V. I. Lenin


The Middle Peasants

Recorded: End of March 1919;
First Published: Published according to the gramophone records; Organization of these speeches was accomplished by Tsentropechat the central agency of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee for the Supply and Distribution of Periodicals between 1919 and 1921. 13 of Lenin’s speeches were recorded.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 29, pages 246-247
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002; Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

The most important question now confronting the Communist Party, the question on which most attention was concentrated at the last Party Congress, is that of the middle peasants.

Naturally, the first question usually asked is, what is a middle peasant?

Naturally, Party comrades have often related how they have been asked this question in the villages. The middle peasant, we say in reply, is a peasant who does not exploit the labour of others, who does not live on the labour of others, who does not take the fruits of other people's labour in any shape or form, but works himself, and lives by his own labour.

Under capitalism there were fewer peasants of this typo than there are now, because the majority of the peasants were in the ranks of the impoverished, and only an insignificant minority, then, as now, were in the ranks of the kulaks, the exploiters, the rich peasants.

The middle peasants have been increasing in number since the private ownership of land was abolished, and the Soviet government has firmly resolved at all costs to etablish relations of complete peace and harmony with them. It goes without saying that the middle peasant cannot immediately accept socialism, because he clings firmly to what he is accustomed to, he is cautious about all innovations, subjects what he is offered to a factual, practical test and does not decide to change his way of life until he is convinced that the change is necessary.

It is precisely for this reason that we must know, remember and put into practice the rule that when Communist workers go into rural districts they must try to establish comradely relations with the middle peasants, it is their duty to establish these comradely relations with them; they must remember that working peasants who do not exploit the labour of others are the comrades of the urban workers and that we can and must establish with them a voluntary alliance inspired by sincerity and confidence. Every measure proposed by the communist government must be regarded merely as advice, as a suggestion to the middle peasants, as an invitation to them to accept the new order.

Only by co-operation in the work of testing these measures in practice, finding out in what way they are mistaken, eliminating possible errors and achieving agreement with the middle peasant-only by such co-operation can the alliance between the workers and the peasants be ensured. This alliance is the main strength and the bulwark of Soviet power; this alliance is a pledge that socialist transformation will be successful, victory over capital will be achieved and exploitation in all its forms will be abolished.