J.V. Stalin, Works, 1934-1940, V.14, p.260-269, Pravda, 29 March 1937, Reprinted by Red Star Press Ltd, 1978, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow 1954. V. OUR TASKS
V. Our Tasks
How can these defects in our work be removed?
What must be done to achieve this?
The following measures must be carried out:
1) First of all the attention of our Party comrades who have become submerged in "current questions" in some department or other must be turned towards the big political international and internal problems.
2) The political work of our Party must be raised to the proper level, making the cornerstone the task of politically educating and giving Bolshevik hardness to the Party, Soviet and economic cadres.
3) It must be explained to our Party comrades that the economic successes, the significance of which is undoubtedly very great and which we shall go on striving to achieve, day after day, year after year, are nevertheless not the whole of our work of socialist construction.
It must be explained that the bad sides connected with economic successes which are expressed in self-satisfaction, carelessness, the dulling of political intuition, can be removed only if economic successes are combined with successes in Party construction and extensive political work of our Party.
It must be explained that economic successes, their stability and duration wholly and entirely depend on the successes of Party organizational and Party political work, that without this, economic successes may prove to have been built on sand.
4) We must remember and never forget that the capitalist encirclement is the main fact which determines the international position of the Soviet Union.
We must remember and never forget that as long as the capitalist encirclement exists there will be wreckers, diversionists, spies, terrorists, sent to the Soviet Union by the intelligence services of foreign states; this must be borne in mind and a struggle must be waged against those comrades who underestimate the significance of the capitalist encirclement, who underestimate the strength and significance of wrecking.
It must be explained to our Party comrades that no economic successes, no matter how great, can annul the capitalist encirclement and the consequences arising from it.
The necessary measures must be taken to enable our comrades, both Party and non-Party Bolsheviks, to become familiar with the aims and objects, with the practice and technique of the wrecking, diversionist and espionage work of the foreign intelligence services.
5) It must be explained to our Party comrades that the Trotskyites, who are the active elements in the diversionist, wrecking and espionage work of the foreign intelligence services, have long ceased to be a political trend in the working class, that they have long ceased to serve any ideal compatible with the interests of the working class, that they have become a gang of wreckers, diversionists, spies, assassins, without principles and ideals, working in the pay of foreign intelligence services.
It must be explained that in the struggle against present-day Trotskyism, not the old methods, the methods of discussion, must be used, but new methods, uprooting and smashing methods.
6) We must explain to our Party comrades the difference between the present-day wreckers and the wreckers of the Shakhti period; we must explain that whereas the wreckers of the Shakhti period deceived our people in the sphere of technique, taking advantage of their technical backwardness, the present-day wreckers, with Party cards in their possession, deceive our people by taking advantage of the political confidence shown towards them as Party members, by taking advantage of the political carelessness of our people.
The old slogan of the mastery of technique which corresponded to the Shakhti period must be supplemented by the new slogan of political training of cadres, the mastery of Bolshevism and abandonment of our political trustfulness, a slogan which fully corresponds to the period we are now passing through.
It may be asked: Was it not possible ten years ago, during the Shakhti period, to advance both slogans simultaneously, the first slogan on the mastery of technique, and the second slogan on the political training of cadres? No, it was not possible. Things are not done that way in the Bolshevik Party. At the turning points of the revolutionary movement some basic slogan is always advanced as the key slogan which we grasp in order to pull the whole chain. That is what Lenin taught us: find the main link in the chain of our work, grasp it, pull it and thus pull the whole chain forward. The history of the revolutionary movement shows that this is the only correct tactic. In the Shakhti period the weakness of our people lay in their technical backwardness. Technical questions and not political ones were our weak spot at that time. Our political attitude towards the wreckers of that time was perfectly clear, it was the attitude of Bolsheviks towards politically alien people. We eliminated our technical weakness by advancing the slogan on the mastery of technique and by educating during this period tens and hundreds of technically equipped Bolshevik cadres. It is a different matter now when we have technically equipped Bolshevik cadres and when the part of wreckers is being played by people who are not openly alien to us and moreover are not technically superior to us, but who possess Party cards and enjoy all the rights of Party members. The weakness from which our people suffer now is not technical backwardness but political carelessness, blind faith in people who have accidentally obtained Party cards, the failure to judge people not by their political declarations, but by the results of their work. The key question now facing us is not the elimination of the technical backwardness of our cadres for, in the main, this has already been done, but the elimination of the political carelessness and political trustfulness in wreckers who have accidentally obtained Party cards.
Such is the radical difference between the key question in the struggle for cadres in the Shakhti period and the key question at the present time.
That is why we could and should not have issued both slogans ten years ago: the one on the mastery of technique and the one on the political training of cadres.
That is why the old slogan on the mastery of technique must now be supplemented by the new slogan on the mastery of Bolshevism, the political training of cadres and the abandonment of our political carelessness.
7) We must smash and cast aside the rotten theory that with every advance we make the class struggle here must subside, the more successes we achieve the tamer will the class enemy become.
This is not only a rotten theory but a dangerous one, for it lulls our people, leads them into a trap, and enables the class enemy to recuperate for the struggle against the Soviet government.
On the contrary, the further forward we advance, the greater the successes we achieve, the greater will be the fury of the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes, the more ready will they be to resort to sharper forms of struggle, the more will they seek to harm the Soviet state, and the more will they clutch at the most desperate means of struggle as the last resort of the doomed.
It must be borne in mind that the remnants of the defeated classes in the U.S.S.R. do not stand alone. They have the direct support of our enemies beyond the frontiers of the U.S.S.R. It would be a mistake to think that the sphere of the class struggle is limited to the frontiers of the U.S.S.R. One end of the class struggle operates within the frontiers of the U.S.S.R., but its other end stretches across the frontiers of the bourgeois states surrounding us. The remnants of the defeated classes cannot but be aware of this. And precisely because they are aware of it, they will continue their desperate sorties.
This is what history teaches us. This is what Leninism teaches us.
We must remember all this and be on the alert.
8) We must smash and cast aside another rotten theory to the effect that a person who is not always engaged in wrecking and who even occasionally shows successes in his work cannot be a wrecker.
This strange theory exposes the naivete of its authors. No wrecker will engage in wrecking all the time if he wants to avoid being exposed in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, the real wrecker must from time to time show successes in his work, for this is his only means of preservation as a wrecker, of winning the confidence of people and of continuing his wrecking work.
I think that this question is clear and requires no further explanation.
9) We must smash and cast aside the third rotten theory to the effect that the systematic fulfilment of the economic plans nullifies wrecking and its consequences.
Such a theory can only have one purpose, namely to tickle the self-esteem of our department officials, to lull them and to weaken their struggle against wrecking.
What does "the systematic fulfilment of our economic plans" mean?
Firstly, it has been proved that all our economic plans are too low, for they do not take into account the enormous reserves and possibilities lying hidden in our national economy.
Secondly, the total fulfilment of economic plans by the respective People's Commissariats does not mean that there are not some very important branches which fail to fulfil their plans. On the contrary, the facts go to show that quite a number of People's Commissariats which have fulfilled or even more than fulfilled the annual economic plans, systematically fail to fulfil the plans in several very important branches of national economy.
Thirdly, there can be no doubt that had the wreckers not been exposed and ejected, the position in respect to the fulfilment of economic plans would have been far worse. This is something which the short-sighted authors of the theory under review ought to remember.
Fourthly, the wreckers usually time the main part of their wrecking work not for peace time, but for the eve of war, or for war itself. Suppose we lulled ourselves with this rotten "systematic fulfilment of economic plans" theory and did not touch the wreckers. Do the authors of this rotten theory appreciate what an enormous amount of harm the wreckers would do to our country in case of war if we allowed them to remain within the body of our national economy, sheltered by the rotten "systematic fulfilment of economic plans" theory?
Is it not clear that this "systematic fulfilment of economic plans" theory is a theory which is advantageous to the wreckers?
10) We must smash and cast aside the fourth rotten theory to the effect that the Stakhanov movement is the principal means for the liquidation of wrecking.
This theory has been invented in order, amidst the noisy chatter about the Stakhanovites and the Stakhanov movement, to parry the blow against the wreckers.
In his report Comrade Molotov quoted a number of facts which show how the Trotskyite and non- Trotskyite wreckers of the Kuznetsk and Donetz Basins abused the confidence of our politically careless comrades, systematically led the Stakhanovites by the nose, put spokes in their wheel, so to speak, deliberately created numerous obstacles to prevent them from working successfully and finally succeeded in disorganizing their work. What can the Stakhanovites do alone if capital construction as carried on by the wreckers, let us say, in the Donetz Basin, caused the preparatory work of coal mining to lag behind all other branches of the work?
Is it not clear that the Stakhanov movement itself is in need of our real assistance against the various machinations of the wreckers so as to advance the movement and enable it to fulfil its great mission? Is it not clear that the struggle against wrecking, the fight to liquidate it, to curb this wrecking is a necessary condition to enable the Stakhanov movement to expand to the full?
I think that this question is also clear and needs no further comment.
11) We must smash and cast aside the fifth rotten theory to the effect that the Trotskyite wreckers have no more reserves, that they are mustering their last cadres.
This is not true, comrades. Only naive people could invent such a theory. The Trotskyite wreckers have their reserves. These consist first of all of the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes in the U.S.S.R. They consist of a whole number of groups and organizations beyond the frontiers of the U.S.S.R. which are hostile to the Soviet Union.
Take, for example, the Trotskyite counterrevolutionary Fourth International, two-thirds of which is made up of spies and diversionist agents. Is not this a reserve? Is it not clear that this international of spies will provide forces for the spying and wrecking work of the Trotskyites?
Or take, for example, the group of that rascal, Scheflo, in Norway who provided a haven for the arch-spy Trotsky and helped him to harm the Soviet Union. Is not this group a reserve? Who can deny that this counter-revolutionary group will continue to render services to the Trotskyite spies and wreckers?
Or take, for example, the group of another rascal like Scheflo, the Souvarine group in France. Is not this a reserve? Can it be denied that this group of rascals will also help the Trotskyites in their espionage and wrecking work against the Soviet Union?
Those ladies and gentlemen from Germany, the Ruth Fischers, Maslovs, and Urbahns who have sold themselves body and soul to the fascists – are they not reserves for the espionage and wrecking work of the Trotskyites?
Or take, for example, the well-known gang of writers in America headed by the well-known crook Eastman, all these pen pirates who live by slandering the working class of the Soviet Union – are they not reserves for Trotskyism?
No, the rotten theory that the Trotskyites are mustering their last forces must be cast aside.
12) Finally we must smash and cast aside still another rotten theory to the effect that since we Bolsheviks are many, while the wreckers are few, since we Bolsheviks have the support of tens of millions of people, while the Trotskyite wreckers can be numbered in tens and units, then we Bolsheviks can afford to ignore this handful of wreckers.
This is wrong, comrades. This more than strange theory has been invented for the consolation of certain of our leading comrades who have failed in their work because of their inability to combat wrecking. It has been invented to lull their vigilance, to enable them to sleep peacefully.
Of course it is true that the Trotskyite wreckers have the support of individuals, while the Bolsheviks have the support of tens of millions of people. But it by no means follows from this that the wreckers are not able to inflict very serious damage on us. It does not need a large number of people to do harm and to cause damage. To build a Dnieper Dam tens of thousands of workers have to be set to work. But to blow it up, only a score or so would be required. To win a battle in a war several Red Army corps may be required. But to nullify this gain at the front only a few spies are needed at Army Headquarters, or even at Divisional Headquarters, to steal the plan of operations and pass it on to the enemy. To build a big railway bridge thousands of people are required. But to blow it up a few are sufficient. Scores and hundreds of similar examples could be quoted.
Consequently, we must not comfort ourselves with the fact that we are many, while they, the Trotskyite wreckers, are few.
We must see to it that not a single Trotskyite wrecker is left in our ranks.
This is how the matter stands with the question of how to remove the defects in our work, which are common to all our organizations – economic, Soviet, administrative and Party.
Such are the measures that are necessary to remove these defects.
As regards the Party organizations in particular, and the defects in their work, the measures necessary to remove these defects are indicated in sufficient detail in the Draft Resolution submitted for your consideration. I think, therefore, that there is no need to enlarge on this aspect of the question here.
I would like to say just a few words on the question of political training and of improving our Party cadres.
I think that if we were able, if we succeeded in giving our Party cadres, from top to bottom, ideological training and in hardening them politically so that they could easily find their bearings in the internal and international situation, if we succeeded in making them fully mature Leninists, Marxists, capable of solving the problems of leading the country without serious error, we would thereby solve nine-tenths of our problems.
What is the situation with regard to the leading forces of our Party?
In our Party, if we have in mind its leading strata, there are 3,000 to 4,000 first rank leaders. These are what I would call the generals of our Party.
Then there are 30,000 to 40,000 middle rank leaders, who are our Party's commissioned officers.
Then there are about 100,000 to 150,000 lower Party leaders who are, so to speak, our Party's non-commissioned officers.
The task is to raise the ideological level of these commanding cadres, to harden them politically, to infuse them with new forces which are awaiting promotion, and thus enlarge the ranks of these leading cadres.
What is needed for this?
First of all we must instruct each of our Party leaders, from secretaries of Party cells to secretaries of Regional and – Republic Party organizations, to select within a certain time two persons, two Party workers, who are capable of acting as his effective deputies. It might be asked: where are we to get these two deputies for each secretary, we have no such people, no workers who answer these requirements. This is wrong, comrades. We have tens of thousands of capable and talented people. All we have to do is get to know them and promote them in time so as not to keep them in one place too long, until they begin to rot. Seek and ye shall find.
Further. For the Party instruction and re-training of secretaries of Party cells, four months' "Party courses" should be established in every Regional centre. The secretaries of all primary Party organizations (cells) should be sent to these courses, and when they finish and return home, their deputies and the most capable members of the primary Party organizations should be sent to these courses.
Further. For the political re-training of first secretaries of District organizations, eight months' "Lenin courses" should be established in, say, ten of the most important centres in the U.S.S.R. The first secretaries of District and Regional Party organizations should be sent to these courses, and when they finish and return home, their deputies and the most capable members of the District and Regional organizations should be sent.
Further, for the ideological re-training and political improvement of secretaries of city organizations, six months' "Courses for the study of Party history and policy" under the C.C. of the C.P.S.U. should be established. The first or second secretaries of city Party organizations should be sent to these courses, and when they finish and return home, the most capable members of the city Party organizations should be sent.
Finally, a six months' "Conference on questions of internal and international policy" under the C.C. of the C.P.S.U. should be established. The first secretaries of Regional and Territorial organizations and of Central Committees of national Communist Parties should be sent here. These comrades should provide not one but several relays, capable of replacing the leaders of the Central Committee of our Party. This should and must be done.
I now conclude, comrades.
We have thus indicated the main defects in our work, those which are common to all our organizations – economic, administrative and Party, and also those which are peculiar only to the Party organizations, defects which the enemies of the working class have taken advantage of in their diversionist and wrecking, espionage and terrorist work.
We have also indicated the principal measures that have to be adopted to remove these defects and to render harmless the diversionist, wrecking, espionage and terrorist sorties of the Trotskyite-fascist agents of the foreign intelligence services.
The question arises: can we carry out all these measures, have we all the necessary means for this?
Undoubtedly we can. We can because we have all the means necessary to carry out these measures.
What do we lack?
We lack only one thing, the readiness to rid ourselves of our carelessness, our complacency, our political short-sightedness.
There's the rub.
Cannot we, who have overthrown capitalism, who, in the main, have built Socialism and have raised aloft the great banner of world Communism, get rid of this ridiculous and idiotic disease?
We have no reason to doubt that we shall certainly get rid of it, if, of course, we want to do so. We will not just get rid of it, but get rid of it in the Bolshevik way, in real earnest.
And when we get rid of this idiotic disease we shall be able to say with complete confidence that we fear no enemies from within or without, we do not fear their sorties, for we shall smash them in the future as we are smashing them now and as we have smashed them in the past. (Applause.)
29 March 1937