Pravda No. 67, June 9 (May 27), 1917.
Published according to the text in Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 521-522.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 (2005). 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.
V. Bazarov, admittedly an authority on the condition of our industries, wrote in Novaya Zhizn for May 24:
“The war and the resulting economic and financial break-down have created a state of affairs in which the private interest of private enterprise tends not towards strengthening and developing the productive forces of the country. but towards destroying them It is much more profitable at the present moment—in expectation of higher prices—to keep all the material elements of capital inactive than to put them into circulation; it is more profitable to produce, on terms ruinous to the country, absolutely useless military supplies than to serve conscientiously the pressing needs of the people; and it is most profitable of all to build new munition factories which will never be utilised, and which would not be in a position to start work until two or three years hence. Is it any wonder that our so-called ‘national economy’ has degenerated into an orgy of wanton pillage, into industrial anarchy, into a systematic spoliation of the national wealth?... Why should an ignorant, and, for that matter, even a fully class-conscious worker, forego an ‘excessive’ increase in wages amounting to three or four rubles, when lie sees hundreds of millions of rubles looted and squandered before his very eyes?”
No honest person can deny that V. Bazarov is speaking the exact truth.
An “orgy of pillage”—no other words can describe the behaviour of the capitalists during the war.
This orgy is leading to national disaster.
We cannot keep silent. We cannot put up with it.
Every worker who knows and understands what is going on at “his” factory, every office employee working in a bank, factory or commercial house, who cannot remain indifferent to his country’s ruin, every engineer, statistician, accountant—all should do everything in their power to collect accurate, even fragmentary, and, if possible, documented data concerning this orgy of pillage, i.e., concerning prices and profits.
We must not keep silent. We must not put up with it. After all, we are not children to let ourselves be lulled by promises made by near-socialist ministers or by commissions, departments, or sub-departments of government officials.
If the Russian Government were not a captive of the capitalists, if it were made up of people who could and would act decisively, act to save their country from ruin, it would immediately, without a day’s, without an hour’s delay, issue a decree ordering the publication of all prices charged on war contracts, of all data pertaining to profits.
To chatter about the impending debacle arid about saving the country from ruin without doing this, means descending to the level of deceivers of the people, or of playthings in the hands of tricksters.
To expect a government of capitalists, of Lvov, Tereshchenko, Shingaryov and Co., and their impotent, toylike “appendage” in the persons of Chernov, Tsereteli, Peshekhonov and Skohelev, to issue such a decree, and thus expose the capitalists,, would be childish and naive, Only those suffering from “ministerialist softening of the brain” are likely to expect that.
All the more energetically therefore must we encourage private initiative. Comrades and citizens! All those who really wish to save the country from famine must immediately collect and publish all accessible data pertaining to prices and profits.
Exposing the capitalists is the first step towards curbing the capitalists.
Exposing the orgy of pillage is the first step in our fight against the pillagers.