Delivered: 7 November, 1921
First Published: Published for the first time from the stenographic record
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 118-119
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
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
(The orchestra plays The Internationale. General applause.) Comrades, I cannot share with you reminiscences that would he as instructive and interesting as those of the comrades who were present in Moscow and personally engaged in this or that struggle. I was not in Moscow at the time, so I think I shall confine myself to a brief message of greetings.
One of the previous comrades finished his speech with an appeal for the workers themselves to work hard in trade union and Soviet bodies and to put all their energies into that work. I should like to support that appeal.
Comrades, during these four years we have experienced an unparalleled struggle. And had we been told four years ago that the foreign worker was not so near to world revolution, that we would have to wage hitter civil war for three years, nobody at that time would have believed that we would withstand it. However, even though we were attacked on all sides, we withstood the onslaught, and if we succeeded in doing so it was not because some miracle took place (for intelligent people don’t believe in miracles), but because the troops that were sent against us were unreliable. Had the British not departed from Archangel and the French sailors not left Odessa, and had the foreign worker dressed in soldier’s uniform and sent against us not become a sympathiser of Soviet rule, we would not be guaranteed even now against the possibility of an offensive against us. But we are not afraid of that, because we know that we have many allies in every country. And the comrade who appealed to you here to work as a team was right, and I whole-heartedly support him, because you know that famine has attacked us at our most difficult hour, and the capitalists of the whole world are trying to use this situation to drive us into bondage. But there are masses of workers who are making it possible for us to carry on the fight against them.
Take, for example, the seed help being given to the peasants. You know that the surplus-food appropriation system has been replaced by a tax in kind, and you can now see how well that tax and the seed loan are coming in.
The other day we discussed how to help the peasants of the famine-stricken areas to sow the spring-crop fields, and we found that the quantity of seeds possessed by the state is far from enough to sow even as much as was sown this year. To do that the state needs 30 million poods of grain, whereas the tax in kind will only yield us 15 million poods, so that we shall have to buy the remaining 15 million poods abroad. Lately we have seen that the British bourgeoisie are campaigning for the cancellation of the trade agreement with Soviet Russia, but the British workers are opposed to that. We know that agreements are being concluded with other countries, and difficult as it may be to purchase 15 million poods of grain, we shall be able to do so.
In all foreign countries we see industrial crises and unemployment on a huge scale. Germany, crushed by the shameless Versailles Treaty, has been forced for long out of the international arena. She has been crushed to such an extent by the Versailles peace that she cannot trade. The Allies concluded the unprecedented Versailles peace, and in spite of it are perishing themselves.
Our economic position is improving with every passing day.
What I would ask is that you respond to the previous comrade’s appeal and work harder inside our country. The necessity for doing so must be fully appreciated, for we are working to improve the peasants’ husbandry, and that requires far greater effort than before. We are confident that we shall be able to do this. (Applause. The orchestra plays “The Internationale.”)