Ban on factions in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
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In 1920 Lenin became concerned about diverging views within the Russian Communist Party. For example, the Democratic Centralists had been set up in March 1919 and by 1921 Alexander Shlyapnikov had set up the Workers' Opposition. Lenin regarded these as distractions within the party when unity was needed in order to neutralise the major crises of 1921, such as the famines, and Kronstadt Rebellion. As Lenin stated:
"all members of the Russian Communist Party who are in the slightest degree suspicious or unreliable ... should be got rid of"
Members of the party were defined as a split if they did not toe the party line after party policy was concluded by the Central Committee and if they showed dissent to that policy. If accused of factionalism members would subsequently be expelled from the Party, such as Workers' Truth in December 1923. Leon Trotsky and Grigory Zinoviev were also later expelled on November 12 1927.
Supporters of Trotsky sometimes claim that this ban was intended to be temporary. But there is no language in the discussion at the 10th Party Congress suggesting that it was intended to be temporary (Protokoly 523-548). A sense of a deficit in democracy was present in calls by Trotsky and The Declaration of 46 echos in 1923, but more significantly the autumn purges of 1921. Every Communist was subpoenaed in front of a purge commission and forced to justify their credentials as a revolutionary, or face being dubbed as a "careerist" or a "class enemy". (i.e. those who joined the Bolshevik Party only because they were now being painted as the "winning" party) Lenin argued this was necessary as to not cause the direction of the revolution to be deviated from its original aims. As T.H. Rigby wrote it would be near inconceivable to believe that opposition was nonexistent amongst the 25% of the party that were deemed "unworthy".
- The Russian Revolution, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Page 102
- T.Fiehn, C.Corin Communist Russia under Lenin and Stalin (2005)
- Rigby, Communist Party Membership
- The Principles of Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship Trotsky's work at marxists.org.
- Bureaucratism and Factional Groups Trotsky's work at marxists.org.