Development, Part 4b
Poster, “Do you help to liquidate illiteracy?” (USSR, 1925)
Education, key to development
Lenin’s short, 1920 speech to adult educators (attached) starts with some paragraphs about the war situation. This was a little more than two years after the Great October 1917 Russian Revolution, and in the mean time there had been counter-revolutionary uprisings and military interventions from the capitalist powers, including Great Britain. These can serve to remind us what an enormous effort had to be made just to obtain sufficient peace to start building the USSR.
In the remaining page or so of this typically powerful summing-up by Lenin can be read his view of the relationship between education, development of industrial productive forces (including electrification), and the emancipation of the peasants from poverty and backward material conditions.
[We] “…will go to the peasants with a practical, businesslike and clear-cut plan for the reconstruction of all industry and will demonstrate that with education at its present level the peasant and the worker will not be able to carry out this task and will not escape from filth, poverty, typhus and disease.
“This practical task is clearly connected with cultural and educational improvements and must serve as the central point around which we must group all our Party propaganda and activities, all our school and extra-mural teaching.
“This will help to get a sound grasp of the most urgent interests of the peasant masses and will link up the general improvement in culture and knowledge with burning economic requirements to such an extent that we shall increase a hundredfold the demand of the working-class masses for education.”
We, too, must link up the general improvement in culture and knowledge with burning economic requirements. This is the reason for our studies.
· The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Speech to Adult Educationalists at 3rd All-Russian Conference, 1920, Lenin.