TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Reply To The Letter Of Mr. Richardson, Representative Of The Associated Press News Agency.
The Importance And Tasks Of The Complaints Bureaus
Replies To The Questions Of Ralph V. Barnes
Talk With The German Author Emil Ludwig
Mr. Campbell Stretches The Truth To Comrade S. M. Budyonny
Talk With Colonel Robins
Greetings To The Red Army On Its Fifteenth Anniversary
Reply To A Letter From Mr. Barnes
REPLY TO THE LETTER OF Mr. RICHARDSON,
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEWS AGENCY.
(Original Footnote: In a letter dated March 25, 1932, addressed to J.V.Stalin, Mr Richardson , representative of Associated Press news agency asked if about the truth of the rumors in the foreign press that the Berlin physician, Zondeck, had been invited to Moscow to treat J.V.Stalin).
To Mr. Richardson,
This is not the first time that false rumours that I am ill are circulating in the bourgeois press. Obviously, there are people to whose interest it is that I should fall ill seriously and for a long time; if not worse. Perhaps it is not very tactful of me, but unfortunately I have no data capable of gratifying these gentlemen.
Sad though it may be, nothing will avail against facts, viz., that I am in perfect health. As for Mr. Zondeck, he can attend to the health of other comrades, which is why he has been invited to come to the U.S.S.R.
Pravda No. 93. April 3, 1932
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally
published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted
by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 136.
THE IMPORTANCE AND TASKS OF THE
The work of the Complaints Bureaus (Original Footnote: The Complaints Bureau was set up in April 1919 under the People's Commissariat of State COntrol, which in 1920 was changed to the Peoples' Commissariat of Workers' And peasant' Inspection. The tasks and scoop of the work of the Central Bureau of COmplaints & Applications were defined by a regulation dated May 4, 1919, and those of the local departments the Central Bureau by a regulation dated May 24th, 1919, published over the signature of J.V.Stalin, People's Commissar of State Control. From the day they were formed the Central and local bureaus did much work in investigating and checking complaints and statements of working people, enlisting in this work an extensive active of workers and peasants. From February 1934 the Bureau of Complaints and Applications was included in the system of the Soviet Control Commission under the Council of People's Commissariats, and from September 1940 it has formed a department of the Peoples Commissariat (subsequently Ministry) of State Control of the USSR.
J.V.Stalin's article , "The Importance of the USSR Complaints Bureaus" was written in connection with the all-Union five-day review and checking of the work of the bureaus carried out on April 9-14th, 1932, by a decision of the Presidium of the Central Control Commission of the CPSU(B), and the Collegium of the People's Commissariat of the USSR) is of tremendous importance in the struggle to remove shortcomings in our Party, Soviet, economic, trade-union and Komsomol apparatuses, in improving our administrative apparatus.
Lenin said that without an apparatus we should have perished long ago, and that without a systematic, stubborn struggle to improve the apparatus we should certainly perish. This means that resolute and systematic struggle against conservatism, bureaucracy and red tape in our apparatus is an essential task of the Party, the working class and all the working people of our country.
The tremendous importance of the Complaints Bureaus consists in their being a serious means of carrying out Lenin's behest concerning the struggle to improve the apparatus.
It is indisputable that the Complaints
Bureaus have considerable achievements to their credit in this field.
The task is to consolidate the results attained and to achieve decisive successes in this matter. There can be no doubt that if the Complaints Bureaus rally around them all the more active sections of the workers and collective farmers,drawing them into the work of administering the state and attentively heeding the voice of the working people both within and without the Party, these decisive successes will be won.
Let us hope that the five-day review of the work of the Complaints Bureaus will serve as a stimulus for further expansion of their work along the line indicated by our teacher Lenin.
Pravda No. 97.
April 7. 1932
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally
published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted
by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 137-138.
Stalin: In general, the U.S.S.R. gladly receives trade representatives and specialists of countries which maintain normal relations with it. As regards the U.S.A., I believe the Soviet Government would look favourably upon such an undertaking.
2nd Question: If certain of the obstacles existing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to an expansion of Soviet-American trade were removed, what would be the approximate volume of orders that the U.S.S.R. would be in a position to place in the United States?
Stalin: It is difficult to name a figure in advance without the risk of making a mistake. In any event the growing requirements of the U.S.S.R. and the vast possibilities of the industry of the U.S.A. fully warrant the belief that the volume of orders would increase several times over.
3rd Question: Certain responsible
circles in the U.S.A. are under the quite definite impression that obvious
similarity has been revealed in the reaction of the Soviet and the American
Governments to events in the Far East during the last seven months, and
that in general as a consequence of this the divergence in policy between
the Soviets and America has become less than hitherto.
What is your opinion in this regard?
Stalin: It is impossible to say anything definite, since unfortunately it is very difficult to grasp the essentials of the Far Eastern policy of the U.S.A. As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, it has adhered, and will continue to adhere, to a firm policy of maintaining peace both with Japan and with Manchuria and China as a whole.
4th Question: There is a great difference between your country and mine, but there is also obvious similarity. Each occupies a vast territory in which there are no such obstacles to trade as tariff barriers. Stupid traditions, of course, interfere less with economic activity in the U.S.S.R. and the United States than in other first-rate powers. The process of industrialisation in the U.S.S.R. is more like the same process in the United States than that in other West-European Powers. In my preceding question I already indicated that in some cases policy in Moscow and Washington is not so much at variance as might have been expected. Lastly, there is undoubtedly a deep friendly feeling between the American and Soviet peoples despite all the obvious difference between them. In view of these facts, would it not be possible to inspire the conviction in the minds of both peoples that no armed clash between the two countries should ever under any circumstances be allowed to occur?
Stalin: There can be nothing easier than to convince the peoples of both countries of the harm and criminal character of mutual extermination. But, unfortunately, questions of war and peace are not always decided by the peoples. I have no doubt that the masses of the people of the U.S.A. did not want war with the peoples of the U.S.S.R. in 1918-19. This, however, did not prevent the U.S.A. Government from attacking the U.S.S.R. in 1918 (in conjunction with Japan, Britain and France) and from continuing its military intervention against the U.S.S.R. right up to 1919. As for the U.S.S.R., proof is hardly required to show that what its peoples as well as its government want is that "no armed clash between the two countries should ever under any circumstances" be able to occur.
5th Question: Contradictory reports have been spread in America concerning the real nature of the Second Five-Year Plan. Is it true that between January 1, 1933, and the end of 1937 the daily needs of the Soviet population will be satisfied to a greater extent than hitherto? In other words, will light industry really develop to a greater extent than before?
Stalin: Yes, light industry will develop to a much greater extent than before.
Published for The first time, in: Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 139-141.
TALK WITH THE GERMAN AUTHOR EMIL
December 13, 1931
Ludwig: I am extremely obliged to you for having found it possible to receive me. For over twenty years I have been studying the lives and deeds of outstanding historical personages. I believe I am a good judge of people, but on the other hand I know nothing about social-economic conditions.
Stalin: You are being modest.
Ludwig: No, that is really so, and for that very reason I shall put questions that may seem strange to you. Today, here in the Kremlin, I saw some relics of Peter the Great and the first question I should like to ask you is this: Do you think a parallel can be drawn between yourself and Peter the Great? Do you consider yourself a continuer of the work of Peter the Great?
Stalin: In no way whatever. Historical parallels are always risky. There is no sense in this one.
Ludwig: But after all, Peter the Great did a great deal to develop his country, to bring western culture to Russia.
Stalin: Yes, of course, Peter the
Great did much to elevate the landlord class and develop the nascent merchant
class. He did very much indeed to create and consolidate the national state
of the landlords and merchants. It must be said also that the elevation
of the landlord class, the assistance to the nascent merchant class and
the consolidation of the national state of these classes took place at
the cost of the peasant serfs, who were bled white.
As for myself, I am just a pupil of Lenin's, and the aim of my life is to be a worthy pupil of his.
The task to which I have devoted my life is the elevation of a different class-the working class. That task is not the consolidation of some "national" state, but of a socialist state, and that means an international state; and everything that strengthens that state helps to strengthen the entire international working class. If every step I take in my endeavour to elevate the working class and strengthen the socialist state of this class were not directed towards strengthening and improving the position of the working class, I should consider my life purposeless.
So you see your parallel does not fit.
As regards Lenin and Peter the Great, the latter was but a drop in the sea, whereas Lenin was a whole ocean.
Ludwig: Marxism denies that the individual plays an outstanding role in history. Do you not see a contradiction between the materialist conception of history and the fact that, after all, you admit the outstanding role played by historical personages?
Stalin: No, there is no contradiction here. Marxism does not at all deny the role played by outstanding individuals or that history is made by people. In Marx's The Poverty Of Philosophy (Original Footnote: Misere de la philosophe. Reponse a la Philosophie de la Misere de M.Proudhon. Marx-Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Bd.6, Abt.1) and in other works of his you will find it stated that it is people who make history. But, of course, people do not make history according to the promptings of their imagination or as some fancy strikes them. Every new generation encounters definite conditions already existing, ready-made when that generation was born. And great people are worth anything at all only to the extent that they are able correctly to understand these conditions, to understand how to change them. If they fail to understand these conditions and want to alter them according to the promptings of their imagination, they will land themselves in the situation of Don Quixote. Thus it is precisely Marx's view that people must not be counterposed to conditions. It is people who make history, but they do so only to the extent that they correctly understand the conditions that they have found ready-made, and only to the extent that they understand how to change those conditions. That, at least, is how we Russian Bolsheviks understand Marx. And we have been studying Marx for a good many years.
Ludwig: Some thirty years ago, when I was at the university, many German professors who considered them-selves adherents of the materialist conception of history taught us that Marxism denies the role of heroes, the role of heroic personalities in history.
Stalin: They were vulgarisers of Marxism. Marxism has never denied the role of heroes. On the contrary, it admits that they play a considerable role, but with the reservations I have just made.
Ludwig: Sixteen chairs are placed around the table at which we are seated. Abroad people know, on the one hand, that the U.S.S.R. is a country in which everything must be decided collectively, but they know, on the other hand, that everything is decided by individual persons. Who really does decide?
Stalin: No, individual persons cannot
decide. Decisions of individuals are always, or nearly always, one-sided
decisions. In every collegium, in every collective body, there are people
whose opinion must be reckoned with. In every collegium, in every collective
body, there are people who may express wrong opinions. From the experience
of three revolutions we know that out of every 100 decisions taken by individual
persons without being tested and corrected collectively, approximately
90 are one-sided.
In our leading body, the Central Committee of our Party, which directs all our Soviet and Party organisations, there are about 70 members. Among these 70 members of the Central Committee are our best industrial leaders, our best co-operative leaders, our best managers of supplies, our best military men, our best propagandists and agitators, our best experts on state farms, on collective farms, on individual peasant farms, our best experts on the nations constituting the Soviet Union and on national policy. In this areopagus is concentrated the wisdom of our Party. Each has an opportunity of correcting anyone's individual opinion or proposal. Each has an opportunity of contributing his experience. If this were not the case, if decisions were taken by individual persons, there would be very serious mistakes in our work. But since each has an opportunity of correcting the mistakes of individual persons, and since we pay heed to such corrections, we arrive at decisions that are more or less correct.
Ludwig: You have had decades of experience of illegal work. You have had to transport illegally arms, literature, and so forth. Do you not think that the enemies of the Soviet regime might learn from your experience and fight the Soviet regime with the same methods?
Stalin: That, of course, is quite possible.
Ludwig: Is that not the reason for the severity and ruthlessness of your government in fighting its enemies?
Stalin: No, that is not the chief reason. One could quote certain examples from history. When the Bolsheviks came to power they at first treated their enemies mildly. The Mensheviks continued to exist legally and publish their newspaper. The Socialist-Revolutionaries also continued to exist legally and had their newspaper. Even the Cadets continued to publish their newspaper. When General Krasnov organised his counter-revolutionary campaign against Leningrad and fell into our hands, we could at least have kept him prisoner, according to the rules of war. Indeed, we ought to have shot him. But we released him on his "word of honour." And what happened? It soon became clear that such mildness only helped to undermine the strength of the Soviet Government. We made a mistake in displaying such mildness towards enemies of the working class. To have persisted in that mistake would have been a crime against the working class and a betrayal of its interests. That soon became quite apparent. Very soon it became evident that the milder our attitude towards our enemies, the greater their resistance. Before long the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries - Gotz and others - and the Right Mensheviks were organising in Leningrad a counter- revolutionary action of the military cadets, as a result of which many of our revolutionary sailors perished. This very Krasnov, whom we had released on his "word of honour," organised the whiteguard Cossacks. He joined forces with Mamontov and for two years waged an armed struggle against the Soviet Government. Very soon it turned out that behind the whiteguard generals stood the agents of the western capitalist states - France, Britain, America - and also Japan. We became convinced that we had made a mistake in displaying mildness. We learnt from experience that the only way to deal with such enemies is to apply the most ruthless policy of suppression to them.
Ludwig: It seems to me that a considerable part of the population of the Soviet Union stands in fear and trepidation of the Soviet power, and that the stability of the latter rests to a certain extent on that sense of fear. I should like to know what state of mind is produced in you personally by the realisation that it is necessary to inspire fear in the interests of strengthening the regime. After all, when you associate with your comrades, your friends, you adopt quite different methods than those of inspiring fear. Yet the population is being inspired with fear.
Stalin: You are mistaken. Incidentally, your mistake is that of many people. Do you really believe that we could have retained power and have had the backing of the vast masses for 14 years by methods of intimidation and terrorisation? No, that is impossible. The tsarist government excelled all others in knowing how to intimidate. It had long and vast experience in that sphere. The European bourgeoisie, particularly the French, gave tsarism every assistance in this matter and taught it to terrorise the people. Yet, in spite of that experience and in spite of the help of the European bourgeoisie, the policy of intimidation led to the downfall of tsarism.
Ludwig: But the Romanovs held on for 300 years.
Stalin: Yes, but how many revolts
and uprisings there were during those 300 years! There was the uprising
of Stepan Razin, the uprising of Yemelyan Pugachov, the uprising of the
Decembrists, the revolution of 1905, the revolution of February 1917, and
the October Revolution. That is apart from the fact that the present-day
conditions of political and cultural life in the country are radically
different from those of the old regime, when the ignorance, lack of culture,
submissiveness and political downtroddenness of the masses enabled the
"rulers" of that time to remain in power for a more or less prolonged period.
As regards the people, the workers and peasants of the U.S.S.R., they are not at all so tame, so submissive and intimidated as you imagine. There are many people in Europe whose ideas about the people of the U.S.S.R. are old-fashioned: they think that the people living in Russia are, firstly, submissive and, secondly, lazy. That is an antiquated and radically wrong notion. It arose in Europe in those days when the Russian landlords began to flock to Paris, where they squandered the loot they had amassed and spent their days in idleness. These were indeed spineless and worthless people. That gave rise to conclusions about "Russian laziness." But this cannot in the least apply to the Russian workers and peasants, who earned and still earn their living by their own labour. It is indeed strange to consider the Russian peasants and workers submissive and lazy when in a brief period of time they made three revolutions, smashed tsarism and the bourgeoisie, and are now triumphantly building socialism.
Just now you asked me whether everything in our country was decided by one person. Never under any circumstances would our workers now tolerate power in the hands of one person. With us personages of the greatest authority are reduced to nonentities, become mere ciphers, as soon as the masses of the workers lose confidence in them, as soon as they lose contact with the masses of the workers. Plekhanov used to enjoy exceptionally great prestige. And what happened? As soon as be began to stumble politically the workers forgot him. They forsook him and forgot him. Another instance: Trotsky. His prestige too was great, although, of course, it was nothing like Plekhanov's. What happened? As soon as he drifted away from the workers they forgot him.
Ludwig: Entirely forgot him?
Stalin: They remember him sometimes - but with bitterness.
Ludwig: All of them with bitterness?
Stalin: As far as our workers are
concerned, they remember Trotsky with bitterness, with exasperation, with
hatred. There is, of course, a certain small section of the population
that really does stand in fear of the Soviet power, and fights against
it. I have in mind the remnants of the moribund classes, which are being
eliminated, and primarily that 'insignificant part of the peasantry, the
kulaks. But here it is a matter not merely of a policy of intimidating
these groups, a policy that really does exist. Everybody knows that in
this case we Bolsheviks do not confine ourselves to intimidation but go
further, aiming at the elimination of this bourgeois stratum.
But if you take the labouring population of the U.S.S.R., the workers and the labouring peasants, who represent not less than 90 per cent of the population, you will find that they are in favour of Soviet power and that the vast majority of them actively support the Soviet regime. They support the Soviet system because that system serves the fundamental interests of the workers and peasants.
That, and not a policy of so-called intimidation, is the basis of the Soviet Government's stability.
Ludwig: I am very grateful to you for that answer. I beg you to forgive me if I ask you a question that may appear to you a strange one. Your biography contains instances of what may be called acts of "highway robbery." Were you ever interested in the personality of Stepan Razin? What is your attitude towards him as an "ideological highwayman"?
Stalin: We Bolsheviks have always
taken an interest in such historical personalities as Bolotnikov, Razin,
Pugachov, and so on. We regard the deeds of these individuals as a reflection
of the spontaneous indignation of the oppressed classes, of the spontaneous
rebellion of the peasantry against feudal oppression. The study of the
history of these first attempts at such revolt on the part of the peasantry
has always been of interest to us. But, of course, no analogy can be drawn
here between them and the Bolsheviks. Sporadic peasant uprisings, even
when not of the "highway robber" and unorganised type, as in the case of
Stepan Razin, cannot lead to anything of importance. Peasant uprisings
can be successful only if they are combined with uprisings of the workers
and if they are led by the workers. Only a combined uprising headed by
the working class can achieve its aim.
Moreover, it must never be forgotten that Razin and Pugachov were tsarists: they came out against the landlords, but were in favour of a "good tsar." That indeed was their slogan.
As you see, it is impossible to draw an analogy here with the Bolsheviks.
Ludwig: Allow me to put a few questions to you concerning your biography. When I went to see Masaryk he told me he was conscious of being a Socialist when only six years old. What made you a Socialist and when was that?
Stalin: I cannot assert that I was already drawn to socialism at the age of six. Not even at the age of ten or twelve. I joined the revolutionary movement when fifteen years old, when I became connected with under-ground groups of Russian Marxists then living in Transcaucasia. These groups exerted great influence on me and instilled in me a taste for underground Marxist literature.
Ludwig: What impelled you to become an oppositionist? Was it, perhaps, bad treatment by your parents?
Stalin: No. My parents were uneducated, but they did not treat me badly by any means. But it was a different matter at the Orthodox theological seminary which I was then attending. In protest against the outrageous regime and the jesuitical methods prevalent at the seminary, I was ready to become, and actually did become, a revolutionary, a believer in Marxism as a really revolutionary teaching.
Ludwig: But do you not admit that the Jesuits have good points?
Stalin: Yes, they are systematic and persevering in working to achieve sordid ends. But their principal method is spying, prying, worming their way into people's souls and outraging their feelings. What good can there be in that? For instance, the spying in the hostel. At nine o'clock the bell rings for morning tea, we go to the dining-room, and when we return to our rooms we find that meantime a search has been made and all our chests have been ransacked. . . . What good point can there be in that?
Ludwig: I notice that in the Soviet Union everything American is held in very high esteem, I might even speak of a worship of everything American, that is, of the Land of the Dollar, the most out-and-out capitalist country. This sentiment exists also in your working class, and applies not only to tractors and automobiles, but also to Americans in general. How do you explain that?
Stalin: You exaggerate. We have no especially high esteem for everything American. But we do respect the efficiency that the Americans display in everything-in industry, in technology, in literature and in life. We never forget that the U.S.A. is a capitalist country. But among the Americans there are many people who are mentally and physically healthy, who are healthy in their whole approach to work, to the job on hand. That efficiency, that simplicity, strikes a responsive chord in our hearts. Despite the fact that America is a highly developed capitalist country, the habits prevailing in its industry, the practices existing in productive processes, have an element of democracy about them, which cannot be said of the old European capitalist countries, where the haughty spirit of the feudal aristocracy is still alive.
Ludwig: You do not even suspect how right you are.
Stalin: Maybe I do; who can tell?
In spite of the fact that feudalism as a social order was demolished long ago in Europe, considerable relics survive in manner of life and customs. There are still technicians, specialists, scientists and writers who have sprung from the feudal environment and who carry aristocratic habits into industry, technology, science and literature. Feudal traditions have not been entirely demolished.
That cannot be said of America, which is a country of "free colonists," without landlords and without aristocrats. Hence the sound and comparatively simple habits in American productive life. Our business executives of working-class origin who have visited America at once noted this trait. They relate, not without a certain agreeable surprise, that on a production job in America it is difficult to distinguish an engineer from a worker by outward appearance. That pleases them, of course. But matters are quite different in Europe.
But if we are going to speak of our liking for a particular nation, or rather, for the majority of its citizens, then of course we must not fail to mention our liking for the Germans. Our liking for the Americans cannot be compared to that!
Ludwig: Why precisely the German nation?
Stalin: If only for the reason that it gave the world such men as Marx and Engels. It suffices to state the fact as such.
Ludwig: It has recently been noticed that certain German politicians are seriously afraid that the traditional policy of friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Germany will be pushed into the background. These fears have arisen in connection with the negotiations between the U.S.S.R. and Poland. Should the recognition of Poland's present frontiers by the U.S.S.R. become a fact as a result of these negotiations it would spell bitter disappointment for the entire German people, who have hitherto believed that the U.S.S.R. is fighting the Versailles system and has no intention of recognising it.
Stalin: I know that a certain dissatisfaction
and alarm may be noticed among some German statesmen on the grounds that
the Soviet Union, in its negotiations or in some treaty with Poland, may
take some step that would imply on the part of the Soviet Union a sanction,
a guarantee, for Poland's possessions and frontiers.
In my opinion such fears are mistaken. We have always declared our readiness to conclude a non-aggression pact with any state. We have already concluded such pacts with a number of countries. We have openly declared our readiness to sign such a pact with Poland, too. When we declare that we are ready to sign a pact of non-aggression with Poland, this is not mere rhetoric. It means that we really want to sign such a pact. We are politicians of a special brand, if you like. There are politicians who make a promise or statement one day, and on the next either forget all about it or deny what they stated, and do so without even blushing. We cannot act in that way. Whatever we do abroad inevitably becomes known inside our country, becomes known to all the workers and peasants. If we said one thing and did another, we should forfeit our prestige among the masses of the people. As soon as the Poles declared that they were ready to negotiate a non-aggression pact with us, we naturally agreed and opened negotiations.
What, from the Germans' point of view, is the most dangerous thing that could happen? A change for the worse in our relations with them? But there is no basis whatever for that. We, exactly like the Poles, must declare in the pact that we will not use force or resort to aggression in order to change the frontiers of Poland or the U.S.S.R., or violate their independence. Just as we make such a promise to the Poles, so they make the same promise to us. Without such a clause, namely, that we do not intend to go to war for the purpose of violating the independence or integrity of the frontiers of our respective states, no pact can be concluded. With out that a pact is out of the question. That is the most that we can do.
Is this recognition of the Versailles system? (Original Footnote: The Versailles system was a system of political and economic relations between capitalist countries established by Britain, the USA, and France after the defeat of Germany and her allies in the world imperialist war of 1914-18. The basis of the system was the Versailles Peace treaty and a number of other treaties connected with it, which, in particular, established the new frontiers of the European states) No. Or is it, perhaps, a guaranteeing of frontiers? No. We never have been guarantors of Poland and never shall become such, just as Poland has not been and will not be a guarantor of our frontiers. Our friendly relations with Germany will continue as hitherto. That is my firm conviction.
Therefore, the fears you speak of are wholly without foundation. They have arisen on the basis of rumours spread by some Poles and Frenchmen. They will disappear when we publish the pact, if Poland signs it. Everyone will then see that it contains nothing against Germany.
Ludwig: I am very thankful to you for that statement. Allow me to ask you the following question: You speak of "wage equalisation," giving the term a distinctly ironical shade of meaning in relation to general equalisation. But, surely, general equalisation is a socialist ideal.
Stalin: The kind of socialism under
which everybody would get the same pay, an equal quantity of meat and an
equal quantity of bread, would wear the same clothes and receive the same
goods in the same quantities-such a socialism is unknown to Marxism.
All that Marxism says is that until classes have been finally abolished and until labour has been transformed from a means of subsistence into the prime want of man, into voluntary labour for society, people will be paid for their labour according to the work performed. From each according to his ability, to each according to his work." Such is the Marxist formula of socialism, i.e.' the formula of the first stage of communism, the first stage of communist society.
Only at the higher' stage of communism, only in its higher phase, will each one, working according to his ability, be recompensed for his work according to his needs. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
It is quite clear that people's needs vary and will continue to vary under socialism. Socialism has never denied that people differ in their tastes, and in the quantity and quality of their needs. Read how Marx criticised Stirner (Original Footnote: K.Marx and F.engels in Die deutsche Ideologie. Kritik der nesuten deutschen Philosophie in ihren Representation, Feurbach, B.Bauer, und Stirner, und des deutshcen Sozialismus in seinen verschiedenen Propheten. Teil 1 (See Gesamtausgabe B.5, S. 1-432.) for his leaning towards equalitarianism; read Marx's criticism of the Gotha Programme of 1875 (Original Footnote: Selected Works; Volume 1; Moscow; 1955; pp.30-60), read the subsequent works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, and you will see how sharply they attack equalitarianism. Equalitarianism owes its origin to the individual peasant type of mentality, the psychology of share and share alike, the psychology of primitive peasant "communism." Equalitarianism has nothing in' common with Marxist socialism. Only people who are unacquainted with Marxism can have the primitive notion that the Russian Bolsheviks want to pool all wealth and then share it out equally. That is the notion of people who have nothing in common with Marxism. That is how such people as the primitive "Communists" of the time of Cromwell and the French Revolution pictured communism to themselves. But Marxism and the Russian Bolsheviks have nothing in common with such equalitarian "Communists."
Ludwig: You are smoking a cigarette. Where is your legendary pipe, Mr. Stalin? You once said that words and legends pass, but deeds remain. Now believe me, there are millions of people abroad who do not know about some of your words and deeds, but who do know about your legendary pipe.
Stalin: I left my pipe at home.
Ludwig: I shall now ask you a question that may astonish you greatly.
Stalin: We Russian Bolsheviks have long ceased to be astonished at anything.
Ludwig: Yes, and we in Germany too.
Stalin: Yes, you in Germany will soon stop being astonished.
Ludwig: My question is the following: You have often incurred risks and dangers. You have been persecuted. You have taken part in battles. A number of your close friends have perished. You have survived. How do you explain that? And do you believe in fate?
Stalin: No, I do not. Bolsheviks, Marxists, do not believe in "fate." The very concept of fate, of "Schick-Sal", is a prejudice, an absurdity, a relic of mythology, like the mythology of the ancient Greeks, for whom a goddess of fate controlled the destinies of men.
Ludwig: That is to say that the fact that you did not perish is an accident?
Stalin: There are internal and external causes, the combined effect of which was that I did not perish. But entirely independent of that, somebody else could have been in my place, for somebody had to occupy it. "Fate", is something not governed by natural law, something mystical. I do not believe in mysticism. Of course, there were reasons why danger left me unscathed. But there could have been a number of other fortuitous circumstances, of other causes, which could have led to a directly opposite result. So-called fate has nothing to do with it.
Ludwig: Lenin passed many years in exile abroad. You had occasion to be abroad for only a very short time. Do you consider that this has handicapped you? Who do you believe were of greater benefit to the revolution - those revolutionaries who lived in exile abroad and thus had the opportunity of making. a thorough study of Europe, but on the other hand were cut off from direct contact with the people; or those revolutionaries who carried on their work here, knew the moods of the people, but on the other hand knew little of Europe?
Stalin Lenin must be excluded from
this comparison. Very few of those who remained in Russia were as intimately
connected with the actual state of affairs there and with the labour movement
within the country as Lenin was, although he was a long time abroad. Whenever
I went to see him abroad - in 1906, 1907, 1912 and 1913 (Original Footnote:
This refers to meeting of Stalin and Lenin : In Stockholm at the Fourth
Congress of the RSDLP (1906); in London at the time of the Fifith Congress
of the RSDLP (1907); and during JV Stalin's trips abroad to Cracow and
Vienna (1912 and 1913). - I saw piles of letters he had received
from practical Party workers in Russia, and he was always better informed
than those who stayed in Russia. He always considered his stay abroad to
be a burden to him.
There are many more comrades in our Party and its leadership who remained in Russia, who did not go abroad, than there are former exiles, and they, of course, were able to be of greater benefit to the revolution than those who were in exile abroad. Actually few former exiles are left in our Party. They may add up to about one or two hundred out of the two million members of the Party. Of the seventy members of the Central Committee scarcely more than three or four lived in exile abroad.
As far as knowledge of Europe, a study of Europe, is concerned, those who wished to make such a study had, of course, more opportunities of doing so while living there. In that respect those of us who did not live long abroad lost something. But living abroad is not at all a decisive factor in making a study of European economics, technique, the cadres of the labour movement and literature of every description, whether belles lettres or scientific. Other things being equal, it is of course easier to study Europe on the spot. But the disadvantage of those who have not lived in Europe is not of much importance. On the contrary, I know many comrades who were abroad twenty years, lived somewhere in Charlottenburg or in the Latin Quarter, spent years in cafes drinking beer, and who yet did not manage to acquire a knowledge of Europe and failed to understand it.
Ludwig: Do you not think that among the Germans as a nation love of order is more highly developed than love of freedom?
Stalin: There was a time when people
in Germany did indeed show great respect for the law. In 1907, when I happened
to spend two or three months in Berlin, we Russian Bolsheviks often used
to laugh at some of our German friends on account of their respect for
the law. There was, for example, a story in circulation about an occasion
when the Berlin Social-Democratic Executive fixed a definite day and hour
for a demonstration that was to be attended by the members of all the suburban
organisations. A group of about 200 from one of the suburbs arrived in
the city punctually at the hour appointed, but failed to appear at the
demonstration, the reason being that they had waited two hours on the station
platform because the ticket collector at the exit had failed to make his
appearance and there had been nobody to give their tickets to. It used
to be said in jest that it took a Russian comrade to show the Germans a
simple way out of their fix: to leave the platform without giving up their
But is there anything like that in Germany now? Is there respect for the law in Germany today? What about the National Socialists, who one would think ought to be the first to stand guard over bourgeois legality? Do they not break the law, wreck workers' clubs and assassinate workers with impunity?
I make no mention of the workers, who, it seems to me, long ago lost all respect for bourgeois legality.
Yes, the Germans have changed quite a bit lately.
Ludwig: Under what conditions is it possible to unite the working class finally and completely under the leadership of one party? Why is such a uniting of the working class possible only after the proletarian revolution, as the Communists maintain?
StaLin: Such a uniting of the working class around the Communist Party is most easily accomplished as the result of a victorious proletarian revolution. But it will undoubtedly be achieved in the main even before the revolution.
Ludwig: Does ambition stimulate or hinder a great historical figure in his activities?
Stalin: The part played by ambition differs under different conditions. Ambition may be a stimulus or a hindrance to the activities of a great historical figure; It all depends on circumstances. More often than not it is a hindrance.
Ludwig: Is the October Revolution in any sense the continuation and culmination of the Great French Revolution?
Stalin: The October Revolution is neither the continuation nor the culmination of the Great French Revolution. The purpose of the French Revolution was to abolish feudalism in order to establish capitalism. The purpose of the October Revolution, however, is to abolish capitalism in order to establish socialism.
April 30th, 1932.
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976; p.106-125.
MR. CAMPBELL STRETCHES THE TRUTH
A book in English entitled "Russia-Market or Menace?", written by Mr. Campbell, a well-known figure in the agricultural world, who had visited the U.S.S.R., recently made its appearance in America. In this book Mr. Campbell, among other things, gives an account of what he calls an "interview" with Stalin that took place in Moscow in January 1929. This "interview" is remarkable for the fact that its every sentence is either pure fiction or a sensational piece of trickery with the aim of gaining publicity for the book and its author.
It will not be amiss, in my opinion, to say a few words in order to expose these fictitious statements.
Mr. Campbell is obviously drawing on his imagination when he says that his talk with Stalin, which began at 1 p.m., "lasted until well after dark, in fact, until dawn." Actually, the talk did not last more than two hours. Mr. Campbell's imagination is truly American.
Mr. Campbell is stretching the truth when he asserts that Stalin "took my hand in both of his and said: 'we can be friends.'" As a matter of fact, nothing of the kind happened or could have happened.
Mr. Campbell cannot but know that Stalin has no need of "friends" of the Campbell type.
Mr. Campbell again stretches the truth when he says that on sending him a record of the talk, I added the postscript: "Keep this record, it may be a very historical document some day.,, As a matter of fact the record was sent to Mr. Campbell by the translator Yarotsky without any postscript at all. Mr. Campbell's desire to make capital out of Stalin obviously betrays him.
Mr. Campbell still further stretches the truth when he puts such words into the mouth of Stalin as that "under Trotsky there had been an attempt to spread communism throughout the world; that this was the primary cause of the break between hirnself [i.e., Stalin] and Trotsky; that Trotsky believed in universal communism, while he [Stalin] worked to confine his efforts to his own country." Only people who have deserted to the camp of the Kautskys and the Welses can believe such stuff and nonsense, in which the facts are turned upside-down. As a matter of fact, the talk with Campbell had no bearing on the Trotsky question and Trotsky's name was not mentioned at all in the course of it.
And so on in the same strain.
Mr. Campbell mentioned in his book the record of his talk with Stalin but he did not find it necessary to publish it in his book. Why? Was it not because publication of the record would have upset Mr. Campbell's plan to utilise the sensational fables about the "interview" with Stalin in order to gain publicity for Campbell's book among the American philistines?
I think the best punishment for the lying Mr. Campbell would he to publish the record of the talk between Mr. Campbell and Stalin. This would be the surest means of exposing his lies and establishing the facts.
J . Stalin
November 23, 1932
RECORD OF THE TALK WITH Mr. CAMPBELL
January 28, 1929
Alter an exchange of preliminary phrases Mr. Campbell explained his desire to pay a visit to Comrade Stalin. He pointed out that although he was in the U.S.S.R. in a private capacity, he had, before leaving the United States, seen Coolidge and also Hoover, the newly elected President, and received their full approval of his trip to Russia. His stay here showed him the amazing activity of the nation that has remained an enigma to the whole world. He particularly liked the projects for the development of agriculture. He knew of the existence of many wrong notions about Russia, but had himself been in the Kremlin, for instance, and had seen the work being done to preserve memorials of art and in general to raise the level of cultural life. He was particularly struck by the solicitude for working men and working women. It seemed to him an interesting coincidence that before his departure from the United States he was invited by the President, and saw Coolidge's son and wife, while yesterday he was the guest of Mikhail Kalinin, President of the U.S.S.R., who impressed him tremendously.
Comrade Stalin: With regard to our
plans of agricultural and industrial development, as well as our concern
for the development of cultural life, we are still at the very beginning
of our work. In the building up of industry we have done very little as
yet. Still less has been done in carrying out the plans for agricultural
re-construction. We must not forget that our country was exceedingly backward
and that this backwardness is still a great handicap.
The difference between the former and the new leading figures in Russia consists, among other things, in the fact that the old ones considered the country's backwardness one of its good points, regarding it as a "national characteristic," a matter for "national pride," whereas the new people, the Soviet people, combat it as an evil that must be rooted out. Herein lies the guarantee of our success.
We know that we are not free from mistakes. But we do not fear criticism, are not afraid to face the difficulties and admit our mistakes. We shall accept correct criticism and welcome it. We watch developments in the U.S.A., for that country ranks high in science and technology. We would like scientific and technical people in America to be our teachers in the sphere of technique, and we their pupils.
Every period in the development of a nation is marked by a passion of its own. In Russia we now witness a passion for construction. This is her preponderating feature today. This explains the construction fever that we are. experiencing at present. It is reminiscent of the period that the U.S.A. went through after the Civil War. (Original Footnote:This refers to the Civil War between the northern and teh Southern states of America in 1861-65) This affords a basis and an opportunity for technical industrial and commercial cooperation with the U.S.A. I do not know what still needs to be done to secure contact with American industry. Could you not explain what now prevents such a rapprochement from being realised, if it is established that such contact would be advantageous to both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.?
Mr. Campbell: I am certain that
there is a striking similarity between the U.S.A. and Russia in point of
size, resources and independence. Mr. Stalin's reference to the Civil War
period is correct. After the Civil War extraordinary expansion was witnessed.
The people in the U.S.A. are interested in Russia. I am sure that Russia
is too big a country not to be a big factor in world relations. The people
at the head of the Russian Government have grand opportunities to accomplish
great things. All that is needed for this is clarity of judgment and the
ability to be fair at all times.
I see the advantage of proper business contact and I am maintaining close connection with the government, although I am a private citizen. I am carrying on this conversation as a private person. Once I have been asked what hinders contact between the U.S.A. and Russia I want to answer with the utmost frankness and courage, with due respect for Mr. Stalin and without giving offence. He is very objective-minded and this allows me to converse with him as man to man for the benefit of both countries and absolutely confidentially. If we could have official recognition everybody would be anxious to get here to do business on a credit or other basis, as is being done everywhere. A reason why American firms hesitate to do business and grant long-term credits is the fact that our Washington Government does not recognise your Government.
The main reason for this, however, is not simply failure in the matter of recognition. The main reason, we assume (and this may be taken as certain), is that representatives of your Government in our country are trying all the time to sow discontent and spread the ideas of Soviet power.
We have in our country what is called the "Monroe Doctrine," which signifies that we do not want to interfere in the affairs of any other country in the world, that we confine ourselves strictly to our own affairs. For that reason we do not want any country whatever - Britain, France, Germany, Russia or any other - to interfere in our private affairs.
Russia is so vast a country that she can by herself fulfil everything that her whole people decide to do. Russia has resources of her own of every kind, and although it will take more time the Russians in the long run will be able to develop their resources independently.
It gives us pleasure to feel that in many respects we are an ideal for the Russian people, and I believe we can be very useful to that people, particularly in economising time. Since we have solved many economic problems and our methods are copied by many countries besides Russia, such enterprises as the building of state farms imply a strengthening of trade connections, and In the final analysis trade connections will be followed by diplomatic recognition on some equitable basis. The only way for nations, as for individuals, is to speak out frankly without discourtesy, and then the time will soon come for some kind of agreement. The better our upbringing the greater our conviction that more can be achieved by reason than by any other means. Great nations can differ in opinion without straining relations and great men can come to an arrangement on major problems. They usually wind up their negotiations with a definite agreement in which they meet each other half-way, no matter how far apart their initial positions were.
Comrade Stalin: I realise that diplomatic
recognition involves difficulties for the U.S.A. at the present moment.
Soviet Government representatives have been subjected to abuse by the American
press so much and so often that an abrupt change is difficult. Personally
I do not consider diplomatic recognition decisive at the moment. What is
important is a development of trade connections on the basis of mutual
advantage. Trade relations need to be normalised and if this matter is
put on some legal footing it would be a first and very important step towards
diplomatic recognition. The question of diplomatic recognition will find
its own solution when both sides realise that diplomatic relations are
advantageous. The chief basis is trade relations and their normalisation,
which. will lead to the establishment of definite legal norms.
The natural resources of our country are, of course, rich and varied. They are richer and more varied than is officially known, and our research expeditions are constantly finding new resources in our extensive country. But this is only one aspect of our potentialities. The other aspect is the fact that our peasants and workers are now rid of their former burden, the landlords and capitalists. Formerly the landlords and capitalists used to squander unproductively what today remains within the country and increases its internal purchasing power. The increase in demand is such that our industry, in spite of its rapid expansion, cannot catch up with it. The demand is prodigious, both for personal and productive consumption. This is the second aspect of our un-limited potentialities.
Both the one and the other give rise to an important basis for commercial and industrial contact with the U.S.A. as well as other developed countries.
The question as to which state is to apply its forces to these resources and potentialities of our country is the object of a complicated struggle among them. Unfortunately the U.S.A. still stands quite aloof from this struggle.
On all sides the Germans are shouting that the position of the Soviet Government is unstable and that therefore one ought not to grant any considerable credits to Soviet economic organisations. At the same time they try to monopolise trade relations with the U.S.S.R. by granting it credits.
As you know, one group of British businessmen is also carrying on a fierce anti-Soviet campaign. At the same time this very group and also the McKenna group are endeavouring to organise credits for the U.S.S.R. The press has already reported that in February a delegation of British industrialists and bankers will come to the U.S.S.R. They intend to submit to the Soviet Government an extensive plan for trade relations and a loan.
How are we to explain this duplicity of the German and British businessmen? It is to be explained by their desire to monopolise trade relations with the U.S.S.R., frightening the U.S.A. away and pushing it aside.
At the same time, it is clear to me that the U.S.A. has better grounds for extensive business connections with the U.S.S.R. than any other country. And this is not only because the U.S.A. is rich both in technical equipment and capital, but also because in no other country are our business people given such a cordial and hospitable welcome as in the U.S.A.
As regards propaganda, I must state most emphatically that no representative of the Soviet Government has the right to interfere, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of the country in which he happens to be. In this respect the most strict and definite instructions have been given to all our personnel employed in Soviet institutions in the U.S.A. I am certain that Bron and the members of his staff do not have the slightest connection with propaganda in any form whatsoever. Should any of our employees violate these strict directives as regards non-interference he would immediately be recalled and punished. Naturally we cannot answer for the actions of persons not known and not subordinate to us. But we can assume responsibility as regards interference by persons employed in our institutions abroad, and we can give the maximum guarantees on that score.
Mr. Campbell: May I tell that to Mr. Hoover?
Comrade Stalin: Of course.
Mr. Campbell: We do not know who those people are that sow discontent. But there are such people. The police find them and their literature. I know Bron and am convinced that he is an honest, straightforward gentleman, who does business honestly. But there is somebody.
Comrade Stalin: It is possible that propaganda in favour of Soviets is being carried on in the U.S.A. by members of the American Communist Party. But that party is legal in the U.S.A., it legally participates in Presidential elections and nominates its candidates for President, and it is quite clear that we cannot be interfering in your internal affairs in this case either.
Mr. Campbell: I have no further. questions. But yes, I have. When I return to the United States businessmen will ask me whether it is safe to do business with the U.S.S.R. Engineering concerns in particular will be interested in the possibility of granting long-term credits. Can I answer in the affirmative? Can I obtain information on the measures now being taken by the Soviet Government to guarantee credit transactions; is there any special tax or other specific source of revenue set aside for this purpose?
Comrade Stalin: I would prefer not
to sing the praises of my country. But now that the question has been put
I must reply as follows: There has not been a single instance of the Soviet
Government or a Soviet economic institution failing to make payment correctly
and on tune on credits, whether short-term or long-term. Inquiries could
be made in Germany on how we meet payments to the Germans on their credit
of three hundred millions. Where do we get the means to effect payment?
Mr. Campbell knows that money does not drop from the sky. Our agriculture,
industry, trade, timber, oil, gold, platinum, etc.-such is the source of
our payments. Therein lies the guarantee of our payments. I do not want
Mr. Campbell to take my word for it. He can check my statements in Germany,
for example. He will find that not once was payment postponed, although
at times we actually had to pay such unheard-of interest rates as 15-20%.
As far as special guarantees are concerned, I believe there is no need to speak of this seriously in the case of the U.S.S.R.
Mr. Campbell: Of course not.
Comrade Stalin. Perhaps it would not be amiss to tell you, strictly confidentially, about the loan, not credit but loan, offered by a group of British bankers - that of Balfour and Kingsley.
Mr. Campbell: May I tell Hoover about this?
Comrade Stalin: Of course, but don't give it to the press. This group of bankers are making the following proposal:
They calculate that our debts to
Britain amount approximately to £400,000,000.
It is proposed that they be consolidated at 25%. That means £100,000,000 instead of £400,000,000.
Simultaneously a loan of £100,000,000 is proposed.
Thus our indebtedness will amount to £200,000,000 to be paid in instalments over a period of several decades.
In return we are to give preference to the British engineering industry. This does not mean that we shall have to place our orders in Britain alone, but the British must be given preference.
Mr. Campbell, in expressing his thanks for the interview, says that Comrade Stalin has impressed him as a fair, well-informed and straightforward man. He is very glad to have had the opportunity of speaking with Comrade Stalin and considers the interview historic.
Comrade Stalin thanks Mr. Campbell for the talk.
Bolshevik, No.22, November 30th, 1932.
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 148-159.
From Pravda, No. 115,
April 26, 1933;
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976; p. 266.
Stalin: What can I do for you?
Robin: I consider it a great honour to have an opportunity of paying you a visit.
Stalin: There is nothing particular in that. You are exaggerating.
Robins (smiles): What is most interesting to me is that throughout Russia I have found the names Lenin-Stalin, Lenin-Stalin, Lenin-Stalin, linked together.
Stalin: That, too, is an exaggeration. How can I be compared to Lenin?
Robin: (smiles): Would it also be an exaggeration to say that all this time the oldest government in the world has been the government of Soviet Russia-the Council of People's Commissars?
Stalin: That, to be sure, is not exaggerated.
Robin: The interesting and important point is that this government has not taken a reactionary direction in its work and that it is the government set up by Lenin that has proved strong. It resists all hostile lines.
Stalin: That is true.
Robins: At the May Day demonstration Russia's development during the past fifteen years impressed itself upon me with particular clarity and sharpness, for I witnessed the May Day demonstration in 1918, and now in 1933.
Stalin: We have managed to do a few things in recent years. But fifteen years is a long period of time.
Robins: Still, in the life of a country it is a short period for such great progress as Soviet Russia has achieved during this time.
Stalin: We might have done more, but we did not manage to.
Robins: It is interesting to compare the underlying motives, the basic lines followed in the two demonstrations. The 1918 demonstration was addressed to the outside world, to the proletariat of the whole world, to the international proletariat, and was a call to revolution. Now the motive was different. Now men, women and the youth went to the demonstration to proclaim: This is the country we are building, this is the land we shall defend with all our strength!
Stalin: At that time the demonstration was agitational, but now it is a summing up.
Robins: You probably know that during these fifteen years I have interested myself in establishing rational relations between our two countries, and have endeavoured to dispel the existing hostile attitude of the ruling circles in America.
Stalin: I knew of this in 1918 from what Lenin had said, and afterwards on the basis of facts. Yes, I know it.
Robins: I have come here in the
capacity of a purely private citizen and speak only for myself. The chief
aim of my visit is to ascertain the prospects of establishing relations,
to ascertain the actual facts concerning the ability to work and the creative,
inventive capacity of the Russian workers. Anti-Soviet propaganda has it
that the Russian worker is lazy, does not know how to work, and ruins the
machines he handles; that such a country has no future. I want to counteract
this propaganda not merely with words, but armed with the facts.
The second question of interest to me in this connection is the situation in agriculture. It is being asserted that industrialisation has played havoc with agriculture, that the peasants have stopped sowing, have stopped gathering in the grain. Every year it is asserted that this year Russia is sure to die of famine. I should like to learn the facts about agriculture in order to refute these assertions. I expect to see the areas where new kinds of crops have been sown this year for the first time. What interests me in particular is the development of the principal grain crops of the Soviet Union.
The third question that interests me is public education, the development of children and the youth, their upbringing; how far public education has developed in the fields of art and literature, as regards what is called creative genius, inventive capacity. In America two types of creativeness are recognised - one is the creativeness of the study and the other is broad, life-inspired creativeness, manifestations of the creative spirit in life. I am interested in knowing how children and young people are developing. I hope to see in real life how they study, how they are brought up and how they develop.
On the first and third questions I have already obtained some valuable information and count on getting additional data. On the second question, concerning the development of agriculture, I expect to be able to discover the real facts during my trip to Magnitogorsk and from there to Rostov, Kharkov and back. I expect to have a look at collective farms and see how the archaic strip system of cultivation is being eliminated and large-scale agriculture developed.
Stalin: Do you want my opinion?
Robins: Yes, I would like to have it.
Stalin: The notion that the Soviet
worker is by nature incapable of coping with machines and breaks them is
On this score I must say that no such thing is happening here as occurred in Western Europe and America, where workers deliberately smashed machines because these deprived them of their crust of bread. Our workers have no such attitude to machinery, because in our country machines are being introduced on a mass scale in conditions where there is no unemployment, because the machines do not deprive the workers of their livelihood, as with you, but make their work easier.
As far as inability to work, the lack of culture of our workers is concerned, it is true that we have few trained workers and they do not cope with machinery as well as workers in Europe or America do. But with us this is a temporary phenomenon. If, for example, one were to investigate where throughout history the workers learned to master new technical equipment quickest - in Europe, America, or Russia during the last five years - I think it will be found that the workers learned quicker in Russia, in spite of the low level of culture. The mastery of the production of wheeled tractors in the West took several years, although, of course, technology was well developed there. Mastery of this matter in our country was quicker. For example, in Stalingrad and Kharkov the production of tractors was mastered in some 12-14 months. At the present time, the Stalingrad Tractor Works is not only working to estimated capacity, not only turns out 144 tractors per day, but sometimes even 160, that is, it works above its planned capacity. I am taking this as an example. Our tractor industry is new, it did not exist before. The same thing is true of our aircraft industry - a new, delicate business, also swiftly mastered. The automobile industry is in a similar position from the viewpoint of rapidity of mastery. The same applies to machine tool building
In my opinion, this rapid mastery of the production of machines is to be explained not by the special ability of the Russian workers but by the fact that in our country the production of, say, aircraft and engines for them, of tractors, automobiles and machine tools is considered not the private affair of individuals, but an affair of the state. In the West the workers produce to get wages, and are not concerned about anything else. With us production is regarded as a public matter, a state matter, it is regarded as a matter of honour. That is why new technique is mastered so quickly in our country.
In general, I consider it impossible to assume that the workers of any particular nation are incapable of mastering new technique. If we look at the matter from the racial point of view, then in the United States, for instance, the Negroes are considered "bottom category men," yet they master technique no worse than the whites. The question of the mastery of technique by the workers of a particular nation is not a biological question, not a question of heredity, but a question of time: today they have not mastered it, tomorrow they will learn and master it. Everyone, including the Bushman, can master technique, provided he is helped.
Robins: The ambition, the desire to master, is also required.
Stalin: Of course. The Russian workers have more than enough desire and ambition. They consider the mastery of new technique a matter of honour.
Robins: I have already sensed this in your factories where I have seen that socialist emulation has resulted in the creation of a new kind of ardour, a new sort of ambition that money could never buy, because the workers expect to get for their work something better and greater than money can procure.
Stalin: That is true. It is a matter of honour.
Robins: I shall take with me to America diagrams showing the development of the workers' inventiveness and their creative proposals, which improve production and effect considerable savings in production. I have seen the portraits of quite a few such worker-inventors who have done very much for the Soviet Union in the way of improving production and achieving economies.
Stalin: Our country has produced a comparatively large number of such workers. They are very capable people.
Robins: I have been in all your big Moscow factories-the AMO Automobile Works, the Ball Bearing Works, the Freser Works and others - and everywhere I came across organisations for promoting workers' inventive-ness. The toolroom in a number of these factories impressed me particularly. As these toolrooms provide their factories with highly valuable tools the workers there exert all their faculties to the utmost, give full play to their creative initiative and achieve striking results.
Stalin: In spite of that, we have many shortcomings as well. We have few skilled workers, while a great many are required. Our technical personnel is also small. Each year their number grows, and still there are fewer of them than we need. The Americans have been of great help to us. That must be admitted. They have helped more effectively than others and more boldly than others. Our thanks to them for that.
Robins: I have witnessed an internationalism in your enterprises which produced a very strong impression on me. Your factory managements are ready to adopt the technical achievements of any country - France, America, Britain or Germany - without any prejudice against these countries. And it seems to me that it is just this internationalism that will make it possible to combine in one machine all the advantages possessed by the machines of other countries and thus create more perfect machines.
Stalin: That will happen.
On the second question, about industrialisation allegedly ruining agriculture, that notion is also wrong. Far from ruining agriculture in our country, industrialisation is saving it, and saving our peasants. A few years ago we had a greatly disunited, small and very small, peasant economy. With the increasing division of the land, the peasant allotments shrank so much that there was no room to keep a hen. Add to this the primitive farming equipment, such as wooden ploughs and emaciated horses, which were incapable of turning up not only virgin soil, but even the ordinary, rather hard, soil, and you will have a picture of the deterioration of agriculture. Three or four years ago there were about 7,000,000 wooden ploughs in the U.S.S.R. The only choice left for the peasants was this: either to lie down and die or to adopt a new form of land tenure and cultivate the land with machines. This indeed explains why the Soviet Government's call to the peasants issued about that time - to unite their tiny plots of land into large tracts and accept from the government tractors, harvesters and threshers for working these tracts, for gathering and threshing the harvest-found a very lively response among the peasants. They naturally seized on the proposal of the Soviet Government, began to unite their plots of land into large fields, accepted the tractors and other machines and thus emerged on the broad high-way of making agriculture large scale, the new road of the radical improvement of agriculture.
It follows that industrialisation, as a result of which the peasants receive tractors and other machines, has saved the peasants, has saved agriculture.
The process of uniting small peasant farms by whole villages into large farms we call collectivisation, and the united large farms themselves - collective farms. The absence in our country of private property in land, the nationalisation of the land, makes collectivisation much easier. The land is transferred to the collective farms for their use in perpetuity and, owing to the absence of private property in land, no land can be bought or sold here. All this considerably facilitates the formation and development of collective farms.
I do not mean to say that all this, i.e., collectivisation and the rest, is proceeding smoothly with us. There are difficulties, of course, and they are not small ones.
Collectivisation, like every great new undertaking, has not only friends, but also enemies. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the peasants are in favour of collectivisation, and the number of its opponents is becoming smaller and smaller.
Robins: Every advance involves certain outlays, and this we take into account and include in our calculations.
Stalin: In spite of these difficulties, however, one thing is clear - and I have not the slightest doubt on this score: nineteen-twentieths of the peasantry have recognised, and most of the peasants accept the fact with great joy, that the collectivisation of agriculture has become an irreversible fact. So then this has already been achieved. The predominant form of agriculture in our country now is the collective farm. Take the grain sowing or harvesting figures, the figures for grain production, and you will see that at the present time the individual peasants provide something like 10-15 per cent of the total gross output of grain. The rest comes from the collective farms.
Robins: I am interested in the question whether it is true that last year's crop was gathered in unsatisfactorily, that at the present time the sowing campaign is proceeding satisfactorily, while last year the harvesting proceeded unsatisfactorily.
Stalin: Last year the harvesting was less satisfactory than the year before.
Robins: I have read your statements, and I believe they warrant the conclusion that this year the harvesting will be more successful.
Stalin: It will most probably proceed much better.
Robins: I think you appreciate no less than I do the tremendous achievement embodied in your successful industrialisation of agriculture, a thing which no other country has been able to do. In all capitalist countries agriculture is undergoing a deep crisis and is in need of industrialisation. The capitalist countries manage somehow or other to cope with industrial production, but not one of them can cope with agriculture. The great achievement of the Soviet Union is that it has set about the solution of this problem and is successfully coping with it.
Stalin: Yes, that is a fact.
Such are our achievements and shortcomings in the sphere of agriculture.
Now the third question - about the education of children and of the youth as a whole. Ours is a fine youth, full of the joy of life. Our state differs from all others in that it does not stint the means for providing proper care of children and for giving the youth a good upbringing.
Robins: In America it is believed that in your country the child is restricted in its development within definite, rigid bounds and that these bounds leave no freedom for the development of the creative spirit and freedom of the mind. Do you not think that freedom for the development of the creative spirit, freedom to express what is in one, is of extremely great importance?
Stalin: First, concerning restrictions - this is not true. The second is true. Undoubtedly a child cannot develop its faculties under a regime of isolation and strict regimentation, without the necessary freedom and encouragement of initiative. As regards the youth, all roads are open to it in our country and it can freely perfect itself.
In our country children are not beaten and are very seldom punished. They are given the opportunity of choosing what they like, of pursuing a path of their own choice. I believe that nowhere is there such care for the child, for its upbringing and development, as among us in the Soviet Union.
Robins: Can one consider that, as a result of the new generation being emancipated from the burden of want, being emancipated from the terror of economic conditions, this emancipation is bound to lead to a new flourishing of creative energy, to the blossoming of a new art, to a new advance of culture and art, which was formerly hampered by all these shackles?
Stalin: That is undoubtedly true.
Robins: I am not a Communist and do not understand very much about communism, but I should like America to participate in, to have the opportunity of associating itself with, the development that is taking place here in Soviet Russia, and I should like Americans to get this opportunity by means of recognition, by granting credits, by means of establishing normal relations between the two countries, for example, in the Far East, so as to safeguard the great and daring undertaking which is in process in your country, so that it may be brought to a successful conclusion.
Stalin (with a smile): I thank you for your good wishes.
Robins: One of my closest friends is Senator Borab, who has been the staunchest friend of the Soviet Union and has been fighting for its recognition among the leaders of the American Government.
Stalin: That is so; he is doing
much to promote the establishment of normal relations between our two countries.
But so far, unfortunately, he has not met with
Robins: I am convinced that the true facts are now having a much greater effect than at any time during the past fifteen years in favour of establishing normal relations between our two countries.
Stalin: Quite true. But there is one circumstance that hinders it. Britain, I believe, hinders it (smiles).
Robins: That is undoubtedly so. Still, the situation forces us to act above all in our own interests, and the conflict between our own interests and the course towards which other countries are driving us is impelling America, at the present time more than at any other, to establish such reciprocal relations. We are interested in the development of American exports. The only big market with great possibilities that have not been adequately utilised hitherto by anybody is the Russian market. American businessmen, if they wanted to, could grant long-term credits. They are interested in tranquillity in the Far East, and nothing could promote this more than the establishment of normal relations with the Soviet Union. In this respect, Mr. Litvinov's Geneva declaration on the definition of an aggressor country follows entirely the line of the Briand-Kellogg Pact, which has played an important role in the matter of peace. Stabilisation of reciprocal economic relations throughout the world is in the interest of America, and we fully realise that normal reciprocal economic relations cannot be attained while the Soviet Union is outside the general economic system.
Stalin: All that is true.
Robins: I was and I remain an incorrigible optimist. I believed in the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution as long as fifteen years ago. They were then depicted as
agents of German imperialism; Lenin, in particular, was considered a German agent. But I considered and still consider Lenin a very great man, one of the greatest leaders in all world history.
I hope that the information I have received at first hand may help towards carrying out the plan of rapprochement and cooperation between our two countries about which I have spoken.
Stalin (smiling): I hope it will!
Robins (smiles): If you had expressed yourself in the American manner you would have said: "More power to your elbow." He is not sure of having much strength left in his elbow.
Stalin: May be.
Robins: I think there is nothing greater and more magnificent than to participate in the making of a new world, to participate in what we are now engaged in. Participation in the creation and building of a new world is something of paramount significance not only now, but thousands of years hence.
Stalin: All the same this matter presents great difficulties (smiles).
Robins (smiles): I am very grateful to you for the attention you have given me.
Stalin: And I thank you for having remembered the Soviet Union after an absence of fifteen years and for paying it another visit. (Both smile. Robins bows.)
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally
published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted
by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 267-279;
Created under the leadership of Lenin, the Red Army covered itself with undying glory in the great battles of the Civil War, in which it drove out the interventionists from the U.S.S.R. and upheld the cause of socialism in our country.
The Red Army is today a bulwark of peace and the peaceful labour of the workers and peasants, the vigilant guardian of the frontiers of the Soviet Union.
The workers of our country, who have victoriously completed the five-year plan in four years, are equipping the Red Army with new instruments of defence. Your job, comrades, is to learn to handle those instruments to perfection and to do your duty to your country, should our enemies try to attack it.
Hold high the banner of Lenin, the banner of struggle for communism
Long live the heroic Red Army, its leaders, its Revolutionary Military Council!
February 23, 1933.
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally
published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted
by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 264.
REPLY TO A LETTER FROM Mr. BARNES
March 20, 1933
Dear Mr. Barnes,
Your fears as to the safety of American citizens in the U.S.S.R. are quite groundless.
The U.S.S.R. is one of the few countries in the world where a display of national hatred or an unfriendly attitude towards foreigners as such is punishable by law. There has never been, nor could there be, a case of any one becoming an object of persecution in the U.S.S.R. on account of his national origin. That is particularly true with regard to foreign specialists in the U.S.S.R., including American specialists, whose work in my opinion deserves our thanks.
As for the few British employees of Metro-Vickers, (Original Footnote: A British electrical-engineering firm which had contracted with the U.S.S.R. to render technical aid to enterprises of the Soviet electrical industry. In March 1933, criminal proceedings were instituted against six Britishers, employees of the Moscow office of Metro-Vickers, on the charge of engaging in wrecking at large Soviet electric power stations. The investigation and the trial, which took place on April 12-19, 1933, established that the arrested Metro-Vickers employees had carried on espionage in the U.S.S.R. and, with the assistance of a gang of criminal elements, had organised damage to equipment, accidents and acts of sabotage at large U.S.S.R. electric power stations for the purpose of undermining the strength of Soviet industry and of weakening the Soviet state), legal action was taken against them not as Britishers but as persons who, our investigating authorities assert, have violated laws of the U.S.S.R. Was not legal action taken similarly against Russians? I do not know what bearing this case can have on American citizens.
Ready to be of service to you,
Published for the first time.
Stalin J; Works" Volume 13; Originally published Moscow 1955; by Foreign Languages Publishing House; reprinted by Red Star Press; London in facsimile form; circa 1976p. 265.