V. I. Lenin

Theses On Production Propaganda[1]

Rough Draft

Written: 18 November, 1920
First Published: 1928; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 31, pages 404-406
Translated: Julius Katzer
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. 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

1. In connection with the R.S.F.S.R.’s military victories and its international position in general, production propaganda must now be given special prominence, and be accentuated and organised.

2. The leading newspapers, Izvestia and Pravda in the first place, should: a) reduce the space devoted to politics, and increase space for production propaganda; h) influence all the work of the Party and of Soviet institutions, in the sense of mobilising greater forces for production propaganda; c) endeavour to work systematically to place production propaganda on a nation-wide footing, and evolve extensive measures for its encouragement and improvement, with a special view to verifying the successes actually achieved in practice.

3. In just the same way, work should be systematised, extended and developed in selecting able administrators, organisers and inventors from the masses of workingmen and peasants.

4. Throughout the R.S.F.S.R. production propaganda should be placed under the direction of a single body, with the aim of economising forces and improving guidance of this work. In this, the greatest autonomy, both local and within each trade, is indispensable. Any marked success should be systematically and judiciously rewarded (bonuses in kind, etc.). Verification of successes to be organised impartially and competently.

5. The editorial hoard of a mass newspaper with a circulation of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 should be made the solo body guiding production propaganda.

Bednota[2]] is the right newspaper for the purpose.

It would be harmful to have a division into an industrial newspaper and an agricultural newspaper, since it is the aim of socialism to bring industry and agriculture closer together and unite them. In practice, the guiding role of the industrial proletariat both in the cities and in the rural areas, particularly in the urbanisation of agriculture and the electrification of the entire country, calls precisely for a single newspaper devoted to problems of production (and for a single body in charge of production propaganda) both for the workers and the peasants.

6. This guiding collegiate body should consist of five members representing: 1) the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions; 2) the Supreme Council of the National Economy; 3) the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture; 4) the Chief Committee for Political Education; 5) the Central Committee of the R.C.P. (or an editor-in-chief) This collegiate body and the newspaper should be attached to the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions (perhaps there should also be a representative of the Central Board for Vocational Training?).

7. This newspaper, devoted to matters of production, should be a popular one, in the sense of being understood by millions of readers, without falling into vulgarisation. The paper should not descend to the level of the uncultivated reader, but should work steadily-and by very gradual degrees-to promote his development. Little space-not exceeding a quarter of the total-should be devoted to politics. Top priority should be given to a single economic plan, to the labour front, production propaganda, the training of workers and peasants in the work of administration, to seeing that Soviet laws and measures established by Soviet institutions are given due effect, and to an extensive and properly organised exchange of opinions with the rank-and file reader.

8. Materials published in the newspaper or addressed to it, as well as all other kinds of material, should be systematically and periodically brought out in pamphlet or leaflet form and compulsorily supplied to libraries, as well as to factories and enterprises in the given field of production (the pamphlets and leaflets should systematise all the material relating to each particular branch of production). Together with manuals and reviews of foreign technology, this material should serve to spread vocational training and polytechnical education.

A more rational distribution of the newspaper, as well as of pamphlets and leaflets dealing with questions of production, among all libraries in the R.S.F.S,R. should, in particular, be the object of special attention.

9. It is indispensable that engineers, agronomists, schoolteachers, and also Soviet functionaries possessing definite professional qualifications, should be drawn into systematic participation in production propaganda (this in connection with the liquidation of illiteracy).

The organisation of lectures, talks, reports, etc.

Compulsory labour service on the part of all those who are able to acquaint the population with problems of electrification, with the Taylor system, etc.

10. The more extensive and systematic use of films for production propaganda. Joint work with the cinema section.

Soviet gramophone records. Displays of diagrams and cartograins at clubs, village reading-rooms, in streets, etc. Bills and placards to he displayed near factories, workshops, technical schools, etc.

11. The organisation, jointly with the People’s Commissariat of Labour and other institutions, of an inspectorate of production. The latter’s work to be co-ordinated with that of production propaganda, as well as with the work of instructors, exhibition trains and ships, and the like.

12. Extensive publicity for exemplary enterprises. Organisation of factory workers with foreign industrial experience-this to be done in special workshops, sections or groups, etc. Such workers to be utilised for the training of backward workingmen, for the dissemination of vocational-technical and polytechnical instruction, etc.

N. Lenin



[1] This document served as a basis for the draft theses of the Chief Committee for Political Education, which were published in Pravda No. 267 on November 27, 1920, under the heading “Production Propaganda (Draft Theses of the Chief Committee for Political Education)”. The question of production propaganda was first raised in connection with the discussion of the immediate tasks of economic development, at the Ninth Party Congress held from March 29 to April 5, 1920. But after Poland’s attack on the Soviet Republic, the brief respite came to an end and the questions of economic development receded into the background. Only at the end of 1920, after the signing of a preliminary peace with Poland and the defeat of Wrangel, did the question of production propaganda aimed at drawing the masses into the work of economic rehabilitation come up again with renewed urgency. Production propaganda, first suggested by Lenin, remains to this day one of the main tasks of the political, cultural and educational activities of the Party and the Soviet state.

[2] Bednota (The Poor)—a daily newspaper published by the C.C. C.P.S.U.(B.) from March 27, 1918 to January 31, 1931. On February 1, 1931 it merged with Sotsialisticheskoye Zemledeliye (Socialist Farming).