Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
the party’s basic theoretical document, stating its ultimate goal and major tasks for a particular historical period. Binding for all Communists and party organizations, the program ensures their united effort in building a communist society. It is adopted by the Congress of the CPSU.
The party program is based on Marxist-Leninist theory and on the experience of the international workers’ and communist movement, of which the CPSU is an integral part. In the process of implementing its program the party, by specifying the ways of solving the problems set forth in it, extends and develops the theory of Marxism-Leninism and enriches it with new experience.
The first programmatic document of the international communist movement was the Communist Manifesto, written by K. Marx and F. Engels in 1847.
Since its founding, the CPSU has adopted three programs. The first was adopted for the period of struggle for the victory of the bourgeois-democratic and socialist revolutions, and the second, for the period of the building of socialism. Since 1961 the CPSU has been guided by a third program, the program of the building of communism. All the programs have exerted a great influence on the international communist movement, and many of the world’s Communist parties have used them as models in formulating their programs.
First party program. G. V. Plekhanov initiated the formulation of a program for Russian Social Democracy. In 1883 he wrote the first version of the program adopted by the Russian Social Democratic group known as the Liberation of Labor (published in 1884), and in 1885 he wrote the second version, entitled Draft Program of the Russian Social Democrats (published in 1888). The second document gave a Marxist definition of the historical role of the proletariat as the leader of the communist revolution and stressed that the proletariat must seize political power. The immediate tasks, according to Plekhanov’s program, were overthrow of autocracy, general democratic transformations in the state, and the protection of the interests of workers in Russia. The ultimate goal of the struggle of the working class was the building of a communist society. The importance of international proletarian solidarity was emphasized. But these draft programs, reflecting the initial period of Russian Social Democracy, were abstract, failed to take account of the state of the workers’ movement in Russia, and contained elements of Narodnik (Populist) ideology, for instance, they accepted individual terror as a means of political struggle. Although he saw these shortcomings, Lenin nevertheless praised the first programmatic documents of Russian Social Democracy (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 4, pp. 215–16).
When he became active in the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, Lenin himself began formulating the program of the Social Democratic Party. In December 1895, while in prison, he wrote the Draft Program of the Social Democratic Party, and in the summer of 1896, he wrote the Explanations to the Program of the Social Democratic Party. Lenin’s draft program, consisting of three basic parts, expounded the basic theoretical tenets of a Marxist party and stated the party’s tasks and its relation to other political movements in Russia. It also enumerated the party’s chief practical demands. In late 1899, Lenin prepared a second draft program.
In the summer of 1901 the editorial board of Lenin’s Iskra began working on the final version of the party program. The program was written amidst a struggle against liberal Narodnichestvo (Populism), legal Marxism, and Economism in Russia, as well as against international opportunism (Bernsteinism). Lenin had to fight for a consistently Marxist party program even within the Iskra editorial board. Plekhanov was entrusted with writing the theoretical part of the program, and Lenin undertook to formulate the agrarian part. In his draft program Plekhanov gave only a general description of capitalism, failing to show the contradictions and misery it caused in Russia. He incorrectly assessed the political role of the Russian bourgeoisie, failed to see that the proletariat was the leader of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, vacillated on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and underestimated the peasantry as an ally of the working class. Convinced by this time that Plekhanov’s first and subsequent versions of the party program—abstract and vague in expounding fundamental questions—were unacceptable, Lenin offered his own draft. The Iskra editorial board appointed an arbitration commission.
The final draft of the party program described Russian capitalism, defined the leading role of the working class in the revolution, indicated the need to struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, noted the distinctive features of the revolutionary movement in Russia, and drew scientific conclusions about the revolutionary struggle of the Russian and international proletariat. Written by Lenin and Plekhanov, the draft program was published in Iskra (no. 21) on June 1 (14), 1902.
At the Second Congress of the RSDLP, held in 1903, a struggle broke out between the revolutionaries and the opportunists among the delegates over the basic provisions of the party program. The opportunists objected to the inclusion of an article on the dictatorship of the proletariat in the program. They denied the importance of fostering a socialist consciousness in the workers’ movement and the leading role of the revolutionary party in the movement. Having no faith in the revolutionary potential of the peasantry, they essentially rejected the idea of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry in the revolution, and they opposed the right of nations to self-determination.
The struggle against the opportunists over programmatic issues ended in a victory for the Iskra supporters. The Russian Marxists were the first in history to clearly formulate in a party program the idea of the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. The party program also included revolutionary-democratic demands on the peasant question: the establishment of peasant committees that would return to the peasants the land (otrezki) taken from them by the landlords under the Reform of 1861 and the abolition of the redemption dues paid by the peasants after the Reform. (At the Third Congress of the RSDLP in 1905, the demand for the return of the otrezki was replaced by a demand for the confiscation of all the landlords’ lands.) The demands of the party program on the agrarian question were aimed at creating a firm alliance between the working class and the peasantry, such an alliance being regarded as a basic condition for the victory of the revolution.
The program adopted by the Second Congress of the RSDLP consisted of two parts: a maximum and a minimum program. The maximum program defined the party’s basic task—the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat for the purpose of building a socialist society. The minimum program set forth as the immediate task the overthrow of tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a democratic republic that would introduce an eight-hour workday, abolish the vestiges of serfdom in the countryside, and guarantee the equality of all nations and their right to self-determination.
The program of the RSDLP was the program of a party committed to social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, the program of a party of a new type that differed radically from the other parties of the Second International, which did not include articles on the dictatorship of the proletariat in their programs and which had embarked on the path of reformism. Lenin pointed out that “the essence of this programme is to organize the class struggle of the proletariat and to lead this struggle, the ultimate aim of which is the conquest of political power by the proletariat and the establishment of a socialist society” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol.4, p. 184).
In implementing its first program, the party solved the highly complex problems of organizing and strengthening its ranks. It cleansed itself of opportunist groupings, rallied the proletarian masses around itself, and ensured a firm alliance between the working class and the toiling peasantry. The party gained experience in leading Russia’s masses in the people’s Revolution of 1905–07 (which shook autocracy to its foundations and armed the working class with the experience of revolutionary struggle), in the difficult period of the Stolypin reaction of 1907–10, in the imperialist war of 1914–18, when it was the only party in the Second International to uphold proletarian internationalism, and in the February Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution of 1917, which overthrew tsarism. The party led the Great October Socialist Revolution, which established the world’s first state of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the process of struggling to carry out its first program, the party and its leader, Lenin, developed the doctrine of socialist revolution and scientifically elaborated the theoretical aspects of the agrarian and national questions and the theory of the governmental structure of a workers’ and peasants’ republic, thereby making a new contribution to Marxist theory.
Second party program. The Great October Socialist Revolution ushered in the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism. The new phase in the development of society required a new party program that would take into account capitalism’s new, imperialist stage of development, the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, World War I, the February Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution of 1917, the October Revolution of 1917, and the initial experience of building a socialist society in the Soviet republic.
Even before the February Revolution of 1917, Lenin had urged that the party program be modified in response to changes that had taken place in society (Leninskii sb., vol. 36, 1959, p. 13). In his “April Theses,” Lenin again raised the question of changing the party program (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 31, p. 116). The Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), convened in 1917, entrusted the Central Committee with revising the party program and indicated how this should be done. In March 1918, Lenin wrote the Rough Outline of a Draft Program, which took into account the experience of the revolution and of the first measures taken by the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the Seventh Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik), held in March 1918, Lenin delivered a report on the revision of the party program. The Congress set up a commission headed by Lenin and enjoined it to prepare a new party program. A draft program was drawn up, published in Pravda on Feb. 25–27, 1919, and discussed in the press and in local party organizations.
The draft of the second party program was submitted for ratification to the Eighth Congress of the RCP(B), which met in March 1919. A sharp polemic broke out at the Congress between Lenin and his followers and N. I. Bukharin, G. L. Piatakov, and others over the general theoretical part of the program and the national question. The controversy stemmed from different views on imperialism, the theory of the socialist revolution, and the question of the allies of the proletariat. Bukharin and Piatakov objected to including in the party program an article on nations’ right to self-determination because they considered the sovereignty of nations an “obsolete” concept. Refuting Bukharin’s and Piatakov’s arguments, Lenin showed that the party’s policy on national relations aimed at a rapprochement of all working people of different nationalities for a joint revolutionary struggle. According to Lenin, such a policy was contingent on firmly adhering to the principle of the equality of all peoples, abolishing all privileges of nations or national groups, and recognizing the right of colonial and oppressed nations to state secession. “We must tell the other nations that we are out-and-out internationalists and are striving for the voluntary alliance of the workers and peasants of all nations” (ibid., vol. 38, p. 184).
The party program adopted by the Congress contained a description of capitalist society and its distinctive features and contradictions, as well as an account of simple commodity production. It analyzed imperialism and showed the conditions leading to its inevitable collapse. The program affirmed that imperialism is the highest and last stage in the development of capitalism and not a separate social and economic formation. Expounding the essence of the Leninist doctrine of imperialism, the party program pointed out that the development of world capitalism was preparing the economic conditions for the transition to a higher type of social production, was fueling the discontent of the proletariat and other strata of the working people within the capitalist countries, and was promoting national liberation movements in the colonial and dependent countries. A most important condition for the victory over imperialism, according to the program, is the fraternal alliance and united actions of the proletariat of all countries. The party program noted the great international significance of the October Revolution of 1917, which established the dictatorship of the proletariat and ushered in the era of the world communist revolution.
The general political part of the program described the class content of Soviet rule as a new kind of state in which power belonged to the working class and the laboring peasantry, constituting the overwhelming majority of the population. The political section also showed the fundamental difference between socialist and bourgeois democracy, the latter being a dictatorship of the exploiting classes over the working people.
In military affairs the party program set the following tasks: creating a regular workers’ and peasants’ army, providing military training for all proletarians and semiproletarians for the defense of the Soviet homeland from enemies, securing favorable peaceful conditions for socialist construction, promoting the class consolidation and socialist education of the Red Army using political commissars drawn from among Communists, and making use of old-regime military specialists, who would organize and lead the army under the supervision of bodies of Soviet power.
In education the party program called for transforming the school from an instrument of class domination by the bourgeoisie into an instrument of the communist reorganization of society. The immediate tasks included introducing free compulsory general and polytechnical education for all children, creating a system of preschool institutions for the social upbringing of children and the emancipation of women, freeing education from any religious influence, instituting comprehensive state aid to promote self-education among workers and peasants, developing vocational education, and making higher educational institutions available to all persons wishing to study, primarily workers. The party also sought to help the working people to free themselves of religious prejudices, but it stipulated that educational and antireligious propaganda should avoid offending the sentiments of believers.
“Our Party programme,” Lenin affirmed, “must not remain solely a programme of the Party. It must become a programme of our economic development, or otherwise it will be valueless even as a programme of the Party” (ibid, vol. 42, p. 157).
In the economic sphere the party program defined the range of tasks that would assure the building of a socialist society: completing the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and making the means of production the common property of all the working people, managing the national economy according to a national plan, involving the trade unions in the organization of the national economy, expanding the country’s productive forces in every possible way, developing science and coordinating it more closely with production, and strengthening labor discipline.
In agriculture the party program provided for the organization of large-scale socialist farming, the creation of sovkhozes, support to associations formed for the purpose of cooperatively cultivating the land, state aid to peasants to raise labor productivity, the establishment of implement-renting centers and experimental stations, the dissemination of agrotechnical knowledge, and agronomical assistance. In the countryside the party drew its support from the proletarian and semiproletarian strata of the peasantry, organizing them into an independent force. The party’s policy toward the kulaks consisted in drastically restricting their exploitative tendencies. The program set the task of winning the middle peasants over to the side of the working class and of involving them in socialist construction. The implementation of the program’s demands on the peasant question provided the basis for a policy that ensured a firm alliance between the working class and the peasantry and the fulfillment of Lenin’s cooperative plan.
The program formulated the party’s tasks in raising the working people’s living standard and improving labor protection and providing social security.
In the process of implementing the second party program and solving the problems created by the postwar dislocation, Lenin theoretically substantiated the need for the New Economic Policy, which cemented the alliance between the working class and the peasantry. He also elaborated a plan for building socialism in the USSR and the principles of the governmental system of the multinational USSR.
Having ensured the victory over the foreign invaders and domestic counterrevolutionaries in the Civil War of 1918–20, the party led the restoration of the war-ravaged national economy. Subsequently, it mobilized the Soviet people for the industrialization of the country, the collectivization of agriculture, and the implementation of a cultural revolution. In carrying out the second party program, the Soviet Union made a gigantic leap from backwardness to progress and became a mighty industrial-kolkhoz socialist power. Lenin’s plan for building socialism was put into effect.
The completion of the building of socialism was interrupted by fascist Germany’s attack on the USSR in 1941. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the Soviet people, under the leadership of the Communist Party, defended their gains, saved the world from fascist enslavement, and maintained and consolidated socialism’s position in the international arena.
Third party program. Socialism won a complete and final victory in the Soviet Union. Under these circumstances a new, third party program had to be worked out. In accordance with the decisions of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, held in 1956, a draft program was drawn up by the Central Committee. After it was published in Pravda on July 30, 1961, the draft program was discussed at meetings of Communists and nonparty people, at party conferences, and in the press. More than 9 million Communists and a total of about 73 million people participated in the discussion.
The Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU adopted a new party program on Oct. 31, 1961. The program reflects the radical changes that have taken place in world social development: the beginning of communist construction in the Soviet Union, the emergence and consolidation of the world socialist system, the growth of the international communist workers’ and national liberation movements, and the disintegration of imperialism’s colonial system. The party program takes into consideration the experience of socialist construction in the USSR and the experience of the international workers’ movement and national liberation movement. The materials of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Congresses of the CPSU and the documents of the conferences of representatives of Communist and workers’ parties held in 1957 and 1960 were important sources in drawing up the party program.
The program consists of an introduction and two basic parts, the first dealing with the transition from capitalism to communism, which is mankind’s path of development, and the second enumerating the tasks of the CPSU in building a communist society. The introduction emphasizes the historical continuity between the tasks of the third party program and Marx’ and En-gels’ Communist Manifesto, as well as the continuity between the first, second, and third party programs. The new program creatively sums up the building of socialism and takes into account the experience of the revolutionary movement in the entire world. Expressing the collective thought of the party, the program defines the chief tasks and major stages of communist construction. Faithful to proletarian internationalism, the CPSU considers communist construction in the USSR the great international mission of the Soviet people, a mission that serves the interests of the entire world socialist system, of the international proletariat, and of all mankind. The first part of the program describes the contemporary period, whose main content is the transition from capitalism to socialism, as an epoch of struggle between the two opposing social systems, as a time of socialist and national liberation revolutions, and as the era of the downfall of imperialism, the abolition of the colonial system, the turning of more and more nations to socialism, and the triumph of socialism and communism on a world scale.
The program substantiates the historical inevitability of the transition from capitalism to socialism. After having greatly developed its productive forces, capitalism has become an enormous obstacle on the path to social progress. The growing conflict between productive forces and production relations calls for the emancipation of the productive forces and their use for the benefit of society as a whole. The entire world capitalist system is now ripe for the social revolution of the proletariat. Imperialism has entered a period of decline and collapse. The main content, the main direction, and the main distinctive features of the historical development of mankind are determined by the world system of socialism and by the forces fighting against imperialism and for the socialist reorganization of society.
The party program describes the international revolutionary movement of the working class and the national liberation movement, and it emphasizes that capitalist monopolies are the main enemy of all working people. “All the main sections of a nation have a vital interest in abolishing the absolute unlimited power of the monopolies. This makes it possible to unite all the democratic movements opposing the oppression of the finance oligarchy into a mighty antimonopoly torrent” (Programma KPSS, 1974, p. 37). The general democratic struggle against the monopolies brings the socialist revolution closer: the struggle for democracy is an integral part of the struggle for socialism.
In international relations, the party’s main goals are to secure peaceful conditions for the building of a communist society in the USSR and for the development of the world socialist system and to save mankind from a destructive thermonuclear world war. The CPSU maintains that forces capable of preserving and strengthening universal peace now exist in the world and are growing stronger. Opportunities are arising for establishing fundamentally new relations between states. As an alternative to imperialism, socialism offers international relations based on the principles of peace, equality, self-determination of peoples, and respect for the independence and sovereignty of all countries and on the implementation of a policy of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems.
The party program states that the CPSU opposes all wars of aggression and that it supports the struggle of oppressed peoples and their just wars of liberation against imperialism.
The program defines the CPSU’s tasks in the struggle against bourgeois and reformist ideologies, manifested in such tendencies as anticommunism, fascism, and clericalism, as well as the party’s tasks in combating anti-Sovietism, revisionism, and dogmatism. The present epoch in the development of human society signifies a real triumph of the revolutionary world view of the working class and a profound crisis in bourgeois ideology. Imperialist reactionaries use every possible means to defend capitalism and to discredit communism. Since imperialism’s main ideological and political weapon is anticommunism, the struggle against anticommunism has become extremely important. The ideological struggle of the imperialist bourgeoisie is directed primarily against the working class and its Marxist-Leninist parties. The bourgeois influence on the working class may be seen in the Social Democratic tendencies in the workers’ movement and revisionism in the communist movement. The victory of Marxism-Leninism is assured, the party program points out, because Marxism-Leninism expresses the vital interests of the working class and the overwhelming majority of people, who strive for peace, freedom, and progress, and because it is the ideology of a new society succeeding capitalism.
The second part of the party program is devoted to the CPSU’s tasks in building a communist society. The program defines communism and points out that the transition from socialism to communism is a natural historical process requiring the solution of three interrelated tasks: (1) the creation of the material and technical basis for communism, (2) the transformation of socialist social relations into communist relations, and (3) the education of all the working people in the spirit of high communist consciousness and the all-around development of a new man who will harmoniously combine intellectual depth, moral purity, and physical perfection.
The program considers the party’ main economic task to be the creation of the material and technical basis for communism and identifies its principal elements. The creation of the material and technical basis for communism will ensure an abundance of material and cultural benefits for the entire population. Soviet society will come closer to implementing the principle of distribution according to need, and state and cooperative-kolkhoz property will merge into one all-people’s form of property. The process of building communism will gradually erase the differences between classes, between city and countryside, and between mental and physical work.
The party program describes the political organization of society in the period of communist construction and scientifically substantiates the tenet concerning the development of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat into a state of the whole people, as well as the tenet on the gradual transition to social self-government. The state as an organization of the entire people will continue to exist until the full victory of communism. Moreover, the working class, the most advanced and organized force of society, will retain the leading role in the state. The complete fading away of the state presupposes the building of a developed communist society and the consolidation of socialism in the international arena. From the standpoint of conditions within the country, the Soviet Union does not need an army. But the party believes that as long as imperialism exists, the threat of aggressive war will remain. It therefore regards the defense of the socialist fatherland and the strengthening of the defense potential of the USSR as a sacred duty of the party and the entire Soviet people and as a major function of the socialist state.
In determining the tasks involved in raising the people’s living standard, the party program notes the interaction of two basic principles in satisfying the needs of citizens: (1) raising wages according to the quantity and quality of the work done and concurrently lowering retail prices and abolishing taxes and (2) increasing public consumption funds, which have been established to satisfy the needs of the members of society regardless of the work input. With the advance toward communism, the importance of public consumption funds and their rate of growth will increase.
The party program resolves questions pertaining to relations between nations from the standpoint of socialist internationalism. It calls for the further strengthening of the friendship of the peoples of the USSR, struggle against manifestations of or relapses into nationalism and chauvinism, and struggle against tendencies toward national isolationism. The program reflects the new stage in the development of national relations in the USSR. It points out that the building of communism will result in a further rapprochement of nations. The erasing of national differences is a progressive objective historical process. However, the process is a long one, and an artificial acceleration of it may only revive harmful vestiges of nationalism.
The party program formulates the moral code of the builder of communism and defines the tasks in public education, science, cultural development, literature, and art. The building of communism presupposes the rearing and training of highly educated people possessing a communist consciousness and capable of mental and physical work in various spheres of public, government, and cultural activity. The party’s tasks include universal compulsory secondary education, the public upbringing of children of preschool and school age, the creation of conditions that would assure the rising generation of a high level of education and upbringing, and the further development of higher and secondary specialized education designed to train highly skilled specialists with extensive theoretical and political knowledge.
Communism is impossible without scientific development and technological and social progress. The program provides for the further development of theoretical research, primarily in the leading natural sciences, which will ensure advancement and effectiveness in the technical, medical, agricultural, and other sciences. Research must also be intensively pursued in the social sciences, which provide the scientific basis for guiding the development of society. “Most important in this field is the study and theoretical generalization of the experience gained in communist construction; investigation of the key objective laws governing the economic, political, and cultural progress of socialism and its development into communism; and elaboration of the problems of communist education” (ibid, pp. 127–28).
The program calls for developing all aspects of the cultural life of society, heightening the educative role of literature and art, and expanding international cultural ties. The party program is based on the firm conviction that “the growth of the productive forces, progress in engineering and in the organization of production, increased social activity of the working people, development of the democratic principles of self-government, and a communist reorganization of everyday life depend in very large measure on the cultural advancement of the population” (ibid., pp. 129–30).
The results achieved in building a developed socialist society, the unity of the aims and actions of the party and the people, and the tasks of comprehensive communist construction have enhanced the role and importance of the CPSU. While remaining the party of the working class, the CPSU has become the party of the entire Soviet people, a people building communism. Uniting within its ranks the vanguard of the working class and of all working people, closely linked with the masses, and possessing a knowledge of the laws of social development, the Communist Party provides the leadership in the building of communism and places it on a scientific basis. “The party exists for the people, and it is in serving the people that it sees the purpose of its activity” (ibid., p. 140).
The party program emphasizes that the CPSU will continue to strengthen the unity and cohesion of the international communist movement and develop fraternal ties with all the Communist and workers’ parties. The CPSU will coordinate its actions with the efforts of all the detachments of the world communist movement in the joint struggle against the danger of a new world war and in the fight for the interests of the working people, peace, democracy, and socialism. As stated in the party program, the CPSU firmly believes in the need for an uncompromising struggle against revisionism, dogmatism, and sectarianism and against any deviation from Leninism, regarding such a struggle as an indispensable condition for further strengthening the unity of the international communist movement and consolidating the socialist community. The CPSU considers that it has an international obligation to adhere strictly to the assessments and conclusions concerning the common tasks of struggle against imperialism and for peace, democracy, and socialism that have been jointly worked out by the fraternal parties and adopted at the international conferences of Communist and workers’ parties.
The CPSU holds that the building of communism in the USSR is an integral part of the creation of a communist society by the peoples of the entire world socialist system.
In implementing the third party program, the CPSU constantly refines its methods and finds new ways of solving the problems of communist construction, cementing the world socialist system, and strengthening peace on earth. In leading communist construction, the party continuously develops Marxist-Leninist theory, as reflected in the documents and decisions of the Congresses of the CPSU and the plenary sessions of the Central Committee.
The implementation of the program of building communism in the USSR exerts a growing influence on the unfolding of the workers’ and national liberation movements. The example of building communism in the USSR inspires the working people of all countries, gives them tremendous moral support in their struggle to free themselves from social and national oppression, and hastens the triumph of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism on a worldwide scale.
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F. D. RYZHENKO