Category: J. Stalin
The Death of Stalin: Vulgar anticommunism under the veil of “comedy”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Death of Stalin: Vulgar anticommunism under the veil of “comedy”
“The Death of Stalin” is the title of the anticommunist film which is going to be screened on cinemas. The two-minutes trailer of the movie is enough for someone to understand that it is another case of crude and vulgar anticommunism, of distortion and counterfeiting of History, as long as it shows Stalin as the “fear and terror of the nation” and other personalities of the time (e.g. Marshall Zhukov) as miserable caricatures.
But the text of the [film’s] synopsis by the distribution company ODEON which accompanies the movie and has been published in the media is also revealing. Promoting the film, the distribution company refers to it as “a comedy based on real events”: “On the night of March 2, 1953, a man is dying. A terrible stroke is wracking his entire body. He is drooling. He is pissing himself… The man is Joseph Stalin, dictator, tyrant, butcher as well a Secretary General of USSR. ‘The Death of Stalin’ is a satire about the days before the funerals of the Nation’s Father. Days that shine a sardonic light on all the madness, depravity and inhumanity of totalitarianism. Days that will see the men surrounding him fight to inherit his supreme power. And it’s all based on true events.”
“Dictator”, “tyrrant”, “inhumanity”, “totalitarianism”, “supreme power”… All the components of vulgar anticommunism, mixed in a blend and garnished with “satire” and “comedy”, so it can become more digestible and penetrating to the public.
Source: Rizospastis / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
J.V. Stalin- Lenin: The Genius of the Revolution
| January 21, 2018 | 6:56 pm | J. Stalin, V.I. Lenin | No comments

Sunday, January 21, 2018

J.V. Stalin- Lenin: The Genius of the Revolution
Joseph V. Stalin –
Speech Delivered at a Memorial Meeting of the Kremlin Military School.
January 28, 1924. 
First Published on Pravda, No. 34, 
February 12, 1924.
Source: Works, Vol. 6, January-November, 1924, pp. 54-66, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954.
I am told that you have arranged a Lenin memorial meeting here this evening and that I have been invited as one of the speakers. I do not think there is any need for me to deliver a set speech on Lenin’s activities. It would be better, I think, to confine myself to a few facts to bring out certain of Lenin’s characteristics as a man and a leader. There may, perhaps, be no inherent connection between these facts, but that is not of vital importance as far as gaining a general idea of Lenin is concerned. At any rate, I am unable on this occasion to do more than what I have just promised.

The Mountain Eagle
I first became acquainted with Lenin in 1903. True, it was not a personal acquaintance, but was by correspondence. But it made an indelible impression upon me, one which has never left me throughout all my work in the Party. I was in exile in Siberia at the time. My knowledge of Lenin’s revolutionary activities since the end of the nineties, and especially after 1901, after the appearance of Iskra, had convinced me that in Lenin we had a man of extraordinary calibre. At that time I did not regard him merely as a leader of the Party, but as its actual founder, for he alone understood the inner essence and urgent needs of our Party. When I compared him with the other leaders of our Party, it always seemed to me that he was head and shoulders above his colleagues—Plekhanov, Martov, Axelrod and the others; that, compared with them, Lenin was not just one of the leaders, but a leader of the highest rank, a mountain eagle, who knew no fear in the struggle, and who boldly led the Party forward along the unexplored paths of the Russian revolutionary movement. 
This impression took such a deep hold of me that I felt impelled to write about it to a close friend of mine who was living as a political exile abroad, requesting him to give me his opinion. Some time later, when I was already in exile in Siberia—this was at the end of 1903—I received an enthusiastic reply from my friend and a simple, but profoundly expressive letter from Lenin, to whom, it turned out, my friend had shown my letter. Lenin’s note was comparatively short, but it contained a bold and fearless criticism of the practical work of our Party, and a remarkably clear and concise account of the entire plan of work of the Party in the immediate future. 
Only Lenin could write of the most intricate things so simply and clearly, so concisely and boldly, that every sentence did not so much speak as ring out like a rifle shot. This simple and bold letter still further strengthened me in my opinion that Lenin was the mountain eagle of our Party. I cannot forgive myself for having, from the habit of an old underground worker, consigned this letter of Lenin’s, like many other letters, to the flames.
My acquaintance with Lenin dates from that time.
I first met Lenin in December 1905 at the Bolshevik conference in Tammerfors (Finland). I was hoping to see the mountain eagle of our Party, the great man, great not only politically, but, if you will, physically, because in my imagination I had pictured Lenin as a giant, stately and imposing. What, then, was my disappointment to see a most ordinary-looking man, below average height, in no way, literally in no way, distinguishable from ordinary mortals. . . .
It is accepted as the usual thing for a “great man” to come late to meetings so that the assembly may await, his appearance with bated breath; and then, just before the “great man” enters, the warning whisper goes up: “Hush! . . . Silence! . . . he’s coming.” This ritual did not seem to me superfluous, because it creates an impression, inspires respect. What, then, was my disappointment to learn that Lenin had arrived at the conference before the delegates, had settled himself somewhere in a corner, and was unassumingly carrying on a conversation, a most ordinary conversation with the most ordinary delegates at the conference. I will not conceal from you that at that time this seemed to me to be something of a violation of certain essential rules.
Only later did I realise that this simplicity and modesty, this striving to remain unobserved, or, at least, not to make himself conspicuous and not to emphasise his high position, this feature was one of Lenin’s strongest points as the new leader of the new masses, of the simple and ordinary masses of the “rank and file” of humanity.
Force of Logic
The two speeches Lenin delivered at this conference were remarkable: one was on the current situation and the other on the agrarian question. Unfortunately, they have not been preserved. They were inspired, and they roused the whole conference to a pitch of stormy enthusiasm. The extraordinary power of conviction, the simplicity and clarity of argument, the brief and easily understood sentences, the absence of affectation, of dizzying gestures and theatrical phrases aiming at effect—all this made Lenin’s speeches a favourable contrast to the speeches of the usual “parliamentary” orators.
But what captivated me at the time was not this aspect of Lenin’s speeches. I was captivated by that irresistible force of logic in them which, although somewhat terse, gained a firm hold on his audience, gradually electrified it, and then, as one might say, completely overpowered it. I remember that many of the delegates said: “The logic of Lenin’s speeches is like a mighty tentacle which twines all round you and holds you as in a vice and from whose grip you are powerless to tear yourself away: you must either surrender or resign yourself to utter defeat.”
I think that this characteristic of Lenin’s speeches was the strongest feature of his art as an orator.
No Whining
The second time I met Lenin was in 1906 at the Stockholm Congress of our Party. You know that the Bolsheviks were in the minority at this congress and suffered defeat. This was the first time I saw Lenin in the role of the vanquished. But he was not in the least like those leaders who whine and lose heart after a defeat. On the contrary, defeat transformed Lenin into a spring of compressed energy which inspired his supporters for new battles and for future victory. I said that Lenin was defeated. But what sort of defeat was it? You had only to look at his opponents, the victors at the Stockholm Congress—Plekhanov, Axelrod, Martov and the rest. They had little of the appearance of real victors, for Lenin’s merciless criticism of Menshevism had not left one whole bone in their body, so to speak. I remember that we, the Bolshevik delegates, huddled together in a group, gazing at Lenin and asking his advice. The speeches of some of the delegates betrayed a note of weariness and dejection. I recall that to these speeches Lenin bitingly replied through clenched teeth: “Don’t whine, comrades, we are bound to win, for we are right.” Hatred of the whining intellectual, faith in our own strength, confidence in victory—that is what Lenin impressed upon us. It was felt that the Bolsheviks’ defeat was temporary, that they were bound to win in the very near future.
“No whining over defeat”—this was the feature of Lenin’s activities that helped him to rally around himself an army faithful to the end and confident in its strength.
No Boasting
At the next congress, held in 1907 in London, the Bolsheviks proved victorious. This was the first time I saw Lenin in the role of victor. Victory turns the heads of some leaders and makes them haughty and boastful. They begin in most cases to be triumphant, to rest on their laurels. But Lenin did not in the least resemble such leaders. On the contrary, it was precisely after a victory that he became especially vigilant and cautious. I recall that Lenin insistently impressed on the delegates: “The first thing is not to become intoxicated by victory and not to boast; the second thing is to consolidate the victory; the third is to give the enemy the finishing stroke, for he has been beaten, but, by no means crushed.” He poured withering scorn on those delegates who frivolously asserted: “It is all over with the Mensheviks now.” He had no difficulty in showing that the Mensheviks still had roots in the working-class movement, that they had to be fought with skill, and that all overestimation of one’s own strength and, especially, all underestimation of the strength of the enemy had to be avoided.
“No boasting in victory”—this was the feature of Lenin’s character that helped him soberly to weigh the strength of the enemy and to insure the Party against possible surprises.
Fidelity to Principle
Party leaders cannot but prize the opinion of the majority of their party. A majority is a power with which a leader cannot but reckon. Lenin understood this no less than any other party leader. But Lenin never became a captive of the majority, especially when that majority had no basis of principle. There have been times in the history of our Party when the opinion of the majority or the momentary interests of the Party conflicted with the fundamental interests of the proletariat. On such occasions Lenin would never hesitate and resolutely took his stand in support of principle as against the majority of the Party. Moreover, he did not fear on such occasions literally to stand alone against all, considering—as he would often say—that “a policy based on principle is the only correct policy.”
Particularly characteristic in this respect are the two following facts.
First fact. It was in the period 1909-11, when the Party, smashed by the counter-revolution, was in process of complete disintegration. It was a period of disbelief in the Party, of wholesale desertion from the Party, not only by the intellectuals, but partly even by the workers; a period when the necessity for illegal organisation was being denied, a period of Liquidationism and collapse. Not only the Mensheviks, but even the Bolsheviks then consisted of a number of factions and trends, for the most part severed from the working-class movement. You know that it was just at that period that the idea arose of completely liquidating the illegal organisation and organising the workers into a legal, liberal Stolypin party. Lenin at that time was the only one not to succumb to the widespread epidemic and to hold high the banner of Party principle, assembling the scattered and shattered forces of the Party with astonishing patience and extraordinary persistence, combating each and every anti-Party trend within the working-class movement and defending the Party principle with unusual courage and unparalleled perseverance.
We know that in this fight for the Party principle, Lenin later proved the victor.
Second fact. It was in the period 1914-17, when the imperialist war was in full swing, and when all, or nearly all, the Social-Democratic and Socialist parties had succumbed to the general patriotic frenzy and had placed themselves at the service of the imperialism of their respective countries. It was a period when the Second International had hauled down its colours to capitalism, when even people like Plekhanov, Kautsky, Guesde and the rest were unable to withstand the tide of chauvinism. Lenin at that time was the only one, or almost the only one, to wage a determined struggle against social-chauvinism and social-pacifism, to denounce the treachery of the Guesdes and Kautskys, and to stigmatise the half-heartedness of the betwixt and between “revolutionaries.” Lenin knew that he was backed by only an insignificant minority, but to him this was not of decisive moment, for he knew that the only correct policy with a future before it was the policy of consistent internationalism, that a policy based on principle is the only correct policy.
We know that in this fight for a new International, too, Lenin proved the victor.
“A policy based on principle is the only correct policy”—this was the formula by means of which Lenin took new “impregnable” positions by assault and won over the best elements of the proletariat to revolutionary Marxism.
Faith in the Masses
Theoreticians and leaders of parties, men who are acquainted with the history of nations and who have studied the history of revolutions from beginning to end, are sometimes afflicted by a shameful disease. This disease is called fear of the masses, disbelief in the creative power of the masses. This sometimes gives rise in the leaders to a kind of aristocratic attitude towards the masses, who, although not versed in the history of revolutions, are destined to destroy the old order and build the new. This kind of aristocratic attitude is due to a fear that the elements may break loose, that the masses may “destroy too much”; it is due to a desire to play the part of a mentor who tries to teach the masses from books, but who is averse to learning from the masses.
Lenin was the very antithesis of such leaders. I do not know of any other revolutionary who had so profound a faith in the creative power of the proletariat and in the revolutionary efficacy of its class instinct as Lenin. I do not know of any other revolutionary who could scourge the smug critics of the “chaos of revolution” and the “riot of unauthorised actions of the masses” so ruthlessly as Lenin. I recall that when in the course of a conversation one comrade said that “the revolution should be followed by the normal order of things,” Lenin sarcastically remarked: “It is a pity that people who want to be revolutionaries forget that the most normal order of things in history is the revolutionary order of things.”
Hence, Lenin’s contempt for all who superciliously looked down on the masses and tried to teach them from books. And hence, Lenin’s constant precept: learn from the masses, try to comprehend their actions, carefully study the practical experience of the struggle of the masses.
Faith in the creative power of the masses—this was the feature of Lenin’s activities which enabled him to comprehend the spontaneous process and to direct its movement into the channel of the proletarian revolution.
The Genius of Revolution
Lenin was born for revolution. He was, in truth, the genius of revolutionary outbreaks and the greatest master of the art of revolutionary leadership. Never did he feel so free and happy as in a time of revolutionary upheavals. I do not mean by this that Lenin approved equally of all revolutionary upheavals, or that he was in favour of revolutionary outbreaks at all times and under all circumstances. Not at all. What I do mean is that never was the genius of Lenin’s insight displayed so fully and distinctly as in a time of revolutionary outbreaks. In times of revolution he literally blossomed forth, became a seer, divined the movement of classes and the probable zigzags of the revolution, seeing them as if they lay in the palm of his hand. It was with good reason that it used to be said in our Party circles: “Lenin swims in the tide of revolution like a fish in water.”
Hence the “amazing” clarity of Lenin’s tactical slogans and the “breath-taking” boldness of his revolutionary plans.
I recall two facts which are particularly characteristic of this feature of Lenin.
First fact. It was in the period just prior to the October Revolution, when millions of workers, peasants and soldiers, impelled by the crisis in the rear and at the front, were demanding peace and liberty; when the generals and the bourgeoisie were working for a military dictatorship for the sake of “war to a finish”; when the whole of so-called “public opinion” and all the so-called “Socialist parties” were hostile to the Bolsheviks and were branding them as “German spies”; when Kerensky was trying—already with some success—to drive the Bolshevik Party underground; and when the still powerful and disciplined armies of the Austro-German coalition confronted our weary, disintegrating armies, while the West-European “Socialists” lived in blissful alliance with their governments for the sake of “war to complete victory.”. . .
What did starting an uprising at such a moment mean? Starting an uprising in such a situation meant staking everything. But Lenin did not fear the risk, for he knew, he saw with his prophetic eye, that an uprising was inevitable, that it would win; that an uprising in Russia would pave the way for ending the imperialist war, that it would rouse the war-weary masses of the West, that it would transform the imperialist war into a civil war; that the uprising would usher in a Republic of Soviets, and that the Republic of Soviets would serve as a bulwark for the revolutionary movement throughout the world.
We know that Lenin’s revolutionary foresight was subsequently confirmed with unparalleled exactness.
Second fact. It was in the first days of the October Revolution, when the Council of People’s Commissars was trying to compel General Dukhonin, the mutinous Commander-in-Chief, to terminate hostilities and open negotiations for an armistice with the Germans. I recall that Lenin, Krylenko (the future Commander-in-Chief) and I went to General Staff Headquarters in Petrograd to negotiate with Dukhonin over the direct wire. It was a ghastly moment. Dukhonin and Field Headquarters categorically refused to obey the order of the Council of People’s Commissars. The army officers were completely under the sway of Field Headquarters. 
As for the soldiers, no one could tell what this army of fourteen million would say, subordinated as it was to the so-called army organisations, which were hostile to the Soviet power. In Petrograd itself, as we know, a mutiny of the military cadets was brewing. Furthermore, Kerensky was marching on Petrograd. I recall that after a pause at the direct wire, Lenin’s face suddenly shone with an extraordinary light. Clearly he had arrived at a decision. “Let’s go to the wireless station,” he said, “it will stand us in good stead. We shall issue a special order dismissing General Dukhonin, appoint Comrade Krylenko Commander-in-Chief in his place and appeal to the soldiers over the heads of the officers, calling upon them to surround the generals, to cease hostilities, to establish contact with the Austro-German soldiers and take the cause of peace into their own hands.”
This was “a leap in the dark.” But Lenin did not shrink from this “leap”; on the contrary, he made it eagerly, for he knew that the army wanted peace and would win peace, sweeping every obstacle from its path; he knew that this method of establishing peace was bound to have its effect on the Austro-German soldiers and would give full rein to the yearning for peace on every front without exception.
We know that here, too, Lenin’s revolutionary foresight was subsequently confirmed with the utmost exactness.
The insight of genius, the ability rapidly to grasp and divine the inner meaning of impending events this was the quality of Lenin which enabled him to lay down the correct strategy and a clear line of conduct at turning points of the revolutionary movement.
J.V. Stalin – Trotskyism or Leninism? (1924)
| January 5, 2018 | 8:27 pm | J. Stalin, Leon Trotsky, V.I. Lenin | 1 Comment

Saturday, January 6, 2018

J.V. Stalin – Trotskyism or Leninism? (1924)
Joseph V. Stalin- Trotskyism or Leninism?
Speech delivered at the Plenum of the Communist Group in the A.U.C.C.T.U., 
November 19, 1924;
Published on Pravda, No.269, 
November 26, 1924.
Comrades, after Kamenev’s comprehensive report there is little left for me to say. I shall therefore confine myself to exposing certain legends that are being spread by Trotsky and his supporters about the October uprising, about Trotsky’s role in the uprising, about the Party and the preparation for October, and so forth. I shall also touch upon Trotskyism as a peculiar ideology that is incompatible with Leninism, and upon the Party’s tasks in connection with Trotsky’s latest literary pronouncements.

First of all about the October uprising. Rumours are being vigorously spread among members of the Party that the Central Committee as a whole was opposed to an uprising in October 1917. The usual story is that on October 10, when the Central Committee adopted the decision to organise the uprising, the majority of the Central Committee at first spoke against an uprising, but, so the story runs, at that moment a worker burst in on the meeting of the Central Committee and said:
“You are deciding against an uprising, but I tell you that there will be an uprising all the same, in spite of everything.” And so, after that threat, the story runs, the Central Committee, which is alleged to have become frightened, raised the question of an uprising afresh and adopted a decision to organise it.
This is not merely a rumour, comrades. It is related by the well-known John Reed in his book Ten Days. Reed was remote from our Party and, of course, could not know the history of our secret meeting on October 10, and, consequently, he was taken in by the gossip spread by people like Sukhanov. This story was later passed round and repeated in a number of pamphlets written by Trotskyites, including one of the latest pamphlets on October written by Syrkin. These rumours have been strongly supported in Trotsky’s latest literary pronouncements.
It scarcely needs proof that all these and similar “Arabian Nights” fairy tales are not in accordance with the truth, that in fact nothing of the kind happened, nor could have happened, at the meeting of the Central Committee. Consequently, we could ignore these absurd rumours; after all, lots of rumours are fabricated in the office rooms of the oppositionists or those who are remote from the Party. Indeed, we have ignored them till now; for example, we paid no attention to John Reed’s mistakes and did not take the trouble to rectify them. After Trotsky’s latest pronouncements, however, it is no longer possible to ignore such legends, for attempts are being made now to bring up our young people on them and, unfortunately, some results have already been achieved in this respect. In view of this, I must counter these absurd rumours with the actual facts.
I take the minutes of the meeting of the Central Committee of our Party on October 10 (23), 1917. Present Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Stalin, Trotsky, Sverdlov, Uritsky, Dzerzhinsky, Kollontai, Bubnov, Sokolnikov, Lomov. The question of the current situation and the uprising was discussed. After the discussion, Comrade Lenin’s resolution on the uprising was put to the vote. The resolution was adopted by a majority of 10 against 2. Clear, one would think: by a majority of 10 against 2, the Central Committee decided to proceed with the immediate, practical work of organising the uprising. At this very same meeting the Central Committee elected a political centre to direct the uprising; this centre, called the Political Bureau, consisted of Lenin, Zinoviev, Stalin, Kamenev, Trotsky, Sokolnikov and Bubnov.
Such are the facts.
These minutes at one stroke destroy several legends. They destroy the legend that the majority on the Central Committee was opposed to an uprising. They also destroy the legend that on the question of the uprising the Central Committee was on the verge of a split. It is clear from the minutes that the opponents of an immediate uprising — Kamenev and Zinoviev — were elected to the body that was to exercise political direction of the uprising on a par with those who were in favour of an uprising. There was no question of a split, nor could there be.
Trotsky asserts that in October our Party had a Right wing in the persons of Kamenev and Zinoviev, who, he says, were almost Social-Democrats. What one cannot understand then is how, under those circumstances, it could happen that the Party avoided a split; how it could happen that the disagreements with Kamenev and Zinoviev lasted only a few days; how it could happen that, in spite of those disagreements, the Party appointed these comrades to highly important posts, elected them to the political centre of the uprising, and so forth. Lenin’s implacable attitude towards Social-Democrats is sufficiently well-known in the Party; the Party knows that Lenin would not for a single moment have agreed to have Social-Democratically-minded comrades in the Party, let alone in highly important posts. How, then, are we to explain the fact that the Party avoided a split? The explanation is that in spite of the disagreements, these comrades were old Bolsheviks who stood on the common ground of Bolshevism. What was that common ground? Unity of views on the fundamental questions: the character of the Russian revolution, the driving forces of the revolution, the role of the peasantry, the principles of Party leadership, and so forth. Had there not been this common ground, a split would have been inevitable. There was no split, and the disagreements lasted only a few days, because, and only because, Kamenev and Zinoviev were Leninists, Bolsheviks.
Let us now pass to the legend about Trotsky’s special role in the October uprising. The Trotskyites are vigorously spreading rumours that Trotsky inspired and was the sole leader of the October uprising. These rumours are being spread with exceptional zeal by the so-called editor of Trotsky’s works, Lentsner. Trotsky himself, by consistently avoiding mention of the Party, the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee of the Party, by saying nothing about the leading role of these organisation, in the uprising and vigorously pushing himself forward as the central figure in the October uprising, voluntarily or involuntarily helps to spread the rumours about the special role he is supposed to have played in the uprising. I am far from denying Trotsky’s undoubtedly important role in the uprising. I must say, however, that Trotsky did not play any special role in the October uprising, nor could he do so; being chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, he merely carried out the will of the appropriate Party bodies, which directed every step that Trotsky took. To philistines like Sukhanov, all this may seem strange, but the facts, the true facts, wholly and fully confirm what I say.
Let us take the minutes of the next meeting of the Central Committee, the one held on October 16 (29), 1917. Present: the members of the Central Committee, plus representatives of the Petrograd Committee, plus representatives of the military organisation, factory committees, trade unions and the railwaymen. Among those present, besides the members of the Central Committee, were: Krylenko, Shotman, Kalinin, Volodarsky, Shlyapnikov, Lacis, and others, twenty-five in all. The question of the uprising was discussed from the purely practical-organisational aspect. Lenin’s resolution on the uprising was adopted by a majority of 20 against 2, three abstaining. A practical centre was elected for the organisational leadership of the uprising. Who was elected to this centre? The following five: Sverdlov, Stalin, Dzerzhinsky, Bubnov, Uritsky. The functions of the practical centre: to direct all the practical organs of the uprising in conformity with the directives of the Central Committee. Thus, as you see, something “terrible” happened at this meeting of the Central Committee, i.e., “strange to relate,” the “inspirer,” the “chief figure,” the “sole leader” of the uprising, Trotsky, was not elected to the practical centre, which was called upon to direct the uprising. How is this to be reconciled with the current opinion about Trotsky’s special role? Is not all this somewhat “strange,” as Sukhanov, or the Trotskyites, would say? And yet, strictly speaking, there is nothing strange about it, for neither in the Party, nor in the October uprising, did Trotsky play any special role, nor could he do so, for he was a relatively new man in our Party in the period of October. He, like all the responsible workers, merely carried out the will of the Central Committee and of its organs. Whoever is familiar with the mechanics of Bolshevik Party leadership will have no difficulty in understanding that it could not be otherwise: it would have been enough for Trotsky to have gone against the will of the Central Committee to have been deprived of influence on the course of events. This talk about Trotsky’s special role is a legend that is being spread by obliging “Party” gossips.
This, of course, does not mean that the October uprising did not have its inspirer. It did have its inspirer and leader, but this was Lenin, and none other than Lenin, that same Lenin whose resolutions the Central Committee adopted when deciding the question of the uprising, that same Lenin who, in spite of what Trotsky says, was not prevented by being in hiding from being the actual inspirer of the uprising. It is foolish and ridiculous to attempt now, by gossip about Lenin having been in hiding, to obscure the indubitable fact that the inspirer of the uprising was the leader of the Party, V. I. Lenin.
Such are the facts.
Granted, we are told, but it cannot be denied that Trotsky fought well in the period of October. Yes, that is true, Trotsky did, indeed, fight well in October; but Trotsky was not the only one who fought well in the period of October. Even people like the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who then stood side by side with the Bolsheviks, also fought well. In general, I must say that in the period of a victorious uprising, when the enemy is isolated and the uprising is growing, it is not difficult to fight well. At such moments even backward people become heroes.
The proletarian struggle is not, however, an uninterrupted advance, an unbroken chain of victories. The proletarian struggle also has its trials, its defeats. The genuine revolutionary is not one who displays courage in the period of a victorious uprising, but one who, while fighting well during the victorious advance of the revolution, also displays courage when the revolution is in retreat, when the proletariat suffers defeat; who does not lose his head and does not funk when the revolution suffers reverses, when the enemy achieves success; who does not become panic-stricken or give way to despair when the revolution is in a period of retreat. The Left Socialist-Revolutionaries did not fight badly in the period of October, and they supported the Bolsheviks. But who does not know that those “brave” fighters became panic-stricken in the period of Brest, when the advance of German imperialism drove them to despair and hysteria. It is a very sad but indubitable fact that Trotsky, who fought well in the period of October, did not, in the period of Brest, in the period when the revolution suffered temporary reverses, possess the courage to display sufficient staunchness at that difficult moment and to refrain from following in the footsteps of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries. Beyond question, that moment was a difficult one; one had to display exceptional courage and imperturbable coolness not to be dismayed, to retreat in good time, to accept peace in good time, to withdraw the proletarian army out of range of the blows of German imperialism, to preserve the peasant reserves and, after obtaining a respite in this way, to strike at the enemy with renewed force. Unfortunately, Trotsky was found to lack this courage and revolutionary staunchness at that difficult moment.
In Trotsky’s opinion, the principal lesson of the proletarian revolution is “not to funk” during October. That is wrong, for Trotsky’s assertion contains only a particle of the truth about the lessons of the revolution. The whole truth about the lessons of the proletarian revolution is “not to funk” not only when the revolution is advancing, but also when it is in retreat, when the enemy is gaining the upper hand and the revolution is suffering reverses. The revolution did not end with October. October was only the beginning of the proletarian revolution. It is bad to funk when the tide of insurrection is rising; but it is worse to funk when the revolution is passing through severe trials after power has been captured. To retain power on the morrow of the revolution is no less important than to capture power. If Trotsky funked during the period of Brest, when our revolution was passing through severe trials, when it was almost a matter of “surrendering” power, he ought to know that the mistakes committed by Kamenev and Zinoviev in October are quite irrelevant here.
That is how matters stand with the legends about the October uprising.
Let us now pass to the question of the preparation for October.
Listening to Trotsky, one might think that during the whole of the period of preparation, from March to October, the Bolshevik Party did nothing but mark time; that it was being corroded by internal contradictions and hindered Lenin in every way; that, had it not been for Trotsky, nobody knows how the October Revolution would have ended. It is rather amusing to hear this strange talk about the Party from Trotsky, who declares in this same “preface” to Volume III that “the chief instrument of the proletarian revolution is the Party,” that “without the Party, apart from the Party, by-passing the Party, with a substitute for the Party, the proletarian revolution cannot be victorious.” Allah himself would not understand how our revolution could have succeeded if “its chief instrument” proved to be useless, while success was impossible, as it appears, “by-passing the Party.” But this is not the first time that Trotsky treats us to oddities. It must be supposed that this amusing talk about our Party is one of Trotsky’s usual oddities.
Let us briefly review the history of the preparation for October according to periods.
1) The period of the Party’s new orientation (March-April). The major facts of this period:
a) the overthrow of tsarism;
b) the formation of the Provisional Government (dictatorship of the bourgeoisie);
c) the appearance of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies (dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry);
d) dual power;
e) the April demonstration;
f) the first crisis of power.
The characteristic feature of this period is the fact that there existed together, side by side and simultaneously, both the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry; the latter trusts the former, believes that it is striving for peace, voluntarily surrenders power to the bourgeoisie and thereby becomes an appendage of the bourgeoisie. There are as yet no serious conflicts between the two dictatorships. On the other hand, there is the “Contact Committee.” [1]
This was the greatest turning point in the history of Russia and an unprecedented turning point in the history of our Party. The old, pre-revolutionary platform of direct overthrow of the government was clear and definite, but it was no longer suitable for the new conditions of the struggle. It was now no longer possible to go straight out for the overthrow of the government, for the latter was connected with the Soviets, then under the influence of the defencists, and the Party would have had to wage war against both the government and the Soviets, a war that would have been beyond its strength. Nor was it possible to pursue a policy of supporting the Provisional Government, for it was the government of imperialism. Under the new conditions of the struggle, the Party had to adopt a new orientation. The Party (its majority) groped its way towards this new orientation. It adopted the policy of pressure on the Provisional Government through the Soviets on the question of peace and did not venture to step forward at once from the old slogan of the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry to the new slogan of power to the Soviets. The aim of this halfway policy was to enable the Soviets to discern the actual imperialist nature of the Provisional Government on the basis of the concrete questions of peace, and in this way to wrest the Soviets from the Provisional Government. But this was a profoundly mistaken position, for it gave rise to pacifist illusions, brought grist to the mill of defencism and hindered the revolutionary education of the masses. At that time I shared this mistaken position with other Party comrades and fully abandoned it only in the middle of April, when I associated myself with Lenin’s theses. A new orientation was needed. This new orientation was given to the Party by Lenin, in his celebrated April Theses. [2] I shall not deal with these theses, for they are known to everybody. Were there any disagreements between the Party and Lenin at that time? Yes, there were. How long did these disagreements last? Not more than two weeks. The City Conference of the Petrograd organisation [3] (in the latter half of April), which adopted Lenin’s theses, marked a turning point in our Party’s development. The All-Russian April Conference [4] (at the end of April) merely completed on an all-Russian scale the work of the Petrograd Conference, rallying nine-tenths of the Party around this united Party position.
Now, seven years later, Trotsky gloats maliciously over the past disagreements among the Bolsheviks and depicts them as a struggle waged as if there were almost two parties within Bolshevism. But, firstly, Trotsky disgracefully exaggerates and inflates the matter, for the Bolshevik Party lived through these disagreements without the slightest shock. Secondly, our Party would be a caste and not a revolutionary party if it did not permit different shades of opinion in its ranks. Moreover, it is well known that there were disagreements among us even before that, for example, in the period of the Third Duma, but they did not shake the unity of our Party. Thirdly, it will not be out of place to ask what was then the position of Trotsky himself, who is now gloating so eagerly over the past disagreements among the Bolsheviks. Lentsner, the so-called editor of Trotsky’s works, assures us that Trotsky’s letters from America (March) “wholly anticipated” Lenin’s Letters From Afar [5] (March), which served as the basis of Lenin’s April Theses. That is what he says: “wholly anticipated.” Trotsky does not object to this analogy; apparently, he accepts it with thanks. But, firstly, Trotsky’s letters “do not in the least resemble” Lenin’s letters either in spirit or in conclusions, for they wholly and entirely reflect Trotsky’s anti-Bolshevik slogan of “no tsar, but a workers’ government,” a slogan which implies a revolution without the peasantry. It is enough to glance through these two series of letters to be convinced of this. Secondly, if what Lentener says is true, how are we to explain the fact that Lenin on the very next day after his arrival from abroad considered it necessary to dissociate himself from Trotsky? Who does not know of Lenin’s repeated statements that Trotsky’s slogan: “no tsar, but a workers’ government” was an attempt “to skip the still unexhausted peasant movement,” that this slogan meant “playing at the seizure of power by a workers’ government”? 
What can there be in common between Lenin’s Bolshevik theses and Trotsky’s anti-Bolshevik scheme with its “playing at the seizure of power”? And what prompts this passion that some people display for comparing a wretched hovel with Mont Blanc? For what purpose did Lentsner find it necessary to make this risky addition to the heap of old legends about our revolution of still another legend, about Trotsky’s letters from America “anticipating” Lenin’s well-known Letters From Afar
No wonder it is said that an obliging fool is more dangerous than an enemy.
2) The period of the revolutionary mobilisation of the masses (May-August). The major facts of this period:
a) the April demonstration in Petrograd and the formation of the coalition government with the participation of “Socialists”;
b) the May Day demonstrations in the principal centres of Russia with the slogan of “a democratic peace”;
c) the June demonstration in Petrograd with the principal slogan: “Down with the capitalist ministers!”;
d) the June offensive at the front and the reverses of the Russian army;
e) the July armed demonstration in Petrograd; the Cadet ministers resign from the government;
f) counter-revolutionary troops are called in from the front; the editorial offices of Pravda are wrecked; the counter-revolution launches a struggle against the Soviets and a new coalition government is formed, headed by Kerensky;
g) the Sixth Congress of our Party, which issues the slogan to prepare for an armed uprising;
h) the counter-revolutionary Conference of State and the general strike in Moscow;
i) Kornilov’s unsuccessful march on Petrograd, the revitalising of the Soviets; the Cadets resign and a “Directory” is formed.
The characteristic feature of this period is the intensification of the crisis and the upsetting of the unstable equilibrium between the Soviets and the Provisional Government which, for good or evil, had existed in the preceding period. Dual power has become intolerable for both sides. The fragile edifice of the “Contact Committee” is tottering. “Crisis of power” and “ministerial re-shuffle” are the most fashionable catchwords of the day. The crisis at the front and the disruption in the rear are doing their work, strengthening the extreme flanks and squeezing the defencist compromisers from both sides. The revolution is mobilising, causing the mobilisation of the counter-revolution. The counter-revolution, in its turn, is spurring on the revolution, stirring up new waves of the revolutionary tide. The question of transferring power to the new class becomes the immediate question of the day.
Were there disagreements in our Party then? Yes, there were. They were, however, of a purely practical character, despite the assertions of Trotsky, who is trying to discover a “Right” and a “Left” wing in the Party. That is to say, they were such disagreements as are inevitable where there is vigorous Party life and real Party activity.
Trotsky is wrong in asserting that the April demonstration in Petrograd gave rise to disagreements in the Central Committee. The Central Committee was absolutely united on this question and condemned the attempt of a group of comrades to arrest the Provisional Government at a time when the Bolsheviks were in a minority both in the Soviets and in the army. Had Trotsky written the “history” of October not according to Sukhanov, but according to authentic documents, he would easily have convinced himself of the error of his assertion.
Trotsky is absolutely wrong in asserting that the attempt, “on Lenin’s initiative,” to arrange a demonstration on June 10 was described as “adventurism” by the “Rightwing” members of the Central Committee. Had Trotsky not written according to Sukhanov he would surely have known that the June 10 demonstration was postponed with the full agreement of Lenin, and that he urged the necessity of postponing it in a big speech he delivered at the well-known meeting of the Petrograd Committee (see minutes of the Petrograd Committee [6]).
Trotsky is absolutely wrong in speaking about “tragic” disagreements in the Central Committee in connection with the July armed demonstration. Trotsky is simply inventing in asserting that some members of the leading group in the Central. Committee “could not but regard the July episode as a harmful adventure.” Trotsky, who was then not yet a member of our Central Committee and was merely our Soviet parliamentary, might, of course, not have known that the Central Committee regarded the July demonstration only as a means of sounding the enemy, that the Central Committee (and Lenin) did not want to convert, did not even think of converting, the demonstration into an uprising at a time when the Soviets in the capitals still supported the defencists. It is quite possible that some Bolsheviks did whimper over the July defeat. I know, for example, that some of the Bolsheviks who were arrested at the time were even prepared to desert our ranks. But to draw inferences from this against certain alleged “Rights,” alleged to be members of the Central Committee, is a shameful distortion of history.
Trotsky is wrong in declaring that during the Kornilov days a section of the Party leaders inclined towards the formation of a bloc with the defencists, towards supporting the Provisional Government. He, of course, is referring to those same alleged “Rights” who keep him awake at night. Trotsky is wrong, for there exist documents, such as the Central Organ of the Party of that time, which refute his statements. Trotsky refers to Lenin’s letter to the Central Committee warning against supporting Kerensky; but Trotsky fails to understand Lenin’s letters, their significance, their purpose. In his letters, Lenin sometimes deliberately ran ahead, pushing into the forefront mistakes that might possibly be committed, and criticising them in advance with the object of warning the Party and of safeguarding it against mistakes. Sometimes he would even magnify a “trifle” and “make a mountain out of a molehill” for the same pedagogical purpose. The leader of the party, especially if he is in hiding, cannot act otherwise, for he must see further than his comrades-in-arms, he must sound the alarm over every possible mistake, even over “trifles.” But to infer from such letters of Lenin’s (and he wrote quite a number of such letters) the existence of “tragic” disagreements and to trumpet them forth means not to understand Lenin’s letters, means not to know Lenin. This, probably, explains why Trotsky sometimes is wide of the mark. In short: there were no disagreements in the Central Committee during the Kornilov revolt, absolutely none.
After the July defeat, disagreement did indeed arise between the Central Committee and Lenin on the question of the future of the Soviets. It is known that Lenin, wishing to concentrate the Party’s attention on the task of preparing the uprising outside the Soviets, warned against any infatuation with the latter, for he was of the opinion that, having been defiled by the defencists, they had become useless. The Central Committee and the Sixth Party Congress took a more cautious line and decided that there were no grounds for excluding the possibility that the Soviets would revive. The Kornilov revolt showed that this decision was correct. This disagreement, however, was of no great consequence for the Party. Later, Lenin admitted that the line taken by the Sixth Congress had been correct. It is interesting that Trotsky has not clutched at this disagreement and has not magnified it to “monstrous” proportions.
A united and solid party, the hub of the revolutionary mobilisation of the masses — such was the picture presented by our Party in that period.
3) The period of organisation of the assault (September-October). The major facts of this period:
a) the convocation of the Democratic Conference and the collapse of the idea of a bloc with the Cadets;
b) the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets go over to the side of the Bolsheviks;
c) the Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region [7]; the Petrograd Soviet decides against the withdrawal of the troops;
d) the decision of the Central Committee on the uprising and the formation of the Revolutionary Military Committee of the Petrograd Soviet;
e) the Petrograd garrison decides to render the Petrograd Soviet armed support; a network of commissars of the Revolutionary Military Committee is organised;
f) the Bolshevik armed forces go into action; the members of the Provisional Government are arrested;
g) the Revolutionary Military Committee of the Petrograd Soviet takes power; the Second Congress of Soviets sets up the Council of People’s Commissars.
The characteristic feature of this period is the rapid growth of the crisis, the utter consternation reigning among the ruling circles, the isolation of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, and the mass flight of the vacillating elements to the side of the Bolsheviks. A peculiar feature of the tactics of the revolution in this period must be noted, namely, that the revolution strove to take every, or nearly every, step in its attack in the guise of defence. Undoubtedly, the refusal to allow the troops to be withdrawn from Petrograd was an important step in the revolution’s attack; nevertheless, this attack was carried out under the slogan of protecting Petrograd from possible attack by the external enemy. Undoubtedly, the formation of the Revolutionary Military Committee was a still more important step in the attack upon the Provisional Government; nevertheless, it was carried out under the slogan of organising Soviet control over the actions of the Headquarters of the Military Area. Undoubtedly, the open transition of the garrison to the side of the Revolutionary Military Committee and the organisation of a network of Soviet Commissars marked the beginning of the uprising; nevertheless, the revolution took these steps under the slogan of protecting the Petrograd Soviet from possible action by the counterrevolution. The revolution, as it were, masked its actions in attack under the cloak of defence in order the more easily to draw the irresolute, vacillating elements into its orbit. This, no doubt, explains the outwardly defensive character of the speeches, articles and slogans of that period, the inner content of which, none the less, was of a profoundly attacking nature.
Were there disagreements in the Central Committee in that period? Yes, there were, and fairly important ones at that. I have already spoken about the disagreements over the uprising. They are fully reflected in the minutes of the meetings of the Central Committee of October 10 and 16. I shall, therefore, not repeat what I have already said. Three questions must now be dealt with: participation in the Pre-parliament, the role of the Soviets in the uprising, and the date of the uprising. This is all the more necessary because Trotsky, in his zeal to push himself into a prominent place, has “inadvertently” misrepresented the stand Lenin took on the last two questions.
Undoubtedly, the disagreements on the question of the Pre-parliament were of a serious nature. What was, so to speak, the aim of the Pre-parliament? It was: to help the bourgeoisie to push the Soviets into the background and to lay the foundations of bourgeois parliamentarism. Whether the Pre-parliament could have accomplished this task in the revolutionary situation that had arisen is another matter. Events showed that this aim could not be realised, and the Pre-parliament itself was a Kornilovite abortion. There can be no doubt, however, that it was precisely this aim that the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries pursued in setting up the Pre-parliament. What could the Bolsheviks’ participation in the Pre-parliament mean under those circumstances? Nothing but deceiving the proletarian masses about the true nature of the Pre-parliament. This is the chief explanation for the passion with which Lenin, in his letters, scourged those who were in favour of taking part in the Pre-parliament. There can be no doubt that it was a grave mistake to have taken part in the Pre-parliament.
It would be a mistake, however, to think, as Trotsky does, that those who were in favour of taking part in the Pre-parliament went into it for the purpose of constructive work, for the purpose of “directing the working-class movement” “into the channel of Social-Democracy.” That is not at all the case. It is not true. Had that been the case, the Party would not have been able to rectify this mistake “in two ticks” by demonstratively walking out of the Pre-parliament. Incidentally, the swift rectification of this mistake was an expression of our Party’s vitality and revolutionary might.
And now, permit me to correct a slight inaccuracy that has crept into the report of Lentsner, the “editor” of Trotsky’s works, about the meeting of the Bolshevik group at which a decision on the question of the Pre-parliament was taken. Lentsner says that there were two reporters at this meeting, Kamenev and Trotsky. That is not true. Actually, there were four reporters: two in favour of boycotting the Pre-parliament (Trotsky and Stalin), and two in favour of participation (Kamenev and Nogin).
Trotsky is in a still worse position when dealing with the stand Lenin took on the question of the form of the uprising. According to Trotsky, it appears that Lenin’s view was that the Party should take power in October “independently of and behind the back of the Soviet.” Later on, criticising this nonsense, which he ascribes to Lenin, Trotsky “cuts capers” and finally delivers the following condescending utterance:
“That would have been a mistake.” Trotsky is here uttering a falsehood about Lenin, he is misrepresenting Lenin’s views on the role of the Soviets in the uprising. A pile of documents can be cited, showing that Lenin proposed that power be taken through the Soviets, either the Petrograd or the Moscow Soviet, and not behind the back of the Soviets. Why did Trotsky have to invent this more than strange legend about Lenin?
Nor is Trotsky in a better position when he “analyses” the stand taken by the Central Committee and Lenin on the question of the date of the uprising. Reporting the famous meeting of the Central Committee of October 10, Trotsky asserts that at that meeting “a resolution was carried to the effect that the uprising should take place not later than October 15.” From this it appears that the Central Committee fixed October 15 as the date of the uprising and then itself violated that decision by postponing the date of the uprising to October 25. Is that true? No, it is not. During that period the Central Committee passed only two resolutions on the uprising — one on October 10 and the other on October 
16. Let us read these resolutions.
The Central Committee’s resolution of October 10:
“The Central Committee recognises that the international position of the Russian revolution (the mutiny in the German navy, which is an extreme manifestation of the growth throughout Europe of the world socialist revolution, and the threat of peace *** between the imperialists with the object of strangling the revolution in Russia) as well as the military situation (the indubitable decision of the Russian bourgeoisie and Kerensky and Co. to surrender Petrograd to the Germans), and the fact that the proletarian party has gained a majority in the Soviets — all this, taken in conjunction with the peasant revolt and the swing of popular confidence towards our Party (the elections in Moscow), and, finally, the obvious preparations being made for a second Kornilov affair (the withdrawal of troops from Petrograd, the dispatch of Cossacks to Petrograd, the surrounding of Minsk by Cossacks, etc.) — all this places an armed uprising on the order of the day.
“Considering, therefore, that an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe, the Central Committee instructs all Party organisations to be guided accordingly, and to discuss and decide all practical questions (the Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region, the withdrawal of troops from Petrograd, the actions of the people in Moscow and Minsk, etc.) from this point of view.” [8]
The resolution adopted by the conference of the Central Committee with responsible workers on October 16:
“This meeting fully welcomes and wholly supports the Central Committee’s resolution, calls upon all organisations and all workers and soldiers to make thorough and most intense preparations for an armed uprising and for support of the centre set up by the Central Committee for this purpose, and expresses complete confidence that the Central Committee and the Soviet will in good time indicate the favourable moment and the suitable means for launching the attack.” [9]
You see that Trotsky’s memory betrayed him about the date of the uprising and the Central Committee’s resolution on the uprising.
Trotsky is absolutely wrong in asserting that Lenin underrated Soviet legality, that Lenin failed to appreciate the great importance of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets taking power on October 25, and that this was the reason why he insisted that power be taken before October 25. That is not true. Lenin proposed that power be taken before October 25 for two reasons. Firstly, because the counter-revolutionaries might have surrendered Petrograd at any moment, which would have drained the blood of the developing uprising, and so every day was precious. Secondly, because the mistake made by the Petrograd Soviet in openly fixing and announcing the day of the uprising (October 25) could not be rectified in any other way than by actually launching the uprising before the legal date set for it. The fact of the matter is that Lenin regarded insurrection as an art, and he could not help knowing that the enemy, informed about the date of the uprising (owing to the carelessness of the Petrograd Soviet) would certainly try to prepare for that day. Consequently, it was necessary to forestall the enemy, i.e., without fail to launch the uprising before the legal date. This is the chief explanation for the passion with which Lenin in his letters scourged those who made a fetish of the date — October 25. Events showed that Lenin was absolutely right. It is well known that the uprising was launched prior to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets. It is well known that power was actually taken before the opening of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and it was taken not by the Congress of Soviets, but by the Petrograd Soviet, by the Revolutionary Military Committee. The Congress of Soviets merely took over power from the Petrograd Soviet. That is why Trotsky’s lengthy arguments about the importance of Soviet legality are quite beside the point.
A virile and mighty party standing at the head of the revolutionary masses who were storming and overthrowing bourgeois rule — such was the state of our Party in that period.
That is how matters stand with the legends about the preparation for October.
We have dealt above with the legends directed against the Party and those about Lenin spread by Trotsky and his supporters in connection with October and the preparation for it. We have exposed and refuted these legends. But the question arises: For what purpose did Trotsky need all these legends about October and the preparation for October, about Lenin and the Party of Lenin? What is the purpose of Trotsky’s new literary pronouncements against the Party? What is the sense, the purpose, the aim of these pronouncements now, when the Party does not want a discussion, when the Party is busy with a host of urgent tasks, when the Party needs united efforts to restore our economy and not a new struggle around old questions? For what purpose does Trotsky need to drag the Party back, to new discussions?
Trotsky asserts that all this is needed for the purpose of “studying” October. But is it not possible to study October without giving another kick at the Party and its leader Lenin? What sort of a “history” of October is it that begins and ends with attempts to discredit the chief leader of the October uprising, to discredit the Party, which organised and carried through the uprising? No, it is not a matter here of studying October. That is not the way to study October. That is not the way to write the history of October. Obviously, there is a different “design” here, and everything goes to show that this “design” is that Trotsky by his literary pronouncements is making another (yet another!) attempt to create the conditions for substituting Trotskyism for Leninism. Trotsky needs “desperately” to discredit the Party, and its cadres who carried through the uprising, in order, after discrediting the Party, to proceed to discredit Leninism. And it is necessary for him to discredit Leninism in order to drag in Trotskyism as the “sole” “proletarian” (don’t laugh!) ideology. All this, of course (oh, of course!) under the flag of Leninism, so that the dragging operation may be performed “as painlessly as possible. “
That is the essence of Trotsky’s latest literary pronouncements.
That is why those literary pronouncements of Trotsky’s sharply raise the question of Trotskyism.
And so, what is Trotskyism?
Trotskyism possesses three specific features which bring it into irreconcilable contradiction with Leninism.
What are these features?
Firstly. Trotskyism is the theory of “permanent” (uninterrupted) revolution. But what is permanent revolution in its Trotskyist interpretation? It is revolution that fails to take the poor peasantry into account as a revolutionary force. Trotsky’s “permanent” revolution is, as Lenin said, “skipping” the peasant movement, “playing at the seizure of power.” Why is it dangerous? Because such a revolution, if an attempt had been made to bring it about, would inevitably have ended in failure, for it would have divorced from the Russian proletariat its ally, the poor peasantry. This explains the struggle that Leninism has been waging against Trotskyism ever since 1905.
How does Trotsky appraise Leninism from the standpoint of this struggle? He regards it as a theory that possesses “anti-revolutionary features.” What is this indignant opinion about Leninism based on? On the fact that, at the proper time, Leninism advocated and upheld the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry.
But Trotsky does not confine himself to this indignant opinion. He goes further and asserts: “The entire edifice of Leninism at the present time is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay” (see Trotsky’s letter to Chkheidze, 1913). As you see, we have before us two opposite lines.
Secondly. Trotskyism is distrust of the Bolshevik Party principle, of the monolithic character of the Party, of its hostility towards opportunist elements. In the sphere of organisation, Trotskyism is the theory that revolutionaries and opportunists can co-exist and form groups and coteries within a single party. You are, no doubt, familiar with the history of Trotsky’s August bloc, in which the Martovites and Otzovists, the Liquidators and Trotskyites, happily co-operated, pretending that they were a “real” party. It is well known that this patchwork “party” pursued the aim of destroying the Bolshevik Party. What was the nature of “our disagreements” at that time? It was that Leninism regarded the destruction of the August bloc as a guarantee of the development of the proletarian party, whereas Trotskyism regarded that bloc as the basis for building a “real” party.
Again, as you see, we have two opposite lines.
Thirdly. Trotskyism is distrust of the leaders of Bolshevism, an attempt to discredit, to defame them. I do not know of a single trend in the Party that could compare with Trotskyism in the matter of discrediting the leaders of Leninism or the central institutions of the Party. For example, what should be said of Trotsky’s “polite” opinion of Lenin, whom he described as “a professional exploiter of every kind of backwardness in the Russian working-class movement”? (ibid.) And this is far from being the most “polite” of the “polite” opinions Trotsky has expressed.
How could it happen that Trotsky, who carried such a nasty stock-in-trade on his back, found himself, after all, in the ranks of the Bolsheviks during the October movement? It happened because at that time Trotsky abandoned (actually did abandon) that stock-in-trade; he hid it in the cupboard. Had he not performed that “operation,” real co-operation with him would have been impossible. The theory of the August bloc, i.e., the theory of unity with the Mensheviks, had already been shattered and thrown overboard by the revolution, for how could there be any talk about unity when an armed struggle was raging between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks? Trotsky had no alternative but to admit that this theory was useless.
The same misadventure “happened” to the theory of permanent revolution, for not a single Bolshevik contemplated the immediate seizure of power on the morrow of the February Revolution, and Trotsky could not help knowing that the Bolsheviks would not allow him, in the words of Lenin, “to play at the seizure of power.” Trotsky had no alternative but recognise the Bolsheviks’ policy of fighting for influence in the Soviets, of fighting to win over the peasantry. As regards the third specific feature of Trotskyism (distrust of the Bolshevik leaders), it naturally had to retire into the background owing to the obvious failure of the first two features.
Under those circumstances, could Trotsky do anything else but hide his stock-in-trade in the cupboard and follow the Bolsheviks, considering that he had no group of his own of any significance, and that he came to the Bolsheviks as a political individual, without an army? Of course, he could not!
What is the lesson to be learnt from this? Only one: that prolonged collaboration between the Leninists and Trotsky is possible only if the latter completely abandons his old stock-in-trade, only if he completely accepts Leninism. Trotsky writes about the lessons of October, but he forgets that, in addition to all the other lessons, there is one more lesson of October, the one I have just mentioned, which is of prime importance for Trotskyism. Trotskyism ought to learn that lesson of October too.
It is evident, however, that Trotskyism has not learnt that lesson. The fact of the matter is that the old stock-in-trade of Trotskyism that was hidden in the cupboard in the period of the October movement is now being dragged into the light again in the hope that a market will be found for it, seeing that the market in our country is expanding. Undoubtedly, Trotsky’s new literary pronouncements are an attempt to revert to Trotskyism, to “overcome” Leninism, to drag in, implant, all the specific features of Trotskyism. The new Trotskyism is not a mere repetition of the old Trotskyism; its feathers have been plucked and it is rather bedraggled; it is incomparably milder in spirit and more moderate in form than the old Trotskyism; but, in essence, it undoubtedly retains all the specific features of the old Trotskyism. The new Trotskyism does not dare to come out as a militant force against Leninism; it prefers to operate under the common flag of Leninism, under the slogan of interpreting, improving Leninism. That is because it is weak. It cannot be regarded as an accident that the appearance of the new Trotskyism coincided with Lenin’s departure. In Lenin’s lifetime it would not have dared to take this risky step.
What are the characteristic features of the new Trotskyism?
1) On the question of “permanent” revolution. The new Trotskyism does not deem it necessary openly to uphold the theory of “permanent” revolution. It “simply” asserts that the October Revolution fully confirmed the idea of “permanent” revolution. From this it draws the following conclusion: the important and acceptable part of Leninism is the part that came after the war, in the period of the October Revolution; on the other hand, the part of Leninism that existed before the war, before the October Revolution, is wrong and unacceptable. Hence, the Trotskyites’ theory of the division of Leninism into two parts: pre-war Leninism, the “old,” “useless” Leninism with its idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, and the new, post-war, October Leninism, which they count on adapting to the requirements of Trotskyism. Trotskyism needs this theory of the division of Leninism as a first, more or less “acceptable” step that is necessary to facilitate further steps in its struggle against Leninism.
But Leninism is not an eclectic theory stuck together out of diverse elements and capable of being cut into parts. Leninism is an integral theory, which arose in 1903, has passed the test of three revolutions, and is now being carried forward as the battle-flag of the world proletariat.
“Bolshevism,” Lenin said, “as a trend of political thought and as a political party, has existed since 1903. Only the history of Bolshevism during the whole period of its existence can satisfactorily explain why it was able to build up and to maintain under most difficult conditions the iron discipline needed for the victory of the proletariat” (see Vol. XXV, p. 174).
Bolshevism and Leninism are one. They are two names for one and the same thing. Hence, the theory of the division of Leninism into two parts is a theory intended to destroy Leninism, to substitute Trotskyism for Leninism.
Needless to say, the Party cannot reconcile itself to this grotesque theory.
2) On the question of the Party principle. The old Trotskyism tried to undermine the Bolshevik Party principle by means of the theory (and practice) of unity with the Mensheviks. But that theory has suffered such disgrace that nobody now even wants to mention it. To undermine the Party principle, present-day Trotskyism has invented the new, less odious and almost “democratic” theory of contrasting the old cadres to the younger Party element. According to Trotskyism, our Party has not a single and integral history. Trotskyism divides the history of our Party into two parts of unequal importance: pre-October and post-October. The pre-October part of the history of our Party is, properly speaking, not history, but “pre-history,” the unimportant or, at all events, not very important preparatory period of our Party. The post-October part of the history of our Party, however, is real, genuine history. In the former, there are the “old,” “pre-historic,” unimportant cadres of our Party. In the latter there is the new, real, “historic” Party. It scarcely needs proof that this singular scheme of the history of the Party is a scheme to disrupt the unity between the old and the new cadres of our Party, a scheme to destroy the Bolshevik Party principle.
Needless to say, the Party cannot reconcile itself to this grotesque scheme.
3) On the question of the leaders of Bolshevism. The old Trotskyism tried to discredit Lenin more or less openly, without fearing the consequences. The new Trotskyism is more cautious. It tries to achieve the purpose of the old Trotskyism by pretending to praise, to exalt Lenin. I think it is worth while quoting a few examples.
The Party knows that Lenin was a relentless revolutionary; but it knows also that he was cautious, that he disliked reckless people and often, with a firm hand, restrained those who were infatuated with terrorism, including Trotsky himself. Trotsky touches on this subject in his book On Lenin, but from his portrayal of Lenin one might think that all Lenin did was “at every opportunity to din into people’s minds the idea that terrorism was inevitable.” The impression is created that Lenin was the most bloodthirsty of all the bloodthirsty Bolsheviks.
For what purpose did Trotsky need this uncalled for and totally unjustified exaggeration?
The Party knows that Lenin was an exemplary Party man, who did not like to settle questions alone, without the leading collective body, on the spur of the moment, without careful investigation and verification. Trotsky touches upon this aspect, too, in his book. But the portrait he paints is not that of Lenin, but of a sort of Chinese mandarin, who settles important questions in the quiet of his study, by intuition.
Do you want to know how our Party settled the question of dispersing the Constituent Assembly? Listen to Trotsky:
“‘Of course, the Constituent Assembly will have to be dispersed,’ said Lenin, ‘but what about the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries?’
“But our apprehensions were greatly allayed by old Natanson. He came in to ‘take counsel’ with us, and after the first few words he said:
“‘We shall probably have to disperse the Constituent Assembly by force.’
“‘Bravo!’ exclaimed Lenin. ‘What is true is true! But will your people agree to it?’
“‘Some of our people are wavering, but I think that in the end they will agree,’ answered Natanson.”
That is how history is written.
Do you want to know how the Party settled the question about the Supreme Military Council? Listen to Trotsky:
“‘Unless we have serious and experienced military experts we shall never extricate ourselves from this chaos,’ I said to Vladimir Ilyich after every visit to the Staff.
“‘That is evidently true, but they might betray us….’
“‘Let us attach a commissar to each of them.’
“‘Two would be better,” exclaimed Lenin, ‘and strong-handed ones. There surely must be strong-handed Communists in our ranks.’
“That is how the structure of the Supreme Military Council arose.”
That is how Trotsky writes history.
Why did Trotsky need these “Arabian Nights” stories derogatory to Lenin? Was it to exalt V. I. Lenin, the leader of the Party? It doesn’t look like it.
The Party knows that Lenin was the greatest Marxist of our times, a profound theoretician and a most experienced revolutionary, to whom any trace of Blanquism was alien. Trotsky touches upon this aspect, too, in his book. But the portrait he paints is not that of the giant Lenin, but of a dwarf-like Blanquist who, in the October days, advises the Party “to take power by its own hand, independently of and behind the back of the Soviet.” I have already said, however, that there is not a scrap of truth in this description.
Why did Trotsky need this flagrant … inaccuracy? Is this not an attempt to discredit Lenin “just a little”?
Such are the characteristic features of the new Trotskyism.
What is the danger of this new Trotskyism? It is that Trotskyism, owing to its entire inner content, stands every chance of becoming the centre and rallying point of the non-proletarian elements who are striving to weaken, to disintegrate the proletarian dictatorship.
You will ask: what is to be done now? What are the Party’s immediate tasks in connection with Trotsky’s new literary pronouncements?
Trotskyism is taking action now in order to discredit Bolshevism and to undermine its foundations. It is the duty of the Party to bury Trotskyism as an ideological trend.
There is talk about repressive measures against the opposition and about the possibility of a split. That is nonsense, comrades. Our Party is strong and mighty. It will not allow any splits. As regards repressive measures, I am emphatically opposed to them. What we need now is not repressive measures, but an extensive ideological struggle against renascent Trotskyism.
We did not want and did not strive for this literary discussion. Trotskyism is forcing it upon us by its anti-Leninist pronouncements. Well, we are ready, comrades.

NOTES By J. V. Stalin.

[*] See Lenin’s Works, Vol. XX, p. 104. See also the reports made at the Petrograd City Conference and at the All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) (middle and end of April, 1917).
[**] Among these legends must be included also the very widespread story that Trotsky was the “sole” or “chief organiser” of the victories on the fronts of the civil war. I must declare, comrades, in the interest of truth, that this version is quite out of accord with the facts. I am far from denying that Trotsky played an important role in the civil war. But I must emphatically declare that the high honour of being the organiser of our victories belongs not to individuals, but to the great collective body of advanced workers in our country, the Russian Communist Party. Perhaps it will not be out of place to quote a few examples. You know that Kolchak and Denikin were regarded as the principal enemies of the Soviet Republic. You know that our country breathed freely only after those enemies were defeated. Well, history shows that both those enemies, i.e., Kolchak and Denikin, were routed by our troops in spite of Trotsky’s plans.
Judge for yourselves.
1) Kolchak. This is in the summer of 1919. Our troops are advancing against Kolchak and are operating near Ufa. A meeting of the Central Committee is held. Trotsky proposes that the advance be halted along the line of the River Belaya (near Ufa), leaving the Urals in the hands of Kolchak, and that part of the troops be withdrawn from the Eastern Front and transferred to the Southern Front. A heated debate takes place. The Central Committee disagrees with Trotsky, being of the opinion that the Urals, with its factories and railway network, must not be left in the hands of Kolchak, for the latter could easily recuperate there organise a strong force and reach the Volga again; Kolchak must first be driven beyond the Ural range into the Siberian steppes, and only after that has been done should forces be transferred to the South The Central Committee rejects Trotsky’s plan. Trotsky hands in his resignation. The Central Committee refuses to accept it. Commander-in-Chief Vatsetis, who supported Trotsky’s plan, resigns. His place is taken by a new Commander-in-Chief, Kamenev. From that moment Trotsky ceases to take a direct part in the affairs of the Eastern Front.
2) Denikin. This is in the autumn of 1919. The offensive against Denikin is not proceeding successfully. The “steel ring” around Mamontov (Mamontov’s raid) is obviously collapsing. Denikin captures Kursk. Denikin is approaching Orel. Trotsky is summoned from the Southern Front to attend a meeting of the Central Committee. The Central Committee regards the situation as alarming and decides to send new military leaders to the Southern Front and to withdraw Trotsky. The new military leaders demand “no intervention” by Trotsky in the affairs of the Southern Front. Trotsky ceases to take a direct part in the affairs of the Southern Front.. Operations on the Southern Front, right up to the capture of Rostov-on-Don and Odessa by our troops, proceed without Trotsky.
Let anybody try to refute these facts.
[***] Obviously, this should be “a separate peace.” — J. St.
* * * 
1] The “Contact Committee,” consisting of Chkheidze, Steklov, Sukhanov, Filippovsky and Skobelev (and later Chernov and Tsereteli), was set up by the Menshevik and SocialistRevolutionary Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on March 7, 1917, for the purpose of establishing contact with the Provisional Government, of “influencing” it and “controlling” its activities. Actually, the “Contact Committee” helped to carry out the bourgeois policy of the Provisional Government and restrained the masses of the workers from waging an active revolutionary struggle to transfer all power to the Soviets. The “Contact Committee” existed until May 1917, when representatives of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries entered the provisional Government.
[2] See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ea., Vol. 24, pp. 1-7.
[3] The Petrograd City Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) took place from April 27 to May 5 (April 14-22), 1917, with 57 delegates present. V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin took part in the proceedings. V. I. Lenin delivered a report on the current situation based on his April Theses. J. V. Stalin was elected to the commission for drafting the resolution on V. I. Lenin’s report. 
[4] Concerning the Seventh AllRussian April Conference of the Bolshevik Party see the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 291-96.
[5] See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ea., Vol. 23, pp. 289-333.
[6] See “Speech by V. I. Lenin at the Meeting of the Petrograd Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), June 24 (11), 1917, Concerning the Cancelling of the Demonstration” (Works, 4th Russ. ea., Vol. 25, pp. 62-63).
[7] The Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies of the Northern Region took place in Petrograd on October 24-26 (11-13), 1917, under the direction of the Bolsheviks. Representatives were present from Petrograd, Moscow, Kronstadt, Novgorod, Reval, Helsingfors, Vyborg and other cities. In all there were 94 delegates, of whom 51 were Bolsheviks. The congress adopted a resolution on the need for immediate transference of all power to the Soviets, central and local. It called upon the peasants to support the struggle for the transference of power to the Soviets and urged the Soviets themselves to commence active operations and to set up Revolutionary Military Committees for organising the military defence of the revolution. The congress set up a Northern Regional Committee and instructed it to prepare for the convocation of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets and to co-ordinate the activities of all the Regional Soviets.
[8] See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ea., Vol. 26.
[9] See V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ea.. Vol. 26.
“Gulag Archipelago”: Exposing the anticommunist fabrications of Solzhenitsyn

Monday, January 1, 2018

“Gulag Archipelago”: Exposing the anticommunist fabrications of Solzhenitsyn
 By Nikos Mottas*.
Originally published in
Translated from Greek.
One of the most famous and celebrated works of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, the “Gulag Archipelago”, has been for a long time a kind of “holy bible” for every anticommunist. Firstly published in 1973, it- supposedly- consists an analytical record of the conditions existed in the so-called “labour camps” of the Soviet Union. Within the framework of the slanderous anticommunist campaign, bourgeois historiography has extensively promoted Solzhenitsyn’s work as a source of arguments about the so-called “Stalinist dictatorship” and “communist crimes” in the Soviet Union.
However, there is a fundamental problem in the work of the deeply reactionary Solzhenitsyn: Gulag Archipelago is a completely antiscientific book, based almost entirely in rumors, speculations, third party opinions as well as interpretations of opinions by Solzenitsyn himself! In other words, the reader of this book becomes “hostage” of a novel type, unverifiable, recording to alleged events by Solzenitsyn and others who supposedly “saw”, “heard” or “learned” something.
Even people who have nothing friendly to say about Stalin admit that Solzhenitsyn’s work is nothing but fairy tales. Let’s see what trotskyite historian and writer Vadim Z. Rogovin writes: Solzhenitsyn’s work, much like the more objective works of R. Medvedev, belong to the genre which the West calls “oral history,” i.e., research which is based almost exclusively on eyewitness accounts of participants in the events being described. Moreover, using the circumstance that the memoirs from prisoners in Stalin’s camps which had been given to him to read had never been published, Solzhenitsyn took plenty of license in outlining their contents and interpreting them” [1]. In fact, Solzenitsyn edited and cited, according to his own reactionary views, third parties’ testimonials in which he added anticommunist fabrications thus creating the “Archipelago” fairy tale.
Solzhenitsyn’s first wife, Natalya Reshetovskaya, seems to confirm the fact that “Gulag Archipelago” consists a fictional and completely non-scientific book. In her autobiography published in 1974 under the title “Sanya: My Life with Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”, Reshetovskaya actually challenges the validity of what Solzenitsyn writes in “Gulag Archipelago”. According to Reshetovskaya, she was “perplexed” by the fact that the the book was accepted by the western (capitalist) world as “the solemn, ultimate truth”, saying that the significance of his ex-husband’s work had been “overestimated and wrongly appraised”. [2]. Furthermore, Reshetovskaya unveiled that Solzhenitsyn himself did not regard the book as “historical research, or scientific research, but it was rather a “camp folklore” collection!
More or less, Reshetovskaya actually says that “Gulag Archipelago” isn’t a work that should be taken seriously or accepted as a valid source. The fact that Solzhenitsyn’s book is full of lies and inaccuracies is something that can be confirmed by a comparison of the data presented in the “Gulag Archipelago” with the real numbers. There lies a significant problem for the credibility of the much celebrated “nobelist” and former Nazi collaborator Solzhenitsyn: He presents fake numbers!
The following chart, published at the official journal of the Union of American Historians, includes the overall statistical data for the custodial population in the USSR from 1934 to 1953, during a period of Joseph Stalin’s leadership. Let’s now see how the numbers, researched and checked by bourgeois scientists and published at the American Historical Review, refute Solzhenitsyn’s anticommunist fabrications.
1st : Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s argument about 60 million deaths (!) at the Soviet labour camps consists a product of his deeply anticommunist fantasy and profound lie.
2st : Solzhenitsyn’s argument about 25 million detained people at the labour camps (“gulags”) in 1953 is a vulgar lie. In 1953, the overall number of the imprisoned people was not over 2.5 million. Two million were criminal prisoners, convicted for crimes or ordinary criminal law.
3rd: In the peak of his anticommunist paranoia, Solzhenitsyn had claimed that the total number of victims during Stalin’s period were… 110 million people! If this ridiculous claim was correct then, normally, the Soviet Union’s population during Stalin’s leadership (1924-1953) should have been decreased significantly. However, statistical data about the USSR’s population prove exactly the opposite!
On January 1926, the population of the Soviet Union was 148.6 million people. Fifteen years later, on June 1941 the population had been increased to 196.7 million. A decrease in USSR’s population took place between 1941 and 1946 (170.5 million), which is explainable by the huge casualties of the country during the Second World War. After the War, during the period 1946-1951, the Soviet Union’s population increased again, reaching 182.3 million people on January 1951 [4]. As for the annual birth rate in the USSR between 1920 and 1950, it is extremely insufficient in order to overlap (in terms of population) the number of the supposed “million deaths” of the Stalin era [5].
Solzhenitsyn is proved to be a blatant liar. Nonetheless, if someone isn’t convinced yet about the anticommunist fabrications of Solzenitsyn and the other “stalinologists” (e.g. Robert Conquest), there is more to come.
After the victory of counterrevolution and the overthrow of socialism in the USSR, the bourgeois government of Boris Yeltsin decided to open the official soviet state archives, hoping that they would find evidence about the “million victims of the stalinist era”. But, what did the official soviet state archives reveal? They revealed that the actual number of those who were sentenced to death during the period of Stalin’s leadership, from 1923 to 1952, is between 776,000 and 786,000 people [6]. The “million victims of stalinism” that Solzhenitsyn, Conquest and other pathetic anticommunists wrote about, consist propagandistic fairy tales.
Taking all the above into account, we can now ask a final question: How credible is an anticommunist fairy tale that is full of inaccuracies and monstrous lies? How serious must someone take the fabrications of Solzhenitsyn about Socialism, the USSR and Stalin? We leave on literature critics to evaluate “Gulag Archipelago” as a novel. But what is clear and beyond doubt is that Solzhenitsyn’s book is a non-scientific, anticommunist fabrication full of lies and slanders. In a few words, nothing more or less than the spiritual product of a nazi collaborator, a reactionary and a fascist.
[1] Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror, Mehring Books, 1998.
[2] Reshetovskaya, Natalya. Sanya: My Life With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Indianapolis/New York, Bobbs-Merrill Co, 1974.
[3] The American Historical Review, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 1017-1049.
[4] Andreev, E.M., et al.Naselenie Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1922-1991. Moscow, Nauka, 1993.
[5] BT.Urlanis, Trends in fertility level in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the years of Soviet rule, 1980.
[6] Getty J.A, Rittersporn G, Zemskov V. Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Prewar Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence, American Historical Review, 98:4, Oct. 1993.
* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of ‘In Defense of Communism’. 
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror, Mehring Books, 1998.
J.V.Stalin- The International Character of the October Revolution (Speech on the 10th Anniversary of the October Revolution)
| December 23, 2017 | 7:19 pm | J. Stalin, Marxism-Leninism, V.I. Lenin | No comments

Saturday, December 23, 2017

J.V.Stalin- The International Character of the October Revolution (Speech on the 10th Anniversary of the October Revolution)
Speech by Joseph Stalin on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution; Pravda, November 6-7, 1927. 
Source: J.V.Stalin, Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House,
Moscow, 1954, Vol.10, pp. 244-55.
The October Revolution cannot be regarded merely as a revolution “within national bounds.” It is, primarily, a revolution of an international, world order, for it signifies a radical turn in the world history of mankind, a turn from the old, capitalist world to the new, socialist world.
Revolutions in the past usually ended by one group of exploiters at the helm of government being replaced by another group of exploiters. The exploiters changed, exploitation remained. Such was the case during the liberation movements of the slaves. Such was the case during the period of the uprisings of the serfs. Such was the case during the period of the well-known “great” revolutions in England, France and Germany. I am not speaking of the Paris Commune, which was the first glorious, heroic, yet unsuccessful attempt on the part of the proletariat to turn history against capitalism.
The October Revolution differs from these revolutions in principle. Its aim is not to replace one form of exploitation by another form of exploitation, one group of exploiters by another group of exploiters, but to abolish all exploitation of man by man, to abolish all groups of exploiters, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, to establish the power of the most revolutionary class of all the oppressed classes that have ever existed, to organize a new, classless, socialist society.
It is precisely for this reason that the victory of the October Revolution signifies a radical change in the history of mankind, a radical change in the historical destiny of world capitalism, a radical change in the liberation movement of the world proletariat, a radical change in the methods of struggle and the forms of organization, in the manner of life and traditions, in the culture and ideology of the exploited masses throughout the world.
That is the basic reason why the October Revolution is a revolution of an international, world order.
That also is the source of the profound sympathy which the oppressed classes in all countries entertain for the October Revolution, which they regard as a pledge of their own emancipation.
A number of fundamental issues could be noted on which the October Revolution influences the development of the revolutionary movement throughout the world.
1. The October Revolution is noteworthy primarily for having breached the front of world imperialism, for having overthrown the imperialist bourgeoisie in one of the biggest capitalist countries and put the socialist proletariat in power.
The class of wage-workers, the class of the persecuted, the class of the oppressed and exploited hasfor the first time in

the history of mankind risen to the position of the ruling class, setting a contagious example to the proletarians of all countries.
This means that the October Revolution has ushered in a new era, the era of proletarian revolutions in the countries of imperialism.
It took the instruments and means of production from the landlords and capitalists and converted them into public property, thus counterposing socialist property to bourgeois property. It thereby exposed the lie of the capitalists that bourgeois property is inviolable, sacred, eternal.
It wrested power from the bourgeoisie, deprived the bourgeoisie of political rights, destroyed the bourgeois state apparatus and transferred power to the Soviets, thus counter-posing the socialist rule of the Soviets, as proletarian democracy, to bourgeois parliamentarism, as capitalistdemocracy. Lafargue was right when he said, as far back as 1887, that on the morrow of the revolution “all former capitalists will be disfranchised.”
The October Revolution thereby exposed the lie of the Social-Democrats that at the present time a peaceful transition to socialism is possible through bourgeois parliamentarism.
But the October Revolution did not and could not stop there. Having destroyed the old, bourgeois order, it began to build the new, socialist order. The 10 years of the October Revolution have been 10 years of building the Party, trade unions, Soviets, co-operatives, cultural organizations, transport, industry, the Red Army. The indubitable successes of socialism in the U.S.S.R. on the front of construction have clearly shown that the proletariat can successfully govern the country without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie, that it can successfully build industry without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie, that it can successfully direct the whole of the national economy without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie, that it can successfully build socialism in spite of the capitalist encirclement.
Menenius Agrippa, the famous Roman senator of ancient times, was not the only one to uphold the old “theory” that the exploited cannot do without the exploiters any more than the head and other parts of the body can do without the stomach. This “theory” is now the corner-stone of the political “philosophy” of Social-Democracy in general, and of the Social-Democratic policy of coalition with the imperialist bourgeoisie in particular. This “theory,” which has acquired the character of a prejudice, is now one of the most serious obstacles in the path towards the revolutionization of the proletariat in the capitalist countries. One of the most important results of the October Revolution is that it dealt this false “theory” a mortal blow.
Is there any further need to prove that these and similar results of the October Revolution could not and cannot fail to exert an important influence on the revolutionary movement of the working class in the capitalist countries?
Such generally known facts as the progressive growth of communism in the capitalist countries, the growing sympathy of the proletarians of all countries for the working class of the U.S.S.R. and, finally, the many workers’ delegations that come to the Land of Soviets, prove beyond doubt that the seeds sown by the October Revolution are already beginning to bear fruit.
2. The October Revolution has shaken imperialism not only in the centres of its domination, not only in the “metropolises.” It has also struck at the rear of imperialism, its periphery, having undermined the rule of imperialism in the colonial and dependent countries.
Having overthrown the landlords and the capitalists, the October Revolution broke the chains of national and colonial oppression and freed from it, without exception, all the oppressed peoples of a vast state. The proletariat cannot emancipate itself unless it emancipates the oppressed peoples. It is a characteristic feature of the October Revolution that it accomplished these national-colonial revolutions in the U.S.S.R. not under the flag of national enmity and conflicts among nations, but under the flag of mutual confidence and fraternal rapprochement of the workers and peasants of the various peoples in the U.S.S.R., not in the name of nationalism, but in the name of internationalism.
It is precisely because the national-colonial revolutions took place in our country under the leadership of the proletariat and under the banner of internationalism that pariah peoples, slave peoples, have for the first time in the history of mankind risen to the position of peoples that are really free and really equal, thereby setting a contagious example to the oppressed nations of the whole world.
This means that the October Revolution has ushered in new era, the era of colonial revolutions which are being carried out in the oppressed countries of the world in alliance with the proletariat and under the leadership of the proletariat.
It was formerly the “accepted” idea that the world has been divided from time immemorial into inferior and superior races, into blacks and whites, of whom the former are unfit for civilization and are doomed to be objects of exploitation, while the latter are the only bearers of civilization, whose mission it is to exploit the former.
That legend must now be regarded as shattered and discarded. One of the most important results of the October Revolution is that it dealt that legend a mortal blow, by demonstrating in practice that the liberated non-European peoples, drawn into the channel of Soviet development, are not one whit less capable of promoting a really progressive culture and a really progressive civilization than are the European peoples.
It was formerly the “accepted” idea that the only method of liberating the oppressed peoples is the method of bourgeois nationalism, the method of nations drawing apart from one another, the method of disuniting nations, the method of intensifying national enmity among the labouring masses of the various nations.
That legend must now be regarded as refuted. One of the most important results of the October Revolution is that it dealt that legend a mortal blow, by demonstrating in practice the possibility and expediency of the proletarianinternationatist method of liberating the oppressed peoples, as the only correct method; by demonstrating in practice the possibility and expediency of a fraternal union of the workers and peasants of the most diverse nations based on the principles of voluntariness and internationalism. The existence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which is the prototype of the future integration of the working people of all countries into a single world economic system, cannot but serve as direct proof of this.
It need hardly be said that these and similar results of the October Revolution could not and cannot fail to exert an important influence on the revolutionary movement in the colonial and dependent countries. Such facts as the growth of the revolutionary movement of the oppressed peoples in China, Indonesia, India, etc., and the growing sympathy of these peoples for the U.S.S.R., unquestionably bear this out.
The era of tranquil exploitation and oppression of the colonies and dependent countries has passed away.
The era of liberating revolutions in the colonies and dependent countries, the era of the awakening of the proletariat in those countries, the era of its hegemony in the revolution, has begun.
3. Having sown the seeds of revolution both in the centres of imperialism and in its rear, having weakened the might of imperialism in the “metropolises” and having shaken its domination in the colonies, the October Revolution has thereby put in jeopardy the very existence of world capitalism as a whole.
While the spontaneous development of capitalism in the conditions of imperialism has passed — owing to its unevenness, owing to the inevitability of conflicts and armed collisions, owing, finally, to the unprecedented imperialist slaughter — into the process of the decay and the dying of capitalism, the October Revolution and the resultant dropping out of a vast country from the world system of capitalism could not but accelerate this process, undermining, bit by bit, the very foundations of world imperialism.
More than that. While shaking imperialism, the October Revolution has at the same time created — in the shape of the first proletarian dictatorship — a powerful and open base for the world revolutionary movement, a base such as the latter never possessed before and on which it now can rely for support. It has created a powerful and open centre of the world revolutionary movement, such as the latter never possessed before and around which it can now rally, organizing a united revolutionary front of the proletarians and of the oppressed peoples of all countries against imperialism.
This means, firstly, that the October Revolution inflicted a mortal wound on world capitalism from which the latter will never recover. For that very reason capitalism will never recover the “equilibrium” and “stability” that it possessed before October.
Capitalism may become partly stabilized, it may rationalize its production, turn over the administration of the country to fascism, temporarily hold down the working class; but it will never recover the “tranquillity,” the “assurance,” the “equilibrium” and the “stability” that it flaunted before; for the crisis of world capitalism has reached the stage of development when the flames of revolution must inevitably break out, now in the centres of imperialism, now in the periphery, reducing to naught the capitalist patch-work and daily bringing nearer the fall of capitalism. Exactly as in the well-known fable, “when it pulled its tail out of the mud, its beak got stuck; when it pulled its beak out, its tail got stuck.”
This means, secondly, that the October Revolution has raised to such a height the strength and importance, the courage and the fighting preparedness of the oppressed classes of the whole world as to compel the ruling classes to reckon with them as a new, important factor. Now the labouring masses of the world can no longer be regarded as a “blind mob,” groping in the dark and devoid of prospects; for the October Revolution has created a beacon which illumines their path and opens up prospects for them. Whereas formerly there was no world-wide open forum from which the aspirations and strivings of the oppressed classes could be expounded and formulated, now such a forum exists in the shape of the first proletarian dictatorship.
There is hardly room for doubt that the destruction of this forum would for a long time cast the gloom of unbridled, black reaction over the social and political life of the “advanced countries.” It cannot be denied that the very existence of a “Bolshevik state” puts a curb upon the dark forces of reaction, thus helping the oppressed classes in their struggle for liberation. It is this that explains the savage hatred which the exploiters of all countries entertain for the Bolsheviks.
History repeats itself, though on a new basis. Just as for merly, during the period of the downfall of feudalism, the word “Jacobin” evoked dread and abhorrence among the aristocrats of all countries, so now, in the period of the down fall of capitalism, the word “Bolshevik” evokes dread and abhorrence among the bourgeois in all countries. And conversely, just as formerly Paris was the refuge and school for the revolutionary representatives of the rising bourgeoisie, so now Moscow is the refuge and school for the revolutionary representatives of the rising proletariat. Hatred of the Jacobins did not save feudalism from collapse. Can there be any doubt that hatred of the Bolsheviks will not save capitalism from its inevitable downfall?
The era of the “stability” of capitalism has passed away, carrying away with it the legend of the indestructibility of the bourgeois order.
The era of the collapse of capitalism has begun.
4. The October Revolution cannot be regarded merely as a revolution in the sphere of economic and social-political relations. It is at the same time a revolution in the minds, a revolution in the ideology, of the working class. The October Revolution was born and gained strength under the banner of Marxism, under the banner of the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, under the banner of Leninism, which is Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. Hence it marks the victory of Marxism over reformism, the victory of Leninism over Social-Democratism, the victory of the Third International over the Second International.
The October Revolution has brought into being an impassable chasm between Marxism and Social-Democratism, between the policy of Leninism and the policy of Social-Democratism.
Formerly, before the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Social-Democracy, while refraining from openly repudiating the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat but doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to bring nearer the realization of this idea, could flaunt the banner of Marxism, and it is obvious that this behaviour of Social-Democracy created no danger whatever for capitalism. Then, in that period, Social-Democracy was formally taken as identical, or almost identical, with Marxism.
Now, after the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, when everybody has seen for himself to what Marxism leads and what its victory may signify, Social-Democracy is no longer able to flaunt the banner of Marxism, can no longer coquet with the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat without creating a certain danger for capitalism. Having long ago broken with the spirit of Marxism, it has found itself compelled to discard also the banner of Marxism; it has openly and unambiguously taken a stand against the offspring of Marxism, against the October Revolution, against the first dictatorship of the proletariat in the world.
Now it has had to dissociate itself from Marxism, and has actually done so; for under present conditions one cannot call oneself a Marxist unless one openly and devotedly supports the first proletarian dictatorship in the world, unless one wages a revolutionary struggle against one’s own bourgeoisie, unless one creates the conditions for the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat in one’s own country.
A chasm has opened between Social-Democracy and Marxism. Henceforth, the only bearer and bulwark of Marxism is Leninism, communism.
But matters did not end there. The October Revolution went further than drawing a demarcation line between Social Democracy and Marxism; it relegated Social-Democracy to the camp of the direct defenders of capitalism against the first proletarian dictatorship in the world. When Messieurs the Adlers and Bauers, the Welses and Levis, the Longuets and Blums abuse the “Soviet regime” and extol parliamentary “democracy,” these gentlemen mean that they are fighting and will continue to fight for the restoration of the capitalist order in the U.S.S.R., for the preservation of capitalist slavery in the “civilized” states.
Present-day Social-Democratism is an ideological support of capitalism. Lenin was a thousand times right when he said that the present-day Social-Democratic politicians are “real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class,” that in the “civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie” they would inevitably take “the side of the ‘Versaillese’ against the ‘Communards.’
It is impossible to put an end to capitalism without putting an end to Social-Democratism in the labour movement. That is why the era of dying capitalism is also the era of dying Social-Democratism in the labour movement.
The great significance of the October Revolution consists, among other things, in the fact that it marks the inevitable victory of Leninism over Social-Democratism in the world labour movement.
The era of the domination of the Second International and of Social-Democratism in the labour movement has ended.
The era of the domination of Leninism and of the Third International has begun.
Russia: Thousands of people celebrated the October Revolution’s centennial despite Kremlin’s deliberate silence

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Russia: Thousands of people celebrated the October Revolution’s centennial despite Kremlin’s deliberate silence
With numerous events, rallies and parades, thousands of people of every age celebrated the 100 years since the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and other countries of the former USSR. The celebrations took place despite the deliberate effort from the side of the Russian government to “distract” public opinion from the great anniversary. 
Large rallies, organised by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and the Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP), took place in Moscow, Leningrad (St.Petersburg), Novosibirsk, Omsk and other smaller cities. 
In Moscow, the demonstrators marched through the Pushkin Square to the Revolution Square waving the flags of the Lenin Komsomol, portraits of Lenin and Stalin, as well as chanting communist slogans. Then a rally was held in front of Statue of Karl Marx in the Revolution square. Many representatives of communist parties and left-wing political forces participated in the events.
Among the participants were representatives from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), members and friends of the National Union of Fighters of National Resistance – Democratic Army of Greece (PEAEA-DSE), as well as the Secretary General of the World Peace Council, also member of the CC of the KKE, Thanasis Pafilis. 
Greek communists holding banners of the Democratic Army and the KKE /
Banners of the KKE and TKP in Moscow /
From Cuba, on behalf of the Cuban Communist Party and President Raul Castro, the member of the PCC Central Committee Secretariat, Jose Ramon Balaguer, laid a floral wreath on behalf of the Cuban people to commemorate the Great October Socialist Revolution. The head of the International Relations Department of the PCC paid tribute to the revolution at Lenin’s Mausoleum and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. Balaguer, during his address, stressed that the revolution must be kept in memory as a reference point for the desired world design.
As we noted in the beginning, the Russian government avoided to organise any event in honor of the 1917 October Revolution, apart from a parade dedicated to the 76 years since the 1941 Red Army parade before leaving to the front against the Nazis. The “silence” from the side of the Kremlin over this extremely significant anniversary of a revolution which changed the route of History confirms the reactionary and anticommunist orientation of Vladimir Putin’s government. 
Revisiting the October Revolution of 1917
| October 26, 2017 | 8:39 pm | Analysis, J. Stalin, Karl Marx, socialism, USSR, V.I. Lenin | No comments

Communist supporter carries the red flag as others carry a banner declaring Long Live the 88th Anniversary of the October Revolution, during the rally to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution, marking a long-sacred former holiday that was an official working day for the first time in decades in Moscow, Monday, Nov. 7, 2005.

Revisiting the October Revolution of 1917

© AP Photo/ Ivan Sekretarev

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John Wight

To some the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia still stands, a hundred years on, as the single most important emancipatory event in human history.

For such people it commands greater importance than the Reformation or the American and French revolutions preceding it, in that it went further than religious or political emancipation to engender social emancipation; and with it an end to the exploitation of man by man which describes the human condition fashioned under capitalism.

To its detractors, meanwhile, October ushered in a dark night of communist tyranny under which, per Marx, all that was holy was profaned and all that was solid melted into air. In this rendering, October is considered, along with fascism, to have been part of a counter-Enlightenment impulse, one that arrived as the harbinger of a new dark age.However the attempt to place communism and fascism in the same category is facile in the extreme; it is a depiction that fails the test of history. The real and historically accurate relationship between both of those world-historical ideologies is that whereas fascism was responsible for starting the Holocaust, it was communism — in the shape of the Soviet Red Army — that ended it.

That Russia in 1917 was the least favorable country of any in Europe for socialist and communist transformation is indisputable. The starting point of communism, Marx avers in his works, is the point at which society’s productive forces have developed and matured to the point where the existing form of property relations acts as a brake on their continuing development. By then the social and cultural development of the proletariat has incubated a growing awareness of their position within the existing system of production; thereby effecting its metamorphosis from a class “in itself” to a class “for itself” and, with it, its role as the agent of social revolution and transformation.

Marx writes:

“No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.”

The error in Marx’s analysis was that rather than emerge in the advanced capitalist economies of Western Europe, communism emerged on the periphery of the capitalist centers — Russia, China, and Cuba et al. — in conditions not of development or abundance but under-development and scarcity.

German philosopher and economist Karl Marx. Late 1870s. Reproduction
© Sputnik/ A. Sverdlov
German philosopher and economist Karl Marx. Late 1870s. Reproduction

From the vantage of exile in Switzerland, Lenin saw with uncommon clarity how the First World War presented revolutionaries across Europe with a clear choice. They could either succumb to national chauvinism, fall into line behind their respective ruling classes and support their respective countries’ war efforts, or they could use the opportunity to agitate among the workers of said countries for the war to be turned into a civil war in the cause of worldwide revolution.

It was a choice separating the revolutionary wheat from its chaff, leading to the collapse of the Second International as with few exceptions former giants of the international Marxist and revolutionary socialist movement succumbed to patriotism and war fever.

Lenin observed:

“The war came, the crisis was there. Instead of revolutionary tactics, most of the Social-Democratic [Marxist] parties launched reactionary tactics, went over to the side of their respective governments and bourgeoisie. This betrayal of socialism signifies the collapse of the Second (1889-1914) International, and we must realize what caused this collapse, what brought social-chauvinism into being and gave it strength.”

The ensuing chaos, carnage, and destruction wrought by four years of unparalleled conflict brought the so-called civilized world to the brink of collapse. The European continent’s ruling classes had unleashed an orgy of bloodshed in the cause not of democracy or liberty, as the Entente powers fatuously claimed, but over the division of colonies in Africa and elsewhere in the undeveloped world.

Vladimir Lenin
© RIA Novosti. Otsup
Vladimir Lenin

From the left, or at least a significant section of the international left, the analysis of October and its aftermath is coterminous with the deification of its two primary actors — Lenin and Trotsky — and the demonization of Stalin; commonly depicted as a peripheral player who hijacked the revolution upon Lenin’s death, whereupon he embarked on a counter-revolutionary process to destroy its gains and aims.

Writing in the second volume of his magisterial three-part biography of Leon Trotsky, The Prophet Unarmed, Isaac Deutscher describes how the Bolsheviks were aware that “only at the gravest peril to themselves and the revolution could they allow their adversaries to express themselves freely and to appeal to the Soviet electorate. An organized opposition could turn the chaos and discontent to its advantage all the more easily because the Bolsheviks were unable to mobilize the energies of the working class. They refused to expose themselves and the revolution to this peril.”

The harsh reality is that the cultural level of the country’s nascent and small proletariat, whose most advanced cadre was destined perish in the civil war, was too low for it to take the kind commanding role in the organization and governance of the country Lenin had hoped and anticipated. “Our state apparatus is so deplorable,” he was forced to admit, “not to say wretched, that we must first think very carefully how to combat its defects, bearing in mind that these defects are rooted in the past, which, although it has been overthrown, has not yet been overcome, has not yet reached the stage of a culture, that has receded into the distant past.”

Stalin’s victory in the struggle for power within the leadership in the wake of Lenin’s death in 1924 was, if conventional wisdom is to be believed, down to his Machiavellian subversion and usurpation not only of the party’s collective organs of government, but the very ideals and objectives of the revolution itself. However, this describes a reductive interpretation of the seismic events, both within and outwith Russia, that were in train at this point.

Despite Trotsky’s determination to hold onto the belief in the catalyzing properties of October with regard to European and world revolution — which he shared with Lenin — by 1924 it was clear that the prospect of any such revolutionary outbreak in the advanced European economies had ended, and that socialism in Russia would have to be built, per Bukharin, “on that material which exists.”

Trotsky and Lenin’s faith in the European proletariat proved wrong, while Stalin’s skepticism in this regard proved justified. Returning to Isaac Deutscher:

“After four years of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s leadership, the Politbureau could not view the prospects of world revolution without skepticism… Stalin was not content with broad historical perspectives which seemed to provide no answer to burning, historical questions… extreme skepticism about world revolution and confidence in the reality of a long truce between Russia and the capitalist world were the twin premises of his [Stalin’s] socialism in one country.”

The five-year plans introduced by Stalin, beginning in 1928, were undertaken in conditions of absolute necessity in response to the gathering storms of war in the West: “We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries,” Stalin declared in 1931. “We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us.”

When it comes to those who cite the human cost of October and its aftermath as evidence of its unadulterated evil, no serious student of the history of Western colonialism and imperialism could possibly argue its equivalence when weighed on the scales of human suffering. Here Alain Badiou reminds us that “the huge colonial genocides and massacres, the millions of deaths in the civil and world wars through which our West forged its might, should be enough to discredit, even in the eyes of ‘philosophers’ who extol their morality, the parliamentary regimes of Europe and America.”

Ultimately, no revolution or revolutionary process ever achieves the ideals and vision embraced by its adherents at the outset. Revolutions advance and retreat under the weight of internal and external realities and contradictions, until arriving at the state of equilibrium that conforms to the limitations imposed by the particular cultural and economic constraints of the space and time in which they are made.

Though Martin Luther advocated the crushing of the Peasants Revolt led by Thomas Munzer, can anyone gainsay Luther’s place as one of history’s great emancipators? Likewise, while the French Revolution ended not with liberty, equality, fraternity, but Napoleon, who can argue that at Waterloo the Corsican general’s Grande Armee was fighting in the cause of human progress against the dead weight of autocracy and aristocracy represented by Wellington? In similar vein, Stalin’s socialism in one country and resulting five-year plans allowed the Soviet Union to overcome the monster of fascism in the 1940s.

This is why, in the last analysis, the fundamental metric of the October Revolution 1917 is the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942. And for that, whether it cares to acknowledge it or not, the world will forever be in its debt.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Check out John’s Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts.