Note to Nikolai Gorbunov and Proposals on the Question of the Co-Operatives

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 18 March 1922


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First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, page 409.2.

This document was written in connection with L. M. Khinchuk’s letter dated March 17, 1922, asking Lenin for instructions whether or not the question of voluntary principle of membership of the co-operatives should be raised at the forthcoming Fifth Session of the Delegates’ Council of Centrosoyuz. Lenin’s proposals were incorporated in the decision of the Politbureau of May 12, 1922, “On Compulsory Membership, Voluntary Contributions and Unity of Consumers’ Co-operatives”.


Comrade Gorbunov,

Read this, make a note of it for yourself and forward it immediately to Comrade Molotov for the members of the Politbureau, then for Tsyurupa and Rykov.

In my opinion, the co-operatives are not the trade unions.

The co-operatives should remain obligatory as regards membership.

Contributions should be voluntary. If our co-operatives will carry on trade (and not play at publishing dailies in which idle chatter-mongers engage in political twaddle, which everyone is fed up with), then trading should yield an income. Those who make contributions will receive an income.

Everybody should be a member of the co-operatives. We need this for the future. I don’t see how this interferes with anything.

Shares are voluntary. Those who have paid their contributions should receive a share of the profit.

Conclusion: I think the matter should be postponed; it should not be raised at this session.

18/111. Lenin