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100 Years ago....

Lenin's economy to allow enterpise

Mar 12, 1921

The Bolsheviks have been told by Lenin that state planning of the economy is to be ended. Forced requisitioning of crops is to stop and peasants will be encouraged to sell their produce on the open market. Private trading is to be restored and partnership deals with foreign capitalists will be made.

In his speech to the Tenth Congress of the Communist Party in Moscow, Lenin admitted he had made mistakes, but he did not say communism was being abandoned; it was only being postponed until the economy had recovered. As he put it: "Two steps forward, one step back".

Even so, it is being seen as an embarrassing political somersault by a revolutionary leader who prided himself on his mastery of Karl Marx's economic theories. A year ago, when Trotsky wared the Party's Central Committee that the economy was collapsing and that a free market must be allowed for peasants and tradesmen, he was ridiculed by Lenin, who told him there was no going back from the planned economy.

Trotsky accepted the rebuke and threw himself with renewed energy into enforcing war communism, the system that had enabled them to fight the civil war and survive foreign intervention. He called for the militarisation of labour and said deserters should be sent to concentration camps.

Article from "Chronicle of the 20th Century" ISBN 1 872031 80 3

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