V. I.   Lenin

Tenth All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.)[1]

Published: First published in 1963 in the Fifth Russian Edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 43. Printed from the shorthand record.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 3nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 309-313a.
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



Statement Concerning the Agenda

May 26

Comrades, as I have already told you, we intended to have a single item on the agenda in keeping with the nature of this conference, namely, the question of economic policy. The remaining reports were to be informational, so I did not prepare a-political report, but I think this report will have to be dealt with on an economic plane. Therefore, in order to satisfy everybody, I suggest that supplementary questions be put to me after the report and I shall answer them in my summing-up speech. I repeat, I have made no preparations whatever on this question and cannot imagine what I would speak about if I had to apart from the question of the tax in kind.


Speeches During the Debate of the Motion on Questions of the New Economic Policy

May 28


I believe this amendment[2] should not be adopted, because an explanation to the amendment would then be needed. Naturally, if there is a revolution in Europe we shall change our policy. Civil war, which such a revolution always involves, as you know, may in fact render our position even worse. Of course, this will be a short time, it is difficult, of course, to determine how long civil war in other republics   will last, but when it is over and won we shall change our policy in the sense that we may say: we shall take nothing in taxes, and only by commodity exchange. This has to be made clear to the peasants, otherwise they will think: what’s this, back again to the surplus-appropriation system? I believe, therefore, that it were best not to add anything of this kind. Long years of revolution in Europe and civil war will lead to commodity exchange without any tax at all. This is stated in the resolution before the congress, which says that the tax will gradually be reduced. This is the point the forthcoming victorious revolution applies to, a revolution which a long period of years turns into a short one.


Comrades, it was on this point that we had discussions in the committee, where opinion was divided. At first Milyutin objected to the words “anarchic commodity ex-change to be combated” on the grounds that this would be construed as cavilling, and freedom to trade would, in practice, be done away with. When this point was drawn up in its present wording, which said: “anarchic commodity exchange to be combated” since “it eludes all control and supervision” -by this is meant the black-market “bagmen”, and you know that illicit trade is punishable in all countries where there is freedom of trading, even in capitalist countries; on this point we see eye to eye. In what way is it to be combated? By having commodity exchange concentrated chiefly in the hands of the co-operatives, to which is added: “without, however, any restrictions on regular free market operations.” When this wording was adopted the committee unanimously agreed that there was still a danger of free market operations being restricted. This is a delicate matter, of course. We don’t want this ruling to restrict freedom to trade, but we can’t do without measures against illicit trade, specifically against black-market bagmen and transport dislocation. The committee thought of using a milder word than “combating”, but then agreed that the target was only anarchic commodity exchange that eluded all control on the part of the state, all the more as this was qualified by the added   proviso, saying “without, however, any restrictions on regular free market operations”. With this addition, the word “combat” is not too strong an expression. The amendment which the comrade here proposes is risky in the sense that we shall be defeating our own purpose. He throws out the words “without, however, any restrictions on regular market operations ....”


I think the state farms are not equal to this, they are still very weak. Let them improve a bit for another year, and the next year we shall see whether we can expand their initiative or not.


The last amendment is an unhappy one,[5] since the question of material resources is covered by Point 5: “Revision of (certain sections of) production programmes for large-scale industry with a view to increasing the manufacture of consumer goods and peasant household articles.

Extension of the independence and initiative of each large establishment in the matter of disposing of financial and material resources. A precise decision to that effect to be submitted for approval to the Council of People’s Commissars.” Therefore, we shall not repeat this here. The question of material distribution, that of food, for example, is stated here quite definitely, without prejudice, of course, to the centre, because without it being gathered in the centre there can be no question of industry. As regards the first remark of the comrade who said that it was inappropriate just how to consider the question of the local economic conferences settled, as these might upset things-1 have not heard anything about this. On the contrary, there have been demands to introduce economic conferences everywhere, acting as commissions of the C.P.C. Every member of the C.P.C., every representative of the C.L.D. has the right of appeal to the C.P.C. Because we select the members of the C.L.D. from among the members of the C.P.C. itself, and locally, too, there are to be no special staffs, no special   bodies, but the same offices and departments. The gubernia economic conference is a perfectly suitable form, which does not hamper, but facilitates the conference. As the Instructions say: “with leeway in modifying the main type, that is, the executive committees may assume all the functions and duties of the economic conferences...” (reads), so that there is no ruling prescribing an absolutely hard-and-fast and single course of action. Besides, the resolution proposed by the commission says: “Adopt in principle.” The commission,[6] is meeting and functioning, its Chairman Osinsky tells its they have reviewed quite a number of points and already submitted them in writing. The work is of a difficult nature, and it will require another special commission. The fear that we shall be tying our hands by declaring that it is adopted in principle is therefore groundless.


We have no objection; judging by the subject, however, it does not belong here, but to Point 6.[8] I propose that it be adopted in principle and placed under Point 6.


These are mere details. The question should be raised at the session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and discussed with the people concerned. There can be no objection in principle, but generally speaking this is a detail.


This fear is excessive here. Point 7 of our resolution says “The need to maintain and enforce the apparatus for the full and expeditious collection of the tax in kind”. Naturally, the tax in kind will be collected not by persuasion, it can be collected only by compulsion, and that is what the apparatus stands for. Today several important decisions and instructions have   been signed, all aimed at preserving and strengthening the apparatus, from which we shall demand expeditious collection of the tax in kind. It is pointed out that we say here: “commodity exchange is brought to the fore” and the fear is expressed that the peasants will understand this as priority for commodity exchange. In that case we shall write: “holds a specially important place.”


[1] The Tenth All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) was held in Moscow from May 26 to 28, 1921, It was attended by 239 delegates from Party and Soviet organisations. It was a special con-ference. The following questions were on the agenda: 1) economic policy: a) the tax in kind; b) co-operatives; c) financial reform; d) small industry; 2) the role of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks in the present situation; 3) the Third Congress of the Comintern; 4) information on the Fourth Trade Union Congress; 5) organisational question.

The highlight of the conference was the question of implement-ing the New Economic Policy, on which people in the local areas were not yet quite clear.

Lenin guided the work of the conference. He delivered the opening speech, spoke on the agenda, made a report on the tax in kind and wound up the debate on this question, and took the floor many times during the discussion of the resolution “On Economic Policy”. The conference heard supplementary infor- mation by Lenin to the main report on the work of the Fourth Trade Union Congress. Lenin also made a closing speech. See present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 399-437.

[2] Lenin is referring to the amendment to Point I of the draft resolution (see present edition, Vol. 32, p. 433). The mover of this amendment proposed to add the words: “inasmuch as the conditions for a world revolution have not changed”. This amendment was rejected by a majority vote.

[3] Lenin took the floor in connection with a proposed amendment to Point 3 of the draft resolution. The end of this point read: “Anarchic commodity exchange (that is, exchange which eludes all control and state supervision) to be combated by concentra-tion of exchange chiefly in the hands of the co-operatives, without, however, any restrictions on regular free market operations.” The mover of the amendment proposed that the end of the sen-tence from the words “without, however” be replaced by the words: “administration by mere injunction in the case of such exchange to be eliminated”. The amendment was rejected.

[4] Lenin took the floor in connection with a proposed amendment to Point 5 of the draft resolution calling for an extension of the independence and initiative of each large establishment in the matter of disposing of financial and material resources. The mover of the amendment proposed that this point should apply to the state farms as well. The amendment was rejected.

[5] This refers to the amendment to Point 9 of the resolution proposing the following addendum: “special attention being paid to factual and material initiative and independence of the local areas”. The amendment was rejected.

[6] This refers to the commission set up for drafting the Instructions of the Council of Labour and Defence to local Soviet bodies. It was set up by the Council on May 20, 1921.

[7] This refers to the amendment to Point 10 of the draft resolution calling for the establishment of “special responsibility on the part of the central agencies for any hampering of local initiative and insufficient support of it” (see present edition, Vol. 32, p. 435). The mover of the amendment proposed the following addendum: “stronger punitive measures to be taken against mismanagement and misappropriation of state property and wasteful use of labour.” The amendment was adopted to Point 6 of the resolution.

[8] Point 6 of the draft resolution concerned the regulation of workers’ wages.

[9] Lenin here took the floor in connection with Kiselyov’s proposal that a point be included in the resolution calling for the intro duction of a system of collective testimonials (by up to 3 people) for persons handling state property, and listing the penalties incurred by the giver of such a testimonial. The motion was rejected by a majority of votes.

[10] Lenin took the floor here in connection with the proposed amend-ment to Point 2 of the resolution (see present edition, Vol. 32, p. 433). Th mover of the amendment proposed that the reso-lution should state that the tax in kind is brought to the fore in economic activities. The amendment was rejected.

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