Letter to the Russian Colony in North America (November 1922)
|Written||14 November 1922|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 425c-427a.
The Russian Colony in the U.S.A. was estimated at about three million people in the twenties, most of whom were immigrants who had left Russia before the revolution for political, economic or religious motives. The members of the bourgeoisie, nobility and intelligentsia, who had escaped from Russia after the October Socialist Revolution, were an insignificant minority. The different social and economic status of these groups and their different attitudes towards Soviet Russia led to the division of the Russian colony into two hostile camps. One camp was made up of the Society of Friends of Soviet Russia (Russian section), the Society for Technical Aid for Soviet Russia, the Russian sections of the U. S. trade unions, the joint conference of various Russian mutual benefit societies and other progressive workers’ organisations, around which were united the majority of colonists. The other camp was an alliance of various Russian petty-bourgeois and monarchist organisations united around the anti-Soviet news paper Novoye Russkoye Slovo (The New Russian Word).
Lenin’s letter was addressed to that part of the Russian colony in the U.S.A. which was grouped around the organisations that stood for friendly relations with Soviet Russia.
Comrade Reichel, a representative of the American Society for Technical Aid for Soviet Russia, told me about the incorrect view on the New Economic Policy prevalent among some members of the Russian colony in North America.
This incorrect view could, I believe, be the result of deliberate misinterpretation of this policy by the capitalist press and the ridiculous tales spread by the embittered whiteguards, who have been driven out of Soviet Russia, as well as by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries.
In Europe these tales about us and especially about our New Economic Policy are falling into disuse. The New Economic Policy has changed nothing radically in the social system of Soviet Russia, nor can it change anything so long as the power is in the hands of the workers—and that Soviet power has come to stay, no one now, I think, can have any doubt. The malignity of the capitalist press and the influx of Russian whiteguards in America merely prove our strength.
The state capitalism, which is one of the principal aspects of the New Economic Policy, is, under Soviet power, a form of capitalism that is deliberately permitted and restricted by the working class. Our state capitalism differs essentially from the state capitalism in countries that have bourgeois governments in that the state with us is represented not by the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat, who has succeeded in winning the full confidence of the peasantry.
Unfortunately, the introduction of state capitalism with us is not proceeding as quickly as we would like it. For example, so far we have not had a single important concession, and without foreign capital to help develop our economy, the latter’s quick rehabilitation is inconceivable.
Those to whom the question of our New Economic Policy—the only correct policy—is not quite clear, I would refer to the speeches of Comrade Trotsky and my own speech at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International devoted to this question.
Comrade Reichel has told me about the preparatory work which the Society for Technical Aid is doing to organise American agricultural and other producers’ communes who wish to come out to work in Russia and intend to bring with them new instruments of production, tractors, seeds of improved cultures, and so on.
I have already expressed my gratitude to the American comrades in my letters to the Society for Technical Aid and the Society of Friends of Soviet Russia in connection with the very successful work of their agricultural communes and units in Russia in the summer of 1922.
I take this opportunity to thank you once more on behalf of the Soviet Government and to stress the fact that of all the forms of aid the aid to our agriculture and improvement of its technical methods is the most important and valuable for us.
V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars
- See Vol. 33 of this edition, pp. 418-32.—Ed.
- Ibid., pp. 380, 381.—Ed.