V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written in the first half of March 1921
Published: First published on March 21, 1931 in Pravda No. 79. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 535-537.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.
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1. General political significance of this question: =the question of peasant ( petty-bourgeois) counter-revolution.

Such counter-revolution is already facing us. in the press smooth out “inter-relations between the proletariat and the peasantry ”
smooth out in the press

2. Theoretical excursion
(α) bourgeois or socialist revolution?
The struggle will decide.

(β) The Renegade Kautsky (p. 102, 1918 edition[2])....

3. Who will overcome whom? 2 different classes.
The lesson of “Kronstadt”[3]

— — —in politics: more unity (and discipline) within
the Party, more struggle against the
Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries;

— — —in the economy: to satisfy the middle peasantry
as fully as possible.

4. All the peasantry (almost) has become middle. “Poor Peasants’ Committees.”[4]

5. What economic satisfaction can we give the middle peasantry? The petty commodity producer?

N. B. |||
(α) to give freedom of turnover, freedom to trade ( = freedom of capitalism);

(β) to obtain commodities for this purpose.

6. “Freedom of turnover ”=freedom to trade=freedom of capitalism.

Back to capitalism?

Our too hasty, rigid, unprepared “communism” was necessitated by the war and the impossibility of either obtaining commodities or setting the factories going.

There are also a number of other possible transitions. The “rope” can be given more slack, without allowing any break in it; it can be “slackened”, “eased out”.

7. || N.B. Co-operation. Cancellation of the resolution of the Ninth Congress. Draft of a new resolution[5] (to manoeuvre more freely)

||| Co-operation= Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks politically economically the best form of free turnover |||

8. How to get the commodities?
(α) A loan (100 millions in gold)
(2 proposals).
(β) Trade agreement with Britain, America.
(γ) Concessions.

9. State capitalism, a bloc with it, on top; freedom of turnover for the peasants, etc., below.

Crutches and a bandage?
Beaten almost to death.

10. Over-fatigue, exhaustion among the workers too. A “breathing space” like that of Brest, an economic breathing space.
To improve the position of the workers (10 millions in gold and a special resolution).[6]
To improve the position of the peasants and promote turnover.

11. Individual exchange of commodities?
Yes! We shall intensify production, get turnover going, provide a breathing space, strengthen the petty bourgeoisie, but even more so large-scale production and the proletariat. The one is bound up with the other.

12. It is impossible to consolidate large-scale production, the factories and the proletariat, without to some extent reviving the petty bourgeoisie and its turnover.

13. A tax in kind.
Legislative history (briefly) Oct. 30, 1918.[7]
A different way of putting it now.
Its economic significance:

(1) An incentive to the petty producer: raise production.
Most important of all.

(2) State monopoly not essential now. (Not all surpluses.)

(3) Precise obligations to the state.
Weakening of bureaucracy.

(4) All “turnover” to be more free, and it is possible to rid them of some of the food “detachments”.

Crop failure and a good crop {{ Popov and his “reference notes”[8] }} | Announce beforehand? After after ascertaining the harvest | N.B. |

14. Firmness of the “apparatus” to be preserved.
But an apparatus for policy (=reviewing and correcting relations between classes), and not a policy for the apparatus!
(A good) bureaucracy in the service of policy, and not a policy in the service of (a good) bureaucracy.
The maximum elasticity is now needed, and for this purpose, for flexible manoeuvring, the greatest firmness of the apparatus.


[1] Lenin’s Report on the Substitution of a Tax in Kind for the Surplus Grain Appropriation System was given at the 14th sitting of the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) on March 15, 1921 (see present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 214–28). The Congress adopted a decision to substitute a tax in kind for the requisitioning of surplus food and to pass from the policy of War Communism to the New Economic Policy (NEP). The decision of the Congress on NEP ensured the sound economic alliance between the working class and the peasantry for the construction of socialism.

[2] A reference to Lenin’s book The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, 1918, p. 102 (see present edition, Vol. 28, pp. 305–06).

[3] A reference to the counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt which broke out on February 28, 1921. It was organised by the S.R.s, Mensheviks and whiteguards and involved a sizable section of the Kronstadt sailors, most of whom were new recruits from the countryside, were politically undeveloped and voiced the peasants’ discontent with the surplus food requisitioning. The mutiny was facilitated by the economic difficulties in the Soviet state and the weakening of the Bolshevik organisation in Kronstadt.

The counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, not daring to come out openly against the Soviet system, resorted to a new tactic: to deceive the masses, the leaders of the mutiny put forward the slogan of “Soviets without the Communists”, in the hope of getting the Communists out of the leadership in the Soviets, destroying the Soviet system and restoring the capitalist system in the country.

On March 2, the mutineers arrested the naval command. They established contacts with foreign imperialists, who promised them financial and military aid. The seizure of Kronstadt by the mutineers created a direct threat to Petrograd.

The Soviet Government sent Red Army units under the command of M. N. Tukhachevsky to suppress the mutiny. The Communist Party sent more than 300 delegates of the Tenth Party Congress with military experience, headed by Kliment Voroshilov, to storm Kronstadt. On March 18, the uprising was liquidated.

[4] Committees of landless and land-starved peasants in the Ukraine, set up in 1920 to defend the interests of the poor and middle peasants. Dissolved in 1933.

[5] At the Tenth Congress Lenin motioned the proposal to annul the resolution of the Ninth Congress on the attitude to the cooperatives, because it was based on the surplus food appropriation principle, and the Tenth Congress had adopted a resolution substituting it by a tax in kind. The Tenth Congress adopted Lenin’s resolution on the co-operatives (see present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 229–32 and KPSS v resolyutsiyakh..., Part One, 1954, p. 564).

[6] A reference to the decision of the Council of Labour and Defence of February 28, 1921, allocating 10 million gold rubles on the purchase of food and prime necessities abroad. On Lenin’s proposal, the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) passed a resolution on improving the condition of workers and poor peasants (see KPSS v resolyutsiyakh..., Part One, p. 565).

[7] A reference to the decree of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, “On the Levy of a Tax in Kind on Rural Entrepreneurs in the Form of a Deduction of a Portion of Their Farm Produce”, of October 30, 1918, published in Izvestia No. 248, November  14, 1918.

[8] For the Tenth Congress of the Party, P. Popov used material of the Central Statistical Board to write a pamphlet on the question of the tax and the requisitioning under the title Grain Production of the Soviet and Federated Republics (Grain Output). Lenin quoted it in his report (see present edition, Vol. 32, p. 227).

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