, it becomes an indomitable force....
Letter to Working Men and Women
at the Trekhgornaya Manufaktura Mills
It is to be welcomed in every way that the Trekhgornaya Manufaktura Mills has seriously taken up the question of educating children. It is a highly important question.
Much attention has recently been devoted to universal education, strengthening the schools and improving teaching methods. But not everything, by a long way, has yet been done. Working men and women need to get closer to the school, to take a deeper interest in its work. They can help a great deal in the teaching work and in communist education.
Children spend the greater part of their time outside the school. Here they come under the influence of the street and frequently of hostile hooligan elements. Questions concerning the organisation of the children's out-of-school hours, the Young Pioneer movement, the provision of libraries and workshops and social work for the children, are of tremendous importance, Here, working men and women can do a very great deal. I firmly trust that this discussion of school and out-of-school education by the working people of the Trekhgornaya Manufaktura Mills will provide an impetus to this work.
From a Letter
to the Party and Komsomol Members,
the Factory Committee, the Management
and the Entire Collective
of the Clara Zetkin Factory
...The woman today is not simply a man's wife, she is a social worker, she wants to educate her children in the new way, she wants her whole day-to-day life to be rearranged of new lines. At every step she feels she lacks knowledge.
It is necessary that at your factory, which bears the name of the great revolutionary Clara Zetkin, a woman who fought passionately for the emancipation of women-workers, it should be a matter of honour for all factory organisations to see to it that not a single person remains illiterate at the factory, that every working woman should become more literate.
It is not only the youth that is studying today; everyone for whom the cause of Marx, Engels and Lenin is dear is studying. All politically-conscious working people in our Land of Soviets which has travelled such a hard road of struggle and has trained in this struggle self-sacrificing fighters who have achieved tremendous successes, are studying hard....