V. I. Lenin

Letter To The Fifth

All-Russia Congress Of Trade Unions[1]

Written: 17 Deptember, 1922
First Published: Published in Trud on September 18, 1922 and in Pravda No. 210 on September 19, 1922; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 368-369
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

September 17, 1922

Dear Comrades,

This is the first time since my long illness that I am able to address a Congress, even though in writing. Permit me, therefore, to confine myself to expressing to you my cordial greetings, and to a few brief remarks on the position and tasks of our industry and of our Republic. Our position is particularly difficult because we lack the means to restore our fixed assets, i.e., machinery, tools, buildings, etc.; and it is precisely that part of industry known as heavy industry which is the main basis of socialism. In capitalist countries these fixed assets are usually restored by means of loans. We are refused loans until we restore the property of the capitalists and landowners; but this we cannot and will not do. The only road open to us is the long and extremely arduous road of slowly accumulating our savings, of raising taxes in order to be able gradually to repair our destroyed railways, machinery, buildings, etc. So far, we are the only country in the world in which the working peasants, under the leadership of the workers, are building socialism, flatly rejecting the leadership of the bour-geoisie who, under cover of florid phrases about democracy, liberty, etc., are actually consolidating the private owner-ship of the capitalists and landowners and establishing the rule of a handful of rich men who have divided the entire globe among themselves and are fighting one another for its redivision, for the enslavement of hundreds of millions of people in the weaker and more backward nations.

As long as we remain in the field alone the task of restoring our economy will be an extremely heavy burden on our shoulders. All the peasants and all the workers will have to exert themselves to the very utmost; our machinery of state, which is still working very inefficiently, must be improved and made less costly so that we may improve the conditions of the working people, and, to some extent at least, restore our economy, which was destroyed by the imperialist and civil wars.

Let every politically conscious peasant and worker who may become despondent over our hard conditions of life, or over the extremely slow progress of our work of state construction, remember the recent past, when the capital-ists and landowners were in power. This will give him new zest in his work. The only way to save the workers’ and peasants’ rule is to make every effort to intensify and improve our work in all fields.

With comradely greetings,

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)


[1] The Filth All-Russia Congress of Trade Unions was held in Moscow on September 17-22, 1922. It was attended by 970 delegates representing 5,100,000 trade union members. The Congress elected Lenin an honorary member of its presidium. Lenin's letter was read at the first sitting on September 17, 1922. The Congress sent Lenin greetings in reply.