Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Message on the Eve of 2nd Anniversary of First Republic of Ghana
June 30, 1962

Tomorrow is Republic Day — the second anniversary of the glorious birth of Tour new nation as a Republic. On this occasion, however, our celebrations will be a somewhat limited scale and they will not include the usual formal ceremonies like the Military Parades, which I know you all enjoy. I hope that the provision of permanent stands at the Black Star Square will be completed in the next few months, and that it will again become the scene of our national functions and parades.

I have come to the Studio on the eve of this occasion to salute you, and to share with you some thoughts about our nation. Tonight, there will be general merrymaking in the cities, towns and villages throughout Ghana. It is only right that we should rejoice because we know that Republic Day signifies for us the day of real independence — the day when our nation became really free and sovereign.

The past year has not been easy for any of us. We have had our share of the general slump in world prices, and this affected our main source of income — cocoa. As a result, all of us have had to tighten our belts in an effort to prevent any disruption of our economic life. I am glad to say that we have succeeded in this regard and today, our economy is strong and as buoyant as ever.

Many attempts have been made by our detractors to misrepresent our intentions and motives, to put obstacles in our way, and to hamper the realization of our national objectives and progress. On every occasion, however, our people have risen like one man and foiled these attempts. I do not propose to make any specific mention of any particular occasions, but you are all aware of the events which led to the detention of the people, a majority of whom have recently been released. All of us now have the opportunity to help in re-building our nation.

We have a double role to play. Our first duty is to build Ghana as a first-class nation. This demands the greatest effort on our part to ensure the implementation of our policies at home. At the same time, Ghana has an over-riding duty to keep flying the banner of the national struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa. These are the two paramount national obligations which we must discharge.

In fulfilment of our promise to continue the struggle until the whole of Africa is liberated. Ghana has consistently been in the fore-front of the struggle. This has earned us the enmity and hatred of those countries which have a vested interest in colonialism. Notwithstanding this, we remain undeterred and we are ever determined to pursue this struggle, until victory is won. Africa is our birth-right and no sacrifice can be considered too great for us to bear in order to make her free, respected and restored to her rightful place in the world.

As I speak, Ruanda and Urundi are on the eve of independence. This is a great thing for Africa, and our own celebrations here are doubly reinforced when we consider that our efforts in the interest of our brothers elsewhere in Africa constantly bear fruit. When some months ago, we met freedom fighters from Ruanda-Urundi at the Kwame Nkrumah Institute of Ideological Studies, we knew their independence was near. We take this opportunity, therefore, to offer our hearty congratulations to our brothers in Ruanda-Urundi. In the name of African unity, we wish them success in their new life.

Five years ago when we called the first Conference of Independent African States, only eight African nations were free. By tomorrow, that number will rise to thirty one. This is a tremendous achievement for Africa. But the struggle still continues. Africa will indeed be free and united. I referred earlier to our two paramount national obligations, but I must say that there is a third duty which is of equal importance. It is the part that we can play in the struggle for world peace. We, as a nation, together with other African countries, have a highly vested interest in peace. We need peace to enable us to develop and repair the damage done to us through centuries of imperialist rule and colonialist exploitation. We cannot therefore afford the risk of another world war.

The Accra Assembly which has just ended is an eloquent testimony to the desire of mankind for peace, and I feel sure that its results will be welcomed by all those who are truly interested in peace and in welfare of mankind. There has recently been a certain amount of loose and irresponsible talk about the state of our reserves. It is true that owing to our programme of industrialisation and mechanization of agriculture we have had to use part of our reserve to finance the purchase of industrial plant and equipment. Even so, our reserves now stand at over seventy million pounds sterling, which by any consideration and having regard to all our circumstances are quite substantial. Friends and countrymen, we look forward to the future with courage and confidence — confidence in ourselves and confidence in our party and Government.

No one who looks back to the condition of our country as it was five or six years ago, can fail to realise the tremendous achievement that has taken place in every sphere of our national life. Tema Harbour, constructed at a cost of twenty-seven million pounds, which was recently opened, is still being expanded. The new township which has already cost over ten million pounds is also being developed as a first-class modern city. More houses have been built and basic services such as roads and water have been provided in all parts of the country.

All these developments have been provided for, entirely from our own resources. The national progress and prosperity of Ghana is the concern of every citizen. We must, each one of us, play our part to make a success of our national programme. Let us be determined here and now that we shall, by our own exertions, keep Ghana on the road to prosperity and strength. The days are gone-gone forever —when we were prevented from playing any role in the affairs of the Government and when we thought, therefore, that we had no responsibility for the welfare of the country. We now have a responsibility and we owe it to posterity to discharge it faithfully and well.
I wish you all happy Republic Day!

The Academy of Sciences Dinner Addressed by President Kwame Nkrumah of the First Republic of Ghana
 November 30, 1963

First of all, I would like to welcome all those who have come from overseas to take part in our anniversary celebration; many of whom are old friends. We are also glad to have other guests among us, who are no strangers to me. In particular, I would like to say how appreciative we are to Sir William Slater for accepting our invitation to come and give this year’s anniversary address, and for having chosen a topic so stimulating and so appropriate — appropriate, because we are embarking on a real agricultural and industrial revolution in this country. Our Seven-Year-Plan, which will soon be published and launched, is keyed to the development of our industry and agriculture. I hope that all of you who have come to join us in these celebrations will enjoy your visit.

Most people usually expect after-dinner speeches to be made in a somewhat light and frivolous vein. But at a dinner for an Academy of Sciences, surrounded as I am by so many serious-minded scholars, scientists and research workers, I hesitate to treat you to the trite remarks that characterize after-dinner speeches. On the other hand, I don’t want you to feel like the Mathematician-Scientist who breathlessly burst into a room, shouting excitedly: "Minus four, minus three, minus two, minus one — I’ve done it! I’ve recited the negative numbers!"

It is fitting on this Fourth Anniversary of the Academy of Sciences that we should consider how far we have been able to carry out our objectives and make our plans accordingly for the future development of the Academy.

The Academy of Sciences, as we know it today, is the result of a happy merger between the Academy of Learning and the National Research Council. Many of you here will recall that both these institutions were inaugurated by the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit in Ghana in 1959. At my request, the Duke of Edinburgh accepted the invitation to become President of the Ghana Academy of Learning for the first two years of its existence. In his inaugural address, the Duke stated that if the Academy carried out its duties and functions with enlightenment and integrity, it would not be long before its influence was felt throughout Ghana and, indeed, throughout Africa. This challenge applies with equal force to the Ghana Academy of Sciences which has replaced these two institutions. We are determined to fulfil that prophecy.

The National Research Council, the second parent of the Academy of Sciences, was established by us in the determination that scientific research should take its proper place in our count1y’s development.

Recently, however, we felt that the then existing situation in which the Ghana Academy of Learning and the National Research Council operated separately was unsatisfactory. There was too much duplication of effort. The two bodies were complementary to each other, in that while the National Research Council was responsible for the more practical research programmes, the Academy of Learning was engaged mainly in fundamental research.

We decided that better results would be achieved, if these two bodies were joined together in a common endeavour.

The Academy of Sciences was created, therefore, as a new and dynamic body to assume full responsibility for the co-ordination of all aspects of research and the promotion of scientific pursuits and learning. In this way, we have combined in one institution, the fundamental academic functions originally envisaged for the Academy of Learning and the applied scientific research so vital for our national development. We expect that from this amalgamation will grow the strength and power which will push us faster in the development of the sciences and literary arts.

We do not however conceive the functions of the Academy as passive, or as the mere collection and compilation of date from our universities and research institutions. The Academy is expected to design and carry out research programmes, related to the life, changes and growth of our society. For this reason, the Academy has under it about twenty Research Institutes among which are the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, the Cocoa Research Institute at Tafo, the Building Research Institute at Kumasi and the Agricultural Research Institute at Kwadaso. There is even a research project attached to the Academy which is doing vigorous research into Ghanaian herbal and botanic medicine and natural therapies.

It is in these Institutes that the Academy, assisted by a team of competent scientists and research workers, is tackling some of the problems of pure and applied science in Ghana.

We expect that those who have been elected as Fellows of the Academy will justify their selection by their work and by assisting in the solution of some of the many problems facing us in both applied and pure research. Facilities have been made available in our Universities for Fellows to carry out their work. I would suggest, in this connection, that an annual register should be kept showing the work in progress and the work completed by Fellows. We believe not only in pure research as a legitimate endeavour, but we also attach great importance to applied research. Modern science has taught us enough, and has already given us enough, to be able to tackle our agricultural, industrial and economic problems. Modern science has taught us enough to be able to assist us in solving the n practical problems of education, agriculture, medicine, engineering and industry.

There is no need for us to go through all the long and complicated stages of the development of science which other countries have gone through in the past. We are, as it were, jumping the centuries, using the knowledge and experience already available to us. What others have taken hundreds of years to do, we must achieve in a generation. It is useless to say that we must move through the stages of coal, oil and gas to electricity. Ghana is already in the era of electricity. We have jumped from coal and kerosene to electricity within a generation. We are now face to face with Atomic energy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Academy can and must accept a positive and active role in the life and development of our nation.
A full-size Secretariat has been established in the Academy, and its existence must facilitate the work and the expansion of the institutes directly concerned with research. The Academy must show initiative in identifying research problems and in suggesting research priorities of national significance.

It is not possible to talk of the uses of science nowadays without our enthusiasm being dampened by the use to which science has been put for baneful purposes. I have many times stressed the fact that humanity has a vested interest in peace. The loss of peace in modern times would mean the same as the end of humanity. Except we can have the world without the bomb, or we can have the bomb without the world, but we cannot have both. Unless science is only applied for peaceful ends, the practice of science itself might soon cease. For there would be no scientist; and incidentally there would be no philosophers and politicians.

Our Academy of Sciences has already established contact with a number of Academies of Sciences in other countries. I hope that through such contacts, our scientists will unite their efforts with scientists elsewhere in the positive and beneficial use of science and help to make war through science impossible on our planet.

The importance of the study of sciences in our own educational programmes cannot be emphasised enough. Our need for trained scientists of all kinds and for men with technological skill is fundamental to the socialist society which we are committed to create. Only the mastery and unremitting application of science and technology can guarantee human welfare and human happiness. Socialism without science is empty. To achieve socialism, the emphasis in our educational system must be shifted from purely literary concern to science and technology.

New polytechnics are being established in the country and existing ones are being expanded. Special arrangements have also been made for the training of science teachers with the rapidity necessary to staff our schools, colleges and institutions.

It is the aim of the Academy of Sciences to popularise the sciences and to   make the mass of our people science-conscious.

It is significant here that a Science Museum will shortly be established in this country under the auspices of the Academy of Sciences and will be located in Accra. I am sure such a museum will inspire and excite interest in science and technology in both young and old. I am sure that it will help to foster a spirit of wonder and exploration in all who visit it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, A socialist society can only be maintained by people who have a correct understanding of nature, and who hold within their grasp, the knowledge and the means to master and transform nature for the common good of all.

We have the resources to create a better life for our people. What we need is widespread conviction in the correctness of our ideology, the will and the effort to mobilise our intellectual, social and material resources in a dynamic effort to establish the just and the prosperous society.

It is for this reason that this Academy must not become purely honorific, a social club in which members put one another on the back when they meet and engage in endless debates and arguments. Rather, this Academy must become a vital force and the intellectual and scientific centre of the vigour of our nation, committed entirely to the purposes of our society, and bending its talents to the realisation of those purposes.

I am happy to be able to say that already, a pharmaceutical chemist in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has succeeded in extracting from Ghanaian plants, a new alkaloid which shows great possibilities of being more efficient for anaesthetics than the alkaloids now used for surgical operation purposes.

But it is towards this sort of achievement, in my opinion, that our energies should be directed. I am not concerned with plans for exploring the moon, Mars or any of the other planets. They are too far from me anyway. My concern is here on earth where so much needs to be done to make it a place fit for human effort, endeavour and happiness. Science must be directed towards fighting and overcoming poverty and disease and in raising the standard of life of the people of the earth; its aims must be for the promotion of peace and, through peace, the happiness of mankind. Unless science is used for the betterment of mankind, I am at a loss to understand the reason for it at all. It does not require a clever brain to destroy life. In fact any fool can do that. But it takes brains — and extraordinarily brilliant brains to create conditions for human happiness and to make human life worth living. The Ghana Academy of Sciences belongs to our society. It belongs to our African revolution. It is one of the valuable organs for our society, and it must work to assist and improve our general welfare. The Academy can justify its status in our society only by the contribution which it makes to the progress and development of the nation.

Political independence is only a means to an end. Its value lies in its being used to create new economic, social and cultural conditions which colonialism and imperialism have denied us for so long.

In Africa today, there is a general agreement that our political independence can only be safeguarded within the framework of a union government of Africa. Our scholars and scientists have a right and an obligation to assist in the creation of this African Continental Union. It is within that union alone that the African genius can thrive in complete freedom, unshackled by imperialism and neo-colonialism.

It is my hope that one day, we shall see one African Academy of Sciences with the regional branches tackling the scientific problems facing us in Africa as a whole. I am convinced that the United Nations and its specialised agencies could achieve better results by working within a federal union government of Africa.

As I have said before, our need for scientists is great. It is encouraging, however; that we have an increasing number of students coming forward for further training in science and technology. Most of these students are already in our universities and polytechnics. We have also increased the number of State scholarships which will enable Ghanaians abroad to qualify in Science, Technology, Medicine and Agriculture. We have over a thousand Ghanaian students in the United Kingdom who have been awarded scholarships to enable them to complete their courses in these scientific subjects. We are extending this scholarship scheme to cover our students in America and in Europe. In addition, over a thousand Ghanaian students are pursuing various scientific studies in the Soviet Union, in China and in other socialist countries.

We can therefore look to the future with nope. Let the Ghana Academy of Science lay firm foundations for the application of science to social needs and development. This will be an inspiration to our young men and women.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, l give you a toast! A toast to the progress of the Ghana Academy of Sciences and to the Fellows of the Academy of Sciences. A toast to the scientists and scholars all over the world. A toast to world peace and eternal friendship among the nations and peoples of the earth.
President Zuma’s New Year Message
Sunday 31 December 2017 - 8:10am
Eyewitness News

Photo: South African President Jacob Zuma has released his New Year's Day message.

JOHANNESBURG - South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday released his New Year message to South African, touching on both the challenges and successes.

In the statement released on Sunday, he touched on the country’s economic woes in 2017, including the rescission, and called for renewed efforts to boost inclusive economic growth.

Improving the quality of life of the South African people, especially the poor and the working class, remains a key priority of government, he said.

“Significant strides” were made in 2017 in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment, Zuma added, failing to touch on South Africa’s rising unemployment further.

“Despite serious challenges on the economic front, together we made substantial progress in providing basic services such as electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, health care, social grants, as well as accessible education.

He also touched on free tertiary higher education for low and middle income families, but again failed to discuss how it would be funded.

Fellow South Africans

We have come to an end of a very eventful and productive year, which we had dedicated to our leader, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo.   

The improvement of the quality of life of our people, especially the poor and the working class, remains a key priority of government, as we work to achieve the type of society that OR Tambo fought for.

In pursuit of this mission, significant strides were made in 2017, in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. 

Despite serious challenges on the economic front, together we made substantial progress in providing basic services such as electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, health care, social grants as well as accessible education.

On the economic front, following a turbulant 2017, we are pleased that we emerged from the technical recession.

The country’s GDP began to show welcome improvements.

In the New Year, we will need to put extra efforts together, to reignite the economy and promote growth and also to make it inclusive and beneficial to all.

The programme of Radical Socio-Economic Transformation will thus be the main focus of government in the year 2018 and it will inform the delivery of our programmes.

Through our Industrial Policy Action Plan and other programmes, South Africa will continue to promote investments particularly in key strategic sectors such as energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the oceans economy, mining and agriculture.

We will also continue to lay a firm foundation for greater growth through our infrastructure rollout programme.

We will also intensify investment in education in 2018.

We have already over the years expanded access to free education for children from poor households.

More than nine million children attend no fee schools, which represents at least 80 percent of our schools. 

We will continue to eliminate mud schools and inappropriate school structures, replacing them with state-of-the-art buildings, especially in rural areas and other neglected communities.

We announced the provision of free higher education for young people at universities and colleges who come from poor households earlier this month.

The intervention must be the beginning of a skills revolution in our country, in pursuit of the radical socio-economic transformation programme. 


We must work harder to build a truly caring society in 2018.

We must work together to eradicate crime, drugs and substance abuse as well as violence against women and children in our communities.

The year 2018 marks the centenary of the late President Nelson Mandela.

We should use the year to celebrate his contribution and promote unity and togetherness in our country.

Let us work together to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Where we disagree, let us do so with dignity and respect and promote unity and cohesion as we build our country together.

As we enjoy our festive holidays, let us do so responsibly, and promote the safety and security of all in our country together.

We also wish the Matric Class of 2017 success as they await their National Senior Certificate results.

We wish you a happy, fruitful and prosperous New Year, 2018! 

I thank you. 

Issued by the Presidency


The delay has fueled suspicions Kabila will try to remove constitutional term limits that forbid him from running again.


KINSHASA - Congolese security forces shot dead two men on Sunday during protests against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down from office, Human Rights Watch said.

Catholic activists had called for protests after Sunday mass, one year after Kabila committed to holding an election to choose his successor by the end of 2017 - an election that has now been delayed until December 2018.

The delay has fueled suspicions Kabila will try to remove constitutional term limits that forbid him from running again. That in turn has raised fears the country will slide back into the kind of civil war that killed millions at the turn of the century.

The two men were killed outside St. Alphonse church in the Matete district of Kinshasa, the capital, according to Ida Sawyer, HRW’s Central Africa director.

Police spokesman Pierrot Mwanamputu denied security forces had used live fire during the protests. “We are operating in the daytime. Everyone is watching us. It’s not the night,” he said.

But a Reuters witness saw two people at a local hospital who had been slightly injured by gunshots in the arm and the leg as they left the St. Joseph church in the Matonge district.

About 50 people were arrested in Kinshasa and at least seven seriously wounded by gunfire, Georges Kapiamba, a human rights activist, said. Another 25 were arrested and three more seriously injured in the southeastern town of Kamina, he said.

Mwanamputu confirmed the police had arrested protesters who had barricaded roads and set tires alight but did not know how many.

At the Paroisse Saint Michel in Kinshasa’s Bandalungwa district, security forces fired teargas into the church, creating panic, opposition leader Vital Kamerhe, who was present at the mass, told Reuters.


The police have banned demonstrations and said that all gatherings of more than five people would be dispersed to ensure public order. Across Kinshasa, police and soldiers searched vehicles and checked passengers’ identifications.

Authorities also on Saturday ordered all internet and SMS services cut until further notice.

At the Notre Dame du Congo cathedral in Kinshasa’s Lingwala district, where opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was attending mass, dozens of police and soldiers blocked the path of more than 100 opposition supporters as they prepared to try to march.

Tshisekedi, however, who had backed the activists’ call to march, left the church in a vehicle, spurring angry shouts from the crowd, which said he was abandoning them.

At another church in the working-class district of Barumbu, a few dozen police officers used teargas and stun grenades against some 300 churchgoers, who waved bibles and sang religious songs as they tried to march, a Reuters witness said.

Some 40 percent of Congo’s population is Roman Catholic and the Church enjoys rare credibility with the public, even though its leadership has not formally backed the protests.
Zimbabwe Vice Presidents Assigned Roles
December 30, 2017
Vice Presidents General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) (L) and Cde Kembo Mohadi
Abigail Mawonde
Herald Correspondent

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday assigned Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) to administer the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs.

Gen Chiwenga’s counterpart Vice President Kembo Mohadi would be in charge of the National Peace and Reconciliation portfolio. The assignments are with immediate effect. Acting Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr Justin Mupamhanga made the announcement in a statement yesterday.

“In terms of Section 99 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe may assign functions to Vice Presidents to assist him or her in the discharge of his or her functions and perform any other functions, including the administration of any Ministry or Department or Act of Parliament,” he said.

“Accordingly, His Excellency the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa, has duly assigned Honourable Vice President General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga to administer the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs. Honourable Vice President Kembo Campbell Dugishi Mohadi will administer the National Peace and Reconciliation portfolio.”

President Mnangagwa flanked by his Vice Presidents General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) (left) and Kembo Mohadi after the pair’s swearing-in ceremony at State House in Harare. —(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Vice Presidents Gen Chiwenga (Rtd) and Mohadi were sworn-in on Thursday, with President Mnangagwa saying their main task was to produce tangible results by overseeing the performances of ministers.

President Mnangagwa has already set the tone for his Government, by indicating that it is no longer business as usual, as there is need to quickly deliver results that would change the economic fortunes of the country.

Speaking after their swearing-in, Gen Chiwenga (Rtd) and Cde Mohadi said they were ready to work hard and help President Mnangagwa realise his vision of an economic turnaround for the benefit of the people.

They took their oaths of office before Chief Justice Luke Malaba at a colourful ceremony attended by their families at State House. Gen Chiwenga (Rtd) and Cde Mohadi are also the Vice Presidents and Second Secretaries of the ruling party, Zanu-PF.
Rally Behind New Government, Chiwenga Urges Nation
January 1, 2018
Tawanda Marwizi
Herald Correspondent

NEWLY-appointed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has urged the nation to rally behind the new Government and pull different capabilities towards national development. The Vice President made these remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Zanu-PF national political commissar Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje at a graduation party for Retired Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner Oliver Chibage and his family in Domboshava over the weekend.

“I call upon all of you to rally behind our new Government and to pull our capabilities towards national development so we can re-establish ourselves as a prosperous nation once again. The President, His Excellency Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has enunciated a national vision for us and if we rally behind this vision, we will surely succeed,” he said.

VP Chiwenga said unity, tolerance and patriotism would make the nation prosper.

“In this new political dispensation our clarion call is that of unity, tolerance and patriotism. Let us be a united people, who work for a common purpose: that of social coherence,” he said.

He said Government is set to create a conducive environment for all people to find space for developmental activities, giving an example of how Command Agriculture has been expanded to include other sub-sectors and all genders.

The party was meant to celebrate Retired Commissioner Chibage’s attainment of Doctor of Business Administration degree with Atlantic International University, while his wife Mrs Elinah Chibage attained a Master of Science degree in Developmental Studies.

Their daughters Farisai, Linda and Gamuchirai attained a Master of Science in Biotechnology with Business Management, Master of Business Administration and an Honours degree in Clinical Social Work, respectively. Their son Wilfred attained a Bachelor of Science in Management and Entrepreneurial Development Studies. Retired Commissioner Chibage said it was a journey worth celebrating.

“We should work hard in developing our land and natural heritage, and we want people to emulate the good work. That is why we have invited people to come and celebrate with us,” he said.
ED Declares 2018 Year of the People . . . Promises to Create Peaceful, Political and Socio-economic Environment
January 1, 2018
Nduduzo Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa yesterday declared 2018 as the year for all Zimbabweans, saying his administration will work tirelessly to create a peaceful and stable political and socio economic environment that will ensure the nation’s prosperity.

In his New Year Message that was also aired on ZBCTV, President Mnangagwa said his administration will thrive on governing, guided by honesty, transparency, accountability and discipline.

“Fellow Zimbabweans whether at home or abroad, I would like to wish you and your families a very prosperous 2018. I also wish you good health, joy, peace and happiness,” he said in his maiden in-studio recording at Montrose Studios in Bulawayo.

“The New Year will undoubtedly have immense opportunities and its full share of challenges. But if we remain united as one people, nothing is insurmountable. Let us resolve to collectively work hard for the betterment of our country.”

The President implored Zimbabweans to thrive more than ever before, to be united in all endeavours, citing Psalms 133 Verse 1 which reads; “For it is indeed good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity and harmony.”

“Government will continue to work tirelessly to create a peaceful and stable political and socio economic environment which will enable us to be a prosperous nation and to realise our full potential. 2018 should be the year of all Zimbabweans, 2018 should be the year of progress. 2018 should also be the year of credible, free and fair elections.”

President Mnangagwa committed that he will continue to be a listening and responsive leader.

“I urge you fellow Zimbabweans to engage with Government, its institutions and agencies for more transparent, just, accountable and responsible governance. Indeed, no one person or institution has a monopoly of ideas,” he said.

“Let us equally commit to honesty, transparency, accountability and discipline to ensure accelerated national development and progress. Collectively, we can build a new, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe.”

Since his inauguration on November 24, President Mnangagwa has hit the ground running introducing a cocktail of interventions towards the stimulation of the economy with the aim of returning the country to its lost glory. He has also said in a number of platforms that the country should not focus on politicking but shift focus towards the economy and productivity.
Zanu-PF Youth League to Do Things Differently
December 30, 2017
Zimbabwe Herald

THE INTERVIEW: Tichaona Zindoga

Pupurai Togarepi has bounced back as zanu-pf Secretary for Youth Affairs following the ruling party’s reconfiguration after the removal of the G40 cabal. Cde Togarepi (PT) tells The Herald’s Political Editor Tichaona Zindoga (TZ) that his team will do things differently and cleanse the image of the party, dissociating it from criminal elements. Here are excerpts of the interview:

TZ: Now that you are back at the leadership of the ruling party’s youth league, how do you intend to do things differently from Kudzi Chipanga?

PT: I think my major thrust going forward is to unite the youth, to try and refocus them. Yes they are political animals, they are in a political party and they must grow politically. I also have to help them economically as well as socially, to be responsible citizens of our country.

We have to try and reconnect them with the ideals of the revolution, inviting people who are straight forward, who will be role models. But you know because of divisions that were there, there could be desire among the others to be vindictive, to try and attack those they perceive as having been advantaged by the former cabal and so forth.

The approach is not going to be the same; we are not going to be vindictive. We will try by all means to unite our youth, to create harmony, to ensure that those who may have strayed from the proper party line are corrected.

They must be brought to their senses, to respect the party constitution, to respect the leadership, to respect freedom fighters and be future as well present leaders. They must be exemplary. We are not going to dismiss any youth because they did something wrong in the past. Many of these were influenced. Some could have been influenced by money, some could have been threatened.

The cabal was so powerful, they could give you instructions that you could not say no to at that stage. So my duty is to tell them that this is the approach: Let’s support the party, let’s work within the party constitution, let’s be responsible citizens, let’s not be vindictive or purge any member because there was this perception about the person, but it’s not going to help the party.

It’s not going to grow those people because as long as they feel stigmatised, they will feel that they are no longer wanted; but the party wants them. They have to be corrected. Nobody should be removed from the party as long as they still pledge allegiance to ZANU-PF, we should find a way with each other to move the party forward.

TZ: ZANU-PF is the majority party. Zimbabwe experiencing a transitional phase with elections coming up. How do you intend to reach out to the generality of youths and attract them to the ruling party?

PT: I will not tell you all our strategies, suffice to say we are geared for them. We are going to mobilise the youth. We strongly believe they constitute a bigger number of the voting population. We are going to engage every youth, whether they are in the opposition; we have already started. We have droves of them who are coming already to work with ZANU-PF; to be members of the party. We intend to engage youths at all levels, we are not only going to look at elite youth who are educated, we are going to engage every youth to ensure that they are aware that the future of this country is theirs.

And they must defend it, they must ensure that they work with the ruling party. It is here in ZANU-PF that you are sure of where we are going. We have a background, and that background is pro-Zimbabwe and that is found in the constitution of ZANU-PF.

The way we had been doing it since independence has been to drive the agenda of the people of Zimbabwe and we expect the youth to embrace that as they go forward.

It means they will inherit a country they will be proud of, they will defend, that future generations will also find in a good state. So we are going be moving around, it’s not going to be business as usual. We are going to prove to the people of Zimbabwe that we can protect the future of this country both in terms of its resources, economic and political future. We will not allow a situation where Zimbabwe can become a pseudo-liberated country.

We will remain free as long as people protect the liberation ethos. Those grievances that we had for our people to go to war must be fulfilled and our President has said to us that he intends to make sure that youth are employed, economically empowered and that youth are responsible citizens.

This is what I am going to strive for and of course getting support from the leadership of the party. Getting ideas on how we will do it, we will consult widely but our main objective is to come up with a complete leader out of the youth league. A complete youth who will be responsible and economically empowered for the good of this country.

TZ: Some people are worried about the perceived violent nature of ZANU-PF and excursion of other people from accessing resources such as land. How do you intend to be more inclusive?

PT: We are going to be very inclusive in all our approach, we insist as we engage our youth that there is no reason for violence. All Zimbabweans are very important and should be protected. Their interests should be protected and their views should be heard.

We are the ruling party. If we hear what the citizens are saying and we correct it, they will give us more years of ruling this country. It will also give us credibility and real support from the populace as we move the country forward.

It’s zero tolerance to any violent activity or criminality; no looting of resources in any way. The land baron issues where youths were involved in dirty land grabs are not going to be tolerated. In fact, those will be dealt with through the law enforcement agents. The party is not keen on working with criminals. So all youths at all levels we have already done enough communication with them. Nobody is going to be grabbing people’s property, nobody is going to be beating up anybody. The law will deal with all criminals.

Never take the law into your own hands because it doesn’t help you. Violence soils the name of the party and you risk being arrested. The law will not segregate and say because you are ZANU-PF you can do whatever you want. You will be arrested. We are clearly instructed by the President never at any point allow any youth to be involved in criminal activities. So I told them, if you engage in criminality I will just report you to the police and they will deal with you.

TZ: A concern that was raised when you were appointed was that you were not the typical youth, that you are old. How do you reconcile such a grievance with your position?

PT: I understand people do have a misconception, a youth leader is not a youth. I am here like a chaperon. Youth select each other, the national executive of the youth, they will go to election excluding me.

From deputy secretary to the last member, all of them are selected through an election. The President then appoints somebody to ensure these youths work within the confines of the constitution, or the views of the party. We monitor that these youths are being raised in our way of doing things.

So it’s not about me being a youth, but it’s all about me being the youth leader in the view of the party to monitor activities of the youth. To help them understand the constitution of the party, the expectations of the leadership of the party so that they grow to become political leaders.

TZ: Lastly, the previous leader of the youth league was known to be extravagant in terms of idolising the leader of the party; are we not going to see you turning the leader of the party who is the President into another demi-god?

PT: I will always respect my leader, and I will respect him because he is a revolutionary leader, he is the leader of my party. But I will not be extravagant even with resources or my words. I will not create a demigod but I will create a leader and protect the interests of the party through my leader. So when I look at my President, I look at him as my leader not a some near god. If my leader needs advice, I will give him advice. I will not keep quiet because my leader is a god, no.

I will say, comrade President, I think here we should do things this way. He will give me his views, he is my leader, the constitution of the party tells me what to do in the event that things are not moving in the direction that we expect. The President told the whole gathering of congress to stop praising his name but to sing revolutionary songs to motivate and mobilise the party; not to create some god out of him. He has always been humble, and I think he will look at me and say, am I losing my senses or something is happening in my mind.

I will continue to respect him and respect all the other leaders of the party, the Vice President of my party, the senior leadership of the party, Central Committee, my leaders in the Youth League and all the Executive, I will respect them. But I will not create gods out of them. I will protect the revolution more than protecting an individual.
Africa Awaits Aftershock for Defying Trump at UNGA
December 29, 2017
Mary Serumaga Correspondent

President Trump’s recent defeat in his effort unilaterally to alter the status of Jerusalem in defiance of international law highlights the nature of the relationship between the United States (US) and African countries.

The US ambassador to the United Nations (UN) let it be known before the vote on the General assembly resolution that Donald Trump will take personally any opposition to his policy on Jerusalem.

The President himself has made allusions to countries that take American billions and then do what they like. In effect, the US is monetising loyalty to President Trump. American frustration with the UN is not new.

There were similar immoderate reactions to resolutions that went against State Department policy in the 1960s when Burkina Faso (then called Upper Volta), Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea, four of the 36 African countries that voted for the resolution to uphold international law on Jerusalem’s status (outnumbering African abstainers and no-shows combined) showed independence of thought from the US. Then, as now, American money had been wrongly assumed to guarantee deference to the State Department.

Among the many issues in contention in the 1960s were (i) admission of Communist China to the General Assembly, (ii) African arms proliferation, and perhaps most important of all, (iii) régime-change in Congo by the removal of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s newly elected leader in favour of his opponents backed by Belgium, the UK and the United States.

During the Congo crisis, the US paid a substantial proportion of the cost of the UN peacekeepers in Congo (40 percent according to David N. Gibbs and 50 percent according to Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Anderson) and grew increasingly disgruntled with its inability to dominate the situation.

“Secretary Herter said he had the strong feeling that our interests have not been advanced by the way the UN operation in the Congo had been conducted. In response to a question from the President, Secretary Herter said both the Secretary General of the UN and Dayal, the UN Representative in the Congo, were responsible for this situation. […]

“The President said one of our most serious problems soon would be the determination of our relations with the UN. He felt the UN had made a major error in admitting to membership any nation claiming independence. Ultimately, the UN may have to leave US territory. (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XX, Congo Crisis, Document 4, Editorial Note.)

US policy towards the UN became aggressive. The Administration felt itself to be in a strong enough position to demand staff changes at UN Headquarters and to determine the composition of United Nations Operation, Congo (UNOC) in order to attain its objective of dictating political developments in that country.

Having encouraged Congolese Chief of State Kasavubu to denounce elected Prime Minister Lumumba in a radio broadcast, resulting in Lumumba’s seeking refuge under UN military guard, American officials became concerned that Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Congo, Rajeshwar Dayal, was in favour of Lumumba’s reinstatement (UN troops had blocked four attempts to abduct Lumumba by Congolese troops loyal to the opposition.)

Meanwhile, African countries in favour of reinstating Lumumba attended a conference in Casablanca and discussed withdrawing their troops from UNOC in protest of Lumumba’s treatment. In a telegram to the US mission to the UN dated January 12, 1961, the Department of State said:

“You should approach SYG [acronym for UN Secretary General] soonest with view obtaining his full assessment current situation in Congo. In course discussion you should make following points:

US greatly concerned that situation in Congo has seriously deteriorated despite fact UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] has accepted Kasavubu authority and UN has nearly 20 000 troops stationed in Congo. Pro-Lumumba elements, with outside support contrary to UN resolutions, extending their influence to substantial part of Congo territory.

“We are especially disturbed at reports, as yet unconfirmed, that participants Casablanca Conference secretly agreed there should be coup d’etat in March in which their troops would be used outside UNOC framework to assist in restoring Lumumba to power, confronting UN with fait accompli.

“We believe SYG should be reminded strongly that if Congo falls under Communist domination while UN sharing major responsibility for security of country, the results in US public and Congressional opinion likely to be extremely damaging to UN. We, therefore, request he consider taking all necessary steps to rectify situation. Following are concrete suggestions we hope he will consider urgently:

+ Replace Dayal soonest (emphasis added). As result series of incidents, we have no doubt Dayal’s sympathy for return Lumumba and that his conduct of UN operations reflects this bias. We believe his removal too long delayed, and that Dayal’s activities have contributed substantially to deterioration of situation in Congo.

+ Now that Guinea has requested withdrawal its troops from UN Command, we believe SYG should consider encouraging withdrawal of those other contingents who have proved most unreliable and who threatened withdrawal anyway. In particular, Ghana, the UAR and perhaps even Morocco.

+ To fill future requirement, believe SYG should again consider urgently requesting troops from more reliable countries, such as French-African States, Latin America, etc. and increasing contingents from reliable countries already furnishing forces.”

During this time the US reconsidered its relationship with the UN. It was uncomfortable with the new African membership which displayed a trait of voting independently of the American position. More than 10 African countries attained independence in 1960 alone.

“The President said one of our most serious problems soon would be the determination of our relations with the UN. He felt the UN had made a major error in admitting to membership any nation claiming independence. Ultimately, the UN may have to leave US territory. (emphasis added)”

By the time the National Security Council (NSC) was being told this, the Department of State together with the Central Intelligence Agency and the US ambassador to Congo, Clare Timberlake, had established contact with one Colonel Joseph Mobutu, commander of the Congolese army loyal to the administration in Leopoldville.

Mobutu, not yet a strongman in 1960, had witnessed an abortive attempt by President Kasavubu, coached by the US, to unseat the elected Prime Minister of Congo by means of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. Mobutu approached the CIA Station in Leopoldville and expressed his determination to keep Communism out of Congo.

As a result, he was co-opted as the US main contact in Congo, eventually gaining Western support for his palace coup and going on to rule for thirty-two undemocratic and resource-draining years. Newly independent African countries were recognised as a matter of course, as and when they gained independence.

Two types of leaders are discernible to US officials; the ‘moderate’ or ‘pro-Western’ or more accurately, the amenable to US promptings and proposals and the ‘irresponsible’, ‘radical’, ‘xenophobic Nationalists’ who insisted on political positions in their own domestic, pan-African and Afro-Asian interests and not necessarily the US national interest.

By January 1960, President Eisenhower had already reconciled himself to the possibility of working with dictators “although we cannot say it publicly, […] we need the strongmen of Africa on our side.”

The advantage was that through them he could side-step the Pan-African movement and the Afro-Asian Bloc in the UN. Among the ‘responsible’ was President Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast who was not only merely neutral in the Cold War, but positively anti-Communist.

He was also anti-pan Africanist Kwame Nkrumah who he portrayed as having illusions of grandeur, (“He believes that he is descended to earth to liberate the African masses.”) and Lumumba (who he described as being ‘changeable’ by reason of his limited education and inexperience).

He undertook to counsel them both as well as Sékou Touré of Guinea (another country out of American favour) and assured American officials they could all be brought back to the fold. Boigny pledged to keep his country free of Soviet influence, but said this would need to be facilitated by the U.S.

An arrangement is described under which Boigny was to be accompanied to the UN General Assembly by several Entente economic experts to demonstrate the Western support he enjoyed. Boigny planned to develop an African Front to oppose the Afro-Asian Bloc.

In return he was promised, “the United States will extend sympathy and material support to him personally (emphasis mine) and to the four associated states [likely Dahomey (now in Benin), Niger, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) and Togo which were forming an entente to be led by Boigny].

“We hope thereby to strengthen one of the most staunchly pro-Western African leaders to continue his guiding influence on the future not only of these states but of others in the region.”

Mali and Guinea on the other hand were judged to be slipping (towards the Sino-Soviet Bloc.) Liberia, at the time America’s only true satellite in Africa, was not strategically important on the same level as Ghana, Nigeria or Congo but the state of its capital city was said to be an embarrassment to the U.S., requiring urgent cosmetic enhancement.

Support for military and other African dictators solidified as American foreign policy through the 1970s. President Nixon’s Bureau for African Affairs justified the supply of arms to military dictators on the basis that they were unlikely to be used to attack neighbours and that they were necessary to maintain internal order, i.e. to keep the régime in power.

It should be noted that despite Ivory Coast’s long history of neo-colonial collaboration with America and France under Boigny’s long tenure as President (he doubled the life expectancy of the average Ivorian), UNICEF economic indicators for the 21st century show that country’s human development outcomes to be at par with poorer, landlocked countries and countries that followed a different path.

Life expectancy there is lower than in most countries and a good five years shorter than in Ivory Coast’s neighbours. This is because while Ghana’s Nkrumah, Senegal’s Dia, Congo’s Lumumba, Togo’s Olympio and others sought aid to develop their countries, Boigny like Mobutu sought and received financial support for himself.

Both built multi-million dollar monuments to themselves (Boigny: a basilica in his hometown surpassing St Peter’s in the Vatican in size and Mobutu’s Gbadolite palace complex (airport, hotel and cinema included), again in his home town built and furnished with materials imported from Italy and France.

Relations with other African Leaders

Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa of Nigeria visited President Eisenhower a week after his country gained independence. Balewa was an avowed anti-Communist.

However he was clear that while he wanted to emulate American-style democracy and institutions he had no interest in joining any ‘power bloc.’ He said while some smaller nations were turning to the Eastern Bloc for assistance, Nigeria would not.

He then requested bilateral aid arrangements which Eisenhower agreed to consider. President Eisenhower assured him, “…we put great interest and stock in Nigeria…we will be depending on Nigeria heavily.” before describing the type of infrastructural loans Nigeria could expect from the UN Special Fund for Africa.

Nigerian development and U.S.’ voting positions in the UN General Assembly are discussed in the same conversation and the same exchange – they were one and the same thing; one was unlikely to be offered without the satisfaction of the other.

Later in the conversation in answer to Prime Minister Balewa’s question, President Eisenhower stated that should Nigeria vote in favour of Red Chinese representation at the UN it would “constitute such a repudiation of the U.S. that we would be in a hard fix indeed.”

In the event Nigeria did vote against the U.S. position and the U.S. began to doubt whether Nigeria could be relied upon to champion another matter important to them: an arms limitation agreement governing African countries.

“It has been suggested that Nigeria might be the most suitable country to provide African initiative for the exploration of this possibility. However, the behavior of the Nigerian delegation in the current General Assembly now causes some doubt in this regard.”

The bluntly-spoken Prime Minister Sylvanus Olympio of Togo said in his deliberations with U.S. officials that he preferred multilateral aid to avoid the “power politics and trouble” that he believed came with bilateral aid.

In a courtesy call to the White House in 1960, President Dia of Senegal expressed willingness to have close relations with the U.S. saying he had no anxiety about political, economic, cultural or ideological domination by the U.S. He then made arrangements for a technical assistance programme to be drawn up by his aides who were to remain behind in Washington for the purpose. Recently Senegal has voted twice in support of international law governing Palestine.

In 2016 together with three other non-African countries it moved a Security Council resolution that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” If President Trump carries out his threats, Senegal is likely to face the type of ‘power politics and trouble’ Togo has been anxious to avoid since the 1960s.

In December 2017, Togo was the only African country to vote with the USA and Israel. Benin (Dahomey), once part of the Boigny-led entente, abstained. With current voting patterns, it remains to be seen whether backing dictatorial régimes on the African continent will remain viable as U.S. foreign policy.

While the potential availability of American development assistance did not prevent most African countries from standing on their own principles in the 1960s, the active promotion of dictatorship undermined and eventually killed the pan-African movement.

However, the entry of China as a new development partner may free African leaders to govern independently of Western (and hopefully Chinese) domination.

Uganda, one of the remaining strongman states is a major recipient of American military largesse and host to American military personnel. But Uganda also collaborates closely with China and abstained from the vote. Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Lesotho and Malawi also abstained.

The no-shows, which arithmetically at least, are as good as abstentions, were all African and included Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and Zambia. All, except Swaziland have deep economic ties with the People’s Republic of China.

- Counterpunch
Secessionist Crisis in Cameroon Risks Sliding Into a Rebellion
December 30, 2017

A secessionist push in Cameroon's English-speaking regions is on the brink of a full-blown revolt, threatening political stability in a country ruled by one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

Following a crackdown on independence supporters who tried to raise flags on government buildings in the central African nation's English-speaking regions in October, at least 16 members of the security forces have been killed in attacks the government blames on the activists. This month a mob of 200 men besieged a paramilitary police station, according to the government.

It marks a dangerous turn in the crisis that began about a year ago with peaceful protests against the French language's dominance in courtrooms and schools. Attacks on the military "presented those activists who were against armed combat before with a fait accompli – those who want to take up arms now have the upper hand," said Hans De Marie Heungoup from the International Crisis Group. "There's a real risk of rebellion that could make the Anglophone regions ungovernable."

The secession issue in Cameroon echoes a global trend spanning from Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia in Spain, where leaders this year led thwarted drives for independence, to Africa itself. In neighboring Nigeria there are new calls for a southeastern Biafran state, 50 years after a previous attempt led to a civil war that claimed a million lives. Meanwhile, Kenya's political opposition, smarting from an election loss they blame on rigging, have warned some regions could seek to secede.

Cameroonian Marines patrol during an exercise with U.S. Marines near Limbe, Cameroon, on July 25, 2017. According to a report on Saturday, Dec. 30, a secessionist push in Cameroon's English-speaking regions is on the brink of a full-blown revolt.

Cameroon's English-speaking minority, about a fifth of the population, has complained of marginalization for decades and many highly educated Anglophones have moved abroad. The country, whose roads and ports are vital for landlocked neighbors such as oil-producing Chad, was split after World War I into a French-run zone and a smaller, British-controlled area.

Radical factions of the protest movement in the Northwest and Southwest regions now refer to the area as Ambazonia and discuss armed struggle on social media. About 20 percent of the population in the affected regions is estimated to support secession, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

The unrest comes as Cameroon's army struggles to halt a spate of bombings and raids by the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram near the northern border with Nigeria. While Boko Haram forced thousands of Cameroonians to flee their homes last year, the secession campaign poses a much bigger threat to the government, Heungoup said by phone from Nairobi, Kenya's capital.

"Even if Boko Haram killed a lot of people, it was clear from the onset that they would never threaten or capture the state," he said. "But the Anglophone crisis calls the foundations of the Cameroonian state into question."

President Paul Biya, who calls the secessionists criminals, is seeking to extend his 35-year rule in elections next year. Biya is the continent's second-longest serving head of state, after Teodoro Obiang of neighboring Equatorial Guinea. Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, resigned in November.

Some say the radicalization is a result of a heavy-handed government response that's left dozens of people killed in protests this year and some leaders jailed. While the government initially ignored the crisis, it switched tactics in a bid to suppress the movement. The internet was cut off for several months in the two regions and a nighttime curfew was imposed. Activists responded by organizing general strikes in the biggest towns, leaving schools and businesses closed.

Ambazonia now has a self-proclaimed president, a flag and an official government website. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland spent five days in Cameroon this month in an attempt to defuse the crisis.

"When this crisis was in its beginning stages, the government thought it could kill a few protesters, arrest others and heavily militarize the North West and South regions for the crisis to be over," said Shadrack Mbirwang, an activist who claims to be a member of the Ambazonia army. "This time around, we are ready to fight and fight till the restoration of our statehood."

Bloomberg's Divine Ntaryike Jr. contributed.
Chinese Cooperation Eyed on African Projects
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan News
7:38 pm, December 31, 2017

The government will ask China to join in Japan’s development projects in Africa, expecting to secure Beijing’s influence to deter North Korean nuclear and missile programs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

This is the first time for the government to make such an offer to China on the Japan-funded projects in Africa, according to a senior Foreign Ministry official. Chinese President Xi Jinping touts the “One Belt, One Road” initiative in which he plans to establish a mega economic zone stretching from Asia to Africa. The government expects, by showing a cooperative stance toward the initiative, that China will make more effort on the North Korean issue.

Four projects that the government is considering for Chinese participation are: the “Growth Ring” plan to link West African nations via main roads; the development and improvement of roads and bridges in Kenya; the development and improvement of the “International Corridor” road that connects cities in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo; and road improvement in Rwanda.

The “Growth Ring” project is to jointly loop the 3,200-kilometer road running north to south, linking Burkina Faso with Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, and the 1,000-kilometer road stretching east to west, connecting five countries from Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire.

The project is expected to create a new economic bloc by connecting Nigeria, which has a relatively large economy, with other countries in the region.

The Japanese government has decided to provide about ¥31.5 billion in loans and grant aids, and will announce concrete plans as early as January.

Improving Kenya’s traffic system is part of the development assistance for Mombasa Port, which serves as an international trade hub in the eastern region of the continent. Japan has dominated the work for the port’s development project, but now hopes to divide responsibilities with China on the ¥59 billion project to develop and improve a road and a bridge that will connect the port with the nearby area.

For the “International Corridor” project and the road work in Rwanda, Japan will partially finance them and encourage Chinese entities to take part in the projects.

Africa is expected to see explosive population growth and is deemed to be the last mega market. China and some other countries have been in fierce competition to aid the continent.

Japan has so far limited contractors of aid projects only to Japanese companies and avoided proactively inviting Chinese entities to make bids for the projects.

The government has shifted its policy, however, as it seeks to use economic cooperation as leverage to demand China take further action in relation to the North Korean issue. The U.N. Security Council adopted sanctions resolutions against North Korea and imposed an export limit on refined petroleum products to the country, but North Korea has smuggled oil products and other items via ship-to-ship transfers in open seas. Some reports suggest a China-flagged vessel’s involvement in the illicit trade
Hundreds Flee Clashes in Central African Republic

A little girl and her family are among hundreds to flee violence in northwestern Central African Republic, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres

Hundreds of people in north-east Central African Republic have fled their villages following fresh violence between armed groups, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Sunday.
Villagers fled gunfire and machete attacks to arrive in the small town of Paoua, where some 11,000 people have already sought refuge since fighting erupted in the region in November.

“There are clashes at almost every point all around Paoua. We have seen hundreds of people flee their villages to take refuge in Paoua” since Wednesday, said Jean Hospital, MSF’s project coordinator in the region.

“We received civilians who were directly targeted by gunfire or were attacked with machetes, while others are collateral victims of the clashes,” he added.

Rival armed groups the National Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic (MNLC) and Revolution and Justice (RJ) began fighting on the outskirts of Paoua on Wednesday, following renewed violence in the region since November, sources said.

– ‘We risk being raped’ –

A young man wounded by gunshot is treated at hospital in Paoua, now home to between 15,000 and 17,000 displaced people

“The RJ told the population to flee and leave the roads open in case of an attack,” pastor Roy-Rodrigue Doutoumbaye told AFP on Wednesday at Paoua Hospital, where he accompanied a loved one shot in the head.

“They really wanted to kill me but because I had 110,000 francs (190 euros) on me they took the money and left me alive,” 52-year-old Jope, who suffers from tuberculosis, told AFP.

“If we stay alone in the city we risk being raped. Our husbands have left to take care of the crops,” said Marie-Angele Dembaye, as she travelled to Paoua, adding that armed men began looking for women.

“The situation will become complicated very quickly because these people do not have any family to welcome them to Paoua,” said MSF coordinator Hospital added.

According to the latest reports from the UN and the Red Cross, there were already between 15,000 and 17,000 displaced people in Paoua by mid-December.

Mired in poverty but rich in minerals, the former French colony has been battered by a three-year conflict between rival militias that began after then-president Francois Bozize was overthrown.

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting. According to the UN, more than a million people have fled their homes and 2.4 million people — more than half of the Central African population — are in need of emergency food aid.

The country has seen an upsurge in violence since France shut down its Sangaris mission there last year, but the UN Security Council agreed in November to extend a peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, for a year and beef up the mission with 900 extra troops.
African Filmmakers Pushed the Boundaries of Traditional Storytelling in 2017
A photograph made available 01 March 2013 shows a couple watching a film at the open air Cinema Somgande during the Panafrican Film and Television Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 25 February 2013. The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou known as FESPACO is the largest film festival in Africa. Nearly 170 films from all over the continent are shown during the week long bi-annual festival which is now in its 23rd edition. Some 101 films vie for the top Etalon d'Or prize with all of the juries for the different categories presided this year by women. This year's theme focused on African cinema and politics.
Time to enjoy a good movie. (EPA/Nic Bothma)

Abdi Latif Dahir
Lynsey Chutel
Quartz Africa
It was a year of many firsts for African filmmaking.

In 2017, African directors and producers made movies and documentaries that explored brave new ways of production and challenged traditional narratives of storytelling. Whether focusing on toxic masculinity in South Africa, paying homage to Senegalese mythology, or addressing a crisis of faith in Egypt, these bold pictures collectively pushed the fold of creative filmmaking and offered a multidimensional narrative about the continent.

One such avenue of progress is the arrival of virtual reality, and how it gave African filmmakers the opportunity to tell complex narratives. New Dimensions, a Pan-African VR collaborative project launched must-see VR productions that surveyed various themes including mythology in Senegal (The Other Dakar), an ode to Kenya’s capital (Nairobi Berries), the Chale Wote art festival in Ghana (Spirit Robot), and the shape of a new colony populated only by Africans in the future (Let this be a Warning).

Jim Chuchu, the Kenyan director of Let this be a Warning, told Quartz the immersive nature of VR helped directors not only reinvent cinematic practices but also connect more with viewers. “The thing VR might do for African storytelling is push the boundaries of subjectivity in ways that are useful,” he said. “Our stories are usually consumed (by non-African audiences) from a comfortable, objective distance. Perhaps creating VR pieces in which non-Africans inhabit African bodies might highlight our commonalities.”

The 2017 movies were also not without controversy, commenting on political and social issues, and courting controversy at both local and international levels. In Sheikh Jackson, the worlds of an Islamic preacher and the king of pop Michael Jackson collide in this drama that was selected as Egypt’s foreign language entry in the 2018 Academy Awards. After the death of Jackson in 2009, the imam’s faith is shaken by his obsession with the American singer and dancer. The movie’s director Amr Salama was criticized for his depictions, with some saying he should be investigated (Arabic).

In South Africa, Inxeba (The Wound), a gay love story set among the traditional rite of passage for Xhosa men, has also drawn controversy. The film reveals the secretive initiation rituals and the rejection and fears the country’s LGBTIQ community still face. Audiences also thought Krotoa, the story of a Khoi woman working for a Dutch colonialist, was “whitewashed” and made the protagonist’s exploitation seem voluntary. The racial dynamics of South Africa also come to the fore in Vaselinetjie, a coming-of-age story about a little girl, Helena ‘Vaselinetjie’ Bosman, classified as white and raised by her colored grandparents. When social services move her from her safe rural home to an orphanage in the city, Helena is forced to deal with South Africa’s racial realities.

African filmmakers also received global recognition for their films. Five Fingers for Marseilles, a western-inspired South African thriller that follows a group challenging their town’s brutal apartheid-era police force, was showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival. Similarly, in I am not a Witch, Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni uses humor to comment on women’s place in society after a young girl is accused of witchcraft. Kati Kati, Kenyan director Mbithi Masya’s debut feature, was also showcased in Kenyan cinemas. Set in the afterlife, this outstanding drama follows a young woman who doesn’t know where she came from, how she died, or how she got to where she was now.

And to set the record straight on Africa and its civilizations, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. released a six-hour series that takes us through 200,000 years of the continent’s history. The superbly produced documentary draws our attention to powerful kingdoms and communities, and how the so-called “dark continent” was the origin of art, writing, and agricultural production. Like many contemporary African directors, Gates said he wanted to bring out history that was “suppressed” and erased through slavery and colonialism.

“Africans were just as curious about what was on the other side of the proverbial other side of the mountain as anyone else was,” he said. “I want these stories, the stories of Africa and its Africans, to be woven into the story of the history of the development of civilization.”
V. I. Lenin Once Again On The Trade Unions: The Current Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Buhkarin, January 25, 1921
Delivered: 25 January, 1921
First Published: January 1921 by the Press Department of the Moscow Soviet of Workers’, Peasants’ and Red Army Deputies; Published according to the pamphlet text collated with the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, page 70-107
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive ( 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

The Party discussion and the factional struggle, which is of a type that occurs before a congress—before and in connection with the impending elections to the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.—are waxing hot. The first factional pronouncement, namely, the one made by Comrade Trotsky on behalf of “a number of responsible workers” in his “platform pamphlet” (The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions, with a preface dated December 25, 1920), was followed by a sharp pronouncement (the reader will see from what follows that it was deservedly sharp) by the Petrograd organisation of the R.C.P. (“Appeal to the Party”, published in Petrogradskaya Pravda [2] on January 6, 1921, and in the Party’s Central Organ, the Moscow Pravda, on January 13, 1921). The Moscow Committee then came out against the Petrograd organisation (in the same issue of Pravda ). Then appeared a verbatim report, published by the bureau of the R.C.P. group of the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions, of the discussion that took place on December 30, 1920, at a very large and important Party meeting, namely, that of the R.C.P. group at the Eighth Congress of Soviets. It is entitled The Role of the Trade Unions in Production (with a preface dated January 6, 1921). This, of course, is by no means all of the discussion material. Party meetings to discuss these issues are being held almost everywhere. On December 30, 1920, I spoke at a meeting in conditions in which, as I put it then, I “departed from the rules of procedure”, i.e., in conditions in which I could not take part in the discussion or hear the preceding and subsequent speakers. I shall now try to make amends and express myself in a more “orderly” fashion.

The Danger Of Factional Pronouncements To The Party

Is Comrade Trotsky’s pamphlet The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions a factional pronouncement? Irrespective of its content, is there any danger to the Party in a pronouncement of this kind? Attempts to hush up this question are a particularly favourite exercise with the members of the Moscow Committee (with the exception of Comrade Trotsky, of course), who see the factionalism of the Petrograd comrades, and with Comrade Bukharin, who, however, felt obliged, on December 30, 1920, to make the following statement on behalf of the “buffer group”:

“. . . when a train seems to be heading for a crash, a buffer is not a bad thing at all” (report of the December 30,1920 discussion, p. 45).

So there is some danger of a crash. Can we conceive of intelligent members of the Party being indifferent to the question of how, where and when this danger arose?

Trotsky’s pamphlet opens with the statement that “it is the fruit of collective work”, that “a number of responsible workers, particularly trade unionists (members of the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions, the Central Committee of the Metalworkers’ Union, Tsektran and others)” took part in compiling it, and that it is a “platform pamphlet”. At the end of thesis 4 we read that “the forthcoming Party Congress will have to choose [Trotsky’s italics] between the two trends within the trade union movement”.

If this is not the formation of a faction by a member of the Central Committee, if this does not mean “heading for a crash”, then let Comrade Bukharin, or anyone of his fellow-thinkers, explain to the Party any other possible meaning of the words “factionalism “, and the Party “seems to be heading for a crash”. Who can be more purblind than men wishing to play the “buffer” and closing their eyes to such a “danger of a crash”?

Just imagine: after the Central Committee had spent two plenary meetings (November 9 and December 7) in an unprecedentedly long, detailed and heated discussion of Comrade Trotsky’s original draft theses and of the entire trade union policy that he advocates for the Party, one member of the Central Committee, one out of nineteen, forms a group outside the Central Committee and presents its “collective work” as a “platform”, inviting the Party Congress “to choose between two trends”! This, incidentally, quite apart from the fact that Comrade Trotsky’s announcement of two and only two trends on December 25, 1920, despite Bukharin’s coming out as a “buffer” on November 9, is a glaring exposure of the Bukharin group’s true role as abettors of the worst and most harmful sort of factionalism. But I ask any Party member: Don’t you find this attack and insistence upon’choosing” between two trends in the trade union movement rather sudden? What is there for us to do but stare in astonishment at the fact that after three years of the proletarian dictatorship even one Party member can be found to “attack” the two trends issue in this way ?

Nor is that all. Look at the factional attacks in which this pamphlet abounds. In the very first thesis we find a threatening “gesture” at “certain workers in the trade union movement” who are thrown “back to trade-unionism, pure and simple, which the Party repudiated in principle long ago “ (evidently the Party is represented by only one member of the Central Committee’s nineteen). Thesis 8 grandiloquently condemns “the craft conservatism prevalent among the top trade union functionaries” (note the truly bureaucratic concentration of attention on the “top”!). Thesis 11 opens with the astonishingly tactful, conclusive and business-like (what is the most polite word for it?) “hint” that the “majority of the trade unionists . . . give only formal, that is, verbal, recognition” to the resolutions of the Party’s Ninth Congress.

We find that we have some very authoritative judges before us who say the majority (!) of the trade unionists give only verbal recognition to the Party’s decisions.

Thesis 12 reads:

“. . . many trade unionists take an ever more aggressive and uncompromising stand against the prospect of’coalescence’. . . . Among them we find Comrades Tomsky and Lozovsky.

“What is more, many trade unionists, balking at the new tasks, and methods, tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of corporative exclusiveness and hostility for the new men who are being drawn into the given branch of the economy, thereby actually fostering the survivals of craft-unionism among the organised workers.”

Let the reader go over these arguments carefully and ponder them. They simply abound in “gems”. Firstly, the pronouncement must be assessed from the standpoint of factionalism! Imagine what Trotsky would have said, and how he would have said it, if Tomsky had published a platform accusing Trotsky and “many” military workers of cultivating the spirit of bureaucracy, fostering the survivals of savagery, etc. What is the “role” of Bukharin, Preobrazhensky, Serebryakov and the others who fail to see—positively fail to note, utterly fail to note—the aggressiveness and factionalism of all this, and refuse to see how much more factional it is than the pronouncement of the Petrograd comrades?

Secondly, take a closer look at the approach to the subject: many trade unionists “tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit”. . . . This is an out-and-out bureaucratic approach. The whole point, you see, is not the level of development and living conditions of the masses in their millions, but the “spirit” which Tomsky and Lozovsky tend to cultivate “in their midst”.

Thirdly, Comrade Trotsky has unwittingly revealed the essence of the whole controversy which he and the Bukharin and Co. “buffer” have been evading and camouflaging with such care.

What is the point at issue? Is it the fact that many trade unionists are balking at the new tasks and methods and tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of hostility for the new officials?

Or is it that the masses of organised workers are legitimately protesting and inevitably showing readiness to throw out the new officials who refuse to rectify the useless and harmful excesses of bureaucracy?

Is it that someone has refused to understand the “new tasks and methods”?

Or is it that someone is making a clumsy attempt to cover up his defence of certain useless and harmful excesses of bureaucracy with a lot of talk about new tasks and methods?

It is this essence of the dispute that the reader should bear in mind.

Formal Democracy and the Revolutionary Interest

“Workers’ democracy is free from fetishes”, Comrade Trotsky writes in his theses, which are the “fruit of collective work”. “Its sole consideration is the revolutionary interest” (thesis 23).

Comrade Trotsky’s theses have landed him in a mess. That part of them which is correct is not new and, what is more, turns against him. That which is new is all wrong.

I have written out Comrade Trotsky’s correct propositions. They turn against him not only on the point in thesis 23 (Glavpolitput) but on the others as well.

Under the rules of formal democracy, Trotsky had a right to come out with a factional platform even against the whole of the Central Committee. That is indisputable. What is also indisputable is that the Central Committee had endorsed this formal right by its decision on freedom of discussion adopted on December 24, 1920. Bukharin, the buffer, recognises this formal right for Trotsky, but not for the Petrograd organisation, probably because on December 30, 1920, he talked himself into “the sacred slogan of workers’ democracy” (verbatim report, p. 45). . . .

Well, and what about the revolutionary interest?

Will any serious-minded person who is not blinded by the factional egotism of Tsektran” or of the “buffer” faction, will anyone in his right mind say that such a pronouncement on the trade union issue by such a prominent leader as Trotsky does promote the revolutionary interest ?

Can it be denied that, even if Trotsky’s “new tasks and methods” were as sound as they are in fact unsound (of which later), his very approach would be damaging to himself, the Party, the trade union movement, the training of millions of trade union members and the Republic?

It looks as if the kind Bukharin and his group call them selves a “buffer” because they have firmly decided not to think about the obligations this title imposes upon them.

The Political Danger Of Splits In The Trade Union Movement

Everyone knows that big disagreements sometimes grow out of minute differences, which may at first appear to be altogether insignificant. A slight cut or scratch, of the kind everyone has had scores of in the course of his life, may become very dangerous and even fatal if it festers and if blood poisoning sets in. This may happen in any kind of conflict, even a purely personal one. This also happens in politics.

Any difference, even an insignificant one, may become politically dangerous if it has a chance to grow into a split, and I mean the kind of split that will shake and destroy the whole political edifice, or lead, to use Comrade Bukharin’s simile, to a crash.

Clearly, in a country under the dictatorship of the proletariat, a split in the ranks of the proletariat, or between the proletarian party and the mass of the proletariat, is not just dangerous; it is extremely dangerous, especially when the proletariat constitutes a small minority of the population. And splits in the trade union movement (which, as I tried hard to emphasise in my speech on December 30, 1920, is a movement of the almost completely organised proletariat) mean precisely splits in the mass of the proletariat.

That is why, when the whole thing started at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions on November 2-6, 1920 (and that is exactly where it did start), and when right after the Conference—no, I am mistaken, during that Conference—Comrade Tomsky appeared before the Political Bureau in high dudgeon and, fully supported by Comrade Rudzutak, the most even-tempered of men, began to relate that at the Conference Comrade Trotsky had talked about “shaking up” the trade unions and that he, Tomsky, had opposed this—when that happened, I decided there and then that policy (i.e., the Party’s trade union policy) lay at the root of the controversy, and that Comrade Trotsky, with his “shake-up” policy against Comrade Tomsky, was entirely in the wrong. For, even if the “shake-up ” policy were partly justified by the “new tasks and methods” (Trotsky’s thesis 12), it cannot be tolerated at the present time, and in the present situation, because it threatens a split.

It now seems to Comrade Trotsky that it is “an utter travesty “ to ascribe the “shake-up-from-above “ policy to him (L. Trotsky, “A Reply to the Petrograd Comrades”, Pravda No. 9, January 15, 1921). But “shake-up” is a real “catchword”, not only in the sense that after being uttered by Comrade Trotsky at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions it has, you might say, “caught on” throughout the Party and the trade unions. Unfortunately, it remains true even today in the much more profound sense that it alone epitomises the whole spirit, the whole trend of the platform pamphlet entitled The Role and Tactics of the Trade Unions. Comrade Trotsky’s platform pamphlet is shot through with the spirit of the “shake-up-from-above” policy. Just recall the accusation made against Comrade Tomsky, or “many trade unionists”, that they “tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of hostility for the new men”!

But whereas the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions (November 2-6, 1920) only saw the makings of the atmosphere fraught with splits, the split within Tsektran became a fact in early December 1920.

This event is basic and essential to an understanding of the political essence of our controversies; and Comrades Trotsky and Bukharin are mistaken if they think hushing it up will help matters. A hush-up in this case does not produce a “buffer” effect but rouses passions; for the question has not only been placed on the agenda by developments, but has been emphasised by Comrade Trotsky in his platform pamphlet. It is this pamphlet that repeatedly, in the passages I have quoted, particularly in thesis 12, raises the question of whether the essence of the matter is that “many trade unionists tend to cultivate in their midst a spirit of hostility for the new men”, or that the “hostility” of the masses is legitimate in view of certain useless and harmful excesses of bureaucracy, for example, in Tsektran.

The issue was bluntly and properly stated by Comrade Zinoviev in his very first speech on December 30, 1920, when he said that it was “Comrade Trotsky’s immoderate adherents” who had brought about a split. Perhaps that is why Comrade Bukharin abusively described Comrade Zinoviev’s speech as “a lot of hot air”? But every Party member who reads the verbatim report of the December 30, 1920 discussion will see that that is not true. He will find that it is Comrade Zinoviev who quotes and operates with the facts, and that it is Trotsky and Bukharin who indulge most in intellectualist verbosity minus the facts.

When Comrade Zinoviev said, “Tsektran stands on feet of clay and has already split into three parts”, Comrade Sosnovsky interrupted and said:

“That is something you have encouraged “ (verbatim report, p. 15).

Now this is a serious charge. If it were proved, there would, of course, be no place on the Central Committee, in the R.C.P., or in the trade unions of our Republic for those who were guilty of encouraging a split even in one of the trade unions. Happily, this serious charge was advanced in a thoughtless manner by a comrade who, I regret to say, has now and again been “carried away” by thoughtless polemics before this. Comrade Sosnovsky has even managed to insert “a fly in the ointment” of his otherwise excellent articles, say, on production propaganda, and this has tended to negate all its pluses. Some people (like Comrade Bukharin) are so happily constituted that they are incapable of injecting venom into their attacks even when the fight is bitterest; others, less happily constituted, are liable to do so, and do this all too often. Comrade Sosnovsky would do well to watch his step in this respect, and perhaps even ask his friends to help out.

But, some will say, the charge is there, even if it has been made in a thoughtless, unfortunate and patently “factional” form. In a serious matter, the badly worded truth is preferable to the hush-up.

That the matter is serious is beyond doubt, for, let me say this again, the crux of the issue lies in this area to a greater extent than is generally suspected. Fortunately, we are in possession of sufficiently objective and conclusive facts to provide an answer in substance to Comrade Sosnovsky’s point.

First of all, there is on the same page of the verbatim report Comrade Zinoviev’s statement denying Comrade Sosnovsky’s allegation and making precise references to conclusive facts. Comrade Zinoviev showed that Comrade Trotsky’s accusation (made obviously, let me add, in an outburst of factional zeal) was quite a different one from Comrade Sosnovsky’s; Comrade Trotsky’s accusation was that Comrade Zinoviev’s speech at the September All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P. had helped to bring about or had brought about the split. (This charge, let me say in parenthesis, is quite untenable, if only because Zinoviev’s September speech was approved in substance by the Central Committee and the Party, and there has been no formal protest against it since.)

Comrade Zinoviev replied that at the Central Committee meeting Comrade Rudzutak had used the minutes to prove that “long before any of my [Zinoviev’sl speeches and the All-Russia Conference the question [concerning certain unwarranted and harmful excesses of bureaucracy in Tsektran] had been examined in Siberia, on the Volga, in the North and in the South”.

That is an absolutely precise and clear-cut statement of fact. It was made by Comrade Zinoviev in his first speech before thousands of the most responsible Party members, and his facts were not refuted either by Comrade Trotsky, who spoke twice later, or by Comrade Bukharin, who also spoke later.

Secondly, the December 7, 1920 resolution of the Central Committee’s Plenary Meeting concerning the dispute between the Communists working in water transport and the Communist group at the Tsektran Conference, given in the same verbatiln report, was an even more definite and official refutation of Comrade Sosnovsky’s charges. The part of the resolution dealing with Tsektran says:

“In connection with the dispute between Tsektran and the water transport workers, the Central Committee resolves: 1) To set up a Water Transport Section within the amalgamated Tsektran; 2) To convene a congress of railwaymen and water transport workers in February to hold normal elections to a new Tsektran; 3) To authorise the old Tsektran to function until then; 4) To abolish Glavpolitvod and Glavpolitput immediately and to transfer all their funds and resources to the trade union on normal democratic lines.”

This shows that the water transport workers, far from being censured, are deemed to be right in every essential. Yet none of the C.C. members who had signed the common platform of January 14, 1921 (except Kamenev) voted for the resolution. (The platform referred to is the Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions. Draft Decision of the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P., submitted to the Central Committee by a group of members of the Central Committee and the trade union commission. Among those who signed it was Lozovsky, a member of the trade union commission but not of the Central Committee. The others were Tomsky, Kalinin, Rudzutak, Zinoviev, Stalin, Lenin, Kamenev, Petrovsky and Artyom Sergeyev.)

This resolution was carried against the C.C. members listed above, that is, against our group, for we would have voted against allowing the old Tsektran to continue temporarily. Because we were sure to win, Trotsky was forced to vote for Bukharin’s resolution, as otherwise our resolution would have been carried. Comrade Rykov, who had been for Trotsky in November, took part in the trade union commission’s examination of the dispute between Tsektran and the water transport workers in December, and saw that the latter were right.

To sum up: the December 7 majority in the Central Committee consisted of Comrades Trotsky, Bukharin, Preobrazhensky, Serebryakov and other C.C. members who are above suspicion of being biased against Tsektran. Yet the substance of their resolution did not censure the water transport workers but Tsektran, which they just stopped short of dissolving there and then. This proves Sosnovsky’s charge to be quite groundless.

There is one other point to be dealt with, if we are to leave no room for ambiguity. What were these “certain unwarranted and harmful excesses of bureaucracy” to which I have repeatedly referred? Isn’t this last charge unsupported or exaggerated?

Once again it was Comrade Zinoviev who, in his very first speech on December 30, 1920, provided the answer which was as precise as one could wish. He quoted from Comrade Zoff’s water transport circular of May 3, 1920: “Committee treadmill abolished.”[3] Comrade Zinoviev was quite right in saying this was a fundamental error. It exemplified the unwarranted and harmful excesses of bureaucracy and the “appointments system”. But he said there and then that some appointees were “not half as experienced or as tried” as Comrade Zoff. I have heard Comrade Zoff referred to in the Central Committee as a most valuable worker, and this is fully borne out by my own observations in the Council of Defence. It has not entered anyone’s mind either to make scapegoats of such comrades or to undermine their authority (as Comrade Trotsky suggests, without the least justification, on page 25 of his report). Their authority is not being undermined by those who try to correct the “appointees’” mistakes, but by those who would defend them even when they are wrong.

We see, therefore, that the danger of splits within the trade union movement was not imaginary but real. And we find that the actual disagreements really boiled down to a demand that certain unwarranted and harmful exccesses of bureaucracy, and the appointments system should not be justified or defended, but corrected. That is all there is to it.

Disagreements On Principle

There being deep and basic disagreements on principle—we may well be asked—do they not serve as vindication for the sharpest and most factional pronouncements? Is it possible to vindicate such a thing as a split, provided there is need to drive home some entirely new idea?

I believe it is, provided of course the disagreements are truly very deep and there is no other way to rectify a wrong trend in the policy of the Party or of the working class.

But the whole point is that there are no such disagreements. Comrade Trotsky has tried to point them out, and failed. A tentative or conciliatory approach had been possible—and necessary—before the publication of his pamphlet (December 25) (“such an approach is ruled out even in the case of disagreements and vague new tasks”); but after its publication we had to say: Comrade Trotsky is essentially wrong on all his new points.

This is most evident from a comparison of his theses with Rudzutak’s which were adopted by the Fifth All Russia Conference of Trade Unions (November 2-6). I quoted the latter in my December 30 speech and in the January 21 issue of Pravda. They are-fuller and more correct than Trotsky’s, and wherever the latter differs from Rudzutak, he is wrong.

Take this famous “industrial democracy”, which Comrade Bukharin hastened to insert in the Central Committee’s resolution of December 7. It would, of course, be ridiculous to quibble about this ill-conceived brainchild (“tricky flourishes”), if it merely occurred in an article or speech. But, after all, it was Trotsky and Bukharin who put themselves into the ridiculous position by insisting in their theses on this very term, which is the one feature that distinguishes their “platforms” from Rudzutak’s theses adopted by the trade unions.

The term is theoretically wrong. In the final analysis, every kind of democracy, as political superstructure in general (which must exist until classes have been abolished and a classless society established), serves production and is ultimately determined by the relations of production in a given society. It is, therefore, meaningless to single out “industrial democracy”, for this leads to confusion, and the result is a dummy. That is the first point.

The second is that if you look at Bukharin’s own explanation given in the resolution of the C.C. Plenary Meeting on December 7, which he drafted, you will find that he says: “Accordingly, the methods of workers’ democracy must be those of industrial democracy, which means. . . .” Note the “which means”! The fact is that Bukharin opens his appeal to the masses with such an outlandish term that he must give a gloss on it. This, I think, is undemocratic from the democratic standpoint. You must write for the masses without using terms that require a glossary. This is bad from the “production” standpoint because time is wasted in explaining unnecessary terms. “Which means,” he says, “that nomination and seconding of candidates, elections, etc., must proceed with an eye not only to their political staunchness, but also business efficiency, administrative experience, leadership, and proved concern for the working people’s material and spiritual interests.”

The reasoning there is obviously artificial and incorrect. For one thing, democracy is more than “nomination and seconding of candidates, elections, etc.” Then, again, not all elections should be held with an eye to political staunchness and business efficiency. Comrade Trotsky notwithstanding, an organisation of many millions must have a certain percentage of canvassers and bureaucrats (we shall not be able to make do without good bureaucrats for many years to come). But we do not speak of “canvassing” or “bureaucratic” democracy.

The third point is that it is wrong to consider only the elected, the organisers, the administrators, etc. After all, they constitute a minority of outstanding men. It is the mass, the rank and file that we must consider. Rudzutak has it in simpler, more intelligible and theoretically more correct terms (thesis 6):

“. . . it must be brought home to each participant in production that his production tasks are appropriate and important; that each must not only take a hand in fulfilling his assignments, but also play an intelligent part in correcting any technical and organisational defects in the sphere of production.

The fourth point is that “industrial democracy” is a term that lends itself to misinterpretation. It may be read as a repudiation of dictatorship and individual authority. It may be read as a suspension of ordinary democracy or a pretext for evading it. Both readings are harmful, and cannot be avoided without long special commentaries.

Rudzutak’s plain statement of the same ideas is more correct and more handy. This is indirectly confirmed by Trotsky’s parallel of “war democracy” which he draws with his own term in an article, “Industrial Democracy”, in Pravda of January 11, and which fails to refute that his term is inaccurate and inconvenient (for he side-steps the whole issue and fails to compare his theses with Rudzutak’s). Happily, as far as I can recall, we have never had any factional controversy over that kind of term.

Trotsky’s “production atmosphere” is even wider of the mark, and Zinoviev had good reason to laugh at it. This made Trotsky very angry, and he came out with this argument: “We once had a war atmosphere. . . . We must now have a production atmosphere and not only on the surface but deep down in the workers’ mass. This must be as intense and practical an interest in production as was earlier displayed in the fronts. . . .” Well, there you are: the message must be carried “deep down into the workers’ mass” in the language of Rudzutak’s theses, because “production atmosphere” will only earn you a smile or a shrug. Comrade Trotsky’s “production atmosphere” has essentially the same meaning as production propaganda, but such expressions must be avoided when production propaganda is addressed to the workers at large. The term is an example of how not to carry it on among the masses.

Politics And Economics. Dialectics And Eclecticism

It is strange that we should have to return to such elementary questions, but we are unfortunately forced to do so by Trotsky and Bukharin. They have both reproached me for “switching “ the issue, or for taking a “political” approach, while theirs is an “economic” one. Bukharin even put that in his theses and tried to “rise above” either side, as if to say that he was combining the two.

This is a glaring theoretical error. I said again in my speech that politics is a concentrated expression of economics, because I had earlier heard my “political” approach rebuked in a manner which is inconsistent and inadmissible for a Marxist. Politics must take precedence over economics. To argue otherwise is to forget the ABC of Marxism.

Am I wrong in my political appraisal? If you think so, say it and prove it. But you forget the ABC of Marxism when you say (or imply) that the political approach is equivalent to the “economic”, and that you can take “the one and the other”.

What the political approach means, in other words, is that the wrong attitude to the trade unions will ruin the Soviet power and topple the dictatorship of the proletariat. (In a peasant country like Russia, the Soviet power would surely go down in the event of a split between the trade unions and a Party in the wrong.) This proposition can (and must) be tested in substance, which means looking into the rights and wrongs of the approach and taking a decision. To say: I “appreciate” your political, approach, “but ” it is only a political one and we “also need an economic one”, is tantamount to saying: I “appreciate” your point that in taking that particular step you are liable to break your neck, but you must also take into consideration that it is better to be clothed and well-fed than to go naked and hungry.

Bukharin’s insistence on combining the political and the economic approach has landed him in theoretical eclecticism.

Trotsky and Bukharin make as though they are concerned for the growth of production whereas we have nothing but formal democracy in mind. This picture is wrong, because the only formulation of the issue (which the Marxist standpoint allows ) is: without a correct political approach to the matter the given class will be unable to stay on top, and, consequently, will be incapable of solving its production problem either.

Let us take a concrete example. Zinoviev says: “By carrying things to a split within the trade unions, you are making a political mistake. I spoke and wrote about the growth of production back in January 1920, citing the construction of the public baths as an example.” Trotsky replies: “What a thing to boast of: a pamphlet with the public baths as an example (p. 29),’and not a single word’ about the tasks of the trade unions” (p. 22).

This is wrong. The example of the public baths is worth, you will pardon the pun, a dozen “production atmospheres”, with a handful of “industrial democracies” thrown in. It tells the masses, the whole bulk of them, what the trade unions are to do, and does this in plain and intelligible terms, whereas all these “production atmospheres” and “democracies” are so much murk blurring the vision of the workers’ masses, and dimming their understanding.

Comrade Trotsky also rebuked me for not “saying a word” (p. 66) about “the role that has to be played—and is being played—by the levers known as the trade union apparatus”.

I beg to differ, Comrade Trotsky. By reading out Rudzutak’s theses in toto and endorsing them, I made a statement on the question that was fuller, plainer, clearer and more correct than all your theses, your report or co-report, and speech in reply to the debate. I insist that bonuses in kind and disciplinary comrades’ courts mean a great deal more to economic development, industrial management, and wider trade union participation in production than the absolutely abstract (and therefore empty) talk about “industrial democracy”, “coalescence”, etc.

Behind the effort to present the “production” standpoint (Trotsky) or to overcome a one-sided political approach and combine it with an economic approach (Bukharin) we find:

1)Neglect of Marxism, as expressed in the theoretically incorrect, eclectic definition of the relation between politics and economics;

2 )Defence or camouflage of the political mistake expressed in the shake-up policy, which runs through the whole of Trotsky’s platform pamphlet, and which, unless it is admitted and corrected, leads to the collapse of the dictatorship of the proletariat;

3)A step back in purely economic and production matters, and the question of how to increase production; it is, in fact, a step back from Rudzutak’s practical theses, with their concrete, vital and urgent tasks (develop production propaganda; learn proper distribution of bonuses in kind and correct use of coercion through disciplinary comrades’ courts), to the highbrow, abstract, “empty” and theoretically incorrect general theses which ignore all that is most practical and business-like.

That is where Zinoviev and myself, on the one hand, and Trotsky and Bukharin, on the other, actually stand on this question of politics and economics.

I could not help smiling, therefore, when I read Comrade Trotsky’s objection in his speech of December 30: “In his summing-up at the Eighth Congress of Soviets of the debate on the situation, Comrade Lenin said we ought to have less politics and more economics, but when he got to the trade union question he laid emphasis on the political aspect of the matter” (p. 65). Comrade Trotsky thought these words were “very much to the point”. Actually, however, they reveal a terrible confusion of ideas, a truly hopeless “ideological confusion”. Of course, I have always said, and will continue to say, that we need more economics and less politics, but if we are to have this we must clearly be rid of political dangers and political mistakes. Comrade Trotsky’s political mistakes, aggravated by Comrade Bukharin, distract our Party’s attention from economic tasks and “production” work, and, unfortunately, make us waste time on correcting them and arguing it out with the syndicalist deviation (which leads to the collapse of the dictatorship of the proletariat), objecting to the incorrect approach to the trade union movement (which leads to the collapse of the Soviet power), and debating general “theses”, instead of having a practical and business-like “economic” discussion as to whether it was the Saratov millers, the Donbas miners, the Petrograd metalworkers or some other group that had the best results in coalescing, distributing bonuses in kind, and organising comrades’ courts, on the basis of Rudzutak’s theses, adopted by the Fifth All-Russia-Trade Union Conference on November 2-6.

Let us now consider what good there is in a “broad discussion”. Once again we find political mistakes distracting attention from economic tasks. I was against this “broad” discussion, and I believed, and still do, that it was a mistake—a political mistake—on Comrade Trotsky’s part to disrupt the work of the trade union commission, which ought to have held a business-like discussion. I believe Bukharin’s buffer group made the political mistake of misunderstanding the tasks of the buffer (in which case they had once again substituted eclecticism for dialectics), for from the “buffer” standpoint they should have vigorously opposed any broad discussion and demanded that the matter should be taken up by the trade union commission. Here is what came of this.

On December 30, Bukharin went so far as to say that “we have proclaimed the new and sacred slogan of workers’ democracy, which means that questions are no longer to be discussed in the board-room within the corporation or at small meetings but are to be placed before big meetings. I insist that by taking the trade union issue before such a large meeting as this one we are not taking a step backward but forward” (p. 45). And this man has accused Zinoviev of spouting “hot air” and overdoing the democracy! I say that he himself has given us a lot of hot air and has shown some unexampled bungling; he has completely failed to understand that formal democracy must be subordinate to the revolutionary interest.

Trotsky is in the same boat. His charge is that “Lenin wants at all costs to disrupt or shelve the discussion of the matter in essence” (p. 65). He declares: “My reasons for refusing to serve on the commission were clearly stated in the Central Committee: until such time as I am permitted, on a par with all other comrades, to air these questions fully in the Party press, I do not expect any good to come of any cloistered examination of these matters, and, consequently, of work on the commission” (p. 69).

What is the result? Less than a month has passed since Trotsky started his “broad discussion” on December 25, and you will be hard put to find one responsible Party worker in a hundred who is not fed up with the discussion and has not realised its futility (to say no worse). For Trotsky has made the Party waste time on a discussion of words and bad theses, and has ridiculed as “cloistered” the business-like economic discussion in the commission, which was to have studied and verified practical experience and projected its lessons for progress in real “production” work, in place of the regress from vibrant activity to scholastic exercises in all sorts of “production atmospheres”.

Take this famous “coalescence”. My advice on December 30 was that we should keep mum on this point, because we had not studied our own practical experience, and without that any discussion was bound to degenerate into “hot air” and draw off the Party’s forces from economic work. I said it was bureaucratic projecteering for Trotsky to propose in his theses that from one-third to one-half and from one-half to two-thirds of the economic councils should consist of trade unionists.

For this I was upbraided by Bukharin who, I see from p. 49 of the report, made a point of proving to me at length and in great detail that “when people meet to discuss something, they should not act as deaf-mutes” (sic ). Trotsky was also angry and exclaimed:

“Will every one of you please make a note that on this particular date Comrade Lenin described this as a bureaucratic evil. I take the liberty to predict that within a few months we shall have accepted for our guidance and consideration that the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions and the Supreme Economic Council, the Central Committee of the Metalworkers’ Union and the Metals Department, etc., are to have from one-third to one-half of their members in common” (p. 68).

When I read that I asked Comrade Milyutin (Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Economic Council) to let me have the available printed reports on coalescence. I said to my self: why not make a small start on the study of our practical experience; it’s so dull engaging in “general Party talk” (Bukharin’s expression, p. 47, which has every chance of becoming a catchword like “shake-up”) to no useful purpose, without the facts, and inventing disagreements, definitions and “industrial democracies”.

Comrade Milyutin sent me several books, including The Report of the Supreme Economic Council to the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets (Moscow, 1920; preface dated December 19, 1920). On its p. 14 is a table showing workers’ participation in administrative bodies. Here is the table (covering only part of the gubernia economic councils and factories):

Administrative Body Total members Workers Specialists Office workers and others
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Presidium of Supreme Economic Council and gubernia economic councils . 187 107 57.2 22 11.8 58 31.0
Collegiums of chief administrations, departments, central boards and head offices 140 72 51.4 31 22.2 37 26.4
Corporate and one-man management of factories. 1,143 726 63.5 398 34.8 19 1.7
Total 1,470 905 61.6 451 30.7 114 7.7

It will be seen that 61.6 per cent, that is, closer to two-thirds than to one-half, of the staff of administrative bodies now consists of workers. And this already proves that what Trotsky wrote on this matter in his theses was an exercise in bureaucratic projecteering. To talk, argue and write platforms about “one-third to one-half” and “one-half to two-thirds” is the most useless sort of “general Party talk”, which diverts time, attention and resources from production work. It is empty politicking. All this while, a great deal of good could have been done in the commission, where men of experience would have refused to write any theses without a study of the facts, say, by polling a dozen or so “common functionaries” (out of the thousand), by comparing their impressions and conclusions with objective statistical data, and by making an attempt to obtain practical guidance for the future: that being our experience, do we go straight on, or do we make some change in our course, methods and approach, and how; or do we call a halt, for the good of the cause, and check things over and over again, make a few changes here and there, and so on and so forth.

Comrades, a real “executive” (let me also have a go at “production propaganda”) is well aware that even in the most advanced countries, the capitalists and their executives take years—sometimes ten and more—to study and test their own (and others’) practical experience, making innumerable starts and corrections to tailor a system of management, select senior and junior executives, etc., fit for their particular business. That was the rule under capitalism, which throughout the civilised world based its business practices on the experience and habits of centuries. We who are breaking new ground must put in a long, persistent and patient effort to retrain men and change the old habits which have come down to us from capitalism, but this can only be done little by little. Trotsky’s approach is quite wrong. In his December 30 speech he exclaimed: “Do or do not our workers, Party and trade union functionaries have any production training? Yes or no? I say: No” (p. 29). This is a ridiculous approach. It is like asking whether a division has enough felt boots: Yes or no?

It is safe to say that even ten years from now we shall have to admit that all our Party and trade union functionaries do not have enough production training, in much the same way as the workers of the Military Department, the trade unions and the Party will not have had enough military experience. But we have made a start on production training by having about a thousand workers, and trade union members and delegates take part in management and run factories, head offices and other bodies higher up the scale. The basic principle underlying “production training”—which is the training of our own selves, of the old underground workers and professional journalists—is that we should start a painstaking and detailed study of our own practical experience, and teach others to do so, according to the rule: Look before you leap. The fundamental and absolute rule behind “production training” is systematic, circumspect, practical and business like verification of what this one thousand have done, and even more efficient and careful correction of their work, taking a step forward only when there is ample proof of the usefulness of a given method, system of management, proportion, selection of men, etc. And it is this rule that Comrade Trotsky has broken by his theses and approach. All his theses, his entire platform pamphlet, are so wrong that they have diverted the Party’s attention and resources from practical “production” work to a lot of empty talk.

Dialectics and Eclecticism “School” and “Apparatus”

Among Comrade Bukharin’s many excellent traits are his theoretical ability and keen interest in getting at the theoretical roots of every question. That is a very valuable trait because you cannot have a proper understanding of any mistake, let alone a political one, unless you dig down to its theoretical roots among the basic premises of the one who makes it.

Responding to this urge, Comrade Bukharin tended to shift the controversy into the theoretical sphere, beginning from December 30, if not earlier.

In his speech on that day he said: “That neither the political nor the economic factor can be ignored is, I believe, absolutely incontrovertible—and that is the theoretical essence of what is here known as the’buffer group’ or its ideology “ (p. 47).

The gist of his theoretical mistake in this case is substitution of eclecticism for the dialectical interplay of politics and economics (which we find in Marxism). His theoretical attitude is: “on the one hand, and on the other”, “the one and the other”. That is eclecticism. Dialectics requires an all-round consideration of relationships in their concrete development but not a patchwork of bits and pieces. I have shown this to be so on the example of politics and economics.

That of the “buffer” has gone to reinforce the point. You need a buffer, and it is useful when the Party train is heading for a crash. No question about that at all. Bukharin has built up his “buffer” problem eclectically, by collecting odd pieces from Zinoviev and Trotsky. As a “buffer”, Bukharin should have decided for himself just where, when and how each individual or group had made their mistake, whether it was a theoretical mistake, one of political tact, factional pronouncement, or exaggeration, etc. He should have done that and gone hammer and tongs at every such mistake. But he has failed to understand his task of “buffer”, and here is good proof of it.

The Communist group of Tsektran’s Petrograd Bureau (the C.C. of the Railwaymen’s and Water Transport Workers’ Union), an organisation sympathising with Trotsky, has stated its opinion that, “on the main issue of the trade unions’ role in production, Comrades Trotsky and Bukharin hold views which are variations of one and the same standpoint”. It has issued Comrade Bukharin’s report in Petrograd on January 3,1921, in pamphlet form (N. Bukharin, The Tasks of the Trade Unions, Petrograd, 1921). It says:

“Comrade Trotsky’s original formulation was that the trade union leadership should be removed and suitable comrades found to take their place, etc. He had earlier advocated a’shake-up’, but he has now abandoned the idea, and it is therefore quite absurd to use it as an argument against him” (p. 5).

I will let pass the numerous factual inaccuracies in this statement. (Trotsky used the term “shake-up” at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions, November 2-6. He mentions “selection of leadership” in Paragraph 5 of his theses which he submitted to the Central Committee on November 8, and which, incidentally, some of his supporters have published as a leaflet. The whole of Trotsky’s pamphlet, The Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions, December 25, reveals the same kind of mentality, the same spirit as I have pointed out before. When and how he “abandoned” this attitude remains a mystery.) I am now dealing with a different matter. When the “buffer” is an eclectic, he passes over some mistakes and brings up others; he says nothing of them in Moscow on December 30, 1920, when addressing thousands of R.C.P. functionaries from all over Russia; but he brings them up in Petrograd on January 3, 1921. When the “buffer” is a dialectician, he directs the full brunt of his attack at every mistake he sees on either side, or on all sides. And that is something Bukharin does not do. He does not even try to examine Trotsky’s pamphlet in the light of the “shake-up” policy. He simply says nothing about it. No wonder his buffer performance has made everyone laugh.

To proceed. In that same Petrograd speech he says (p. 7):

“Comrade Trotsky’s mistake is insufficient support for the school-of-communism idea.”

During the December 30 discussion, Bukharin reasoned as follows:

“Comrade Zinoviev has said that the trade unions are a school of communism, and Trotsky has said that they are a technical and administrative apparatus for industrial management. I see no logical grounds for proof that either proposition is wrong; both, and a combination of both, are right” (p. 48).

Bukharin and his “group” or “faction” make the same point in their thesis 6: “On the one hand, they [the trade unions] are a school of communism . . . and on the other, they are—increasingly—a component part of the economic apparatus and of state administration in general” (Pravda, January 16).

That is where we find Comrade Bukharin’s fundamental theoretical mistake, which is substitution of eclecticism (especially popular with the authors of diverse “fashionable” and reactionary philosophical systems) for Marxist dialectics.

When Comrade Bukharin speaks of “logical” grounds, his whole reasoning shows that he takes—unconsciously, perhaps—the standpoint of formal or scholastic logic, and not of dialectical or Marxist logic. Let me explain this by taking the simple example which Comrade Bukharin himself gives. In the December 30 discussion he said:

“Comrades, many of you may find that the current controversy suggests something like this: two men come in and invite each other to define the tumbler on the lectern. One says:‘It is a glass cylinder, and a curse on anyone who says different.’ The other one says:‘A tumbler is a drinking vessel, and a curse on anyone who says different’”(p. 46).

The reader will see that Bukharin’s example was meant to give me a popular explanation of the harm of one-track thinking. I accept it with gratitude, and in the one-good turn-deserves-another spirit offer a popular explanation of the difference between dialectics and eclecticism.

A tumbler is assuredly both a glass cylinder and a drinking vessel. But there are more than these two properties, qualities or facets to it; there are an infinite number of them, an infinite number of “mediacies” and inter-relationships with the rest of the world. A tumbler is a heavy object which can be used as a missile; it can serve as a paper weight, a receptacle for a captive butterfly, or a valuable object with an artistic engraving or design, and this has nothing at all to do with whether or not it can be used for drinking, is made of glass, is cylindrical or not quite, and so on and so forth.

Moreover, if I needed a tumbler just now for drinking, it would not in the least matter how cylindrical it was, and whether it was actually made of glass; what would matter though would be whether it had any holes in the bottom, or anything that would cut my lips when I drank, etc. But if I did not need a tumbler for drinking but for a purpose that could be served by any glass cylinder, a tumbler with a cracked bottom or without one at all would do just as well, etc.

Formal logic, which is as far as schools go (and should go, with suitable abridgements for the lower forms), deals with formal definitions, draws on what is most common, or glaring, and stops there. When two or more different definitions are taken and combined at random (a glass cylinder and a drinking vessel), the result is an eclectic definition which is indicative of different facets of the object, and nothing more.

Dialectical logic demands that we should go further. Firstly, if we are to have a true knowledge of an object we must look at and examine all its facets, its connections and “mediacies”. That is something we cannot ever hope to achieve completely, but the rule of comprehensiveness is a safeguard against mistakes and rigidity. Secondly, dialectical logic requires that an object should be taken in development, in change, in “self-movement” (as Hegel sometimes puts it). This is not immediately obvious in respect of such an object as a tumbler, but it, too, is in flux, and this holds especially true for its purpose, use and connection with the surrounding world. Thirdly, a full “definition” of an object must include the whole of human experience, both as a criterion of truth and a practical indicator of its connection with human wants. Fourthly, dialectical logic holds that “truth is always concrete, never abstract”, as the late Plekhanov liked to say after Hegel. (Let me add in parenthesis for the benefit of young Party members that you cannot hope to become a real, intelligent Communist without making a study—and I mean study—of all of Plekhanov’s philosophical writings, because nothing better has been written on Marxism anywhere in the world.[3b])

I have not, of course, run through the whole notion of dialectical logic, but what I have said will do for the present. I think we can return from the tumbler to the trade unions and Trotsky’s platform.

“A school, on the one hand, and an apparatus on the other”, says Bukharin, and writes as much in his theses. Trotsky’s mistake is “insufficient support for the school-of-communism idea”; Zinoviev errs by being lukewarm on the apparatus “factor”.

Why is Bukharin’s reasoning no more than inert and empty eclecticism? It is because he does not even try to make an independent analysis, from his own standpoint, either of the whole course of the current controversy (as Marxism, that is, dialectical logic, unconditionally demands) or of the whole approach to the question, the whole presentation—the whole trend of the presentation, if you will—of the question at the present time and in these concrete circumstances. You do not see Bukharin doing that at all! His approach is one of pure abstraction: he makes no attempt at concrete study, and takes bits and pieces from Zinoviev and Trotsky. That is eclecticism.

Here is another example to clarify the picture. I know next to nothing about the insurgents and revolutionaries of South China (apart from the two or three articles by Sun Yat-sen, and a few books and newspaper articles I read many years ago). Since there are these uprisings, it is not too far-fetched to assume a controversy going on between Chinese No. 1, who says that the insurrection is the product of a most acute nation-wide class struggle, and Chinese No. 2, who says that insurrection is an art. That is all I need to know in order to write theses à la Bukharin: “On the one hand, . . . on the other hand”. The one has failed to reckon with the art “factor”, and the other, with the “acuteness factor”, etc. Because no concrete study is made of this particular controversy, question, approach, etc., the result is a dead and empty eclecticism.

On the one hand, the trade unions are a school, and on the other, an apparatus; but they also happen to be an organisation of working people, an almost exclusive organisation of industrial workers, an organisation by industry, etc.[3c] Bukharin does not make any analysis for himself, nor does he produce a shred of evidence to prove why it is that we should consider the first two “facets” of the question or object, instead of the third, the fourth, the fifth, etc. That is why his group’s theses are an eclectic soap bubble. His presentation of the “school-apparatus” relationship is fundamentally eclectic and wrong.

The only way to view this question in the right light is to descend from empty abstractions to the concrete, that is, the present issue. Whether you take it in the form it assumed at the Fifth All-Russia Conference of Trade Unions, or as it was presented and slanted by Trotsky himself in his platform pamphlet of December 25, you will find that his whole approach is quite wrong and that he has gone off at a tangent. He has failed to understand that the trade unions can and must be viewed as a school both when raising the question of “Soviet trade-unionism”, and when speaking of production propaganda in general, and even when considering “coalescence” and trade union participation in industrial management, as Trotsky does. On this last point, as it is presented in Trotsky’s platform pamphlet, the mistake lies in his failure to grasp that the trade unions are a school of technical and administrative management of production. In the context of the controversy, you can not say: “a school, on the one hand, and something else on the other"; given Trotsky’s approach, the trade unions, whichever way you look at them, are a school. They are a school of unity, solidarity, management and administration, where you learn how to protect your interests. Instead of making an effort to comprehend and correct Comrade Trotsky’s fundamental mistake, Comrade Bukharin has produced a funny little amendment: “On the one hand, and on the other.”

Let us go deeper into the question. Let us see what the present trade unions are, as an “apparatus” of industrial management. We have seen from the incomplete returns that about 900 workers—trade union members and delegates—are engaged in industrial management. If you multiply this number by 10 or even by 100—if it helps to clarify your fundamental mistake let us assume this incredible speed of “advance” in the immediate future—you still have an insignificant proportion of those directly engaged in management, as compared with the mass of six million trade union members. This makes it even clearer that it is quite wrong to look to the “leading stratum”, and talk about the trade unions’ role in production and industrial management, as Trotsky does, forgetting that 98.5 per cent (6 million minus 90,000 equals 5,910,000 or 98.5 per cent of the total) are learning, and will have to continue to do so for a long time to come. Don’t say school and management, say schooI of management.

In his December 30 argument against Zinoviev, whom he accused, quite groundlessly and incorrectly, of denying the “appointments system”, that is, the Central Committee’s right and duty to make appointments, Comrade Trotsky inadvertently drew the following telltale comparison:

“Zinoviev tends to overdo the propaganda angle on every practical matter, forgetting that it is not only a source of material for agitation, but also a problem requiring an administrative solution” (p. 27).

Before I explain in detail the potential administrative approach to the issue, let me say that Comrade Trotsky’s fundamental mistake is that he treats (rather, maltreats) the questions he himself had brought up in his platform pamphlet as administrative ones, whereas they could be and ought to be viewed only from the propaganda angle.

In effect, what are Trotsky’s good points? One undoubtedly good and useful point is his production propaganda, but that is not in his theses, but in his speeches, specially when he forgets about his unfortunate polemics with the allegedly “conservative” wing of the trade-unionists. He would undoubtedly have done (and I believe he will do) a great deal of good in the trade union commission’s practical business, as speaker and writer, and as a member of the All-Russia Production Propaganda Bureau. His platform theses were a mistake, for through them, like a scarlet thread, runs the administrative approach to the “crisis” and the “two trends” within the trade unions, the interpretation of the R.C.P. Programme, “Soviet trade-unionism”, “production training” and “coalescence”. I have listed all the main points of Trotsky’s “platform “ and they all happen to be topics which, considering the material at Trotsky’s disposal, can be correctly approached at the present time only from the propaganda angle.

The state is a sphere of coercion. It would be madness to renounce coercion, especially in the epoch of the dictatorship of the proletariat, so that the administrative approach and “steerage” are indispensable. The Party is the leader, the vanguard of the proletariat, which rules directly. It is not coercion but expulsion from the Party that is the specific means of influence and the means of purging and steeling the vanguard. The trade unions are a reservoir of the state power, a school of communism and a school of management. The specific and cardinal thing in this sphere is not administration but the “ties ” “between the central state administration” (and, of course, the local as well), “the national economy and the broad masses of the working people” (see Party Programme, economic section, §5, dealing with the trade unions).

The whole of Trotsky’s platform pamphlet betrays an incorrect approach to the problem and a misunderstanding of this relationship.

Let us assume that Trotsky had taken a different approach to this famous question of “coalescence” in connection with the other topics of his platform, and that his pamphlet was entirely devoted to a detailed investigation of, say, 90 of the 900 cases of “coalescence” where trade union officials and members concurrently held elective trade union posts and Supreme Economic Council posts in industrial management. Let us say these 90 cases had been analysed together with the returns of a selective statistical survey, the reports of inspectors and instructors of Rabkrin and the People’s Commissariats concerned: let us say they had been analysed in the light of the data supplied by the administrative bodies, the results of the work, the headway in production, etc. That would have been a correct administrative approach, and would have fullyy\ indicated the “shake-up” line, which implies concentrating attention on removals, transfers, appointments and the immediate demands to be made on the “leading stratum”. When Bukharin said in his January 3 speech, published by the Tsektran people in Petrograd, that Trotsky had at first wanted a “shake-up” but had now abandoned the idea, he made another one of his eclectical mistakes, which is ridiculous from the practical standpoint and theoretically inadmissible for a Marxist. He takes the question in the abstract, being unable (or unwilling) to get down to brass tacks. So long as we, the Party’s Central Committee and the whole Party, continue to run things, that is, govern, we shall never—we cannot—dispense with the “shake-up”, that is, removals, transfers, appointments, dismissals, etc. But Trotsky’s platform pamphlet deals with something else, and does not raise the “question of practical business” at all. It is not this but the “trends within the trade union movement” (Trotsky’s thesis 4, end) that was being debated by Zinoviev and Trotsky, Bukharin and myself, and in fact the whole Party.

This is essentially a political question. Because of the substance of the case—this concrete, particular “case “—it is impossible to correct Trotsky’s mistake by means of eclectic little amendments and addenda, as Bukharin has been trying to do, being moved undoubted]y by the most humane sentiments and intensions.

There is only one answer.

First, there must be a correct solution of the political question of the “trends within the trade union movement”, the relationship between classes, between politics and economics, the specific role of the state, the Party, the trade unions, as “school” and apparatus, etc.

Second, once the correct political decision has been adopted, a diversified nation-wide production propaganda campaign must be carried through, or, rather, systematically carried forward with persistence and patience over a long term, under the sponsorship and direction of a state agency. It should be conducted in such a way as to cover the same ground over and over again.

Third, the “questions of practical business” must not be confused with trend issues which properly belong to the sphere ofgeneral Party talk” and broad discussions; they must be dealt with as practical matters in the working commissions, with a hearing of witnesses and a study of memoranda, reports and statistics. And any necessary “shake-up” must be carried out only on that basis and in those circumstances: only under a decision of the competent Soviet or Party organ, or of both.

Trotsky and Bukharin have produced a hodgepodge of political mistakes in approach, breaks in the middle of the transmission belts, and unwarranted and futile attacks on “administrative steerage”. It is now clear where the “theoretical” source of the mistake lies, since Bukharin has taken up that aspect of it with his example of the tumbler. His theoretical—in this case, gnosiological— mistake lies in his substitution of eclecticism for dialectics. His eclectic approach has confused him and has landed him in syndicalism. Trotsky’s mistake is one-track thinking, compulsiveness, exaggeration and obstinacy. His platform says that a tumbler is a drinking vessel, but this particular tumbler happens to have no bottom.


It remains for me to go over a few more points which must be dealt with to prevent misunderstanding.

Thesis 6 of Trotsky’s platform quotes Paragraph 5 of the economic section of the R.C.P. Programme, which deals with the trade unions. Two pages later, his thesis 8 says:

“Having lost the old basis of their existence, the class economic struggle, the trade unions. . . “ (that is wrong, and is a hasty exaggeration: the trade unions no longer have to face the class economic struggle but the non-class “economic struggle”, which means combating bureaucratic distortions of the Soviet apparatus, safeguarding the working people’s material and spiritual interests in ways and means inaccessible to this apparatus, etc. This is a struggle they will unfortunately have to face for many more years to come). “The trade unions,” says Trotsky, “have, for various reasons, not yet succeeded in mustering the necessary forces and working out the necessary methods enabling them to solve the new task, that of organising production ” (Trotsky’s italics, p. 9, thesis 8), “set before them by the proletarian revolution and formulated in our Programme.”

That is yet another hasty exaggeration which is pregnant with grave error. The Programme does not contain any such formulation nor does it set the trade unions the task of “organising production”. Let us go over the propositions in the Party’s Programme as they unfold in the text:

(1)"The organisational apparatus” (but not the others) “of socialised industry should rely chiefly” (but not exclusively) “on the trade unions.” (2)"They must to an ever increasing degree divest themselves of the narrow craft-union spirit” (how? under the leadership of the Party and through the proletariat’s educational and other influence on the non-proletarian mass of working people) “and become large industrial associations, embracing the majority, and eventually all of the workers in the given industry.”

That is the first part of the section of the Party Programme dealing with the trade unions. You will have noted that it starts by laying down very “strict conditions” demanding a long sustained effort for what is to follow. And what follows is this:

“The trade unions being, on the strength of the laws of the Soviet Republic and established practice, participants” (note the cautious statement: participants only) “in all the local and central organs of industrial management, should eventually arrive at a de facto concentration in their hands of the whole administration of the whole national economy, as a single economic entity” (note this: should arrive at a de facto concentration of management not of branches of industry and not of industry as a whole, but of the whole national economy, and moreover, as an economic entity. In economic terms, this condition may be considered fulfilled only when the petty producers both in industry and agriculture account for less than one-half of the population and the national economy). “The trade unions ensuring in this way” (the way which helps to realise all the conditions listed earlier) “indissoluble ties between the central state administration, the national economy and the broad masses of working people, should draw the latter” (that is, the masses, the majority of the population) “into direct economic management on the widest possible scale. At the same time, the participation of the trade unions in economic management and their activity in drawing the broad masses into this work are the principal means of combating the bureaucratisation of the economic apparatus of the Soviet power and making possible the establishment of truly popular control over the results of production.”

There again, in that last sentence, we find a very cautious phrase: “participation in economic management"; and another reference to the recruitment of the broad masses as the chief (but not the only) means of combating bureaucratic practices; finally, we find a highly cautious statement: “making possible ” the establishment of “popular ”—that is, workers’ and peasants’, and not just purely proletarian—“control ”.

It is obviously wrong to boil this down to the Party Programme “formulating” the trade unions’ task as “organisation of production”. And if you insist on this error, and write it into your platform theses, you will get nothing but an anti-communist, syndicalist deviation.

Incidentally, Comrade Trotsky says in his theses that “over the last period we have not made any headway towards the goal set forth in the Programme but have in fact retreated from it” (p. 7, thesis 6). That statement is unsupported, and, I think, wrong. It is no proof to say, as Trotsky did in the discussions, that the trade unions “themselves” admit this. That is not the last resort, as far as the Party is concerned, and, generally speaking, the proof lies only in a serious and objective study of a great number of facts. Moreover, even if such proof were forthcoming, there would remain this question: Why have we retreated? Is it because “many trade-unionists “ are “balking at the new tasks and methods”, as Trotsky believes, or because “we have not yet succeeded in mustering the necessary forces and working out the necessary methods” to cut short and correct certain unwarranted and harmful excesses of bureaucracy?

Which brings me to Bukharin’s rebuke of December 30 (repeated by Trotsky yesterday, January 24, during our discussion in the Communist group of the Second Miners’ Congress) that we have “dropped the line laid down by the Ninth Party Congress” (p. 46 of the report on the December 30 discussion). He alleged that at that Congress I had defended the militarisation of labour and had jeered at references to democracy, all of which I now “repudiate”. In his reply to the debate on December 30, Comrade Trotsky added this barb: “Lenin takes account of the fact that . . . there is a grouping of opposition-minded comrades within the trade unions” (p. 65); that I view it from the “diplomatic angle” (p. 69), and that there is “manoeuvring inside the Party groups” (p. 70), etc. Putting such a complexion on the case is, of course, highly flattering for Trotsky, and worse than unflattering for me. But let us look at the facts.

In that same discussion on December 30, Trotsky and Krestinsky established the fact that “as long ago as July (1920), Comrade Preobrazhensky had proposed to the Central Committee that we should switch to a new track in respect of the internal life of our workers’ organisations” (p. 25). In August, Comrade Zinoviev drafted a letter, and the Central Committee approved a C.C. Letter on combating red-tape and extending democracy. In September, the question was brought up at a Party conference whose decisions were endorsed by the Central Committee. In December, the question of combating red-tape was laid before the Eighth Congress of Soviets. Consequently, the whole Central Committee, the whole Party and the whole workers’ and peasants’ Republic had recognised that the question of the bureaucracy and ways of combating its evils was high on the agenda. Does any “repudiation” of the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P. follow from all this? Of course, not. The decisions on the militarisation of labour, etc., are incontestable, and there is no need for me at all to withdraw any of my jibes at the references to democracy by those who challenged these decisions. What does follow is that we shall be extending democracy in the workers’ organisations, without turning it into a fetish; that we shall redouble our attention to the struggle against bureaucratic practices; and that we shall take special care to rectify any unwarranted and harmful excesses of bureaucracy, no matter who points them out.

One final remark on the minor question of priority and equalisation. I said during the December 30 discussion that Trotsky’s formulation of thesis 41 on this point was theoretically wrong, because it implied priority in production and equalisation in consumption. I replied that priority implied preference and that that was nothing unless you also had it in consumption. Comrade Trotsky reproached me for “extraordinary forgetfulness” and “intimidation” (pp. 67 and 68), and I am surprised to find that he has not accused me also of manoeuvring, diplomatic moves, etc. He has made “concessions” to my equalitarian line, but I have attacked him.

Actually, however, anyone who takes an interest in Party affairs, can turn to indisputable Party documents: the November resolution of the C.C. Plenum, point 4, and Trotsky’s platform pamphlet, thesis 41. However “forgetful” I may be, and however excellent Comrade Trotsky’s memory, it is still a fact that thesis 41 contains a theoretical error, which the C.C. resolution of November 9 does not. The resolution says: “While recognising the necessity of keeping to the principle of priority in carrying out the economic plan, the Central Committee, in complete solidarity with the decisions of the last All-Russia Conference (September), deems it necessary to effect a gradual but steady transition to equality in the status of various groups of workers and their respective trade unions, all the while building up the organisation on the scale of the union as a whole.” That is clearly aimed against Tsektran, and it is quite impossible to put any other construction on the exact meaning of the resolution. Priority is here to stay. Preference is still to be given to enterprises, trade unions, trusts and departments on the priority list (in regard to fulfilment of the economic plan), but at the same time, the “equalitarian line”—which was supported not by “Comrade Lenin alone”, but was approved by the Party Conference and the Central Committee, that is, the entire Party—makes this clear-cut demand: get on with the gradual but steady transition to equalisation. That Tsektran failed to carry out this C.C. resolution (November) is evident from the Central Committee’s December resolution (on Trotsky and Bukharin’s motion), which contains another reminder of the “principles of ordinary democracy”. The theoretical error in thesis 41 is that it says: equalisation in consumption, priority in production. That is an economic absurdity because it implies a gap between production and consumption. I did not say—and could never have said—anything of the sort. If you don’t need a factory, close it down. Close down all the factories that are not absolutely essential, and give preference to those that are. Give preference to, say, transport. Most certainly. But the preference must not be overdone, as it was in Tsektran’s case, which was why the Party (and not just Lenin) issued this directive: get on with the gradual but steady transition to equality. And Trotsky has no one but himself to blame for having come out—after the November Plenary Meeting, which gave a clear-cut and theoretically correct solution—with a factional pamphlet on “the two trends” and proposed a formulation in his thesis 41 which is wrong in economic terms.

*     *
Today, January 25, it is exactly one month since Comrade Trotsky’s factional statement. It is now patent that this pronouncement, inappropriate in form and wrong in essence, has diverted the Party from its practical economic and production effort into rectifying political and theoretical mistakes. But, it’s an ill wind, as the old saying goes.

Rumour has it that some terrible things have been said about the disagreements on the Central Committee. Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries undoubtedly shelter (and have sheltered) behind the opposition, and it is they who are spreading the rumours, incredibly malicious formulations, and inventions of all sorts to malign the Party, put vile interpretations on its decisions, aggravate conflicts and ruin its work. That is a political trick used by the bourgeoisie, including the petty-bourgeois democrats, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who, for very obvious reasons, hate—and cannot help hating—the Bolsheviks’ guts. Every intelligent member of the Party is familiar with this political trick, and knows its worth.

Because of the disagreements on the Central Committee, it had to appeal to the Party, and the discussions that followed clearly revealed the essence and scope of these disagreements. That killed the rumours and the slander. The Party learns its lessons and is tempered in the struggle against factionalism, a new malaise (it is new in the sense that after the October Revolution we had forgotten all about it). Actually, it is an old malaise, with relapses apparently bound to occur over the next few years, but with an easier cure now well in sight.

The Party is learning not to blow up its disagreements. Let me quote at this point Comrade Trotsky’s correct remark about Comrade Tomsky: “I have always said —even when the polemic against Comrade Tomsky was at its bitterest—that it is quite clear to me that only men with his experience and authority ought to be our trade union leaders. I told this to the Party group of the Fifth Conference of the Trade Unions, and repeated it at the Zimin theatre a few days ago. Ideological struggle within the Party does not mean mutual ostracism but mutual influence”[4] (p. 34 of the report on the December 30 discussion). The Party will naturally apply this correct approach to Comrade Trotsky himself.

During the discussion it was Comrade Shlyapnikov and his group, the so-called Workers’ Opposition, who showed the most pronounced syndicalist trend. This being an obvious deviation from communism and the Party, we shall have to reckon with it, talk it over, and make a special propaganda effort to explain the error of these views and the danger of making such mistakes. Comrade Bukharin, who actually coined the syndicalist phrase “mandatory nominations” (by trade unions to management bodies) tries to vindicate himself in today’s issue of Pravda, but I’m afraid his line of defence is highly ineffective and quite wrong. He wants us to know, you see, that he deals with the role of the Party in his other points. I should think so! If it were otherwise it would have been more than just a mistake, requiring correction and allowing some slight rectification: it would have been withdrawal from the Party. When you say “mandatory nominations” but neglect to add, there and then, that they are not mandatory for the Party, you have a syndicalist deviation, and that is incompatible with communism and the Party Programme If you add: “mandatory but not for the Party” you are giving the non-Party workers a false sense of having some increase in their rights, whereas in fact there will be no change at all. The longer Comrade Bukharin persists in his deviation from communism—a deviation that is wrong theoretically and deceptive politically—the more deplorable will be the fruits of his obstinacy. You cannot maintain an untenable proposition. The Party does not object to the extension of the rights of the non-Party workers in general, but a little reflection will show what can and what cannot be done in this respect.

In the discussion by the Communist group of the Second All-Russia Miners’ Congress, Shlyapnikov’s platform was defeated despite the backing it got from Comrade Kiselyov, who commands special prestige in that union: our platform won 137 votes, Shlyapnikov’s, 62, and Trotsky’s, 8. The syndicalist malaise must and will be cured.

In this one month, Petrograd, Moscow and a number of provincial towns have shown that the Party responded to the discussion and has rejected Comrade Trotsky’s wrong line by an overwhelming majority. While there may have been some vacillation “at the top” and “in the provinces”, in the committees and in the offices, the rank-and-file membership—the mass of Party workers—came out solidly against this wrong line.

Comrade Kamenev informed me of Comrade Trotsky’s announcement, during the discussion in the Zamoskvorechye District of Moscow on January 23, that he was withdrawing his platform and joining up with the Bukharin group on a new platform. Unfortunately, I heard nothing of this from Comrade Trotsky either on January 23 or 24, when he spoke against me in the Communist group of the Miners’ Congress. I don’t know whether this is due to another change in Comrade Trotsky’s platform and intentions, or to some other reason. In any case, his January 23 announcement shows that the Party, without so much as mustering all its forces, and with only Petrograd, Moscow and a minority of the provincial towns going on record, has corrected Comrade Trotsky’s mistake promptly and with determination.

The Party’s enemies had rejoiced too soon. They have not been able—and will never be able—to take advantage of some of the inevitable disagreements within the Party to inflict harm on it and on the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia.

January 25, 1921

[1] Lenin began writing the pamphlet on January 21 or 22, 1921, in Gorki where he was taking a rest. Upon his return to Moscow on January 22, he handed the greater part of the pamphlet to his secretary for typing. He finished the work on January 25 and had it sent to the printer’s. Late on January 26, C.C. members who were going to attend local discussions of the trade unions’ role and tasks were given copies of the printed pamphlet, while the rest of the copies were ready on January 27.

[2] Petrogradskaya Pravda (Petrograd Truth )—a daily published from April 2, 1918, as the organ of the Bolshevik Central and Petrograd Party Committees. Since January 1924, it has been appearing as Leningradskaya Pravda.

[3] V. I. Zoff’s circular of May 3, 1920, was published in the Bulleten Mariinskogo Oblastnogo Upravlenia Vodnogo Transporta (Bulletin of the Mariinsky Regional Water Transport Administration ) No. 5, 1920. It ran: “A great change is about to occur in the life of water transport: primitive methods, committee treadmill, haphazard work and anarchy are on the way out. Water transport is becoming a state enterprise, headed by political commissars with appropriate powers. Committees, trade unions and elected delegates will no longer have the power to interfere in technical and administrative matters.”

[3b] By the way, it would be a good thing, first, if the current edition of Plekhanov’s works contained a special volume or volumes of all his philosophical articles, with detailed indexes, etc., to be included in a series of standard textbooks on communism; secondly I think the workers’ state must demand that professors of philosophy should have a knowledge of Plekhanov’s exposition of Marxist philosophy and ability to impart it to their students. But all that is a digression from “propaganda” to “administration”—Lenin.

[3c]Incidentally, here again Trotsky makes a mistake. He thinks that an industrial union is designed to control industry. That is wrong. When you say that a union is an industrial one you mean that it admits to membership workers in one industry, which is inevitable at the present level of technology and culture (in Russia and elsewhere).—Lenin.

The order was an example of administration by injunction and bureaucratic practices, which Tsektran’s leadership was introducing, and was evidence of their misunderstanding of the trade unions’ role in getting transport back on its feet. The trade unions were equated with outdated army committees, and barred by order from taking part in improving water transport operations.

[4] On December 24, 1920, in what used to be the Zimin theatre, Trotsky gave a report on the trade unions tasks in production at a joint meeting of trade union activists and delegates to the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets, called by the Central Committee of the Joint Union of Rail and Water Transport Workers. It started the open Party discussion on the trade unions.