Category: Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU)
Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP): Life itself has proved the correctness of Marxism’s founders

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP): Life itself has proved the correctness of Marxism’s founders

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/11/russian-communist-workers-party-rcwp.html
Contribution by the Russian Communist Workers Party at the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties that took place in Leningrad (St Petersburg), 2-4 November 2017. 
By Viktor Tyulkin.
1st-Secretary of Russian Communist Workers Party Central Committee.
Dear comrades, let me greet all participants of the meeting!
27 years ago (in April 1990) I gave a speech at the conference of Leningrad CPSU organization that was to discuss the list of delegates to be sent to the XXVIII Congress of CPSU. Exactly then there took place the division between market oriented supporters of Gorbachev and orthodox communists. This division is still present in Russian Federation and manifests itself as the existence of two parties: CPRF and RCWP and the struggle between these two parties.

We are celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Great October, still we meet now the jubilee of October not on the rise of our movement but under the conditions of temporary defeat of the October Revolution’s cause in the land of October, i.e. in the state of retreat. That’s why the best way to celebrate the Great October’s jubilee would be to focus upon the tasks not resolved and to analyze our experience and the mistakes committed. Our party has prepared report entitled “100 years after the Great October Socialist Revolution, the lessons and tasks for the contemporary communists.” We attach to this document great importance and believe it to be the second program of our party. In August this year, 100 years since the historical VI congress of Bolsheviks that had taken the course on armed uprising, there was held a conference of communist and workers parties that adhere to orthodox Marxism. At the conference there was adopted declaration entitled “October-100” that we offer for consideration (as well as for critics) to all the parties.
In the report of RCWP CC there is analyzed in detail the world-historical importance of the October revolution that was the first in the world that had successfully established the dictatorship of proletariat. It’s very important that the Great October Socialist Revolution was the first revolution that had been theoretically predicted by Marxism as natural and inevitable transition form capitalist social-economic formation to the more progressive communist one.
It’s known that a revolution requires the presence of subjective factor. Lenin developed the theory of proletarian party – the party of a new type and created the party of Bolsheviks. The main lesson (in a narrow sense) that Lenin gave to all proletarian parties is the fact that Bolsheviks were able mobilize working class and popular strata of Russia for the revolution not because they joined with all sorts of opposition, but first of all because they could defeat opportunistic trend of Mensheviks in workers’ movement both ideologically and organizationally.
We should specially stress that Bolsheviks never gave up the idea of the world revolution. In the report there was analyzed the experience and merits of Comintern that from the moment of its creation had provided communists with their own pole in workers’ movement, the pole that had been clearly defined both ideologically and organizationally. The Third, i.e. Communist International carried out huge theoretical work, in particular it predicted Fascism and gave it definition. (“Fascism in power is an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of the financial capital, a special form of class domination of bourgeoisie…”). Though the issue of Comintern’s dissolution requires a special analysis, one thing is quite obvious: the main result of Comintern’s activities was the defeat of Fascism and creation of world Socialist system with the most powerful organizational nucleus as represented by USSR and by the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance countries.
Soviet Union saved the world civilization while having provided the decisive contribution to the defeat of German Nazism. What is especially important is the fact that this victory demonstrated the undisputed superiority of Socialism over Capitalism. On having promptly reconstructed the demolished national economy, USSR had turned into one of the most educated countries of the world with advanced science and culture. That’s why the priority of USSR in space research wasn’t accidental. The first person on Earth who went into space on board of Vostok space ship was Soviet pilot, communist Yuri Gagarin Soviet pilot, a former worker – a moulder-caster.
Soviet Union had a huge influence over the total world history course. The experience of Socialism, its’ social achievements both in USSR and other socialist countries forced capitalists to meet the demands of working people in their countries and introduce wider range of extended social guarantees.
The report pays special attention to the issue of power organization after the victory of socialist revolution. Essentially this is the main issue of the communist program. How one can organize the power of working people themselves and not of the people who only claim to represent them? We insist that the power should be organized as Soviet. The stability of Soviets and their best ability to perform the functions of proletarian dictatorship can be explained by the fact that the system of Soviets is based on objective reality that is characteristic for working people – i.e. on their organization that arises in the process of material production. The role of Soviets is very important already on the stage of struggle for power. No parliaments or center-left governments of “people’s trust” are likely to be transformed into Soviet power, neither would they adopt a Soviet Constitution nor lead people to Socialism. The way to Socialism goes through Soviets, through struggle.
The experience of USSR has persuasively and unequivocally proved that the economic basis for performing, strengthening and developing Soviet power as a form of proletarian dictatorship is the socialized property of means of production, preplanned directly social production that is aimed at providing complete well-being and free universal development of all members of society. This is the goal of socialist production. The rejection of this goal, the course towards market leads to the degradation and destruction of Socialism as market oriented commodity production fundamentally cannot be a basis of proletarian dictatorship. Any attempt to construct a socialist market oriented commodity economics will inevitably lead to the destruction of Socialism. Now we can say that it’s not only a scientifically predicted occurrence, but also a historical fact that unfortunately has been proved by experiment.
(The most important condition for development of Socialism is the movement towards non-commodity, directly social nature of production. Nowadays this issue has not only been an issue of interest, but it has also been the point of dissent among communists, including Russian communists. In our report we give a reply to our market oriented comrades, in particular those, who suggest that we should follow the “Chinese path”: you will all end up in Capitalism if you go along this road. What we see is essentially the dream of Gorbachev. i.e. to move to Capitalism under the Red Banner.
Of course, the economic successes of China are impressive and incite respect, still they don’t necessarily mean a success of socialist construction. Lenin used to say that such type of satisfaction man can experience under Capitalism as well. Now China is the second in the list of countries by the number of billionaires, whereas Russia is the third. It’s quite obvious that both countries are quite fare away from the construction of classless society, i.e. Communism. Meanwhile Chinese Capitalism has been actively playing reactionary role worldwide – it’s enough to recall the shooting of workers at Chinese oil drilling plants in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan and the struggle of Greek workers against the plans by Chinese companies to privatize the port of Piraeus. It’s difficult for us to say this but we see that Chinese comrades are likely to repeat the sad fate of CPSU.)
For obvious reasons we paid special attention to the issue of tactics and necessity of utilizing the possibilities provided by bourgeois parliament to the development of class struggle. The approach by Lenin was illustrated by one of his most categorical expressions: “Only blackguards or fools can believe that proletariat should first conquer the majority in the course of elections that are carried out under the oppression of bourgeoisie, under the conditions of the hired slavery and only afterwards they should conquer the power. This is the utmost manifestation of stupidity or hypocrisy, this is the substitution of class struggle and revolution by elections under the old order, the old power”. Everything is decided in the course of extra parliamentary struggle.
In the report there is a special chapter dedicated to the reasons for the defeat of Socialism in USSR. Lenin used to say that “nobody can defeat us but for our own mistakes”. If we wanted to answer briefly why the Soviet power and CPSU were defeated whereas the majority of working people expressed indifference regarding the counterrevolutionary coup performed in 1991, we would say as follows: it’s because that by that time the power had not been Soviet and the party – communist any longer.
In the report we dwelled in detail upon the practical mistakes made by the party and the authorities starting with the main one – i.e. the rejection of the main issue in Marxism – i.e. the rejection of proletarian dictatorship. This was performed by the leaders of the party that went on calling itself communist. At the XXII Congress of CPSU there was adopted a new party program that excluded mentioning the necessity of proletarian dictatorship from its basic programmatic issues. Meanwhile the XXVIII Congress of CPSU adopted the program of transition to market, i.e. to Capitalism. Even the models of honest privatization as G.A. Zyganov told us were elaborated within CPSU CC. The struggle within CPSU in that period was also reflected in the report.
Life itself has proved the correctness of Marxism’s founders when they claimed that Communism is science and that it should be dealt with correspondingly.
The parties that adhered to orthodox, i.e. revolutionary Marxism joined together in Communist (i.e. the 3rd) International in XX Century. The tasks of communist parties, their responsibilities among which the most important was the responsibility to struggle for the revolutionary character of the parties, the struggle against opportunism were reflected in the 21 conditions of admission to Comintern. In the world there are still many parties who occupy the positions of revolutionary Marxism. Theoretical thought is still alive and Marxist-Leninist  scientists go on with their studies.
As a separate topic we analyze the issue of whether we should aim for Socialism at all, in case Capitalism can provide a high level of prosperity? We, Soviet communists that lived and struggled in Soviet times when answering the question of “what was better under Socialism?”, point out that the main benefit of Socialism was not only the social security of people from the market or the absence of unemployment, or free of charge education, healthcare and accessible housing. We tell that the better relationship between people was that mattered most. Those relationships were much more honest, pure and fair. They were more humanThis is worth struggling for!
Nowadays imperialists in many countries have been banning communist parties activities (eg. in Ukraine and in Baltic republics) and symbols, communists are not allowed to take part in elections etc. Anticommunist propaganda has been carried out everywhere with a various degree of frenzy. Still the main tool of anticommunism is not the bans, but the leading of the movement aside, its emasculation.
RCWP claims that today opportunism and revisionism have been transformed from natural biases of communist movement into a controlled weapon of bourgeoisie. The best known example of such transformation is the trend called Eurocommunism that is represented by the party of European Left. It’s clear that such parties pose no threat to bourgeoisie and are supported. These are our class enemies. Bourgeoisie has perfectly well learned to emasculate revolutionary ideas. The example of the recent Youth Festival in Sochi can illustrate this well. Dances and fun instead of anti-imperialist struggle is its essence.
Our program means the development of the struggle of working people themselves. One can achieve anything by struggle only, not by begging, whereas providing the scope of the struggle and the degree of its organization have reached a certain threshold, we can raise the issue of working people’s power – the Soviet power. We’ve been under severe pressure of reaction but we have to keep our stamina and fight in order to be able to timely bring the spark of revolutionary knowledge and revolutionary fire to the powder keg of people’s energy. Lenin used to say: “it doesn’t depend on us only if there is revolution or not, but we’ll perform our task and this effort will never perish”. Let’s check our thoughts and deeds against Lenin and the party of Bolsheviks.
Let’s not falter on our chosen way! There is no other way around.
Long live Marxism-Leninism, the teaching on revolutionary struggle of proletarians all over the world. Proletarians of all countries – unite!
*  *  *
100 лет Великой Октябрьской социалистической революции и уроки для современных коммунистов
Международная встреча коммунистических и рабочих партий
г. Ленинград,
2-4 ноября 2017 год
Приветствую всех участников встречи!
Мне довелось в этом зале 27 лет назад (в апреле 1990 г.) выступать на конференции Ленинградской организации КПСС, когда формировалась делегация на 28-й Съезд партии. Именно тогда происходило разделение на сторонников Горбачева – рыночников и ортодоксально-коммунистическое движение. Это разделение сохраняется и сегодня в виде существования в РФ и борьбы КПРФ и РКРП.
Мы отмечаем 100-летие Октября! Однако, встречаем юбилей Октября отнюдь не на подъеме движения, а в ситуации временного поражения дела Октябрьской революции на родине Октября, то есть на этапе отступления. Поэтому для нас лучший способ отметить этот юбилей – это сосредоточиться на нерешенных задачах, проанализировать опыт, разобрать ошибки.
Наша партия подготовила доклад «100 лет Великой Октябрьской социалистической революции и уроки для современных коммунистов». Мы очень серьезно относимся к этому документу и расцениваем его как вторую программу нашей партии. В августе этого года, в 100-летнюю годовщину VI-го съезда большевиков, который взял курс на вооруженное восстание, в Ленинграде прошла конференция коммунистических и рабочих партий, стоящих на позициях ортодоксального марксизма, которые приняли декларацию «Октябрь-100». Предлагаем эти материалы для изучения (и критики) всем партиям.
В Докладе ЦК РКРП подробно рассматривается всемирно-историческое значение Октябрьской революции, выразившееся в успешно осуществленном, впервые в мире, установлении диктатуры пролетариата. Очень важно, что Великая Октябрьская социалистическая революция – это первая революция, теоретически предсказанная марксизмом как закономерный и неизбежный переход от капиталистической общественно-экономической формации к коммунистической, как более прогрессивной.
Известно, что для революции требуется наличие субъективного фактора. Ленин разработал теорию пролетарской партии – партии нового типаи создал партию большевиков. При этом главнейший ленинский урок (в узком смысле) для всех пролетарских партий состоит в том, что большевики смогли поднять рабочий класс и народ России на революцию не за счет того, что объединились со всей и всякой оппозицией, а прежде всего, за счет того, что идейно и организационно разгромили оппортунизм меньшевизма в рядах рабочего движения.
Следует особо подчеркнуть, что большевики никогда не отказывались от перспективы мировой революции. Разобран опыт и заслуги Коминтерна, с момента создания которого коммунисты имели свой, чётко идейно и организационно оформленный полюс в рабочем движении. Третий, Коммунистический Интернационал вёл большую теоретическую работу, в том числе предсказал фашизм и дал ему определение. («Фашизм у власти — это открытая террористическая диктатура наиболее реакционных, наиболее шовинистических, наиболее империалистических элементов финансового капитала, особая форма классового господства буржуазии…») Вопрос роспуска Коминтерна требует отдельного рассмотрения, но ясно одно: главным результатом его деятельности явился разгром фашизма и создание мировой социалистической системы с мощнейшим организационным ядром – Союзом Советских Социалистических Республик и странами СЭВ.
Советский Союз, внеся решающий вклад в разгром германского фашизма, спас мировую цивилизацию. Но главное в том, что эта победа показала безусловное преимущество социализма над капитализмом. В кратчайшие сроки восстановив разрушенное хозяйство, страна стала одной из самых образованных в мире, с передовой наукой и культурой. Поэтому первенство в освоении космоса было закономерным. Первым человеком Земли, вышедшим в космическое пространство на корабле «Восток», стал советский летчик, рабочий парень со специальностью формовщик-литейщик, коммунист Юрий Гагарин.
СССРоказал огромное влияние на весь ход мировой истории. Социализм, советский и стран соцлагеря, его социальные достижения заставили капиталистов идти на уступки и введение более широких и определенных социальных гарантий для трудящихся в своих странах.
Особое внимание в докладе уделяется проработке вопроса организации власти после победы социалистической революции. Это по большому счету гвоздь программы коммунистов. Как организовать власть самих трудящихся, а не лишь ратующую за трудящихся? Мы настаиваем на организации власти по советскому принципу. Устойчивость Советов и их наибольшая адекватность для выполнения функции диктатуры пролетариата обусловлены конкретно тем, что Советы опираются на объективную реальностьобъединяющую людей труда, – их организованность в процессе материального производства. Роль Советов чрезвычайно важна уже на этапе борьбы за власть. Никакие парламенты и лево-центристские правительства “народного доверия” в Советскую власть не преобразуются, советскую конституцию не примут и к социализму трудящихся не приведут. Путь к социализму лежит через Советы, через борьбу.
Опыт СССР вполне убедительно и однозначно доказал, что экономической основой осуществления, укрепления и развития Советской власти как формы диктатуры пролетариата является общественная собственность на средства производства, планомерно организованное непосредственно общественное производство, нацеленное на обеспечение полного благосостояния и свободного всестороннего развития всех членов общества. Это является целью социалистического производства. Отказ от этой цели, курс на рынок приводит к деградации и разрушению социализма, поскольку товарно-рыночное хозяйство принципиально не может быть экономической основой диктатуры пролетариата. А попытка строить социалистическое товарное хозяйство неизбежно ведет к уничтожению социализма. Теперь это не только научно обоснованный, но, увы, и опытным путем, исторически проверенный факт.
(Важнейшим условием развития социализма является движение к нетоварному, непосредственно общественному характеру производства. Сегодня этот вопрос продолжает не только волновать, но и разделять коммунистическое движение, в том числе и в России. Мы в докладе даем ответ товарищам рыночникам, в т.ч. зовущим двигаться «по китайскому образцу», что приедете вы все равно в капитализм. По сути дела, мы видим наяву воплощение мечты Горбачёва: движение в капитализм под красным флагом.
Экономические успехи Китая, конечно, впечатляют и вызывают уважение, но они вовсе не обязательно означают успехов в строительстве социализма. Такое удовлетворение, как говорил Ленин, может дать и капитализм. Сегодня КНР по числу миллиардеров находится на втором месте в мире, Россия на третьем. От построения бесклассового общества – коммунизма, думается, и одна, и другая страна весьма далеки. При этом китайский капитализм играет активнейшую реакционную роль на мировой арене (достаточно вспомнить расстрел рабочих на нефтепромыслах китайского капитала в казахском Жанаозене и борьбу греческих рабочих против приватизации порта Пирей). Нам больно это говорить, но мы прогнозируем печальное повторение китайскими товарищами судьбы КПСС).
Особое внимание в докладе мы, по понятным причинам, уделили вопросу о необходимости и тактике использования возможностей буржуазного парламентаризма для развития классовой борьбы. Разобран ленинский подход на примерах его весьма категоричных суждений: «Только негодяи или дурачки могут думать, что пролетариат сначала должен завоевать большинство при голосованиях, производимых под гнетом буржуазии,под гнетом наемного рабства, а потом должен завоевывать власть. Это верх тупоумия или лицемерия, это — замена классовой борьбы и революции голосованиями при старом строе, при старой власти». Все решает борьба вне парламента.
Отдельный раздел в Докладе посвящен разбору причин поражения социализма в СССР. Ленин говорил: Никто не может нас погубить, кроме наших собственных ошибок“. Если очень-очень коротко отвечать на вопрос «А почему?» – о причинах поражения Советской власти и КПСС, о равнодушии большей части трудящихся к произошедшему в 1991 г. контрреволюционному перевороту, то мы отвечаем так: потому что власть уже не была советской, а партия уже не была коммунистической.
В Докладе подробно разобраны ошибки в практических действиях руководства партии и страны, начиная с основной – отказа в теории от главного в марксизме: от диктатуры пролетариата. Это было осуществлено руководством самой партии, продолжавшей называться коммунистической. На ХХII съезде КПСС была принята новая программа партии, которая исключила из своих основных положений необходимость диктатуры пролетариата. А XXVIII съезд КПСС утвердил переход к рынку, то есть к капитализму. Даже модели честнойприватизации, как нам рассказывает Г.А. Зюганов, разрабатывались в недрах ЦК КПСС. Показана борьба в КПСС этого этапа.
Жизнь практикой доказала правоту основателей марксизма в том, что коммунизм – это наука, и относиться к нему нужно соответствующим образом.
В XX-м веке партии, стоящие на позициях ортодоксального, т.е. революционного марксизма, объединились в Коммунистический(третий) Интернационал. В двадцати одном условии приёма в Коминтерн были изложены задачи коммунистических партий, то есть их обязанности, среди которых главнейшей была борьба за революционный характер партий, борьба с оппортунизмом. И сегодня в мире немало партий, которые стоят на позициях революционного марксизма. Не угасла теоретическая мысль, продолжается работа ученых, стоящих на марксистко-ленинских позициях.
Отдельно в Докладе рассмотрен вопрос – нужно ли вообще стремиться к социализму, если довольно высокий уровень благосостояния людям может дать и капитализм? Мы, советские коммунисты, жившие и боровшиеся в советские времена, отвечая на вопрос: «что было лучше при социализме?», вспоминаем в первую очередь даже не социальную защищенность людей от рынка, не отсутствие безработицы, не бесплатное обучение и образование, бесплатную медицину и доступное жилье. Мы говорим, что лучше были отношения между людьми. Они были гораздо более честными, более чистыми, более справедливыми. Они были более человеческими. За это стоит бороться!
.Сегодня во многих странах мира империалисты запрещают деятельность компартий (например, в Прибалтике и на Украине), запрещают коммунистическую символику, не допускают коммунистов к участию в выборах и пр. Везде ведут, с разной степенью оголтелости, антикоммунистическую пропаганду. Но все же, главным методом антикоммунизма стали не запреты, а увод в сторону, выхолащиваниекоммунистического движения.
РКРП утверждает, что сегодня оппортунизм и ревизионизм из естественных уклонов в комдвижении превратились в управляемое оружие буржуазии. Наиболее известным примером такого перерождения является течение так называемого еврокоммунизма,трансформировавшегося в Евролевую партию. Понятно, что такие партии буржуям не опасны и поддерживаются ими. Это наши классовые враги. Буржуазия прекрасно научилась выхолащивать, кастрировать революционные идеи. Пример последнего Фестиваля молодежи в Сочи прекрасно это иллюстрирует. Пляски и гулянье – основное содержание вместо антиимпериалистической борьбы.
Наша программа – развитие борьбы самих трудящихся. Только борьбой, а не просительством, можно чего-то достичь. А при соответствующем развитии масштабов и организованности борьбы можно ставить вопрос уже и о власти трудящихся – о Советской власти.
Мы сегодня испытываем сильнейшее давление реакции, но надо сохранять выдержку и бороться, чтобы донести искру революционного знания и революционного огня к пороху народной энергии в нужный час. Ленин говорил: «Будет революция или не будет, – зависит не только от нас. Но мы своё дело сделаем, и это дело не пропадёт никогда». Будем же и в мыслях, и в делах равняться на Ленина, на партию большевиков.
Не дрогнем на избранном пути! Иного пути нет.
Да здравствует марксизм-ленинизм, учение о революционной борьбе пролетариев все стран. Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!
Первый Секретарь Центрального комитета
Российской Коммунистической рабочей партии
Виктор Тюлькин
С юбилеем Великого Октября! With the anniversary of the Great October Revolution!
Дорогие товарищи!

Поздравляем Вас с юбилеем Великой Октябрьской социалистической революции. Ровно сто лет назад народ России под руководством партии большевиков во главе с великим Лениным сверг власть капитала и открыл новую эпоху в истории нашей страны и всего человечества. Несмотря на тяжелые поражения, идея социальной справедливости не умерла, миллионы людей в разных странах мира продолжают борьбу за торжество идеалов Великого Октября.
Желаем Вам здоровья, счастья, успехов в борьбе за интересы трудящихся. Победа будет за нами!
                                                                                                                                 Центральный Комитет КПСС
Dear comrades!   We congratulate you on the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Exactly one hundred years ago the people of Russia under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, led by the great Lenin, overthrew the power of capital and opened a new era in the history of our country and of all mankind. Despite the hard defeats, the idea of ​​social justice has not died, millions of people around the world continue to struggle for the triumph of the ideals of the Great October Revolution.   We wish you health, happiness, success in the struggle for the interests of the working people. Victory will be ours!                                                                                                                                    Central Committee of the CPSU
100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

10/30/2017

100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

Throughout November, celebrations around the world will mark the centenary of the outstanding political event of the 20th century: the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. By overthrowing the Russian capitalists, landowners and aristocrats, the workers, peasants and soldiers of the Tsarist empire opened the door to a new society in which humanity’s dreams of peace, equality and democracy began to become reality. The storming of the Winter Palace, signaled by the guns of the Aurora cruiser, began the historical epoch of the transition towards a socialist society, based on cooperation and social justice, not the  exploitation and oppression inherent in the profit-driven capitalist system.

The October Revolution was far more than a change in government. It was a fundamental social upheaval, a sharp break with thousands of years of class-divided societies. For the first time, the working class took lasting political power, shattering the myth that only the owners of wealth can rule.

Under the slogan “Peace, Land, Bread” and with the support of the overwhelming majority of the working class and poor peasants, the Bolsheviks (the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was then called) began the long and complex effort to build a new “system of civilized cooperators,” as the great revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the essence of socialism.

The new Soviet government immediately issued its famous “decree on peace”, taking Russia out of the imperialist slaughter by the leading capitalist countries for the re-division of wealth and colonial possession they had plundered from the world’s peoples. Land was transferred to millions of impoverished peasants, and industrial, financial and other capitalist companies were nationalized. Workers were guaranteed employment. Education and health care became universal and free. Nations oppressed under the Tsarist heel were guaranteed equality and self-determination, including the right to secession. Patriarchal laws were replaced by the full legal and social emancipation of women.

The imperialist countries, including Canada, sent armies to crush the young Soviet state while the “baby was still in its cradle”, as Winston Churchill said. Surrounded by counter-revolutionary forces and invading imperialist armies, the Soviet government and the Red Army triumphed, with the support of workers around the world acting under the slogan “Hands off Russia!” The heroic example of Soviet Russia inspired working class struggles and insurrections throughout the world, including the Winnipeg General Strike and the formation of the Communist Party of Canada in this country.

The Soviet revolution shook imperialism as never before. Yet it stood on the shoulders of more than one hundred years of working class and national liberation struggles. Millions of workers had supported the First and Second Internationals, whose goal was world peace and socialism, in sharp contrast to the imperialist strivings of the leading capitalist countries.

The Internationals were inspired by the slogan “Workers of all lands, unite!” and by revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who declared that the working class was the agent of socialist revolution. The working class movement was steeled by persecutions, and educated by the bloody vengeance of the French and Prussian capitalists in 1871 against the Paris Commune – the world’s first working class state. When opportunist leaders of the Second International backed their own imperialist governments during the First World War, the revolutionary sections of the working class movement, including Lenin and the Bolsheviks, courageously struggled against imperialist war. Nearly fifty years after the Commune, the October Revolution gave a new impetus, content, and energy to the world revolutionary movement.

Great October holds a unique and honoured place in history, as the first socialist revolution to achieve and retain political power, withstanding both internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. It dramatically changed world politics, breaking the hegemony of imperialism, and establishing a new and fundamentally different approach to relations between peoples, nations and states.

The October Revolution proved that socialism could become more than a utopian ideal. The working class and its allies could move beyond sporadic resistance to challenge the capitalist system as a whole, and achieve social emancipation. The exploited and oppressed, through conscious and united struggle, could shape their own destiny. It was this truth about the Russian Revolution that filled the privileged classes with a fear and hatred of socialism, from the earliest days of the Soviet state.

Despite unremitting imperialist hostility and subversion, the Soviet Union endured for over seven decades, scoring many great achievements, overcoming unemployment, illiteracy, and social deprivation. Socialism in the Soviet Union transformed an economically and culturally “backward” country into one of the world’s leading powers, and made great advances in culture and science.

It was the Soviet Union which led the heroic military struggle to defeat Hitler fascism on the battlefield, creating the conditions for the emergence of other socialist states in Europe. The Soviet Union championed the cause of anti-racism and decolonization, gave crucial material and political support to liberation movements, and provided vital assistance to the former colonies as they won their independence. The changing international balance of forces was a key factor in helping the peoples of China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to carry out their own socialist transformations. The USSR’s peace policy also restricted – though it could not entirely suppress – imperialism’s tendency to military aggression.

The gains achieved by workers under socialism inspired the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, compelling the ruling class to concede reforms around labour rights, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, health care, public education, and pensions. The progress toward economic and social equality by women in the USSR was a powerful stimulus to the struggles of women in the capitalist countries for pay and employment equity, and for child care and other social programs which would weaken the patriarchal double burden of capitalist exploitation and unpaid domestic labour.

Ultimately, however, the first workers’ state was overturned and capitalism restored, due to a combination of interrelated internal and external circumstances and contradictions which culminated in the temporary victory of counter-revolution.

The defeat of socialism in the USSR became a powerful ideological weapon in the hands of monopoly capitalism. We categorically reject the bourgeois contention that the causes of the crisis and defeat of the Soviet Union were rooted in the intrinsic nature of socialism. Rather, that historic setback resulted from the extremely difficult conditions under which socialism was built, especially the destructive impact of decades of imperialist pressures and subversion, and from distortions and departures from Marxist-Leninist theory and practice.

Whatever the failures and mistakes which occurred during that first great experiment in building a new, higher form of society, these do not detract from the enduring significance of Great October. Socialism’s historical balance-sheet was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the people of the Soviet Union but indeed for all humanity. The misery and impoverishment which have befallen millions of people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since the early 1990s (especially women whose equality gains were rolled back), and the massive profiteering by those who took advantage of the restoration of capitalism, is painful evidence of what happens when counter-revolution succeeds.

Despite its so-called victory, capitalism itself remains in profound systemic crisis. The widening gap between rich and poor, the endless wars and conflicts spawned by imperialism, and the environmental crisis which threatens human civilization, all show that the private profit system, driven by personal and corporate greed, cannot meet the fundamental needs and interests of the people and the global environment.

As capitalism generates war, austerity, and catastrophic climate change, people everywhere are yearning for freedom. Struggles against imperialist globalization have grown sharper, and in many countries, the working class is mounting fierce resistance against the corporate drive for higher profits. The powerful example of Cuba’s socialist revolution continues to inspire workers, youth and oppressed peoples around the world.

Imperialism is responding with growing reaction, militarism and war. In the US, Canada, Europe, India and other regions, far-right, racist and neo-Nazi forces aim to divide and weaken the working class movement, and to roll back the equality gains achieved by trade unions, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But the forces of imperialism and reaction cannot hold back the irresistible power and attraction of socialist ideas, the growth of the international working class, and the striving of the vast majority of humanity for social progress, a sustainable environment, and peace.

Not least, the Great October Socialist Revolution proved the importance of creating the “revolutionary party of a new type” – solidly grounded in the working class, and based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and the principles of democratic centralism. At a time when working people increasingly reject both the old-line capitalist parties and social democratic opportunism, it is more critical than ever to strengthen the revolutionary political parties which can win the working class for a genuine socialist alternative.

Nothing can erase the accomplishments of Great October. The Communist Party of Canada will celebrate Great October for its great achievements, for its historic lessons and for the unequaled inspiration it has created for the future of humanity – a socialist future!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

The Revision of the Great October on the 20th and 22th Congress of the CPSU

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Revision of the Great October on the 20th and 22th Congress of the CPSU

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-revision-of-great-october-on-20th.html
By Gyula Thürmer*.
Source: International Communist Review, Issue 7, 2017.
 
Hundred years have passed since the Great October Socialist Revolution triumphed on the 7th of November 1917. The Hungarian Workers’ Party celebrates the Great October as an outstanding event of the universal history, an event that had a decisive influence on the world, the international workers’ movement, and also on Hungary and the fate of the Hungarian workers and toiling masses.
1917 provides a lot of experience and conclusions for the communist and workers’ movement. The conclusions of the Great October are still valid, they serve as a guide for any political force which is fighting against capitalism, in order to construct socialism.
On the other hand, the rejection and revision of 1917, the re-evaluation of its importance has always been the tool of anti-communist, revisionist forces. The conclusions of the Great October have been revised by the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the 22th congress of the CPSU validated these key points borned under the influence of revisionism in the party’s programme. These decisions had grave consequences for the entire communist and workers’ movement, its effects can still be felt.
Historical lessons of the Great October
  1. The Great October was a socialist revolution.
The contradictions of capitalism cannot be resolved within the framework of  capitalism, capitalism  must be replaced by a socialist society. The path to this is the socialist revolution. The Great October opened the epoch of revolutions.
This great epoch is still not over. There were and there will besuccesses and failures, the times of revolutionary recession and periods of revolutionary upsurgeare followingeach other, but this process ultimately leads  to the victory of socialism on a world scale. Now we witness bigger and bigger wealth concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer people, growing poverty for more and more people, growing population and more and more deteriorating natural environment, increasingly destructive military technologies concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer, better and better technical opportunities and weakening democracy – those are contradictions, which cannot be resolved by capitalism.
  1. The Great October was the revolution of the working class.
1917 was not a  coup d’etat of a small revolutionary group, but it was a social revolution. A historical deed of the working class, the only class interested in the consequent fight against capital. It proved the words of the Communist Manifesto:
Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.”[1]
The position of the working class has changed a lot in the recent decades. The internationalization of capital and capitalist competition lend impetus to the concentration and centralization of capital and this development leads to changes in the social structure, while the strengthening of the monopolies sharpens the problems, exerts pressure on and destroys a section of the middle strata. Still the working class in the broad sense of the word – the social class which  owns no capital and must sell its own labour power – today too is the most conscious force in the fight against the capital.
  1. The communists were those who prepared, organised and carried out the first socialist revolution of the world
The Great October proved that among the various currents in the labour movement only the revolutionary, radical line, the communists assume the responsibility and are able to carry out a socialist revolution, only Marxism-Leninism is a reliable ideological weapon.
In the epoch of socialist revolutions the communist and social democratic currents completely and finally broke up. Communists became the carriers of socialist revolutions, while social democracy irrevocably committed themselves to capitalism .
  1. Working masses cannot win and keep the power without a disciplined, organised, built on the principles of democratic centralism Marxist-Leninist party
Against the will of the masses – no matter how organised a small revolutionary group is – no victorious revolutuon is possible. But no matter how much the people wish for a revolutionary change, it’s not possible without an organised and disciplined party.
  1. The prerequisite of the party’s success is the adherence to Marxism-Leninism.
The basis of the communist party’s strength is its ideological purity and the unity of policy and action. While  the basis of the party’s ideological purity is the acceptance and creative application of Marxism-Leninism.
  1. Proletarian internationalism and the international unity of the communist parties are important prerequisites of the success of the revolutionary struggle.
Shortly after the victory of the Great October, in the March of 1918 the 3rd Internationale  started its work, the 3rd Internationale  was so far the biggest institutionalized cooperation in the history of the communist movement.
The importance of proletarian internationalism is not decreasing. Only together communist and workers’ parties can defeat the forces of capitalism.
  1. Socialism should oppose the forces of capitalism with a compelling power. Peaceful co-existence does not mean reconciliation with capitalism but is one of the forms of struggle.
Capital has never forgiven the revolution of 1917. From the first moment it tried to get revenge, to get back its lost positions. We Hungarians rememer well, that in 1919 the Soviet Republic was drown in blood and Miklós Horthy was put into power for more than two decades. In order to eliminate the Soviet Union and communists, the capital unleashed fascism on the world. Without the support and the money of the European big capital there would have never been any Hitler or Mussolini. Capital didn’t care that fascism caused wars and the death of tens of millions. Capital still hasn’t completely lock back the spirit of fascism into the bottle, but takes it out everytime it’s needed. Capital started the cold war (1948-1990) in the name of revenge, and toppled socialist systems in several countries in the 1990’s. In this specific period there was at the same time an opportunist corrosion of the CPs and violations of the laws of socialist construction, which formed conditions for the counterrevolution.  A milestone in this course were the decisions of the 20th Congress of the CPSU.
The historical place of the CPSU’s 20th congress
On 14-25 February, 1956 the 20th congress of the CPSU took place. The congress was a turning point in the history of the Soviet and the international communist movement. It revised the most basic lessons of 1917. Its decisions determined the way of thinking and the political practices of the communist movement for a long time. Instead of 1917, the historical reference point became 1956, the 20th congress. The reference point in evaluating the debates within the Soviet party started to be the attitude to the 20th century, not to 1917. This determined the relationships with the different communist parties too.
The CPSU tried to make the postulates of the Soviet political thinking to be accepted as dogmas in the international movement, and had much success with it. This largely held back creative thinking. It strenghtened the position of petty bourgeois-opportunist forces within the leaderships of socialist countries.
This period concided with the changes in the basis of the Western European communist parties, the increasing influence of intelligentsia, the decreasing  proportions of actually workers. In Europe eurocommunist parties emerged, which rejected the revolutionary effect of the Great October and the experiences of socialist countries, absolutised the peculiarities of Western European countries, revised the basic principles of Marxism. These views still have a damaging influence on the European communist movement, obstruct the fight of the workers. They reached the point of irrationally and unscientifically arguing that socialism could be constructed through bourgeois parliamentary elections and using the tools of capitalism.
The 20th congress of the CPSU also has played a considerable  role in destroying the earlier existing unity of the socialist countries. From the 60’s the relationship between  the Soviet Union and China became hostile. The positions of China were utilized by US and European imperialism against the Soviet Union.
The 21th extraordinary congress of the CPSU took place between January 27-February 5 1959. Its task was to strenghten the changes in the CPSU’s leadership and Nikita Khrushchev’s power position and to make the elaboration of the CPSU’s new programme quicker.
The CPSU’s 22nd congress on October 17-31 1961 accepted the new programme of the CPSU, and thus implemented a revision of the conclusions of 1917 on the level of the party programme.
In the last decades the Marxist re-evaluation of the CPSU’s 20th congress has begun in the communist movement.
The Hungarian Workers’ Party declared on the 90th anniversary of the Great October: „Capitalist counter-revolutions would have been impossible or very hard to carry out, if there hadn’t been internal causes in some of the socialist countries. The decisive internal cause should be looked for in the leaderships of the socialist countries, where a reformist-opportunist wing emerged and gradually gave up its socialist positions. This political line was felt already after the CPSU’s 20th congress, when several values of socialist construction were rejected with the pretext of eliminating the mistakes of the Stalin-era. The justified and correct criticism of Stalin was used to reject the positive elements of his heritage, to deprive the socialist countries’ societies of the reliable historical consciousness. Evaluating of Stalin according to today’s circumstances, correcting the distortions is the duty of our time”.[2]
The Greek Communist Party has come to the following conlusion after thorough analysis of Soviet socialism:
Following World War II and the post-war reconstruction, socialist construction entered a new phase. The Party was faced with new demands and challenges regarding the development of socialism-communism. The 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) stands out as a turning point, since at that congress a series of opportunist positions were adopted on matters relating to the economy, the strategy of the communist movement and international relations. The correlation of forces in the struggle being waged during the entire preceding period was altered, with a turn in favor of the revisionist-opportunist positions, with the result that the Party gradually began to lose its revolutionary characteristics. In the decade of the 1980s, with perestroika, opportunism fully developed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force. The consistent communist forces that reacted during the final phase of the betrayal, at the 28th CPSU Congress, did not manage in a timely manner to expose it and to organize the revolutionary reaction of the working class.”[3]
The revision of the lessons of Great October’s at the CPSU’s 20th congress
Let’s examine closer the most important questions, in which the CPSU’s 20th congress changed the evaluation of the Great October experience!
Peaceful coexistence
Following a certain detente in the middle of the 1950’s and the gradually established military balance between the Soviet Union and the USA the CPSU’s 20th congress thought that the peaceful coexistence of the two systems means a broad cooperation and the aspect of anticapitalist fight can be put aside.
The congress was right to conclude that there was a certain detente.
Thanks to the consistent peaceful foreign policy of the socialist countries the state of international tension, which was fraught with great danger, has been replaced by a certain détent.”[4]
The congress correctly concluded that the existence of the two world systems is a fact, which determines international relations.
The emergence of socialism from within the bounds of a single country and its transformation into a world system is the main feature of our era. Capitalism has proved powerless to prevent this process of world-historic significance. The simultaneous existance of two opposite  world economic systems, the capitalist and the socialist, developing according to different laws and in opposite directions, has become an indisputablle fact.” [5]
The congress didn’t speak about the fact that this relative detente between the two world systems was mostly a result of the military balance formed due to the developments of the 1950’s, the creation of the Soviet atomic and hydrogen bomb, the great successes in rocket research.
The congress overlooked the internal problems of the socialist countries. We shouldn’t forget that in 1956 counter revolutionary processes take place in Poland and Hungary.
 „The socialist system is marching forward triumthantly, without crises or upheavals. It is bringing great benefits to the peoples of the socialist countries, demonstrating its decisive superiority over the capitlist system.” [6]
The programme accepted at the CPSU’s 22th congress in 1961 says:
The CPSU maintains that forces capable of preserving and promoting universal peace have arisen and are growing in the world. Possibilities are arising for essentially new relations between states.”[7]
 „Peaceful coexistence of the socialist and capitalist countries is an objective necessity for the development of human society.”[8]
Lenin was a supporter of the world revolution. For Lenin peaceful coexistence was a temporary compromise: I can’t defeat capitalism now, but I don’t give up the goal. In March 1919  the Communist Internationale was formed, which enjoyed the full support of the Soviet state. In the 1920’s  communist parties were created in almost every country of the world. At the period when Stalin was the general secretary of the party the CPSU supported the Comintern. Though in 1943 they  made a gesture to the capitalist members of the antifascist coalition and dissolved the Comintern,  by then there was already a new, effective force of the world revolution, the triumphantly advancing Red Army.
The CPSU under the leadership of Khrushchev gives up the idea of world revolution, he declares peaceful coexistence as the end goal, stating that relations of capitalism and socialism would be determined by peaceful competition. Brezhnev a bit clumsily, but returns to the idea of world revolution.  Of course, this does not negate the fact that in the period when Brezhnev was the GS of the CPSU the problems of utilizing the tools of capitalism in socialist construction continued and sharpened, with the result that the party lost its revolutionary way with grave consequences.
Gorbatchev’s „new way of thinking” meant giving up the goals of socialism. He gave back the territories gained in WW2, ruined the Soviet armed forces, left socialist countries at the mercy of the forces of capitalism.
This was one of the biggest theoretical misconception of the CPSU’s 20th congress, which explained many political steps that contributed to the weakening and then toppling of the socialist system.
This was the false and incorrect interpretation of the principle of  peaceful coexistence. Socialism will win on a world level if it produces more and better in economy, than capitalism does. But this doesn’t mean that military power can be given up.
Based on the false and incorrect interpretation of the principle of peaceful coexistence, the Soviet Union reduced a significant portion of the land  and naval forces in the beginning of the 60’s. From the end of the 60’s it signed a number of agreements on the limitation and reduction of armaments and disarmament with the USA, that broke  the delicate military balance which was so hard to establish, and more than that – made the Soviet Union vulnerable. This doesn’t mean that disarmament efforts weren’t needed, but it’s a fact that it led to the end of military balance. The mistake was not the disarmament, but the series of one-sided concessions to the US. Without the military power balance the socialist world became vulnerable on all other fields too, as the military balance had the greatest impact on capitalist countries.
The parliamentary road, as a way of creating socialism
The 20th congress of the CPSU declared that in the changed international conditions communist parties can get into power by parliamentary elections and can make socialism win.
… the present situation offers the working class in a number of capitalst countries a real opportunity to unite the overwhelming majority of the people under its leadership and to secure the transfer of the basic means of production into the hands of the people. The Right-wing bourgeois parties and their governments are suffering bankruptcy with increasing frequency. In those circumstances the working class, by rallying around itself the toiling peasantry, the intelligentsia, all patriotic forces, and resolutely repulsing the opportunist elements who are uncapable of giving up the policy of compromise with the capitalists and landlords, is in a  position to defeat the reactionary forces opposed to the popular interest, to capture a stable majority in parliament, and transform the latter from an organ of bourgeois democracy into a genuine instrument of the people’s will. (Applause.) In such an event this institution, traditional in many highly developed capitalist countries, may become an organ of genuine democracy, democracy for the working people.
The winning of a stable parliamentary majority backed by a mass revolutionary movement of the proletariat and of all the working people could create for the working class for a number of capitalist and former colonial countries the conditions needed to secure fundamental social changes.”[9]
The 22nd congress of the CPSU fixed this thesis in the party’s programme:
In the conditions prevaling at present, in some capitalist countries the working class, headed by its forward detachment, has an opportunity to unite the bulk of the nation, win state power without a civil war and achieve the transfer of the basic means of production to the people upon the basis of a working class and popular front and other possible forms of agreement and political cooperation between different parties and democratic organisations. The working class, supported by the majority of the people and firmly repelling opportunist elements incapable of renouncing the policy of compromise with the capitalists and landlords, can defeat the reactionary, anti-popular forces, win a solid majority in parliament, transform it from a tool serving the class interestes of the bourgeoisie into an instrument serving the working people, launch a broad mass struggle outside parliament, smash the resistance of the reactionary forces, and provide the necessary conditions for a peaceful socialist revolution.” [10]
The CPSU’s thesis about the parliamentary way creates serious illusions in the workers’ movement. Many parties completely settle for election work and performance in the parliament. Some of the parties forget that the fight for the interests of workers, working people is a constant task of  communists. Taking part in the parliament is not the goal for a communist party, but only a tool.
The Hungarian Workers’ Party is deeply convinced that socialism will be brought by a new popular socialist revolution. The party’s new programme, which was adopted in 2012, says:
We don’t know which year, which month and which day the new socialist revolution will win. But we know that it will win. It will win when the majority of the people understands through their own experiences that there is only one way to happiness, the new popular socialist revolution, and they will be willing to make an effort for it.[11]
Attitude to social democracy
The CPSU’s 20th congress declared that in order to prevent a world war, the strategic cooperation of communist and social democratic parties is necessary and possible.
Not a few of the misfortunes harussing the world today are due to the fact that in many countries the working class has been split for many years and its different groups do not present a united front, which  only plays into the hands of the reactionary force. Yet, today, in our opinion, the prospect of changing this situation is opening up. Life has put on the agenda many questions which not only demand rapprochement and co-operation between all workers’ parties, but also create real possibilities for the co-operation. The most important of these questions is that of preventing a new war. If the working class come out as a united organised force and acts with firm resolution, there will be no war.”[12]
And the report goes on:
All this places an historic responsibility upon all leaders of the labour movement. The interests of the struggle for peace make it imperetive to find points of contact and on these grounds  to lay the foundations for co-operation, sweeping aside mutual incriminations. Here  co-operatons with those circles of tne socialist movement whose views on the forms of transition to socialism differ from ours is also possible and essential. Among them are not a few people who are honestly mistaken on this question, but this is no obstacle for co-operation.Today many Social-Democrates stand for  active struggle against the war danger and militarism, for rapproachment with the socialist countries, for unity of the labour movement.We sincerely greet these Social-Democrats and are willing to do everything necessary to join our efforts in the struggle for the noble cause of upholding peace and the interests of the working people.”[13]
The programme accepted at the CPSU’s 22nd congress is even more clear:
The Communist parties favor cooperation with the Social-Democratic parties not only in the struggle for peace, for better living conditions of the working people, and for the preservation and extension of their democratic rights and freedoms, but also in the struggle to win power and build a socialist society.”  [14]
Social democracy in the 19th century grew from the working masses of the capitalist countries, the trade union movement. They also dreamt about socialism, like communists, but in a long-long term, and on a daily basis they wanted to end the unfairness of capitalism, to make capitalist order nicer. Revolutionary Marxists never agreed with that, as capitalism, even in its best, most democratic and richest form is built on the exploitation of the working masses. Revolutionary Marxists always aimed for the creation of socialism.
But after the WW2 social democracy has undergone an essential change. There was plenty of money in the course of growth of general european well-being after the war. This made it possible for capitalist social democratic parties to give more to the masses, to create the so called „the welfare state”. In turn, the existence of the socialist world, where masses had the right to work, rest and access to free health care, forced the capitalist parties to do so. The so called „welfare state” in reality meant that a minority of rich peope lived on a very high standarf of living. The middle classes and a part of the working masses got much better conditions than before. The standard of living of large masses of working people, not speaking about the rising number of foreign migrants changed only to a limited degree.
After the economic difficulties of the 80’s they had less money. The socialist world collapsed, the external coercive force disappeared. Capitalist governments gave up the generous policy of the so called „welfare state”, and social democracy in turn declared the concept of the 3rd way. Since the 80’s socialism is not the goal, and they even gave up the previous traditional demands of social democracy and started to carry out neoliberal policies.
Social democracy played a significant role in undermining, weakening the socialist countries.. Under the slogans of the „Ostpolitik”, the „disarmament” and the „European cooperation” they actively took part in the preparation of the counter revolutions of 1989-91.
In the former socialist countries several parties emerged under the name socialist or social democrat. These parties are fundamentally different from Western paries because they have no social democratic past at all, no trade  union background, they are not connected by their traditions to the workers. These parties, including the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), from the first moment have been active participants of the capitalist counter revolutions of 1989-91, and became one of the pillars of the capitalist system. Their task is to mislead and manipulate working masses, to stabilise capitalism.
Experiences of the revolution in 1917 and the 90 years that have passed since clearly show that the goals of communists and social democrats are fundamentally different.
Experiences of Hungarian history prove that Hungarian social democrats betrayed the interests of the workers in 1919 and in 1898-90 as well. They gave up the communists to the gendarmerie of the Horthy-era and even nowadays they do not shy away from legal and governmental attacks on communists.
The 90 years since 1917 clearly show: if communists under conditions of capitalit system  cooperate with social democrats in strategic questions, if they govern together, then this is always the communists who „pull the shorter” and who pay the biggest price.
The way of costruction socialism
The leadership of the CPSU after 1956, seeing the successes of socialism, made a false and in retrospect fatal conclusion: the victory of socialism is final and irreversible. The 22nd congress describes the party’s new strategy, the construction of the communist society.
„The Communist Party of the Soviet Union adopts its Third Program – the program of communist construction.”
The material and technical base of communism will be built up by the end of the second decade (1971-80), ensuring an abundance of material and cultural  values for the whole population, Soviet society will come close to a stage where it can introduce the principle of distribution according to needs, and there will be a gradual transition to one form of ownership – public ownership. Thus, a communist society will in the main be built in the USSR.” [15]
 The programme of the RCWP-CPSU correctly states:
Furthermore, the successful accomplishment of many tasks of socialist development, including the elimination of class antagonisms, led to the emergence in the party and the people of the illusion of consistency of further moving forward. This illusion of possibility to achieve quickly, withoit struggle, the  higher phase of communism was fixed in the third  party Programme, adopted in 1961. That demobilized the party, the working class, the toiling masses.  The programm wronglyproclaimed the rejection of the dictatorship of the proletariat and declared the public nature of such entirely class institutions as  a party and a state, thus creating an ideological cover for their petty-bourgeois metamorphosis. The subjectivist approach was used to explain errors and deviations in the construction of socialism by cult of personality. The task of revival of the essence of the power of the Soviets was not even set, workers, already fragmented organizationally, now were ideologically disarmed at the face of a rising wave of the petty-bourgeois. This disarmament of the party and the workers was based on the official proclamation of the “final” victory of socialism in our country .”[16]
The decision of the CPSU was a strategical mistake which affected the other socialist countries too. After the 20th congress they increasingly underestimated the necessity of class struggle. They disregarded the fact that the representatives of the old ruling classes and their descendants were still alive, the implementation of the elements of a market economy contributed to the revival of the bourgeois forces. Parties were not prepared for actual class struggle.
Later under the flag of Gorbatchev’s perestroika, glasnosty, modernisation, rapprochement with Europe  they introduced multi-party system, allowedand even helped the activity of the parties which were against socialism. With the false slogan of depolitisation they took out the army and the national security organs from under the control of the party and the people. System changes were prepared and carried out almost everywhere by reformist-opportunist forces. These forces deliberately crossed the border, beyond which we are talking not about the reform of socialism, but about the introduction of the capitalist system.
***
The socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 confirmed the correctness of Marxist-Leninist theory on the inevitability of the socialist revolution and the transition of humanity from the capitalist economic system to communism, the first phase of which is socialism. It was in October 1917 in Russia that a great historical epoch of transition of humanity from capitalism to socialism started.
Today, as never before, it is clear: The great October socialist revolution – the main event not only in the 20th century, but in the whole history of mankind, the event that showed the way of progressive development for many decades to come. In the result of the Great October revolution was dispelled the myth of the eternity of capitalism, capitalism ceased to be a world system. Since that time in the world exist two opposite social-economic systems, the struggle between them became the main form of manifestation of the main contradiction of the modern era – the contradiction between labor and capital.
The Great October inseparably interwined with the memory of the 20th century Hungarian socialism too. The successes of socialism proved that the Hungarian workers, the working people can manage being in power, creating a better life for millions, secure the survival and development of the Hungarian nation. Hungarian workers can still be proud of those decades, can draw strength to fight against capital system.  This is the legacy of the Great October.
There was a lot of good in Hungarian socialism, though not everything was good. But undoubtedly there were much more things that could have been called successes, results. And it’s also beyond doubt that despite all its problems and mistakes that socialism was better, more successful and more humane than today’s capitalism.
The Hungarian Workers’ Party is following the footsteps of the Great October. We want socialism. We have learnt from the history of socialism. We are convinced that a new socialist society will give even more and even better.
 President of the Hungarian Workers’ Party.
[1]https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm#007
[2] http://aszabadsag.hu/Archiv/Dokumentumok/2007_38sz.pdf
[3] http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/18th-Congress-Resolution-on-Socialism/
[4]Report of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the 20th Party Congress. Foreign Languages Publishing House. Moscow 1956. Page 7.
[5]ibid, page 8
[6]ibid, page 13
[7]Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. International Publishers Co.,Inc., 1963.  Page 62
[8] ibid,  page 65
[9]  Report of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the 20th Party Congress. Foreign Languages Publishing House. Moscow 1956. Pp.45-46
[10]Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. International Publishers Co.,Inc., 1963
[11]http://2010-2015.munkaspart.hu/component/content/article/1169
[12]Report of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the 20th Party Congress. Foreign Languages Publishing House. Moscow 1956. Page 24
[13]ibid
[14]Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. International Publishers Co.,Inc., 1963.  Page 49
[15]Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. International Publishers Co.,Inc., 1963.  Page 74
[16]http://rkrp-rpk.ru/content/view/5/47/
“Achievements and successes of the working class in socialism”, presented by the KKE in Athens

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Achievements and successes of the working class in socialism”, presented by the KKE in Athens

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/achievements-and-successes-of-working.html
Τhe work “Achievements and successes of the working class in socialism”, published by “Synchroni Epochi”, was presented by the KKE’s Central Committee, on July 12th in Egaleo, Athens.
Our future isn’t capitalism. It is the new world, socialism”! This slogan was shouted by hundreds of members and friends of the KKE and KNE at “Alexis Minotis” municipal theatre of Egaleo, where the publication was presented. Working people from various sectors, who live the intensive capitalist exploitation, listened with interest the significant information that the new publication contains and which proves the superiority of the socialist system. The publication- a result of a collective effort by the Central Committee’s department for Labor and Trade Union work- consists part of the KKE’s greater multiform activity for the 100th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution .
Major speakers at the event were Yannis Protoulis, member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the KKE, Stefanos Loukas and Vivi Dagka, members of the CC of the Party. The cultural programme of the event included recitation of Bertolt Brecht’s poems, from Greek poet Kostas Varnalis’ work “What I saw in Soviets’ Russia”, revolutionary soviet songs and the hymn of Comintern.
KKE politburo member Yannis Protoulis refered to the reasons which led to the counterrevolution:
 
(abstracts from his speech)
“This is a publication that takes its place next to the Declaration of the CC, next to the many publications of the Party that have been issued and those that will follow in the battle for knowledge, so that the truth will shine against slander, mud and distortion and, at the same time, for the invigoration of the fruitful debate for today’s way out from the system of capitalist exploitation, of crises and imperialist wars.
We are addressing a special call. A call to give a great battle to conquer and spread the knowledge, the truth for socialism that mankind met. A fight which is inextricably connected with the pioneering struggle which is developed by the members, friends and collaborators of the KKE on all the acute problems faced by the working class, the youth.”
“The socialist construction in the 20th century, which began with the Red October, proved that the labor movement can create revolutions and prevail, can win in only one country or a group of countries. It proved that this is not a utopia, it was constructed for decades.
An important aspect is that the workers’ achievements in socialist states, for many decades, had been a point of reference and contributed to the conquest of achievements by the labor-popular movement of capitalist societies”.
“The KKE was and remains unwavering in defending the USSR socialist course’s offer, in general the socialist construction during the 20th century, in the struggle for social progress, for the abolition of exploitation of man by man.
We highlight the contradictions, the mistakes and the deviations under the pressur of the international correlation of forces, without leading ourselves to nihilism.
Since the early 1990s, we have characterized the 1989-1991 devenopments as a victory of the counterrevolution, as an overthrow. We reject the term “collapse”, because it downgrades the counter-revolutionary activity, the social base in which it can be developed and dominate, due to weaknesses and deviations of the subjective factor during the socialist construction, as it happened.
Life showed that the problems which were presented had not been properly interpreted and hadn’t been dealt on the basis of strengthening and expanding the communist relations, the central planning, the socialization, the workers-social control.
Thus, insteading of seeking a solution onwards, to the expansion and strengthening of the communist relations of production and distribution, it was sought backwards, in the widening of the market, in “socialism with market”, that is the utilization of tools and production relations of capitalism.”
Protoulis also referenced to the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956 as a “turning point” where various opportunist perceptions were adopted, as well as to the “Kosygin reforms” and the consequent weaking of the central planning. 
Among other things, Yannis Protoulis mentioned:
“The bourgeois propaganda of the “sovietologists” continues today, turning white into black. It projects the concepts of “democracy” and “freedom” through the bourgeois criteria, not the ones of the workers of course, but for the capitalists. Freedom to exploit, to have people in their work, to be the bosses, to live and enrich from the hard labor of the others and, as a democracy they mean the one which stops at the gates of their enterprises.
The real content of freedom and democracy in capitalism is the economic coercion of wage slavery and the dictatorship of the capital in society in general and especially within capitalist enterprises.
The greatest achievement which made possible the realization of all the rest after the October Revolution was the revolutionary workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat as a state which expressed the interersts of social majority of the exploited ones and not the social minority of the exploiters. It emerged as a superior form of democracy.”
Source: Rizospastis / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
KKE politburo member G.Marinos in Venezuela: “We must walk in the steps of the October Revolution”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

KKE politburo member G.Marinos in Venezuela: “We must walk in the steps of the October Revolution”

In the 15th Congress of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) which took place between 22 and 25th of June in Caracas, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was represented by its Political Bureau member Giorgos Marinos and Dimitris Karagiannis, member of the international relations section of the CC and journalist in ‘Rizospastis’. 

 
On June 21st, the PCV organised the 2nd International Ideological Seminar with the subject being “The timeliness of Lenin in the 100 years of the Great Socialist Revolution”, in which 18 Communist and Workers Parties participated.
 
What follows is the speech by Giorgos Marinos, reproduced from inter.kke.gr:
We honour the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, of the world-historic event of international significance, which demonstrated that capitalism is not invincible. The working class, the leading class of society with its allies have the strength to overthrow capitalism and construct the socialist society.
Whatever the supporters and apologists of capitalism do, they cannot erase the fact that this system has already entered a course of degeneration and decay, is becoming more reactionary and dangerous, is identified with the poverty of millions, with unemployment and capitalist crises.
Whatever the apologists of the system do, they cannot conceal the fact that two world imperialist wars were created by capitalism, as well as hundreds of local and regional wars and today we see the danger of a generalized military conflict.
The persecutions against communists and militant workers cannot stop the forward march of history. Social development does not stop, it is an objective process where the new social relations and the leading classes that express them in the class struggle, the motor force of history, overthrow the old social relations.
However painful the consequences of the counterrevolution are, the Leninist position is still of great importance: “We have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown.”
We struggle in the conditions of monopoly capitalism, imperialism, with its basic characteristic being the dominance of the monopolies, which are the product of the concentration and centralization of capital.
At the end of the 19th century, Marx and Engels had already noted in Capital that the “centralization of the means of production and socialization of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. Thus integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.”
This is the great necessity. The abolition of private capitalist ownership that negates the potential for all the workers to live in conditions that correspond to their increasing human needs, with work, free time, housing, high level exclusively public and free education, health, welfare, culture, sports.
The necessity of socialism flows from the sharpening of the basic contradiction of system, the contradiction between the social character of production and labour and the capitalist appropriation of the results. Our era is the era of transition from capitalism to socialism and this has historical and international dimensions.
However, as the experience from the class struggle teaches us, despite the fact that the material conditions for the new society mature under capitalism, for there to be a change of system there must be a socialist revolution.
This revolution requires the creation of a revolutionary situation that is defined according to Lenin by the following factors:
  • Those “above” (the ruling class of the capitalists) cannot govern and run the administration as they did in the past.
  • Those “below” (the working class and the popular strata) do not want to live as they did in the past.
  • An extraordinary rise in the activity of masses is observed.
The appearance of such a favourable situation has an objective character, but each revolutionary situation must be combined with the revolutionary uprising of the working class, led by the CP, its conscious vanguard, which must be equipped with the Marxist-Leninist worldview and be capable of leading the socialist revolution.
Despite the fact that it cannot be predicted when and how the revolutionary situation will manifest itself, historical experience highlighted the manifestation of a deep and synchronized capitalist crisis, combined with the outbreak of an imperialist war as being important factors.
The course of the Bolsheviks to the victorious October revolution passed through the “fire” of the harsh persecutions of the Tsarist absolutist state, of the strike and other tough conflicts connected to the revolution of 1905, which despite its defeat was a trial that contributed to the preparation of the oppressed for the victory of the revolution.
The Soviets were born in the revolution of 1905, the seeds of workers’ power.
In this period, Lenin assessed that the revolution should establish a temporary revolutionary government, the “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”, for the convening of the constituent assembly, universal voting rights, agricultural reforms etc. This power would eradicate the vestiges of Tsarism and would spark the proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist Western Europe.
The entrance of Russia in the 1st World War sharpened the social contradictions. The defeats of the Russian army at the front, the loss of territories caused significant discontent, not only amongst the workers and peasants who were suffering due to the destruction of war, but also amongst the bourgeois class of Russia.
The plans of the bourgeoisie to overthrow the Tsar were combined with major popular mobilizations and strikes, which were carried out in February 1917, as a result of the rapid intensification of the social problems. The formation of a revolutionary situation, the mass political activity of the workers and peasants organized in the Soviets, the disintegration of the army, led in the end to the revolutionary overthrow of the Tsar.
The Provisional Democratic Government was established by representatives of the bourgeois liberal parties of Russia and constituted an organ of bourgeois power. At the same time,however, the mass political struggle of the workers and peasants brought to the surface the organization of the armed masses that participated in the overthrow of the Tsar via the Soviets.
The Mensheviks and the SRs dominated the Soviets in this period and supported the Provisional Democratic Government. This situation was characterized by Lenin as being “dual power”.
Lenin studied the February revolution, assessed that power had passed into the hands of the bourgeois class and that the bourgeois-democratic revolution had been completed and with the “April Theses” he adjusted the strategy of the Bolsheviks for the overthrow of bourgeois power and the socialist revolution.
The adaptation of the tactics, the slogans to the needs of strategy and of the revolutionary struggle led Lenin to withdraw the slogan “All power to the Soviets” in July 1917, when the repression of the Provisional Government had escalated and brought it back in September when the Bolsheviks had won the majority in the Soviets of Moscow and Petrograd, giving it new content, as a slogan for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the revolutionary uprising.
The decisiveness of Lenin and those from the leadership of the Bolsheviks who supported his positions led in the end to the victorious socialist revolution on October 25 (November 7, according to the new calendar) 1917.
We must underline the decisive importance of the important events and political choices, such as:
  • The separation of the Bolsheviks from the Mensheviks at the 2nd Congress (1903), the formation of a separate party (1912), the intense constant struggle against opportunism.
  • The systematic theoretical efforts for the development of the strategic view of the Bolshevik party for the socialist revolution that matured in the difficult conditions of the 1905-1917 period.
  • The tireless efforts for the preparation of the subjective factor, the party, the working class and its allies.
  • The consistent communist stance against imperialist war and the tireless struggle against the bourgeois class in all conditions.
  • The prediction of the changes in the correlation of forces and the correct decisions gave the Bolsheviks the initiative.
A decisive contribution for the formation of the strategy of the socialist revolution was provided by the study of capitalism in Tsarist Russia, of the characteristics of monopoly capitalism-imperialism (in the work “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”), of the stance towards the bourgeois state and the character of workers’ power, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat (“State and Revolution”) and other valuable works.
These elaborations highlighted the potential for the socialization of the concentrated means of production in the era of monopoly capitalism and also the potential created by uneven economic-political development and the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions in order for the weakest link in the imperialist chain to break and for the efforts for socialist construction in one country or in a group of countries to begin.
Soviet power paved the way for the abolition of capitalist relations of production and this was what dealt with the intense problems of the workers (land, bread, peace) and not bourgeois power or some form of “intermediate” power, which in reality cannot exist.
Giorgos Marinos (Archive Photo).
The October Revolution confirmed the leading role of the revolutionary communist party, the need to rally the working class against the power of capital, the need to draw the poor peasantry and the other middle strata to the revolution, and to render other sections neutral. The historically outdated and reactionary character of the bourgeois class, the necessity of not participating or supporting a government in the framework of capitalism, the non-existence of transitional forms of power between capitalism and socialism, the need to smash the bourgeois state.
The October Revolution led to the building of another superior society, with as its basic characteristic the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.
The right to work and the eradication of unemployment were secured in the USSR. The foundations were laid for the abolition of discrimination against women. Science developed very rapidly. Free education at all levels, free high-quality health-care for all the people, and universal access to culture and sports were ensured. Institutions were created that would safeguard the substantial participation of the workers in building the new society.
This was a historically significant leap in conditions of the backwardness of pre-revolutionary Russia in comparison to the powerful capitalist states, in conditions of imperialist encirclement and pressure, with the grave consequences from the 1st and 2nd World Wars, in the latter the USSR made the decisive contribution to the defeat of fascism, with 20 million dead and enormous material destruction.
Socialist construction in the USSR was not free of problems. Until the Second World War, in the USSR the struggle for the development of the communist relations of production, the abolition of wage labour and the dominance of the socialized sector of production on the basis of Central Planning was generally successful.
After the Second World War, socialist construction faced new challenges and demands that were interpreted as inevitable weaknesses existing in the nature of central planning and not as a result of the contradictions of the survival of the old, as a result of the mistakes of the non-scientifically elaborated plan.
Thus, instead of seeking a solution towards the invigoration and expansion of the communist relations of production and distribution, it was sought backwards, i.e. in the exploitation of tools and production relations of capitalism. The solution was sought in the expansion of the market, in “market socialism”.
The 20th CPSU Congress (1956) stands out as a turning point because in that, with the vehicle being the so-called “personality cult”, a series of opportunist positions were adopted on the issues of the communist movement strategy, while the central management of the economy was weakened.
A few years later, beginning with the so-called “Kosygin reforms” (1965), the bourgeois category of “business profit” of each individual production unit was adopted and the wages of managers and workers were linked to it.
The individual interest was strengthened at the expense of the social interest and the communist consciousness was damaged. The so-called “shadow capital” emerged that sought its legal function as capital in production, the restoration of capitalism. Its (the capital’s) owners constituted the driving force of the counter-revolution.
In about the same period, the Marxist-Leninist perception about the workers’ state was also revised. The 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) described the USSR state as an “all-people’s” state and the CPSU as an “all-people’s party”.These positions led to the mutation of the revolutionary characteristics and social composition of the party. The transformation of the CPSU’s opportunist degeneration into an open counter-revolutionary force was manifested by the policy of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”.
The KKE tried all these years to study the contemporary developments, to draw conclusions from the historical experience of the class struggle in Greece and internationally and, at the same time, to deepen and expand its militant ties with the working class and the popular strata. It tries not to detach the daily struggle from the main revolutionary political task of overthrowing the power of capital
he KKE has charted a modern revolutionary strategy increases its ability to organize leading sites of resistance and counterattack in every sector of the economy, every large workplace, in every region of the country,with an anti-capitalist/anti-monopoly line of struggle, to prepare the working class and people in the instance of an imperialist war.
The ideological-political and organizational strengthening of the KKE, which was an important issue at the recent 20th Congress of the Party, constitutes a prerequisite for the promotion of its revolutionary policy.
An integral part of the KKE’s contemporary strategy is its programmatic perception on the socialist character of the revolution. Socialist construction begins with the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class. The workers’ state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is an instrument of the working class in the class struggle which continues in socialism with other forms and means. It is utilized for the planned development of the new social relations, which presupposes the suppression of the counter-revolutionary efforts, but also the development of the communist consciousness of the working class. The qualitatively new feature of workers’ power is the transformation of the workplace into the core of society’s organization.
The Programme of the KKE states:
The concentrated means of production are socialized, but initially there remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the basis for the existence of commodity-money relation. Forms of productive cooperatives are formed, where the level of the forces of production still does not allow the socialization of the means of production. The forms of group ownership consist a transitional form of ownership, between the private and the social one, and not an immature form of communist relations.
On the basis of social ownership of the centralized means of production, the central planning of the economy develops as a communist relation that connects all the producers.
At the same time, the KKE struggles for the regroupment of the international communist movement, according to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the internationalist solidarity of the people against capitalism and imperialist war, which is expressed in the slogan “Workers of all countries unite!”.Its supports the efforts for the creation of a distinct pole based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism , through the “International Communist Review” and the European Communist Initiative.
The study of the experience of the October Revolution and the events that will be held will be effective to the extent that the communist movement stands up and fights against the negative correlation of forces, examining in a strict way and changing the line of intermediate stages and the so-called leftwing governments. This step will contribute decisively to the adaptation of the strategy of the CPs to the character of our era, the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism, which also determines the socialist character of the revolution.
The struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, for the socialist revolution must leave its imprint on the everyday activity, political line of every CP so that they play the leading role in organizing the working class, to preparing it to meet the challenges of the class struggle.
This year, 100 years after the Great October Revolution, we must intensify our efforts to strengthen the struggle for the revolutionary regroupment of the international communist movement.
The October Revolution, the construction of socialism in the USSR and the painful experience from the counterrevolution highlights the need for a revolutionary strategy and the strict observance of the laws of socialist construction, for workers’ power, the socialization of the means of production, central planning and workers’-social control. This is the basis for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, in opposition to the caricatures and arbitrary fantasies about “21st Century Socialism” and “Market Socialism” which are features of the counterrevolution and function within the the framework of capitalism.
The communist movement has a great history and has made a significant contribution to the abolition of exploitation and today must learn from history, must be guided by our worldview and what Marx and Engels wrote in 1848 remains very relevant:
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of All Countries, Unite!”
 
We thank the CP of Venezuela and we wish it every success in its Congress. The KKE has always stood unwaveringly at the side of the CP of Venezuela and continues on this path. Our party denounces the imperialist interventions and expresses its internationalist solidarity with the working class, the people of Venezuela and the other countries of Latin America. The interests of the working class lie in strengthening its struggle against the bourgeois class and the capitalist shackles, in fighting for worker’s power and to become the owners of the wealth they produce, in constructing socialism-communism.
Joseph V. Stalin- Concerning Questions of Leninism

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Joseph V. Stalin- Concerning Questions of Leninism

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/joseph-v-stalin-concerning-questions-of.html

Concerning Questions of Leninism.

By Joseph V. Stalin.
 January 25, 1926.
Source: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954 via Marxists Internet Archive.
 
Dedicated to the Leningrad Organisation of the C.P.S.U (B).
 
I. THE DEFINITION OF LENINISM
 
The pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism contains a definition of Leninism which seems to have received general recognition. It runs as follows:
 
“Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular.”1
Is this definition correct?
 
I think it is correct. It is correct, firstly, because it correctly indicates the historical roots of Leninism, characterising it as Marxism of the era of imperialism, as against certain critics of Lenin who wrongly think that Leninism originated after the imperialist war. It is correct, secondly, because it correctly notes the international character of Leninism, as against Social-Democracy, which considers that Leninism is applicable only to Russian national conditions. It is correct, thirdly, because it correctly notes the organic connection between Leninism and the teachings of Marx, characterising Leninism as Marxism of the era of imperialism, as against certain critics of Leninism who consider it not a further development of Marxism, but merely the restoration of Marxism and its application to Russian conditions.
 
All that, one would think, needs no special comment. Nevertheless, it appears that there are people in our party who consider it necessary to define Leninism somewhat differently. Zinoviev, for example, thinks that:
 
“Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialist wars and of the world revolution which began directly in a country where the peasantry predominates.”
 
What can be the meaning of the words underlined by Zinoviev? What does introducing the backwardness of Russia, its peasant character, into the definition of Leninism mean?
 
It means transforming Leninism from an international proletarian doctrine into a product of specifically Russian conditions.
 
It means playing into the hands of Bauer and Kautsky, who deny that Leninism is suitable for other countries, for countries in which capitalism is more developed.
 
It goes without saying that the peasant question is of very great importance for Russia, that our country is a peasant country. But what significance can this fact have in characterising the foundations of Leninism? Was Leninism elaborated only on Russian soil, for Russia alone, and not on the soil of imperialism, and for the imperialist countries generally? Do such works of Lenin as Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,2 The State and Revolution,3 The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,4 “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder,5 etc., apply only to Russia, and not to all imperialist countries in general? Is not Leninism the generalisation of the experience of the revolutionary movement of all countries? Are not the fundamentals of the theory and tactics of Leninism suitable, are they not obligatory, for the proletarian parties of all countries? Was not Lenin right when he said that “Bolshevism can serve as a model of tactics for all”? (See Vol. XXIII, p. 386.)* Was not Lenin right when he spoke about the “international significance** of Soviet power and of the fundamentals of Bolshevik theory and tactics”? (See Vol. XXV, pp. 171-72.) Are not, for example, the following words of Lenin correct?
 
“In Russia, the dictatorship of the proletariat must inevitably differ in certain specific features from that in the advanced countries, owing to the very great backwardness and petty-bourgeois character of our country. But the basic forces—and the basic forms of social economy—are the same in Russia as in any capitalist country, so that these specific features can relate only to what is not most important”** (see Vol. XXIV, p. 508).
 
But if all that is true, does it not follow that Zinoviev’s definition of Leninism cannot be regarded as correct?
 
How can this nationally restricted definition of Leninism be reconciled with internationalism?
II. THE MAIN THING IN LENINISM.
 
In the pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism, it stated:
 
“Some think that the fundamental thing in Leninism is the peasant question, that the point of departure of Leninism is the question of the peasantry, of its role, its relative importance. This is absolutely wrong. The fundamental question of Leninism, its point of departure, is not the peasant question, but the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the conditions under which it can be achieved, of the conditions under which it can be consolidated. The peasant question, as the question of the ally of the proletariat in its struggle for power, is a derivative question.”9
 
Is this thesis correct?
 
I think it is correct. This thesis follows entirely from the definition of Leninism. Indeed, if Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution, and the basic content of the proletarian revolution is the dictatorship of the proletariat, then it is clear that the main thing in Leninism is the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the elaboration of this question, the substantiation and concretisation of this question.
 
Nevertheless, Zinoviev evidently does not agree with this thesis. In his article “In Memory of Lenin,” he says:
 
“As I have already said, the question of the role of the peasantry is the fundamental question** of Bolshevism, of Leninism.”
 
As you see, Zinoviev’s thesis follows entirely from his wrong definition of Leninism. It is therefore as wrong as his definition of Leninism is wrong.
 
Is Lenin’s thesis that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the “root content of the proletarian revolution” correct? (See Vol. XXIII, p. 337.) It is unquestionably correct. Is the thesis that Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution correct? I think it is correct. But what follows from this? From this it follows that the fundamental question of Leninism, its point of departure, its foundation, is the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
Is it not true that the question of imperialism, the question of the spasmodic character of the development of imperialism, the question of the victory of socialism in one country, the question of the proletarian state, the question of the Soviet form of this state, the question of the role of the Party in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the question of the paths of building socialism—that all these questions were elaborated precisely by Lenin? Is it not true that it is precisely these questions that constitute the basis, the foundation of the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat? Is it not true that without the elaboration of these fundamental questions, the elaboration of the peasant question from the standpoint of the dictatorship of the proletariat would be inconceivable?
 
It goes without saying that Lenin was an expert on the peasant question. It goes without saying that the peasant question as the question of the ally of the proletariat is of the greatest significance for the proletariat and forms a constituent part of the fundamental question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But is it not clear that if Leninism had not been faced with the fundamental question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the derivative question of the ally of the proletariat, the question of the peasantry, would not have arisen either? Is it not clear that if Leninism had not been faced with the practical question of the conquest of power by the proletariat, the question of an alliance with the peasantry would not have arisen either?
 
Lenin would not have been the great ideological leader of the proletariat that he unquestionably is—he would have been a simple “peasant philosopher,” as foreign literary philistines often depict him—had he elaborated the peasant question, not on the basis of the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but independently of this basis, apart from this basis.
 
One or the other:
 
Either the peasant question is the main thing in Leninism, and in that case Leninism is not suitable, not obligatory, for capitalistically developed countries, for those which are not peasant countries.
 
Or the main thing in Leninism is the dictatorship of the proletariat, and in that case Leninism is the international doctrine of the proletarians of all lands, suitable and obligatory for all countries without exception, including the capitalistically developed countries.
 
Here one must choose.
 
III. THE QUESTION OF “PERMANENT” REVOLUTION.
 
In the pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism, the “theory of permanent revolution” is appraised as a “theory” which under-estimates the role of the peasantry. There it is stated:
 
“Consequently, Lenin fought the adherents of ‘permanent’ revolution, not over the question of uninterruptedness, for Lenin himself maintained the point of view of uninterrupted revolution, but because they under-estimated the role of the peasantry, which is an enormous reserve of the proletariat.”7
 
This characterisation of the Russian “permanentists” was considered as generally accepted until recently. Nevertheless, although in general correct, it cannot be regarded as exhaustive. The discussion of 1924, on the one hand, and a careful analysis of the works of Lenin, on the other hand, have shown that the mistake of the Russian “permanentists” lay not only in their under-estimation of the role of the peasantry, but also in their under-estimation of the strength of the proletariat and its capacity to lead the peasantry, in their disbelief in the idea of the hegemony of the proletariat.
 
That is why, in my pamphlet The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (December 1924), I broadened this characterisation and replaced it by another, more complete one. Here is what is stated in that pamphlet:
 
“Hitherto only one aspect of the theory of ‘permanent revolution’ has usually been noted—lack of faith in the revolutionary potentialities of the peasant movement. Now, in fairness, this must be supplemented by another aspect—lack of faith in the strength and capacity of the proletariat in Russia.”8
 
This does not mean, of course, that Leninism has been or is opposed to the idea of permanent revolution, without quotation marks, which was proclaimed by Marx in the forties of the last century.9 On the contrary, Lenin was the only Marxist who correctly understood and developed the idea of permanent revolution. What distinguishes Lenin from the “permanentists” on this question is that the “permanentists” distorted Marx’s idea of permanent revolution and transformed it into lifeless, bookish wisdom, whereas Lenin took it in its pure form and made it one of the foundations of his own theory of revolution. It should be borne in mind that the idea of the growing over of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution, propounded by Lenin as long ago as 1905, is one of the forms of the embodiment of Marx’s theory of permanent revolution. Here is what Lenin wrote about this as far back as 1905:
 
“From the democratic revolution we shall at once, and just to the extent of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution.** We shall not stop halfway. . . .
 
“Without succumbing to adventurism or going against our scientific conscience, without striving for cheap popularity, we can and do say only one thing: we shall put every effort into assisting the entire peasantry to carry out the democratic revolution in order thereby to make it easier for us, the party of the proletariat, to pass on, as quickly as possible, to the new and higher task—the socialist revolution” (see Vol. VIII, pp. 186-87).
 
And here is what Lenin wrote on this subject sixteen years later, after the conquest of power by the proletariat:
 
“The Kautskys, Hilferdings, Martovs, Chernovs, Hillquits, Longuets, MacDonalds, Turatis, and other heroes of ‘Two-and-a-Half’ Marxism were incapable of understanding . . . the relation between the bourgeois-democratic and the proletarian-socialist revolutions. The first grows over into the second.** The second, in passing, solves the questions of the first. The second consolidates the work of the first. Struggle, and struggle alone, decides how far the second succeeds in outgrowing the first” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 26).
 
I draw special attention to the first of the above quotations, taken from Lenin’s article entitled “The Attitude of Social-Democracy Towards the Peasant Movement,” published on September 1, 1905. I emphasise this for the information of those who still continue to assert that Lenin arrived at the idea of the growing over of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution, that is to say, the idea of permanent revolution, after the imperialist war. This quotation leaves no doubt that these people are profoundly mistaken.
 
IV. THE PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION AND THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT.
 
What are the characteristic features of the proletarian revolution as distinct from the bourgeois revolution?
 
The distinction between the proletarian revolution and the bourgeois revolution may be reduced to five main points.
 
1) The bourgeois revolution usually begins when there already exist more or less ready-made forms belonging to the capitalist order, forms which have grown and matured within the womb of feudal society prior to the open revolution, whereas the proletarian revolution begins when ready-made forms belonging to the socialist order are either absent, or almost absent.
 
2) The main task of the bourgeois revolution consists in seizing power and making it conform to the already existing bourgeois economy, whereas the main task of the proletarian revolution consists, after seizing power, in building a new, socialist economy.
 
3) The bourgeois revolution is usually consummated with the seizure of power, whereas in the proletarian revolution the seizure of power is only the beginning, and power is used as a lever for transforming the old economy and organising the new one.
 
4) The bourgeois revolution limits itself to replacing one group of exploiters in power by another group of exploiters, in view of which it need not smash the old state machine; whereas the proletarian revolution removes all exploiting groups from power and places in power the leader of all the toilers and exploited, the class of proletarians, in view of which it cannot manage without smashing the old state machine and substituting a now one for it.
 
5) The bourgeois revolution cannot rally the millions of the toiling and exploited masses around the bourgeoisie for any length of time, for the very reason that they are toilers and exploited; whereas the proletarian revolution can and must link them, precisely as toilers and exploited, in a durable alliance with the proletariat, if it wishes to carry out its main task of consolidating the power of the proletariat and building a new, socialist economy.
 
Here are some of Lenin’s main theses on this subject:
 
“One of the fundamental differences between bourgeois revolution and socialist revolution,” says Lenin, “is that for the bourgeois revolution, which arises out of feudalism, the new economic organisations are gradually created in the womb of the old order, gradually changing all the aspects of feudal society. Bourgeois revolution was confronted by only one task—to sweep away, to cast aside, to destroy all the fetters of the preceding society. By fulfilling this task every bourgeois revolution fulfils all that is required of it: it accelerates the growth of capitalism.
 
“The socialist revolution is in an altogether different position. The more backward the country which, owing to the zigzags of history, has proved to be the one to start the socialist revolution, the more difficult it is for it to pass from the old capitalist relations to socialist relations. To the tasks of destruction are added new tasks of unprecedented difficulty—organisational tasks” (see Vol. XXII, p. 315).
 
“Had not the popular creative spirit of the Russian revolution,” continues Lenin, “which had gone through the great experience of the year 1905, given rise to the Soviets as early as February 1917, they could not under any circumstances have seized power in October, because success depended entirely upon the existence of ready-made organisational forms of a movement embracing millions. These ready-made forms were the Soviets, and that is why in the political sphere there awaited us those brilliant successes, the continuous triumphant march, that we experienced; for the new form of political power was ready to hand, and all we had to do was, by passing a few decrees, to transform the power of the Soviets from the embryonic state in which it existed in the first months of the revolution into a legally recognised form which has become established in the Russian state—i.e., into the Russian Soviet Republic” (see Vol. XXII, p. 315).
 
“But two problems of enormous difficulty still remained,” says Lenin, “the solution of which could not possibly be the triumphant march which our revolution experienced in the first months . . . ” (ibid.).
 
“Firstly, there were the problems of internal organisation, which confront every socialist revolution. The difference between socialist revolution and bourgeois revolution lies precisely in the fact that the latter finds ready-made forms of capitalist relationships, while Soviet power—proletarian power—does not inherit such ready-made relationships, if we leave out of account the most developed forms of capitalism, which, strictly speaking, extended to but a small top layer of industry and hardly touched agriculture. The organisation of accounting, the control of large enterprises, the transformation of the whole of the state economic mechanism into a single huge machine, into an economic organism that works in such a way that hundreds of millions of people are guided by a single plan—such was the enormous organisational problem that rested on our shoulders. Under the present conditions of labour this problem could not possibly be solved by the ‘hurrah’ methods by which we were able to solve the problems of the Civil War” (ibid., p. 318).
 
“The second enormous difficulty . . . was the international question. The reason why we were able to cope so easily with Kerensky’s gangs, why we so easily established our power and without the slightest difficulty passed the decrees on the socialisation of the land and on workers’ control, the reason why we achieved all this so easily was only that a fortunate combination of circumstances protected us for a short time from international imperialism. International imperialism, with the entire might of its capital, with its highly organised military technique, which is a real force, a real fortress of international capital, could in no case, under no circumstances, live side by side with the Soviet Republic, both because of its objective position and because of the economic interests of the capitalist class which is embodied in it—it could not do so because of commercial connections, of international financial relations. In this sphere a conflict is inevitable. Therein lies the greatest difficulty of the Russian revolution, its greatest historical problem: the necessity of solving the international tasks, the necessity of calling forth an international revolution” (see Vol. XXII, p. 317).
 
Such is the intrinsic character and the basic meaning of the proletarian revolution.
 
Can such a radical transformation of the old bourgeois order be achieved without a violent revolution, without the dictatorship of the proletariat?
 
Obviously not. To think that such a revolution can be carried out peacefully, within the framework of bourgeois democracy, which is adapted to the rule of the bourgeoisie, means that one has either gone out of one’s mind and lost normal human understanding, or has grossly and openly repudiated the proletarian revolution.
 
This thesis must be emphasised all the more strongly and categorically for the reason that we are dealing with the proletarian revolution which for the time being has triumphed only in one country, a country which is surrounded by hostile capitalist countries and the bourgeoisie of which cannot fail to receive the support of international capital.
 
That is why Lenin says that:
 
“The emancipation of the oppressed class is impossible not only without a violent revolution, but also without the destruction of the apparatus of state power which was created by the ruling class” (see Vol. XXI, p. 373).
 
“First let the majority of the population, while private property still exists, i.e., while the rule and yoke of capital still exists, express themselves in favour of the party of the proletariat, and only then can and should the party take power—so say the petty-bourgeois democrats who call themselves ‘Socialists’ but who are in reality the servitors of the bourgeoisie”** (see Vol. XXIV, p. 647).
 
“We say:** Let the revolutionary proletariat first overthrow the bourgeoisie, break the yoke of capital, and smash the bourgeois state apparatus, then the victorious proletariat will be able rapidly to gain the sympathy and support of the majority of the toiling non-proletarian masses by satisfying their needs at the expense of the exploiters” (ibid.).
 
“In order to win the majority of the population to its side,” Lenin says further, “the proletariat must, in the first place, overthrow the bourgeoisie and seize state power; secondly, it must introduce Soviet power and smash the old state apparatus to bits, whereby it immediately undermines the rule, prestige and influence of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeois compromisers over the non-proletarian toiling masses. Thirdly, it must entirely destory the influence of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeois compromisers over the majority of the non-proletarian toiling masses by satisfying their economic needs in a revolutionary way at the expense of the exploiters” (ibid., p. 641).
 
Such are the characteristic features of the proletarian revolution.
 
What, in this connection, are the main features of the dictatorship of the proletariat, once it is admitted that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the basic content of the proletarian revolution?
 
Here is the most general definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat given by Lenin:
 
“The dictatorship of the proletariat is not the end of the class struggle, but its continuation in new forms. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the class struggle of the proletariat, which has won victory and has seized political power, against the bourgeoisie, which although vanquished has not been annihilated, has not disappeared, has not ceased its resistance, has increased its resistance” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 311).
 
Arguing against confusing the dictatorship of the proletariat with “popular” government, “elected by all,” with “non-class” government, Lenin says:
 
“The class which took political power into its hands did so knowing that it took power alone.** That is a part of the concept dictatorship of the proletariat. This concept has meaning only when this one class knows that it alone is taking political power in its hands, and does not deceive itself or others with talk about ‘popular’ government, ‘elected by all, sanctified by the whole people’” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 286).
 
This does not mean, however, that the power of one class, the class of the proletarians, which does not and cannot share power with other classes, does not need aid from, and an alliance with, the labouring and exploited masses of other classes for the achievement of its aims. On the contrary. This power, the power of one class, can be firmly established and exercised to the full only by means of a special form of alliance between the class of proletarians and the labouring masses of the petty-bourgeois classes, primarily the labouring masses of the peasantry.
 
What is this special form of alliance? What does it consist in? Does not this alliance with the labouring masses of other, non-proletarian, classes wholly contradict the idea of the dictatorship of one class?
 
This special form of alliance consists in that the guiding force of this alliance is the proletariat. This special form of alliance consists in that the leader of the state, the leader in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat is one party, the party of the proletariat, the Party of the Communists, which does not and cannot share leadership with other parties.
 
As you see, the contradiction is only an apparent, a seeming one.
 
“The dictatorship of the proletariat,” says Lenin, “is a special form of class alliance** between the proletariat, the vanguard of the working people, and the numerous non-proletarian strata of working people (the petty bourgeoisie, the small proprietors, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, etc.), or the majority of these; it is an alliance against capital, an alliance aiming at the complete overthrow of capital, at the complete suppression of the resistance of the bourgeoisie and of any attempt on its part at restoration, an alliance aiming at the final establishment and consolidation of socialism. It is a special type of alliance, which is being built up in special circumstances, namely, in the circumstances of fierce civil war; it is an alliance of the firm supporters of socialism with the latter’s wavering allies and sometimes with ‘neutrals’ (then instead of an agreement for struggle, the alliance becomes an agreement for neutrality), an alliance between classes which differ economically, politically, socially and ideologically”** (see Vol. XXIV, p. 311).
 
In one of his instructional reports, Kamenev, disputing this conception of the dictatorship of the proletariat, states:
 
“The dictatorship is not** an alliance of one class with another.”
 
I believe that Kamenev here has in view, primarily, a passage in my pamphlet The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists, where it is stated:
 
“The dictatorship of the proletariat is not simply a governmental top stratum ‘skilfully’ ‘selected’ by the careful hand of an ‘experienced strategist,’ and ‘judiciously relying’ on the support of one section or another of the population. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the class alliance between the proletariat and the labouring masses of the peasantry for the purpose of overthrowing capital, for achieving the final victory of socialism, on the condition that the guiding force of this alliance is the proletariat.”10
 
I wholly endorse this formulation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, for I think that it fully and entirely coincides with Lenin’s formulation, just quoted.
 
I assert that Kamenev’s statement that “the dictatorship is not an alliance of one class with another,” in the categorical form in which it is made, has nothing in common with Lenin’s theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
I assert that such statements can be made only by people who have failed to understand the meaning of the idea of the bond, the idea of the alliance of the proletariat and peasantry, the idea of the hegemony of the proletariat within this alliance.
 
Such statements can be made only by people who have failed to understand Lenin’s thesis:
 
“Only an agreement with the peasantry** can save the socialist revolution in Russia as long as the revolution in other countries has not taken place” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 238).
 
Such statements can be made only by people who have failed to understand Lenin’s thesis:
 
“The supreme principle of the dictatorship** is the maintenance of the alliance of the proletariat and peasantry in order that the proletariat may retain its leading role and state power” (ibid., p. 460).
 
Pointing out one of the most important aims of the dictatorship, the aim of suppressing the exploiters, Lenin says:
 
“The scientific concept of dictatorship means nothing more nor less than completely unrestricted power, absolutely unimpeded by laws or regulations and resting directly on the use of force” (see Vol. XXV, p. 441).
 
“Dictatorship means—note this once and for all, Messrs. Cadets—unrestricted power, based on force and not on law. In time of civil war any victorious power can be only a dictatorship” (see Vol. XXV, p. 436).
 
But of course, the dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean only the use of force, although there is no dictatorship without the use of force.
 
“Dictatorship,” says Lenin, “does not mean only the use of force, although it is impossible without the use of force; it also means the organisation of labour on a higher level than the previous organisation” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 305).
 
“The dictatorship of the proletariat . . . is not only the use of force against the exploiters, and not even mainly the use of force. The economic foundation of this revolutionary use of force, the guarantee of its effectiveness and success is the fact that the proletariat represents and creates a higher type of social organisation of labour compared with capitalism. This is the essence. This is the source of the strength and the guarantee of the inevitable complete triumph of communism” (see Vol. XXIV, pp. 335-36).
 
“Its quintessence (i.e., of the dictatorship—J. St.) is the organisation and discipline of the advanced detachment of the working people, of its vanguard, its sole leader, the proletariat, whose object is to build socialism, to abolish the division of society into classes, to make all members of society working people, to remove the basis for any exploitation of man by man. This object cannot be achieved at one stroke. It requires a fairly long period of transition from capitalism to socialism, because the reorganisation of production is a difficult matter, because radical changes in all spheres of life need time, and because the enormous force of habit of petty-bourgeois and bourgeois conduct of economy can be overcome only by a long and stubborn struggle. That is why Marx spoke of an entire period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the period of transition from capitalism to socialism” (ibid., p. 314).
 
Such are the characteristic features of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
Hence the three main aspects of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
1) The utilisation of the rule of the proletariat for the suppression of the exploiters, for the defence of the country, for the consolidation of the ties with the proletarians of other lands, and for the development and victory of the revolution in all countries.
 
2) The utilisation of the rule of the proletariat in order to detach the labouring and exploited masses once and for all from the bourgeoisie, to consolidate the alliance of the proletariat with these masses, to draw these masses into the work of socialist construction, and to ensure the state leadership of these masses by the proletariat.
 
3) The utilisation of the rule of the proletariat for the organisation of socialism, for the abolition of classes, for the transition to a society without classes, to a socialist society.
 
The proletarian dictatorship is a combination of all these three aspects. No single one of these aspects can be advanced as the sole characteristic feature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. On the other hand, in the circumstances of capitalist encirclement, the absence of even one of these features is sufficient for the dictatorship of the proletariat to cease being a dictatorship. Therefore, not one of these three aspects can be omitted without running the risk of distorting the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only all these three aspects taken together give us the complete and finished concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
The dictatorship of the proletariat has its periods, its special forms, diverse methods of work. During the period of civil war, it is the forcible aspect of the dictatorship that is most conspicuous. But it by no means follows from this that no constructive work is carried on during the period of civil war. Without constructive work it is impossible to wage civil war. During the period of socialist construction, on the other hand, it is the peaceful, organisational and cultural work of the dictatorship, revolutionary law, etc., that are most conspicuous. But, again, it by no means follows from this that the forcible aspect of the dictatorship has ceased to exist or can cease to exist in the period of construction. The organs of suppression, the army and other organisations, are as necessary now, at the time of construction, as they were during the period of civil war. Without these organs, constructive work by the dictatorship with any degree of security would be impossible. It should not be forgotten that for the time being the revolution has been victorious in only one country. It should not be forgotten that as long as capitalist encirclement exists the danger of intervention, with all the consequences resulting from this danger, will also exist.
V. THE PARTY AND THE WORKING CLASS IN THE SYSTEM OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT.
 
I have dealt above with the dictatorship of the proletariat from the point of view of its historical inevitability, from the point of view of its class content, from the point of view of its state nature, and, finally, from the point of view of the destructive and creative tasks which it performs throughout the entire historical period that is termed the period of transition from capitalism to socialism.
 
Now we must say something about the dictatorship of the proletariat from the point of view of its structure, from the point of view of its “mechanism,” from the point of view of the role and significance of the “transmission belts,” the “levers,” and the “directing force” which in their totality constitute “the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat” (Lenin), and with the help of which the daily work of the dictatorship of the proletariat is accomplished.
 
What are these “transmission belts” or “levers” in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat? What is this “directing force”? Why are they needed?
 
The levers or transmission belts are those very mass organisations of the proletariat without the aid of which the dictatorship cannot be realised.
 
The directing force is the advanced detachment of the proletariat, its vanguard, which is the main guiding force of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
The proletariat needs these transmission belts, these levers, and this directing force, because without them, in its struggle for victory, it would be a weaponless army in face of organised and armed capital. The proletariat needs these organisations because without them it would suffer inevitable defeat in its fight for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, in its fight for the consolidation of its rule, in its fight for the building of socialism. The systematic help of these organisations and the directing force of the vanguard are needed because in the absence of these conditions it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be at all durable and firm.
 
What are these organisations?
 
Firstly, there are the workers’ trade unions, with their central and local ramifications in the shape of a whole series of organisations concerned with production, culture, education, etc. These unite the workers of all trades. They are non-Party organisations. The trade unions may be termed the all-embracing organisation of the working class, which is in power in our country. They are a school of communism. They promote the best people from their midst for the work of leadership in all branches of administration. They form the link between the advanced and the backward elements in the ranks of the working class. They connect the masses of the workers with the vanguard of the working class.
 
Secondly, there are the Soviets, with their numerous central and local ramifications in the shape of administrative, economic, military, cultural and other state organisations, plus the innumerable mass associations of the working people which have sprung up of their own accord and which encompass these organisations and connect them with the population. The Soviets are a mass organisation of all the working people of town and country. They are a non-Party organisation. The Soviets are the direct expression of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is through the Soviets that all measures for strengthening the dictatorship and for building socialism are carried out. It is through the Soviets that the state leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat is exercised. The Soviets connect the vast masses of the working people with the vanguard of the proletariat.
 
Thirdly, there are the co-operatives of all kinds, with all their ramifications. These are a mass organisation of the working people, a non-Party organisation, which unites the working people primarily as consumers, and also, in the course of time, as producers (agricultural co-operatives). The co-operatives acquire special significance after the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, during the period of extensive construction. They facilitate contact between the vanguard of the proletariat and the mass of the peasantry and make it possible to draw the latter into the channel of socialist construction.
 
Fourthly, there is the Youth League. This is a mass organisation of young workers and peasants; it is a non-Party organisation, but is linked with the Party. Its task is to help the Party to educate the young generation in the spirit of socialism. It provides young reserves for all the other mass organisations of the proletariat in all branches of administration. The Youth League has acquired special significance since the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the period of extensive cultural and educational work carried on by the proletariat.
 
Lastly, there is the Party of the proletariat, its vanguard. Its strength lies in the fact that it draws into its ranks all the best elements of the proletariat from all the mass organisations of the latter. Its function is to combine the work of all the mass organisations of the proletariat without exception and to direct their activities towards a single goal, the goal of the emancipation of the proletariat. And it is absolutely necessary to combine and direct them towards a single goal, for otherwise unity in the struggle of the proletariat is impossible, for otherwise the guidance of the proletarian masses in their struggle for power, in their struggle for building socialism, is impossible. But, only the vanguard of the proletariat, its Party, is capable of combining and directing the work of the mass organisations of the proletariat. Only the Party of the proletariat, only the Communist Party, is capable of fulfilling this role of main leader in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
Why?
 
“. . . because, in the first place, it is the rallying centre of the finest elements in the working class, who have direct connections with the non-Party organisations of the proletariat and very frequently lead them; because, secondly, the Party, as the rallying centre of the finest members of the working class, is the best school for training leaders of the working class, capable of directing every form of organisation of their class; because, thirdly, the Party, as the best school for training leaders of the working class, is, by reason of its experience and prestige, the only organisation capable of centralising the leadership of the struggle of the proletariat, thus transforming each and every non-Party organisation of the working class into an auxiliary body and transmission belt linking the Party with the class” (see The Foundations of Leninism11).
 
The Party is the main guiding force in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
“The Party is the highest form of class organisation of the proletariat” (Lenin).
 
To sum up: the trade unions, as the mass organisation of the proletariat, linking the Party with the class primarily in the sphere of production; the Soviets, as the mass organisation of the working people, linking the Party with the latter primarily in the sphere of state administration; the co-operatives, as the mass organisation mainly of the peasantry, linking the Party with the peasant masses primarily in the economic sphere, in the sphere of drawing the peasantry into the work of socialist construction; the Youth League, as the mass organisation of young workers and peasants, whose mission it is to help the vanguard of the proletariat in the socialist education of the new generation and in training young reserves; and, finally, the Party, as the main directing force in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat, whose mission it is to lead all these mass organisations—such, in general, is the picture of the “mechanism” of the dictatorship, the picture of “the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
 
Without the Party as the main guiding force, it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be at all durable and firm.
 
Thus, in the words of Lenin, “taken as a whole, we have a formally non-communist, flexible and relatively wide, and very powerful proletarian apparatus, by means of which the Party is closely linked with the class and with the masses, and by means of which, under the leadership of the Party, the dictatorship of the class is exercised” (see Vol. XXV, p. 192).
 
Of course, this must not be understood in the sense that the Party can or should take the place of the trade unions, the Soviets, and the other mass organisations. The Party exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. However, it exercises it not directly, but with the help of the trade unions, and through the Soviets and their ramifications. Without these “transmission belts,” it would be impossible for the dictatorship to be at all firm.
 
“It is impossible to exercise the dictatorship,” says Lenin, “without having a number of ‘transmission belts’ from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from the latter to the mass of the working people” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 65).
 
“The Party, so to speak, draws into its ranks the vanguard of the proletariat, and this vanguard exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. Without a foundation like the trade unions the dictatorship cannot be exercised, state functions cannot be fulfilled. And these functions have to be exercised through** a number of special institutions also of a new type; namely, through** the Soviet apparatus” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 64).
 
The highest expression of the leading role of the Party, here, in the Soviet Union, in the land of the dictatorship of the proletariat, for example, is the fact that not a single important political or organisational question is decided by our Soviet and other mass organisations without guiding directives from the Party. In this sense it could be said that the dictatorship of the proletariat is, in essence, the “dictatorship” of its vanguard, the “dictatorship” of its Party, as the main guiding force of the proletariat. Here is what Lenin said on this subject at the Second Congress of the Comintern12:
 
“Tanner says that he stands for the dictatorship of the proletariat, but the dictatorship of the proletariat is not conceived quite in the same way as we conceive it. He says that by the dictatorship of the proletariat we mean, in essence,** the dictatorship of its organised and class-conscious minority.
 
“And, as a matter of fact, in the era of capitalism, when the masses of the workers are continuously subjected to exploitation and cannot develop their human potentialities, the most characteristic feature of working-class political parties is that they can embrace only a minority of their class. A political party can comprise only a minority of the class, in the same way as the really class-conscious workers in every capitalist society constitute only a minority of all the workers. That is why we must admit that only this class-conscious minority can guide the broad masses of the workers and lead them. And if Comrade Tanner says that he is opposed to parties, but at the same time is in favour of the minority consisting of the best organised and most revolutionary workers showing the way to the whole of the proletariat, then I say that there is really no difference between us” (see Vol. XXV, p. 347).
 
But this, however, must not be understood in the sense that a sign of equality can be put between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leading role of the Party (the “dictatorship” of the Party), that the former can be identified with the latter, that the latter can be substituted for the former. Sorin, for example, says that “the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of our Party.” This thesis, as you see, identifies the “dictatorship of the Party” with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Can we regard this identification as correct and yet remain on the ground of Leninism? No, we cannot. And for the following reasons:
 
Firstly. In the passage from his speech, at the Second Congress of the Comintern quoted above, Lenin does not by any means identify the leading role of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat. He merely says that “only this class-conscious minority (i.e., the Party—J. St.) can guide the broad masses of the workers and lead them,” that it is precisely in this sense that “by the dictatorship of the proletariat we mean, in essence**, the dictatorship of its organised and class-conscious minority.”
 
To say “in essence” does not mean “wholly.” We often say that the national question is, in essence, a peasant question. And this is quite true. But this does not mean that the national question is covered by the peasant question, that the peasant question is equal in scope to the national question, that the peasant question and the national question are identical. There is no need to prove that the national question is wider and richer in its scope than the peasant question. The same must be said by analogy as regards the leading role of the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Although the Party carries out the dictatorship of the proletariat, and in this sense the dictatorship of the proletariat is, in essence, the “dictatorship” of its Party, this does not mean that the “dictatorship of the Party” (its leading role) is identical with the dictatorship of the proletariat, that the former is equal in scope to the latter. There is no need to prove that the dictatorship of the proletariat is wider and richer in its scope than the leading role of the Party. The Party carries out the dictatorship of the proletariat, but it carries out the dictatorship of the proletariat, and not any other kind of dictatorship. Whoever identifies the leading role of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat substitutes “dictatorship” of the Party for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
Secondly. Not a single important decision is arrived at by the mass organisations of the proletariat without guiding directives from the Party. That is perfectly true. But does that mean that the dictatorship of the proletariat consists entirely of the guiding directives given by the Party? Does that mean that, in view of this, the guiding directives of the Party can be identified with the dictatorship of the proletariat? Of course not. The dictatorship of the proletariat consists of the guiding directives of the Party plus the carrying out of these directives by the mass organisations of the proletariat, plus their fulfilment by the population. Here, as you see, we have to deal with a whole series of transitions and intermediary steps which are by no means unimportant elements of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Hence, between the guiding directives of the Party and their fulfilment lie the will and actions of those who are led, the will and actions of the class, its willingness (or unwillingness) to support such directives, its ability (or inability) to carry out these directives, its ability (or inability) to carry them out in strict accordance with the demands of the situation. It scarcely needs proof that the Party, having taken the leadership into its hands, cannot but reckon with the will, the condition, the level of political consciousness of those who are led, cannot leave out of account the will, the condition, and level of political consciousness of its class. Therefore, whoever identifies the leading role of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat substitutes the directives given by the Party for the will and actions of the class.
 
Thirdly. “The dictatorship of the proletariat,” says Lenin, “is the class struggle of the proletariat, which has won victory and has seized political power” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 311). How can this class struggle find expression? It may find expression in a series of armed actions by the proletariat against the sorties of the overthrown bourgeoisie, or against the intervention of the foreign bourgeoisie. It may find expression in civil war, if the power of the proletariat has not yet been consolidated. It may find expression, after power has already been consolidated, in the extensive organisational and constructive work of the proletariat, with the enlistment of the broad masses in this work. In all these cases, the acting force is the proletariat as a class. It has never happened that the Party, the Party alone, has undertaken all these actions with only its own forces, without the support of the class. Usually it only directs these actions, and it can direct them only to the extent that it has the support of the class. For the Party cannot cover, cannot replace the class. For, despite all its important leading role, the Party still remains a part of the class. Therefore, whoever identifies the leading role of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat substitutes the Party for the class.
 
Fourthly. The Party exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. “The Party is the direct governing vanguard of the proletariat; it is the leader” (Lenin).13 In this sense the Party takes power, the Party governs the country. But this must not be understood in the sense that the Party exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat separately from the state power, without the state power; that the Party governs the country separately from the Soviets, not through the Soviets. This does not mean that the Party can be identified with the Soviets, with the state power. The Party is the core of this power, but it is not and cannot be identified with the state power.
 
“As the ruling Party,” says Lenin, “we could not but merge the Soviet ‘top leadership’ with the Party ‘top leadership’—in our country they are merged and will remain so” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 208). This is quite true. But by this Lenin by no means wants to imply that our Soviet institutions as a whole, for instance our army, our transport, our economic institutions, etc., are Party institutions, that the Party can replace the Soviets and their ramifications, that the Party can be identified with the state power. Lenin repeatedly said that “the system of Soviets is the dictatorship of the proletariat,” and that “the Soviet power is the dictatorship of the proletariat” (see Vol. XXIV, pp. 15, 14); but he never said that the Party is the state power, that the Soviets and the Party are one and the same thing. The Party, with a membership of several hundred thousand, guides the Soviets and their central and local ramifications, which embrace tens of millions of people, both Party and non-Party, but it cannot and should not supplant them. That is why Lenin says that “the dictatorship is exercised by the proletariat organised in the Soviets, the proletariat led by the Communist Party of Bolsheviks”; that “all the work of the Party is carried on through** the Soviets, which embrace the labouring masses irrespective of occupation” (see Vol. XXV, pp. 192, 193); and that the dictatorship “has to be exercised . . . through** the Soviet apparatus” (see Vol. XXV1, p. 64). Therefore, whoever identifies the leading role of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat substitutes the Party for the Soviets, i.e., for the state power.
 
Fifthly. The concept of dictatorship of the proletariat is a state concept. The dictatorship of the proletariat necessarily includes the concept of force. There is no dictatorship without the use of force, if dictatorship is to be understood in the strict sense of the word. Lenin defines the dictatorship of the proletariat as “power based directly on the use of force” (see Vol. XIX, p. 315). Hence, to talk about dictatorship of the Party in relation to the proletarian class, and to identify it with the dictatorship of the proletariat, is tantamount to saying that in relation to its class the Party must be not only a guide, not only a leader and teacher, but also a sort of dictator employing force against it, which, of course, is quite incorrect. Therefore, whoever identifies “dictatorship of the Party” with the dictatorship of the proletariat tacitly proceeds from the assumption that the prestige of the Party can be built up on force employed against the working class, which is absurd and quite incompatible with Leninism. The prestige of the Party is sustained by the confidence of the working class. And the confidence of the working class is gained not by force—force only kills it—but by the Party’s correct theory, by the Party’s correct policy, by the Party’s devotion to the working class, by its connection with the masses of the working class, by its readiness and ability to convince the masses of the correctness of its slogans.
 
What, then, follows from all this?
 
From this it follows that:
 
1) Lenin uses the word dictatorship of the Party not in the strict sense of the word (“power based on the use of force”), but in the figurative sense, in the sense of its undivided leadership.
 
2) Whoever identifies the leadership of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat distorts Lenin, wrongly attributing to the Party the function of employing force against the working class as a whole.
 
3) Whoever attributes to the Party the function, which it does not possess, of employing force against the working class as a whole, violates the elementary requirements of correct mutual relations between the vanguard and the class, between the Party and the proletariat.
 
Thus, we have come right up to the question of the mutual relations between the Party and the class, between Party and non-Party members of the working class.
 
Lenin defines these mutual relations as “mutual confidence** between the vanguard of the working class and the mass of the workers” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 235).
 
What does this mean?
 
It means, firstly, that the Party must closely heed the voice of the masses; that it must pay careful attention to the revolutionary instinct of the masses; that it must study the practice of the struggle of the masses and on this basis test the correctness of its own policy; that, consequently, it must not only teach the masses, but also learn from them. It means, secondly, that the Party must day by day win the confidence of the proletarian masses; that it must by its policy and work secure the support of the masses; that it must not command but primarily convince the masses, helping them to realise through their own experience the correctness of the policy of the Party; that, consequently, it must be the guide, the leader and teacher of its class.
 
To violate these conditions means to upset the correct mutual relations between the vanguard and the class, to undermine “mutual confidence,” to shatter both class and Party discipline.
 
“Certainly,” says Lenin, “almost everyone now realises that the Bolsheviks could not have maintained themselves in power for two-and-a-half months, let alone two-and-a-half years, without the strictest, truly iron discipline in our Party, and without the fullest and unreserved support of the latter by the whole mass of the working class,** that is, by all its thinking, honest, self-sacrificing and influential elements, capable of leading or of carrying with them the backward strata” (see Vol. XXV, p. 173).
 
“The dictatorship of the proletariat,” says Lenin further, “is a stubborn struggle—bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative—against the forces and traditions of the old society. The force of habit of millions and tens of millions is a most terrible force. Without an iron party tempered in the struggle, without a party enjoying the confidence of all that is honest in the given class,** without a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, it is impossible to conduct such a struggle successfully” (see Vol. XXV, p. 190).
 
But how does the Party acquire this confidence and support of the class? How is the iron discipline necessary for the dictatorship of the proletariat built up within the working class; on what soil does it grow up?
 
Here is what Lenin says on this subject:
 
“How is the discipline of the revolutionary party of the proletariat maintained? How is it tested? How is it reinforced? Firstly, by the class consciousness of the proletarian vanguard and by its devotion to the revolution, by its stamina, self-sacrifice and heroism. Secondly, by its ability to link itself with, to keep in close touch with, and to a certain extent, if you like, to merge with the broadest masses of the working people**—primarily with the proletarian, but also with the non-proletarian, labouring masses. Thirdly, by the correctness of the political leadership exercised by this vanguard, by the correctness of its political strategy and tactics, provided that the broadest masses have been convinced through their own experience of this correctness. Without these conditions, discipline in a revolutionary party that is really capable of being the party of the advanced class, whose mission it is to overthrow the bourgeoisie and transform the whole of society, cannot be achieved. Without these conditions, attempts to establish discipline inevitably become a cipher, an empty phrase, mere affectation. On the other hand, these conditions cannot arise all at once. They are created only by prolonged effort and hard-won experience. Their creation is facilitated only by correct revolutionary theory, which, in its turn, is not a dogma, but assumes final shape only in close connection with the practical activity of a truly mass and truly revolutionary movement” (see Vol. XXV, p. 174).
 
And further:
 
“Victory over capitalism requires the correct correlation between the leading, Communist, Party, the revolutionary class—the proletariat—and the masses, i.e., the working people and exploited as a whole. Only the Communist Party, if it is really the vanguard of the revolutionary class, if it contains all the best representatives of that class, if it consists of fully class-conscious and devoted Communists who have been educated and steeled by the experience of stubborn revolutionary struggle, if this Party has succeeded in linking itself inseparably with the whole life of its class and, through it, with the whole mass of exploited, and if it has succeeded in inspiring the complete confidence of this class and this mass**—only such a party is capable of leading the proletariat in the most ruthless, resolute and final struggle against all the forces of capitalism. On the other hand, only under the leadership of such a party can the proletariat develop the full might of its revolutionary onslaught and nullify the inevitable apathy and, partly, resistance of the small minority of the labour aristocracy corrupted by capitalism, and of the old trade-union and cooperative leaders, etc.—only then will it be able to display its full strength, which, owing to the very economic structure of capitalist society, is immeasurably greater than the proportion of the population it Constitutes” (see Vol. XXV, p. 315).
 
From these quotations it follows that:
 
1) The prestige of the Party and the iron discipline within the working class that are necessary for the dictatorship of the proletariat are built up not on fear or on “unrestricted” rights of the Party, but on the confidence of the working class in the Party, on the support which the Party receives from the working class.
 
2) The confidence of the working class in the Party is not acquired at one stroke, and not by means of force against the working class, but by the Party’s prolonged work among the masses, by the correct policy of the Party, by the ability of the Party to convince the masses through their own experience of the correctness of its policy, by the ability of the Party to secure the support of the working class and to take the lead of the masses of the working class.
 
3) Without a correct Party policy, reinforced by the experience of the struggle of the masses, and without the confidence of the working class, there is not and cannot be real leadership by the Party.
 
4) The Party and its leadership, if the Party enjoys the confidence of the class, and if this leadership is real leadership, cannot be counterposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat, because without the leadership of the Party (the “dictatorship” of the Party), enjoying the confidence of the working class, it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be at all firm.
 
Without these conditions, the prestige of the Party and iron discipline within the working class are either empty phrases or boastfulness and adventurism.
 
It is impossible to counterpose the dictatorship of the proletariat to the leadership (the “dictatorship”) of the Party. It is impossible because the leadership of the Party is the principal thing in the dictatorship of the proletariat, if we have in mind a dictatorship that is at all firm and complete, and not one like the Paris Commune, for instance, which was neither a complete nor a firm dictatorship. It is impossible because the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the Party lie, as it were, on the same line of activity, operate in the same direction.
 
“The mere presentation of the question,” says Lenin, “‘dictatorship of the Party or dictatorship of the class? dictatorship (Party) of the leaders or dictatorship (Party) of the masses?’ testifies to the most incredible and hopeless confusion of thought. . . . Everyone knows that the masses are divided into classes. . . ; that usually, and in the majority of cases, at least in modern civilised countries, classes are led by political parties; that political parties, as a general rule, are directed by more or less stable groups composed of the most authoritative, influential and experienced members, who are elected to the most responsible positions and are called leaders. . . . To go so far . . . as to counterpose, in general, dictatorship of the masses to dictatorship of the leaders is ridiculously absurd and stupid” (see Vol. XXV, pp. 187, 188).
 
That is absolutely correct. But that correct statement proceeds from the premise that, correct mutual relations exist between the vanguard and the masses of the workers, between the Party and the class. It proceeds from the assumption that the mutual relations between the vanguard and the class remain, so to say, normal, remain within the bounds of “mutual confidence.”
 
But what if the correct mutual relations between the vanguard and the class, the relations of “mutual confidence” between the Party and the class are upset?
 
What if the Party itself begins, in some way or other, to counterpose itself to the class, thus upsetting the foundations of its correct mutual relations with the class, thus upsetting the foundations of “mutual confidence”? Are such cases at all possible?
 
Yes, they are.
 
They are possible:
 
1) if the Party begins to build its prestige among the masses, not on its work and on the confidence of the masses, but on its “unrestricted” rights;
 
2) if the Party’s policy is obviously wrong and the Party is unwilling to reconsider and rectify its mistake;
 
3) if the Party’s policy is correct on the whole but, the masses are not yet ready to make it their own, and the Party is either unwilling or unable to bide its time so as to give the masses an opportunity to become convinced through their own experience that the Party’s policy is correct, and seeks to impose it on the masses.
 
The history of our Party provides a number of such cases. Various groups and factions in our Party have come to grief and disappeared because they violated one of these three conditions, and sometimes all these conditions taken together.
 
But it follows from this that counterposing the dictatorship of the proletariat to the “dictatorship” (leadership) of the Party can be regarded as incorrect only:
 
1) if by dictatorship of the Party in relation to the working class we mean not a dictatorship in the proper sense of the word (“power based on the use of force”), but the leadership of the Party, which precludes the use of force against the working class as a whole, against its majority, precisely as Lenin meant it;
 
2) if the Party has the qualifications to be the real leader of the class, i.e., if the Party’s policy is correct, if this policy accords with the interests of the class;
 
3) if the class, if the majority of the class, accepts that policy, makes that policy its own, becomes convinced, as a result of the work of the Party, that that policy is correct, has confidence in the Party and supports it.
 
The violation of these conditions inevitably gives rise to a conflict between the Party and the class, to a split between them, to their being counterposed to each other.
 
Can the Party’s leadership be imposed on the class by force? No, it cannot. At all events, such a leadership cannot be at all durable. If the Party wants to remain the Party of the proletariat it must know that it is, primarily and principally, the guide, the leader, the teacher of the working class. We must not forget what Lenin said on this subject in his pamphlet The State and Revolution:
 
“By educating the workers’ party, Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat, which is capable of taking power and of leading the whole people to socialism, of directing and organising the new order, of being the teacher, the guide, the leader39 of all the toilers and exploited in building up their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie” (see Vol. XXI, p. 386).
 
Can one consider the Party as the real leader of the class if its policy is wrong, if its policy comes into collision with the interests of the class? Of course not. In such cases the Party, if it wants to remain the leader, must reconsider its policy, must correct its policy, must acknowledge its mistake and correct it. In confirmation of this thesis one could cite, for example, such a fact from the history of our Party as the period of the abolition of the surplus-appropriation system, when the masses of workers and peasants were obviously discontented with our policy and when the Party openly and honestly decided to reconsider this policy. Here is what Lenin said at the time, at the Tenth Party Congress, on the question of abolishing the surplus-appropriation system and introducing the New Economic Policy:
 
“We must not try to conceal anything, but must say straightforwardly that the peasantry is not satisfied with the form of relations that has been established with it, that it does not want this form of relations and will not go on living in this way. That is indisputable. It has definitely expressed this will. This is the will of the vast mass of the labouring population. We must reckon with this; and we are sufficiently sober politicians to say straightforwardly: Let us reconsider our policy towards the peasantry”** (see Vol. XXVI, p. 238).
 
Can one consider that the Party should take the initiative and leadership in organising decisive actions by the masses merely on the ground that its policy is correct on the whole, if that policy does not yet meet the confidence and support of the class because, say, of the latter’s political backwardness; if the Party has not yet succeeded in convincing the class of the correctness of its policy because, say, events have not yet matured? No, one cannot. In such cases the Party, if it, wants to be a real leader, must know how to bide its time, must convince the masses that its policy is correct, must help the masses to become convinced through their own experience that this policy is correct.
 
“If the revolutionary party,” says Lenin, “has not a majority in the advanced detachments of the revolutionary classes and in the country, an uprising is out of the question” (see Vol. XXI, p. 282).
 
“Revolution is impossible without a change in the views of the majority of the working class, and this change is brought about by the political experience of the masses” (see Vol. XXV, p. 221).
 
“The proletarian vanguard has been won over ideologically. That is the main thing. Without this not even the first step towards victory can be made. But it is still a fairly long way from victory. Victory cannot be won with the vanguard alone. To throw the vanguard alone into the decisive battle, before the whole class, before the broad masses have taken up a position either of direct support of the vanguard, or at least of benevolent neutrality towards it, and one in which they cannot possibly support the enemy, would be not merely folly but a crime. And in order that actually the whole class, that actually the broad masses of the working people and those oppressed by capital may take up such a position, propaganda and agitation alone are not enough. For this the masses must have their own political experience” (ibid., p. 228).
 
We know that this is precisely how our Party acted during the period from Lenin’s April Theses to the October uprising of 1917. And it was precisely because it acted according to these directives of Lenin’s that it was successful in the uprising.
 
Such, basically, are the conditions for correct mutual relations between the vanguard and the class. What does leadership mean when the policy of the Party is correct and the correct relations between the vanguard and the class are not upset?
 
Leadership under these circumstances means the ability to convince the masses of the correctness of the Party’s policy; the ability to put forward and to carry out such slogans as bring the masses to the Party’s positions and help them to realise through their own experience the correctness of the Party’s policy; the ability to raise the masses to the Party’s level of political consciousness, and thus secure the support of the masses and their readiness for the decisive struggle.
 
Therefore, the method of persuasion is the principal method of the Party’s leadership of the working class.
 
“If we, in Russia today,” says Lenin, “after two-and-a-half years of unprecedented victories over the bourgeoisie of Russia and the Entente, were to make ‘recognition of the dictatorship’ a condition of trade-union membership, we should be committing a folly, we should be damaging our influence over the masses, we should be helping the Mensheviks. For the whole task of the Communists is to be able to convince the backward elements, to be able to work among them, and not to fence themselves off from them by artificial and childishly ‘Left’ slogans” (see Vol. XXV, p. 197).
 
This, of course, must not be understood in the sense that the Party must convince all the workers, down to the last man, and that only after this is it possible to proceed to action, that only after this is it possible to start operations. Not at all! It only means that before entering upon decisive political actions the Party must, by means of prolonged revolutionary work, secure for itself the support of the majority of the masses of the workers, or at least the benevolent neutrality of the majority of the class. Otherwise Lenin’s thesis, that a necessary condition for victorious revolution is that the Party should win over the majority of the working class, would be devoid of all meaning.
 
Well, and what is to be done with the minority, if it does not wish, if it does not agree voluntarily to submit to the will of the majority? Can the Party, must the Party, enjoying the confidence of the majority, compel the minority to submit to the will of the majority? Yes, it can and it must. Leadership is ensured by the method of persuading the masses, as the principal method by which the Party influences the masses. This, however, does not preclude, but presupposes, the use of coercion, if such coercion is based on confidence in the Party and support for it on the part of the majority of the working class, if it is applied to the minority after the Party has convinced the majority.
 
It would be well to recall the controversies around this subject that took place in our Party during the discussion on the trade-union question. What was the mistake of the opposition, the mistake of the Tsektran,14 at that time? Was it that the opposition then considered it possible to resort to coercion? No! It, was not that. The mistake of the opposition at that time was that, being unable to convince the majority of the correctness of its position, having lost the confidence of the majority, it nevertheless began to apply coercion, began to insist on “shaking up” those who enjoyed the confidence of the majority.
 
Here is what Lenin said at that time, at the Tenth Congress of the Party, in his speech on the trade unions:
 
“In order to establish mutual relations and mutual confidence between the vanguard of the working class and the masses of the workers, it was necessary, if the Tsektran had made a mistake . . . to correct this mistake. But when people begin to defend this mistake, it becomes a source of political danger. Had not the utmost possible been done in the way of democracy in heeding the moods expressed here by Kutuzov, we would have met with political bankruptcy. First we must convince, and then coerce. We must at all costs first convince, and then coerce.** We were not able to convince the broad masses, and we upset the correct relations between the vanguard and the masses” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 235).
 
Lenin says the same thing in his pamphlet On the Trade Unions15:
 
“We applied coercion correctly and successfully only when we were able to create beforehand a basis of conviction for it” (ibid., p. 74).
 
And that is quite true, for without those conditions no leadership is possible. For only in that way can we ensure unity of action in the Party, if we are speaking of the Party, or unity of action of the class, if we are speaking of the class as a whole. Without this there is splitting, confusion and demoralisation in the ranks of the working class.
 
Such in general are the fundamentals of correct leadership of the working class by the Party.
 
Any other conception of leadership is syndicalism, anarchism, bureaucracy—anything you please, but not Bolshevism, not Leninism.
 
The dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be counterposed to the leadership (“dictatorship”) of the Party if correct mutual relations exist between the Party and the working class, between the vanguard and the masses of the workers. But from this it follows that it is all the more impermissible to identify the Party with the working class, the leadership (“dictatorship”) of the Party with the dictatorship of the working class. On the ground that the “dictatorship” of the Party cannot be counterposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat, Sorin arrived at the wrong conclusion that “the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of our Party.”
 
But Lenin not only speaks of the impermissibility of such counterposition, he also speaks of the impermissibility of counterposing “the dictatorship of the masses to the dictatorship of the leaders.” Would you, on this ground, have us identify the dictatorship of leaders with the dictatorship of the proletariat? If we took that line, we would have to say that “the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of our leaders.” But it is precisely to this absurdity that we are led, properly speaking, by the policy of identifying the “dictatorship” of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat. . . .
 
Where does Zinoviev stand on this subject?
 
In essence, Zinoviev shares Sorin’s point of view of identifying the “dictatorship” of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat—with the difference, however, that Sorin expresses himself more openly and clearly, whereas Zinoviev “wriggles.” One need only take, for instance, the following passage in Zinoviev’s book Leninism to be convinced of this:
 
“What,” says Zinoviev, “is the system existing in the U.S.S.R. from the standpoint of its class content? It is the dictatorship of the proletariat. What is the direct mainspring of power in the U.S.S.R.? Who exercises the power of the working class? The Communist Party! In this sense, we have** the dictatorship of the Party. What is the juridical form of power in the U.S.S.R.? What is the new type of state system that was created by the October Revolution? The Soviet system. The one does not in the least contradict the other.”
 
That the one does not contradict the other is, of course, correct if by the dictatorship of the Party in relation to the working class as a whole we mean the leadership of the Party. But, how is it possible, on this ground, to place a sign of equality between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the “dictatorship” of the Party, between the Soviet system and the “dictatorship” of the Party? Lenin identified the system of Soviets with the dictatorship of the proletariat, and he was right, for the Soviets, our Soviets, are organisations which rally the labouring masses around the proletariat under the rally of the Party. But when, where, and in which of his writings did Lenin place a sign of equality between the “dictatorship” of the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, between the “dictatorship” of the Party and the system of Soviets, as Zinoviev does now? Neither the leadership (“dictatorship”) of the Party nor the leadership (“dictatorship”) of the leaders contradicts the dictatorship of the proletariat. Would you, on this ground, have us proclaim that our country is the country of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say, the country of the dictatorship of the Party, that is to say, the country of the dictatorship of the leaders? And yet the “principle” of identifying the “dictatorship” of the Party with the dictatorship of the proletariat, which Zinoviev enunciates surreptitiously and uncourageously, leads precisely to this absurdity.
 
In Lenin’s numerous works I have been able to note only five cases in which he touches, in passing, on the question of the dictatorship of the Party.
 
The first case is in his controversy with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, where he says:
 
“When we are reproached with the dictatorship of one party, and when, as you have heard, a proposal is made to establish a united socialist front, we reply: ‘Yes, the dictatorship of one party! We stand by it, and cannot depart from it, for it is that Party which, in the course of decades, has won the position of vanguard of the whole factory and industrial proletariat’” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 423).
 
The second case is in his “Letter to the Workers and Peasants in Connection with the Victory over Kolchak,” in which he says:
 
“Some people (especially the Mensheviks and the SocialistRevolutionaries—all of them, even the ‘Lefts’ among them) are trying to scare the peasants with the bogey of the ‘dictatorship of one party,’ the Party of Bolsheviks, Communists.
 
“The peasants have learned from the instance of Kolchak not to be afraid of this bogey.
 
“Either the dictatorship (i.e., iron rule) of the landlords and capitalists, or the dictatorship of the working class” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 436).
 
The third case is Lenin’s speech at the Second Congress of the Comintern in his controversy with Tanner. I have quoted it above.*
 
The fourth case is a few lines in the pamphlet “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder. The passages in question have already been quoted above.*
 
And the fifth case is in his draft outline of the dictatorship of the proletariat, published in the Lenin Miscellany, Volume III, where there is a sub-heading “Dictatorship of One Party” (see Lenin Miscellany, Vol. III, p. 497).
 
It should be noted that in two out of the five cases, the last and the second, Lenin puts the words “dictatorship of one party” in quotation marks, thus clearly emphasising the inexact, figurative sense of this formula.
 
It should also be noted that in every one of these cases, by the “dictatorship of the Party” Lenin meant dictatorship (“iron rule”) over the “landlords and capitalists,” and not over the working class, contrary to the slanderous fabrications of Kautsky and Co.
 
It is characteristic that in none of his works, major or secondary, in which Lenin discusses or merely alludes to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the Party in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is there any hint whatever that “the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of our Party.” On the contrary, every page, every line of these works cries out against such a formula (see The State and Revolution, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder, etc.).
 
Even more characteristic is the fact that in the theses of the Second Congress of the Comintern16 on the role of a political party, which were drawn up under the direct guidance of Lenin, and to which Lenin repeatedly referred in his speeches as a model of the correct formulation of the role and tasks of the Party, we find not one word, literally not one word, about dictatorship of the Party.
 
What does all this indicate?
 
It indicates that:
 
a) Lenin did not regard the formula “dictatorship of the Party” as irreproachable and exact, for which reason it is very rarely used in Lenin’s works, and is sometimes put in quotation marks;
 
b) on the few occasions that Lenin was obliged, in controversy with opponents, to speak of the dictatorship of the Party, he usually referred to the “dictatorship of one party,” i.e., to the fact that our Party holds power alone, that it does not share power with other parties. Moreover, he always made it clear that the dictatorship of the Party in relation to the working class meant the leadership of the Party, its leading role;
 
c) in all those cases in which Lenin thought it necessary to give a scientific definition of the role of the Party in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat, he spoke exclusively of the leading role of the Party in relation to the working class (and there are thousands of such cases);
 
d) that is why it never “occurred” to Lenin to include the formula “dictatorship of the Party” in the fundamental resolution on the role of the Party—I have in mind the resolution adopted at the Second Congress of the Comintern;
 
e) the comrades who identify, or try to identify, the “dictatorship” of the Party and, therefore, the “dictatorship of the leaders” with the dictatorship of the proletariat are wrong from the point of view of Leninism, and are politically short-sighted, for they thereby violate the conditions for correct mutual relations between the vanguard and the class.
 
This is apart from the fact that the formula “dictatorship of the Party,” when taken without the above-mentioned reservations, can give rise to quite a number of dangers and political set-backs in our practical work. This formula, taken without reservations, says, as it were:
 
a) to the non-Party masses: don’t dare to contradict, don’t dare to argue, for the Party can do everything, for we have the dictatorship of the Party;
 
b) to the Party cadres: act more boldly, tighten the screw, there is no need to heed what the non-Party masses say, we have the dictatorship of the Party;
 
c) to the top leadership of the Party: you may indulge in the luxury of a certain amount of complacency, you may even become conceited, for we have the dictatorship of the Party, and, “consequently,” the dictatorship of the leaders.
 
It is opportune to call attention to these dangers precisely at the present moment, in a period when the political activity of the masses is rising, when the readiness of the Party to heed the voice of the masses is of particular value to us, when attention to the requirements of the masses is a fundamental precept of our Party, when it is incumbent upon the Party to display particular caution and particular flexibility in its policy, when the danger of becoming conceited is one of the most serious dangers confronting the Party in its task of correctly leading the masses.
 
One cannot but recall Lenin’s golden words at the Eleventh Congress of our Party:
 
“Among the mass of the people we (the Communists—J. St.) are after all but a drop in the ocean, and we can administer only when we properly express what the people are conscious of. Unless we do this the Communist Party will not lead the proletariat, the proletariat will not lead the masses, and the whole machine will collapse” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 256).
 
“Properly express what the people are conscious of”—this is precisely the necessary condition that ensures for the Party the honourable role of the principal guiding force in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
VI. THE QUESTION OF THE VICTORY OF SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY.
 
The pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism (May 1924, first edition) contains two formulations on the question of the victory of socialism in one country. The first of these says:
 
“Formerly, the victory of the revolution in one country was considered impossible, on the assumption that it would require the combined action of the proletarians of all or at least of a majority of the advanced countries to achieve victory over the bourgeoisie. Now this point of view no longer fits in with the facts. Now we must proceed from the possibility of such a victory, for the uneven and spasmodic character of the development of the various capitalist countries under the conditions of imperialism, the development within imperialism of catastrophic contradictions leading to inevitable wars, the growth of the revolutionary movement in all countries of the world—all this leads, not only to the possibility, but also to the necessity of the victory of the proletariat in individual countries” (see The Foundations of Leninism17).
 
This thesis is quite correct and needs no comment. It is directed against the theory of the Social-Democrats, who regard the seizure of power by the proletariat in one country, without the simultaneous victory of the revolution in other countries, as utopian.
 
But the pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism contains a second formulation, which says:
 
“But the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and establishment of the power of the proletariat in one country does not yet mean that the complete victory of socialism has been ensured. The principal task of socialism—the organisation of socialist production—has still to be fulfilled. Can this task be fulfilled, can the final victory of socialism be achieved in one country, without the joint efforts of the proletarians in several advanced countries? No, it cannot. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final victory of socialism, for the organisation of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of a peasant country like Russia, are insufficient; for that, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are required” (see The Foundations of Leninism, first edition18).
 
This second formulation was directed against the assertions of the critics of Leninism, against the Trotskyists, who declared that the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country, in the absence of victory in other countries, could not “hold out in the face of a conservative Europe.”
 
To that extent—but only to that extent—this formulation was then (May 1924) adequate, and undoubtedly it was of some service.
 
Subsequently, however, when the criticism of Leninism in this sphere had already been overcome in the Party, when a new question had come to the fore—the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society by the efforts of our country, without help from abroad—the second formulation became obviously inadequate, and therefore incorrect.
 
What is the defect in this formulation?
 
Its defect is that it joins two different questions into one: it joins the question of the possibility of building socialism by the efforts of one country—which must be answered in the affirmative—with the question whether a country in which the dictatorship of the proletariat exists can consider itself fully guaranteed against intervention, and consequently against the restoration of the old order, without a victorious revolution in a number of other countries—which must be answered in the negative. This is apart from the fact that this formulation may give occasion for thinking that the organisation of a socialist society by the efforts of one country is impossible—which, of course, is incorrect.
 
On this ground I modified and corrected this formulation in my pamphlet The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (December 1924); I divided the question into two—into the question of a full guarantee against the restoration of the bourgeois order, and the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society in one country. This was effected, in the first place, by treating the “complete victory of socialism” as a “full guarantee against the restoration of the old order,” which is possible only through “the joint efforts of the proletarians of several countries”; and, secondly, by proclaiming, on the basis of Lenin’s pamphlet On Co-operation,19 the indisputable truth that we have all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society (see The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists).*
 
It was this new formulation of the question that formed the basis for the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference “The Tasks of the Comintern and the R.C.P.(B.),”20 which examines the question of the victory of socialism in one country in connection with the stabilisation of capitalism (April 1925), and considers that the building of socialism by the efforts of our country is possible and necessary.
 
This new formulation also served as the basis for my pamphlet The Results of the Work of the Fourteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) published in May 1925, immediately after the Fourteenth Party Conference.
 
With regard to the presentation of the question of the victory of socialism in one country, this pamphlet states:
 
“Our country exhibits two groups of contradictions. One group consists of the internal contradictions that exist between the proletariat and the peasantry (this refers to the building of socialism in one country—J. St.). The other group consists of the external contradictions that exist between our country, as the land of socialism, and all the other countries, as lands of capitalism (this refers to the final victory of socialism—J. St.).” . . . “Anyone who confuses the first group of contradictions, which can be overcome entirely by the efforts of one country, with the second group of contradictions, the solution of which requires the efforts of the proletarians of several countries, commits a gross error against Leninism. He is either a muddle-head or an incorrigible opportunist” (see The Results of the Work of the Fourteenth Conference of the R.C.P.(B.). 21)
 
On the question of the victory of socialism in our country, the pamphlet states:
 
“We can build socialism, and we will build it together with the peasantry under the leadership of the working class”. . . for “under the dictatorship of the proletariat we possess . . . all that is needed to build a complete socialist society, overcoming all internal difficulties, for we can and must overcome them by our own efforts” (ibid. 22).
 
On the question of the final victory of socialism, it states:
 
“The final victory of socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and hence against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital. Therefore, the support of our revolution by the workers of all countries, and still more the victory of the workers in at least several countries, is a necessary condition for fully guaranteeing the first victorious country against attempts at intervention and restoration, a necessary condition for the final victory of socialism” (ibid.23).
 
Clear, one would think.
 
It is well known that this question was treated in the same spirit in my pamphlet Questions and Answers (June 1925) and in the political report of the Central Committee to the Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)24 (December 1925).
 
Such are the facts.
 
These facts, I think, are known to all the comrades, including Zinoviev.
 
If now, nearly two years after the ideological struggle in the Party and after the resolution that was adopted at the Fourteenth Party Conference (April 1925), Zinoviev finds it possible in his reply to the discussion at the Fourteenth Party Congress (December 1925) to dig up the old and quite inadequate formula contained in Stalin’s pamphlet written in April 1924, and to make it the basis for deciding the already decided question of the victory of socialism in one country—then this peculiar trick of his only goes to show that he has got completely muddled on this question. To drag the Party back after it has moved forward, to evade the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference after it has been confirmed by a Plenum of the Central Committee,25 means to become hopelessly entangled in contradictions, to have no faith in the cause of building socialism, to abandon the path of Lenin, and to acknowledge one’s own defeat.
 
What is meant by the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country?
 
It means the possibility of solving the contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry by means of the internal forces of our country, the possibility of the proletariat seizing power and using that power to build a complete socialist society in our country, with the sympathy and the support of the proletarians of other countries, but without the preliminary victory of the proletarian revolution in other countries.
 
Without, such a possibility, building socialism is building without prospects, building without being sure that socialism will be completely built. It is no use engaging in building socialism without being sure that we can build it completely, without being sure that the technical backwardness of our country is not an insuperable obstacle to the building of a complete socialist society. To deny such a possibility means disbelief in the cause of building socialism, departure from Leninism.
 
What is meant by the impossibility of the complete, final victory of socialism in one country without the victory of the revolution in other countries?
 
It means the impossibility of having a full guarantee against intervention, and consequently against the restoration of the bourgeois order, without the victory of the revolution in at least a number of countries. To deny this indisputable thesis means departure from internationalism, departure from Leninism.
 
“We are living,” says Lenin, “not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist states for a long time is unthinkable. One or the other must triumph in the end. And before that end comes, a series of frightful collisions between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois states will be inevitable. That means that if the ruling class, the proletariat, wants to, and will hold sway, it must prove this by its military organisation also” (see Vol. XXIV, p. 122).
 
“We have before us,” says Lenin in another passage, “a certain equilibrium, which is in the highest degree unstable, but an unquestionable, an indisputable equilibrium nevertheless. Will it last long? I do not know and, I think, it is impossible to know. And therefore we must exercise very great caution. And the first precept of our policy, the first lesson to be learned from our governmental activities during the past year, the lesson which all the workers and peasants must learn, is that we must be on the alert, we must remember that we are surrounded by people, classes and governments who openly express their intense hatred for us. We must remember that we are at all times but a hair’s breadth from every manner of invasion” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 117).
 
Clear, one would think.
 
Where does Zinoviev stand as regards the question of the victory of socialism in one country?
 
Listen:
 
“By the final victory of socialism is meant, at least: 1) the abolition of classes, and therefore 2) the abolition of the dictatorship of one class, in this case the dictatorship of the proletariat.” . . . “In order to get a clearer idea of how the question stands here, in the U.S.S.R., in the year 1925,” says Zinoviev further, “we must distinguish between two things: 1) the assured possibility of engaging in building socialism—such a possibility, it stands to reason, is quite conceivable within the limits of one country; and 2) the final construction and consolidation of socialism, i.e., the achievement of a socialist system, of a socialist society.”
 
What can all this signify?
 
It signifies that by the final victory of socialism in one country Zinoviev understands, not a guarantee against intervention and restoration, but the possibility of completely building socialist society. And by the victory of socialism in one country Zinoviev understands the kind of building socialism which cannot and should not lead to completely building socialism. Building at haphazard, without prospects, building socialism although completely building a socialist society is impossible—such is Zinoviev’s position.
 
To engage in building socialism without the possibility of completely building it, knowing that it cannot be completely built—such are the absurdities in which Zinoviev has involved himself.
 
But this is a mockery of the question, not a solution of it!
 
Here is another extract from Zinoviev’s reply to the discussion at the Fourteenth Party Congress:
 
“Take a look, for instance, at what Comrade Yakovlev went so far as to say at the last Kursk Gubernia Party Conference. He asks: ‘Is it possible for us, surrounded as we are on all sides by capitalist enemies, to completely build socialism in one country under such conditions?’ And he answers: ‘On the basis of all that has been said we have the right to say not only that we are building socialism, but that in spite of the fact that for the time being we are alone, that for the time being we are the only Soviet country, the only Soviet state in the world, we shall completely build socialism’ (Kurskaya Pravda, No. 279, December 8, 1925). Is this the Leninist method of presenting the question,” Zinoviev asks, “does not this smack of national narrow-mindedness?”**
 
Thus, according to Zinoviev, to recognise the possibility of completely building socialism in one country means adopting the point of view of national narrow-mindedness, while to deny such a possibility means adopting the point of view of internationalism.
 
But if that is true, is it at all worth while fighting for victory over the capitalist elements in our economy?
 
Does it not follow from this that such a victory is impossible?
 
Capitulation to the capitalist elements in our economy—that is what the inherent logic of Zinoviev’s line of argument leads us to.
 
And this absurdity, which has nothing in common with Leninism, is presented to us by Zinoviev as “internationalism,” as “100 per cent Leninism”!
 
I assert that on this most important question of building socialism Zinoviev is deserting Leninism and slipping to the standpoint of the Menshevik Sukhanov.
 
Let us turn to Lenin. Here is what he said about the victory of socialism in one country even before the October Revolution, in August 1915:
 
“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country taken separately. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organised socialist production,** would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, raising revolts in those countries against the capitalists, and in the event of necessity coming out even with armed force against the exploiting classes and their states” (see Vol. XVIII, pp. 232-33).
 
What is meant by Lenin’s phrase “having . . . organised socialist production” which I have stressed? It means that the proletariat of the victorious country, having seized power, can and must organise socialist production. And what does to “organise socialist production” mean? It means completely building a socialist society. It scarcely needs proof that this clear and definite statement of Lenin’s requires no further comment. Otherwise Lenin’s call for the seizure of power by the proletariat in October 1917 would be incomprehensible.
 
You see that this clear thesis of Lenin’s, in comparison with Zinoviev’s muddled and anti-Leninist “thesis” that we can engage in building socialism “within the limits of one country,” although it is impossible to build it completely, is as different from the latter as the heavens from the earth.
 
The statement quoted above was made by Lenin in 1915, before the proletariat had taken power. But perhaps he modified his views after the experience of taking power, after 1917? Let us turn to Lenin’s pamphlet On Co-operation, written in 1923.
 
“As a matter of fact;” says Lenin, “state power over all large-scale means of production, state power in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc.—is not this all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society from the co-operatives, from the co-operatives alone, which we formerly looked down upon as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we have the right to look down upon as such now, under NEP? Is this not all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society?** This is not yet the building of socialist society, but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building”** (see Vol. XXVII, p. 392).
 
In other words, we can and must build a complete socialist society, for we have at our disposal all that is necessary and sufficient for this building.
 
I think it would be difficult to express oneself more clearly.
 
Compare this classical thesis of Lenin’s with the anti-Leninist rebuke Zinoviev administered to Yakovlev, and you will realise that Yakovlev was only repeating Lenin’s words about the possibility of completely building socialism in one country, whereas Zinoviev, by attacking this thesis and castigating Yakovlev, deserted Lenin and adopted the point of view of the Menshevik Sukhanov, the point of view that it is impossible to build socialism completely in our country owing to its technical backwardness.
 
One can only wonder why we took power in October 1917 if we did not count on completely building socialism.
 
We should not have taken power in October 1917—this is the conclusion to which the inherent logic of Zinoviev’s line of argument leads us.
 
I assert further that in the highly important question of the victory of socialism Zinoviev has gone counter to the definite decisions of our Party, as registered in the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference “The Tasks of the Comintern and the R.C.P.(B.) in Connection with the Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I.”
 
Let us turn to this resolution. Here is what it says about the victory of socialism in one country:
 
“The existence of two directly opposite social systems gives rise to the constant menace of capitalist blockade, of other forms of economic pressure, of armed intervention, of restoration. Consequently, the only guarantee of the final victory of socialism, i.e., the guarantee against restoration,** is a victorious socialist revolution in a number of countries. . . .” “Leninism teaches that the final victory of socialism, in the sense of a full guarantee against the restoration** of bourgeois relationships, is possible only on an international scale. . . . ” “But it does not follow** from this that it is impossible to build a complete socialist society** in a backward country like Russia, without the ‘state aid’ (Trotsky) of countries more developed technically and economically” (see the resolution26).
 
As you see, the resolution interprets the final victory of socialism as a guarantee against intervention and restoration, in complete contrast to Zinoviev’s interpretation in his book Leninism.
 
As you see, the resolution recognises the possibility of building a complete socialist society in a backward country like Russia without the “state aid” of countries more developed technically and economically, in complete contrast to what Zinoviev said when he rebuked Yakovlev in his reply to the discussion at the Fourteenth Party Congress.
 
How else can this be described if not as a struggle on Zinoviev’s part against the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference?
 
Of course, Party resolutions are sometimes not free from error. Sometimes they contain mistakes. Speaking generally, one may assume that the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference also contains certain errors. Perhaps Zinoviev thinks that this resolution is erroneous. But then he should say so clearly and openly, as befits a Bolshevik. For some reason or other, however, Zinoviev does not do so. He preferred to choose another path, that of attacking the resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference from the rear, while keeping silent about this resolution and refraining from any open criticism of the resolution. Zinoviev evidently thinks that this will be the best way of achieving his purpose. And he has but one purpose, namely—to “improve” the resolution, and to amend Lenin “just a little bit.” It scarcely needs proof that Zinoviev has made a mistake in his calculations.
 
What is Zinoviev’s mistake due to? What is the root of this mistake?
 
The root of this mistake, in my opinion, lies in Zinoviev’s conviction that the technical backwardness of our country is an insuperable obstacle to the building of a complete socialist society; that the proletariat cannot completely build socialism owing to the technical backwardness of our country. Zinoviev and Kamenev once tried to raise this argument at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Party prior to the April Party Conference.27 But they received a rebuff and were compelled to retreat, and formally they submitted to the opposite point of view, the point of view of the majority of the Central Committee. But although he formally submitted to it, Zinoviev has continued to wage a struggle against it all the time. Here is what the Moscow Committee of our Party says about this “incident” in the Central Committee of the R.C.P:(B.) in its “Reply” to the letter of the Leningrad Gubernia Party Conference28:
 
“Recently, in the Political Bureau, Kamenev and Zinoviev advocated the point of view that we cannot cope with the internal difficulties due to our technical and economic backwardness unless an international revolution comes to our rescue. We, however, with the majority of the members of the Central Committee, think that we can build socialism, are building it, and will completely build it, notwithstanding our technical backwardness and in spite of it. We think that the work of building will proceed far more slowly, of course, than in the conditions of a world victory; nevertheless, we are making progress and will continue to do so. We also believe that the view held by Kamenev and Zinoviev expresses disbelief in the internal forces of our working class and of the peasant masses who follow its lead. We believe that it is a departure from the Leninist position” (see “Reply”).
 
This document appeared in the press during the first sittings of the Fourteenth Party Congress. Zinoviev, of course, had the opportunity of attacking this document at the congress. It is characteristic that Zinoviev and Kamenev found no arguments against this grave accusation directed against them by the Moscow Committee of our Party. Was this accidental? I think not. The accusation, apparently, hit the mark. Zinoviev and Kamenev “replied” to this accusation by silence, because they had no “card to beat it.”
 
The “New Opposition” is offended because Zinoviev is accused of disbelief in the victory of socialist construction in our country. But if after a whole year of discussion on the question of the victory of socialism in one country; after Zinoviev’s view-point has been rejected by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee (April 1925); after the Party has arrived at a definite opinion on this question, recorded in the well-known resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference (April 1925)—if, after all this, Zinoviev ventures to oppose the point of view of the Party in his book Leninism (September 1925), if he then repeats this opposition at the Fourteenth Party Congress—how can all this, this stubbornness, this persistence in his error, be explained if not by the fact that Zinoviev is infected, hopelessly infected, with disbelief in the victory of socialist construction in our country?
 
It pleases Zinoviev to regard this disbelief of his as internationalism. But since when have we come to regard departure from Leninism on a cardinal question of Leninism as internationalism?
 
Will it not be more correct to say that it is not the Party but Zinoviev who is sinning against internationalism and the international revolution? For what is our country, the country “that is building socialism,” if not the base of the world revolution? But can it be a real base of the world revolution if it is incapable of completely building a socialist society? Can it remain the mighty centre of attraction for the workers of all countries that it undoubtedly is now, if it is incapable of achieving victory at home over the capitalist elements in our economy, the victory of socialist construction? I think not. But does it not follow from this that disbelief in the victory of socialist construction, the dissemination of such disbelief, will lead to our country being discredited as the base of the world revolution? And if our country is discredited the world revolutionary movement will be weakened. How did Messrs. the Social-Democrats try to scare the workers away from us? By preaching that “the Russians will not get anywhere.” What are we beating the Social-Democrats with now, when we are attracting a whole series of workers’ delegations to our country and thereby strengthening the position of communism all over the world? By our successes in building socialism. Is it not obvious, then, that whoever disseminates disbelief in our successes in building socialism thereby indirectly helps the Social-Democrats, reduces the sweep of the international revolutionary movement, and inevitably departs from internationalism? . . .
 
You see that Zinoviev is in no better position in regard to his “internationalism” than in regard to his “100 per cent Leninism” on the question of building socialism in one country.
 
That is why the Fourteenth Party Congress rightly defined the views of the “New Opposition” as “disbelief in the cause of socialist construction,” as “a distortion of Leninism.”29
 
VII. THE FIGHT FOR THE VICTORY OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION.
 
I think that disbelief in the victory of socialist construction is the principal error of the “New Opposition.” In my opinion, it is the principal error because from it spring all the other errors of the “New Opposition.” The errors of the “New Opposition” on the questions of NEP, state capitalism, the nature of our socialist industry, the role of the co-operatives under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the methods of fighting the kulaks, the role and importance of the middle peasantry—all these errors are to be traced to the principal error of the opposition, to disbelief in the possibility of completely building a socialist society by the efforts of our country.
 
What is disbelief in the victory of socialist construction in our country?
 
It is, first of all, lack of confidence that, owing to certain conditions of development in our country, the main mass of the peasantry can be drawn into the work of socialist construction.
 
It is, secondly, lack of confidence that the proletariat of our country, which holds the key positions in our national economy, is capable of drawing the main mass of the peasantry into the work of socialist construction. It is from these theses that the opposition tacitly proceeds in its arguments about the paths of our development—no matter whether it does so consciously or unconsciously.
 
Can the main mass of the Soviet peasantry be drawn into the work of socialist construction?
 
In the pamphlet The Foundations of Leninism there are two main theses on this subject:
 
1) “The peasantry in the Soviet Union must not be confused with the peasantry in the West. A peasantry that has been schooled in three revolutions, that fought against the tsar and the power of the bourgeoisie side by side with the proletariat and under the leadership of the proletariat, a peasantry that has received land and peace at the hands of the proletarian revolution and by reason of this has become the reserve of the proletariat—such a peasantry cannot but be different from a peasantry which during the bourgeois revolution fought under the leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie, which received land at the hands of that bourgeoisie, and in view of this became the reserve of the bourgeoisie. It scarcely needs proof that the Soviet peasantry, which has learnt to appreciate its political friendship and political collaboration with the proletariat and which owes its freedom to this friendship and collaboration, cannot but represent exceptionally favourable material for economic collaboration with the proletariat.”
 
2) “Agriculture in Russia must not be confused with agriculture in the West. There, agriculture is developing along the ordinary lines of capitalism, under conditions of profound differentiation among the peasantry, with large landed estates and private capitalist latifundia at one extreme and pauperism, destitution and wage slavery at the other. Owing to this, disintegration and decay are quite natural there. Not so in Russia. Here agriculture cannot develop along such a path, if for no other reason than that the existence of Soviet power and the nationalisation of the principal instruments and means of production preclude such a development. In Russia the development of agriculture must proceed along a different path, along the path of organising millions of small and middle peasants in co-operatives, along the path of developing in the countryside a mass co-operative movement supported by the state by means of preferential credits. Lenin rightly pointed out in his articles on co-operation that the development of agriculture in our country must proceed along a new path, along the path of drawing the majority of the peasants into socialist construction through the co-operatives, along the path of gradually introducing into agriculture the principles of collectivism, first in the sphere of marketing and later in the sphere of production of agricultural products. . . .
 
“It scarcely needs proof that the vast majority of the peasantry will eagerly take this new path of development, rejecting the path of private capitalist latifundia and wage slavery, the path of destitution and ruin.”30
 
Are these theses correct?
 
I think that both theses are correct and incontrovertible for the whole of our construction period under the conditions of NEP.
 
They are merely the expression of Lenin’s well-known theses on the bond between the proletariat and the peasantry, on the inclusion of the peasant farms in the system of socialist development of our country; of his theses that the proletariat must march towards socialism together with the main mass of the peasantry, that the organisation of the vast masses of the peasantry in co-operatives is the high road of socialist construction in the countryside, that with the growth of our socialist industry, “for us, the more growth of co-operation is identical . . . with the growth of socialism” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 396).
 
Indeed, along what path can and must the development of peasant economy in our country proceed? Peasant economy is not capitalist economy. Peasant economy, if you take the overwhelming majority of the peasant farms, is small commodity economy. And what is peasant small commodity economy? It is economy standing at the cross-roads between capitalism and socialism. It may develop in the direction of capitalism, as it is now doing in capitalist countries, or in the direction of socialism, as it must do here, in our country, under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 
Whence this instability, this lack of independence of peasant economy? How is it to be explained?
 
It is to be explained by the scattered character of the peasant farms, their lack of organisation, their dependence on the towns, on industry, on the credit system, on the character of the state power in the country, and, lastly, by the well-known fact that the countryside follows, and necessarily must follow, the town both in material and in cultural matters.
 
The capitalist path of development of peasant economy means development through profound differentiation among the peasantry, with large latifundia at one extreme and mass impoverishment at the other. Such a path of development is inevitable in capitalist countries, because the countryside, peasant economy, is dependent on the towns, on industry, on credit concentrated in the towns, on the character of the state power—and in the towns it is the bourgeoisie, capitalist industry, the capitalist credit system and the capitalist state power that hold sway.
 
Is this path of development of peasant farms obligatory for our country, where the towns have quite a different aspect, where industry is in the hands of the proletariat, where transport, the credit system, the state power, etc., are concentrated in the hands of the proletariat, where the nationalisation of the land is a universal law of the country? Of course not. On the contrary. Precisely because the towns do lead the countryside, while we have in the towns the rule of the proletariat, which holds all the key positions of national economy—precisely for this reason the peasant farms in their development must proceed along a different path, the path of socialist construction.
 
What is this path?
 
It is the path of the mass organisation of millions of peasant farms into co-operatives in all spheres of co-operation, the path of uniting the scattered peasant farms around socialist industry, the path of implanting the elements of collectivism among the peasantry at first in the sphere of marketing agricultural produce and supplying the peasant farms with the products of urban industry and later in the sphere of agricultural production.
 
And the further we advance the more this path becomes inevitable under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, because co-operative marketing, co-operative supplying, and, finally, co-operative credit and production (agricultural co-operatives) are the only way to promote the welfare of the countryside, the only way to save the broad masses of the peasantry from poverty and ruin.
 
It is said that our peasantry, by its position, is not socialist, and, therefore, incapable of socialist development. It is true, of course, that the peasantry, by its position, is not socialist. But this is no argument against the development of the peasant farms along the path of socialism, once it has been proved that the countryside follows the town, and in the towns it is socialist industry that holds sway. The peasantry, by its position, was not socialist at the time of the October Revolution either, and it did not by any means want to establish socialism in our country. At that time it strove mainly for the abolition of the power of the landlords and for the ending of the war, for the establishment of peace. Nevertheless, it followed the lead of the socialist proletariat. Why? Because the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of power by the socialist proletariat was at that time the only way of getting out of the imperialist war, the only way of establishing peace. Because there was no other way at that time, nor could there be any. Because our Party was able to hit upon that degree of the combination of the specific interests of the peasantry (the overthrow of the landlords, peace) with, and their subordination to, the general interests of the country (the dictatorship of the proletariat) which proved acceptable and advantageous to the peasantry. And so the peasantry, in spite of its non-socialist character, at that time followed the lead of the socialist proletariat.
 
The same must be said about socialist construction in our country, about drawing the peasantry into the channel of this construction. The peasantry is non-socialist by its position. But it must, and certainly will, take the path of socialist development, for there is not, and cannot be, any other way of saving the peasantry from poverty and ruin except the bond with the proletariat, except the bond with socialist industry, except the inclusion of peasant economy in the common channel of socialist development by the mass organisation of the peasantry in co-operatives.
 
But why precisely by the mass organisation of the peasantry in co-operatives?
 
Because in the mass organisation in co-operatives “we have found that degree of the combination of private interest, private trading interest, with state supervision and control of this interest, that degree of its subordination to the general interests” (Lenin)31 which is acceptable and advantageous to the peasantry and which ensures the proletariat the possibility of drawing the main mass of the peasantry into the work of socialist construction. It is precisely because it is advantageous to the peasantry to organise the sale of its products and the purchase of machines for its farms through co-operatives, it is precisely for that reason that it should and will proceed along the path of mass organisation in co-operatives.
 
What does the mass organisation of peasant farms in co-operatives mean when we have the supremacy of socialist industry?
 
It means that peasant small commodity economy abandons the old capitalist path, which is fraught with mass ruin for the peasantry, and goes over to the new path of development, the path of socialist construction.
 
This is why the fight for the new path of development of peasant economy, the fight to draw the main mass of the peasantry into the work of socialist construction, is the immediate task facing our Party.
 
The Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), therefore, was right in declaring:
 
“The main path of building socialism in the countryside consists in using the growing economic leadership of socialist state industry, of the state credit institutions, and of the other key positions in the hands of the proletariat to draw the main mass of the peasantry into co-operative organisation and to ensure for this organisation a socialist development, while utilising, overcoming and ousting its capitalist elements” (see Resolution of the Congress on the Report of the Central Committee32).
 
The profound mistake of the “New Opposition” lies in the fact that it does not believe in this new path of development of the peasantry, that it does not see, or does not understand, the absolute inevitability of this path under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. And it does not understand this because it does not believe in the victory of socialist construction in our country, it does not believe in the capacity of our proletariat to lead the peasantry along the path to socialism.
 
Hence the failure to understand the dual character of NEP, the exaggeration of the negative aspects of NEP and the treatment of NEP as being mainly a retreat.
 
Hence the exaggeration of the role of the capitalist elements in our economy, and the belittling of the role of the levers of our socialist development (socialist industry, the credit system, the co-operatives, the rule of the proletariat, etc.).
 
Hence the failure to understand the socialist nature of our state industry, and the doubts concerning the correctness of Lenin’s co-operative plan.
 
Hence the inflated accounts of differentiation in the countryside, the panic in face of the kulak, the belittling of the role of the middle peasant, the attempts to thwart the Party’s policy of securing a firm alliance with the middle peasant, and, in general, the wobbling from one side to another on the question of the Party’s policy in the countryside.
 
Hence the failure to understand the tremendous work of the Party in drawing the vast masses of the workers and peasants into building up industry and agriculture, revitalising the co-operatives and the Soviets, administering the country, combating bureaucracy, improving and remodelling our state apparatus—work which marks a new stage of development and without which no socialist construction is conceivable.
 
Hence the hopelessness and consternation in face of the difficulties of our work of construction, the doubts about the possibility of industrialising our country, the pessimistic chatter about degeneration of the Party, etc.
 
Over there, among the bourgeoisie, all is going on fairly well, but here, among the proletarians, things are fairly bad; unless the revolution in the West takes place pretty soon, our cause is lost—such is the general tone of the “New Opposition” which, in my opinion, is a liquidationist tone, but which, for some reason or other (probably in jest), the opposition tries to pass off as “internationalism.”
 
NEP is capitalism, says the opposition. NEP is mainly a retreat, says Zinoviev. All this, of course, is untrue. In actual fact, NEP is the Party’s policy, permitting a struggle between the socialist and the capitalist elements and aimed at the victory of the socialist elements over the capitalist elements. In actual fact, NEP only began as a retreat, but it aimed at regrouping our forces during the retreat and launching an offensive. In actual fact, we have been on the offensive for several years now, and are attacking successfully, developing our industry, developing Soviet trade, and ousting private capital.
 
But what is the meaning of the thesis that NEP is capitalism, that NEP is mainly a retreat? What does this thesis proceed from?
 
It proceeds from the wrong assumption that what is now taking place in our country is simply the restoration of capitalism, simply a “return” to capitalism. This assumption alone can explain the doubts of the opposition regarding the socialist nature of our industry. This assumption alone can explain the panic of the opposition in face of the kulak. This assumption alone can explain the haste with which the opposition seized upon the inaccurate statistics on differentiation in the peasantry. This assumption alone can explain the opposition’s special forgetfulness of the fact that the middle peasant is the central figure in our agriculture. This assumption alone can explain the under-estimation of the importance of the middle peasant and the doubts concerning Lenin’s cooperative plan. This assumption alone can serve to “substantiate” the “New Opposition’s” disbelief in the new path of development of the countryside, the path of drawing it into the work of socialist construction.
 
As a matter of fact, what is taking place in our country now is not a one-sided process of restoration of capitalism, but a double process of development of capitalism and development of socialism—a contradictory process of struggle between the socialist and the capitalist elements, a process in which the socialist elements are overcoming the capitalist elements. This is equally incontestable as regards the towns, where state industry is the basis of socialism, and as regards the countryside, here the main foothold for socialist development is mass co-operation linked up with socialist industry.
 
The simple restoration of capitalism is impossible, if only for the reason that the proletariat is in power, that large-scale industry is in the hands of the proletariat, and that transport and credit are in the possession of the proletarian state.
 
Differentiation in the countryside cannot assume its former dimensions, the middle peasants still constitute the main mass of the peasantry, and the kulak cannot regain his former strength, if only for the reason that the land has been nationalised, that it has been withdrawn from circulation, while our trade, credit, tax and cooperative policy is directed towards restricting the kulaks’ exploiting proclivities, towards promoting the welfare of the broad mass of the peasantry and levelling out the extremes in the countryside. That is quite apart from the fact that the fight against the kulaks is now proceeding not only along the old line of organising the poor peasants against the kulaks, but also along the new line of strengthening the alliance of the proletariat and the poor peasants with the mass of the middle peasants against the kulaks. The fact that the opposition does not understand the meaning and significance of the fight against the kulaks along this second line once more confirms that the opposition is straying towards the old path of development in the countryside—the path of capitalist development, when the kulaks and the poor peasants constituted the main forces in the countryside, while the middle peasants were “melting away.”
 
Co-operation is a variety of state capitalism, says the opposition, citing in this connection Lenin’s pamphlet The Tax in Kind33; and, consequently, it does not believe it possible to utilise the co-operatives as the main foothold for socialist development. Here, too, the opposition commits a gross error. Such an interpretation of co-operation was adequate and satisfactory in 1921, when The Tax in Kind was written, when we had no developed socialist industry, when Lenin conceived of state capitalism as the possible basic form of conducting our economy, and when he considered co-operation in conjunction with state capitalism. But this interpretation has now become inadequate and has been rendered obsolete by history, for times have changed since then: our socialist industry has developed, state capitalism never took hold to the degree expected, whereas the co-operatives, which now have over ten million members, have begun to link up with socialist industry.
 
How else are we to explain the fact that already in 1923, two years after The Tax in Kind was written, Lenin began to regard co-operation in a different light, and considered that “co-operation, under our conditions, very often entirely coincides with socialism” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 396).
 
How else can this be explained except by the fact that during those two years socialist industry had grown, whereas state capitalism had failed to take hold to the required extent, in view of which Lenin began to consider co-operation, not in conjunction with state capitalism, but in conjunction with socialist industry?
 
The conditions of development of co-operation had changed. And so the approach to the question of co-operation had to be changed also.
 
Here, for instance, is a remarkable passage from Lenin’s pamphlet On Co-operation (1923), which throws light on this matter:
 
“Under state capitalism,** co-operative enterprises differ from state capitalist enterprises, firstly, in that they are private enterprises and, secondly, in that they are collective enterprises. Under our present system,** co-operative enterprises differ from private capitalist enterprises because they are collective enterprises, but they do not differ** from socialist enterprises if the land on which they are situated and the means of production belong to the state, i.e., the working class” (see Vol. XXVII, p. 396).
 
In this short passage two big questions are solved. Firstly, that “our present system” is not state capitalism. Secondly, that co-operative enterprises taken in conjunction with “our system” “do not differ” from socialist enterprises.
 
I think it would be difficult to express oneself more clearly.
 
Here is another passage from the same pamphlet of Lenin’s:
 
“. . . for us, the mere growth of co-operation (with the ‘slight’ exception mentioned above) is identical with the growth of socialism, and at the same time we must admit that a radical change has taken place in our whole outlook on socialism” (ibid.).
 
Obviously, the pamphlet On Co-operation gives a new appraisal of the co-operatives, a thing which the “New Opposition” does not want to admit, and which it is carefully hushing up, in defiance of the facts, in defiance of the obvious truth, in defiance of Leninism. Co-operation taken in conjunction with state capitalism is one thing, and co-operation taken in conjunction with socialist industry is another.
 
From this, however, it must not be concluded that a gulf lies between The Tax in Kind and On Co-operation. That would, of course, be wrong. It is sufficient, for instance, to refer to the following passage in The Tax in Kind to discern immediately the inseparable connection between The Tax in Kind and the pamphlet On Co-operation as regards appraisal of the co-operatives. Here it is:
 
“The transition from concessions to socialism is a transition from one form of large-scale production to another form of large-scale production. The transition from small-proprietor co-operatives to socialism is a transition from small production to large-scale production, i.e., it is a more complicated transition, but, if successful, is capable of embracing wider masses of the population, is capable of pulling up the deeper and more tenacious roots of the old, pre-socialist** and even pre-capitalist relations, which most stubbornly resist all ‘innovations’” (see Vol. XXVI, p. 337).
 
From this quotation it is evident that even during the time of The Tax in Kind, when we had as yet no developed socialist industry, Lenin was of the opinion that, if successful, co-operation could be transformed into a powerful weapon in the struggle against “pre-socialist,” and, hence, against capitalist relations. I think it was precisely this idea that subsequently served as the point of departure for his pamphlet On Co-operation.
 
But what follows from all this?
 
From all this it follows that the “New Opposition” approaches the question of co-operation, not in a Marxist way, but metaphysically. It regards co-operation not as a historical phenomenon taken in conjunction with other phenomena, in conjunction, say, with state capitalism (in 1921) or with socialist industry (in 1923), but as something constant and immutable, as a “thing in itself.”
 
Hence the mistakes of the opposition on the question of co-operation, hence its disbelief in the development of the countryside towards socialism through co-operation, hence its turning back to the old path, the path of capitalist development in the countryside.
 
Such, in general, is the position of the “New Opposition” on the practical questions of socialist construction.
 
There is only one conclusion: the line of the opposition, so far as it has a line, its wavering and vacillation, its disbelief in our cause and its consternation in face of difficulties, lead to capitulation to the capitalist elements of our economy.
 
For, if NEP is mainly a retreat, if the socialist nature of state-industry is doubted, if the kulak is almost omnipotent, if little hope can be placed in the co-operatives, if the role of the middle peasant is progressively declining, if the new path of development in the countryside is open to doubt, if the Party is almost degenerating, while the revolution in the West is not very near—then what is there left in the arsenal of the opposition, what can it count on in the struggle against the capitalist elements in our economy? You cannot go into battle armed only with “The Philosophy of the Epoch.”34
 
It is clear that the arsenal of the “New Opposition,” if it can be termed an arsenal at all, is an unenviable one. It is not an arsenal for battle. Still less is it one for victory.
 
It is clear that the Party would be doomed “in no time” if it entered the fight equipped with such an arsenal; it would simply have to capitulate to the capitalist elements in our economy.
 
That is why the Fourteenth Congress of the Party was absolutely right in deciding that “the fight for the victory of socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. is the main task of our Party”; that one of the necessary conditions for the fulfilment of this task is “to combat disbelief in the cause of building socialism in our country and the attempts to represent our enterprises, which are of a ‘consistently socialist type’ (Lenin), as state capitalist enterprises”; that “such ideological trends, which prevent the masses from adopting a conscious attitude towards the building of socialism in general and of a socialist industry in particular, can only serve to hinder the growth of the socialist elements in our economy and to facilitate the struggle of private capital against them”; that “the congress therefore considers that wide-spread educational work must be carried on for the purpose of overcoming these distortions of Leninism” (see Resolution on the Report of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.)35).
 
The historical significance of the Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) lies in the fact that it was able radically to expose the mistakes of the “New Opposition,” that it rejected their disbelief and whining, that it clearly and precisely indicated the path of the further struggle for socialism, opened before the Party the prospect of victory, and thus armed the proletariat with an invincible faith in the victory of socialist construction.
 
January 25, 1926.
Notes
 
1 See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, pp. 71-196.
 
2 See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 22, pp. 173-290.
 
3 See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 25, pp. 353-462.
 
4 See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 28, pp. 207-302.
 
5 See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 31, pp. 1-97.
 
* References in Roman numerals to Lenin’s works here and elsewhere are to the 3rd Russian edition of the Works.—Tr.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
6 See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, p. 126.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
7 See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, p. 107.
 
8 See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, pp. 395-96.
 
9 See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The First Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League (Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow 1951, pp. 99-108).
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
** My italics.—J. St.
 
10 See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 6, pp. 379-80.