CENTENARY OF THE GREAT PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION – LESSONS FOR COMMUNISTS
An article from magazine “Soviet Union” (RCWP)
The Great October Socialist Revolution is the best known revolution in the world, whereas due to its influence on the development of mankind it’s the greatest of all known revolutions
October Revolution is the first successful attempt to establish the dictatorship of proletariat. This is the first state in the world that acts in the interests of workers and peasants.
Nevertheless we should admit that nowadays communists of Russia meet the anniversary of the Great Revolution under conditions of retreat, in the situation of defeat of October Revolution’s cause in its motherland. Still we should remember the words of Lenin who taught that the best way to celebrate the anniversary is to concentrate on the tasks not resolved. To do this communists should critically reassess their movement in the last century. This reassessment presumes recognition of the fact that both in USSR and in Russia communists in their struggle for masses not only won but they had been defeated by bourgeoisie by the 90-ies. Both we and our allies on a number of occasions had to answer questions why we had been defeated. We answered those questions both in our media and in the course of international meetings. When answering those questions we had to prove that the defeat was not the final one, that our defeat was a temporary one and that we were going to go on struggling. Still we should once again check our practice against the basics of revolutionary Marxism and come to conclusions as to regards our mistakes. In order to decently celebrate the anniversary of the October, communists across the world should take resolute steps to dispose of their counterrevolutionary, revisionist and opportunist inheritance.
Let’s start with the analysis of the working class party’s merits in the victory of the Great Proletarian Revolution in order once again to learn from the experience of the victors how to struggle.
The precondition for the victory was the program of Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party that was well grounded and firmly based on the theory of Marxism. The revolution was foreseen and prepared as the result of brilliant and titanic theoretical work of Lenin, persistent political practice of Bolsheviks and heroic struggle of Russian working class.
There is no doubt that the work of Lenin “Imperialism as the highest stage of Capitalism” where he analyzed the development of capitalism in its highest monopolistic stage, played a special role in the theoretical preparation of revolution. In this work there was developed the theory of Imperialism, its main features were described and its future as parasitic and tainted Capitalism on the eve of socialist revolution was outlined.
By using the term “eve” Lenin stresses that beyond the stage of Imperialism Capitalism has no future stages of its progressive development. Exactly in this way Lenin defined the place of Imperialism in history, this definition being contrary to opportunistic commentators of Marxism like Kautsky, Plekhanov, Bukharin etc. that predicted that there ought to be yet another stage of Ultraimperialism and that believed that communists should not proceed beyond the limits of bourgeois-democratic revolution. Lenin proved that socialist revolution was possible in Russia and that the country had been ready for it at that moment of history.
Lenin clarified that the issues of “whether reformist changes of Imperialism’s base are possible, whether one should go forward, towards further escalation and deepening the contradictions of Imperialism, or move backwards towards their blunting, constitute the basic issues of the critic of Imperialism. As far as political features of Imperialism are all-out reaction and growth of national suppression due to the oppression by financial oligarchy and discarding of free competition, petty-bourgeois democratic opposition to Imperialism can be observed in next to all imperialistic countries in the beginning of the XX Century. Meanwhile the abandoning of Marxism by Kautsky and by the wide international movement of his followers manifests itself exactly as his not taking care, not being able to oppose himself to this petty bourgeois, reformist, economic, basically reactionary opposition – quite the opposite – he’s merged with it practically”1.
Lenin took notice of the fact that though Imperialism doesn’t basically change the relationship between bourgeoisie and proletariat, certain strata of proletariat, sometimes substantial ones come over to the side of bourgeoisie, as bourgeoisie manages to improve their wellbeing at the expense of hundreds of millions of people in colonial and semi-colonial states. Bourgeois ideology is perceived by a considerable part of working class. The interests of these parts are represented by “bourgeois capitalist parties”. A bribe at the expense of imperialistic super profit turns them into “running dogs of capitalism, into seducers of the workers’ movement”1. A struggle between revolutionary and reformist wing starts, that in Russia took the form of struggle between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
Lenin predicted and showed that economic crises of Capitalism could be a good ground to give birth to revolutionary situations. He gave the definition of revolutionary situation and defined main objective and subjective features describing a crisis situation on the eve of revolution:
- upper classes cannot rule as before.
- lower classes cannot live as before.
- Considerable increase of the masses’ activities above the usual level is a must. Long before the revolution he stressed that not any revolutionary situation evolves into a revolution. He wrote: “Neither oppression of the lower classes or a crisis in the ruling circles are likely to cause revolution – they would be only likely to bring about decay of the country, unless there is a revolutionary class capable of turning the passive state of decay into the active state of disturbance and insurrection”.
A subjective factor is also indispensable for revolution – the presence of avant-garde proletarian party armed with advanced theory and capable to lead the action of the class. Lenin elaborated the theory of proletarian party – a party of the new type that permitted to create the party of Bolsheviks. Setting the task to enable proletariat to perform its great historical mission, Communist party organizes proletariat into independent political force that opposes all bourgeois parties simultaneously, guides all manifestations of its class struggle, reveals for proletariat the irreconcilable contrariety existing between the interests of exploiters and exploited, and clarifies for them the historical importance and necessary conditions for the coming Socialist Revolution.
On the strength of the law of uneven development in the epoch of Imperialism Lenin came to the conclusion that Russia was a weak link in the chain that could be broken. He substantiated the possibility of the victory of the revolution in one separate country as the first step, put forward the thesis of turning imperialistic war into a civil one, that enabled Bolsheviks to come over to practical preparation for the revolution. That preparation was possible because the working class of Russia had created Soviets and Lenin viewed the future Soviet power as organizational form of Proletarian Dictatorship. Thus the Great October Socialist Revolution was theoretically substantiated, predicted, prepared and correspondingly successfully carried out.
Great October Socialist Revolution and USSR influenced other countries as well as the development of events all over the world. History has confirmed the “international importance or historical inevitability of repetition worldwide of the events that we had here” (Lenin Collected Works in Russian v.41 p.31). In 1921 Lenin dedicated his book “Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder” that still retains its import for communists of all generations.
International Imperialism had made tremendous efforts to strangle the first in the world state of working class, to overthrow the dictatorship of proletariat and to restore the dictatorship of bourgeoisie. Fourteen foreign countries took part in supporting internal counterrevolution of the overthrown classes and took part in intervention while unleashing the hardest civil war. Nevertheless Soviet Power withstood the onslaught and won. The victory was due to the widest support of working masses within the country and due to sincere and widespread solidarity of international proletariat. Dictatorship of proletariat fulfilled one of its main tasks – to suppress the overt resistance of the overthrown classes and their allies.
After the Civil War economic issues became the focus of attention. Soviet Power acted first of all in the interests of working class and strengthened its ties with the working peasants. Communist Party of Bolsheviks adhering to Marxism-Leninism was in control of the whole economic development. When fighting negative tendencies in line with this teaching there were carried out cultural revolution, industrialization and collectivization. Exploitation, unemployment and the fear of the coming day were eliminated, working week was shortened, both free of charge medical aid and education were introduced. National question was successfully resolved based on joining working people of different nations into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The country developed with an extraordinary speed and by the beginning of 40-ies Soviet Russia had advanced from the pre-war 5th to the 2nd place in the list of the most industrially developed countries of the world. Preplanned reequipping of industry with advanced machinery served as a basis for the growths of people’s well-being and ensured its potential of defense.
It would be just stupid to deny the obvious and well known achievements of the Soviet Union in the fields of economic, science and technology, culture and social benefits. As far as there is not too many people who tries to deny them, the main focus of attention of the critics of Socialism is the assumption that all these achievements were allegedly due to the terrible dictatorship of Stalin, at the price of innumerable victims etc. Some of them even claim that these advances were made by people despite the dictate of the party and the Soviet Power. Anticommunists go on smearing the achievements of Socialism by way of discussing alleged horrors of Stalin’s dictatorship.
Initially Bolsheviks did not consider Russian revolution as an event limited by Russian borders only. The general crisis of Capitalism has started beginning from the October Socialist Revolution and thios one of the main manifestations of its historical significance fro the world. As early as in 1919 there was created the Third, Communist International – Comintern. The conditions of admission to Comintern were based on the principle as formulated by Lenin: “The struggle against Imperialism unless it is bound to the struggle against opportunism is an empty lying phrase (Lenin Collected Works in Russian, vol. 27, p. 424). International working class acquired its own organized avant-garde with defined ideology as embodied by Comintern, whereas Social-Democrats actually turned into accomplices of Imperialism busy trying to improve, to soften it, to make it look more human, to treat its sores and to save at times of crises and sharpening of class struggle.
The issues of the 3rd International’s dissolution, the complexities and discussions that took place in the course of development of its strategy are the matter of a separate investigation, nevertheless it’s clear that the main outcome of Comintern’s activities was the defeat of Fascism and the creation of worldwide system of Socialism with the powerful nucleus presented by USSR and countries-members of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
Soviet Union has saved the world civilization by way of his decisive contribution to the defeat of German Nazism. In the post war period our people after having quickly reconstructed demolished enterprises, managed to resolve a number of big tasks in the field of socialist development. In the fifties our country became one of the most educated in the world and possessed advanced science and culture. In 10 years only the productivity of Soviet industry had reached the third place in the world rating list, that’s why the priority of USSR in space flights was only natural. Soviet pilot, a former worker-moulder, communist Yuri Gagarin was the first man on Earth who went into Space on the space ship “Vostok”.
There was a stable growth of people’s wellbeing, prices fall and the salaries rose. Working week in industry was decreased by 18 hours in the period of 1917-1961. The conditions for comprehensive development of working people improved. Thus the communist nature of Socialism revealed itself and working people could themselves realize that Socialism had become part of their daily lives and wasn’t just an ideal or perspective. As it is mentioned in the program of RCWP Soviet people attained the most important achievements in the period of the second Program of CPSU’s implementation under the guidance of I.V. Stalin.
USSR performed huge influence on the whole course of human history – the fact that is recognized by both our friends and enemies. Socialism both in USSR and in the countries of the socialist alliance made capitalists make concessions and ensure that working people in their countries should be granted certain social guarantees.
Proletariat needs a state as far as there is need to suppress attempts to act contrary to its interests. Consequently the need in dictatorship of proletariat is only discontinued after the final goals of communists have been achieved: totally classless society is created, Socialism has turned into Communism and the threat of capitalist aggression both from within as well as from abroad has vanished.
Great October Socialist Revolution established in Russia the Soviet Power as an organizational form of proletarian dictatorship. Soviets are the most stable form of Proletarian Dictatorship ever known in history not only because Soviets have lasted the longest and their record of historical achievements is great. Their stability and the highest suitability for performing the functions of proletarian dictatorship can be explained by the fact that Soviets are based on such real circumstances common for all working people as their self organization in the process of material production. It was in the Soviets that working people for the first time in history got the right to use their organization acquired in the process of work for the purposes of management of society and taking political decisions, i.e. electing in their working collectives the deputies as well as the right to withdraw them, to control state power bodies through their deputies elected in the working teams in industrial plants, thus ensuring the subordination of the state to their interests. In 1917 there was established the highest, really progressive form of democracy – proletarian democracy of working people and for working people – the Soviet Power.
The objective nature of the Soviet Power determined the course of events in history: first without any permission from Tsarism there appeared the Soviets, next there followed socialist revolution, Soviet Power was established and Soviet sate was created, and after all that Soviet Constitution was adopted and Soviet Union was created. This historical sequence is determined by the logic of class struggle and cannot look differently. Thus the role of Soviets is very important already at the stage of struggle for power. No parliaments or center-left governments of “people’s trust” are capable of turning into Soviet Power, of adopting Soviet constitution and of leading working people to Socialism.
Soviets are not workers’ parliament as some of the theoreticians attempt to present them. They even introduced a concept of “moving towards the power of people in the form of parliamentary republic of the Soviet type. Soviets are militant units of proletariat whose aim is to carry out class straggle in the course of overthrowing bourgeoisie, construction of Socialism and the struggle for turning Socialism into complete Communism.
The temporary retreat and defeat of Soviets could be largely attributed to mistakes by the party in the field of theoretical Communism that lead to degrading of Soviets down to some analogues of bourgeois parliaments. The task of Socialism is not only to proclaim the power of working people, but working people should have real practical ability to perform this power. Soviets are the most adequate form of practical realization of this ability. As Lenin put it Soviets are organizational form of proletarian dictatorship.
Dialectical analysis of the historical experience of the Socialist Revolution in Russia, of the construction and development of Socialism in USSR allows to observe how the method of production is changed in the course of transition to communism and how it is reproduced in the course of development of Socialism as the first stage of Communism.
Taking power by working class, the establishing of Proletarian Dictatorship don’t change the character of production as they are. Only after nationalization there is created socialist mode of production when production acquires directly social nature, this mode co-exists over a transitory period of time with other modes. In Russia we can list such modes as state-capitalistic, private capitalistic, patriarchal and small commodity production.
Socialist mode of production gradually replaces all the remaining modes in the course of the transitory period. Directly social, preplanned socialistic production turns first into the dominant mode and next into the only mode of production.
Various theoreticians, supporters of the socialist idea and to a greater degree its adversaries produced many descriptions of the Soviet Socialism There were too many definitions: early and underdeveloped, of the total socialization, deformed, barrack socialism, with bureaucratic perversions etc.
There is a widely spread point of view, shared in particular by CPRF that it was the failure of the early Socialism which had proved to be effective in the first half of XX Century, but that didn’t correspond to the changed conditions of scientific-technical progress and to increased democratic freedoms in society.
We proceed from the definition of Lenin that Socialism is incomplete Communism, the lowest stage of the communist formation. Socialism inevitably bears in all respects the imprint of the preceding, capitalist social order where Socialism originates from. Under Socialism everybody is objectively interested in the growth of common wealth as well as in increasing his personal share in this wealth.
Using these circumstances various opportunists in communist movement try to theoretically tear Socialism apart from Communism while constructing models of Socialism with built-in private property, unemployment, political and economic pluralism. Still there could be no other Socialism apart from the Socialism that is the first phase of Communism. The genuine Communism should possess certain features that are common for every phase (it’s obvious that the degree of their development will differ) – both for transitional period (from Capitalism to Communism) and for the two phases of Communism. These common features that evolve in the course of the movement towards complete Communism are as follows: social ownership of land and of all main means of production and trade, preplanned development of people’s economy and other spheres of social life, total employment of population, social welfare for children, elderly and incapacitated people, provision of equal conditions for development and manifestation of abilities for every member of society (free of charge and accessible education and healthcare), control of production and of social life effected through the system of working people’s Soviets of all levels.
The success of the movement towards complete Communism depends on the degree of organization and dedication of the struggle of proletariat and its allies. Socialist revolution is only possible when its necessity is realized by the real political majority of organized workers capable of inciting and leading to struggle the widest possible circles of working people. Revolutions are not performed by conspirators, by parties, they are carried out by masses under the guidance of revolutionary class. Revolutionary change of a standing social order is preceded by a revolution in the minds of the advanced class’ vanguard. Communist party sees its duty in providing working class with ideology, in giving its struggle focus, thus sparing them unnecessary losses and disappointments. Communist idea turns into real material force when it dominates the minds of workers.
Socialism can be such as it emerged from Capitalism depending from current circumstances. Class struggle is not discontinued under Socialism, it takes new forms, continues as struggle between proletarian, communist creative tendency and the petty-bourgeois, private one. One of the essences of Socialism is the power effecting the dictatorship of proletariat and ensuring the victory of the positive communist tendency.
In the field of politics Socialism according to Lenin is destruction of classes. Here is meant the movement towards destruction of differences between classes, between the town and the village, between manual and intellectual workers. V.I. Lenin clarified that “the destruction of classes is a matter of lengthy, difficult and hard class struggle that doesn’t disappear after the overthrowing of the Capital’s power, after the destruction of capitalist state, after the establishment of proletarian dictatorship (as it is imagined by the philistines of the old Socialism and the old Social-Democracy) but in fact it changes its forms and becomes in many respects even more bitter”1.
Did Soviet leaders and the party make mistakes in the course of socialist construction? It would be political sanctimony and arrogance as well as unhistorical approach to find it possible to avoid any mistakes, to tell that “everything shouldn’t have been done this way ” when people are the first to pave an unknown way under conditions that are not only unclear, but extremely difficult, with a bitter resistance from the old bourgeois world. Of course mistakes were inevitable and they did occur. We should study our historical experience and come to necessary conclusions. Still we differentiate between the mistakes of struggle and mistakes due to defection or voluntarism. Our predecessors, Bolsheviks under leadership of Lenin and Stalin have decently passed their part of the way. Bolsheviks were orthodox Marxists. Both in theory and practice they didn’t stick to any dogmas, but followed the basic principles of class struggle. That’s the reason why despite mistakes there was retained the direction of “upwards and forwards”. The momentum of the movement lasted after them for quite a long time, nevertheless, the motion kept slowing down.
The conclusions as formulated by Lenin have obviously proved their correctness over the past 100 years. Nowadays we can and we should supplement them with analogous conclusions based on the experience of the subsequent construction of Socialism in USSR. A special attention should be allocated to the mistakes made that led to the temporary defeat of Socialism in USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe.
Lenin pinpointed the most important lessons of October Revolution that were obligatory for revolutionary Marxists of all countries:
A. Presence of proletarian party of the new type. The necessity of fighting opportunism. All communists remember well Lenin’s expression that “there cannot be revolutionary movement without revolutionary party”. Bolsheviks were able to lead the raising people of Russia to revolution not because they united all oppositional forces and joined Mensheviks, but because they could defeat Mensheviks both in theory and in politics. Lenin wrote: “when overcoming tremendous difficulties, Bolsheviks pushed Mensheviks aside, the role of Mensheviks as bourgeois agents within workers’ movement being perfectly well understood after 1905 by the whole bourgeoisie that supported them in their struggle against Bolsheviks by all means. Nevertheless Bolsheviks would have never managed this in case they hadn’t implemented the correct tactics of combination of underground activities with obligatory use of “legal opportunities”.
Lenin pointed out that the history of Bolshevism started in 1903 (II Congress of RSDWP) and asked himself what were the political trends that Bolsheviks fought with and forged their doctrine in the course of that struggle. His answer was that it had been first of all opportunism, i.e. the right bias. It’s the most dangerous trend of all times. Let’s repeat once again the definition of Lenin well familiar to any learned Marxist: “the struggle with Imperialism is an empty false phrase unless it is associated with the struggle against opportunism (vol.27, p.424 – Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
History tells us that opportunism can affect more than just a part of communist movement and start dominating over most of it, sometimes over total movement. The requirement to fight opportunism became the basic condition for joining Comintern, this requirement is still the main feature of modern proletarian party.
B. Combination of legal and underground activities. The work aimed at preparation of the revolution, getting ready ourselves for the revolution under any condition at every moment. This statement though it seems to be so much basic feature of political struggle’s tactics, has acquired new importance under conditions of the growing reaction in all countries both for the parties accustomed to legal, “civilized”, law abiding existence primarily based on parliamentary practices, and for various radical leftists that refute participation in legal politics that is under total control of authorities. V.I. Lenin taught that “revolutionaries incapable of combining illegal activities with all the legal ones are very bad revolutionaries” (vol. 41 p. 82 - Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
There is yet another saying of Lenin that would come in handy to many of our comrades that cannot see any possibility for the repetition of revolutionary situation under the present conditions of relative capitalist prosperity: “It’s not difficult to be a revolutionary when the revolution has already broken out and flared up, when all sorts of people are joining it moved by sheer impulse, because it’s fashionable or even because of personal career opportunities. To get “liberated” from such pseudo-revolutionaries after the victory would cost proletariat a lot of severe pain and hard labour. It’s much more difficult and much more valuable to be able to be a revolutionary when there is yet no conditions for direct, open, really large scale and really revolutionary struggle, to be able to advocate the interests of revolution (by way of propaganda, agitation, organization) in not revolutionary, and often in outright reactionary institutions, in non revolutionary surrounding, among the masses yet incapable to understand the necessity of revolutionary method of action” (vol. 41, p. 77 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
C. Correct dialectical understanding of the chain “leaders-party-class-masses”. Continuation of the class struggle under conditions of proletarian dictatorship, strict discipline for all, proletarian leaders included. Revolutionary party of proletariat is the highest form of proletarians’ unification that will not deserve such title until it comes to know how to merge its leaders with class and masses into a monolith. Based on such understanding of party Lenin taught: “Dictatorship of proletariat is stubborn struggle that is both bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative to be carried out against the forces and traditions of the old society. The force of habit of millions and tens of millions is the most terrible force. It’s not possible to conduct such a struggle without an iron party seasoned in struggle, without a party that possess the trust of all that is honest in the given class, without a party that can follow the mood of masses and influence it. It’s thousands times easier to defeat big centralized bourgeoisie than to “defeat” millions of petty owners, whereas they, while performing their daily, invisible, undetected, corrupting activities reach the same goals that are requested by bourgeoisie, that restore bourgeoisie. These that even partially weaken the iron discipline actually help bourgeoisie against proletariat (vol. 41, p. 77 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
D. International character of Soviets as a form of Proletarian Dictatorship. Necessity of struggle against local variants of Menshevism under local conditions. The following passages were written on this subject by Lenin: “Both February and October revolutions of 1917 have led to the utmost development of Soviets in the country that was followed by their victory in the proletarian socialist coup. In less than two years there was revealed international character of the Soviets, the extension of this form of struggle and organization onto workers movement worldwide, historical task of the Soviets to become the grave digger, the successor of bourgeois parliamentarism, of the bourgeois democracy in general.
More than that. The history of the workers’ movement shows us now that in all countries it will have to (and it has already started) get through the struggle of the emerging, growing, going towards its victory Communism with first of all and mainly their own (in any country) “menshevism” i.e. with opportunism and social-chauvinism, and second – as if a sort of addition, with the left communism” (vol. 41 p.75 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
“Nevertheless, when performing everywhere basically similar preparatory tasks prior to the victory over bourgeoisie, workers’ movement in each country goes thorough this development their own way. (vol.41, p.75 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian)
“Till there exist differences between nations and states – these differences are likely to last long even after the establishment of proletarian dictatorship worldwide, the uniformity of international tactics of workers’ movement in all countries requires not the disposal of diversity, not the disposal of national differences (that would be a stupid idea for the present time) but such an application of Communism’s basic principles (Soviet power and dictatorship of proletariat) that would correctly transform particularities of these basics, adapt them to national differences and to the differences between states” (vol.41 p.77 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
The relevance of this idea has been proved many times.
E. Necessity to work in all sorts of workers’ organizations, even in reactionary ones, especially in trade unions.
Lenin taught that communist work should be done everywhere where there are conditions for this and when such conditions are next to absent: “There is no doubt that the “leaders” of opportunism will use all the tricks of bourgeois diplomacy, the help of bourgeois governments, priests, police, courts in order not to allow communists to enter trade unions, to expel them from there, to make their work inside trade unions as unpleasant as possible, to offend, to persecute, to hound them. One should be capable to withstand all this, to be ready to sacrifice anything, even, if necessary to resort to all sorts of tricks, illegal methods, hiding the truth, in order to enter trade unions, to stay there and to carry out communist work there by all means”. (vol. 41, p.38 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
F. Allies and companions of the working class in revolution after its victory. We believe that it’s very important to understand the thoughts of Lenin on the allies that are necessary not only to perform the revolution, but that are no less important in the course of the construction of Socialism.
“We’ve won proletarian vanguard to our side ideologically. It’s the main point. Without this it’s not possible to make even the first step towards victory. Nevertheless, this is still pretty far away from the victory. Its’ not possible to win with the vanguard alone only. It wouldn’t be only a stupidity, but also a crime to throw into the battle the vanguard alone till the whole class, till popular strata either started supporting the vanguard, or at least adopted an attitude of benevolent neutrality to it and total inability to support the vanguard’s enemies. (vol. 41, p. 7-78 Lenin’s collected Works in Russian).
“After the first socialist revolution of proletariat, after the overthrowing of bourgeoisie in one country the proletariat in this country will stay long weaker than the bourgeoisie just because its huge international ties, and also due to spontaneous and constant revival, resurrection of Capitalism and bourgeoisie performed by petty commodity manufacturers of the country that overthrew the bourgeoisie. To defeat a more powerful adversary is only possible by extreme effort and by way of obligatory, most careful, attentive and patient use of each and every, of even the smallest “crack” in the ranks of the enemy, of any contradiction of interests between bourgeoisie of various countries, between different groups or types within separate countries, as well as by way of using the slightest opportunity to obtain an ally, even providing this ally is temporary, shaky, weak, unreliable, conditional. That person who hasn’t understood this, doesn’t understand anything in Marxism and in scientific, modern Socialism as a whole. That person who hasn’t been able to prove his ability to use this thesis in practice over considerable period of time, hasn’t yet learnt how to help revolutionary class in its struggle for the liberation of the whole working mankind from exploiters. The above said is true both in regards of the period before taking political power by proletariat and for the period after that.(vol.41, p54-55 Lenin’s collected Works in Russian).
G. Ability to utilize tactics of compromise, unacceptability of compromise in the field of ideology. Lenin’s thought is also addressed to those who like prescriptions and ready-made decisions. “To compose such a recipe or such general rule (“no compromise!”) that would be applicable under any circumstance would mean nonsense. One should use his own head to be able to sort it out in any particular case. The meaning of party organization and party leaders that deserve such title, is by the way the ability to acquire necessary knowledge, necessary experience, necessary – beyond the knowledge and the experience – political insight to take a quick and correct decision of complicated political issues, these knowledge to be acquired as the result of lengthy, resolute, diverse, exhausting work of all thinking representatives of the given class. (vol. 41, p.52-53).
We think that nobody among Marxists have doubts that V.I. Lenin used his own head and still he and other Bolsheviks made tactical mistakes while not being afraid of recognizing those mistakes themselves. The basic rule for development of tactics under concrete conditions is not only “unconditional necessity for proletarian vanguard, for its conscientious part, for Communist party to resort to maneuvering, to compromising with various groups of proletariat, with different parties of workers and petty owners”, but also the thought that “one should be able to apply this tactic for the purposes of increasing the level of proletarian conscientiousness, revolutionary spirit and ability to struggle and win, rather than decreasing it”.
H. Necessity and tactics of the use of bourgeois parliament for the purpose of developing class struggle. The issue of participation in bourgeois parliaments appears to be studied both theoretically and in practice of communist movement better than others. V.I. Lenin insisted on necessity to use opportunities of parliament for development of class struggle: “till you are not in a position to disperse bourgeois parliament as well as other reactionary institutions, you are obliged to work inside them just because there are still present workers that were deceived by priests and by the rural backwater, otherwise you risk turning into chatterboxes”. (vol. 41, p. 42 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
Lenin still marked the aversion of advanced proletarians to bourgeois parliaments and MPs: “…it’s difficult to imagine something even meaner, viler, more treacherous than the conduct of the huge majority of socialist and social-democratic MPs in the course of war and after it” (vol. 41, p. 47 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
Bolsheviks elaborated tactics of communist work in parliament, of election campaigns and MP seats’ use for the sake of class struggle development: “The meaning of the existence of communists-members of the III International worldwide is complete restructuring in all directions of the old socialist, trade-unionist, syndicalist parliamentary activities to turn them into new, communist ones” (vol. 41, p. 83 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian)
“Communists in Western Europe and America should learn to create unusual, non opportunistic, not careerist parliamentarism, so that the party of communists were able to produce their slogans, so that genuine proletarians with the aid of non organized and too much downtrodden poor could throw around and dispatch leaflets, walk around workers’ flats, visit huts of rural proletarians and peasants in back-water districts (in Europe there are fortunately much less back-water districts than we have, and in England – even less than that), so that they would visit the most lower-class pubs, enter the most lower-class unions, societies, occasional gatherings, where they could talk to people in a non scientific way (and not with the use of exactly parliamentarian expressions). They wouldn’t run after cozy parliamentary seats at all, but would incite thoughts, would draw the masses in, reveal the contradictory statements of bourgeoisie, would use the apparatus created by bourgeoisie, its elections, its appeals aimed at nation, would get people acquainted with Bolshevism so as they have never been able to do (under the domination of bourgeoisie) outside the election campaign (with the exception of course, of big strikes when our apparatus of massive popular agitation worked even more intensive) (vol. 41, p. 84 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
We should recognize that many parties in Western Europe and other countries have been suffering from parliamentary cretinism and in all earnest promise to improve citizen’s lives by way of winning the elections by some left forces. We shall consider this issue later, as by now we should mention that Lenin expressed his opinion regarding this issue quite resolutely: “only scoundrels and fools can believe that proletariat should first win the majority in the course of elections carried out under conditions of bourgeois oppression, oppression of the hired slavery, whereas the power proletariat should win afterwards. This is an utmost manifestation of foolishness and hypocrisy, this is the exchange of class struggle and revolution for voting under old order, under old power (vol. 39, p. 219 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian
The analysis of the above mistakes was carried out for us by V.I. Lenin as early as in 1920. After his death USSR under the guidance of CPSU went along lengthy and difficult pass of achievements and victories. Fascism was defeated, the country got to the second place in the industrial output rating list, Soviet citizen was the first to come out to space. Still there were quite a few mistakes done, especially those regarding weakening efforts to struggle against opportunism and revisionism, which later sadly manifested itself in the temporary defeat of Socialism and destruction of USSR. It’s now our task to analyze these mistakes and make conclusions necessary for the future struggle, this work to be done taking into account the directions by Lenin: “Communists should know that in any case the future belongs to them, that’s why we can (and we should) combine the highest passion of revolutionary struggle and the most cold bloodied and sober analysis of the wild tossing of bourgeoisie” (vol. 41, p. 87 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian).
There have been expressed a number of different opinions as to regards the causes for the defeat of Socialism in USSR. Sure that we shall consider the opinions of the supporters of Socialism, as the opinions of its adversaries regarding the utopian character of communist theory as a possibility for the development of mankind, was refuted by the Great October itself as well as by the experience of the development of USSR.
There is a very popular version that sees the treason of the socialist cause by certain top brass party and state officials as one of the main reasons for our defeat. Names of Gorbachev, Eltsyn, Yakovlev and many of their colleagues from the CPSU CC and the government are listed. Speculations on the western interventions are also popular. Examples confirming this hypothesis are brought forward starting from mythical “Dulles’ Plan” and down to the versions presuming recruitment of the top officials by western special services thus turning them into their tools of influence. There are mentioned trillions of dollars spent by the West for the struggle against USSR and that were spent not without result. Some of these versions’ variants are not only quite interesting but reflect real facts. Nevertheless, our materialistic, Marxist point of view presumes that the main reasons for the temporary defeat of Socialism in USSR in the class struggle against anti-socialist forces for turning Socialism into complete Communism are the internal ones.
We can answer very briefly to the question “What are the reasons of the defeat of Soviet Power and USSR?” : because by that time the power hadn’t been essentially the Soviet one, and the party hadn’t been really communist one.
Reasons for the defeat of USSR.
А. Theoretical. Rejection of basic principles of Marxism.
RCWP follows the basic principle of Marxism that reads as follows: “There is a period in between capitalist and communist societies, the period of revolutionary transformation of first into the second. A transitory political period corresponds to the above period and the state in this period cannot be nothing but revolutionary proletarian dictatorship” (Critique of the Gotha Program, vol. 19, p. 27 K. Marx Collected Works in Russian). Lenin, correspondingly considered the recognition of the proletarian dictatorship to be the central point of Marxist teaching: “one can be only considered a Marxist if he extends the recognition of class struggle up to the recognition of proletarian dictatorship (vol. 19, p. 27 Lenin’s Collected Works in Russian). Lenin clarified the issue by stressing that “ the essence of proletarian dictatorship is not limited to violence only and the violence isn’t the most important part of it. The essence of it is the organization and discipline of the vanguard of working people, of their only leader – proletariat. Its goals are creation of Socialism, destruction of class division of society, turning all members society into working people, to eliminate all grounds for exploitation of man by man”1. Class struggle under Socialism goes on taking other forms, in particular it takes place within your own class and within your own party. Let’s remember that Lenin used to stress that “the destruction of classes is a matter of lengthy, difficult, resolute class struggle that doesn’t disappear (as it is imagined by the philistines of the old Socialism and old Social-Democracy) after the overthrowing of capital’s power, after the destruction of bourgeois state, after the establishment of proletarian dictatorship, it only changes its forms while becoming more violent in many respects”1.
How long proletarian dictatorship should be maintained though? In the theses of his report on the tactics of RCP for the III Congress of Comintern Lenin answered this question as follows: “The dictatorship of proletariat doesn’t mean discontinuation of class struggle, but it means the extension of it in a new form and with the use of new tools. This dictatorship will be necessary till there remain classes, till bourgeoisie that was overthrown in one country intensifies tenfold its attacks against Socialism worldwide”. As it was pointed out in the report on RCP tactics presented at the above III Congress of Comintern, since “the goal of Socialism is to destroy classes” the period of proletarian dictatorship covers the whole first phase of Communism, i.e. the whole period of Socialism (vol. 44 p. 10).
Nevertheless the main mistake of Soviet communists was the rejection of the main point of Marxism.
Rejection of proletarian dictatorship is rejection of Marxism.
After the death of Stalin when N.S. Khrushchev became the leader of the party, at the XX Congress of CPSU there took place a sort of preliminary bombardment before the main all-out advance against the main concept of Marxism – the concept of proletarian dictatorship. The revisionist group of Khrushchevites slanderously put under question mark all achievements gained under the leadership of Stalin and his comrades in arms, whereas there were made first attempts to revise the basic concepts of Marxism regarding class struggle and dictatorship of proletariat. Nevertheless at that time there was still in effect Lenin’s program of RCP(b). That’s why Khrushchevites started preparations to replace it with a new one with the essential Marxist concepts removed from it. In the report of the 1st Secretary of CPSU CC N.S. Khrushchev “On the program of CPSU” given at the XXII Congress of CPSU, there was put forward a theses that discouraged and disarmed communists, working class and all the working people, this thesis claiming that there had been achieved complete victory of Socialism in USSR1. There was stipulated that class struggle was limited to the period of transition to Socialism only2. Throughout the whole report Socialism was considered not as a phase of Communism, but as non Communism, as essentially separate formation. Correspondingly instead of the goal that is characteristic of Socialism, i.e. the goal of total destruction of classes in the first phase of the classless society, there was only set the task of construction of the classless society and simultaneously there was proclaimed a revisionist, anti-Marxist goal “from the state of proletarian dictatorship to the nationwide state”3. It was stated that allegedly the working class of USSR on its own initiative guided by the objective of the construction of Communism, transformed the state of its dictatorship into nationwide state… It’s the first time when we have a state that is not a manifestation of a dictatorship by any class…Dictatorship of proletariat has discontinued being necessary2. The party was also announced to be not the party of working class, but the party of the whole people despite the Lenin’s definition of the party as the vanguard of the class.
Those revisionist ideas didn’t meet any resistance at the congress and a revisionist, essentially anti-Leninist, anti-Marxist program was adopted. In that program it was stated that allegedly the dictatorship of proletariat has fulfilled its historical mission and stopped being essential based on the requirement of internal development of USSR. The state that had emerged as the state of proletarian dictatorship, turned into nationwide state on the new, modern stage…Party assumes that the dictatorship of the working class stops being necessary before the sate itself dies out”1. To evaluate this position in more detail let’s look into Lenin’s works.
In his fundamental work “The State and Revolution” Lenin stressed that any state has class character till it exists. There was also stressed the necessity to destroy the old apparatus of government and the construction of a new one capable of solving the issues of proletarian dictatorship, this being necessary for the sake of proletarian revolution’s victory. He elaborated a number of conditions to stick to in order to prevent turning of the state that is a tool of the working class, its means for political domination, into a force that would dominate over this class. Both in this book as well as in his work “Marxism on the State” Lenin unequivocally stated that the state dies out only together with the total destruction of classes, and that till there remain classes the state also remains as the tool of politically dominant class. Let’s repeat this definition of Lenin once again for those who still have doubts, who hesitate: “one can be only considered a Marxist if he extends the recognition of class struggle up to the recognition of proletarian dictatorship. This is the deepest distinction between Marxist and ordinary petty (as well as a big one) bourgeois. Adherence to this concept should be used as a test for genuine and real understanding of Marxism”1. In his work “On the State” Lecture in Sverdlov’s University 11/06 1919 Lenin points out that these are exactly a capitalist state that “proclaims nationwide freedom to be its slogan and tells that it express the will of the whole people, while rejecting its class character2.
Socialist state as opposed to the capitalist one, always highlights its class nature. Thus the group of Khrushchevite revisionists misled and actually deceived the party and the people as to regards the issue of proletarian dictatorship that is indispensable for the development of Socialism into complete Communism.
The renouncement of proletarian dictatorship changed the class essence of the state. The state became incapable of pursuing the interests of working class that are the interests of society under dictatorship of proletariat. That’s the reason why the property of state gradually stopped being social property and step by step become a peculiar sort of private property owned by those who performed actual control over it, i.e. by the Nomenclature top of the party and state bureaucracy. Thus the Nomenclature bureaucratic top brass managed to take hold of social property and create the conditions when there was only left to divide it and to assign it personally, to privatize while fixing the results of the privatizations by the laws of the “nationwide” state. That was initiated by Gorbachev and done in the time of Eltsyn. Initially the process was carried out under the revisionist slogan of “movement towards market” that was followed by overtly anti-communist slogan of “we want privatization”. The rejection by CPSU of the main issue of Marxism, the proletarian dictatorship, of the goal of Socialism that took place at the XXII Congress could not but lead and finally led to the destruction of the party and of the state all these despite the active resistance of the communist minority. This rejection was not only due to the betrayal of the renegade top of CPSU, it was also fault of those party members that instead of studying and understanding Leninism just learned citations and slogans by heart and took for granted the words of revisionist party leaders, and that was the reason why dedicated communists couldn’t defeat opportunists, revisionists and renegade traitors of Socialism. This is a lesson not only for communists from former USSR, this also a lesson for the workers and communist movement worldwide.
B. Economic mistakes. Increased commodification of social production and sliding down to Capitalism.
Directly social way of production of the goods that are not commodities is not only a feature but also the condition of the existence and development of Socialism. The relevance of the issue is determined by the fact that this is finally the issue of why communists struggle for their class’ power. This is the issue of what they are going to do as soon as they come to power. Are there enough conclusions from the analysis of the mistakes of CPSU and of the socialist construction in USSR? What should be constructed in economics and how? Let’s remark that this issue still not only interests but also divides communist movement including Russia.
Let’s remember that Lenin never proposed to cancel commodity production immediately. He always stressed that the issue was to overcome commodification, to decrease commodification, to abandon commodification in socialist socialized production. Lenin expressed his understanding of the socialist revolution’s objectives in the following words:
: «Abolition of private property on means of production, socializing of these means and the exchange of capitalist production for the socialist organization of production at the expense of the whole society for the provision of full wellbeing and free comprehensive development of all its members”.
This thought about the overcoming of commodity production was stressed by Lenin on many occasions in his other works.
Supporters of the market economy usually present the example of NEP (New Economic Policy) as a proof that Lenin allegedly changed his views and started to understand Socialism as commodity economy, as the return to market as the goal and perspective, rather than a temporary retreat. The smartest of them even invented a quasi-Lenin's methodology of NEP and of a socialist market. First, we should mention that NEP is not a methodology but it is politics and that Lenin and Bolsheviks when introducing NEP did recognize their retreat that manifested itself in allowing elements of capitalism, rather than calling it a development of features inherent to socialist production. Second, at the same time there were being developed powerful tools to overcome elements of commodity production in the transitory form of economics. There were created Centralized State Planning Agency, Centralized State Supply Agency, large industry was being developed, the plan for electrification of Russia (GOELRO) was implemented etc. I.e. while the physical volume of the products described as commodities (though those products couldn’t be basically attributed to commodities) increased, the directly social mode of socialist production was growing and there were prepared conditions for further overcoming of commodification.
Stalin coherently performed in practice the course of Lenin aimed at overcoming commodification in the transitory economics and at addition to socialist production the features of directly social production. His main thoughts on this issue he put down in his work “Economical problems of Socialism in USSR”. In particular Stalin sums up the aims of socialist economy as follows: “Is there such thing as the main economic law of Socialism. Yes, there is. What are the main features and requirements of this law? The essential features and requirements of the main economic law of Socialism could be approximately described this way: provision of maximum satisfaction of the ever growing material and spiritual needs of the whole society performed by way of continuous growth and improvement of the socialist production based on the use of the most advanced technology”1.
Stalin made his analysis not simply on the strength of his Marxist views, he did it on the strength of the objective analysis of the reality given. Stalin considers the guarantees to prevent the resurrection of capitalist elements in economics, these guarantees provided by proletarian state. In socialist economics the commodification is present only as a negation of its directly social nature and is one of this imprints that should be overcome in the process of transformation of incomplete Communism into the complete one. Exactly the rejection of these directions by Lenin and Stalin and the turn into the opposite direction, the movement towards strengthening of market mechanisms in production, has finally led to the full capitalist commodity production and to the restoration of Capitalism in USSR.
That’s why we have every right to state that the development of socialist economy means the strengthening of its directly social character and the overcoming of commodification. Regardless the conditions under which communists perform the revolution, there should be always a clear goal of overcoming commodity production and of transition to socialist directly social production and its development.
Advance of socialist economy was ensured till the authorities organized it as directly social production.
The decision by Khrushchevite leadership to reject the concept of proletarian dictatorship taken in 1961 and the economic reform of 1965 gave birth to the process of growth and gradual accumulation and strengthening of negative trends in socialist economy, in social relations. There increased capitalist trends in economy had devastating effect on people’s economy. So far as the volume of industrial production was estimated in rubles and profits were in the focus of attention, the reform gave way to collective egoism, the manufacturers were interested to issue as less products as possible, those products to be sold at as high prices as possible. This led to inflation and deficit, increased inequality of exchange between city and the agricultural areas. The proportion of luxury articles and of socially harmful goods in the personal consumption of population sharply increased. Under the conditions of blooming shadow economy there took place bourgeois transformation of party and government’s leadership masked by hypocritical phrases about adherence to Communism.
Those were the origins of Gorbachev’s Perestroika as the change of social order.
Whatever is told by modern apologists of Capitalism, the economics in USSR had a nature of directly social production. This can be felt even more distinctly nowadays as Soviet citizens used to obtain about half of staple goods and services (in current prices) through the funds of social consumption, whereas a number of essential requirements used to be satisfied according to need or close to that. In this way the following goods and services were provided: free of charge housing (through lengthy queues though), cold and hot water, electricity, bread, healthcare, education, social urban transport and many other things.
Unfortunately the rejection of the socialist course both in politics and in economics was performed by the leadership of the party that went on calling itself communist. At the XXII Congress there was adopted new party program that excluded the necessity of proletarian dictatorship, whereas at the XXVIII Congress of CPSU there was approved transition to market. At that congress communist elements tried to resists Gorbachev’s course, to warn the party and the people about the future danger. In the report of the representative of Communist Initiative movement professor A.A. Sergeev it was said as follows: Apart from the market of commodities there are yet other two markets. There is the market of private capital as represented by stock exchange and the market of labour. These two markets combined give us classic capitalist market even if one calls it a regulated market. One cannot avoid it…People will not endure such Perestroika, our party will fall apart because of it and vanish”.1
The position of communists was expressed in the Statement of minority of the XXVIII Congress – 1259 delegates voted for this statement that was recorded as a party document. In accordance with the Charter this document should be analyzed again to determine who whose prognosis was correct. It was said in the statement: A forced treatment of Socialism with Capitalism carried out contrary to objective processes would not bring increase of production and the improvement of the level of life, but is likely to cause their inevitable fall, to provoke a wide social protest, would lead to heavy suffering of the people. The party cannot perform Perestroika that has led to serious deterioration of the people’s lives. As to regards Communist party – it is not going to survive this shock and there will be left nobody to defend the goals of the movement”
As we can see the scientific forecasts have come true and now we have to start again beginning with the question “What should be done?”, the question that Lenin analyzed in his book of the same title.
The concepts of Socialism’s construction by way of development of market, commodification, commodity-money relations, i.e. the capitalist relations as well as the plans to build socially-oriented market economy would mean the way of Gorbachev, the way of revisionism, even if these steps were taken with the best wishes and under the leadership of the most patriotic government of people’s trust. In the end of the day there will be Capitalism. Opportunists and revisionists have learnt to compose many variants of Capitalism and as many variants of their justification. Practice has shown us that in complete theory of Socialism it’s not possible to tear economics apart from political superstructure, to consider ideal economics that has nothing to do with politics and classes. This would be a mistake, nonsense, even a crime of communists against workers' class. They were building market Socialism in the last years of CPSU rule in USSR, as the result Capitalism was built. CPSU led them to Capitalism under the Red Banner.
If we rephrase the famous expression of Lenin than we could say that without struggling with this catching market disease to talk about one’s adherence to Socialism or to communist choice would mean saying loud but empty and false phrases.
Let’s check that our course should correspond to Lenin’s ideas, to the science of Communism!
C. Political mistakes. A practical mistake in one of the crucial points of Leninism while the program corresponds to the theory properly.
RCWP believes that however strange it may seem, certain political mistakes were committed already at the stage of the swift advance of USSR to Socialism. Contrary to the program of RCP(b) in 1936 under the conditions of drastic deterioration of international situation and the growing threat of war, there were taken necessary measures aimed at strengthening the centralized control over state, in particular there was taken a decision to cancel the system of elections at enterprises, where working teams voted. With the adoption of the new, allegedly more “democratic” Constitution, there took place a transition from the system of electing authorities at industrial enterprises to the system of territorial constituency that is characteristic of bourgeois democracy and tears the governmental bodies from working teams and thus making it next to impossible to withdraw deputies that lost ties with their electorate. Though many of Soviet features remained (nomination of candidates by working teams, high percentage of workers and peasants among deputies, regular reports of deputies in front of the electorate), nevertheless there appeared preconditions for the emergence of a parliamentary system that was set apart from working teams and that allowed deputies, elected in territorial constituencies, especially the high ranking ones, to ignore the will of the working people without the risk of being withdrawn. The fact that the state authorities were not controlled by working teams, their relative independence from workers, led to the weakening of working people’s role in the management of society, to the bureaucratization of the whole system of state power. The socialist nature of Soviet power was retained and the power went on acting in the interests of the working class as far as the authorities kept their adherence to Marxism-Leninism. We can recognize that this was in a sense a compelled retreat. Nevertheless we think that it was a mistake not to go back to the former system of elections at enterprises after the victory in the WWII and the significant strengthening of Soviet power both in the country and abroad.
The arguments that with the adoption of 1936 Constitution there had been achieved a greater degree of democracy should be recognized erroneous. It would be more correct to say that there was actually taken a step from the Soviet, proletarian democracy towards bourgeois parliamentary democracy that presumes a formal equality while ignoring the existing factual inequality. The formal provision of voting right to representatives of former exploiting classes didn’t really mean any extension of democracy.
Meanwhile the rejection of the Soviet principle of choosing deputies through working teams at plants and factories and the transition to the system of territorial constituencies was equal to a retreat – a retreat from Soviets to parliament. This consequently led to weakening of real proletarian democracy
Over many years when the actions by the revisionist leadership of CPSU headed by Gorbachev had created corresponding conditions, the system of territorial constituency helped the counterrevolution to move forward towards taking power.
With the blessing of the anticommunist leadership of CPSU the state power that had no control from working masses in order to perform transition to market carried out anti-popular politics of increasing prices, privatization, stimulating local and foreign transnational capital. The foreign politics was subordinated to transnational capital.
Restoration of commodity production caused the growth of bourgeois nationalism and caused slaughterous clashes between nations. All this was presented as a movement towards “humane democratic Socialism” that was in fact yet another smokescreen for the destructors of Socialism.
Communists, i.e. genuinely patriotic forces in the party and among the people were not only well aware of the disastrousness of the “new” economic and political course, they took practical steps to counter them: they pressed for expulsion of the “architects of Perestroika” and turncoats on all levels from the party. There were created organizations to resist the growing danger: United Front of Working People, Marxist Platform in CPSU and the Movement of Communist Initiative (RCWP formed in 1991 originates from this movement).
At the XXVIII Congress of CPSU communist forces resisted “reformers” while warning the party and the people in their “Statement of minority” that the movement towards market would bring about heavy suffering of people and the crash of the party itself. Nevertheless, the “reformers’ supported by opportunists were in the majority.
After the XXVIII Congress the ruling clique while following anti-popular course actually threw the Constitution of USSR away. The crisis deepened and gave birth to a number of conflicts between central authorities and republics, between legislative and executive branches, within the executive branch itself, till the conflict took a general form as an attempt of the so called GKCHP to instill order, though its inept and irresolute actions with basically the same pro-market ideology, only provoked a wave of ant-communist hysteria. The events of August 1991 allowed bourgeois forces to openly take measures aimed at restoration of Capitalism, to sign the agreement on dissolution of USSR, to exchange the Red Banner for the tricolor of the Nazi collaborator Vlasov.
By the beginning of the 90-ies Socialism had been defeated not only in USSR but also in many countries abroad. Both CMEA and Warsaw Pact were dissolved whereas the forces of bourgeois counterrevolution that came to power started to restore Capitalism in all former socialist countries of Eastern Europe.
The final destruction of the remnants of Soviet power and the social character of property in Russia is linked to the events of October 1993, when Soviets formally ceased to exist as a symbol of working people's power and the state officials started openly name the social order in Russia Capitalism.
Sure that there were also other mistakes. There were mistakes committed in the course of struggle, the mistakes of pioneers that could be amended. Still exactly the above mistakes in the fields of theory, economy and politics to deal with the main issue of Leninism have led soviet communist to the defeat, a temporary one as we believe.
Eurocommunism is not Communism. Eurocommunism is a right bias in communist movement, the politics and theoretical background of a number of biggest communist parties in Western Europe in the second half of XX Century. Opportunists rejected the concept of proletarian dictatorship and the goal – socialist revolution while in practice they are aimed at improving Capitalism. Gradually based on this ideology there was established the party of European Left. A number of parties still calling themselves communist entered them including also some parties from former Soviet republics (Party of Communists of Moldova). All these parties adhere to the position of anti-Stalinism. Exactly these parties support the idea that the regimes of Stalin and Fascism are both totalitarian regimes.
That is their ideology is definitely anti-soviet. Historical tradition and communist choice (Gorbachev’s style) are the only two points of revolutionary theory they left. They are busier defending the rights of LGBT minorities rather than organizing workers’ class. Nowadays these parties fit well into the legislation of EU, in particular they are political bodies registered in accordance with EU laws and are financed from EU’s budget. The fact that this political trend is reactionary is obvious.
The dream of Gorbachev – movement to Capitalism under the Red Banner.
Characteristic features of modern opportunism are adherence to the theory of market Socialism in economics and the recognition of parliaments as a form of people’s power. As the result of this recognition the masses are withdrawn from real political struggle and the role of working people is limited to the one of electorate that give their voices to the leaders of the party in the course of elections. Strategy of victory by such opportunistic party reads as follows: they promise working people a success achieved in the course of coming election, whereas political struggle of masses is limited to the struggle for “honest” elections. Such focusing on parliamentary activities only is well remunerated by governments. These parties don’t recognize any extra-parliamentary forms of struggle, or pay them lip service only while actually hampering them.
In Russia the line of Gorbachev is being followed by CPRF under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov. The main features of their politics are as follows:
- it’s claimed that the limits for revolutions are up – the country cannot afford any more revolutions;
- the concept of proletarian dictatorship is limited to the transitional period before Socialism, whereas it’s not applicable in Socialism;
- the concept of class struggle is rejected;
- parliamentarism is recognized as the power of people;
-.adherence to the model of market Socialism;
- support of Russian Orthodox Church, claims regarding its allegedly positive role in the development of the spirituality of society.
- Great-power nationalism, support of interests of the capitalist state, proclaiming that these interests are identical to those of the whole people;
- adherence to the theory of civilizations in history, rather than adherence to the class approach etc.
To make our description even more demonstrative we should mention that beginning from Russian parliament formation in 1993 there have been several dozens of defectors from CPRF to bourgeois regime’s side that were brought up within the ranks of CPRF’s MPs including two former parliament Chairmen (Rybkin and Seleznev). Meanwhile since the very beginning there have never been more than two representatives of workers among hundreds of CPRF’s MPs.
It was at least on two occasions that CPRF saved Eltsyn’s bourgeois regime. The first time it was in 1993 when during the pinnacle of the crisis caused by the conflict between Eltsyn and the Supreme Soviet of Russian Federation, Zyuganov in a TV broadcast called on people to abstain from taking part in the struggle. On the next day the House of Soviets – the seat of Supreme Soviet was shot at by Eltsyn’s tanks, whereas later CPRF took part in the “bloody” elections breaching the joint front of boycott, thus helping Eltsyn to pass his bourgeois constitution through referendum, and took in Duma the place of parliamentary opposition with communist name.
The second time it took place in 1998 when after the Russian default Prime Minister Kirienko resigned and CPRF together with Zyganov backed the new cabinet of Primakov-Maslyukov. That government used the money that had been devalued four times to pay multibillion salary debts to the working people of Russia and thus helped to extinguish the wave of popular protests against the authorities. This peoples’ government lived for five moths only and as soon as the situation calmed more or less down, it was dismissed without providing any reasons.
Nevertheless the comrades from CPRF liked the role of Capitalism’s saviors very much and they included the demand to create a government of people’s trust into their program. CPRF plays a role of damper between capitalist regime and masses, while channeling the energy of masses into protests, parliamentary illusions and the endless and fruitless struggle the honest elections. They promise to establish a government of people’s trust after their victory. Thus we are able to observe the way how the leadership of party’s nomenclature exist under conditions of good financing from the state budget (in 10 years the financial allocations by the state to parliamentary parties have increased 240 times).
“Socialism of XXI Century” – a variant of improving Capitalism in Latin America and some. other countries.
It’s become fashionable to discuss a Socialism of the XXI Century. What type of Socialism can we have in XXI? It obviously cannot be Socialism of XIX or XX Centuries. It’s too obvious that in this century in can be only the Socialism of XXI. Of course there are good intentions and progressive measures behind this slogan. Nevertheless we should mention that here the issues of basic laws, the essential and indispensable features of Socialism lose their paramount importance and there could be observed a breakaway with the theory of scientific Communism as science. This is yet another form of opportunism, though it brings some tactical successes now. These successes are not stable and are not established in political system though. In case there are slight changes in external political conjuncture or internal situation, the forces of reaction will quickly take back the lost positions. The example of heroic Venezuela beginning from the death of Ugo Chaves and up till now shows as the reciprocating nature of such “Socialism”.
Life has given us proof that the founders of Marxism were right to maintain that Communism is science and should be correspondingly treated. Communists can express their theory in one sentence: “abolition of private property”. Nevertheless it’s only possible to realize this concept providing one adheres to the theory of scientific Communism.
The parties that adhered to orthodox Marxism joined to form Communist (the third) International in XX Century. In the list of 21 conditions for admission to Comintern there were in particular described the goals of communist parties, i.e. their responsibilities among which the task to struggle for revolutionary character of the party, to fight against opportunism were highlighted as the most important ones.
Should one pursue Socialism when Capitalism is capable of providing people with pretty high level of life as well? Apologists of Capitalism in answer to this question recommend abstaining from revolutions and going along evolutionary path. One should seek justice and social security within the limits of existing social order, avoid cataclysms and commotions that are fraught with civil wars. They threaten us with Maidans and the probability of Russia’s disintegration. To put it brief they call for national unity and the struggle for blooming national Motherland: Russia, Ukraine, Greece or any other country with the local domestic bourgeoisie in the lead.
Is it really so? Is the struggle for the workers' cause limited to the struggle for well-off living? What does the experience of real Socialism tell us? We, Soviet communists lived and struggled in the time of Soviets. When asked about “What was the best under Socialism?” we don’t only recall such things as protection of people against market forces, absence of unemployment, free of charge education and healthcare, accessible cheap housing. First of all we say that the relationships between people were better. Those relations were more humane. We used to say our factory, our house, our pioneer camp, our country, our people. The unity of Soviet people existed in real life and wasn’t an invention of political propagandists. We never bowed to masters and we called ourselves comrades. It wasn’t for nothing that counterrevolutionaries at the times of Gorbachev while discussing within their internal circle their real goals of capitalist restoration, in public kept using socialist slogans: they “constructed Socialism with human face”, “restored Lenin’s rules of party’s internal life”, struggled for transition of power from the party to Soviets” etc. Eltsyn who took part in the election of USSR deputies in 1989 when asked by journalists who was his ideal man answered briefly: “Lenin!”. They hypocritically referred to the Lenin’s methodology of NEP (instead of his politics) when moving towards market and creating strongholds for future Capitalism. We know that economic politics in a state doesn't mean just gross indices, level of consumption, percentage of growth etc. These are first of all relations between people in society that are constructed. We know that it’s worth to struggle for such relations. We organize and call to struggle for Communism these people who neither yearn to belong to the “high society”, or become lackeys!
We all know the expression by V.I. Lenin: “Give us an organization of revolutionaries and we’ll overturn Russia!” Let’s remind that those words were written in the work “What is to be done?” in 1902, i.e. under circumstances that wasn’t at all easier if compared with the present one. Those words were said with pain and suffering that many revolutionaries feel because of the powerlessness and grave prospects for the future: “I used to work in a circle that set a very wide range of tasks, and we all, the members of that circle had to terribly suffer because we were aware of our being unprofessional in such historical period when one could change the famous expression and say: Give us an organization of revolutionaries and we’ll overturn Russia! (vol 6, p. 127 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian). When talking about the third period in the development of workers’ movement and describing it as a period of disorder and reels, Lenin finished his work with the following words: “Still we firmly believe that the fourth period will lead to the strengthening of militant Marxism , that Russian Social Democracy will come out of the crisis stronger and more grown-up, that the rearguard of opportunists will be “replaced” with the real vanguard of the most revolutionary class. To sum up the above and taking in view the “replacement” we can answer the question “what is to be done?” very briefly: to get rid of the third period”. (vol. 6, p. 183 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian).
Modern methods of fighting against communist movement by bourgeoisie.
We can observe that in many countries of the world imperialists ban the activities of communist parties, ban the symbols of communists, don’t let them to take part in elections (both in Ukraine and in the self proclaimed republics of Donbass bourgeoisie acts similarly) etc. Everywhere there takes place unbridled anticommunist propaganda. Still the main method of suppressing communist movement is the pulling to one side, castrating of the communist movement. RCWP states that nowadays opportunism and revisionism have turned from natural biases of the communist movement into a directed weapon of bourgeoisie. The best known example of such transformation is the above mentioned movement of the so called Eurocommunism that manifested itself in the party of Euro Left. It’s obvious that such parties pose no threat to bourgeoisie and are supported.
In Russia these are opportunists from CPRF with their exhausted limits for revolutions that play a similar role. The recent elections in Kazakhstan (March 20 2016) are yet another example of how bourgeois regime encourages obedient “communists”. On having banned Communist Party of Kazakhstan the political experts of president Nzarbayev launched and conducted to parliament the so called Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan. The election program of CPPK is full with perversions of Marxism and with just plain eulogy of Nazarbayev’s ideas – the ideas of the renegade from the ranks of CPSU’s leadership, the leader of bourgeois counterrevolution in Kazakhstan and its self-perpetuating leader.
One of the common features of such false workers’ parties is their way of talking on behalf of working people allegedly in their interests, whereas the working are being prevented from taking part on the struggle, the more so from sharing power or taking decision regarding taking power. This is done quite professionally by the elite of opportunists.
Lenin’ warnings about the methods of bourgeoisie for prevention of future revolution. Those who studied Lenin more or less thoroughly and attentively know that Lenin specifically warned about such methods of bourgeoisie's struggle against revolutionary forces. First of all we should mention that bourgeoisie uses the objectively present weaknesses and maladies within the workers’ movement, primarily opportunists. Lenin mentioned: “Opportunist doesn’t betray his party, doesn’t deceive it, doesn’t leave it. He sincerely and diligently goes on serving it. Nevertheless his typical and characteristic feature is the compliance to the momentous moods, inability to resist the fashion, political short-sightedness and spinelessness. Opportunism means sacrificing of long standing and essential interests of the party for the sake of its momentary, transient, secondary interests” (vol. 14, p.35 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian).
These days there have been acting not separate opportunists only, there are also organized opportunists and sometimes they constitute a whole party. Lenin mentioned that bourgeoisie always support those opportunist parties that resemble a genuine revolutionary party most of all, both regarding the name and the phraseology. Meanwhile bourgeoisie doesn’t let opportunists to move finally to the right, including change of the name, as in this case instead of them there could spring to life a genuine organization that would be a threat to bourgeoisie.
The main struggle though is carried out by way of processing the brains , distortion of ideas. In his fundamental work “The State and Revolution” Lenin started the first chapter with the description of this threat: «What has happened to the teaching of Marx lately is similar to the fate of the teachings of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of the oppressed classes in their struggle for liberation. Oppressing classes constantly persecuted great revolutionaries when they were alive, they used to meet their teaching with the wildest rage, with the most rabid hatred, with the most unscrupulous lies and labeling. After the death of revolutionaries there are made attempts to turn them into harmless icons, as if to canonize them, to give their name certain publicity to “console” oppressed classes and to deceive them while castrating the content of revolutionary teaching, blunting its’ revolutionary sharpness, debasing it. Such “elaboration” of Marxism is common for both bourgeoisie and opportunists within workers’ movement. They forget, push aside, distort the revolutionary part of the teaching, its revolutionary soul. They put forward, glorify those issues that is acceptable to them or that seems acceptable to bourgeoisie (vol.33 p.5 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian).
Is there a party of the new, Lenin’s type in Russia?
The words “There is such party!” were said by Lenin at the 1st All-Russian Congress of Soviets held in June 1917. In this way Lenin replied to the statement of Menshevik I.G. Tseretelli, the Chairmen of Petrosoviet that he couldn’t name any party that would risk to take power and responsibility for everything that was going on in Russia. Bolsheviks as it’s known took the power and their further activities demonstrated that the party of workers’ class was in a position to manage the state of working people. The achievements of USSR are well known.
How can we sort it out between the parties that call themselves communist? In our opinion one should go back to the Lenin’s idea regarding the party of the new type and to the basic criteria for construction of the party that is capable to lead people towards Socialism.
First – it’s theoretical recognition and practical work aimed at revolutionary establishment of proletarian dictatorship.
Second – it’s a start of implementation of the first point by way of organizing the party as the vanguard of workers’ class, that organizes the class himself and leads it towards the establishment of its power.
Such party uses all forms and methods of struggle known both from theory and practice of workers’ movement including parliamentary forms. Nevertheless, communist party uses parliamentary forms for the development of the most exhausting class struggle, while pulling into this struggle the most advanced workers and avoiding to pass the responsibility for the well being of working people onto professional politicians, regardless the fact that they belong to party nomenclature.
When recalling the famous expression by V.I. Lenin “the awakening of man in a “creature” worn out by job - this awakening is of such giant world historical importance that any sacrifices would be justified to perform it” (vol.1 p.35 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian), we can say that the party of the Lenin’s type goes on to fight for this awakening, whereas other parties follow the way of merely increasing the forage rations for this “creature”.
Now is there in Russia a party of working people, genuine communists? In accordance with the understanding of the goals and the choice of direction there is such party. Russian Communist Workers Party represent such party in the becoming. Our program presumes the development of workers’ class’ struggle alongside with the attraction of allies and with the use of different methods of struggle. One can only achieve anything by way of struggle and not by way of pleading, whereas providing the scope of the struggle is wide enough and the level of the organization is high enough, there will be possible to set the task of the workers’ class power. We again and again have an opportunity to see the correctness of Lenin who used to warn that real communists confront all bourgeois parties simultaneously.
Meanwhile we’ve been experiencing the most powerful pressure of reaction, but we have to withstand and to fight in order to pass the spark of revolutionary knowledge and revolutionary fire to the gunpowder of people’s energy in due time. Lenin said: “Whether there is revolution or not doesn’t depend on us only. Nevertheless we’ll do our part and this work will be never lost” (vol. 22, p.173 Collected Works of Lenin in Russian). Let’s align ourselves to Lenin, both in thought and in deeds.
German comrades told us that on a monument to Marx and Engels workers wrote as follows: “Never mind, next time will be better!”
We are also sure of that!