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▼HE 

PI RET AMERICAN 

TRADE UNION 

DELEGATION to 

fOVIET RUSTIA 
















WORKERS LIBRARY NO. 3 



















THE WORKERS LIBRARY 
Issued in Uniform Series 

No. 1—THE TENTH YEAR —The Rise and 
Achievements of Soviet Russia (1917-1927) 
By J. Louis Engdahl . . 10 CENTS 

No. 2—THE COOLIDGE PROGRAM —Capitalist 
Democracy and Prosperity Exposed 
By Jay Lovestone ... 5 CENTS 


L 


u 

Univers 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO 
AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 

Stalin's Interview with the First American 
Trade Union Delegatiofi to Soviet Russia 


820104 












FIRST AMERICAN TRADE UNION 
DELEGATION TO SOVIET RUSSIA 

Honorary Chairman : L. E. Sheppard, President Order of Railway Conduc¬ 
tors? Member first Federal Industrial Commission? Chairman U. S. 
Government Commission on Labor Conditions in the Hawaiian Islands. 

Chairman: James H. Maurer, President Pennsylvania State Federation of 
Labor? President of Workers* Education Bureau? Chairman Brookwood 
Labor College Committee? Chairman Pennsylvania Old Age Assistance 
Commission. 

John Brophy, President District 2, United Mine Workers of America (1917- 
27)? member executive committee, Workers’ Education Bureau? member 
Labor Committee, Brookwood Labor College; Vice-President Public Owner¬ 
ship League of America. 

Frank L. Palmer, Editor Colorado Labor Advocate; member International 
Typographical Union? University of Denver and Denver Labor college. 

James William Fitzpatrick, President Actors’ and Artists of America, 
Holy Cross College and Catholic University of America. 

Secretary: Albert F. Coyle, Executive Secretary All American Cooperative 
Commission? Editor B. of L. E. Journal (1921-27)? Chairman Progressive 
Party of Cuyahoga County, O.? Editor, Cooperative News Service ; graduate 
of Stanford and Yale Universities. 

TECHNICAL AND ADVISORY STAFF 

J. Bartlet Brebner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Columbia Uni¬ 
versity? Oxford University, University of Toronto. 

Stuart Chase, Director, Labor Bureau, Inc., and certified public accountant. 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University? author 
Tragedy of Waste, etc. 

George S. Counts, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Teachers’ College? Director 
of International Institute of Education. 

Alzada Comstock, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Hount Holyoke College? 
author State Taxation and Personal Incomes. 

Jerome Davis, Ph.D., Professor Practical Philanthrophy, Yale University? 
Expert on Russian Affairs; author, The Russian Emigrant. , etc. 

Paul H. Douglas, Ph.D., Professor of Industrial Relations, University of 
Chicago? author, Wages and the Family, American Apprenticeship and 
Industrial Education y etc. 

Robert W. Dunn, research worker? A. B. Yale University? author, American 
Foreign Investments, Americanization of Labor , etc. 

Arthur Fisher, A.B. Harvard University and Law School? former Professor 
of Law, University of Montana. 

J. A. H. Hopkins, Chairman Committee of 48; National Bureau of Informa¬ 
tion and Education. 

Carlos I. Israels, A.B. Amherst College; Editorial Board Columbia University 
Law Review. 

R. G. Tugwell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, Columbia Univer¬ 
sity? author American Economic Life, Industrial Corning of Age, etc.? 
Editor, Trend of Economics. 

Carleton Washburne, Ph.D., Stanford University? Superintendent of Public 
Schools, Winetka, Ill.? author, New Schools in Old World, etc. 
RESEARCH AND SECRETARIAL STAFF 

Melinda Alexander, A.B. University of Montana. 

Margaret Wood Cartwright, A.B. Urbana University. 

Margaret Kennedy Coyle, A.B. Stanford University. 

Stanislava Piotrowska, Universities of Kiev and Warsaw. 

Sara Ragozin, A.B. University of Wisconsin. 

Lois Perlmutter, A.B. University of Chicago. 
















JOSEPH STALIN 








PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. 
First Edition—December 15, tg2-j 
NEW YORK, N. Y. 


QUESTIONS and ANSWERS 
TO AMERICAN TRADE 
UNIONISTS 


Stalin's Interview With The First 
American Trade Union Delega¬ 
tion to Soviet Russia 


September 9, 1927 



o 


WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 
39 East 125th Street, New York, N. Y. 







COMPOSED AND PRINTED BY UNION LABOR 


INTRODUCTION 


/^NE of the most important events in the recent history of the 
American labor movement is the visit of the First American 
Labor Delegation to the Soviet Union. 

To the superficial observer it is difficult to understand why and 
how it is that the Soviet Union plays such an important role in the 
development of the American labor movement. In America, we have 
the most powerful capitalist system. In Soviet Russia, we have a 
growing socialist economic system. In America the capitalist class 
rules unchallenged effectively. In Soviet Russia the proletariat rules 
unchallenged and unchallengeable. But this sharp difference in class 
relations and in the economic structure of the countries does not itself 
serve to create a gulf between these two labor movements. 

The American labor movement has some very worthwhile tradi¬ 
tions. Yet, when compared with the older labor movements in some 
of the European countries, the traditions of our working class are 
few. Particularly in a country where the labor movement is young, 
and the traditions are not many, does the existence of a Soviet Republic 
in another country play an important role as a source of inspiration 
and a source of experience. At this particular moment great masses 
of American workers are not consciously, sufficiently interested in the 
development within the Soviet Republic. Still there is already an 
appreciable section of the American working class, virile in character 
and growing in number, which is keenly interested in the progress and 
development of the First Workers and Farmers > Soviet Republic in 
the world. 

The establishment of the 7-hour day in the Soviet Union, the 
steady progress towards building up socialism in the Union of Socialist 
Soviet Republics, the increasing importance of Soviet Russia in the 
international arena, the marvelous growth and strength of the Russian 
trade union movement in contrast with the difficult position and collapse 
of the labor movement in the capitalist countries, all of these will 
serve to increase the interest of the great masses of American workers 
in the progress of the Soviet Republic. 

Precisely because of the potentially powerful influences the progress 
of the Soviet Union will have on the United States as a whole and 
the American labor movement in particular, have the reactionary trade 
union bureaucrats mobilized prejudice, ignorance, slander and the vilest 
misrepresentation against the Soviet Union. Herein lies the reason for 
the trade union bureaucracy’s present policy towards the Soviet Union. 
Our labor lieutenants of imperialism are well aware of the fact that 
once the great mass of workers would see through their lies about the 
Soviet Union, once this weapon of prejudice ended, then one of the 









tnost powerful bulwarks of capitalist reaction in the United States— 
the trade union bureaucracy—would be dealt a mortal blow. This is 
the specific cause why the official leadership of the American Federation 
of Labor fights so bitterly against Soviet recognition and why it 
struggles so desperately against any attempt to bring to the American 
workers the facts about the situation in the Soviet Republic. 

Under these conditions the visit of an American labor delegation 
composed of bona fide conservative trade unionists, assumes paramount 
importance. Soviet Russia, as seen thru the eyes of American trade 
unionists, is portrayed in the Report of the First American Labor 
Delegation. “Questions and Answers to American Trade Unionists” 
completes the study very thoroughly and gives the inside into the 
problems of the working class of the United States as well as Soviet 
Russia. This is true despite the fact that the labor delegation did not 
represent in a narrow form all the prejudices and misconceptions of 
most of the trade union bureaucracy now dominating the labor move¬ 
ment. 

The gap between the developments of class consciousness among the 
American workers and the class consciousness of the workers in the 
Soviet Union, is clearly evidenced in the questions and answers here¬ 
with given. Equipped with a tremendous capacity for Leninist analysis, 
Comrade Stalin shows a remarkable understanding not only of the tasks 
and problems confronting the Russian proletariat, but also of the 
difficulties and tasks the American working class is facing. In his 
concise and lucid manner, Comrade Stalin explains very efiectively the 
positive contributions of Leninism to Marxism, the development of the 
science of proletarian revolution, the role of the Communist Party, the 
proletarian dictatorship, the forms and methods of building up socialism 
and the effects of imperialism on the working class. 

The discussion between Comrade Stalin and the American trade 
unionists also focuses attention on certain basic tasks and problems 
that our working class must meet and meet soon. Why are the Ameri¬ 
can workers so poorly organized? Why is so small a proportion of 
American workers in the trade unions while so large a proportion of 
the Russian workers is—over 90 per cent—in the trade unions? What 
are the relations between the skilled and the unskilled workers in the 
United States. What lessons can we draw from these relations? How 
does it come about that the reactionary labor bureaucracy is often far 
more black in its conservative attitude than even some of the leaders 
of the bourgeoisie? Social insurance, the labor party, recognition of 
the Soviet Union, the Communist society, the role of the peasantry, 
incentive under Socialist production, the structure of the Soviet system 
and the development of genuine working class democracy in the Soviet 
Union, are among the many questions briefly but thoroughly analysed 
and explained in this third volume of the Workers Library series. 

And why is it that the American Federation of Labor Executive 


Council has not uttered one word of protest against the recognition of 
the Fascist Government of Italy and Poland by the United States but 
has worked overtime to prevent the recognition of the Workers’ and 
Farmers’ Soviet Republic of Russia by the United States? 

It is seldom that American workers, particularly leaders of the 
American working class, engage in so thorough an examination of 
such basic questions as the ones raised in the interview of the First 
American Labor Delegation with Comrade Stalin. The American 
workers may consider themselves fortunate to have had some of their 
leaders secure an explanation of such fundamental problems from so 
authoritative and able a leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union as Comrade Stalin. 

Labor delegations from the United States to the Soviet Union are 
no longer a novelty. Since the ice has been broken by the delegation 
headed by James P. Maurer, President of the Pennsylvania State 
Federation of Labor, there has already gone to the Soviet Union 
another American Labor Delegation. This second trade union delega¬ 
tion is more representative of American labor in certain respects in that 
it has less of the officialdom and more of the rank and file in the basic 
industries of the country. Consequently the growing interest on the 
part of increasing sections of the American working class in the prob¬ 
lems and progress of our Russian brothers should be further stimulated 
by the contents of this volume. 

“Questions and Answers to American Trade Unionists,” by Comrade 
Stalin, should go a good deal of the way towards helping lift the fog 
that has impeded the vision of the American working class. The 
Workers’ Library, Publishers, can be thankful to the founders of this 
series, particularly Comrades Bertha and Samuel Rubin, Comrade J. 
Barry, Dr. B., A. T., and others who have rendered valuable service 
through their contributions to make possible the publication of such 
timely literature. 

November 24, 1927. Jay Lovestone. 



820104 













Note: In view of the fact that the English stenographic report of 
this interview was not available to the publishers, the report was 
translated from the Russian, which appeared in “Pravda” of September 
15th. Consequently, while the speeches of the American delegates as 
given in this report are correct in substance, they are not presented as a 
verbatim report. 


JOSEPH STALIN’S INTERVIEW WITH THE 
FIRST AMERICAN LABOR DELEGA¬ 
TION IN RUSSIA 

(September 9, 1927) 

I 

QUESTIONS PUT BY THE DELEGATION AND 
STALIN’S REPLIES 

Question I: What are the new 'principles that Lenin 
and Communist Party practice in Russia have added to 
Marxism? Would it be correct to say that Lenin be¬ 
lieved in “creative revolutions” whereas Marx was more 
inclined to wait for the culmination of economic forces? 

Reply: I think that Lenin “added” no “new principles” 
to Marxism nor did Lenin abolish any of the “old” prin¬ 
ciples of Marxism. Lenin always was and remained a loyal 
and consistent pupil of Marx and Engels, and wholly and 
entirely based himself on the principles of Marxism. But 
Lenin did not merely carry out the doctrines of Marx and 
Engels. He developed these doctrines further. What does 
that mean? It means that he developed the doctrines of 
Marx and Engels in accordance with the new conditions of 
development, with the new phase of capitalism and with 
imperialism. This means that in developing further the doc¬ 
trines of Marx in the new conditions of the class struggle 
Lenin contributed to Marxism something new as compared 
with what was created by Marx and Engels and with what 
they could create in the pre-imperialistic period of capitalism. 
Moreover, the contribution made by Lenin to Marxism is 
based wholly and entirely on the principles laid down by 
Marx and Engels. In that sense we speak of Leninism as 
Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolu¬ 
tions. Here, for example, are a number of questions in the 
sphere of which Lenin contributed something new in develop¬ 
ing further the doctrines of Marx: 

First, the question of monopolistic capitalism,—of impe- 

[IS] 









16 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 


rialism as the new phase of capitalism. Marx and Engels 
lived in the pre-monopolistic period of capitalism, in the 
period of the smooth evolution of capitalism and its “peace¬ 
ful” expansion throughout the whole world. This old phase 
of capitalism came to a close towards the end of the 19th 
and the beginning of the 20th centuries, when Marx and 
Engels had already passed away. Clearly Marx and 
Engels could only guess at the new conditions of the develop¬ 
ment of capitalism which arose out of the new phase of 
capitalism which succeeded the older phase. In the impe¬ 
rialistic monopolistic phase of development the smooth evolu¬ 
tion of capitalism gave way to sporadic catastrophic develop¬ 
ment ; the unevenness of development and the contradictions 
of capitalism emerged with particular force; the struggle for 
markets and spheres for the investment of capital conducted 
amidst conditions of extreme unevenness of development made 
periodical imperialist wars for a periodical redistribution of 
the world and of spheres of influence inevitable. The service 
Lenin rendered, and, consequently, his new contribution, con¬ 
sisted in that he made a fundamental Marxian analysis of 
imperialism as the final phase of capitalism, he exposed its 
ulcers and the conditions of its inevitable doom. On the basis 
of this analysis arose Lenin’s well-known postulate that the 
conditions of imperialism made possible the victory of Social¬ 
ism in separate capitalist countries. 

Second: the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. 
The fundamental idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat 
as the political domination of the proletariat and as a method 
of overthrowing the reign of capital by violence was created 
by Marx and Engels. Lenin’s new contribution in this field 
consists in that (a) utilizing the experience of the Paris 
Commune and the Russian Revolution he discovered the 
Soviet form of government as the State form of the Dictator¬ 
ship of the Proletariat; ( b ) he deciphered the formula of 
Dictatorship of the Proletariat from the point of view of the 
problem of the proletariat and its allies and defined the Dic¬ 
tatorship of the Proletariat as a special form of class alliance 
between the proletariat, who is the leader, and the exploited 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


17 


masses of the non-proletarian classes (the peasantry, etc.) 
who are led; (c) he stressed with particular emphasis the 
fact that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is a higher type 
of democracy in class society, the form of proletarian de¬ 
mocracy, expressing the interests of the majority (the ex¬ 
ploited) as against capitalist democracy which expresses the 
interests of the minority (the exploiters). 

Third: the question of the forms and methods of the 
successful building up of Socialism in the period of the Dic¬ 
tatorship of the Proletariat, in the period of transition from 
capitalism to Socialism in a country encircled by capitalist 
States. Marx and Engels regarded the period of the Dicta¬ 
torship of the Proletariat as a more or less prolonged period 
replete with revolutionary conflicts and civil war in the course 
of which the proletariat in power would take the economic, 
political, cultural and organizational measures necessary for 
the purpose of establishing a new Socialist society, a society 
without classes and without a State, in place of the old capi¬ 
talist society. Lenin wholly and entirely based himself on 
these fundamental postulates of Marx and Engels. Lenin’s 
new contribution in this field was (a) he established the 
possibility of constructing a complete Socialist Society in a 
land of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat encircled by im¬ 
perialist States provided the country is not crushed by the 
military intervention of the surrounding capitalist States; ( b ) 
he outlined the concrete path of economic policy (“the New 
Economic Policy”) by which the proletariat, being in com¬ 
mand of the economic key positions (industry, land, trans¬ 
port, the banks, etc.), links up Socialized industry with agri¬ 
culture (“linking up industry with peasant argiculture”) and 
thus leads the whole of national economy towards Socialism; 
(^) he outlined the concrete channels by which the bulk of 
the peasantry is gradually brought into the line of Socialist 
construction through the medium of the cooperative societies, 
which, in the hands of the Proletarian Dictatorship, represent 
a powerful instrument for the transformation of petty-peasant 
economy and for the re-education of the masses of the peas¬ 
antry in the spirit of Socialism. 








18 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

Fourth: the question of the hegemony of the proletariat in 
revolution, in all popular revolutions—in the revolution 
against czarism as well as in the revolution against capitalism. 
Marx and Engels presented the main outlines of the idea of 
the hegemony of the proletariat. Lenin’s new contribution 
in this field consists in that he further developed and expanded 
these outlines into a complete system of the hegemony of the 
proletariat, into a symmetrical system of proletarian leader¬ 
ship of the masses of the toilers in town and country not only 
in the fight for the overthrow of czarism and capitalism, but 
also in the work of building up Socialism under the Dictator¬ 
ship of the Proletariat. It is well known that, thanks to 
Lenin and his Party, the idea of the hegemony of the prole¬ 
tariat was skilfully applied in Russia. This, in passing, ex¬ 
plains the fact that the Revolution in Russia brought the 
proletariat to power. In previous revolutions it usually hap¬ 
pened that the workers did all the fighting at the barricades, 
shed their blood and overthrew the old order, but power passed 
into the hands of the bourgeoisie, which later oppressed and 
exploited the workers. That was the case in England and 
in France. That was the case in Germany; in Russia, how¬ 
ever, things took a different turn. In Russia, the workers 
did not merely represent the shock troops of the Revolution. 
While serving as the shock troops of the Revolution, the 
Russian proletariat at the same time strove for the hegemony, 
for the political leadership of all the exploited masses of town 
and country, rallying them around itself, detaching them 
from the bourgeoisie and politically isolating the bourgeoisie. 
Being the leader of the exploited masses, the Russian prole¬ 
tariat all the time waged a fight to seize power in its own 
hands and utilize it in its own interests against the bourgeoisie 
and against capitalism. This explains why every powerful 
outbreak of the Revolution in Russia, as in October, 1905, 
and in February, 1917, gave rise to Councils of Workers’ 
Deputies as the embryo of the new apparatus of power,—the 
function of which would be to crush the bourgeoisie—as 
against the bourgeois parliament, the old apparatus of power 
—the function of which was to crush the proletariat. On 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 19 

two occasions the bourgeoisie in Russia tried to restore the 
bourgeois parliament and put an end to the Soviets: in August, 
1917, at the time of the “Preliminary Parliament” prior to 
the capture of power by the Bolsheviks, and in January, 1918, 
at the time of the “Constituent Assembly” after power had 
been seized by the Proletariat. On both occasions these efforts 
failed. Why? Because the bourgeoisie was already politi¬ 
cally isolated. The vast masses of the toilers regarded the 
proletariat as the sole leader of the revolution and the Soviets 
had been already tried and tested by the masses as their own 
workers’ government. For the proletariat to have substituted 
these Soviets by a bourgeois parliament would be tantamount 
to committing suicide. It is not surprising, therefore, that 
bourgeois parliamentarism did not take root in Russia. That 
is why the Revolution in Russia led to the establishment of 
the rule of the proletariat. These were the results of the 
application of the Leninist system of the hegemony of the 
proletariat in Revolution. 

Fifth: the national and colonial question. In analyzing 
the events in Ireland, India, China and the Central European 
countries like Poland and Hungary, in their time, Marx and 
Engels developed the basic, initial ideas of the national and 
colonial question. In his works Lenin based himself on these 
ideas. Lenin’s new contribution in this field consists in («) 
that he gathered these ideas into one symmetrical system of 
views on national and colonial revolutions in the epoch of 
imperialism; ( b ) that he connected the national and colonial 
question with the question of overthrowing imperialism, and 
(c) that he declared the national and colonial question to be 
a component part of the general question of international 
proletarian revolution. 

Finally: the question of the Party of the proletariat. Marx 
and Engels gave the main outlines of the idea of the Party 
as being the vanguard of the proletariat without which (the 
Party) the proletariat could not achieve its emancipation, i. e., 
could not capture power or reconstruct capitalist society. 
Lenin’s new contribution to this theory consists in that he 
developed these outlines further and applied thejn to the new 




20 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

conditions of the struggle of the proletariat in the period of 
imperialism and showed (#) that the Party is a higher form 
of a class organization of the proletariat as compared with the 
other forms of proletarian organization (labor unions, co¬ 
operative societies, State organization) and, moreover, its 
function was to generalize and direct the work of these or¬ 
ganizations; (£) that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat may 
be realized only through the Party as its directing force; (c) 
that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat can be complete only 
if it is led by a single Party, the Communist Party, which 
does not and must not share leadership with any other parties; 
and ( d ) that without iron discipline in the Party the tasks of 
the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to crush the exploiters and 
to transform class society into Socialist society cannot be ful¬ 
filled. 

This, in the main, is the new contribution which Lenin 
made in his works; he developed and made more concrete the 
doctrines of Marx in a manner applicable to the new condi¬ 
tions of the struggle of the proletariat in the period of im¬ 
perialism. 

That is why we say that Leninism is Marxism of the epoch 
of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. 

From this it is clear that Leninism cannot be separated 
from Marxism, still less can it be contrasted to Marxism. 

The question submitted by the delegation goes on to ask: 

“Would it be correct to say that Lenin believed in ‘con¬ 
structive revolution’ whereas Marx was more inclined to 
await the culmination of the development of economic 
forces?” 

I think it would be absolutely incorrect to say that. I 
think that every popular revolution, if it is really a popular 
revolution, is a constructive revolution; for it breaks up the 
old system and creates a new. Of course, there is nothing 
constructive in such revolutions (if we can call them that) 
as take place, let us say, in Albania in the'form of toy 
“rebellions” of one tribe against another. But Marxists never 
regarded such toy “rebellions” as revolutions. Apparently, 
it is not such “rebellions” that we are discussing, but mass* 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


21 


popular revolutions, the rising of oppressed classes against 
oppressing classes. Such a revolution cannot but be construc¬ 
tive. Marx and Lenin stood for such a revolution and only 
for such a revolution. It must be added, of course, that such 
a revolution cannot arise under all conditions, but can unfold 
itself only under certain favorable economic and political con¬ 
ditions. 

Question II. Is it accurate to say that the Commu¬ 
nist Party controls the Russian Government? 

Reply: It all depends upon what is meant by control. 
In capitalist countries they have a rather curious conception of 
control. I know that a number of capitalist governments are 
controlled by big banks, notwithstanding the existence of 
“democratic” parliaments. The parliaments assert that they 
alone control the government. As a matter of fact, the com¬ 
position of the governments is predetermined, and their ac¬ 
tions are controlled by great financial consortiums. Who does 
not know that there is not a single capitalist “Power” in which 
the Cabinet can be formed in opposition to the will of the 
big financial magnates? It is sufficient to exert financial 
pressure to cause Cabinet Ministers to fall from their posts 
as if they were stunned. This is real control exercised by 
banks over governments in spite of the alleged control of 
parliament. If such control is meant, then I must declare 
that control of the government by money-bags is inconceivable 
and absolutely excluded in the U. S. S. R., if only for the 
reason that the banks have been long ago nationalized and the 
money-bags have been ousted. Perhaps the delegation did 
not mean control, but the guidance exercised by the Party 
in relation to the Government. If that is what the delegation 
meant by its question, then my reply is: Yes, our Party does 
guide the Government. And the Party is able to guide the 
Government because it enjoys the confidence of the majority 
of the workers and the toilers generally and it has the right 
to guide the organs of the Government in the name of this 
majority. 





22 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

In what is the guidance of the Government by the workers’ 
Party of the U. S. S. R., by the Communist Party of the 
U. S. S. R., expressed? 

First of all it is expressed in that the Communist Party 
strives, through the Soviets and their Congresses, to secure the 
election to the principal posts in the Government of its own 
candidates, its best workers, who are loyal to the cause of the 
proletariat and prepared truly and faithfully to serve the 
proletariat. This it succeeds in doing in the overwhelming 
majority of cases because the workers and peasants have con¬ 
fidence in the Party. It is not an accident that the chiefs of 
Government departments in our country are Communists and 
that these chiefs enjoy enormous respect and authority. 

Secondly, the Party supervises the work of the administra¬ 
tion, the work of the organs of power; it rectifies their errors 
and defects, which are unavoidable; it helps them to carry 
out the decisions of the Government and strives to secure for 
them the support of the masses. It should be added that not 
a single important decision is taken by them without the 
direction of the Party. 

Thirdly, when the plan of work is being drawn up by 
the various Government organs, in industry or agriculture, in 
trade or in cultural work, the Party gives general leading 
instructions defining the character and direction of the work 
of these organs in the course of carrying out these plans. 

The bourgeois press usually expresses “astonishment” at 
this “interference” by the Party in the affairs of the Govern¬ 
ment. But this “astonishment” is absolutely hypocritical. It 
is well-known that the bourgeois parties in capitalist countries 
“interfere” in the affairs of the government and guide the 
government and moreover that in these countries this guid¬ 
ance is concentrated in the hands of a narrow circle of indi¬ 
viduals connected in one way or another with the large banks 
and because of that they strive to conceal the part they play 
in this from the people. Who does not know that every 
bourgeois party in England, or in other capitalist countries, 
his its secret Cabinet consisting of a close circle of persons, 
who concentrate the guidance in their hands? 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


23 


Recall, for example, Lloyd George’s celebrated reference 
to the “shadow Cabinet” in the Liberal Party. The differ¬ 
ences between the land of the Soviets and the capitalist coun¬ 
tries in this respect are (a) in capitalist countries the bour¬ 
geois parties guide the government in the interest of the bour¬ 
geoisie and against the proletariat, whereas in the U. S. S. R. 
the Communist Party guides the Government in the interests 
of the proletariat and against the bourgeoisie; ( b ) the bour¬ 
geois parties conceal from the people the role they play in 
guiding the State, and resort to suspicious, secret cabinets, 
whereas the Communist Party in the U. S. S. R. does not 
stand in need of such secret cabinets. It condemns the policy 
and practice of secret cabinets and openly declares to the 
whole country that it takes upon itself the responsibility for 
the guidance of the State. 

One of the Delegates: On the same principles the 
Party guides the trade unions? 

Stalin: In the main, yes. Formally, the Party cannot 
give instructions to the trade unions, but the Party gives in¬ 
structions to the Communists who work in the trade unions. 
It is known that in the trade unions there are Communist 
fractions as there are also in the Soviets, cooperative societies, 
etc. It is the duty of these Communist fractions to secure 
by argument the adoption of decisions in the trade unions, 
in the Soviets, cooperative societies, etc., which correspond to 
the Party’s instructions. This they are able to achieve in the 
overwhelming majority of cases because the Party exercises 
enormous influence among the masses and enjoys their great 
confidence. By these means is secured unity of action of the 
most varied proletarian organizations. If this were not done 
there would be confusion and clashing in the work of these 
working class organizations. 

Question III. Since there is legality for one politi¬ 
cal party only in Russia how do you know that the 
masses favor Communism? 

Reply: It is true that in the U. S. S. R. there are no 






24 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

legal bourgeois parties, that only one party, the Party of the 
workers, the Communist Party, enjoys legality. Have we the 
ways and means, however, of convincing ourselves that the 
majority of the workers, the majority of the masses of the 
toilers sympathize with the Communists? We speak of 
course of the masses of the workers and peasants and not 
of the new bourgeoisie or of the remnants of the old ex¬ 
ploiting classes which have been already crushed by the prole¬ 
tariat. Yes, it is possible. We have the ways and means 
of knowing whether the masses of the workers and peasants 
sympathize with the Communists or not. Take the most 
important moments in the life of our country and see whether 
there are any grounds for the assertion that the masses really 
sympathize with the Communists. 

Take, first of all, so important a moment as the period of 
the October Revolution in 1917, when the Communist Party, 
precisely as a Party, openly called upon the workers and peas¬ 
ants to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie and when this 
Party obtained the support of the overwhelming majority of 
the workers, soldiers and peasants. What was the situation at 
the time? The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) and the So¬ 
cial Democrats (Mensheviks) allied with the bourgeoisie were 
in power then. The governmental apparatus, both in the 
center and locally, as well as the command of the 12-million 
army, was in the hands of these parties, in the hands of the 
government. The Communist Party was in a state of semi¬ 
legality. The bourgeoisie of all countries prophesied the in¬ 
evitable collapse of the Bolshevik Party. The Entente wholly 
and entirely supported the Kerensky Government. Neverthe¬ 
less, the Communist Party, the Bolshevik Party never ceased 
to call upon the proletariat to overthrow this government and 
to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. What hap¬ 
pened? The overwhelming majority of the masses of the 
toilers in the rear as well as at the front most emphatically 
supported the Bolshevik Party—the Kerensky Government was 
overthrown and the rule of the Proletariat was established. 
How is it that the Bolsheviks were able to emerge victorious 
at that time in spite of the malicious forecasts of the bour- 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


25 


geoisie of all countries of the doom of the Bolshevik Party? 
Does it not prove that the broad masses of the toilers sym¬ 
pathized with the Bolshevik Party? I think it does. This 
is the first test of the authority and influence of the Com¬ 
munist Party among the broad masses of the population. 

Take the second period, the period of intervention and 
civil war, when the British capitalists occupied the North of 
Russia, the districts of Archangel and Murmansk, when the 
American, British, Japanese and French capitalists occupied 
Siberia and pushed Kolchak to the forefront, when the French 
and British capitalists took steps to occupy “South Russia” and 
raised on their shields Denikin and Wrangel. This was a 
war conducted by the Entente and the counter-revolutionary 
generals in Russia against the Communist Government in 
Moscow, against the achievements of the October Revolution. 
In this period the strength and stability of the Communist 
Party among the broad masses of the workers and peasants 
were put to the greatest test. And what happened? It is 
generally known that as a result of the Civil War the occu¬ 
pationary troops were driven from Russia and the counter¬ 
revolutionary generals were defeated by the Red Army. 

Here it was proved that the outcome of war is decided in 
the last analysis not by technique, with which Kolchak and 
Denikin were plentifully furnished by the enemies of the 
U. S. S. R., but by proper policy, the sympathy and support 
of the millions of the masses of the population. Was it an 
accident that the Bolshevik Party proved victorious then? 
Of course not. Does not this fact prove that the Communist 
Party in Russia enjoys the sympathy of the wide masses of the 
toilers? I think it does. This is the second test of the strength 
and stability of the Communist Party in the U. S. S. R. 

We will now take up the present period, the post-war pe¬ 
riod, when questions of peaceful construction are the order of 
the day. The period of economic ruin has given way to the 
period of the restoration of industry and later to the period of 
the reconstruction of the whole of our national economy on 
a new technical basis. Have we now ways and means of 
testing the strength and stability of the Communist Party, 









26 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

of determining the degree of sympathy enjoyed by the Party 
among the broad masses of the toilers? I think we have. 

Take first of all the trade unions which combine nearly 
10 million proletarians. Let us examine the composition of 
the leading organs of these trade unions. Is it an accident 
that Communists are at the head of these organs? Of course 
not. It would be absurd to think that the workers in the 
U. S. S. R. are indifferent to the composition of the leading 
organs of their trade unions. 

The workers in the U. S. S. R. grew up and received their 
training in the storms of three revolutions. They learned, 
as no other workers learned, to try their leaders and to expel 
them if they do not satisfy the interests of the proletariat. 
At one time the most popular man in our Party was Plek- 
hanov. However, the workers did not hesitate to isolate him 
completely when they became convinced that he had aban¬ 
doned the proletarian position. And if these workers express 
their complete confidence in the Communists, elect them to 
responsible posts in the trade unions, it is direct evidence that 
the strength and stability of the Communist Party among the 
workers in the U. S. S. R. is enormous. This is one test of 
the undoubted sympathy of the broad masses of the workers 
for the Communist Party. 

Take the last Soviet elections. In the U. S. S. R. the whole 
of the adult population from the age of 18, irrespective of sex 
and nationality,—except the bourgeois elements who exploit 
the labor of others and those who have been deprived of their 
rights by the courts—enjoys the right to vote. The people 
enjoying the right to vote number 60 millions. The over¬ 
whelming majority of these, of course, are peasants. Of 
these 60 million voters, about 51 per cent, i. e., over 30 
millions, exercise their right. Now examine the composition 
of the leading organs of our Soviets both in the center and 
locally. Is it an accident that the overwhelming majority of 
the elected leading elements are Communists? Clearly, it is 
not an accident. Does not this fact prove that the Communist 
Party enjoys the confidence of millions of the masses of the 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 27 

peasantry? I think it does. This is another test of the 
strength and stability of the Communist Party. 

Take the Comsomol (Communist Youth League) which 
combines nearly 2 million young workers and peasants. Is it 
an accident that the overwhelming majority of the elected 
leading elements in the Communist Youth League are Com¬ 
munists? I think that it cannot be said to be an accident. 
Thus you have another test of the strength and authority of 
the Communist Party. 

Finally, take the innumerable conferences, consultations, 
delegate meetings, etc., which embrace millions of the masses 
of the toilers, both workingmen and working women, peas¬ 
ants and peasant women, among all the nationalities forming 
the U. S. S. R. In Western countries, people wax ironical 
over these conferences and consultations and assert that the 
Russians like to talk very much. For us, however, these con¬ 
ferences and consultations are of enormous significance in that 
they serve as a test of the mood of the masses and also as a 
means of exposing our mistakes and indicating the methods 
by which these mistakes may be rectified; for we make not a 
few mistakes and we do not conceal them, because we think 
that to expose these errors and honestly to rectify them is 
one of the best means of improving the management of the 
country. Take the speeches delivered at these conferences 
and consultations. Note the business-like and ingenuous re¬ 
marks uttered by these “simple people,” these workers and 
peasants; note the decisions taken and you will see how enor¬ 
mous is the influence and authority of the Communist Party, 
an influence and authority that any party in the world might 
envy. Thus you have still another test of the stability of the 
Communist Party. 

These are the ways and means enabling us to test the 
strength and influence of the Communist Party among the 
masses of the people. 

That is how I know that the broad masses of the workers 
and peasants in the U. S. S. R. sympathize with the Com¬ 
munist Party. 











28 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

Question IV. If a non-party group should organ¬ 
ise a fraction and nominate candidates for office on a 
platform which supported the Soviet Government, but 
at the same time demanded the abolition of the foreign 
trade monopoly y could they have a party treasury and 
conduct an active political campaign? 

Reply: I think there is an irreconcilable contradiction in 
this question. We cannot conceive of a group basing itself on 
a platform supporting the Soviet Government and at the same 
time demanding the abolition of the monopoly of foreign 
trade. Why? Because the monopoly of foreign trade is 
one of the irremovable foundations of the “platform” of the 
Soviet Government; because a group demanding the abolition 
of the foreign trade monoply could not support the Soviet 
Government; because such a group would be profoundly hos¬ 
tile to the whole Soviet system. 

There are, of course, elements in the U. S. S. R. who 
demand the abolition of the monopoly of foreign trade. 
These are the Nepmen, the Kulaks, and the remnants of the 
already defeated exploiting classes, etc. But these elements 
represent an insignificant minority of the population. I do 
not think that the delegation has these elements in mind. If, 
however, the delegation refers to workers and peasant toilers, 
then I must say that the demand for the abolition of the 
monopoly of foreign trade would merely call forth ridicule 
and hostility among them. 

Indeed, what would the abolition of monopoly of foreign 
trade mean for the workers? For them it would mean 
abandonment of the industrialization of the country, cessation 
of the construction of new works and factories and of the 
expansion of the old works and factories. To them it would 
mean that the U. S. S. R. would be flooded with goods from 
capitalist countries, the destruction of our industry, because of 
its relative weakness; increase in unemployment, deterioration 
of the material conditions of the working class, and the weak¬ 
ening of their economic and political conditions. In the last 
analysis it would mean the strengthening of the Nepmen and 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


29 


the new bourgeoisie generally. Can the proletariat of the 
U. S. S. R. agree to committing suicide like this? Clearly 
it cannot. 

And what would the abolition of the monopoly of foreign 
trade mean for the toiling masses of the peasantry? It would 
mean the transformation of our country from an independent 
country into a semi-colonial country and the impoverishment 
of the masses of the peasantry. It would mean a return to 
the system of “free trade” which prevailed under Kolchak 
and Denikin when the combined forces of the counter¬ 
revolutionary generals and the “Allies” freely plundered the 
many millions of the peasantry. In the last analysis it would 
mean the strengthening of the Kulaks and other exploiting 
elements in the rural districts. The peasants have sufficiently 
experienced the charms of this system in the Ukraine, in the 
North Caucasus, on the Volga, and in Siberia. What grounds 
are there for believing that they desire to put their heads 
into this noose again? Is it not clear that the toiling masses 
of the peasantry cannot support a demand for the abolition 
of the monopoly of foreign trade? 

A Delegate: The delegation put forward the point con¬ 
cerning the monopoly of foreign trade and of its abolition as 
a point around which a whole group of the population might 
organize if there was not the monopoly of a single party, 
the monopoly of legality in the U. S. S. R. 

Stalin: The delegation consequently is returning to the 
question of the monopoly of the Communist Party, as the 
sole legal Party in the U. S. S. R. I replied briefly to this 
question when I spoke about the ways and means of testing 
the sympathy of the millions of the masses of the workers 
and peasants towards the Communist Party. As for the other 
strata of the population, the Kulaks, the Nepmen, the rem¬ 
nants of the old, defeated, exploiting classes, they are deprived 
of the right to have their political organizations just as they 
are deprived of the right to vote. The proletariat deprived 
the bourgeoisie not only of the factories, workshops, banks, 
railroads, lands, and mines, but they also deprived them of the 
right to have their political organizations, because the prole- 





30 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

tariat does not desire the restoration of the rule of the bour¬ 
geoisie. The delegation apparently does not object to the 
proletariat of the U. S. S. R. depriving the bourgeoisie and 
the landlords of their factories and workshops, of their land 
and railroads, banks and mines (laughter), but it seems to 
me that the delegation is somewhat surprised that the prole¬ 
tariat did not limit itself to this, but went further and deprived 
the bourgeoisie of political rights. This, to my mind, is not 
altogether logical, or to speak more correctly, is quite illogical. 
Why should the proletariat be called upon to show magnani¬ 
mity towards the bourgeoisie? Does the bourgeoisie in West¬ 
ern countries, where they are in power, show the slightest 
magnanimity towards the working class? Do they not drive 
genuine revolutionary parties of the working class under¬ 
ground ? 

Why should the proletariat of the U. S. S. R. be called 
upon to show magnanimity towards their class enemy? You 
must be logical. Those who think that political rights can 
be restored*to the bourgeoisie must, if they are to be logical, 
go further and raise the question of restoring to the bour¬ 
geoisie the factories and workshops, railroads and banks. 

A Delegate: It is the task of the delegation to investi¬ 
gate how the opinion of the working class and the peasantry, 
as distinct from the opinion of the Communist Party, can find 
legal expression. It would be incorrect to believe that the 
delegation is interested in the question of granting political 
rights to the bourgeoisie, or in the manner in which the bour¬ 
geoisie may find legal expression of their opinions. The 
question is, in what manner can the opinions of the working 
class and of the peasantry, as distinct from the opinion of the 
Communist Party, find legal expression? 

Another Delegate: These distinctive opinions could 
find expression in the mass organizations of the working class, 
in the trade unions, etc. 

Stalin : All right. Consequently, the question is not one 
of the restoration of the political rights of the bourgeoisie, 
but of the conflict of opinion within the working class and 
among the peasantry. Is there any conflict of opinion among 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


31 


the workers and the toiling masses of the peasantry at the 
present time? Undoubtedly there is. -It is impossible for 
millions of workers and peasants to think all alike. This 
never happens. First of all, there is a great difference between 
the workers and peasants relative to their economic position 
and in their views concerning various questions. Secondly, 
there is some difference in outlook among various sections of 
the working class, difference in training, different ages, tem¬ 
perament, a difference between the old standing industrial 
workers and those who have migrated from the rural districts, 
etc. All this leads to a conflict of opinion among the work¬ 
ers and the toiling masses of the peasantry which finds legal 
expression at meetings, in trade unions, in cooperative societies, 
during elections to the Soviets, etc. 

But there is a radical difference between the conflict of 
opinion now, under the proletarian dictatorship and conflict 
of opinion in,.thjp past, prior to the October Revolution. In 
the past, the tqOnflict of opinion among the workers and the 
toiling peasaijiry was concentrated mainly on questions con¬ 
cerning the overthrow of the landlords, of czarism, of the 
bourgeoisie and of the break up of the whole capitalist sys¬ 
tem. Now, however, under the Dictatorship of the Prole¬ 
tariat, conflict of opinion does not revolve around questions 
concerning the overthrow of the Soviet Government, of the 
break-up of the Soviet system, but around questions concerning 
the improvement of the organs of the Soviet Government and 
improvement of their work. This makes a radical difference. 
There is nothing surprising in the fact that the conflict of 
opinion in the past around questions concerning the revolution¬ 
ary destruction of a prevailing system gave grounds for the 
appearance of several rival parties in the working class and 
toiling masses of the peasantry. These parties were: the 
Bolshevik Party, the Menshevik Party, the Socialist Revolu¬ 
tionary Party. On the other hand it is not difficult to under¬ 
stand that conflict of opinion under the Dictatorship of the 
Proletariat, which has for its aim not the break-up of the 
existing Soviet system, but its improvement and consolidation, 
provides no nourishment for the existence of several parties 





32 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

among the workers and the toiling masses in the rural dis¬ 
tricts. That is why the legality of a single Party, the Com¬ 
munist Party, the monopoly enjoyed by that Party, not only 
raises no objection among the workers and toiling peasants, 
but on the contrary, is accepted by them as something neces¬ 
sary and desirable. 

The position of our Party as the only legal Party in the 
country (the monopoly of the Communist Party) is not some¬ 
thing artificial and deliberately invented. Such a position can¬ 
not be created artificially by administrative machinations, etc. 
The monopoly of our Party grew up out of life, it developed 
historically as a result of the fact that the Socialist Revolu¬ 
tionary Party and Menshevik Party became absolutely bank¬ 
rupt and departed from the stage of our social life. What 
were the Socialist Revolutionary Party and Menshevik Party 
in the past? They were channels for conducting bourgeois 
influence into the ranks of the proletariat. By what were 
these parties cultivated and sustained prior to October, 1917? 
By the existence of the bourgeois class and ultimately by the 
existence of bourgeois rule. Clearly, when the bourgeoisie was 
overthrown the basis Apr the existence of these parties dis¬ 
appeared. What did these parties become after October, 
1917? They became parties for the restoration of capitalism 
and for the overthrow of the rule of the proletariat. Clearly 
these parties had to lose all support and all influence among 
the workers and the toiling strata of the peasantry. 

The fight between the Communist Party and the Socialist 
Revolutionary Party and Menshevik Party for influence among 
the workers did not commence only yesterday. It commenced 
when the first symptoms of a mass revolutionary movement 
manifested themselves in Russia, even before 1905. 

The period between 1903 and October, 1917, is the period 
of severe conflicts of opinion within the working class of 
our country, a period of struggle between the Bolsheviks, the 
Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries for influence in 
the working class. During this period the working class of 
the U. S. S. R. passed through three revolutions. In the fires 
of these revolutions it tried and tested the proletarian revolu- 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


33 


tionary character of these parties and their fitness for the 
cause of the proletarian revolution. 

In October, 1917, after history had summed up the whole 
of the past revolutionary struggle, and had weighed in the 
balance the various parties fighting within the working class 
—the working class of the U. S. S. R. made its final sele<> 
tion and accepted the Communist Party as the only prole¬ 
tarian party. How is the fact that the working class selected 
the Communist Party to be explained? In April, 1917, for 
example, the Bolsheviks in the Petrograd Soviet represented 
an inconsiderable minority. The Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
Mensheviks at that time had an overwhelming majority. In 
the October days the whole apparatus of the Government and 
all means of coercion were in the hands of the Socialist- 
Revolutionary and Menshevik Parties who had allied them¬ 
selves with the bourgeoisie. It is explained by the fact that 
the Communist Party stood for the termination of the war, 
for an immediate democratic peace, while the Socialist- 
Revolutionary and Menshevik parties insisted upon “War to 
Complete Victory,” the continuation of the imperialist war. 
It is explained by the fact that the Communist Party stood 
for the overthrow of the Kerensky Government, for the over¬ 
throw of the rule of the bourgeoisie, for the nationalization 
of the factories and workshops, of the banks and railroads, 
whereas the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties 
fought in defence of the Kerensky Government and defended 
the right of the bourgeoisie to the factories and the work¬ 
shops, the banks and the railroads. It is to be explained by 
the fact that the Communist Party stood for the immediate 
confiscation of the estates of the landowners for the benefit 
of the peasantry, whereas the Socialist-Revolutionary and 
Menshevik parties postponed this question until the Constitu¬ 
ent Assembly should be convened, which in its turn was 
postponed for an indefinite time. What is surprising, there¬ 
fore, in the fact that the workers and the poor peasants made 
their final selection in favor of the Communist Party? What 
is there surprising in the fact that the Socialist-Revolutionary 







34 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

and Menshevik parties went to the bottom so quickly? That 
is why the Communist Party came to power. 

The subsequent period, the period following October, 1917, 
the period of civil war, was the period in which the Menshe¬ 
viks and Socialist-Revolutionaries finally met their doom; it 
was the period of the final triumph of the Bolshevik Party. 
In that period the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries 
themselves facilitated the triumph of the Communist Party. 
Broken up and sent to the bottom during the October Revolu¬ 
tion, remnants of the Menshevik Party and Socialist-Revolu¬ 
tionary Party began to link themselves up with counter¬ 
revolutionary Kulak rebellions, allied themselves with Kol¬ 
chak and Denikin, went into the service of the Entente and 
finally and utterly discredited themselves in the eyes of the 
workers and peasants. The situation then created was that 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, having changed 
from bourgeois revolutionaries into bourgeois counter-revolu¬ 
tionaries, helped the Entente to strangle the new Soviet Rus¬ 
sia, whereas the Bolshevik Party, rallying around itself all that 
was vital and revolutionary, roused fresh ranks of workers 
and peasants in increasing numbers for the fight in defence 
of the Socialist fatherland, and against the Entente. It was 
quite natural that the victory of the Communists in that period 
should and in fact did lead to the utter defeat of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. What is there surprising, 
therefore, in the fact that after all this the Communist Party 
became the sole Party of the working class and the poor 
peasantry? 

That is how the monopoly of the Communist Party as the 
only legal Party in the country arose. 

You speak of a conflict of opinion among the workers and 
peasants at the present time, under the proletarian dictatorship. 
I have said already that conflict of opinion exists and will 
exist in the future, that no progress is possible without this, 
but conflict of opinion among the workers under present con¬ 
ditions centers not around the question of principle of the 
overthrow of the Soviet system, but around practical ques¬ 
tions like the improvement of the Soviets, the rectification of 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 35 

errors committed by the Soviet organs and, consequently, of 
consolidating the Soviet rule. Such a conflict of opinion can 
only serve to strengthen and perfect the Communist Party. 
Such conflict of opinion can only serve to strengthen the mon¬ 
opoly of the Communist Party. Such a conflict of opinion 
cannot provide nourishment for other parties within the work¬ 
ing class and among the toiling peasantry. 


Question V. Will you summarize briefly the out¬ 
standing differences between yourself and Trotsky? 

Reply: I must say first of all that the differences with 
Trotsky are not personal differences. If these differences bore 
a personal character, the Party would not concern itself with 
them for a single hour, for it does not like personalities to 
make themselves prominent. Apparently, you mean the dif¬ 
ferences in the Party. That is how I understand the question. 
Yes, such differences do exist in the Party. 

The character of these differences was described rather in 
detail by Comrade Rykov in a speech he delivered recently in 
Moscow and by Comrade Bukharin in Leningrad. These 
speeches have been published. I have nothing to add to what 
is stated in them concerning these differences. If you have 
not obtained these documents I can get them for you. (The 
delegation states that it is in possession of the documents.) 

A Delegate: On our return we shall be questioned con¬ 
cerning these differences, but we have not all the documents. 
For example, we have not the platform of the “83.” 

Stalin: I did not sign that platform. I have no right 
to dispose of other peoples’ documents. (Laughter.) 

Question VI. In capitalist countries the chief in¬ 
centive to production is furnished by the hope of private 
profit. This incentive is of course relatively absent in 
the U. S. S. R. What alternative displaces it and in 













36 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

your opinion, how effective is it? Can it he maintained 
indefinitely? 

Reply: It is true that the principal motive power of 
capitalist economy is profit. It is true also that obtaining profit 
is neither the aim nor the motive power of our Socialist 
industry. What then is the motive power of our industry? 

First of all, the fact that the factories and workshops in 
the U. S. S. R. belong to the whole people and not to capital¬ 
ists, that the factories and workshops are managed not by the 
appointees of capitalists, but by representatives of the working 
class; the consciousness that the workers work, not for the 
capitalist, but for their own State, for their own class, repre¬ 
sents an enormous driving force in the development and per¬ 
fection of our industry. It must be observed that the over¬ 
whelming majority of the factory and works managers in 
Russia are workingmen, appointed by the Supreme Economic 
Council in agreement with the trade unions and that not a 
single factory manager can remain at his post contrary to the 
will of the workers or the particular trade union. 

It must be observed also that in every factory and work¬ 
shop there is a factory council, elected by the workers, which 
controls the activities of the management of the particular 
enterprise. Finally, it must be observed that in every indus¬ 
trial enterprise regular production conferences of workers are 
held in which all the workers employed in the given enter¬ 
prise take part and at which the work of the manager of the 
enterprise is discussed and criticized; the plan of work in the 
factory administration is discussed, errors and defects are 
noted and rectified through the trade unions, through the 
Party and through the organs of the Soviet administration. 
It is not difficult to understand, therefore, that all these cir¬ 
cumstances radically alter the position of the workers as well 
as the state of affairs in the various enterprises. While, under 
capitalism the workers regard their factory as a prison, under 
the Soviet system the workers no longer regard the factory 
as a prison, but as something near and dear to them and in 
the development and improvement of which they are vitally 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


37 


interested. It is hardly necessary to prove that this new 
attitude of the workers towards the enterprise in which they 
are employed, this understanding of the close ties that link 
the workers with the enterprise, represents a powerful driving 
force for the whole of our industry. This circumstance ex¬ 
plains the fact that the number of worker-inventors in the 
field of technique of production, and worker-organizers of 
industry increases from day to day. 

Secondly, the revenues from industry in Russia are em¬ 
ployed not for the enrichment of individuals, but for the 
further expansion of industry, for the improvement of the 
material and cultural conditions of the working class, for 
reducing the price of industrial commodities necessary both 
for the workers and for the peasants, which again is the im¬ 
provement of the material conditions of the toiling masses. 
A capitalist cannot employ his revenues for improving the 
welfare of the working class. He lives for profit; otherwise 
he would not be a capitalist. He obtains profit in order to 
invest it as surplus capital in less developed countries suffer¬ 
ing from a shortage of capital in order again to obtain fresh 
and increased profit. That is how capital flows from the 
United States to China, to Indonesia, to South America and 
Europe and from France to the French colonies and from 
England to the British colonies. 

In the U. S. S. R. things are altogether different; for we 
neither conduct nor recognize colonial policy. In Russia, the 
revenues from industry remain in the country and are em¬ 
ployed for the further expansion of industry, for improving 
the conditions of the workers, for enlarging the capacity of 
the home market, including also the peasant market, by reduc¬ 
ing the price of industrial commodities. Ten per cent of the 
profits from industry in our country goes to a fund for im¬ 
proving the social conditions of the workers. A sum equal to 
13 per cent of the wages paid is contributed to a sick insurance 
fund for the insurance of workers. (This represents 800 
million roubles per annum.) A certain part of the revenues 
(I cannot just now say exactly how much) is employed for 
cultural requirements, vocational training and vacations for 







38 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

the workers. A fairly considerable part of these revenues 
(again I cannot now say exactly how much) is employed for 
the annual increase in the money wages of the workers. The 
rest of the revenues from industry are employed for the fur¬ 
ther expansion of industry, for the repair of old workshops, for 
the construction of new workshops and finally for the reduc¬ 
tion of prices of industrial commodities. The enormous sig¬ 
nificance of these circumstances for our industry consists in 
(a) that they facilitate the linking up of agriculture with 
industry and the smoothing out of the antagonism between 
town and country; (b) that they facilitate the increase of the 
capacity of the home market—urban and rural—and by that 
create a constantly expanding base for the further develop¬ 
ment of industry. 

Finally, the nationalization of industry facilitates the con¬ 
duct of industry as a whole according to plan. 

Will these stimuli and motive forces of our industry be 
permanent factors? Can they be permanently operative fac¬ 
tors? Yes, undoubtedly they are permanently operative stim¬ 
uli and motive forces, and the more our industry develops, 
the more the strength and significance of these factors will 
grow. 

Question VII. How far can Soviet Russia cooper¬ 
ate with the capitalist industry of other countries? Is 
there a definite limit to such cooperation or is it simply 
an experiment to discover in which feld such coopera¬ 
tion is possible and in which it is not? 

Reply: Apparently this is a reference to temporary agree¬ 
ments with capitalist states in the field of industry, in the 
field of commerce and perhaps of diplomatic relations. I 
think that the existence of two opposite systems, the capitalist 
system and the Socialist system, does not exclude the possibility 
of such agreement. I think that such agreements are possible 
and expedient in conditions of peaceful development. Exports 
and imports are the most suitable ground for such agreements. 
We require equipment, raw material (raw cotton for ex- 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


39 


ample), semi-manufactures, (metals, etc.) while the capital¬ 
ists require a market for their goods. This provides a basis 
for agreement. The capitalists require oil, timber, grain 
products and we require a market for these goods. Here is 
another basis for agreement. We require credits, the capital¬ 
ists require good interest for their credits. Here is still another 
basis for agreements in the field of credit. It is well known 
that the Soviet organs are most punctual in their payments. 

The same thing may be said in regard to the diplomatic 
field. We are pursuing a policy of peace and we are prepared 
to sign a pact of non-aggression with bourgeois States. We 
are pursuing a policy of peace and we are prepared to come to 
an agreement concerning disarmament right up to the com¬ 
plete abolition of standing armies, which we declared to the 
whole world as far back as the time of the Genoa Confer¬ 
ence. Here is a basis for agreement on the diplomatic field. 

The limits to these agreements? The limits are set by the 
opposite characters of the two systems between which there is 
rivalry and conflict. Within the limits permitted by these two 
systems, but only within these limits agreement is quite pos¬ 
sible. This is proved by the experience of the agreements 
concluded with Germany, Italy, Japan, etc. 

Are these agreements merely experiments? Or can they 
be of a more or less prolonged character? That does not al¬ 
together depend upon us. It depends also upon the other 
parties. It depends upon the general situation. A war may 
upset any and every agreement. Finally, it depends upon the 
terms of the agreement. We can never accept conditions of 
bondage. We have an agreement with Harriman who is ex¬ 
ploiting the Manganese mines in Georgia. That agreement 
extends for twenty years. As you see, not a brief period. We 
have also an agreement with the Lena Goldfields Company, 
which is extracting gold in Siberia. That agreement has been 
signed for thirty years,—a still longer period. Finally, we 
have an agreement with Japan concerning the exploitation of 
the oil and coal fields in Saghalin. We would like these 
agreements to have a more or less solid character. But that 
depends of course not only upon us, but upon the other parties. 









40 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

Question VIII. What are the chief ways in which 
Russia differs from capitalist states in her treatment of 
national minorities? 

Reply: Apparently, this refers to the nationalities in the 
U. S. S. R. who were formerly oppressed by Czarism and the 
Russian exploiting classes and who did not enjoy state sov¬ 
ereignity. The principal distinction is that while in capitalist 
states national oppression and national enslavement prevails, 
in the U. S. S. R. both the one and the other have been radi¬ 
cally abolished. In capitalist states, side by side with nations 
of the first rank, privileged nations, “sovereign” nations, we 
have second rank nations, “non-sovereign” nations, nations 
which do not enjoy equality, which are deprived of various 
rights, principally of sovereign rights. In the U. S. S. R., 
however, all the attributes of national inequality and national 
oppression have been abolished. In the U. S. S. R., all nations 
are equal and sovereign, for the national and State privileges 
which previously were enjoyed by the Great Russian people 
have been abolished. We do not of course speak of declara¬ 
tions of national equality. All bourgeois and Social-Demo¬ 
cratic parties have made not a few declarations concerning 
national equality. What is the value of such declarations if 
they are not carried out? The thing to do is to abolish those 
classes which are the bearers, the creators and the conduits of 
national oppression. In Russia these classes were the land¬ 
lords and capitalists. We overthrew these classes and by that 
abolished the possibility of national oppression. And precise¬ 
ly for the reason that we abolished these classes real national 
equality became possible in the U. S. S. R. This is what we 
call the application of the idea of self-determination of nations 
including even the right of complete separation. Precisely 
for the reason that we carried out the self-determination of 
nations, we managed to eliminate mutual suspicion between 
the toiling masses of the various nationalities in the U. S. S. R. 
and to unite these nationalities on a voluntary basis into one 
Federal State. The present Union of Soviet Socialist Re¬ 
publics, is the result of our national policy and expression of 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 4i 

the voluntary federation of the nationalities in the U. S. S. R. 
into one federal state. 

It is hardly necessary to prove that such a policy in the 
national question is inconceivable in capitalist countries, for 
there, the capitalists who are the creators and conduits of na¬ 
tional oppression are still in power. For example, we cannot 
fail to observe that the supreme organ of the U. S. S. R., the 
Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, is headed not 
necessarily by one Russian chairman, but by six chairmen, rep¬ 
resenting each of the federal republics forming the U. S. S. R., 
of whom one is a Russian (Kalinin), the second a Ukrainian 
(Petrovsky), the third a White Russian (Cheriakov), the 
fourth and Azerbaidjanian (Musabekov), the fifth a Turko¬ 
man (Aitakov), and the sixth an Uzbek (Faizulla Hodjaev). 
This fact is a striking expression of our national policy. It 
need hardly be said that not a single bourgeois republic, how¬ 
ever democratic it may be, would do this. And yet, with us 
it is taken as a matter of course, as following directly from 
our policy of national equality. 

Question IX. American labor leaders justify their 
struggle against the Communists on two grounds: (1) 
The Communists are disrupting i and destroying the 
labor movement by their factional fights inside the 
unions and their attacks on all union officials who are 
not radicals } and (2) American Communists take their 
orders from Moscow and hence cannot be good trade 
unionists since their loyalty to an outside foreign body 
is placed above their loyalty to the union . How can 
this difficulty to adjusted so that American commu¬ 
nists can work jointly with other sections of the Amer¬ 
ican labor movement? 

Reply: I think that the attempts of the American labor 
leaders to justify their struggle against the Communists do 
not stand examination. No one has yet proved nor can it be 
proved that the Communists disrupt the labor movement. But 
it can be taken as fully proved that the Communists are the 
most loyal and boldest champions of the labor movement all 











44 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 


Question X. Is any money now being sent to 
America to aid either the American Communist Party 
or the Communist paper } The “Daily Worker }> ? If 
not how much do American Communists remit to the 
Third International in annual membership dues? 

Reply: If this has reference to the relations between the 
Communist Party of America and the Third International, 
I must say that the Communist Party of America, as part of 
the Communist International most likely pays affiliation fee to 
the Comintern. On the other hand, the Comintern, being 
the central body of the International Communist movement, 
we assume, renders assistance to the Communist Party of 
America whenever it thinks it necessary. I do not think there 
is anything surprising or exceptional in this. If however, the 
question refers to the relations between the Communist Party 
of America and the Communist Party of the U. S. S. R., I 
must say that I do not know of a single occasion on which 
the representatives of the American Communist Party ap¬ 
pealed for aid to the Communist Party of the U. S. S. R. You 
may think this strange but it is a fact, which indicates that 
the American Communists are rather independent. What 
would happen if the Communist Party of America did ap¬ 
peal for aid to the Communist Party of the U. S. S. R.? I 
think the Communist Party of the U. S. S. R. would render 
it whatever assistance it could. Indeed, what would be the 
worth of the Communist Party, a Party which is in power, 
if it refused to do what it could to aid the Communist Party 
of another country laboring under the yoke of capitalism. I 
would say that such a Communist Party would not be worth 
a cent. Let us assume that the American ^working class had 
come into power after overthrowing its bourgeoisie. Let us 
assume that the working class of another country appealed to 
the working class of America, which had emerged victorious 
in a great struggle against capitalism, for material aid; would 
the American working class refuse it? I think it would dis¬ 
grace itself if it hesitated to give the assistance asked for. 


45 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 

Question XI. We understand that some good 
Communists are not in entire sympathy with the Com¬ 
munist Party’s demand that all new members be 
atheists y now that the reactionary clergy are suppressed . 
Could the Communist Party in the future take a 
neutral attitude towards a religious faith which sup¬ 
ported all the teachings of science and did not oppose 
Communism? Could you in the future permit some 
Party members to hold religious opinions if they did 
not conflict with Party loyalty? 

Reply: In this question there are several inexactitudes. In 
the first place, I do not know of any such “good Communists” 
that the delegates talk about. It is hardly likely that such 
Communists exist at all. Secondly, I must declare that 
speaking formally, we have no conditions of Party member¬ 
ship which demand that a candidate for Party membership 
shall be an Atheist. 

The conditions of membership of our Party are: accept¬ 
ance of the program and rules of the Party; absolute sub¬ 
ordination to the decisions of the Party and its organs; pay¬ 
ment of membership dues; and membership in one of the 
Party locals. 

A Delegate: I often read of expulsions from the Party 
because of belief in God. 

Stalin: I can only repeat the conditions of membership 
in our Party that I have just mentioned. We have no other 
condition. 

Does that mean the Party is neutral towards religion? No, 
it does not. We carry on and will continue to carry on 
propaganda against religious prejudices. Our legislation guar¬ 
anteed to citizens the right to adhere to any religion. This 
is a matter for the conscience of each individual. That is 
precisely why we carried out the separation of the Church 
from the State. But in separating the Church from the 
State and proclaiming religious liberty we at the same time 









46 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 


guaranteed the right of every citizen to combat by argument, 
by propaganda and agitation any and all religion. The 
Party cannot be neutral towards religion and does conduct 
anti-religious propaganda against all and every religious preju¬ 
dice because it stands for science, while religious prejudices 
run counter to science, because all religion is something oppo¬ 
site to science. Cases such as recently occurred in America in 
which Darwinists were prosecuted in court, cannot occur here 
because the Party carries out a policy of the general defense 
of science. The Party cannot be neutral towards religious 
prejudices and it will continue to carry on propaganda against 
these prejudices because this is one of the best means of under¬ 
mining the influence of the reactionary clergy who support 
the exploiting classes and who preach submission to these 
classes. The Party cannot be neutral towards the bearers of 
religious prejudices, towards the reactionary clergy who poison 
the minds of the toiling masses. Have we suppressed the re¬ 
actionary clergy? Yes, we have. The unfortunate thing is 
that it has not been completely liquidated. Anti-religious 
propaganda is a means by which the complete liquidation of 
the reactionary clergy must be brought about. Cases occur 
when certain members of the Party hamper the complete de¬ 
velopment of anti-religious propaganda. If such members are 
expelled it is a good thing because there is no room for such 
“Communists” in the ranks of our Party. 

Question XII. Can you outline . briefly the char¬ 
acteristics of the Society of the future which Com¬ 
munism is trying to create? 

Reply: The general characteristics of Communist society 
are given in the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Briefly, 
the anatomy of Communist society may be described as fol¬ 
lows: It is a society in which (a) there will be no private 
ownership of the means of production but social, collective 
ownership; ( b ) there will be no classes or State, but workers 
in industry and agriculture managing their economic affairs 
as a free association, of toilers; (c) national economy will b^ 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 47 

organized according to plan, will be based on the highest 
technique in both industry and agriculture;' ( d ) there will be 
no antagonism between town and country, between industry 
and agriculture; ( e ) the products will be distributed accord¬ 
ing to the principle of the old French Communists: “from 
each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”; 
(/) science and art will enjoy conditions conducive to their 
highest development; ( g) the individual, freed from bread 
and butter cares, and of necessity of cringing to the “powerful 
of the earth,” will become really free, etc., etc. Clearly, we 
are still remote from such a society. 

With regard to the international conditions necessary for 
the complete triumph of Communist society, these will de¬ 
velop and grow in proportion as revolutionary crises and rev¬ 
olutionary outbreaks of the working class in capitalist coun¬ 
tries grow. 

It must not be imagined that the working class in one 
country or in several countries will march towards Socialism 
and still more to Communism while the Capitalists of other 
countries sit still with folded arms and look on with indiffer¬ 
ence. Nor must it be imagined that the working class in cap¬ 
italist countries will agree to be mere spectators of the victor¬ 
ious development of Socialism in one or another country. As 
a matter of fact, the capitalists will do all in their power to 
crush such countries. As a matter of fact, every important 
step taken towards Socialism, and still more towards Com¬ 
munism, in any country will be inevitably accompanied by the 
unrestrained efforts of the working class in capitalist coun¬ 
tries directed towards achieving the dictatorship and Socialism 
in those countries. Thus, in the further progress of develop¬ 
ment of the international revolution, two world centers will 
be formed: the Socialist center, attracting to itself all the 
countries gravitating towards Socialism, and the Capitalist 
center, attracting to itself all the countries gravitating towards 
capitalism. The fight between these two centers for the con¬ 
quest of world economy will decide the fate of Capitalism 
and Communism throughout the whole world, for the final 
defeat of world capitalism means the victory of Socialism in 
the arena of world economy. 











STALIN’S QUESTIONS 
TO THE DELEGATION 
AND ITS REPLIES 








51 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 

l 

Stalin: If the delegation is not too tired, I would ask it 
to permit me to put several questions. (Delegation agrees). 

Question I. How do you account for the small 
percentage of American workers :organized in trade 
unions? I think there are about 17 million industrial 
workers in America (the delegates explain that there 
are from 18 to 19 million industrial workers'). I think 
that about 3 millions are organized. (Delegates ex¬ 
plain that the American Federation of Labor has a 
membership approximately of 3 million and that be¬ 
sides these about a half million workers are organized 
in other unions , so that taken together 3 l /i million 
workers are organized .) Personally I think that the 
proportion of American workers organized in trade 
unions is very small. In the U. S. S. R . 90% of all 
the proletarians in the country are organized in trade 
unions. 

I would like to ask the delegation whether it regards 
this small percentage of organized workers as a good 
thing. Hoes not the delegation think 'that this small 
percentage is an indication of the weakness of the 
American proletariat and of the weakness of its weapon 
in the struggle against the capitalists in the economic 
field? 

Brophy: The small membership of trade unions is to be 
explained not by the bad tactics applied in the labor organiza¬ 
tions but by the general economic conditions prevailing in 
the country, which do not stimulate the whole mass of the 
workers to organize. These favorable economic conditions 
restrict the necessity of the working class to fight against the 
capitalists. Of course, these conditions will change. And 
simultaneously with the change in these conditions, the trade 
unions will grow and the whole of the trade union movement 
will proceed along a different path. 

Douglas: I agree with the explanation given by the previ¬ 
ous speaker. To that I add however, that first of all, it is 
necessary to bear in mind that wages in the United States 

















52 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

have been recently increased considerably by the capitalists 
themselves. This process of rising wages was observed in 
1917, 1919 and later. If we compare the real wages pre¬ 
vailing at the present time with the wages prevailing in 1911, 
we will find that they are considerably higher. In the process 
of its development the trade union movement at first based 
itself and still bases itself on the craft principle, according to 
trade, and the trade unions were formed mainly for skilled 
workers. At the head of these unions, there were definite 
leaders who represented a close organization and strove to ob¬ 
tain good conditions for their members. They had no stimuli 
to widen the labor organizations or to organize the unskilled 
workers. Moreover, the American trade unions come up 
against well-organized capitalism which has at its disposal all 
means to prevent the organization of all the workers in trade 
unions. If for example, a trust encounters the too strong 
resistance of the trade unions in one of its enterprises, it will 
close down that enterprise and transfer its work to another. 
In this way the resistance of the trade unions is broken. The 
American capitalists voluntarily raise the wages of the work¬ 
ers but give them no economic power or the possibility of 
fighting for the economic improvement of their conditions of 
life. Another very important fact in America is that the 
capitalists sow dissension among the workers of various na¬ 
tionalities. In the majority of cases the unskilled workers are 
immigrants from Europe or as become the case recently, 
Negroes. Dissension is also sown between skilled workers and 
unskilled workers. 

The capitalists systematically sow antagonism among the 
workers of various nationalities irrespective of their degree 
of skill. During the last ten years American capitalism has 
been conducting a more enlightened policy in that they are 
forming their own trade unions, the so-called company unions. 
They strive to develop the workers’ interest in the enterprise 
and in the increase of profits. American capitalism shows a 
tendency to substitute horizontal division by vertical division, 
i. e., to split up the working class and to give it an interest in 
capitalism. 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 55 

Coyle: I approach the question not from the theoretical 
point of view but from the practical point of view. It is 
true that it is easier to organize the workers in good times 
but the statistics of the membership of the American Feder- 
tion of Labor show that the A. F. of L. is gradually losing 
the unskilled workers and is increasing its membership of 
skilled workers. Thus the American Federation of Labor 
desires to become and is gradually becoming an organization 
principally of the skilled workers. The trade union move¬ 
ment in America barely touches the unskilled workers. The 
big branches of industry are hardly touched by the trade 
unions. Of these big branches of industry only the mining 
and railroad industries are organized to any extent, and even 
in the coal industry 65 per cent of the workers are unorgan¬ 
ized. The workers in such industries as steel, rubber, and 
automobiles are hardly organized at all. It may be said that 
the trade unions do not touch the unskilled workers. There 
are a number of trade unions outside the American Federa¬ 
tion of Labor which strive to organize the unskilled and semi¬ 
skilled workers. As for the position taken up by the leaders 
of the American Federation of Labor, for example, the Presi¬ 
dent of the Machinists Union quite frankly stated that he 
does not wish to attract the unskilled workers to his union. 
The position in regard to the trade union leaders is this: that 
a leader caste has grown up consisting of a few score of 
individuals who receive enormous salaries up to $10,000 per 
annum and even more, into which it is extremely difficult to 
penetrate. 

Dunn: The question put by Stalin is not fair because if 
in this country 90 per cent of the workers are organized, it 
must be borne in mind that here power is in the hands of the 
working class, whereas in capitalist countries the workers are 
an oppressed class and the bourgeoisie does everything to pre¬ 
vent the workers from organizing. Moreover, there are re¬ 
actionary trade unions led by reactionary leaders in those 
countries. In the conditions prevailing in America it is very 
difficult to get into the heads of the workers the very idea of 







54 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

trade unionism. This explains why trade unionism in Amer¬ 
ica is not so widespread. 

Stalin : Does the speaker agree with the previous speaker 
that certain leaders of the labor movement in America strive 
to restrict the trade union movement? 

Dunn: I agree. 

Stalin: I did not wish to offend anybody. I merely 
wanted to clear up for myself the difference in the situation 
that exists in America as compared with the U. S. S. R. If I 
have offended anybody I hope you will forgive me. (Laugh¬ 
ter.) 

Stalin: Is there a system of State insurance of workers 
in America? 

A Delegate: There is no system of State insurance of 
workers in America. 

Coyle: In the majority of states compensation is paid 
for accidents during employment and the maximum of 30 
per cent of the loss of earning capacity is paid. This is in the 
majority of states. The compensation is paid by the private 
firms in whose enterprises the accident occurred. But the 
law demands that compensation shall be paid. 

Stalin : Is there State insurance against unemployment in 
America? 

A Delegate: No. The funds for insurance against 
unemployment might satisfy from 80 to 100,000 unemployed 
in all states. 

Coyle: There is insurance (not government insurance) 
against accidents during employment but there is no insurance 
against sickness or old age. The insurance fund is made up 


55 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 

of contributions from the workers. As a matter of fact the 
fund is provided by the workers themselves, because if the 
workers did not organize these funds they would receive 
higher wages and as these funds are established in agreement 
with the employers the workers receive a smaller wage. As 
a matter of fact, the employers contribute only a very small 
proportion of the fund, about 10 per cent. Almost the whole 
of it is made up by the workers. 

Stalin: I think the comrades will be interested to learn 
that in the U. S. S. R. more than 800 million roubles per 
annum are appropriated for workers’ insurance. It will not 
be superfluous to add also that our workers in all branches of 
industry, in addition to their ordinary money wages, receive 
a supplementary grant of about one-third of the wages paid 
for insurance, social improvements, cultural requirements. 

Question II. How do you explain the absence of 
a special mass workers' party in the United States? 
The bourgeoisie in America have two parties 9 the Re¬ 
publican Party and the Democratic Party. But the 
American workers have no mass party of their own . 
Do not the comrades think that the absence of such a 
mass workers' party even if it were like the British 
Labor Party weakens the working class in its political 
fight against the capitalists? Then again y why do the 
leaders of the Labor movement in America y Green and 
the others } so strongly oppose the establishment of a 
Labor Party in America? 

Brophy: Yes, the leaders did decide that there was no 
necessity for forming such a Party. However, there is a 
minority which considers that such a Party is necessary. 

Conditions in America at the present time are such, as has 
been pointed out already, that the trade union movement is 
extremely weak. The weakness of the trade union move¬ 
ment is to be explained in its turn by the fact that the working 
class at present does not have to fight against the capitalists 





56 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

because the capitalists themselves increase wages and guar¬ 
antee to them satisfactory material conditions. 

Stalin: But it is the skilled workers mainly whose mate¬ 
rial conditions are guaranteed. There is a contradiction here. 
On the one hand it would appear that there is no necessity for 
organization because the workers are provided for. On the 
other hand it is said that the more secure workers, the skilled 
workers, are organized in the trade unions. Thirdly, it would 
appear that the unorganized workers are those least provided 
for, namely, the unskilled workers who most of all stand in 
need of organization. I cannot understand this at all. 

Brophy: Yes. There is a contradiction. But so are 
American political and economic conditions contradictory. 

Brebner: Although the unskilled workers are not or¬ 
ganized, they have the political right to vote, so that if there 
is any discontent the unskilled workers can express this dis¬ 
content by exercising their political right to vote. On the 
other hand the organized workers who belong to trade unions, 
when particularly bad times come, do not turn to their union 
but exercise their vote. Thus the political right to vote com¬ 
pensates for the lack of trade union organization. 

Israels: One of the principal difficulties is the very sys¬ 
tem of election in the United States. Is is not the man for 
whom the majority of the votes of the whole country is cast, 
or even the majority of the votes of any particular class is 
cast, that is elected as President. In every state there is an 
electoral college; every state has a certain number of electors 
who participate in the election of the President. To be 
elected, the candidate must obtain 51 per cent of the votes. 
If there were 3 or 4 parties no one ^ndidate would be 
elected and the election of the President would have to be 
transferred to the Congress. This is an argument against 
forming a third Party. 

The opponents of the third party argue in this way: Don’t 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 


57 


put forward a third candidate because you will split the liberal 
vote and you will prevent the liberal candidate from being 
elected. 

Stalin: But Senator LaFollette in his time was creating 
a third bourgeois party. It follows then that the third party 
will not split votes if it is a bourgeois party, but it may split 
votes if it is a labor party. 

Davis: I do not regard the fact mentioned by the pre¬ 
vious speaker as a fundamental one. I think the most impor¬ 
tant point is the following. I will quote the example of the 
city in which I live. During the election campaign the rep¬ 
resentative of a certain party gives the trade union leader 
an important job in connection with the campaign and places 
certain funds at his disposal, which he uses for his own pur¬ 
pose. In this way he obtains a high prestige connected with 
his job. It turns out, therefore, that the leaders of the trade 
union support one or the other of the bourgeois parties. Nat¬ 
urally, when there is any talk of forming a third party, a 
labor party, these labor leaders refuse to do anything in the 
matter. They argue that if a third party were formed there 
would be a split in the trade union movement. 

Douglas: The fact that only skilled workers are organ¬ 
ized in trade unions is due principally to the fact that in 
order to be able to form a union a man must have money and 
be will off, because the entrance fees are high and the un¬ 
skilled worker cannot afford to pay. Moreover, the unskilled 
workers is under the constant danger of being thrown out 
of work if he attempts to organize. The unskilled workers 
can be organized only with the active aid of the skilled 
workers. 

In the majority of cases this aid is not forthcoming and 
this is one of the principal obstacles to the organization of 
the unskilled workers. The principal means by which the 
workers can defend their rights are political means. This 
in my opinion is the principal reason why the unskilled work- 










$8 QUESTIONS ANt) ANSWERS 

ers are unorganized. I consider the economic condition the 
principal factor in the unorganized state of the unskilled 
workers in the political and industrial fields. I must point 
to a special feature of the American electoral system. The 
direct primary election, in which any man may get to the 
election booth, declare himself a democrat or a republican 
and cast his vote. I am convinced that Gompers could not 
keep the workers on a non-partisan political program if he 
did not have the argument of the direct primary. He always 
told the workers that if they wished to act politically, they 
could join either of the existing two political parties, get the 
responsible positions in them and command influence. With 
this argument Gompers managed to keep the workers away 
from the idea of organizing the working class and of forming 
a Labor Party. 

Question III. How do you explain that on the 
question of recognizing the U. S. S. R. the leaders of 
the American Federation of Labor are more reactionary 
than many bourgeois? How do you 1 explain that bour¬ 
geois like Mr. Borah and others are in favor of recog¬ 
nizing the U. S . S. R. y while American labor leaders 
like Gompers and Green have conducted and still con¬ 
duct reactionary propaganda against the recognition of 
the first \worhers’ Republic> against the recognition of 
the U . S . S . R.? How do you explain that even a 
reactionary like the late President of the United States 
Woodrow Wilson was able to “greet” Soviet Russia y 
while Green and other leaders of the American Feder¬ 
ation of Labor wish to be more reactionary than the 
capitalists? Here is the text of the “greeting” Wood- 
row Wilson sent to the Soviet Congress in Russia in 
March y 1918 y at the time that the troops of the German 
Kaiser were marching against Soviet Leningrad: 

May I not take advantage of the meeting of the Congress of the 
Soviets to express the sincere sympathy which the people of the United 
States feel for the Russian people at this moment when Germany 
moves its military forces into your country to interrupt and turn back 


TO AMERICAN TRADE UNIONISTS 59 

the whole struggle for freedom and substitute the wishes of Germany 
for the purpose of the people of Russia? 

Although the Government of the United States is, unhappily, not 
now in a position to render the direct and effective aid it would wish 
to render, I beg to assure the people of Russia through the Congress 
that the Government of the United States will avail itself of every 
opportunity to secure for Russia once more complete sovereignty and 
independence in her own affairs and full restoration to her great 
role in the life of Europe and the modern world. 

The whole heart of the people of the United States is with the people 
of Russia in the attempt to free themselves forever from outocratic 
government and become the masters of their own life. \?ravda y 
No. 50, March 16, 1918.] 

Can we regard it as normal when the leaders of the 
American Federation of Labor desire to be more re¬ 
actionary than reactionary Wilson? 

Brophy: I cannot precisely explain the reason but I 
think that the leaders of the American Federation of Labor 
are opposed to the recognition of Soviet Russia for the very 
same reason that the American Federation of Labor is not 
affiliated to the Amsterdam International. I think it is due 
to the peculiar philosophy of the American workers and to 
the difference in the economic conditions of the American 
workers as compared with the European workers. 

Stalin: But as far as I know the American Federation 
of Labor does not object to the recognition of Italy or Poland 
where Fascism reigns. 

Brophy: By quoting the example of Poland and Italy 
where there are Fascist governments you explain the reason 
for the non-recognition of the U. S. S. R. by America. The 
hostile attitude towards the U. S. S. R. is explained by the 
unpleasantness which the Communists at home cause the Amer¬ 
ican labor leaders. 

Dunn: The argument used by the last speaker—that the 
labor leaders cannot recognize the U. S, S. R* because they 














60 


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 

cannot get on with the Communists at home is not convincing 
because they preached the non-recognition of the U. S. S. R. 
before the American Communist Party was organized. The 
principal reason is that the leaders of the American Federa¬ 
tion of Labor are opposed to everything in the nature of 
Socialism. In this they are encouraged by the capitalists who 
have their own organization, called the National Civic Feder¬ 
ation, which does its utmost to rouse American society against 
Socialism in any form. This organization opposed the posi¬ 
tion taken by Ivy Lee who advocates the development of 
commercial relations between American and the U. S. S. R. 
The leaders of this organization say: “How can we main¬ 
tain order among our own working class when liberals begin 
to talk like this?” The National Civic Federation is an 
organization of a group of capitalists who have invested a 
large sum of money in it and who control it. It should be 
mentioned that the vice-president of this reactionary organiza¬ 
tion is Matthew Woll, the vice-president of the American 
Federation of Labor. 

Brophy: The explanations regarding the reactionary 
character of the labor leaders that have been made here are 
inadequate. We must look deeper. The presence of the 
American delegation in the U. S. S. R. is the best reply, and 
is evidence of the sympathy of a section of the American 
workers to the workers of the Soviet Union. I think that 
the opinion of the leaders of the American Federation of 
Labor in regard to the U. S. S. R. does not differ from the 
opinion of the majority of the working class in America. 
The position of the majority of the working class in regard 
to the U. S. S. R. is to be explained by the remoteness from 
the U. S. S. R. The working class of America is not inter¬ 
ested in international affairs and the influence of the bour¬ 
geoisie on the working class of America makes itself felt very 
Strongly in regard to its attitude towards the U. S. S. R. 









Three announcements of interest follow 










Books on Soviet Russia 

RUSSIA AFTER TEN YEARS—Report of the First American 

Trade Union Delegation to Soviet Russia Pafer .50} Cloth $1.00 

RUSSIA TODAY—Report of the British Trade Union Delegation 

To Soviet Russia. 125 

TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD—John Reed. .Cloth 1.50 

WHITHER RUSSIA—Towards Capitalism or Socialism—Leon 

Trotsky . cloth 1.50 

BROKEN EARTH—The Russian Village Today — Maurice 

Hindus . Cloth 2.00 

EDUCATION IN SOVIET RUSSIA—Scott Nearing. Pafer .50 

Cloth 1.50 

RUSSIAN POETRY—An Anthology—Babette Deutsch and 

Avrahm Yarmolinsky. Cloth 2.25 

MODERN RUSSIAN COMPOSERS—Leonid Sabaneyeff. .Cloth 2.75 

THE THEATER AND CINEMA OF SOVIET RUSSIA— 

J. Huntley Carter . Cloth 6.00 

ROMANCE OF NEW RUSSIA—Magdaleine Marx. Cloth 1.00 

RUSSIA IN 1926—Wm. Z. Foster. 2 5 

THE TENTH YEAR—The Rise and Achievements of Soviet 

Russia (1917-1927)—J. Louis Engdahl.io 

GLIMPSES OF SOVIET RUSSIA—Scott Nearing.io 

RUSSIA TURNS EAST—Scott Nearing.io 

RUSSIA’S PATH TO COMMUNISM—Gregory Zinoviev.25 

BOLSHEVISM—Some Questions Answered—Jos. Stalin.25 

All These Can Be Secured Thru 


THE WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 

39 East 125th Street New York, N. Y. 


Books on Trade Unions 

TRADE UNIONS IN AMERICA—Wm. Z. Foster—Jas. P. 

Cannon—Earl R. Browder .$ .10 

THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS 

A. Bimba . Cloth 2.75 

LEFT WING UNIONISM—David J. Saposs . Cloth 1.60 

THE LEFT WING IN THE GARMENT UNIONS—Margaret 

Larkin.10 

WHAT’S WRONG IN THE CARPENTER’S UNION.10 

AMALGAMATION—Jay Fox .15 

THE RAILROADER’S NEXT STEP—Wm. Z. Foster.25 

THE WATSON-PARKER LAW—Wm. Z. Foster.15 

WRECKING THE LABOR BANKS—Wm. Z. Foster.25 

THE THREAT TO THE LABOR MOVEMENT—Wm. F. 

Dunne .15 

LABOR LIEUTENANTS OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM— 

Jay Lovestone.15 

COMPANY UNIONS—Robert W. Dunn.25 

CLASS STRUGGLE vs. CLASS COLLABORATION—E. R. 

Browder .10 

CLASS COLLABORATION—How It Works—Bertram D. Wolfe .10 
THE WOMAN WORKER AND THE TRADE UNIONS— 

Theresa Wolf son . Cloth 1.75 

THE BRITISH STRIKE—Wm. F. Dunne.10 

THE GENERAL STRIKE AND GENERAL BETRAYAL— 

John Pepper .25 

THE GREAT STEEL STRIKE—Wm. Z. Foster. Cloth .60 

PASSAIC—Albert Weisbord . 15 

THE PASSAIC TEXTILE STRIKE—Mary Heaton Vorse.35 

ORGANIZE THE UNORGANIZED—Wm. Z. Foster.10 

LENIN AND THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT — A. 

Losovsky . 15 

THE WORLD TRADE UNION MOVEMENT—A. Losovsky. . .50 

WORLD LABOR UNITY — Scott Nearing. 10 

THE MOVEMENT FOR WORLD TRADE UNION UNITY— 

Tom Bell. 15 

All These Can Be Secured Thru 

THE WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS 

39 East 125th Street New York, N. Y. 












































NEWS 


FROM TRADE UNIONS 
FROM SOVIET RUSSIA 


npHE DAILY WORKER is a daily, sure 
source of accurate labor news. From the 
shop and trade unions, from dependable labor news 
channels of all kinds, the Daily Worker receives 
and presents news to give American workers infor¬ 
mation on every event of interest to Labor. 

From Soviet Russia—special correspondence by 
cable and mail—and worker correspondence from 
the fields, factories and mines serves to inform our 
readers of the progress of the world’s first workers’ 
government. 

These are only two of the outstanding features 
of many that make 


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