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Report and Speech in Reply to Debate at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.
3 – 5 March 1937
Defects in Party Work and Measures for Liquidating Trotskyite and Other Double-Dealers
Comrades, from the reports and the debates on these reports heard at this Plenum it is evident that we are dealing with the following three main facts.
First, the wrecking, diversionist and espionage work of the agents of foreign countries, among whom a rather active role was played by the Trotskyites, affected more or less all, or nearly all, our organisations – economic, administrative and Party.
Second, the agents of foreign countries, among them the Trotskyites, not only penetrated into our lower organisations, but also into a number of responsible positions.
Third, some of our leading comrades, at the centre and in the districts, not only failed to discern the real face of these wreckers, diversionists, spies and assassins, but proved to be so careless, complacent and naive that not infrequently they themselves helped to promote agents of foreign powers to responsible positions.
Such are the three incontrovertible facts which naturally emerge from the reports and the debates on these reports.
I. Political Carelessness
How are we to explain the fact that our leading comrades, who have rich experience in the fight against all sorts of anti-Party and anti-Soviet trends, proved in this case to be so naive and blind that they were unable to see the real face of the enemies of the people, were unable to discern the wolves in sheep's clothing, unable to tear off their masks?
Can it be said that the wrecking, diversionist and espionage work of the agents of foreign powers operating in the territory of the U.S.S.R. can be anything unexpected and unprecedented for us? No, that cannot be said. This is shown by the wrecking activities in various branches of national economy during the past ten years, beginning with the Shakhti period, activities which are registered in official documents.
Can it be said that in this past period there were no warning signals and warning signs about the wrecking, espionage or terrorist activities of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite agents of fascism? No, that cannot be said. We had such signals, and Bolsheviks have no right to forget about them.
The foul murder of Comrade Kirov was the first serious warning which showed that the enemies of the people would resort to duplicity, and resorting to duplicity would disguise themselves as Bolsheviks, as Party members, in order to worm their way into our confidence and gain access to our organizations.
The trial of the "Leningrad Centre" as well as the "Zinoviev-Kamenev" trial gave fresh grounds for the lessons which followed from the foul murder of Comrade Kirov.
The trial of the "Zinovievite-Trotskyite bloc" broadened the lessons of the preceding trials and strikingly demonstrated that the Zinovievites and Trotskyites had united around themselves all the hostile bourgeois elements, that they had become transformed into an espionage, diversionist and terrorist agency of the German secret police, that duplicity and camouflage are the only means by which the Zinovievites and Trotskyites can penetrate into our organizations, that vigilance and political insight are the surest means of preventing such penetration, of liquidating the Zinovievite-Trotskyite gang.
The Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. in its confidential letter of January 18, 1935, on the foul murder of Comrade Kirov emphatically warned the Party organizations against political complacency and philistine heedlessness. In the confidential letter it was stated:
"We must put a stop to opportunist complacency which comes from the mistaken assumption that as we grow in strength our enemies become tamer and more innocuous. Such an assumption is radically wrong. It is an echo of the Right deviation which assured all and sundry that the enemy would quietly creep into socialism, that in the end they would become real socialists. Bolsheviks cannot rest on their laurels and become heedless. We do not want complacency, but vigilance, real Bolshevik, revolutionary vigilance. We must remember that the more hopeless the position of the enemies becomes the more eagerly will they clutch at extreme methods as the only methods of the doomed in their struggle against the Soviet power. We must remember this and be vigilant."
In its confidential letter of July 29, 1936, on the espionage – terrorist activities of the Trotskyite – Zinovievite bloc the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. once again called upon the Party organizations to display the utmost vigilance, to acquire the ability to discern the enemies of the people no matter how well disguised they may be. In that confidential letter it was stated:
"Now that it has been proved that the Trotskyite-Zinovievite monsters are uniting in their struggle against the Soviet power all the most enraged and sworn enemies of the toilers of our country – spies, provocateurs, diversionists, whiteguards, kulaks, etc. – when between these elements and the Trotskyites and Zinovievites all lines of demarcation have been obliterated, all our Party organizations, all members of the Party, must understand that the vigilance of Communists is needed on every sector and under all circumstances. An inalienable quality of every Bolshevik under present conditions must be the ability to discern the enemy of the Party no matter how well he may disguise himself."
And so there were signals and warnings.
What did these signals and warnings call for?
They called for the elimination of the weakness of Party organizational work and for the transformation of the Party into an impregnable fortress into which not a single double-dealer could penetrate.
They called upon us to put a stop to the underestimation of Party political work and to make an emphatic turn in the direction of intensifying this work to the utmost, of intensifying political vigilance.
But what happened? The facts show that our comrades reacted to these signals and warnings very slowly.
This is eloquently shown by all the known facts that have emerged from the campaign of verifying and exchanging Party documents.
How are we to explain the fact that these warnings and signals did not have the required effect?
How are we to explain the fact that our Party comrades, notwithstanding their experience in the struggle against anti-Soviet elements, notwithstanding the numerous warning signals and warning signs, proved to be politically short-sighted in face of the wrecking, espionage and diversionist work of the enemies of the people?
Perhaps our Party comrades have deteriorated, have become less class-conscious and less disciplined? No, of course not!
Perhaps they have begun to degenerate? Again, of course not! There are no grounds whatever for such an assumption.
What is the matter then? Whence this heedlessness, carelessness, complacency, blindness?
The matter is that our comrades, carried away by economic campaigns and by colossal successes on the front of economic construction, simply forgot about certain very important facts which Bolsheviks have no right to forget. They forgot about the main fact in the international position of the U.S.S.R. and failed to notice two very important facts which have direct relation to the present-day wreckers, spies, diversionists and assassins who are concealing themselves behind Party membership cards and disguising themselves as Bolsheviks.
II. The Capitalist Encirclement
What are the facts which our Party comrades forgot about, or simply failed to notice?
They forgot that the Soviet power is victorious only on one-sixth of the globe, that five-sixths of the globe are in the possession of capitalist states. They forgot that the Soviet Union is encircled by capitalist states. It is an accepted thing among us to chatter about capitalist encirclement, but people refuse to ponder over what sort of thing this capitalist encirclement is. Capitalist encirclement is not an empty phrase, it is a very real and unpleasant thing. Capitalist encirclement means that there is a country, the Soviet Union, which has established the socialist system, and that there are, besides, many other countries, bourgeois countries, which continue to lead the capitalist mode of life and which surround the Soviet Union, waiting for an opportunity to attack her, to crush her, or, at all events, to undermine her might and weaken her.
It is this main fact that our comrades forgot. But it is precisely this fact that determines the basis of the relations between the capitalist encirclement and the Soviet Union.
Take the bourgeois states, for example. Naive people might think that exceptionally good relations exist between them, as between states of the same type. But only naive people can think like that. As a matter of fact relations far from neighbourly exist between them. It has been proved as definitely as twice two are four that the bourgeois states send to each other spies, wreckers, diversionists, and sometimes also assassins, instruct them to penetrate into the institutions and enterprises of these states, set up their agencies and "in case of necessity" disrupt their rear, in order to weaken them and to undermine their strength. Such is the case at the present time. Such, also, was the case in the past. For example, take the states in Europe at the time of Napoleon the First. At that time France was swarming with spies and diversionists from the side of the Russians, Germans, Austrians and English. On the other hand, England, the German states, Austria and Russia, had in their rear a no smaller number of spies and diversionists from the French side. English agents twice made an attempt on the life of Napoleon, and several times they roused the peasants of the Vendee in France against the Napoleon government. And what was this Napoleon government? A bourgeois government, which strangled the French Revolution and preserved only those results of the revolution which were of advantage to the big bourgeoisie. Needless to say the Napoleon government did not remain in debt to its neighbours and also undertook diversionist measures. Such was the case in the past, 130 years ago. That is the case now, 130 years after Napoleon the First. Today France and England are swarming with German spies and diversionists, and, on the other hand, Anglo-French spies and diversionists are busy in Germany; America is swarming with Japanese spies and diversionists, and Japan is swarming with American spies and diversionists.
Such is the law of the relations between bourgeois states.
The question arises, why should the bourgeois states treat the Soviet socialist state more gently and in a more neighbourly manner than they treat bourgeois states of their own type? Why should they send to the Soviet Union fewer spies, wreckers, diversionists and assassins than they send to their kindred bourgeois states? Why should you think so? Would it not be more correct from the point of view of Marxism to assume that the bourgeois states would send twice and three times as many wreckers, spies, diversionists and assassins to the Soviet Union as they send to any bourgeois state?
Is it not clear that as long as capitalist encirclement exists we shall have wreckers, spies, diversionists and assassins sent to us by agents of foreign states?
Our Party comrades forgot about all this, and having forgotten about it, they were caught unawares.
That is why the espionage and diversionist work of the Trotskyite agents of the Japano-German secret police proved to be quite unexpected for some of our comrades.
III. Present Day Trotskyism
Further, while fighting the Trotskyite agents, our Party comrades failed to notice, overlooked the fact that present-day Trotskyism is not what it was, say, seven or eight years ago, that during this period Trotskyism and the Trotskyites had undergone an important evolution which radically changed the face of Trotskyism, that in view of this, the struggle against Trotskyism, the methods of fighting it, have to be radically changed. Our Party comrades failed to notice that Trotskyism had ceased to be a political trend in the working class, that from the political trend in the working class that it was seven or eight years ago Trotskyism had become transformed into a wild and unprincipled gang of wreckers, diversionists, spies and assassins acting on the instructions of the intelligence services of foreign states.
What is a political trend in the working class? A political trend in the working class is a group, or party, which has a definite political face, a platform, a program, which does not and cannot hide its views from the working class, but on the contrary, advocates its views openly and honestly before the working class, which is not afraid of showing its political face to the working class, which is not afraid of demonstrating its real aims and objects to the working class, but on the contrary, goes to the working class with open visor in order to convince it of the correctness of its views. In the past, seven or eight years ago, Trotskyism was such a political trend in the working class, an anti-Leninist and, therefore, a profoundly mistaken trend, it is true, but a political trend, nevertheless.
Can it be said that present-day Trotskyism, Trotskyism, say, of 1936, is a political trend in the working class? No, this cannot be said, Why? Because the present-day Trotskyites are afraid to show their real face to the working class, are afraid to reveal to it their real aims and objects, carefully hide their political face from the working class, fearing that if the working class learns about their real intentions it will curse them as people alien to it and drive them away. This, in fact, explains why the principal methods of Trotskyite work are now not the open and honest advocacy of its views in the working class, but the disguising of its views, the obsequious, fawning eulogy of the views of its opponents, the pharisaical and hypocritical trampling of its own views in the mud.
At the trial in 1936, if you remember, Kamenev and Zinoviev emphatically denied that they had any political platform. They had every opportunity of unfolding their political platform at the trial. But they did not do this, declaring that they had no political platform. There can be no doubt that both of them were lying when they denied that they had a political platform. Now even the blind can see that they had a political platform. But why did they deny that they had a political platform? Because they were afraid to reveal their real political face, they were afraid to demonstrate their real platform of restoring capitalism in the U.S.S.R., they were afraid because such a platform would cause revulsion in the ranks of the working class.
At the trial in 1937, Pyatakov, Radek and Sokolnikov took a different line. They did not deny that the Trotskyites and Zinovievites had a political platform. They admitted that they had a definite political platform, admitted it and unfolded it in their evidence. But they unfolded it not in order to call upon the working class, to call upon the people, to support the Trotskyite platform, but in order to curse and brand it as an anti-people and anti-proletarian platform. The restoration of capitalism, the liquidation of the collective farms and state farms, the restoration of the system of exploitation, alliance with the fascist forces of Germany and Japan to bring nearer war against the Soviet Union, the fight for war and against the policy of peace, the territorial dismemberment of the Soviet Union in which the Ukraine was to be surrendered to the Germans and the Maritime Region to the Japanese, preparation for the military defeat of the Soviet Union in the event of an attack on her by hostile states and, as a means of achieving these aims, wrecking, diversion, individual acts of terrorism against the leaders of the Soviet government, espionage on behalf of the Japano-German fascist forces – such was the political platform of present-day Trotskyism unfolded by Pyatakov, Radek and Sokolnikov. Naturally the Trotskyites could not but hide such a platform from the people, from the working class. And they hid it not only from the working class, but also from the rank and- file Trotskyites, and not only from the rank and- file Trotskyites, but even from the leading Trotskyite group consisting of a small clique of thirty or forty people. When Radek and Pyatakov demanded from Trotsky permission to convene a small conference of thirty or forty Trotskyites for the purpose of informing them about the character of this platform, Trotsky forbade them on the ground that it was inexpedient to tell even a small clique of Trotskyites about the real character of this platform, for such an "operation" might cause a split.
"Political figures," hiding their views and their platform not only from the working class, but also from the Trotskyite rank-and-file, and not only from the Trotskyite rank-and-file, but from the leading group of the Trotskyites – such is the face of present-day Trotskyism.
But it follows from this that present-day Trotskyism can no longer be called a political trend in the working class.
Present-day Trotskyism is not a political trend in the working class, but a gang without principles and without ideals, a gang of wreckers, diversionists, intelligence service agents, spies, assassins, a gang of sworn enemies of the working class, working in the pay of the intelligence services of foreign states.
Such is the incontrovertible result of the evolution of Trotskyism in the last seven or eight years.
Such is the difference between Trotskyism in the past and Trotskyism at the present time.
The mistake our Party comrades made is that they failed to notice this profound difference between Trotskyism in the past and Trotskyism at the present time. They failed to notice that the Trotskyites have long ceased to be people devoted to an ideal, that the Trotskyites long ago became highway robbers, capable of any foulness, capable of all that is disgusting, to the point of espionage and the downright betrayal of their country, if only they can harm the Soviet government and Soviet power. They failed to notice this and therefore were unable to adapt themselves in time to fight the Trotskyites in a new way, more determinedly.
That is why the abominable work of the Trotskyites during the last few years was quite unexpected for some of our Party comrades.
To proceed. Finally, our Party comrades failed to notice that there is an important difference between the present-day wreckers and diversionists, among whom the Trotskyite agents of fascism play rather an active part, and the wreckers and diversionists of the time of the Shakhti case.
Firstly, the Shakhti and Industrial Party wreckers were people openly alien to us. They were for the most part former factory owners, former managers for the old employers, former share-holders in joint stock companies, or simply old bourgeois specialists who were openly hostile to us politically. None of our people had any doubt about the real political face of these gentlemen. And the Shakhti wreckers themselves did not conceal their dislike for the Soviet system. The same cannot be said about the present-day wreckers and diversionists, the Trotskyites. The present-day wreckers and diversionists, the Trotskyites, are for the most part Party people with a Party card in their pocket, consequently, people who, formally, are not alien to us. The old wreckers opposed our people, but the new wreckers fawn upon our people, praise them, toady to them in order to worm their way into their confidence. As you see, the difference is an important one,
Secondly, the strength of the Shakhti and Industrial Party wreckers was that they, more or less, possessed the necessary technical knowledge, whereas our people, not possessing such knowledge, were compelled to learn from them. This circumstance put the wreckers of the Shakhti period in an advantageous position, it enabled them to carry on their wrecking work freely and unhindered, enabled them to deceive our people technically. This is not the case with the present-day wreckers, with the Trotskyites. The present-day wreckers are not superior to our people in technical knowledge. On the contrary, our people are technically better trained than the present-day wreckers, than the Trotskyites. During the period from the Shakhti case to the present day tens of thousands of genuine, technically well-equipped Bolshevik cadres have grown up among us. One could mention thousands and tens of thousands of technically educated Bolshevik leaders, compared with whom people like Pyatakov and Livshitz, Shestov and Boguslavsky, Muralov and Drobnis are empty windbags and mere tyros from the standpoint of technical training. That being the case, wherein lies the strength of the present-day wreckers, the Trotskyites? Their strength lies in the Party card, in the possession of a Party card. Their strength lies in the fact that the Party card enables them to be politically trusted and gives them access to all our institutions and organizations. Their advantage lies in that, holding a Party card and pretending to be friends of the Soviet power, they deceived our people politically, abused their confidence, did their wrecking work furtively and disclosed our state secrets to the enemies of the Soviet Union. The political and moral value of this "advantage" is a doubtful one, but still, it is an "advantage." This "advantage" explains why the Trotskyite wreckers, having a Party card, having access to all places in our institutions and organizations, were a real windfall for the intelligence services of foreign states.
The mistake some of our Party comrades made is that they failed to notice, did not understand this difference between the old and the new wreckers, between the Shakhti wreckers and the Trotskyites, and, not noticing this, they were unable to adapt themselves in time to fight the new wreckers in a new way.
IV. The Bad Side Of Economic Successes
Such are the main facts of our international and internal situation which many of our Party comrades forgot, or which they failed to notice.
That is why our people were taken unawares by the events of the last few years as regards wrecking and diversion.
It may be asked: But why did our people fail to notice all this, why did they forget about all this?
Where did all this forgetfulness, blindness, carelessness, complacency, come from?
Is it an organic defect in the work of our people?
No, it is not an organic defect. It is a temporary phenomenon which can be rapidly removed if our people make some effort.
What is the matter then?
The matter is that during the last few years our Party comrades have been totally absorbed in economic work, have been carried away to the extreme by economic successes, and being absorbed by all this, they forgot about everything else, neglected everything else.
The matter is that, being carried away by economic successes, they began to regard this as the beginning and end of all things, and simply ceased to pay attention to such things as the international position of the Soviet Union, the capitalist encirclement, increasing the political work of the Party, the struggle against wrecking, etc., assuming that all these were second-rate or even third-rate matters.
Successes and achievements are a great thing, of course. Our successes in the sphere of socialist construction are truly enormous. But successes, like everything else in the world, have their bad side. Among people who are not very skilled in politics, big successes and big achievements not infrequently give rise to carelessness, complacency, self satisfaction, excessive self-confidence, swelled-headedness and boastfulness. You cannot deny that lately braggarts have multiplied among us enormously. It is not surprising that in this atmosphere of great and important successes in the sphere of socialist construction boastfulness should arise, that showy demonstrations of our successes, underestimation of the strength of our enemies, overestimation of our own strength, and, as a result of all this, political blindness, should arise.
Here I must say a few words about the dangers connected with successes, about the dangers connected with achievements.
We know by experience about the dangers connected with difficulties. We have been fighting against such dangers for a number of years and, I may say, not without success. Among people who are not staunch, dangers connected with difficulties not infrequently give rise to despondency, lack of confidence in their own strength, feelings of pessimism. When, however, it is a matter of combating dangers which arise from difficulties, people are hardened in this struggle and emerge from the struggle really granite Bolsheviks. Such is the nature of the dangers connected with difficulties. Such are the results of overcoming difficulties.
But there is another kind of danger, the danger connected with successes, the danger connected with achievements. Yes, yes, comrades, dangers connected with successes, with achievements. These dangers are that among people not very skilled in politics and not having seen much, the atmosphere of successes – success after success, achievement after achievement, overfulfilment of plans after overfulfilment of plans – gives rise to carelessness and self-satisfaction, creates an atmosphere of showy triumphs and mutual congratulations, which kills the sense of proportion and dulls political intuition, takes the spring out of people and causes them to rest on their laurels.
It is not surprising that in this intoxicating atmosphere of swelled-headedness and self-satisfaction in this atmosphere of showy demonstrations and loud self-praise, people forget certain essential facts of first-rate importance for the fate of our country; people begin not to notice such unpleasant facts as the capitalist encirclement, the new forms of wrecking, the dangers connected with our successes, and so forth. Capitalist encirclement? Oh, that's nothing! What does capitalist encirclement matter if we are fulfilling and overfulfilling our economic plans? The new forms of wrecking, the struggle against Trotskyism? Mere trifles! What do these trifles matter if we are fulfilling and overfulfilling our economic plans? The Party rules, electing Party bodies, Party leaders reporting to the Party members? Is there really any need for all this? Is it worth while bothering about all these trifles if our economy is growing and the material conditions of the workers and peasants are becoming better and better? Mere trifles! The plans are being overfulfilled, our Party is not a bad one, the Central Committee of our Party is also not a bad one – what else do we need? They are some funny people sitting there in Moscow, in the Central Committee of the Party, inventing all sorts of problems, talk about wrecking, don't sleep themselves and don't let other people sleep...
This is a striking example of how easily and "simply" some of our inexperienced comrades are infected with political blindness as a result of dizzying rapture over economic successes.
Such are the dangers connected with successes, with achievements.
Such are the reasons why our Party comrades, having been carried away by economic successes, forgot about facts of an international and internal character which are of vital importance for the Soviet Union, and failed to notice a number of dangers surrounding our country.
Such are the roots of our carelessness, forgetfulness, complacency, political blindness.
Such are the roots of the defects in our economic and Party work.
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.)Pravda
29 March 1937