V. I.   Lenin

Speech at a Meeting of
The Presidium of the S.E.C.

April 1, 1918

Published: First published (in part) in 1940 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 1. Printed from the typewritten copy of the minutes.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 86b-87a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

The question under discussion is a draft resolution concerning labour discipline drawn up by the All-Russia Council of Trade Unions. Comrade Lenin moves a number of amendments and more definite wordings of different points in the draft, which he suggests should be concretised. Piece wages should be fixed for all industries without exception, and in the case of trades where that is not possible, a system of bonuses should be introduced. To keep account of productivity and maintain discipline it is necessary to set up industrial courts, to form groups of controllers of various trades, not at the enterprise, but from outside,   and enlisting the co-operation of engineers, book-keepers and peasants. The decree should definitely provide for the introduction of the Taylor system, in other words, every use should be made of the scientific methods of work suggested by this system. Without it, productivity cannot be raised, without it we shall not be able to introduce socialism. In the application of this system American engineers are to be enlisted. Naturally, in introducing it, due consideration should be given to the poor nutrition. The rates of output, therefore, should make allowance for a low diet. Further-more, it is necessary to organise output...[1] in the transition to socialism may enable us to reduce the working day. The decree should mention accountancy and the printing of reports concerning the productivity of the various enterprises. As to penal measures for breaches of labour discipline, these are to be stricter. Punishment should go to the length of imprisonment. Dismissal, too, may be applied, but this will be of an entirely different nature. Under the capitalist system dismissal was a breach of a civic agreement. Now, a breach of discipline, especially with the introduction of compulsory labour service, will be a criminal offence subject to a definite punishment.


[1] An omission in the minutes—Ed.

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