chapter  5
Creeping socialism: Bukharin versus Lenin
Pages 9

Following the adoption of NEP, Bukharin began to argue that the peasantry could become an active ally of the Communist Party, rather than a group to be 'neutralized' and 'led by the nose'. He told the 1923 Party Congress that 'the large industrial states are the cities of world economy and the colonies and semi-colonies are its countryside' and that the latter constituted 'a gigantic reservoir of revolutionary infantry' in the struggle against capitalist imperialism (Cohen, 1975, 149). Impressed by the eruption of radical peasant movements in 1920s Eastern Europe, he joined the new Sovietsponsored Peasant International in October 1923 Oackson, 1966, 69) and took an active interest in China's incipient peasant revolution (1924-7). His 'Theses on the

peasant question', adopted by Comintern in 1925, emphasized that, as most human beings were peasants, 'the struggle for the peasantry' was crucial to the future of 'proletarian' socialism (no. 2); the First World War and its aftermath had induced 'a great widening of peasant ideological horizons' (no. 35); the advent of 'proletarian dictatorship' now permitted 'non-capitalist development of peasant economy' and colonial countries to 'bypass' capitalism (nos 25 and 27).