The Russian Soviet Republic

By Edward Alsworth Ross | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXX
PRODUCTION UNDER COMMUNISM

THE Communists, when they came to the helm, did not intend at once to nationalize industries.1 The decree of November 14, 1917, provided only for the control of factories by committees, representing laborers and employers, called "organs of labor control." These committees were to have access to books, accounts, and correspondence of the enterprise and could supervise production. But the owners, managers, and experts generally refused to accept this labor control; so the Soviet Government began to punish such "sabotage" by confiscating the factory. Thus the powerful group of metallurgical concerns in the Urals had to be nationalized during the first two or three months of the Soviet régime. The coal industry, also, was nationalized early.

Again, the syndicalist spirit was so strong that many concerns were simply seized by their workmen. The owners, managers, and experts did not dare show their faces; the management therefore fell automatically into the hands of factory committees. The result, naturally, was a prompt and calamitous shrinkage of production and rise of expenses.

From January, 1918, to May, nationalization of particular enterprises was decreed from time to time. In June, when it had become apparent that the Allies intended to bayonet to death the Soviet régime, general nationalization was prescribed on the ground that in war-time factories had better be in the hands of men loyal if not always competent

____________________
1
See my conversation with Trotsky, "Russia in Upheaval," pp. 208-214.

-341-

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