The development of V.I. Lenin's Dialectics of the World and National Tasks of the Proletarian Revolution and soviet state

Union of Communists of Ukraine

The deepest contradiction of the proletarian socialist revolution, which forms the core of the dialectics of the revolutionary process, is the contradiction between the world and national tasks of the proletariat. As you know, Lenin's analysis of imperialism as a special stage in the development of capitalism on a world scale, the disclosure of the uneven nature of the development of capitalism at this stage, made it possible to draw a conclusion about the possible initial victory of the socialist revolution in a number of individual countries or even in one separate country, the "weak link" in the capitalist system. Accordingly, it also followed from the uneven development of capitalism in the era of imperialism that such a "weak link" that led the break through the chain of capitalism may be not the most developed capitalist countries or one country where, as a result of its backwardness, the over-layering of pre-capitalist and capitalist contradictions precisely defines the "link weakness".

The opportunist leaders of the Second International, who dogmatically assimilated the tenet of Marxism on the worldwide character of the socialist revolution or on the necessity of its victory initially in the most advanced capitalist countries, never raised the question of the struggle for the socialist revolution of the proletariat of a separate country and spoke only of the simultaneous action of the proletariat in a number of advanced capitalist countries as the most important prerequisite for the action of the proletariat in a separate country. Hence, it followed that it was impossible for the proletariat of a separate country to set the task of a revolutionary action against "their" bourgeoisie, if at the same time a similar task was not set by the proletarians of other countries. As a result, under the guise of “international action”, “international inaction” was actually being preached.

Lenin also proceeds from the international character of the proletarian revolution, as K. Marx argued. Meanwhile, he not only accepts the possibility of the proletariat of a separate country against "their" bourgeoisie, but insists on it, if the internal conditions for such an action are ripe, and internal contradictions make the situation favourable for such an action. It was this approach to the theory of the proletarian revolution that became the position of Bolshevism and ensured the possibility of the victory of the proletarian party over the bourgeois parties in the course of the revolution in Russia.

Lenin's approach made it possible to reveal the essence of the international proletarian revolution as a living contradiction with the internal transition of opposites through mediating links and stages. This means that the proletariat of each individual country perceives its revolutionary struggle as an integral part of the international struggle of the proletariat.

At the same time, he does not wait for the international conditions for a joint action to ripen, but takes advantage of the favourable conditions in his country to overthrow the power of the national bourgeoisie and start the socialist revolution. He uses his victory to maximize the development of the revolution internationally, since the final victory over capitalism is possible only on a global scale. [1]

This logic of the development of the socialist revolution was substantiated by V.I. Lenin in a large number of his works. In the spring of 1917, before leaving Switzerland for Russia, where the February Revolution began, in a letter to the Swiss workers V.I. Lenin writes: “The Russian proletariat cannot triumphantly complete the socialist revolution on its own. But it can give the Russian revolution a scale that will create the best conditions for it, which will actually start it. He can facilitate the situation for the entry into decisive battles of his main and most reliable collaborator, the European and American socialist proletariat." [2]

Answering the Mensheviks and opportunists of the Second International, V.I. Lenin declared: “When they describe to us the difficulty of our cause, when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a worldwide scale, we see in this just an attempt, especially a hopeless one, by the bourgeoisie and its free and unwitting supporters to distort the most immutable truth. Of course, the final victory of socialism in one country is impossible. Our detachment of workers and peasants, supporting Soviet power, is one of the detachments of that world army, which is now fragmented by the world war, but it is striving for unification, and every news, every fragment of a report on our revolution, every name of the proletariat masses is greeted with thunderous applause, since they know that their common cause is being done in Russia – the cause of the uprising of the proletariat, the international socialist revolution." [3]

The stance of V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party was firm on the issue of the international essence of the Russian Revolution. In 1920, he stressed: “When the Bolsheviks started the revolution, they said that we can and must start it; but at the same time we have not forgotten that it is possible to successfully complete it and bring it to an unquestionably victorious end, not confining ourselves to only one Russia, but in alliance with a number of countries by defeating international capital”. And further "We see confirmation that the Russian revolution is only one link in the chain of the international revolution and that our cause is firmly and invincible, because the cause of revolution is developing throughout the world …" [4]

And in 1921 he explained to the workers that “... capital is an international force, that the largest capitalist factories, enterprises, shops around the world are intertwined; and from this, of course, it is obvious that capital, by the very essence of the matter, will never be completely defeated in one country to the end it is impossible. This is an international force, and in order to defeat; joint actions of the workers are also needed on an international scale. He stressed that "the major task and the main condition of our victory is the spread of the revolution, at least to several of the most advanced countries." [5]

Thus, the Russian proletarian revolution was understood by V.I. Lenin as the moment in the development of the world proletarian revolution, the moment of its internal contradiction: in the "weak link" of international capitalism, due to the particular acuteness of the stratified contradictions, the revolution is easier to start, but impossible to complete. In the "strong links" – in the most developed countries of the world capitalist system – the socialist revolution is easier to complete, but it is more difficult to start, since there the bourgeoisie unconditionally dominates and has the ability to blunt class contradictions by bribing the top part of the proletariat, the "labour aristocracy", with the means obtained in the course of the imperialist looting of the world. [6]

What does this mean for a deeper understanding of the essence of the proletarian state in Russia? This means that the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat in alliance with the peasantry is both a national and an international organ, an instrument of revolutionary development both in Russia and throughout the world, since the socialist revolution is understood by V.I. Lenin in a cohesion of the opposites of the national and the international as a world historical revolutionary process.

Lenin was well aware that as a result of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the world revolutionary process received two ripped sides: on the one hand, the political power of the proletariat in the person of the Soviets as the highest stage of the political revolution; on the other, developed German monopoly capitalism with large-scale capitalist technology and planned organization of monopolies, which is the economic threshold and the most important condition for the transition to socialist production relations.

“History,” he wrote, gave birth to two scattered halves of socialism by 1918, next to each other, like two future chickens in one shell of international imperialism. In 1918, Germany and Russia most clearly embodied the material realization of the economic, production, socio-economic conditions, on the one hand, and the political conditions of socialism, on the other. [7]

It was the “weak link” situation that led to such a polarization of the world revolutionary process; and V.I. Lenin was not only perfectly aware of this dialectic of revolutionary practice, but also skilfully used it to develop the revolution. He stressed: “No wonder the implementation of the dictatorship of the proletariat revealed first of all the “contradiction” between the backwardness of Russia and her “leap” over bourgeois democracy. It would be surprising if the implementation of a new form of democracy gave us history without a number of contradictions".[8]

That was the reason why V.I. Lenin insisted on the essentially international character of the socialist proletarian revolution, without which even a politically advanced socialist revolution in Russia is doomed to the deepest difficulties and contradictions resulting in an aggravation of the class struggle in the civil war and, ultimately, to failure.

The brightest example of such a deep contradiction was the alliance of the working class and the peasantry: without the collectivization of agricultural production, it is impossible to solve the problem of increasing the productivity of agricultural labour and the problem of hunger. But collectivization requires modern agricultural technology, which, given the destruction of industry and the lack of sufficient food, the starving working class could not provide. This could have been provided in the event of the victory of the proletarian socialist revolution by the working class of Germany, and then the delivery of 100,000 tractors would have resulted in a quick victorious turning point in the alliance of the working class and the peasantry, and removed the acuteness of class confrontation.[9]

Nevertheless, the German revolution was delayed for a whole year, halted at the bourgeois-democratic stage, did not develop into a proletarian and socialist revolution largely as a consequence of the treacherous opportunist position of the German Social Democracy, which, having won a majority in parliament, not only failed to support the revolutionary actions of the workers, soldiers and sailors, but became an instrument of suppression of the revolutionary proletarian forces and even organized the assassination of the leaders of the revolutionary organization "Union of Spartacus" and the Communist Party of Germany, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

The delay in the international proletarian revolution led to the fact that the Soviet state was forced to make a number of compromises: the Brest Peace, the policy of "War Communism", the NEP, the elimination of the factional struggle in the RCP(b), etc., which were largely due to the fact that the proletarian revolution in Russia had to complete, to "finish", those tasks that the bourgeois-democratic anti-feudal February revolution did not complete (and could not complete due to the weakness and inconsistency of the Russian bourgeoisie, which was afraid of the revolutionary pressure of the proletariat); in other words, to take measures in the interests of the huge mass of the Russian peasantry, while acting with the view to achieve the proletarian - anti-bourgeois goals of the revolution.

In the environment of the crisis and devastation that began in Russia during the years of the First World War, and exacerbated as a result of two Russian revolutions and the civil war, in order to achieve the anti-bourgeois goals of the revolution, that is for the transition to a socialist society, the proletarian state had to restore capitalist industry when the capitalists were suppressed, to recreate state capitalism as a material prerequisite for socialist production, since,

this,  according  to  V.I.  Lenin,  was  a  necessary  stepping  stone  to  socialism  from  the petty-bourgeois element prevailing as a result of the devastation.

V.I. Lenin understood perfectly well that for such restoration work, peace with the capitalist countries surrounding the country was needed, which in fact was an agreement with the capitalists who ruled in these countries, contradicting as it was with the task of supporting the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat in these countries.

The dual dialectical essence and, consequently, the role of the proletarian state demanded the retention of the contradiction of the revolutionary transition in the duality of state tasks. On the one hand, to support the world revolution of the proletariat, a new Communist International is created, which practically turns the transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat into a world task. [10] Enormous effort has been made to form national communist parties around the world as revolutionary parties of the proletariat, a work dictated by the task of preparing for a new revolutionary wave, taking advantage of the growing world crisis of capitalism. For this reason, the slogan "Class against class!" was put forward, and the tactics of the workers' fronts were developed, aimed at uniting the struggle of the proletarian "lower classes" while neutralizing the opportunism of the Social Democratic and trade union "tops". And the result was obvious: only thirty years after the October Revolution, one third of humanity chose the communist path of development.

On the other hand, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs is created to conduct negotiations and conclude treaties with capitalist states. The Comintern is fighting for the Bolshevization of workers' parties in Western countries in order to channel them to revolutionary strategy and tactics, while the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs calms down the governments and invites capitalists to participate in concessions on the territory of Soviet Russia. But even in setting revolutionary tasks to the Communist Parties of the Western countries, the Comintern puts the task of defending the world's first socialist state in the first place.

Meanwhile, as Kemal Okuyan noted in his work, “a significant part of the workers who resisted hostile actions towards the Soviets and resisted the militaristic adventures of their governments were still under the influence of the social democratic parties. They hesitated or were reluctant when it came to a revolutionary uprising, but they also disliked attempts to destroy Soviet Russia.” [11]

Under the conditions of the slowdown of the revolutionary processes in Europe and the success of the Red Army in the civil war, a certain balance of opposing forces developed: after the end of the First World War, the world imperialist forces were mired in inter-imperialist contradictions and could not jointly suppress the world's first proletarian state. The revolution could not spread further into Europe, but the counter-revolution could not defeat Soviet Russia.

A situation of "respite" arose, when Soviet Russia could concentrate its forces on strengthening its proletarian state and the possibility of furthering progress along the path to socialism. But the socialist revolution in such a petty-bourgeois country as Russia can win, according to V.I. Lenin, only under two conditions: first, support for it in a timely manner by a socialist revolution in one or several advanced countries and, second, an agreement between the proletariat exercising its dictatorship or holding state power in its hands, and the majority of the peasant population. [12]

If the first condition was absent, or was postponed indefinitely, if there is no possibility of attracting the resources of industrial countries for the formation of an economy according to the socialist type in the event of the victory of the proletariat there, does this mean that a socialist revolution in Russia is impossible?  V.I. Lenin supported the idea that the rollback of the world

revolution was temporary, that there was a temporary respite before a new war with the capitalist states. But from this he concluded that the respite should be used, as much as possible, to advance along the path to socialism, to feed the hungry, to restore industry, to give housing to the homeless, to have time to strengthen the Red Army before new battles, to give education and culture to people eager to learn, without which socialism cannot be built.

Thus, the contradiction between the international and national tasks of the world's first proletarian state is driven (narrowed) in the direction of "socialism in a separate country" not by the mistakes of the leaders of this state, but, first of all, by the opportunism of European social democracy. A forced movement in this direction was started under the leadership of V.I. Lenin, who saw the threat of the defeat of socialism on this path of development of the revolution, but sought to advance as much as possible along the path of socialism, realizing that even in the event of defeat, the experience of the world's first proletarian state would serve the cause of further movement of the world revolution along this path and prepare as much as possible for new battles with the counter-revolutionary forces of the capitalist world, to new military clashes.

I.V. Stalin only continued to move along this path, which was later called "socialism in a separate country."

[1] It is no coincidence that he called the proletariat of Russia "our detachment of the international proletarian army." See: V.I. Lenin. Complete edition, vol. 36, p. 45.

[2] Lenin V.I. Farewell Letter to the Swiss Workers // Lenin V.I. Complete edition, vol. 31, p. 93.

[3] Lenin V.I. Report on the Activities of the Council of People's Commissars at the III Congress of Soviets on January 11, 1918 // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 35, p. 276-277.

[4] Lenin V.I. Speech at a meeting of the chairmen of district, volost and rural executive committees of the Moscow province on October 15, 1920 // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 4, p.348.

[5] Lenin V.I. Speech at the IV Congress of Garment Industry Workers // Lenin V.I. Complete edition, vol. 42, p. 311.

[6] Lenin V.I. The Third International and Its Place in History // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 38, p. 306.

[7] Lenin V.I. On the "Left" Childishness and Petty-bourgeoisness // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 36, p. 300.

[8] Lenin V.I. The Third International and Its Place in History // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 38, p. 304.

[9] Lenin. Report on work in the countryside on March 23 at the VIII Congress of the RCP (b) // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 38, p. 204.

[10] Lenin V.I. The Third International and Its Place in History // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 38, p. 303.

[11] Kemal Okuyan. Under the Shadow of the Revolution. Berlin – Warsaw – Ankara 1920. İSTANBUL, 2020. p. 112.

[12] Lenin V.I. Report on the Replacement of Surplus Appropriation with a Natural Tax on March 15 at the X Congress of the RCP (b) // Lenin V.I. Complete collection, vol. 43, p. 58.