Nikolai Bukharin

Evgenii Preobrazhensky*

The ABC of Communism

Written: 1920
Source: Bukharin and Preobrazhensky, The ABC of Communism, Penguin Books, 1969
First Published in English: 1922. This edition available as a PDF.
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive ( 2001.
Transcription/Markup: Mathias Bismo



Part One: Theoretical - Growth and Decay of Capitalism

Introduction: Our Programme

§ 1. What is a programme?
§ 2. What was our previous programme?
§ 3. Why was it necessary to draw up a new programme?
§ 4. The meaning of our programme?
§ 5. The scientific character of our programme?

I. The Capitalistic Social Order

§ 6. Commodity economy
§ 7. Monopolization of the means of production by the capitalist class
§ 8. Wage labour
§ 9. Conditions of production under capitalism
§ 10. The exploitation of labour power
§ 11. Capital
§ 12. The capitalist state
§ 13. Fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system

II. The Development of the Capitalistic Social Order

§ 14. The struggle between small-scale and large-scale production
§ 15. The dependent position of the proletariat; the reserve army of labour, women's labour and child labour
§ 16. The anarchy of production; competition; crises
§ 17. The development of capitalism and class. The intensification of the class struggle
§ 18. The concentration and centralization of capital as causal factors of communism

III. Communism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

§ 19. Characteristics of the communist system. Production under communism
§ 20. Distribution in the communist system
§ 21. Administration in the communist system
§ 22. The development of productive forces in the communist system. (The advantages of communism)
§ 23. The dictatorship of the proletariat
§ 24. The conquest of political power
§ 25. The Communist Party and the classes of capitalist society

IV. How the Development of Capitalism Led to the Communist Revolution (Imperialism, the War, and the Collapse of Capitalism)

§ 26. Financial capital
§ 27. Imperialism
§ 28. Militarism
§ 29. The imperialist war of 1914 to 1918
§ 30. State capitalism and the classes
§ 31. The collapse of capitalism, and the working class
§ 32. The civil war
§ 33. The forms of civil war and its costs
§ 34. Chaos or communism

V. The Second and the Third International

§ 35. Internationalsm of the workers' movement essential to the victory of the communist revolution
§ 36. The collapse of the Second International and its causes
§ 37. The watchwords "National Defence" and "Pacifism"
§ 38. Jingo socialists
§ 39. The Centre
§ 40. The Third International


Part Two: Practical - The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Upbuilding of Communism

Introduction: The Conditions of Communist Activity in Russia

§ 41. The international situation of Russia
§ 42. Large-scale industry in Russia
§ 43. The disastrous legacy of imperialist war
§ 44. The civil war and the struggle with international imperialism
§ 45. The petty-bourgeois character of Russia, the lack of extensive organizatory experience on the part of the proletariat, etc.

VI. The Soviet Power

§ 46. The Soviet Power as a form of proletarian dictatorship
§ 47. Proletarian democracy and bourgeois democracy
§ 48. The class character and the transitoryness of the proletarian dictatorship
§ 49. Rights of the workers under bourgeois democracy and under the Soviet Power
§ 50. The equality of the workers, irrespective of sex, creed and race
§ 51. Parliamentarism and the Soviet system
§ 52. The army and the Soviet Power
§ 53. The leading role of the proletariat
§ 54. Bureaucracy and the Soviet Power

VII. Communism and the Problem of Nationality

§ 55. The oppression of subject nationalities
§ 56. The unity of the proletariat
§ 57. The causes of national enmity
§ 58. The equal rights of the nations and the right to self-determination; federation
§ 59. Who expresses the "Will of the Nation"?
§ 60. Antisemitism and the proletariat

VIII. The Programme of the Communists in Relation to Army Organization

§ 61. Our old programme, and the question of war in a socialist state
§ 62. The need for the Red Army; its class composition
§ 63. Universal military training of the workers
§ 64. Self-imposed discipline versus discipline imposed from above
§ 65. The political commissars and the communist groups
§ 66. Structure of the Red Army
§ 67. The officers of the Red Army
§ 68. Should army officers be elected, or should they be appointed from above?
§ 69. The Red Army is provisional

IX. Proletarian Justice

§ 70. The administration of justice in bourgeois society
§ 71. The election of the judiciary by the workers
§ 72. Unified popular law-courts
§ 73. Revolutionary tribunals
§ 74. Proletarian penal methods
§ 75. Proletarian justice in the future

X. Communism and Education

§ 76. The school under the bourgeois regime
§ 77. The destructive tasks of communism
§ 78. The school as an instrument of communist education and enlightenment
§ 79. Preparation for school life
§ 80. The unified labour school
§ 81. Specialist education
§ 82. The university
§ 83. Soviet schools and party schools
§ 84. Extra-scholastic instruction
§ 85. New workers on behalf of enlightenment
§ 86. The treasures of art and science made available to the workers
§ 87. The state propaganda of communism
§ 88. Popular education under tsarism and under the Soviet Power

XI. Communism and Religion

§ 89. Why religion and communism are incompatible
§ 90. Separation of the church from the state
§ 91. Separation of the school from the church
§ 92. Struggle with the religious prejudice of the masses

XII. The Organization of Industry

§ 93. The expropriation of the bourgeoise and the proletarian nationalization of large-scale industry
§ 94. Our goal, the development of productivity
§ 95. The purposive organization of economic life
§ 96. The development of economic cooperation with other lands
§ 97. The organization of small-scale industry, handicraft, and home industry
§ 98. The organization of industry and trade unions
§ 99. The utilization of labour power
§ 100. Comradely labour discipline
§ 101. The employment of bourgeois experts
§ 102. The union of production and science

XIII. The Organization of Agriculture

§ 103. Agrarian conditions in Russia prior to the revolution
§ 104. Agrarian conditions in Russia subsequent to the revolution
§ 105. Why does the future belong to large-scale socialist agriculture?
§ 106. Soviet agriculture
§ 107. Urban and suburban agriculture (market gardening)
§ 108. Communes and artels
§ 109. Cooperative farming
§ 110. Agricultural cooperation
§ 111. The state utilization of abandoned areas; the mobilization of agricultural experts; lending stations; improvement to the land; land settlements
§ 112. State assistance to peasant agriculture
§ 113. The union of manufacturing industry with agriculture
§ 114. The tactics of the Communist Party in relation to the peasants

XIV. The Organization of Distribution

§ 115. The abolition of private trade
§ 116. The apparatus of distribution
§ 117. Cooperation in former days
§ 118. Contemporary cooperation
§ 119. Other organs of distribution

XV. The Organization of Banks and Monetary Circulation

§ 120. The Nationalization of the banks and the unified people's bank. The bank as a central book-keeping establishment
§ 121. Money and the dying-out of the monetary system

XVI. Finance in the Proletarian State

§ 122. The state as a parasitic apparatus
§ 123. The proletarian state as a productive apparatus
§ 124. The budget of the proletarian state

XVII. The Housing Problem

§ 125. The housing problem in capitalist society
§ 126. The housing problem in the proletarian state

XVIII. Labour Protection and Social Welfare Work

§ 127. What is labour protection?
§ 128. The chief fields of labour protection
§ 129. What has been done in Russia as regards labour protection?
§ 130. What is social welfare work?
§ 131. The chief provinces of social welfare work
§ 132. Social welfare work in Russia
§ 133. Other measures for the improvement of the condition of the working class
§ 134. Further tasks of the party

XIX. Public Hygiene

§ 135. The need for the special protection of public health
§ 136. The nationalization of medical institutions
§ 137. The labour duty of medical workers
§ 138. Immediate tasks in the domain of public hygiene

Appendix: Programme of the Communist Party of Russia


Evgenii Alekseevich Preobrazhensky (1886-1937)

Joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party in 1903 where he quickly became a part of the Bolshevik-wing. Played no significant part until he met Bukharin with whom he wrote The ABC of Communism. Shortly after he joined the editorial board of Pravda, and in 1920 he was elected to the secretariat of the party central committee. Supported war-communism and spoke about the depreciation of the currency as a factor leading to the abolishment of classes. Resisted NEP and was removed from the secretariat. In 1922 he criticized the attempts to create greater equality in the countryside, and this led to his break with Bukharin. After Lenin's death a signator of the "Declaration of the 46" which definitely made him a part of the opposition, though without any important position. Exiled to Siberia in 1927, but was re-admitted to the party in 1929. Arrested in 1935 or 1936 and died in prison, not subject to any of the Moscow Trials.