ENGLISH

 

 

Stalin

The Tasks of the Young Communist League

Answer to Questions Submitted by the Editorial Board of Komsomolskaya Pravda

October 29, 1925

Stalin, Works, Vol. 7, 1925

 

 

I

What, in the main, are the duties of the Young Communist League resulting from
the Soviet Union's present international and internal position?

The formulation of the question is too general; hence, the answer can be couched only in general terms. In the main, the Soviet Union's present international and internal position imposes upon the Young Communist League the duty of supporting by word and deed the revolutionary movement of the oppressed classes in all countries and the struggle of the proletariat of the Soviet Union to build socialism, and for the freedom and independence of the proletarian state. It follows from this, however, that the Young Communist League will be able to perform this general duty only if it is guided in all its work by the directives issued by the Communist International and the Russian Communist Party.

 

II

What tasks confront the Young Communist League in connection with the dangers of liquidationism (loss of perspective in the building of socialism), of nationalism (loss of the international revolutionary perspective) and of the beli11in g of the Party leadership, i.e., in connection with the dangers mentioned in the pamphlet Questions and Answers?

Briefly, the task of the Young Communist League in this sphere is to educate our young workers and peasants in the spirit of Leninism. But what does educating the youth in the spirit of Leninism mean? It means, firstly, imbuing them with the consciousness that victory in the building of socialism in our country is fully possible and necessary. It means, secondly, strengthening their conviction that our workers' state is the offspring of the international proletariat, that it is the base for developing the revolution in all countries, that the final victory of our revolution is the cause of the international proletariat. It means, thirdly, educating the young people in a spirit of confidence in the leadership of the Russian Communist Party. It is necessary to create in the Young Communist League such cadres and such an active as will be able to educate the youth precisely along those lines.

Young Communist Leaguers are active in all spheres of construction: industry, agriculture, the co-operatives, the Soviets, cultural and educational organisations, and so forth. Every member of the Young Communist League active must link his daily work in all spheres of construction with the prospect of building socialist society. He must be able to conduct his daily work in the spirit and direction of realising this prospect.

Young Communist Leaguers conduct work among the workers and peasants of the most diverse nationalities.

The Young Communist League itself is something in the nature of an International. A role is played here not only by the national composition of the Young Communist League, but also by the fact that the latter is directly linked with the R.C.P.(B.), one of the most important detachments of the world proletarian International. Internationalism is the fundamental idea that permeates the work of the Young Communist League. That is what makes it strong. That is what makes it mighty. The spirit of internationalism must always hover over the Young Communist League. The successes and setbacks in the struggle that the proletariat of our country is waging must be linked in the minds of Young Communist Leaguers with the successes and setbacks of the international revolutionary movement. Young Communist Leaguers must learn to regard our revolution not as an end in itself, but as a means and an aid towards the victory of the proletarian revolution in all countries.

Formally, the Young Communist League is a non-Party organisation. But it is at the same time a communist organisation. This means that, while being formally a non-Party organisation of workers and peasants, the Young Communist League must, nevertheless, work under the leadership of our Party. The task is to ensure that the youth has confidence in our Party, to ensure our Party's leadership in the Young Communist League. The Young Communist Leaguer must remember that ensuring the Party's leadership is the chief and most important thing in the entire work of the Young Communist League. The Young Communist Leaguer must remember that without that leadership the Young

Communist League will be unable to fulfil its main task namely, that of educating the young workers and peasants in the spirit of the proletarian dictatorship and of communism.

 

III

How should the question of the growth of the Young Communist League be presented at the present time: should it continue, in the main, the policy of drawing all the young workers, agricultural labourers and poor peasants and the best of the young middle peasants into its ranks, or should it concentrate attention mainly on holding and educating the mass of the youth already in the League?

It is wrong to say: either — or. Both must be done. As far as possible, all the young workers and the best elements of the young poor and middle peasants must be drawn into the League. At the same time, attention must be concentrated on the education of the new members by the Young Communist League active. The most important immediate task of the Young Communist League is to strengthen its proletarian core. The carrying out of this task will be a guarantee that the Young Communist League will proceed along the right road. But the Young Communist League is not only a young workers organisation. It is a young workers' and peasants' organisation. Therefore, in addition to strengthening its proletarian core, it must work to recruit the best elements of the peasant youth, it must work to ensure a firm alliance between the proletarian core and the peasant section of the League. If that is not done, leadership of the young peasants in the League by the proletarian core will be impossible.

 

IV

Some Gubernia Committees of the Russian Leninist Young Communist League, taking as their example the women's delegate meetings, have begun to organise delegate meetings of young non-Party peasants, attended by permanent delegates. The function of those meetings is to form a young peasant, mainly middle peasant, active, under the leadership of the Young Communist League. Is that standpoint correct? Does not this harbour the danger of those delegate meetings degenerating into a sort of non-Party peasant-youth leagues, which may set themselves up against our Young Communist League?

In my opinion that standpoint is incorrect. Why? For the following reasons.

Firstly, there is concealed here a fear of the middle peasant, a desire to keep the young middle peasants at a distance, an attempt to wash one's hands of them. Is that a proper desire? Of course not. We must not keep the young middle peasants at a distance; on the contrary, we must draw them closer to us, draw them closer to the Young Communist League. Only in this way will it be possible to imbue the young middle peasants with confidence in the workers, with confidence in the proletarian core of the Young Communist League, with confidence in our Party.

Secondly, there is no doubt that, under present circumstances, when all sections of the peasantry are becoming more active, special delegate meetings of young middle peasants convened by the Young Communist League will inevitably be transformed into a separate middle-peasant youth league. This separate league will by force of necessity be compelled to set itself up against the existing youth league and its leader, the R.C.P.(B.); it will draw towards itself the peasant section of the Young Communist League and thereby create the danger of the League splitting into two leagues — a young workers' league and a young peasants' league. Can we ignore such a danger? Of course not. Do we want such a split, especially under present circumstances, especially under the present conditions of our development? Of course not. On the contrary, what is necessary now is not to keep the young peasants at a distance, but to draw them closer to the proletarian core of the Young Communist League, not discord, but a firm alliance between them.

Thirdly, the organisation of delegate meetings of young middle peasants cannot be justified on the plea of the existence of delegate meetings of working women and peasant women. The young workers and peasants, who have their own separate organisation in the shape of the Young Communist League, cannot be put on a par with the working women and peasant women, who have no separate organisation of their own, just as the young middle peasants must not be confused with working women, who are a part of the working class. The existence of delegate meetings of young middle peasants gives rise to a danger for the Young Communist League, whereas the existence of delegate meetings of working women and peasant women creates no danger to anybody, for at the present time the working women and peasant women have no separate permanent organisation of their own like the Young Communist League.

That is why I think that the organisation of special delegate meetings of young middle peasants by the Young Communist League is superfluous.

I think that the Sixth Congress of the Young Communist League [ 1 ] acted rightly in confining itself to the proposal to form around the Young Communist League in the countryside auxiliary organisations, such as self-education circles, groups for the study of agriculture, and so forth.

 

V

Is it possible, under our conditions, for the active of the Young Communist League to combine practical work with a thorough study of Marxism and Leninism; and what must the Young Communist League organisations and the individual Young Communist Leaguers do in this direction?

First of all, a brief remark about Marxism and Leninism. Such a formulation of the question might lead one to think that Marxism is one thing and Leninism another, that one can be a Leninist without being a Marxist. Such an idea cannot be regarded as correct. Leninism is not Lenin's teaching minus Marxism. Leninism is Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. In other words, Leninism includes all that was taught by Marx plus Lenin's new contribution to the treasury of Marxism, and what necessarily follows from all that was taught by Marx (teaching on the dictatorship of the proletariat, the peasant question, the national question, the Party, the question of the social roots of reformism, the question of the principal deviations in communism, and so forth). It would be better, therefore, to formulate the question in such a way as to speak of Marxism or of Leninism (which fundamentally are the same) and not of Marxism and Leninism.

Secondly, there cannot be the slightest doubt that unless the practical work of the active of the Young Communist League is combined with theoretical training ("the study of Leninism"), no kind of intelligent communist work in the Young Communist League will be possible. Leninism is the generalisation of the experience of the revolutionary movement of the workers of all countries. That experience is the guiding star which lights up the path of the practical workers in their daily work and gives them direction. The practical workers cannot have confidence in their work or know whether it is correct without having mastered that experience, at least to some degree. To grope, to work in the dark — such is the lot of practical workers if they do not study Leninism, if they do not strive to master Leninism, if they refuse to combine their practical work with the necessary theoretical training. Therefore, the study of Leninism, Leninist education, is an essential condition for converting the present active of the Young Communist League into a genuine Leninist active, capable of educating the many millions of Young Communist Leaguers in the spirit of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of communism.

But is such a combination of theory and practice possible under present conditions, when the active of the Young Communist League is so overworked? Yes, it is. It is difficult, that goes without saying; but it is quite possible, since it is so necessary, since a genuine Leninist active in the Young Communist League cannot be created without it. We must not behave like weaklings who run away from difficulties and look for easy work. Difficulties exist to be combated and overcome. The Bolsheviks would certainly have perished in their struggle against capitalism had they not learned to overcome difficulties. The Young Communist League would not be a Young Communist League if it were daunted by difficulties. The active of the Young Communist League has undertaken a great task. Therefore, it must find the strength to overcome all difficulties in the path to the goal.

The patient and persevering study of Leninism — such is the path the active of the Young Communist League must travel if it really wants to educate the millions of young people in the spirit of the proletarian revolution.

 

Komsomolskaya Pravda, No. 133, October 29, 1925

 


Note

 

[ 1 ]

The Sixth Congress of the Russian Leninist Young Communist League was held in Moscow, July 12-18, 1924. The congress discussed the following questions: the change of name from the Russian Young Communist League to the Russian Leninist Young Communist League; the political situation and the tasks of the youth the report of the Russian Leninist Y.C.L. delegation on the Executive Committee of the Young Communist International; the report of the Central Committee of the Russian Leninist Y.C.L.; the prospects of youth labour and the tasks of the economic activities of the R.L.Y.C.L.; the work of the R.L.Y.C.L. in the countryside; the work of the R.L.Y.C.L. in the Red Army and Navy, etc. The Sixth Congress of the R.L.Y.C.L. associated itself with the decisions of the Thirteenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) and condemned the opportunist theory that the Y.C.L. should be neutral in the struggle against anti-Party deviations. (For the decisions adopted by the Sixth Congress of the R.L.Y.C.L. see Resolutions and Decisions of the Sixth All-Union Congress of the R.L.Y.C.L., Moscow, 1924.)

 

 

 

 

 

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