V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1958 in Voprosy Istorii KPSS No. 1. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, pages 214-215a.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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20. IV. 1919

Gubernia Executive Committee

I enclose a telegram from Tambov.[1] Please arrange another general meeting of these 252 (it is not clear whether they are all the members of the co-operative or only some of them, and if so, out of what total number) and explain the following to them:

The Council of People’s Commissars has passed a decree for the organisation of consumers’ communes in the interests of correct distribution of products. It is unjust that the distribution of products essential for the whole population should be handled only by part of the population, as was the case under capitalism. In all countries the cooperatives under capitalism embrace mainly the upper sections of workers and peasants. It is essential that now not only the upper sections, but all working people, every one of them, should take part in the distribution of products.

There is hardly a single one of the great founders of the world co-operative movement who has not pointed to the conversion of this movement into socialism. Now indeed this time has come, and all the best elements in the co-operatives are in sympathy with the development of the co-operative movement as envisaged in the decree on the conversion of the co-operatives into consumers’ communes embracing all the working people without exception.

The members of the consumers’ communes retain the right of fully independent control, as also the right to conduct affairs independently. This is why I am asking the meeting to revise its decision, to recognise the binding nature of the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars and not to make the workers’ and peasants’ government have recourse to undesirable measures of compulsion.

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
“Chairman, C.P.C.”

Read out at the meeting the part in quotation marks, and publish it in the local newspaper. Amplify (tactfully, without using hard words) what I have said. Wire fulfilment.

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
Chairman, C.P.C.


[1] This refers to a telegram from the Tambov Consumers’ Society to the Council of People’s Commissars concerning implementation of the decree of the C.P.C., dated March 16, 1919, on consumers’ communes. The decree provided for the amalgamation of all consumers’ co-operatives in town and country into consumers’ communes with the aim of creating a single distributive apparatus. The telegram from Tambov reported that 252 members of the Tambov Consumers’ Society found at their meeting that trade was being conducted properly and “do not want to hand over the Consumers’ Society to consumers’ communes”.

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