Appeal of the 22 - Alexander Shliapnikov

Lenin and Trotsky with troops in Petrograd, 1921

Appeal by members of the Workers' Opposition group for support against Bolshevik forces trying to silence their dissent within the party. Distributed at the Eleventh Russian Communist Party Congress in 1922.

Dear comrades!

From our newspapers we have learned that the Executive Committee of the Communist International is discussing the “united workers’ front,” and we consider it our communist duty to inform you that in our country the “united front” is in bad shape not only in the broad sense of this term, but even in its application toward the ranks of our party.

As the forces of the bourgeoisie press on us from all sides, as they even infiltrate our party, the social composition of which (40% worker and 60% non-proletarian) favor this, our leading centers wage a relentless, corrupting struggle against all, especially proletarians, having their own opinions, and they apply all kinds of repressive measures against the expression of these opinions within the party.

The attempt to bring the proletarian masses closer to the government is declared to be “anarcho-syndicalism,” and its advocates are persecuted and discredited.

In the trade union movement, there is the same picture — suppression of worker spontaneity and initiative, struggle using all means against heterodoxy. The unified forces of the party and trade union bureaucracy, taking advantage of their position and authority, ignore our congresses’ decisions about laying the foundations of worker democracy. Our union communist fractions, even the fractions of entire congresses are deprived of the right to manifest their will in the election of their own leaders. Bureaucracy’s tutelage and pressure has gone so far, that party members are threatened with exclusion and other repressive measures if they elect whom they want instead of those whom the higher-ups want. Such methods of work lead to careerism, intrigues, and servility, and workers respond to this by leaving the party.

Sharing the idea of the united workers’ front as it is interpreted in point 23 of the theses, we appeal to you, with the sincere wish to end all these abnormalities, which stand in the way of the unity of this front, first of all within our RCP(b).

The situation within our party is so difficult, that it impels us to turn to you for help and in this way to eliminate the impending threat of a split in our party.

With communist greetings, members of the RCP(b):

M. Lobanov, party member since 1904
N. Kuznetsov, party member since 1904
A. Polosatov, party member since 1912
A. Medvedev, party member since 1912
G. Miasnikov, party member since 1906
V. Plashkov, party member since 1918
G. Shokhanov, party member since 1912
S. Medvedev, party member since 1900
G. Bruno, party member since 1906
A. Pravdin, party member since 1899
I. Ivanov, party member since 1899
F. Mitin, party member since 1902
P. Borisov, party member since 1913
M. Kopylov, party member since 1912
Zhilin, party member since 1915
Chelyshev, party member since 1910
Tolokontsev, party member since 1914
A. Shliapnikov, party member since 1901
M. Borulin, party member since 1917
V. Bekrenev, party member since 1917
A. Pavlov, party member since 1917
A. Tashkin, party member since 1917
A. Kollontai, party member since 1898
Zoya Shadurskaia*

* Shadurskaia was also a party member, but the year she joined was mistakenly omitted from the document.