CLV

Lenin asking the delegates at the 8th Congress of Soviets to not vote for Bukharin’s proposal of “industrial democracy”:

“I come now to ‘industrial democracy,’ shall I say, for Bukharin’s benefit. We all know that everyone has his weak points, that even big men have little weak spots, and this also goes for Bukharin. He seems to be incapable of resisting any little word with a flourish to it. He seemed to derive an almost sensuous pleasure from writing the resolution on industrial democracy at the Central Committee Plenum on December 7. But the closer I look at this ‘industrial democracy,’ the more clearly I see that it is half-baked and theoretically false. It is nothing but a hodge-podge. With this as an example, let me say once again, at a Party meeting at least: ‘Comrade N. I. Bukharin, the Republic, theory and you yourself will benefit from less verbal extravagance.’ (Applause.) Industry is indispensable. Democracy is a category proper only to the political sphere. There can be no objection to the use of this word in speeches or articles. An article takes up and clearly expresses one relationship and no more. But it is quite strange to hear you trying to turn this into a thesis, and to see you wanting to coin it into a slogan, uniting the ‘ayes’ and the ‘nays’; it is strange to hear you say, like Trotsky, that the Party will have ‘to choose between two trends.’ I shall deal separately with whether the Party must do any ‘choosing’ and who is to blame for putting the Party in this position of having to ‘choose.’ Things being what they are, we say: ‘At any rate, see that you choose fewer slogans, like ’industrial democracy’, which contain nothing but confusion and are theoretically wrong.’ Both Trotsky and Bukharin failed to think out this term theoretically and ended up in confusion. ‘Industrial democracy’ suggests things well beyond the circle of ideas with which they were carried away. They wanted to lay greater emphasis and focus attention on industry. It is one thing to emphasise something in an article or speech; it is quite another to frame it into a thesis and ask the Party to choose, and so I say: cast your vote against it, because it is confusion. Industry is indispensable, democracy is not. Industrial democracy breeds some utterly false ideas. The idea of one-man management was advocated only a little while ago. We must not make a mess of things and confuse people: how do you expect them to know when you want democracy, when one-man management, and when dictatorship. But on no account must we renounce dictatorship either—I hear Bukharin behind me growling: ‘Quite right.’ (Laughter. Applause.)”

(V.I. Lenin. Collected Works, 1st English Edition. Progress Publishers: Moscow. 1965, Volume 32, pages 19-42.)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s