The New Economic Policy shows the path to socialism

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After the soviet victory over the interventionists, the construction of the national economy – which was destroyed after four years of imperialist war and three years of foreign invasion – was necessary.

Destacamento pronto para ir ao campo requerer alimentos durante o Comunismo de Guerra, 1918

The underdeveloped agriculture production had felt by half, the industrial production was seven times lesser than before the war and it was necessary to reconstruct the transportation system. There was shortage of fuel and first necessity goods as oil, bread, meat and salt.

The harsh conditions of protracted shortage caused discontentment, mainly among the peasants who endured the contribution policy during the War Communism period – which would not be possible to beat the imperialist invasion without.

The de-structuring of the economy also made many workers to emigrate to the villages searching for food, losing their class condition. And so the discontentment started to echo among the proletariat.

The counter-revolutionaries, taking advantage if this difficult economical situation and popular discontentment, tried to incite uprisings and – changing their fighting tactics agaist the proletariat – concealed their will to restore capitalist and landlords Power and property under the new slogan of "For the Soviets, but without the communists!".

It was under these hard conditions that the Party faced the task of outline the new orientation concerning the problems of the economic construction of the country.

THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia (Bolshevik), of Leninist majority, understood that once the war was finished it was necessary to suspend the War Communism regime – imposed by the circumstances of the war and the blockade – as well as construct the national economy.

The elimination of the contingency system of War Communism, replaced by the production tax payment would allow the peasants to raise agriculture, to improve the production of cereal and necessary crops for industrial development, to activate the good circulation inside the country, to improve the supply of the cities and to lay a new economic base for the workers and peasant alliance. Through this policy, everything that exceeded the tax was left at the disposal of the peasants, to whom the freedom of commercialize these products was conceded.

Lenin understood that certain freedom of good circulation would stimulate the economical interest, improve peasant work productivity and quickly raise the agriculture outcome; that over this base the State industry would be restored and the private capital driven out; which after accumulating forces and resources would be possible to create a strong industry – economical basis for socialism – and soon to decidedly turn to the offensive in order to destroy the remains of capitalism inside the country.

In order to give a new impulse to the peasant economy and to persuade it gradually to the socialist path some measures were taken for a broad development in the countryside, from the most simple forms of cooperation that should show in practice to the peasants the advantages of the collective management of the economic issues, to transmit them the collective administration, selling, credit, etc. habits and in this way to prepare them to the joint conduction of the kolkoses production1.

Also the revival of industry was a very urgent task and to achieve this was necessary to convince the working class and its trade unions to engage in this harsh task by means of persuasion. Such were the objectives of the New Economic Policy (NEP).

This way NEP consisted in a clever policy formulated by Lenin for the Soviet Republic's economy which showed the necessity to retreat a little in the War Communism offensive in order to not lose the contact with the rearguard.

Through this policy it was possible to get mainly the poor and medium peasants closer, establishing a stronger contact with its base, securing the needed economic development, to be possible soon after to launch again the offensive, with higher safety and guarantee of success in the advance of socialism.

Lenin asserted that "with our economic offensive we had advanced too much and did not secure a sufficient base", this was the reason why it was necessary to make a "temporary retreat to consolidate the rearguard."

The NEP guaranteed a solid economic alliance between the working class and the peasants to the construction of socialism. Its success would be shown in the following years after its implementation: it served to increase the power and the strength of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

It was the NEP that allowed the reconstruction in a very short term of the national economy and the transition from capitalism to socialism in Russia. In two five-years plan outlined (10 years) it guaranteed the country's industrialization and made the peasants change into socialist production in extensive collective farms. Secured the overcome of the plurality of economy types and the creation of the economical basis of socialism.

The NEP had also a great international importance on the level of influencing the whole march of the world history, affirming the socialist system over capitalism, as well as in the point of view of the elaboration of the path, form and methods of the socialist construction. This way it secured the success of the construction and the triumph in the economical front, to where the struggle between capitalism and socialism had been transferred in "world scale" after the civil war, as Lenin pointed. At the same time, the NEP was a scientifically founded method of socialism construction, of incorporation of the indigent masses in this work, a task that the socialists of all countries will face, as Lenin pointed out.

Nova política econômica reergueu a indústria e a economia do pais

Although, NEP could not be approved without combating the confuse and hesitating stands of the opposition groups: trotskyists, the "worker opposition", the "left communists", the "democratic centralists". While some denied the leading role of the Party defending that the national economy restoration problem be let entirely in the hands of the trade unions, others advocated it was not necessary to put an end to the War Communism regime but, on the contrary, it should be reinforced.

Trotsky and his followers, by the way, were contrary to the persuasion of the worker masses method and advocated to transplant the military methods to the trade unions. Defending the "trade union state-deification", the trotskysts stood against the development of democracy in the trade unions and to elections for trade union positions. Wherever the trotskyist took over the trade union leadership, they provoked conflicts, splits and disagreements making the party-less mass to stand against the Bolshevik.

Trotsky was helped by Bukarin – who created a group aiming to conceal and defend the most despicable splitters: the trotskyist – in the fight against Lenin and the Party

The Party organizations closed their ranks around Lenin against the opposition groups, what guaranteed the approval of the resolution of the New Economic Policy by the X Party Congress.

Even after the approval of the NEP, during its implantation it clashed with the resistance of unstable elements of the Party. Some of them – incapable of understanding the economical development laws – made big noise that the NEP would be the renunciation to the achievements of the October Revolution, the return to capitalism. As for the open capitulators like Trotsky, Kamenev, Bukarin and others – with a deeply despicable and anti-leninist understanding of the NEP – demanded that big concessions were made to private capital both inside and outside the country and that a series of positions on the national economy was handed to them, based on concessions or mixed stocks societies with private capital participation.

THE NATIONAL QUESTION

Beyond NEP, another resolution of the X Congress with aimed at the goal of solidifying the economical alliance between the working class and the peasants to the construction of socialism was the decision regarding the national problem. The resolution had as objective to end the economical, political and cultural backwardness of the former oppressed peoples – a heritage of the tsarist past.

In exposing the question, comrade Stalin attacked two deviations which were contrary to the Party regarding the national problem: grand-Russian chauvinism and localist nationalism2, both dangerous to communism and proletarian internationalism.

The Bolsheviks properly combated the divisionist manoeuvres and due to the tenacious work of political struggle done by them all the fundamental base organizations of the Party adhered to the leninist platform in the X Congress.

AGAINST DIVISIONISM AND VACILLATION

Noticing the big danger to the Bolshevik Party and to the dictatorship of the proletariat that represented the existence of divisionist groups, the X Congress of the Party consecrated special attention to the Party unity problem ordering immediate dissolution of all the divisionist groups and charging all organizations to cease such attitudes under the pain of expulsion.

The resolution indicated that the propaganda apparatus should explain meticulously how pernicious to the Party unity the divisionism was and how the consecration of unity of will of the proletariat vanguard was fundamental condition for the dictatorship of the proletariat triumph.

The growing resistance that opposed the Party policy showed once more the necessity to cleanse it of the less firm elements. Related to this, the CC organized the cleanse of its ranks in 1921 made in public assemblies, with interventions of the workers and peasants without a party. As a consequence of this cleanse, around 25% of the total affiliates were expelled.

This cleanse considerably strengthened the Party, reinforced the trust of the masses in it increasing its authority, cohesion and discipline.

ADVANCES OF THE NEP AND FOUNDING OF USSR

The first year of the application of the New Economic Policy showed its justness. The first successes in agriculture, industry and transportation emerged

In March 1922, the XI Congress of the Party made an assessment of the conquests in the economic level. The achieved results allowed Lenin to declare by the Congress: "For a year we retreated. Now we should declare in the name of the Party: Enough! The objective we pursued with our retreat was reached. This period reaches its end or has already ended. Now, another goal comes to the forefront: regroup the forces".

The private merchants and speculators – called "nepman" that emerged as an inevitable result of the economy development – took advantage of the debility of the soviet commerce and dominated the sales of manufactured goods and easy placing goods. Tho problem of organization of a State and cooperative commerce acquired an immense importance.

It was up to the XI Congress to imprimir new forces to the economic work.

In October 1922, the Japanese interventionists of Vladvostok were driven away. It was necessary to unify all the popular forces for the construction of socialism, to fiercely organize the defense of the country and secure the full development of all the nationalities of the socialist Motherland. To achieve this, the necessity to group even more tightly all the peoples of the soviet country was imposed.

In December of the same year, with this goal, the first Congress of the Soviets of all Union was celebrated. In this Congress it was founded, by Lenin and Stalin proposition, the voluntary, free and with equal rights union formed by the States of the soviet peoples: the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR). The founding of the USSR constituted into a great triumph to Lenin and Stalin's policy, heading the Bolshevik Party, regarding the national problem.

XII CONGRESS AND THE ILLNESS OF LENIN

In the fall of 1922, Lenin felt gravely ill, but this didn't interrupted his work, despite the health complications. Already being in grave state he wrote a series of very important articles in which he made the assessment of the realized work and outlined the plan for the construction of socialism in the soviet country through the incorporation of the peasants to the socialist construction.

In April of 1923, the health conditions already did not allow Lenin to take part in person of the XII Congress of the Party, in which the assessment of the two years of the NEP was realized and the opportunist distortions assessed to it were combated.

So, although the opportunists Trotsky, Bukarin and their followers tried to fulfill their restorationist interests by proposing to hand the strategic industrial field to the foreign capitalists and the breach of state monopoly in the foreign trade, they were fiercely crushed.

In this Congress, by the guidance of Lenin, an organ of the Central Commission and the Worker and Peasant Inspection's merging was created with the mission of velar for the unity, strengthening of the discipline of the Party and the State and improving the Soviet State Apparatus.

Through the intervention of comrade Stalin, the XII Congress also gave special attention to the national problem, pointing out the necessity to work fiercely to liquidate the economic and cultural inequality between the peoples of the Soviet Union and to proceed in the decided struggle against the deviations regarding the national problem.

The following years were of intense struggles against the trotskyist and other opportunists that saw in the medical absence of Lenin a possibility to attack the Communist Party. And they served to confirm in practice the successes of the bold leninist economic policy.


Notes:

1 – Kolkoses: Collective farms in the USSR organized under the form of peasant cooperatives, reunited based in voluntarism to manage the big agricultural property based in the socialization of the production means and in the collective work. They developed their production in state property lands handed for perpetual and free use.

2 – Gran-Russian Chauvinism and localist nationalism: patriotic-nationalist political stands that denied proletarian internationalism. The Gran-Russian Chauvinism based on the combat and rights denial to the non-Russian nationalities, having its roots on tsarism. The localist nationalism had its origin on the bourgeois patriotism and based on the combat to the other nationalities of the Federalist Republics.

Reference:

- History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks): Short Course, [Redigido pela Comissão do Comitê Central do PC da URSS, aprovado em 1938], Rio de Janeiro: Vitória, 1945.

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