Report on the Internal and External Position of the Republic at a Meeting of Activists of the Moscow Organisation of the RCP(b)
|Written||9 October 1920|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 214b-217a.
October 9, 1920
There is no need to speak of our internal position at this meeting, since all the comrades are sufficiently informed about this from our press and from work in the local areas. Food collections are much bigger than they were last year, so are fuel collections, and these are the foundations of our work. We are worse off as regards supply, though. Some of the big factories can now be started, and the temper of the workers in them cannot be as hopeless as it was when the factories were at a standstill. Considering our economic situation, we can expect a change of heart.
I find it necessary to dwell on our external position, on the news of foreign policy. Poland is in the grip of a tremendous crisis: economically, Poland has suffered worse destruction than we have; politically, things have reached a point when even an opportunist party like the P.P.S., which has always conducted a vicious smear campaign against the Bolsheviks, protests against the brutal manner in which the government deals with the workers. In the territory which we are ceding to them under the peace treaty Poland will be able to rule only by violence. Among the worker and peasant masses of Poland there is a tremendous desire for peace. In offering Poland peace and making tremendous concessions we shall make the political parties realise that we were right, make them realise that we did not want war with Poland. By taking indemnities from us, Poland gains nothing. She will not receive the money-France will take it. Up till now this fact has been concealed in Poland, but the position is gradually being brought home to the workers, and we must see to it that it is brought home to them still more clearly. Therefore it is necessary that we now conclude peace. Besides, we shall win time and use it to strengthen our army.
On the Wrangel front the odds are in our favour, but at one time there was a grave danger to the Donets coal-field. Wrangel is frustrating our plan of a general offensive by dealing separate blows in various directions.
An, at first glance insignificant, incident is characteristic politically. Germany has allowed entry to Comrades Zinoviev and Bukharin to attend the forthcoming congress of the Independent Party in Germany. Maybe this is sheer provocation, but, on the other hand, there is no doubt that Zinoviev’s arrival will speed up and deepen the split that had already started among the “Independents”. Part of the breakaway “Independents” and up to a million members of the Communist Party of Germany will constitute an imposing revolutionary force. What is more, it will serve as immense propaganda material for all Europe.
The crux of the matter is that the imperialist policy of France now stands, revealed-of France, who has always upset our peace talks and is now putting spokes in our wheel again. We must make use of every hour of the armistice to strengthen ourselves. We must step up our supply activities, achieve quick successes on the Wrangel front, and then we can hope to tear the web of diplomatic intrigues against us.
The situation in the Far East is such that Japan is bound to withdraw, since she cannot possibly face a winter campaign. This strengthens us. At the present time there is an American multi-millionaire in Moscow, who is negotiating a concession on Kamchatka. By granting this concession we shall aggravate relations between Japan and America.
In Turkestan and the Caucasus the situation is more complicated. Recently the Turks have started to move on Armenia with the aim of seizing Batum, and afterwards, perhaps, Baku. Obviously we must show the greatest caution in this matter. So far we have no information about military complications.
However great the disagreements between France and Britain,, we-cannot work on them now so long as we are having defeat instead of victory. Apparently, disagreements do exist. Britain wants to trade with us and we are trying to achieve this.
As to how our army is equipped with weapons I cannot say in any detail. There was a shortage of cartridges until recently, but the difficulties now have lessened. The work is on a strong foundation, it only has to be intensified still more. The Party organisations must help in this by working in the Party cells and through the trade unions.
As to what the chances are for victory, I cannot say just now, as the general feeling is hard to define at the moment. The disappointment is too great; six weeks have already passed since we started to retreat and we are still retreating. The thing is we are late with winter supplies; this has coincided with the defeat. Without doubt, we must make use of every moment of the armistice to strengthen ourselves.
We cannot set the tone for agitation until we know something definite. This meeting is already setting the tone.
According to Comrade Trotsky the question of Makhno has been very seriously discussed in military circles and it has been ascertained that we can expect nothing but a winning hand here. The reason is that the elements grouped around Makhno have already had experience of Wrangel’s regime, and were not satisfied with what he could give them. Our agreement with Makhno is hedged around with guarantees that he will not go against us. We have the same, picture here as with Denikin and Kolchak: as soon as they infringed upon the interests of the kulaks and the peasantry as a whole, the latter sided with us.
Unquestionably, the Poles, too, will use the armistice to strengthen themselves; maybe they will bring up munitions during that period, but that does not mean that we should not do the same.
So long as there is war, secret diplomacy must exist as a means of warfare. We cannot renounce it. An assessment of this diplomacy depends on a general assessment of the war.
- P.P.S.—Polska Partia Socjalistyczna (The Polish Socialist Party)—a reformist and nationalist party founded in 1892. Throughout the party’s history Left-wing groups kept springing up within it as a result of pressure from the rank-and-file workers. Some of these groups eventually joined the revolutionary wing of the Polish working-class movement.
In 1906 the party split up into the P.P.S. Left wing and the Right, chauvinist wing (the so-called "revolutionary faction"). Under the influence of the Bolshevik Party and the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania, the Left wing gradually adopted a consistent revolutionary stand.
During the First World War a large part of the P.P.S. Left wing adopted an internationalist stand. In December 1918 it united with the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania to form the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (as the Communist Party of Poland was known up to 1925).
During the First World War the P.P.S. Right wing continued the policy of national chauvinism, organising Polish legions on the territory of Galicia to fight on the side of Austro-German imperialism. With the formation of the Polish bourgeois state the Right P.P.S. in 1919 united with the P.P.S. organisations on Polish territories formerly seized by Germany and Austria, and resumed the name of the P.P.S. On becoming the ruling party, it helped transfer power to the Polish bourgeoisie, systematically carried on anti-communist propaganda, and supported a policy of aggression against the Soviet Union, a policy of conquest and oppression against Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia. Various groups in the P.P.S. who disagreed with this policy joined the Communist Party of Poland.
After Pilsudski’s coup (May 1926) the P.P.S. was nominally a parliamentary opposition, but actually it carried on no active fight against the regime, and continued its anticommunist and anti-Soviet propaganda. During that period the Left-wing elements of the P.P.S. collaborated with the Polish Communists and supported united front tactics in a number of campaigns.
During the Second World War the P.P.S. again split up. A reactionary and chauvinist faction, which assumed the name Wolność, Równość, Niepodległość (Liberty, Equality, Independence), joined the reactionary Polish émigré "government" in London. The Left faction, which called itself the Workers’ Party of Polish Socialists, under the influence of the Polish Workers’ Party, which was founded in 1942, joined the popular front against the Nazi invaders, fought for Poland’s liberation, and pursued a policy of friendly relations with the U.S.S.R.
In 1944, after the liberation of Poland’s eastern territories by the Russia’s Red Army and the formation of a Polish Committee of National Liberation, the Workers’ Party of Polish Socialists resumed the name of P.P.S. and together with the P.W.P. participated in the building up of a post-war Poland. In December 1948 the P.W.P. and the P.P.S. amalgamated and formed the Polish United Workers’ Party.