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Albert Gates

Everybody Has to Vote in Russia! –
What Do You Want? Socialism?!

(5 April 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 14, 5 April 1948, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

We owe a debt of sorts to the official organ of the “Cominform,” entitled For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy. In its January1 issue, it reported the results of local elections in Russia, citing figures which are both amazing and tantalizing.

The elections, it wrote, took place on December 21, 1947, “Soviets of working people’s deputies in the territories, regions, areas, districts, cities and rural localities of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.” Listen to the report:

“99.90 per cent of the electors voted in the elections to the Soviets of territories; 99.92 per cent – to the Soviets of regions; 99.81 per cent – to the Soviets of areas; 99.93 per cent – to the district Soviets; 99.89 per cent – to the city Soviets; 99.89 to the city district Soviets; 99.87 per cent – to the Soviets of rural localities.”

To make the point all the clearer,since it is not quite apparent from the figures cited, For a Lasting, etc., etc., says:

“Practically all voters, with very few exceptions, went to the polls.”

Is this not truly amazing? We are not told how many voters these figures represent, but it must be in the tens of millions, since they elected no less than 766,563 deputies! This is certainly a commentary on the high level of political interest of the masses in Russia. Compare these figures with those of any other country in the world. Not even the most sharply contested presidential election in the United States brings more than 60 to 70 per cent of the voters out; usually it is less than 50 per cent. No, not even Great Britain, with an even longer and more powerful parliamentary tradition, can get 99.90per cent turnout to elections.


What does this prove? Well, it can prove that the bourgeois democracies are decadent and that the “new democracy” of Stalin is such an overwhelming phenomenon that no one can resist voting, not even the lame, the halt, the blind, the sick, the insane, etc. Yes, nothing stops a voter in Stalin’s land. Neither Russian winter, snow, rain, lack of roads, nor – perish the thought – lack of desire to vote. Everybody votes!

It is really a staggering achievement, overcoming all obstacles, including customary mathematical forecasts on probable percentages of voting based on long years of empirical evidence.

“Non-Party” Candidates

But that is only half the story. Wait until you get the rest. For a Lasting, etc., etc. gives the figures on how the votes were cast, in percentages, of course. For the candidates of the “bloc of Communists and non-party members” (can any of the editors enlighten me as to the meaning of a “non-party member”?) the results were as follows:

“In the elections to the Soviets of territories – 99.50 per cent; to the Soviets of regions – 99.29 per cent; to the Soviets of areas – 99.59 per cent; to the district Soviets – 99.20 per cent; to the city Soviets – 98.67 per cent; to the city district Soviets – 98.68 percent; to the Soviets of rural localities – 98.68 per cent ... Thus the results demonstrated the full support for the bloc of Communists and non-party members” (at this point, editors, I think I begin to know what a non-party member is. He is a person who is not a member of the Russian Communist Party at one point; but once he becomes a successful candidate, an official of the state, he achieves the status of a member, though not actually in the party. Or, to put it another way: party member or not, it is one and the same thing. – A.G.) –

To prove that there is no one-party dictatorship in Russia, we have only to look to these elections in which 403,036 “non-party members” were elected to the several Soviets. This is 53.2 per cent of the total, and anyone can see that they outnumber the party member deputies!


There are some people who obviously have a misconception of socialism. Basing themselves on the antiquated doctrines of the 19th century Marx and Engels, they think socialism means a society in which people may “freely” develop their social activity, thinking and culture under conditions of economic equality and security. Such misconceptions reflect outmoded ideas which were the product of laissez-faire capitalism. But they are wrong.

In bringing the doctrines of socialism up to date, nay, in revising and filling them with a new content, Comrade Stalin has proved that such conceptions of equality and freedom are in truth anarchist; they are outlived and outworn doctrines. They were developed before the law of the uneven development of capitalism was known. That law was discovered by Comrade Stalin from a hint by Lenin in one of his obscure articles which no one else has bothered to read. Showing how this law was a reflection of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, Stalin pointed out and proved by the Russian experiment that the “new democracy” has a leveling quality, that “differences of opinion” are a petty bourgeois desire.

No Differences

You can have real unity of thought and action only where there are no differences of opinion in society, in politics, science and culture. That is the road of social progress. In Russia we see the real triumph of modern man, the “new” man, as is reflected in the elections. Uniformity and regimentation, as our great leader pointed out, are the pillars of the “new socialism,” that which gives it strength. The objections to the new socialism, made by renegades are, as Stalin is fond of saying, “enough to make a cat laugh.”.

Russian Federative Socialist Republic! What a grand old name! It is not a complete RFSR yet. This is evidenced by the fact that the voting averaged ONLY 99.90 per cent; in three elections it went down as LOW as 98.68 per cent. This only means that the RFSR is in its FIRST stage of development and that the process of re-education away from the outlived ideas of the 1917 revolution has not been completed. Nevertheless, the achievement is literally world-shaking.

Yet there are some malicious grumblers who call this a “degenerated Russian Federative Socialist Republic.” Is it not clear that they are nothing but quibblers?

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