Category: struggle for socialism
Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/aleida-guevara-cuban-revolution-will.html

Major abstracts of an interview by Aleida Guevara, daughter of the heroic Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, during her recent visit in Cyprus. The interview was published in the portal Dialogos / Translation in english: In Defense of Communism:

We talked about great personalities like Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo. Their personalities frequently overshadow the Revolution of the Cuban people and the resistance which lasts for so many years. Something that imperialism feeds with illusions is (the perception) that the biological death of Fidel and Revolution’s leaders will result to her collapse. How do you comment? 
“It is exactly what they did for the people of Cuba that makes them so great revolutionaries. It is that they formated social consciousness also through their own personal example. For example my father set some basic points of reference of the Revolution. One thing he taught us is when we do not understand something, we have the tast to demand an explanation. Not to be afraid of saying what we think. Always with respect and earning the right to be heard. This is very important. Our young people have this educational method. We have full consciousness of the power we have as people. Because it is something more internal, many people do not know that is like that in Cuba.
It is difficult to understand the level of Cuban people’s consciousness. […] There is a large popular critique and our people have a big powers. They hear us. This is the important. The Revolution will endure after the biological absence of great people who led our people. We endured and resisted for many years, being so close to the largest imperialist center.
 
This didn’t happen due to a handful of revolutionaries. It happened because of the developed social consciousness of our people. The people decided and knows what they want. I wouldn’t like to be in the position of the one who will lead the people after the historic leadership of the Revolution, because of the obvious comparison with Fidel. It will be difficult, but the important is the will power of the people and the dedication by the CP of Cuba (PCC).”
Regarding the changes in Cuba’s socialist system, Aleida Guevara said:
 
“There has been much criticism. The PCC prepared a series of issues. These issues were analysed by the people in every workplace, in schools, universities, everywhere. The people expressed their view. The National Assembly of People’s Power recently adopted the final document with over 1,800 modifications made by the Cuban people. The changes in the first text were made through the popular participatory democracy and that is what the Parliament verified. We are very critical as a people. We have the political education to do something like that. Therefore, what will happen is a decision taken by the people.”
In the question about the U.S policy towards Cuba and how she evaluates Trump’s announcements on Cuba, Dr. Guevara mentioned the following:
 
“Obama “varnished” a bit the aggressiveness of the USA, but the worst sanctions of Washington against our people were set during Obama’s period. He was simply a clever politician and presented himself as someone who wanted “changes”. In tactics, not in strategy. Obama’s aim remained the overthrow of the Revolution. The same policy continues and Trump is simply rougher. He proved that when he made the statements alongside the US-funded anti-Cuban mafia of Miami. Alongside terrorists and murderers. And on that point I must say that not all Cubans living in the USA are enemies of our people, like the members of this reactionary and terrorist mafia. The aim of the USA were always the same against our people. Trump simply returned to the face of the previous US Presidents. We aren’t worried. Everyone knows that our people kneels only to pay tribute to the heroes of independence and Revolution. Our struggle continues. They gave us more strength. Maybe it is even better, because many were “drifted” with Obama. They thought that there was a change. They wrongfully thought that the blockade was ended. Exactly the opposite took place. Obama was probably the worst clamp upon Cuban economy. Our people and all the people must remember what Che was saying about imperialism: You can’t trust him at all.”
 
 
Aleida also talked about Che’s admiration for the Soviet people, his affection for reading and studying. Among other things she said:
 
“My father was always a critical person. He was applying the same with the Soviet Union, but with much respect towards the Soviet people who he admired and respected also for his role in the international level”.
 
“In order to exercise critique you have to study a lot. My father was very well-read. He studied and talked with Mao Zedong himself and he could discuss in a documented way with him. That was an advantage of Che. He wasn’t criticizing without reason. If we was criticizing something, that was because he had searched and found answers. That’s why his critique was constructive and he was treated with respect”.
 
Dr. Aleida Guevara mentioned her participation in medical brigades, where she offered her skills and knowledge, like for example in Angola. This experience, she said, strengthened her anti-racist views: “I am a pediatrician and I saw children dying, while I could save them if I had enough medicines. This is unjust. If a child is black or lives in this planet’s south, does it mean it must be condemned to death? There isn’t any right in this situation. That is why I react in everything racist and colonial and I will fight against these until my last breath”.
“Cuba remains a symbol of Socialism. She proves that with her internationalist solidarity. What makes Cuba special? Socialism and our values. The fact that human is above everything. For example, when the Ebola virus broke out in Africa, the WHO (World Health Organisation) did not call a developed capitalist country. It didn’t call the USA or the EU. It called Cuba. And the Cuban doctors stopped this epidemic which would be dangerous for the whole world. Socialist Cuba taught us to be ready to sacrifice ourselves in order to save lifes and help humanity. And the example of Cuba is very significant, because it shows that if we- a poor people- can be against american imperialism, then every people can do it.”
 
KKE politburo member G.Marinos in Venezuela: “We must walk in the steps of the October Revolution”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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

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

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DECLARATION OF THE CC OF THE KKE ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/declaration-of-cc-of-kke-on-100th.html
Declaration of the Central Committee of the KKE on the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution   Source: inter.kke.gr.
The Central Committee of the KKE honours the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. It honours the climactic world-historic event of the 20th century which demonstrated that capitalism is not invincible, that we can construct a superior organization of society, without the exploitation of man by man.
The October Revolution highlighted the strength of the revolutionary class struggle, the strength of the exploited and oppressed, when they take centre stage and turn the wheel of history forwards in the direction of social liberation. In historical terms, it was the continuation of the uprisings of the slaves, of the peasants in the Middle Ages, of the bourgeois revolutions, but it also constituted the climax of this process and went beyond it, as for the first time the goal of the revolution was the abolition of the exploitative class society. 46 years after the “storming of the heavens” by the heroic Paris Commune, the Russian working class through the October revolution came to incarnate the vision of the working class-popular masses, millions of people, for a better life.
The October Revolution demonstrated the correctness of the Leninist analysis that the victory of socialism is possible in one country or a group of countries, as a consequence of the uneven development of capitalism.
October 1917 was an event of global and lasting significance. It confirmed the potential of the working class (as a social force that can and must lead the revolutionary struggle, for a society without exploitation, insecurity, poverty, unemployment and wars) to fulfill its historic mission. It also confirmed that the realization of the historic mission of the working class is not determined by its percentage in the economically active population, but by the fact that it is the vehicle for the new socialist relations of production.
At the same time, October highlighted the irreplaceable role of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, as the leading factor not only in the socialist revolution, but also during the entire struggle for the formation, strengthening, and final victory of the new communist society.
The flame of October led to and accelerated the establishment of a number of communist parties, revolutionary workers’ parties of a new type, in opposition to the social-democratic parties of this era, which had betrayed the working class and revolutionary politics, choosing the path of the co-option of the labour movement under the banner of the bourgeois class, as well as the support for the imperialist military assault against the young workers’ state in Russia.
The victorious October Revolution was the continuation of all the previous workers’ uprisings and paved the way for the historical passage of humanity “from the Kingdom of Necessity to the Kingdom of Freedom.” Codifying its historic importance, Lenin wrote:
“We have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown.”
The lessons of October are of particular importance today when the wheel of history seems to be moving backwards, today when the international communist movement is in conditions of crisis and retreat, today when the long-term consequences of the counterrevolution (since the beginning of the 1990s) are reinforcing the mistaken view held by many workers that there is no alternative solution to capitalism.
Historical development itself helps us expose the bourgeois propaganda that claims that the socialist-communist project had a utopian character. No socio-economic system in the history of humanity was established in one moment, once and for all, with a linear course of victories of those class forces that were the vehicles of social progress in each specific phase. After the great slave uprising, Spartacus was crucified, but slavery eventually passed into history. After the French bourgeois revolution of 1789, Robespierre was guillotined, but feudalism’s days were numbered.
The bourgeois class deliberately conceals the fact that it took about 4 centuries to consolidate its power. It took several centuries, from the first attempts of the bourgeoisie in the trading cities of Northern Italy in the 14th century to the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, until capitalist relations had developed to a satisfactory level so that it could impose the complete abolition of feudal relations of production. The political defeats suffered by the bourgeois class in this period do not negate the fact that its was historically necessary for the outdated relations of production between the landowner and the serf to be replaced by bourgeois relations between the capitalist and the worker.
The political representatives of the bourgeois class vainly claim that capitalism is irreplaceable, eternal and that the revolutionary class struggle is no longer the instrument for historical development.
The decades-long existence and successes of the socialist society, which was inaugurated by the October Revolution, demonstrated that a society without bosses, without capitalists owning the means of production is possible. This conclusion is not negated by the fact that in this specific phase it was not able to defeat once and for all capitalist ownership and capitalist profit.

SOCIALISM REMAINS NECESSARY, TIMELY AND REALISTIC

The necessity and timeliness of socialism, the potential of abolishing private ownership over the concentrated means of production flow from the development of capitalism which leads to the concentration of production. Capitalist ownership puts a brake on the social character of production. Capitalist ownership cancels out the potential for all workers to live in better socially organized conditions that correspond to their increased human needs:so that all have work without the nightmare of unemployment, working for less hours, enjoying a better standard of living, with a high level of exclusively public and free education and similar services in health and welfare.
The working class creates these possibilities through its work inside capitalism, possibilities which are expanded by the development of science and technology. However, in a society where everything that is produced is determined on the basis of private, capitalist profit, the needs of the working class and the popular strata are crushed. The essence of the problem is that those who produce are not those who decide on the goals and organization of production. The cyclical economic crises are in the DNA of capitalism and are becoming increasingly deep and synchronized, resulting in the sharp increase of unemployment, the further expansion of badly paid work without social security cover, life with rights hat have been destroyed, with imperialist wars for the division of markets and territories.
The deterioration of the working and living conditions, despite the rise of labour productivity, concerns the entire capitalist world and indeed the most developed capitalist states. The capitalist states themselves, their research centres, admit that the workers’ income is shrinking, while the wealth of the capitalists is increasing.
Just as in the previous periods of social revolutions, a decisive factor today for the corrosion of the strength of the old exploitative system is always its internal contradictions and their intensification.
This provides the potential for the development and escalation of the class struggle and its acquisition of a revolutionary character. Today, in the era of monopoly capitalism, the basic contradiction of the system is sharpening, while labour and production have been socialized to unprecedented levels, the largest part of their results are enjoyed by the shareholders of the business groups. These are the big shareholders-parasites of economic life, who despite being surplus to the organization and direction of production, exploit the working class. Shareholders who often do not know what the companies they have shares in and receive dividends from produce or where they are located.
At the same time as the dominance of the monopoly groups, there the trend to relative stagnancy is being reinforced, i.e stagnancy in relation to the potential and dynamism created by the current level of development of the productive forces, in relation to what could be produced quantitatively and qualitatively if society removed profit as the motor force of production. Features of parasitism and relative stagnancy are:the so-called in-built obsolescence of commodities (the use of scientific knowledge to limit the life-span of products), the restrictions on the spread of technology due to the patents owned by the business groups, the underdevelopment for various periods of time of sectors that are not profitable enough (e.g. anti-earthquake protection), the destruction of the environment due its irrational utilization for the maximization of capitalist profits, the enormous spending on scientific research for the production of weapons and means of repression etc.
Today, the negative correlation of forces for the working class reproduces the impression (due to the dominance of bourgeois ideology) that the power and aggression of capital are invincible. However, it cannot conceal the decay of capitalism and the objective potential for the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, for their socialization by workers’ power and their utilization on the basis of central planning and the benefit of society.
The entire history of the October Revolution and what preceded it demonstrate that the negative correlation of forces is not eternal and unchanging.

THE APPEARANCE OF FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY UPHEAVAL

The fact that the preconditions have been formed for the construction of the socialist-communist society does not automatically entail its realization. An important reason for this is the fact that, in contrast with the laws of nature, social progress requires the relevant activity of humans, in this case the class struggle for the abolition of the old society and the construction of the new one.
The outbreak of the socialist revolution (just as every social revolution in human history) presupposes the emergence of a situation where the ability of the ruling class to co-opt, repress and subdue the people is weakened.
Lenin formulated the definition of the revolutionary situation and identified the main objective and subjective characteristics, which are are accumulated in society on the eve of the revolution.
-Those “above” (the ruling class of the capitalists) cannot govern and run the administration as they did in the past.
-Those “below” (the working class and the popular strata) do not want to live as they did in the past.
-An extraordinary rise in the activity of masses is observed.
Thus, the destitution of those “below” and their discontent increases their political activity, while confusion, weakness, contradictions, indecisiveness prevail amongst those “above”.
The emergence of such a favourable situation for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalist society has an objective character; it flows from the sudden sharpening of its contradictions.
However, as Lenin aptly stressed, this does not means that every revolutionary situation is converted into a revolution. Neither the reaction of those below, nor the crisis of those above will trigger the overthrow, if there is not a planned revolutionary uprising of the working class, led by its conscious vanguard.
In other words, for a workers’ revolution to break out there must be the presence of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, equipped with the theoretical elaborations and ability to predict the developments, based on the Marxist-Leninist world-view and capable of leading the revolutionary uprising of the working class.
Of course, it is not possible to predict all the factors that can lead to a revolutionary situation. Historical experience highlighted the manifestation of a deep and synchronized capitalist crisis, combined with the outbreak of an imperialist war as being important factors.
The first victorious workers’ revolution in Russia was the result of the ability of the working class, guided by its party, to undertake this role in similar conditions. Lenin successfully predicted the potential for a revolutionary situation in Russia, the possibility of Russia emerging as the weak link in the imperialist chain in the conditions of the 1st World War.

THE COURSE OF THE BOLSHEVIKS TO THE VICTORY IN OCTOBER 1917

In Tsarist Russia before the First World War, there survived intense features of the old absolutist state, headed by the Tsar, even if capitalism was rapidly developing. There existed a vast mass of peasants/small producers in the countryside, who were tormented by the significant vestiges of feudal relations.
The revolution of 1905-1907 led to the formation of the State Duma, i.e. a form of legislative representative institution with very limited rights, which in no sense meant the transition to a formal bourgeois parliamentary system. The institution of the Duma expressed a compromise between sections of the bourgeois class and the Tsarist regime. In the countryside, despite the fact that serfdom in Russia formally had been abolished since 1861, large sections of the peasants suffered from the oppression of the big landowners, who forced them to do chores for them or to hand over half their crops.
In the period of the 1905 revolution, the Soviets were born as organs for the organization of the revolutionary activity of the working class inside the conditions of the intensifying strike struggles and class confrontations. They constituted a new form of organization of the working class with elected delegates and functioned as the seeds and forms of the future workers’ power.
The creation of enormous factories in the key centres of the major Russian cities, like Moscow and Petrograd (later renamed Leningrad), led to a significant growth of wage labour, rendering the working class the basic social force in the country, despite the fact that it was not a majority of the total population of the Tsarist empire.
In these complex conditions, the Bolsheviks formed a strategic line that aimed, through the development of the class struggle, to safeguard two things: a) the political independence of the working class in the impending bourgeois-democratic revolution so that the proletariat would not be transformed into the tail of the bourgeoisie. b) the leadership of the entire people’s movement by the working class (i.e. the social alliance of the proletariat with the small and medium peasants) so that the revolution could have a radical character in relation to the historical era and facilitate the transition to the socialist revolution. Consequently, in the struggle to win the peasantry over to the side of the working class, the strategy of the Bolsheviks was based on the line: together with all the peasants against the Middle Ages. And then later on, together with the poor peasants, together with the semi-proletarians against capitalism, and together against the rich in the villages.
This strategy was based on the assessment that the objective development of capitalism in Russia came into contradiction with the backward political superstructure of Tsarism and with the maintenance of the vestiges of serfdom in the countryside and also on the idea of a revolutionary process at a European level. At the same time, the bourgeois class of 1905 was no longer the progressive bourgeois class of the era of the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. In any case, capitalism had now passed at a global level into the reactionary era of imperialism. It was more afraid than desirous of a political revolution, as its rival class, the working class, had established itself as an independent political force.
Consequently, Lenin assessed that the revolution should establish a temporary revolutionary government, the “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”, which would implement what was contained in the “minimum” programme of the Bolsheviks (constituent assembly, universal voting rights, agricultural reforms etc.)This power would eradicate the vestiges of Tsarism, while it would spark the proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist Western Europe, which would in turn support the proletarian revolution in Russia. The Bolsheviks in this period connected the bourgeois-democratic revolution with the socialist revolution and stressed the defense of the specific interests of the working class and the need to exert constant pressure on the revolutionary government to extend the gains of the revolution.
The “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”, as Lenin said, could have a unified outlook in terms of smashing absolutism, but not in terms of socialism. As the revolution would develop, Lenin predicted that struggle within the alliance and within the governance of the workers and peasants itself would sharpen and would lead finally to the full separation of the working class from the medium and rich peasants, aiming at the domination of the proletarian elements over the petty bourgeois ones and the transition to the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.
This line of the Bolsheviks was formed in opposition to the right opportunists of the era, the Mensheviks, and also in opposition to Trotsky who underestimated the role and significance of the peasantry. Lenin assessed that Trotsky’s position would have led to the “denial of the role of the peasantry” and the crippling of the revolution.
The entrance of Russia in the 1st World War sharpened the social contradictions. The repeated defeats of the Russian army at the front, the loss of territories (e.g. Poland, Baltic countries) caused significant discontent, not only amongst the workers and peasants who were suffering due to the destruction of war, but also amongst the bourgeois class of Russia. The fact the mechanisms of Tsarism started to orient towards Germany and the possibility of signing a separate peace with it triggered the reaction of the bourgeoisie, a reaction that was supported by Britain and France and led to the organization of plans to overthrow the Tsar. In 1916, simultaneous uprisings of various nationalities broke out in the Caucasus and Central Asia against the Tsarist empire.
The plans of the bourgeoisie to overthrow the Tsar were combined with major popular mobilizations and strikes, which were carried out in February 1917, as a result of the lack of food, mass unemployment and rapid intensification of the social problems. The formation of a revolutionary situation, the mass political activity of the workers and peasants organized in the Soviets, the disintegration of the army, led in the end to the revolutionary overthrow of the Tsar.
The revolutionary situation was created on the terrain of a complex process that contained a number of important factors: the sharpening of the inter-imperialist antagonisms, the problems that the imperialist war had created for the popular strata over the 3 previous years, the disturbance of Tsarism’s alliance with the bourgeoisie, which no longer allowed those ‘above” to govern as before, the political and organizational work of the Bolsheviks before and during the war in the ranks of the working class and the soldiers.
The sudden intensification of the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and Tsarism in the conditions of crisis and imperialist war, the inevitability of which had been underscored by the Bolsheviks, resulted in the bourgeoisie taking the upper hand in the February Revolution.
The Provisional Democratic Government was established by representatives of the bourgeois liberal parties of Russia and constituted an organ of bourgeois power. At the same time, the mass political struggle of the workers and peasants brought to the surface the organization of the armed masses that participated in the overthrow of the Tsar via the Soviets (councils of delegates).
The Mensheviks (opportunist current) and the SRs (“petty bourgeois socialist revolutionaries”) dominated the Soviets in this period and posed the issue of supporting the Provisional Democratic Government. So, a situation emerged that Lenin characterized as “dual power”, in order to describe a transitional moment in the revolutionary process, where the bourgeois class has the power, but is not so strong as to be able to disperse the organization of the people’s masses that were armed (e.g. the Soviets had their own guards).
Lenin, understanding the compromise between the Provisional Democratic Government and the Soviets, considered that a specific political line should be implemented in order to convince the workers through their own experience for the need:
a) To not provide support to the Provisional Democratic Government, which was the government of the bourgeois class.
b) To understand that the war which was continuing was imperialist, predatory and unjust.
c) To abandon the Mensheviks and SRs in order to change the correlation of forces in favour of the Bolsheviks in the Soviets.
d) For the Soviets to take power as a precondition for the solution of all the pressing demands of the popular strata (peace, land, bread).
In the well-known “April Theses” and in his other works from this period, Lenin made a very clear assessment of the character of the February Revolution. He assessed that power changed hands, passed into the hands of the bourgeois class. He bore in mind that the basic issue in the strategy of the Bolsheviks’ strategy until then, the issue of the social alliance of the workers and peasants, had already been realized in the form of the Soviets, irrespective of the fact that in their majority of the proletariat were disorientated and trusted the representatives of the petty bourgeois strata, who acted as the tail of the bourgeoisie.
Against the position of the “Old Bolsheviks” (Kamenev, Zinoviev etc.)that the bourgeois democratic revolution had not been completed and a number of goals had not been realized (e.g. Constituent Assembly, agricultural reforms), Lenin responded that the main issue in each revolution is the issue of power. In this sense, the bourgeois-democratic revolution had been completed.
So a change in the strategy of the Bolsheviks was required. From February onwards, the first and basic issue that had to be solved was the raising of the consciousness of the proletariat, the winning of its vanguard position inside the framework of the social alliance. This required struggle inside the revolutionary organs themselves (Soviets), the rallying with the semi-proletarians and poor peasantry in order to prepare the ground for the socialist revolution.
When the Provisional Democratic Government carried out harsh repressive measures against the Bolsheviks and the labour movement in July, the Bolsheviks withdrew the slogan “All power to the Soviets.” Lenin in this crucial period and especially after the outbreak of the military coup d’etat of Kornilov predicted that the objective situation would lead either to the completion of the victory of the bourgeois military dictatorship or to the victory of the armed uprising of the workers. He intensified the ideological struggle against the illusions concerning a peaceful parliamentary transition to socialism and declared that the goal of the armed uprising could only be the conquest of power by the proletariat, with the support of the poor peasantry, for the realization of the programmatic goals of the party.
In September 1917, and after the Bolsheviks had won the majority in the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow, they returned to the slogan “All Power to the Soviets” with a new content. Not , as previously, as a slogan that would expose the compromise, the conciliation of the Mensheviks with the bourgeois government and would facilitate the change of the correlation of forces, but as a slogan for the overthrow of the Provisional Democratic Government, as a slogan for the revolutionary uprising. The Bolsheviks acted in this direction without waiting for the elections to the Constituent Assembly or the Congress of Soviets.
The decisiveness of Lenin and those from the leadership of the Bolsheviks who supported his positions led in the end to the victorious socialist revolution on October 25 (November 7, according to the new calendar) 1917.
The experience of the October Revolution highlighted that Soviet workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, was what dealt with the pressing issues of the workers (land, bread, peace) and not bourgeois power or some “intermediate” form of power, which in reality cannot exist. Soviet Power paved the way for the abolition of the capitalist relations of production.
The Bolshevik party, with the decisive contribution of Lenin, in order to reach the victorious revolution made constant theoretical and political efforts to develop its strategic view, to deepen and predict the rapid changes in the correlation of forces between the rival classes, as well as to increase its political influence inside the working class itself. The changes in the revolutionary political line from 1905 to October 1917 reflect the maturing of its strategic elaboration.
It was not easy. Beginning with the separation from the Mensheviks in 1903 at the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social-democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) and the formation of a separate party in 1912, the Bolsheviks were steeled in conditions of struggle against and of ideological-political-organizational separation from the forces of opportunism.
The course to victory was the result of constant, persistent theoretical and political elaborations. A decisive contribution for the formation of the strategy of the socialist revolution was provided by the study of the characteristics of monopoly capitalism (in the work “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”), of the stance towards the bourgeois state and the character of workers’ power, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat (“State and Revolution”) and the more general deepening in the dialectical materialist thinking and analysis of the developments (with the work “Materialism and Empirio-criticism”), while the economic analysis of Tsarist Russia had already preceded (with the work “The development of capitalism in Russia”).
These elaborations highlighted the potential for the socialization of the concentrated means of production in the era of monopoly capitalism and also the potential created by uneven economic-political development and the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions in order for the weakest link in the imperialist chain to break and for the efforts for socialist construction in one country or in a group of countries to begin.
Lenin, developing the strategy of the Bolsheviks, opposed in practice the positions of Plekhanov, Kautsky, Martov, as well as of cadres of the Bolsheviks who considered that Russia should compulsorily pass through a stage of the so-called maturation of capitalism.
These positions were widespread and influential in pre-revolutionary Russia. They were based on the particular weight of agricultural production in the Russian economy, on the lack of its mechanization, on the backwardness in terms of electrification, on the pre-capitalist remnants in a large part of the Tsarist empire. Lenin shed light on the development of capitalist relations, the creation of monopoly groups in the big cities and the potential for socialist relations of production to lend great impetus to the development of the productive forces.
As was natural, the maturation of the strategy of the Bolsheviks was not something that happened quickly and easily. The party of the Bolsheviks acquired the ability to draw conclusions from the revolutionary initiative developed by the masses in moments of the sharpening of the class struggle and to utilize the institutions created by them (the Soviets) to the benefit of the revolutionary uprising.
In each phase of the development of the class struggle, it demonstrated a characteristic ability to serve its strategy with the corresponding political line, with alliances, slogans, maneuvers and also with the astutely conducted confrontation against the Mensheviks and the rest of the opportunist forces. It utilized in the best way the combative experience acquired by its members in the harsh class battles over the entire 1905-1917 period. It worked stably and decisively to change the correlation of forces in the labour and trade union movement and was able to change the correlation of forces in the largest trade unions in Petrograd and Moscow during the First World War and chiefly it was able to gradually increase its influence in the organs of the rebellious workers and soldiers (the Soviets).This theoretical readiness and combative practical ability gave the party of the Bolsheviks the ability to forge revolutionary bonds with the workers’-people’s forces and to avoid bowing to the practical difficulties that it faced in its activity, such as state and para-state violence.
In the difficult course from 1905 to 1917, the Bolsheviks faced in practice both the violence of the Tsarist state and the counterrevolutionary activity of petty bourgeois and backward popular strata. A characteristic example were the Black Hundreds in the 1905 revolution, when Lenin considered that dealing with them in a practical way would provide training for workers’ combat groups. The Bolsheviks made titanic efforts to deepen the class consciousness of the workers in this period. It is enough to bear in mind that in one of the largest demonstrations in Petrograd in 1905, the crowd held icons of the saints and the Tsar himself and sang hymns, before being attacked by the Tsar’s guard.
Particularly in the crucial period from February to October 1917, they faced very capable bourgeois politicians, like Kerensky, who had tremendous abilities in terms of misleading the masses. The Bolsheviks were successful because they worked patiently, daringly, with a plan of political, organizational and military preparation for the revolutionary uprising.
The victorious outcome of the October Revolution confirmed the strategy of the socialist revolution as well as a number of lessons that are connected to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism:the leading role of the revolutionary communist party, its functioning based on the principle of democratic centralism, which has as its fundamental features collectivity and the safeguarding of unified action. The need to rally the working class against the power of capital, the need to attract sections of the peasants and other middle strata to the revolution and also to render other sections neutral. The historically outdated and reactionary character of the bourgeois class, the necessity of not participating in or supporting a government in the framework of capitalism, the non-existence of transitional forms of power between capitalism and socialism, the need to smash the bourgeois state.
The study of the strategy of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution, as well as the development of its formation (from 1905 to 1917) leads to crucially important lessons. It provides valuable experience for the way communists approach the workers and popular strata with immature levels of class consciousness. The Bolsheviks were able to successfully combine the study of the domestic and international developments, the theoretical work as well as the study of the experience from the tough class struggle in Russia. This combination is today more necessary than ever for the communists to be able to work effectively in complex and difficult conditions, where the correlation of forces is negative.

ON THE STRATEGY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT IN THE 20TH CENTURY

The party of the Bolsheviks and the October Revolution were the historical continuation of the activity of the revolutionary wing of the Marxists in the framework of the 1st and 2nd International. They contributed to the outbreak of the workers’ uprisings that came in the following years, in Berlin, Budapest, Turin, which were defeated. In general, the October Revolution accelerated the development of the international communist movement and led to the creation of the 3rd Communist International (1919-1943), which was established to counter the international strength of capital. The need for there to be a clear separation from the social-democratic parties that had betrayed the working class in the 1st World War, the need to intensify the struggle against them led to the formulation of the 21 conditions for the accession of a party to the 3rd International, at its 2nd congress in 1920, conditions related to safeguarding its revolutionary character.
However, later on the positive experience of the October Revolution was not taken on board and did not prevail over the duration of the history of the Communist International. On the contrary, the strategic view that, in general, posed the goal of an intermediate form of power or government between bourgeois and workers’ power, as a transitional phase to socialist power, prevailed to a significant extent during its existence that was characterized by contradictions on this issue. Often, this choice was justified on the basis of the initial strategic elaboration of the Bolsheviks and indeed was applied in capitalist economies and established bourgeois states in countries that did not have conditions similar to those in Russia in 1905.
The reasons for this course clearly require deeper, detailed study, which our party is continuing. However, we can already note certain factors and difficulties that contributed to the prevalence of problematic strategic elaborations.
A few years after the victory of October, the revolutionary wave of the labour movement receded especially after the defeat of the revolution in Germany in 1918 and Hungary in 1919, while the creation of the preconditions for a revolutionary situation was not utilized by some communist parties. Later, after 1920, powerful capitalist countries temporarily overcame the economic crisis and were stabilized. The majority of the workers organized in trade unions remained trapped in social-democratic parties, in some of which there continued to be an intense inner-party conflict, as in Italy and Germany.
At the same time, the confrontation inside the All-Union Communist Party (B) intensified between forces that argued that socialist construction was impossible without the victory of the socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist West (Trotsky and others)and forces, headed by Stalin, that argued that Soviet power should prioritize the direction of socialist construction.
The increased threat of a new imperialist military offensive against the USSR in the 1930s was another factor in addition to the recession of the revolutionary wave, which was combined with the very sharp class struggle inside the Soviet Union and the obstacles that had be very rapidly overcome. The discussion about how to deal with this sharpened the contradictions and theoretical weaknesses in the elaboration of the suitable revolutionary strategy.
The complex efforts of the USSR’s foreign policy to delay as far as possible the imperialist offensive and to utilize contradictions between the imperialist centres in this direction were related to significant alternations and changes in the line of the Communist International that played a negative role later in terms of the course of the international communist movement in the following decades. The changes were related to issues of how to confront the fascist current, the stance towards social-democracy, as well as towards bourgeois democracy itself. The approach of making a political separation of the imperialist alliances into aggressive ones, which included the fascist forces, and defensive ones, which included the bourgeois-democratic forces, emerged in this period.
More particularly, there was the mistaken assessment concerning the existence of a left and right wing in the social-democratic parties in the 1930s, which was the justification for an alliance with them, something that underestimated their complete transformation into parties of the bourgeois class by this point. This incorrect distinction was also maintained after the 2nd World War.
These changes, objectively, trapped the struggle of the labour movement under the banner of bourgeois democracy. Similarly, the separation of the imperialist centres into pro-peace and pro-war ones concealed the real cause of imperialist wars and the rise of fascism, i.e. monopoly capitalism. In other words, it did not shine a light on the urgent strategic tasks of the communist parties to combine the concentration of forces for the national liberation or anti-fascist struggle with the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power, utilizing the conditions of the revolutionary situation that were formed in a number of countries.
In general, the character of the era was underestimated in the strategic elaborations of the Communist International and the prevalent definition of the character of the revolution was based on the criterion of the position of a capitalist country in the international imperialist system. That is to say, the lower level of the development of a country in relation to the higher levels achieved by the leading powers in the international imperialist system, as well as the negative correlation of forces at the expense of the revolutionary labour movement were mistakenly adopted as criteria to define the character of the revolution.
This mistaken methodological approach underestimated the potential for socialist relations of production to lend great impetus to and liberate the development of the productive forces in a capitalist country. For example, the existing backwardness in terms of electrification that the USSR inherited was overcome very rapidly, as was illiteracy. Workers’ power organized social services that were unprecedented for the era.
The uneven development of the capitalist economies and unequal relations between states cannot be eradicated in the framework of capitalism. In the final analysis, the character of the revolution in each capitalist country is objectively determined by the basic contradiction it is called on to resolve, regardless of the relative changes of the position of each country in the international imperialist system. The socialist character and tasks of the revolution arise from the sharpening of the basic contradiction between capital and labour in each capitalist country in the era of monopoly capitalism.
In many of the elaborations of the Communist Parties, the approach towards the goal of workers power was based on the criterion of the correlation of forces and not the objective definition of the historical era we find ourselves in, which is determined by the which class is at the head of social development, i.e. the motion towards social liberation.
Lenin in his work “Under a false flag” summarized the era of monopoly capitalism as follows: “The third epoch, which has just set in, places the bourgeoisie in the same “position” as that in which the feudal lords found themselves during the first epoch.(Lenin was referring to the era of the revolutionary rise of the bourgeoisie with the French bourgeois revolution of 1789).This is the epoch of imperialism and imperialist upheavals, as well as of upheavals stemming from the nature of imperialism.”
The character of the era has a global dimension, regardless of the variations from country to country in terms of the extent and manner of the maturation of the material preconditions for the passage to socialism The centralization and expansion of wage labour, of the working class that undergoes capitalist exploitation is the main indicator of the maturation of capitalism.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIALISM IN THE USSR

The October Revolution brought to the fore a superior organization of society, which was radically different from all the systems that historically had preceded it and which had as their common feature the exploitation of man by man.
In the USSR no one could have another person under their employment. The abolition of the employment of alien labour consists the most significant social result of the October Revolution, the womb of all the various achievements for the life of the workers. With central planning as a social relation of production for the use of the socialized means of production, significant social achievements were implemented for several decades.
In the USSR, the right to work was safeguarded for first time in practice, by abolishing unemployment as a social phenomenon. The foundations for the abolition of the multifaceted economic, political-ideological and social discrimination against women were established, even in regions with immense backwardness in this field. Sciences and free Education and free high quality healthcare at all levels were rapidly developed, while the people’s universal access and ability to contribute to Culture and Sports was ensured.
Also, for the first time in History, institutions which ensured the effective participation of the workers in the management of aspects their society were created, thus removing the masses from the margins of political and social life. For the first time, the right of the workers and the youth to elect and to be elected became substantial, in contrast with the purely formal content that these rights have in capitalism. These achievements constituted a reference point and contributed, along with other factors, to the winning of gains by the labour-people’s movement in the capitalist states. It has been proved in practice that the more communist relations of production deepen, the more social relations themselves are also revolutionized, the relations of the individual with society. It has been proved that the socialist relations of production can secure collective social rights.
The significance of the above achievements is multiplied if we take into account the conditions under which they were achieved. The distance separating the pre-revolutionary Russia from the powerful capitalist states, such as the USA, Britain, Germany, France, was very large, as these states were significantly superior in the development of the productive forces and in the level of labour productivity.
The powerful capitalist states based their development on the exploitation of their own people, as well as of other peoples (employer intimidation, colonial system, violence against indigenous people, exploitation of child labour)In contrast to this, the young soviet power tried to create the economic foundations of socialism with its own forces, in conditions of the sharpening of the class struggle, that is to say in conditions of bourgeois reaction inside the country interconnected with the active attempt to overthrow workers power from abroad. The achievements of the USSR took place in conditions of the active undermining of production, the permanent threat of foreign armed intervention, assassinations of Bolsheviks and other leading workers and farmers.
Characteristic periods are:The invasion of the 14 states- with the participation of Greece during the E. Venizelos premiership- in Ukraine in 1919 for the suppression of the revolution. The counter-revolutionary atrocities, through which the bourgeois class responded inside Soviet Russia to the so-called “offensive of socialism against capitalism’s forces” during the first five-year plan of 1929-1934 (which included the industrialization and collectivization of agricultural production) and later in the period before and during the Second Imperialist World War, when the stance of the capitalist states- alongside the particular aspirations of each one- also served the common goal of the overthrowing the USSR .
The consequences of the First and Second World Wars placed additional obstacles for socialist construction, taking into account that no other country faced such large-scale destruction, while the USSR’s main adversary in the global competition between socialism-capitalism, the USA, did not experience war on its territory.
As we approach the above achievements, we must bear in mind that soviet society was not a mature, fully-formed and “flourishing” communist society. But a communist society at an early stage of development, a society under communist formation.
The birth and development of the communist society can carry, to a significant extent, the remnants from its capitalist past, but also the consequences of capitalism’s domination at a global level. These consequences- which were met in all sectors of the USSR’s social life- were remnants of the old society within the new one, remnants which had not been radically confronted yet and not all social relations had been fully transformed into communist ones.
The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois criticism of the History of the USSR consciously conceals that it is the history of the premature level of communist society. This criticism points out weaknesses and mistakes from the point of view of an ideal communist society in order to defame and discourage revolutionary workers activity. At the same time, the multi-faceted bourgeois propaganda invents crimes, as it labels the right of workers power to defend itself from external attempts to undermine it, while at the same time, it falsifies history by equating communism with fascism.
However, bourgeois propaganda cannot hide the superiority of the central scientific planning for the development of the productive forces, on the solid ground guaranteed by workers power and the social ownership of the means of production,factories domestic energy resources, mineral wealth, land, infrastructure. The History of the USSR proves what the workers can achieve when they become masters of the means of production and of the social wealth, when they acquire political power. The latter form of democracy puts the real producers of the wealth into the driving seat, and not the hypocritical bourgeois parliamentary democracy which is a weapon of capitalist dominance for the subjugation of the working class.
The results of the central scientific planning of workers’ power, such as the elimination of unemployment, the rapid and effective specialization of the workforce, its proper distribution throughout the economy, the achievements in the exploration of space, the conversion of peace-time industry into war industry on the eve of the Second World War, are unprecedented, if we also take into account the pre-capitalist backwardness in many regions and the deep asymmetry of capitalist development that was dominant in Tsarist Russia. The distance covered by workers’ power in the development of the productive forces, both domestically and internationally, was really enormous.

HOW AND WHY WE REACHED THE COUNTERREVOLUTION AND THE OVERTHROW OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION

The course of the socialist construction in the USSR did not move in a linear fashion , upwards and smoothly.
In order to critically evaluate the positive and negative experience of the History’s first attempt at socialist construction, it is necessary to briefly distinguish its major historical periods.
After the disastrous for the country’s productive base foreign intervention and the class-based civil war (1917-1922) and the New Economic Policy (1922-1929)- which followed as a temporary retreat in the given circumstances- the drawing up of the first five-year plan in 1929 meant the beginning of the offensive of socialism’s forces. From this period and until the Second World War, in the USSR the struggle for the development of the communist relations of production, the abolition of wage labour and the dominance of the socialized sector of production on the basis of Central Planning was generally successful. This struggle was successful despite the fact that the conditions of imperialist encirclement and the threat of war- combined with the inheritance of great backwardness- required the acceleration of the process for the construction of new (productive) relations.
During that period, new institutions of workers participation were developed, the core of which was the workplace; this political relation was subsequently violated, retreating in the face of existing objective difficulties and also subjective pressures. Under the pressure of the preparation for the active contribution of all the people in the impending war, the 1936 Soviet Constitution generalized the electoral right through a universal secret ballot, based on the place of residence. The assemblies of each productive unit as the core of the organization of workers’ power were downgraded. In practice, the difficulty of recalling delegates from the higher state institutions increased
After the Second World War, both the reconstruction as well as, subsequently, the further development of communist relations set new challenges and demands that required a relevant adaptation of the revolutionary strategy. In the first years after the war, the dominant direction within the CPSU was the anti-market one which- despite the theoretical weaknesses and shortcomings- remained firm in the goal of developing the communist relations, of the planned eradication of inequalities, of the commodity in agricultural production (combined with the goal of transforming the Kolkhozs-cooperatives into social ownership).
Despite the success of the first post-war economic plan, agricultural production experienced delays. Also, some problems were encountered in central planning, including in relation to the ratios between productive sectors.
Life showed that there was no collectively achieved theoretical dynamic which could adapt the communist strategy to the challenges posed by the new level of development in social production. The problems which emerged were not interpreted correctly and were not dealt with in a direction of strengthening and expanding communist relations.
They were interpreted as inevitable weaknesses existing in the nature of central planning and not as a result of the contradictions due to the survival of the old, as a result of the mistakes of the non-scientifically elaborated plan. Thus, instead of seeking a solution towards the invigoration and expansion of the communist relations of production and distribution, it was sought by looking to the past, i.e. in the exploitation of tools and production relations of capitalism. The solution was sought in the expansion of the market, in “market socialism”.
The 20th CPSU Congress (1956) stands out as a turning point because in that congress, with the vehicle being (“under the pretext of”) the so-called “personality cult”, a series of opportunist positions were adopted on the issues of the communist movement strategy, of international relations and partly of the economy. In general, the central administration of the plan weakened. Instead of planning the conversion of kolkhozs into sovkhozs and, above all, of beginning the passage of all cooperative-kolkhoz production to state control, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery became the property of the kolkhozs, a position which had previously been rejected.
A few years later, beginning with the so-called “Kosygin reforms” (1965), the bourgeois category of “business profit” of each individual production unit was adopted and the wages of managers and workers were linked to it. The assessment of the productivity of the socialist productive units on the basis of production volume was replaced by the value estimation of their products. The process of accumulation of each socialist unit was disconnected from central planning, resulting in the weakening of the social character of the means of production and product stocks. At the same time, by1975, all state farms, the Sovkhozs, had been under full self-management. All these measures led to the creation of the conditions for private embezzlement and ownership, relations which were legally prohibited.
The differences in labour income between workers and managers in each enterprise, as well as among workers in different enterprises, increased. The individual interest was strengthened at the expense of the social interest and the communist consciousness, the stance of defending and promoting of social ownership, was damaged.
The so-called “shadow capital” emerged as a result of enrichment from business profit but also from the “black” market, from criminal actions to usurp the social product, that sought its legal function as capital in production; in reality, the privatization of the means of production and hiring of alien labour, the restoration of capitalism. Its (shadow capital) owners constituted the driving force of the counter-revolution.
In about the same period, the Marxist-Leninist perception about the workers’ state was also revised. The 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) described the USSR state as an “all-people’s” state and the CPSU as an “all-people’s party”. These positions caused a rapid blunting- and consequently mutation- of the revolutionary characteristics and social composition of the party. The transformation of the CPSU’s opportunist degeneration into an open counter-revolutionary force was manifested in 1987, with the passing of a law which institutionally established capitalist relations, under the pretext of the diversity of property relations, the notorious policy of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. This fact also marks the formal beginning of the counter-revolutionary period.
As the leadership of the CPSU was adopting choices which weakened the social character of property and strengthened narrow individual and group interests, feelings of alienation from social ownership were created and the class consciousness of the workers eroded. The path to indifference and individualism was opening up, as long as practice was increasingly becoming distant from the proclamations. This course explains the passivity of a large part of the people during the period of the counter-revolutionary upheavals and, at the same time, it shows the degeneration that the ruling circles of the CPSU had reached.

THE CHARTING OF A MODERN REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY BY THE KKE

Following the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and the other socialist countries, as well as the outbreak of the internal party crisis of the KKE in July 1991 which led to the removal of the opportunist group that was operating in its ranks, the KKE began its revolutionary regroupment.
In difficult circumstances, due to the consequences of the counterrevolution in the international communist movement, the KKE tried all these years to study the contemporary developments, to draw conclusions from the historical experience of the class struggle in Greece and internationally and, at the same time, to deepen and expand its militant ties with the working class and the popular strata. The main conclusions of this course, after a first attempt to study it in the 1990s, were included in the Assessments on Socialism in the USSR (18th Congress, 2009) and in the Programme which was adopted at the 19th Congress in 2013. Of course, the relevant study continues. In general, the KKE constantly tries not to detach the daily economic and political struggle from the main revolutionary political task of overthrowing the power of capital.
The factors which will lead to the revolutionary situation cannot be predicted. However, the deepening of the economic crisis, the sharpening of the contradictions between the imperialist centres that even end up in armed conflicts, can create such conditions in Greece. In case of an imperialist military entanglement of Greece, either in a defensive or aggressive war, the working class, the people’s movement must not find themselves under a false flag. The Party will lead the independent organization of the workers-peoples’ struggle, in order to lead to the total defeat of the bourgeoisie that imposes the war or “peace” with the gun to the people’s head.
The fact that the KKE has charted a modern revolutionary strategy increases its ability to organize leading sites of resistance and counterattack in every sector of the economy, every large workplace, in every region of the country.
The strengthening of the KKE at all levels, which was an important issue at the recent 20th Congress of the Party, constitutes a prerequisite for the promotion of its revolutionary policy.
Many workers wonder, in a well-intentioned way, if socialist construction can start in a country with the potential of contemporary Greece. The KKE replies:
-The needs of the people can be met, based on the productive potential and the wealth that is produced today in our country.
-Domestic production can reach great heights if it is freed from the chains of capitalist ownership and exploitation of the working class.
-Only workers’ power can utilize, for the benefit of the people, the contradictions between the imperialist alliances which today are sharpening.
-We must not think statically about the correlation of forces in the wider region, since it will significantly change in revolutionary conditions, not only in our country, but more widely in the region as well.
At the same time, the KKE struggles for the regroupment of the international communist movement, according to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the internationalist solidarity of the people against capitalism and imperialist war, which is expressed in the slogan “Workers of all countries unite!”.Already, some small steps towards the effort of the creation of a distinct pole based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism have been made, through the “International Communist Review” and the European Communist Initiative.
An integral part of the KKE’s contemporary strategy is its programmatic perception of socialism. Socialist construction begins with the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class. The workers’ state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is an instrument of the working class in the class struggle which continues in socialism with other forms and means. It is utilized for the planned development of the new social relations, which presupposes the suppression of the counter-revolutionary efforts, but also the development of the communist consciousness of the working class. The workers’ state, as a mechanism of political domination, is necessary until the transformation of all social relations into communist ones, until the formation of communist consciousness in the overwhelming majority of the workers, but also until the victory of the revolution in the most powerful capitalist countries.
The qualitatively new element of workers’ power is the transformation of the workplace (production unit, administrative unit, social service, agricultural cooperative) into the core of its organization.
Direct and indirect democracy is based on the workers’ assembly of each production unit as well as the ability to control and revoke the elected delegates, that is to say substantial electoral rights in contrast to today’s formal electoral rights of bourgeois democracy, of the dictatorship of the capital.
The primary task of this power is the formation of the new mode of production, the predominance of which basically presupposes the total abolition of the capitalist relations, of the relation between capital and wage labour. As the Programme of the KKE states:
The concentrated means of production are socialized, but initially there remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the basis for the existence of commodity-money relation. Forms of productive cooperatives are formed, where the level of the relations of production still does not allow for the socialization of the means of production. The forms of group ownership constitute a transitional form of ownership, between the private and the social one, and not an immature form of communist relations.
On the basis of social ownership of the centralized means of production, the central planning of the economy develops as a communist relation that connects all the producers. Central planning also incorporates, up to a point, agricultural cooperative production. Along with the expansion and deepening of the communist relations of production, the working class gradually acquires the ability to fully understand the different parts of the production process.
Simultaneously with the distribution of a part of the product on the basis of need(Education, Health, heating etc.), socialist production distributes the remaining part of its products on the basis of the individual labour contribution of each person in social labour as a whole, without separating labour into complex and simple, manual (practical) or intellectual.
The Communist Party is the guiding nucleus of revolutionary workers’ power, since it is the only force which consciously acts on the basis of the laws of motion of the socialist-communist society.

THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION SHOWS THE WAY

Today, the theories that characterized counterrevolution as a process for socialism’s renewal, which would pave the way for friendship and peace among the peoples, have completely fallen part. Likewise, all the theories and policies for the capitalist system’s “humanization” have also collapsed. At the same time, the contradictions between capitalist states, between monopoly groups of international scope, are creating more and more war flashpoints, with the existing risk of their generalization. The social cancer of capitalist ownership of the means of production “shows its bloody teeth”.
All those who celebrated the counter-revolutionary overthrows of 1989-1991 have been completely exposed, they have contributed to the corrosion of the labour movement, to the prevailing attitude of fatalism and compromise. On the contrary, the KKE is proud that, at the crucial moment, the day when the red flag was lowered from the Kremlin,it had the strength to address, through “Rizospastis”, the following call to the communists:”Comrades, raise the flag high”.
Today, the KKE conducts a tough struggle to achieve those characteristics that will enable it to act as the “all-weather” revolutionary vanguard. In today’s conditions, the struggle for the definitive abolition of the class – exploitative society and the construction of the socialist-communist one is the real way to honour the October Revolution and its goals.
Despite the domination of the counter-revolution, the words of Mayakovsky continue to show the way:
“Long live the Revolution, joyful and fast
This is the only great war of all that history has known.”
The CC of the KKE,
23/05/2017
V. I. Lenin: Letter To American Workers

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/aug/20.htm

V. I. Lenin

Letter To American Workers[1]


Written: 20 August, 1918.
First Published: Pravda No. 178 August 22, 1918; Published according to the Pravda text checked with the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1965, pages 62-75
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V.I.Lenin Internet Archive, 2002


Comrades! A Russian Bolshevik who took part in the 1905 Revolution, and who lived in your country for many years afterwards, has offered to convey my letter to you. I have accepted his proposal all the more gladly because just at the present time the American revolutionary workers have to play an exceptionally important role as uncompromising enemies of American imperialism—the freshest, strongest and latest in joining in the world-wide slaughter of nations for the division of capitalist profits. At this very moment, the American multimillionaires, these modern slaveowners have turned an exceptionally tragic page in the bloody history of bloody imperialism by giving their approval—whether direct or indirect, open or hypocritically concealed, makes no difference—to the armed expedition launched by the brutal Anglo-Japanese imperialists for the purpose of throttling the first socialist republic.

The history of modern, civilised America opened with one of those great, really liberating, really revolutionary wars of which there have been so few compared to the vast number of wars of conquest which, like the present imperialist war, were caused by squabbles among kings, landowners or capitalists over the division of usurped lands or ill-gotten gains. That was the war the American people waged against the British robbers who oppressed America and held her in colonial slavery, in the same way as these “civilised” bloodsuckers are still oppressing and holding in colonial slavery hundreds of millions of people in India, Egypt, and all parts of the world.

About 150 years have passed since then. Bourgeois civilisation has borne all its luxurious fruits. America has taken first place among the free and educated nations in level of development of the productive forces of collective human endeavour, in the utilisation of machinery and of all the wonders of modern engineering. At the same time, America has become one of the foremost countries in regard to the depth of the abyss which lies between the handful of arrogant multimillionaires who wallow in filth and luxury, and the millions of working people who constantly live on the verge of pauperism. The American people, who set the world an example in waging a revolutionary war against feudal slavery, now find themselves in the latest, capitalist stage of wage-slavery to a handful of multimillionaires, and find themselves playing the role of hired thugs who, for the benefit of wealthy scoundrels, throttled the Philippines in 1898 on the pretext of “liberating” them, and are throttling the Russian Socialist Republic in 1918 on the pretext of “protecting” it from the Germans.

The four years of the imperialist slaughter of nations, however, have not passed in vain. The deception of the people by the scoundrels of both robber groups, the British and the German, has been utterly exposed by indisputable and obvious facts. The results of the four years of war have revealed the general law of capitalism as applied to war between robbers for the division of spoils: the richest and strongest profited and grabbed most, while the weakest were utterly robbed, tormented, crushed and strangled.

The British imperialist robbers were the strongest in number of “colonial slaves”. The British capitalists have not lost an inch of “their” territory (i.e., territory they have grabbed over the centuries), but they have grabbed all the German colonies in Africa, they have grabbed Mesopotamia and Palestine, they have throttled Greece, and have begun to plunder Russia.

The German imperialist robbers were the strongest in organisation and discipline of “their” armies, but weaker in regard to colonies. They have lost all their colonies, but plundered half of Europe and throttled the largest number of small countries and weak nations. What a great war of “liberation” on both sides! How well the robbers of both groups, the Anglo-French and the German capitalists, together with their lackeys, the social-chauvinists, i.e., the socialists who went over to the side of “their own ” bourgeoisie, have “defended their country”!

The American multimillionaires were, perhaps, richest of all, and geographically the most secure. They have profited more than all the rest. They have converted all, even the richest, countries into their tributaries. They have grabbed hundreds of billions of dollars. And every dollar is sullied with filth: the filth of the secret treaties between Britain and her “allies”, between Germany and her vassals, treaties for the division of the spoils, treaties of mutual “aid” for oppressing the workers and persecuting the internationalist socialists. Every dollar is sullied with the filth of “profitable” war contracts, which in every country made the rich richer and the poor poorer. And every dollar is stained with blood—from that ocean of blood that has been shed by the ten million killed and twenty million maimed in the great, noble, liberating and holy war to decide whether the British or the German robbers are to get most of the spoils, whether the British or the German thugs are to be foremost in throttling the weak nations all over the world.

While the German robbers broke all records in war atrocities, the British have broken all records not only in the number of colonies they have grabbed, but also in the subtlety of their disgusting hypocrisy. This very day, the Anglo-French and American bourgeois newspapers are spreading, in millions and millions of copies, lies and slander about Russia, and are hypocritically justifying their predatory expedition against her on the plea that they want to “protect” Russia from the Germans!

It does not require many words to refute this despicable and hideous lie; it is sufficient to point to one well-known fact. In October 1917, after the Russian workers had overthrown their imperialist government, the Soviet government, the government of the revolutionary workers and peasants, openly proposed a just peace, a peace without annexations or indemnities, a peace that fully guaranteed equal rights to all nations—and it proposed such a peace to all the belligerent countries.

It was the Anglo-French and the American bourgeoisie who refused to accept our proposal; it was they who even refused to talk to us about a general peace! It was they who betrayed the interests of all nations; it was they who prolonged the imperialist slaughter!

It was they who, banking on the possibility of dragging Russia back into the imperialist war, refused to take part in the peace negotiations and thereby gave a free hand to the no less predatory German capitalists who imposed the annexationist and harsh Brest Peace upon Russia!

It is difficult to imagine anything more disgusting than the hypocrisy with which the Anglo-French and American bourgeoisie are now “blaming” us for the Brest Peace Treaty. The very capitalists of those countries which could have turned the Brest negotiations into general negotiations for a general peace are now our “accusers”! The Anglo-French imperialist vultures, who have profited from the plunder of colonies and the slaughter of nations, have prolonged the war for nearly a whole year after Brest, and yet they “accuse” us, the Bolsheviks, who proposed a just peace to all countries, they accuse us, who tore up, published and exposed to public disgrace the secret, criminal treaties concluded between the ex-tsar and the Anglo-French capitalists.

The workers of the whole world, no matter in what country they live, greet us, sympathise with us, applaud us for breaking the iron ring of imperialist ties, of sordid imperialist treaties, of imperialist chains—for breaking through to freedom, and making the heaviest sacrifices in doing so—for, as a socialist republic, although torn and plundered by the imperialists, keeping out of the imperialist war and raising the banner of peace, the banner of socialism for the whole world to see.

Small wonder that the international imperialist gang hates us for this, that it “accuses” us, that all the lackeys of the imperialists, including our Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, also “accuse” us. The hatred these watchdogs of imperialism express for the Bolsheviks, and the sympathy of the class-conscious workers of the world, convince us more than ever of the justice of our cause.

A real socialist would not fail to understand that for the sake of achieving victory over the bourgeoisie, for the sake of power passing to the workers, for the sake of starting the world proletarian revolution, we cannot and must not hesitate to make the heaviest sacrifices, including the sacrifice of part of our territory, the sacrifice of heavy defeats at the hands of imperialism. A real socialist would have proved by deeds his willingness for “his” country to make the greatest sacrifice to give a real push forward to the cause of the socialist revolution.

For the sake of “their” cause, that is, for the sake of winning world hegemony, the imperialists of Britain and Germany have not hesitated to utterly ruin and throttle a whole number of countries, from Belgium and Serbia to Palestine and Mesopotamia. But must socialists wait with “their” cause, the cause of liberating the working people of the whole world from the yoke of capital, of winning universal and lasting peace, until a path without sacrifice is found? Must they fear to open the battle until an easy victory is “guaranteed”? Must they place the integrity and security of “their” bourgeois-created “fatherland” above the interests of the world socialist revolution? The scoundrels in the international socialist movement who think this way, those lackeys who grovel to bourgeois morality, thrice stand condemned.

The Anglo-French and American imperialist vultures “accuse” us of concluding an “agreement” with German imperialism. What hypocrites, what scoundrels they are to slander the workers’ government while trembling because of the sympathy displayed towards us by the workers of “their own” countries! But their hypocrisy will be exposed. They pretend not to see the difference between an agreement entered into by “socialists” with the bourgeoisie (their own or foreign) against the workers, against the working people, and an agreement entered into for the protection of the workers who have defeated their bourgeoisie, with the bourgeoisie of one national colour against the bourgeoisie of another colour in order that the proletariat may take advantage of the antagonisms between the different groups of bourgeoisie.

In actual fact, every European sees this difference very well, and, as I shall show in a moment, the American people have had a particularly striking “illustration” of it in their own history. There are agreements and agreements, there are fagots et fagots, as the French say.

When in February 1918 the German imperialist vultures hurled their forces against unarmed, demobilised Russia, who had relied on the international solidarity of the proletariat before the world revolution had fully matured, I did not hesitate for a moment to enter into an “agreement” with the French monarchists. Captain Sadoul, a French army officer who, in words, sympathised with the Bolsheviks, but was in deeds a loyal and faithful servant of French imperialism, brought the French officer de Lubersac to see me. “I am a monarchist. My only aim is to secure the defeat of Germany,” de Lubersac declared to me. “That goes without saying (cela va sans dire ),” I replied. But this did not in the least prevent me from entering into an “agreement” with de Lubersac concerning certain services that French army officers, experts in explosives, were ready to render us by blowing up railway lines in order to hinder the German invasion. This is an example of an “agreement” of which every class-conscious worker will approve, an agreement in the interests of socialism. The French monarchist and I shook hands, although we knew that each of us would willingly hang his “partner”. But for a time our interests coincided. Against the advancing rapacious Germans, we, in the interests of the Russian and the world socialist revolution, utilised the equally rapacious counter-interests of other imperialists. In this way we served the interests of the working class of Russia and of other countries, we strengthened the proletariat and weakened the bourgeoisie of the whole world, we resorted to the methods, most legitimate and essential in every war, of manoeuvre, stratagem, retreat, in anticipation of the moment when the rapidly maturing proletarian revolution in a number of advanced countries completely matured.

However much the Anglo-French and American imperialist sharks fume with rage, however much they slander us, no matter how many millions they spend on bribing the Right Socialist-Revolutionary, Menshevik and other social-patriotic newspapers, I shall not hesitate one second to enter into a similar “agreement” with the German imperialist vultures if an attack upon Russia by Anglo-French troops calls for it. And I know perfectly well that my tactics will be approved by the class-conscious proletariat of Russia, Germany, France, Britain, America—in short, of the whole civilised world. Such tactics will ease the task of the socialist revolution, will hasten it, will weaken the international bourgeoisie, will strengthen the position of the working class which is defeating the bourgeoisie.

The American people resorted to these tactics long ago to the advantage of their revolution. When they waged their great war of liberation against the British oppressors, they had also against them the French and the Spanish oppressors who owned a part of what is now the United States of North America. In their arduous war for freedom, the American people also entered into “agreements” with some oppressors against others for the purpose of weakening the oppressors and strengthening those who were fighting in a revolutionary manner against oppression, for the purpose of serving the interests of the oppressed people. The American people took advantage of the strife between the French, the Spanish and the British; sometimes they even fought side by side with the forces of the French and Spanish oppressors against the British oppressors; first they defeated the British and then freed themselves (partly by ransom) from the French and the Spanish.

Historical action is not the pavement of Nevsky Prospekt, said the great Russian revolutionary Chernyshevsky.[2] A revolutionary would not “agree” to a proletarian revolution only “on the condition” that it proceeds easily and smoothly, that there is, from the outset, combined action on the part of the proletarians of different countries, that there are guarantees against defeats, that the road of the revolution is broad, free and straight, that it will not be necessary during the march to victory to sustain the heaviest casualties, to “bide one’s time in a besieged fortress”, or to make one’s way along extremely narrow, impassable, winding and dangerous mountain tracks. Such a person is no revolutionary, he has not freed himself from the pedantry of the bourgeois intellectuals; such a person will be found constantly slipping into the camp of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, like our Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and even (although more rarely) Left Socialist-Revolutionaries.

Echoing the bourgeoisie, these gentlemen like to blame us for the “chaos” of the revolution, for the “destruction” of industry, for the unemployment and the food shortage. How hypocritical these accusations are, coming from those who welcomed and supported the imperialist war, or who entered into an “agreement” with Kerensky who continued this war! It is this imperialist war that is the cause of all these misfortunes. The revolution engendered by the war can not avoid the terrible difficulties and suffering bequeathed it by the prolonged, ruinous, reactionary slaughter of the nations. To blame us for the “destruction” of industry, or for the “terror”, is either hypocrisy or dull-witted pedantry; it reveals an inability to understand the basic conditions of the fierce class struggle, raised to the highest degree of intensity that is called revolution.

Even when “accusers” of this type do “recognise” the class struggle, they limit themselves to verbal recognition; actually, they constantly slip into the philistine utopia of class “agreement” and “collaboration”; for in revolutionary epochs the class struggle has always, inevitably, and in every country, assumed the form of civil war, and civil war is inconceivable without the severest destruction, terror and the restriction of formal democracy in the interests of this war. Only unctuous parsons—whether Christian or “secular” in the persons of parlour, parliamentary socialists— cannot see, understand and feel this necessity. Only a life less “man in the muffler”[3] can shun the revolution for this reason instead of plunging into battle with the utmost ardour and determination at a time when history demands that the greatest problems of humanity be solved by struggle and war.

The American people have a revolutionary tradition which has been adopted by the best representatives of the American proletariat, who have repeatedly expressed their complete solidarity with us Bolsheviks. That tradition is the war of liberation against the British in the eighteenth century and the Civil War in the nineteenth century. In some respects, if we only take into consideration the “destruction” of some branches of industry and of the national economy, America in 1870 was behind 1860. But what a pedant, what an idiot would anyone be to deny on these grounds the immense, world-historic, progressive and revolutionary significance of the American Civil War of 1863-65!

The representatives of the bourgeoisie understand that for the sake of overthrowing Negro slavery, of overthrowing the rule of the slaveowners, it was worth letting the country go through long years of civil war, through the abysmal ruin, destruction and terror that accompany every war. But now, when we are confronted with the vastly greater task of overthrowing capitalist wage-slavery, of overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie—now, the representatives and defenders of the bourgeoisie, and also the reformist socialists who have been frightened by the bourgeoisie and are shunning the revolution, cannot and do not want to understand that civil war is necessary and legitimate.

The American workers will not follow the bourgeoisie. They will be with us, for civil war against the bourgeoisie. The whole history of the world and of the American labour movement strengthens my conviction that this is so. I also recall the words of one of the most beloved leaders of the American proletariat, Eugene Debs, who wrote in the Appeal to Reason,[4] I believe towards the end of 1915, in the article “What Shall I Fight For” (I quoted this article at the beginning of 1916 at a public meeting of workers in Berne, Switzerland)[5]—that he, Debs, would rather be shot than vote credits for the present criminal and reactionary war; that he, Debs, knows of only one holy and, from the proletarian standpoint, legitimate war, namely: the war against the capitalists, the war to liberate mankind from wage-slavery.

I am not surprised that Wilson, the head of the American multimillionaires and servant of the capitalist sharks, has thrown Debs into prison. Let the bourgeoisie be brutal to the true internationalists, to the true representatives of the revolutionary proletariat! The more fierce and brutal they are, the nearer the day of the victorious proletarian revolution.

We are blamed for the destruction caused by our revolution. . . . Who are the accusers? The hangers-on of the bourgeoisie, of that very bourgeoisie who, during the four years of the imperialist war, have destroyed almost the whole of European culture and have reduced Europe to barbarism, brutality and starvation. These bourgeoisie now demand we should not make a revolution on these ruins, amidst this wreckage of culture, amidst the wreckage and ruins created by the war, nor with the people who have been brutalised by the war. How humane and righteous the bourgeoisie are!

Their servants accuse us of resorting to terror. . . . The British bourgeoisie have forgotten their 1649, the French bourgeoisie have forgotten their 1793. Terror was just and legitimate when the bourgeoisie resorted to it for their own benefit against feudalism. Terror became monstrous and criminal when the workers and poor peasants dared to use it against the bourgeoisie! Terror was just and legitimate when used for the purpose of substituting one exploiting minority for another exploiting minority. Terror became monstrous and criminal when it began to be used for the purpose of overthrowing every exploiting minority, to be used in the interests of the vast actual majority, in the interests of the proletariat and semi-proletariat, the working class and the poor peasants!

The international imperialist bourgeoisie have slaughtered ten million men and maimed twenty million in “their” war, the war to decide whether the British or the German vultures are to rule the world.

If our war, the war of the oppressed and exploited against the oppressors and the exploiters, results in half a million or a million casualties in all countries, the bourgeoisie will say that the former casualties are justified, while the latter are criminal.

The proletariat will have something entirely different to say.

Now, amidst the horrors of the imperialist war, the proletariat is receiving a most vivid and striking illustration of the great truth taught by all revolutions and bequeathed to the workers by their best teachers, the founders of modern socialism. This truth is that no revolution can be successful unless the resistance of the exploiters is crushed. When we, the workers and toiling peasants, captured state power, it became our duty to crush the resistance of the exploiters. We are proud we have been doing this. We regret we are not doing it with sufficient firmness and determination.

We know that fierce resistance to the socialist revolution on the part of the bourgeoisie is inevitable in all countries, and that this resistance will grow with the growth of this revolution. The proletariat will crush this resistance; during the struggle against the resisting bourgeoisie it will finally mature for victory and for power.

Let the corrupt bourgeois press shout to the whole world about every mistake our revolution makes. We are not daunted by our mistakes. People have not become saints because the revolution has begun. The toiling classes who for centuries have been oppressed, downtrodden and forcibly held in the vice of poverty, brutality and ignorance cannot avoid mistakes when making a revolution. And, as I pointed out once before, the corpse of bourgeois society cannot be nailed in a coffin and buried.[*] The corpse of capitalism is decaying and disintegrating in our midst, polluting the air and poisoning our lives, enmeshing that which is new, fresh, young and virile in thousands of threads and bonds of that which is old, moribund and decaying.

For every hundred mistakes we commit, and which the bourgeoisie and their lackeys (including our own Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries) shout about to the whole world, 10,000 great and heroic deeds are performed, greater and more heroic because they are simple and inconspicuous amidst the everyday life of a factory district or a remote village, performed by people who are not accustomed (and have no opportunity) to shout to the whole world about their successes.

But even if the contrary were true—although I know such an assumption is wrong—even if we committed 10,000 mistake for every 100 correct actions we performed, even in that case our revolution would be great and invincible, and so it will be in the eyes of world history, because, for the first time, not the minority, not the rich alone, not the educated alone, but the real people, the vast majority of the working people, are themselves building a new life, are by their own experience solving the most difficult problems of socialist organisation .

Every mistake committed in the course of such work, in the course of this most conscientious and earnest work of tens of millions of simple workers and peasants in reorganising their whole life, every such mistake is worth thousands and millions of “lawless” successes achieved by the exploiting minority—successes in swindling and duping the working people. For only through such mistakes will the workers and peasants learn to build the new life, learn to do without capitalists; only in this way will they hack a path for themselves—through thousands of obstacles—to victorious socialism.

Mistakes are being committed in the course of their revolutionary work by our peasants, who at one stroke, in one night, October 25-26 (old style), 1917, entirely abolished the private ownership of land, and are now, month after month, overcoming tremendous difficulties and correcting their mistakes themselves, solving in a practical way the most difficult tasks of organising new conditions of economic life, of fighting the kulaks, providing land for the working people (and not for the rich), and of changing to communist large-scale agriculture.

Mistakes are being committed in the course of their revolutionary work by our workers, who have already, after a few months, nationalised almost all the biggest factories and plants, and are learning by hard, everyday work the new task of managing whole branches of industry, are setting the nationalised enterprises going, overcoming the powerful resistance of inertia, petty-bourgeois mentality and selfishness, and, brick by brick, are laying the foundation of new social ties, of a new labour discipline, of a new influence of the workers’ trade unions over their members.

Mistakes are committed in the course of their revolutionary work by our Soviets, which were created as far back as 1905 by a mighty upsurge of the people. The Soviets of Workers and Peasants are a new type of state, a new and higher type of democracy, a form of the proletarian dictatorship, a means of administering the state without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie. For the first time democracy is here serving the people, the working people, and has ceased to be democracy for the rich as it still is in all bourgeois republics, even the most democratic. For the first time, the people are grappling, on a scale involving one hundred million, with the problem of implementing the dictatorship of the proletariat and semi-proletariat—a problem which, if not solved, makes socialism out of the question.

Let the pedants, or the people whose minds are incurably stuffed with bourgeois-democratic or parliamentary prejudices, shake their heads in perplexity about our Soviets, about the absence of direct elections, for example. These people have forgotten nothing and have learned nothing during the period of the great upheavals of 1914-18. The combination of the proletarian dictatorship with the new democracy for the working people—of civil war with the widest participation of the people in politics—such a combination cannot be brought about at one stroke, nor does it fit in with the outworn modes of routine parliamentary democracy. The contours of a new world, the world of socialism, are rising before us in the shape of the Soviet Republic. It is not surprising that this world does not come into being ready-made, does not spring forth like Minerva from the head of Jupiter.

The old bourgeois-democratic constitutions waxed eloquent about formal equality and right of assembly; but our proletarian and peasant Soviet Constitution casts aside the hypocrisy of formal equality. When the bourgeois republicans overturned thrones they did not worry about formal equality between monarchists and republicans. When it is a matter of overthrowing the bourgeoisie, only traitors or idiots can demand formal equality of rights for the bourgeoisie. “Freedom of assembly” for workers and peasants is not worth a farthing when the best buildings belong to the bourgeoisie. Our Soviets have confiscated all the good buildings in town and country from the rich and have transferred all of them to the workers and peasants for their unions and meetings. This is our freedom of assembly—for the working people! This is the meaning and content of our Soviet, our socialist Constitution!

That is why we are all so firmly convinced that no matter what misfortunes may still be in store for it, our Republic of Soviets is invincible.

It is invincible because every blow struck by frenzied imperialism, every defeat the international bourgeoisie inflict on us, rouses more and more sections of the workers and peasants to the struggle, teaches them at the cost of enormous sacrifice, steels them and engenders new heroism on a mass scale.

We know that help from you will probably not come soon, comrade American workers, for the revolution is developing in different countries in different forms and at different tempos (and it cannot be otherwise). We know that although the European proletarian revolution has been maturing very rapidly lately, it may, after all, not flare up within the next few weeks. We are banking on the inevitability of the world revolution, but this does not mean that we are such fools as to bank on the revolution inevitably coming on a definite and early date. We have seen two great revolutions in our country, 1905 and 1917, and we know revolutions are not made to order, or by agreement. We know that circumstances brought our Russian detachment of the socialist proletariat to the fore not because of our merits, but because of the exceptional backwardness of Russia, and that before the world revolution breaks out a number of separate revolutions may be defeated.

In spite of this, we are firmly convinced that we are invincible, because the spirit of mankind will not be broken by the imperialist slaughter. Mankind will vanquish it. And the first country to break the convict chains of the imperialist war was our country. We sustained enormously heavy casualties in the struggle to break these chains, but we broke them. We are free from imperialist dependence, we have raised the banner of struggle for the complete overthrow of imperialism for the whole world to see.

We are now, as it were, in a besieged fortress, waiting for the other detachments of the world socialist revolution to come to our relief. These detachments exist, they are more numerous than ours, they are maturing, growing, gaining more strength the longer the brutalities of imperialism continue. The workers are breaking away from their social traitors—the Gomperses, Hendersons, Renaudels, Scheidemanns and Renners. Slowly but surely the workers are adopting communist, Bolshevik tactics and are marching towards the proletarian revolution, which alone is capable of saving dying culture and dying mankind.

In short, we are invincible, because the world proletarian revolution is invincible.

N. Lenin

August 20, 1918


Endnotes

[1] The dispatch of the letter to America was organised by the Bolshevik M. M. Borodin, who had recently been there. With the foreign military intervention and the blockade of Soviet Russia this involved considerable difficulties. The letter was delivered to the United States by P. I. Travin (Sletov). Along with the letter he brought the Constitution of the R.S.F.S.R. and the Soviet Government’s Note to President Wilson containing the demand to stop the intervention. The well-known American socialist and journalist John Reed secured the publication of all these documents in the American press.

In December 1918 a slightly abridged version of the letter appeared in the New York magazine The Class Struggle and the Boston weekly The Revolutionary Age, both organs of the Left wing of the American Socialist Party. The Revolutionary Age was brought out by John Reed and Sen Katayama. The letter evoked keen interest among readers and it was published as a reprint from The Class Struggle in a large number of copies. Subsequently it was published many times in the bourgeois and socialist press of the U.S.A. and Western Europe, in the French socialist magazine Demain No. 28-29, 1918, in No. 138 of the Call, organ of the British Socialist Party, the Berlin magazine Die Aktion No. 51-52, 1918, and elsewhere. In 1934 the letter was brought out in New York in the form of a pamphlet, which contained the passages omitted in earlier publications.

The letter was widely used by the American Left Socialists and was instrumental in aiding the development of the labour and communist movement in the U.S. and Europe. It helped advanced workers to appreciate the nature of imperialism and the great revolutionary changes effected by the Soviet government. Lenin’s letter aroused a mounting protest in the U.S. against the armed intervention.

[2] Lenin quotes from Chernyshevsky’s review of the book by the American economist H. Ch. Carey, Letters to the President on the Foreign and Domestic Policy of the Union, and its Effects. Chernyshevsky wrote: “The path of history is not paved like Nevsky Prospekt; it runs across fields, either dusty or muddy, and cuts through swamps or forest thickets. Anyone who fears being covered with dust or muddying his boots, should not engage in social activity.”

[3] Man in the muffler—a character from Chekhov’s story of the same title, personifying a narrow-minded philistine scared of initiative and new ideas.

[4] Appeal to Reason—American socialist newspaper, founded in Girard, Kansas, in 1895. The newspaper propagated socialist ideas and was immensely popular among the workers. During the First World War it pursued an internationalist policy.

Debs’s article appeared in the paper on September 11, 1915. Its title, which Lenin most probably quoted from memory, was “When I Shall Fight”.

[5] See present edition, Volume 22, page 125. Speech Delivered at an International Meeting in Berne.


PAME: We will not bleed for their profits in peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in war!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

PAME: We will not bleed for their profits in peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in war!

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/pame-we-will-not-bleed-for-their.html
The following text is the introduction speech, on behalf of the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME), at the Balkan Anti-Imperialist Trade Union Meeting which was held on June 25th in Thessaloniki, Greece. 
Dear Colleagues,
on behalf of the PAME Executive Secretariat, we welcome you to our today’s meeting “With Workers From All Countries For A World Without Exploitation, Wars, Refugees“.
We particularly want to welcome colleagues from our neighboring countries who came under very difficult conditions, such as colleagues from Syria and Palestine. But also colleagues and organizations who wanted to be here with us today, but because of many obstacles they did not succeed. It is our great pleasure to welcome colleagues from 14 trade unions from 10 Countries of the region, here in the city of Thessaloniki.
A city of particular international importance for the class trade union movement of our country, as it was the city where the first major, internationalist, class-oriented trade union organization of our country, the legendary FEDERACION. An organization that had workers of all nationalities, Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Israelis, etc., an organization that did not bend in hatred calls of the imperialists of the First World War, but held up the flag of the working class.
In this city yesterday, thousands of workers and hundreds of unions were demonstrating with PAME, a rally that clearly gave the message “Outside NATO-Stop Imperialism-Long Live the Friendship of the Peoples”. A demonstration that we believe is of great importance as it is a continuation, like our current meeting, in the Campaign Against Imperialism signed by hundreds of trade unions and trade unionists from Greece and abroad.
PAME took this initiative of joint co-ordination and stepping-forward against the imperialist war, the interventions, the various conflicts that unfold in our neighborhood and around the world. Within this campaign, PAME has taken a series of initiatives to inform and mobilize Greek workers, to support and strengthen friendship with the peoples of the region.
On May 1st, thousands of workers were gathered in Greece and other countries, such as the concentration of colleagues from Nakliyat Is in Turkey, where the resolution of the Trade Unions against the imperialist war was read and voted by strike gatherings. We had the pleasure of welcoming colleagues from Turkey at the 1st of May Demonstrations in Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Alexandroupolis and Komotini. The Ambassador of Palestine welcomed the PAME Meeting in Athens. While in previous events in Ioannina, Larissa, Thessaloniki, Patras, we expressed our Solidarity to the peoples fighting, to the peoples of Syria and Palestine. Also colleagues from the Birlesik Metal Is Trade union from Turkey were present in the Metal Trade Union Strike in Perama, Athens.
We want to thank particularly our colleagues from Turkey as Turkish fighters come under difficult conditions, overcoming obstacles and dangers to send the message together from both sides of the Aegean: We will not bleed for their profits in Peace! We will not become flesh for their weapons in the war! Peoples have nothing to divide, we have the same sufferings, the same needs. The enemy is one and the same, imperialism!
Also note that this initiative does not stop there. On 1 and 2 July 2-day-events will take place in Samos, Lesvos, Kos. PAME, the class-oriented movement of Greece will continue, will strengthen these actions.
Dear Comrades,
All Workers Militant Front took the initiative of this Anti-imperialist Campaign, implementing the decision of our 4th National Congress, that the working class must be alerted, prepared and fight both against the anti-working policies of the Capital and its Governments, and against the conflicts of the imperialists. In the center of their competitions are:
  • How to share the damages of the crisis and how they will benefit from the capitalist development, which all agree that is weak, with big problems.
  • Which monopolies will take the lead in the course of the competition
  • Who is going to take control of the markets, the energy sources of gas, oil and even water, the energy pipes and commercial transport routes.
That’s why this position does not arise from a pacifistic logic, a general anti-war mood, but comes from the experience of the world working movement summarized by Brecht in 5 simple words:
“Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left.”
For us, therefore, it is not a coincidence, but a characteristic of our movement, the class unions of Greece, that PAME was born in 1999 in the flames of the war in Yugoslavia. It is no coincidence that PAME’s action, from the very beginning, linked the struggle for the defense of wages and workers’ rights, with the struggle against imperialism, imperialist interventions and wars. Today, completing nearly two decades of unwavering class and anti-imperialist struggle, we feel justified because we have correctly predicted developments. We were rightly placed as a class movement against the plans of imperialism against the division of Yugoslavia and made every city and place of work, a place of resistance and struggle against the imperialist intervention. Correctly, here the forces of PAME in Thessaloniki then sent the NATO hubs to the downtown-markets, changing the signs. We correctly positioned and called for a General Strike against the US invasion of Iraq. We were right to inform the workers against the so-called “anti-terrorist” US-NATO-EU campaign after the attack to the Twin Towers. A campaign, almost twenty years later, that is the Trojan Horse of War and the intervention of the imperialists around the globe.
Today, therefore, on the one hand, we feel justified for this estimation, for our predictions, but at the same time we feel the responsibility we have as a class, struggling trade union movement to go forward. To anticipate developments, to prepare the working class, to inform it so that it can resolutely deal with the plans of its exploiters.
In all countries, governments, regardless of hue, sign, progressive, conservative, or even “left”, participate in imperialist competitions, interventions and wars, with one or another imperialist camp. Their main concern is to defend the interests of the ruling class of their own country, their business groups in the international chessboard. Their declarations of peace and security are rapidly increasing as far as their war budget is growing. As much as they swear to the contrary, the figures disprove them. Doubling of war expenditure for the US, five times for China in the coming years and 10times for the EU military research.
Workers in the world are witnessing the spread of warfare in more and more areas, especially in our neighborhood. The Balkan peoples pay for the consequences of border change, state dismemberment and the continued cultivation of nationalist hatred, US-NATO-EU-Russia boots in the region. In Eastern Europe, in Georgia, in Ukraine the war between NATO and Russia were expressed, while in Romania the massive NATO military exercise “Noble Jump” takes place, escalating tension.
NATO’s General Secretary said specifically a few days ago: “Since 2014, we have increased our forces since the Cold War. We have tripled the composition of the NATO Response Force to 40,000 men. We set up eight armies in Eastern Europe. In the Baltic States and Poland we have promoted 4 multinational Battle Formations. We are strengthening our presence in the Black Sea, with a multinational brigade based in Romania, enhanced naval and air presence, and the UK are sending additional patrol aircraft. At the same time, we are strengthening our capabilities in cybersecurity. “
While at the recent NATO Summit in Brussels, despite the oppositions of the interests of the imperialists, they decided:
  • Completion – by accelerating moves at all levels – of the implementation of the dangerous decisions of the 27th NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016, the reinforcement of NATO forces across the line from the Baltic to the Black Sea, combined with the installation of the “anti-missile shield” in the context of dangerous competition with Russia.
  • Strengthening the NATO engagement in the imperialist war in Syria by taking part in the coalition of states led by the US that bloodshed the people of Syria to meet their own strategic interests.
  • The demand for excessive NATO spending by reaching the 2% of GDP target for all member states.
  •  Military presence with NATO forces, the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • The continuation of the imperialist intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They are decisions that smell gunpowder and blood for the peoples. Decisions that confirm the criminal nature of the imperialist organization.
At the same time, the EU is strengthening its militarization. It establishes a European Army, European Headquarters, emergency forces (the Eurocorps), and promotes the European Defense Union as well as the European Defense Fund.
NATO and the EU are transnational imperialist unions, of which the peoples can only wait for exploitation and poverty, war and refuge for the many and immense wealth for the very few and in our country it is our duty to strengthen our struggle against them.
At the same time in the Middle East, the people of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing the consequences of these imperialist interventions. The people of Syria’s martyrdom are in the swirl of multi-year imperialist intervention and antagonisms involving a series of imperialist powers. On the one hand, the US-EU-funded jihadists and the oil giants of the Gulf, the USA, and others that are willing to participate, including the Greek Government. At the same time, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and more distinctly China and other countries. As crows are waiting to feed on the flesh of the Syrian people.
We can see today that the outbreaks are spreading. The developments between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where one accuses the other of supporting terrorism, countries dominated by the obscurantism and religious fanaticism of the emirs, who led the Jihadists’ support, the interventions in Syria and Yemen, the more general planning in the region, rearranging their alliances, demanding the control of their areas and their wealth.
At the same time, the working class at international level is experiencing the continuation of a brutal attack against its rights. For the profits of business groups, the European Union and governments of each country, legislate anti-labor measures. They cut wages or give rise to very small increases in relation to multinational inflation and profits. The internationalization of important, key services is being promoted internationally. Hospitals, schools, telecommunications, harbors, roads are all assigned to business groups, resulting in downgrading of services for the peoples and the high, prohibitive for the working class, cost. An important attack is the rights of workers to trade union action, the right to organize in trade unions and the right to strike.
We saw it, in France with the El Khomri law, in England with the negotiations for BREXIT where the people will be the victim, in Turkey, where especially after the coup attempt almost every labor claim is considered a “national danger”, in Italy with the notorious JOBS ACT, in the Balkan countries with the EU accession process, the attack on labor rights is escalating.
In Greece specifically the Government of the so-called “Left” SYRIZA, who co-establishes with a nationalist party, ANEL, has just legislated, in the past few days:
  • Freezing already reduced pensions by the end of 2022
  • Reversals to the Strike Law and trade unions that will signify newer obstacles to their actions
  • Reducing the tax-free limit so that even the poor, the impoverished must be taxed
 These measures follow up on his anti-labor measures 4th Memorandum imposed by SYRIZA in May, which includes new wage cuts, new barbaric taxation, collective lay-offs. At the same time that the SYRIZA government is crushing the Greek people at the same time Greece’s military  expenditure is 2,38% of GDP and is second only to those of US with 3.61% among all NATO members.
In the name of the geostrategic upgrading of the Greek bourgeoisie, the SYRIZA-ANEL co-operation fully adopts the NATO and EU war plans and improves its involvement. At the recent NATO summit this government committed to taking a more active role in planning. The barbarity of anti-people, anti-worker policy is the one aspect of a class policy that plutocrats, who gave birth to the crisis, implement for the growth of their profits, the expansion of their business interests, in order to gain in the race with their competitors. The other facet of the same policy is the geostrategic upgrading operation of the Greek bourgeoisie in the wider region that increasingly resembles the eye of the tornado.
At the same time that the government, for the benefit of the large capital, takes constant and wild measures against the working people, it celebrates the new installments the country is taking. At the same time that the country gets a blooded-up grant of € 8.5 billion based on wages-pensions-rights slaughter, it gives back literally to the massacres of the peoples every year 4 billion euros, which corresponds to Greece’s participation in NATO. These amounts go to NATO warfare, support upgrades and acquisitions of the Armed Forces in NATO-based figures and bodies. That is why the government received the congratulations of the USA President.
NATO is not a factor of stability and security! Wherever it goes, it carries death and destruction. It puts the peoples one against the other. It is the killing machine of the imperialists, it does not recognize borders and sovereign rights.
Consequently, the participation of the country in these imperialist organizations and alliances is anything but beneficial for our sovereign rights, the borders and the interests of the Greek people, who pay high price for this participation in the circumstances of a particular economic crisis.
NATO is currently expanding its army and fleet from the Baltic to the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, defending the interests of the predatory alliance, the interests of its own monopolies in the region against their competitors. In this routine, the NATO Armada trips to the Aegean, while FRONTEX has acquired powers at the land and sea borders of the country.
Greece participated and participates in imperialist aggressive projects. Greek troops were found and are found outside the country’s borders. Our country participates in 13 NATO missions abroad, either permanently in the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa and Suez, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mali, Lebanon and Libya.
Lately, more and more NATO troops are developing in Europe, doing exercises. The most recent is the 3rd Armored Brigade in Poland with hundreds of armored vehicles and 3,500 soldiers who have the eye in Russia. At the same time, the Americans call for additional facilities and access of their Armed Forces to Greek bases, looking forward to accessing Larissa, Aktio, Andravida, Skyros.
The NATO headquarters in Thessaloniki, where we held the big nationwide demonstration yesterday, is one of the NATO Force Structures. It is one of the National Land Forces and has multinational staffing, working through Memoranda of Cooperation. These are funded by the national budgets of the countries in which they are based. These headquarters are “High Standards, they have a role to play for participating in a Rapid Reaction Force, and beyond Thessaloniki, there are military headquarters in Milan, Valencia, Istanbul, Strasbourg, Lille, Munster, Raintalen.
The “NobleJump” NATO exercise, which is being held today, is another proof that the SYRIZA-ANEL government offers “land and water” to the murderers of the peoples, it provides NATO with ports, airports, highways and even camps in Evros to pass . It is prepared to take on more active roles in imperialist plans to secure a share of capital from interventions and wars. In addition to the above mentioned exercise, at the same time, the NATO ships, the ships of death, sail freely in the Aegean and our harbors. After “USS Mesa Verde” and “USNS Trenton”, a catamaran type and designed to support, among other things, Special Forces operations, it anchored in Neo Ikonio. The intense mobility in the port has already triggered mobilizations in Piraeus by mass organizations and trade unions.
In addition to troop activity, a number of conferences are taking place, such as the 8th Annual NATO Maritime Prevention Training Center Conference held in Souda last week, or the 70th anniversary of the Defense Cooperation Office that governments advance in Greece and the USΑ, the tripartite summit in Thessaloniki, Greece-Cyprus-Israel.
At the opposite of this activity, PAME, the class trade union movement, openly supports the reactions of Greek soldiers serving their military service. With constant letters, soldiers from several camps in the country oppose plans, NATO exercises, they are thundering that they will not become meat for imperialist cannons, they will not be assisting personnel in NATO troops.
We are addressing workers, the unemployed, the poor farmers and the self-employed across the country, not tο appease them, as the government and the other parties do, but to discuss with them about these dangerous developments in our region that “smell gunpowder”.
We are addressing them in order to discuss what our answer should be, i.e. the response of the working class of the people from the point of view of our own interests. Let us discuss what supposed necessity puts us in NATO, in these plans, the obligations arising from our participation in these alliances, i.e. what are the interests of our people for our troops to be involved across the earth. What borders do the military, naval and air forces involved in these missions defend?
What is the need for Greek coverage in the US imperialist attack on Syria? What is NATO’s role in the Aegean? What makes it beneficial to us? Is it a factor of stability?
The presence of EU-NATO in the Aegean is encouraging Turkey’s provocation, with continuous violations of the sovereign rights of Greece, as well as of the Cyprus EEZ. In these NATO’s specific forces in the Aegean, also participate  Turkish forces, ships, planes that fly and sail with the NATO’s flag and permission over the Aegean islands. It is practically applied the NATO’s fixed guideline, which does not recognize national borders in the Aegean, but it considers it as a single operational area. It is this exact line that encourages the demands of the bourgeoisie of Turkey. This is one of the reasons why the violations and the Turkish provocations have multiplied since NATO came to the Aegean and we are counting violations every day.
The nationalism is growing in Albania, in the Balkans altogether, a wanted UCK former governor is running for Kosovo’s prime minister, racist murderous criminal organizations are being supported and funded, like the Golden Dawn in Greece. Issues of minorities and borders are again being raised. The imperialists are re-dividing the earth.
In the wider region of the Balkans, pipelines are being promoted, resources are being exploited in the name of the EU’s goal of gaining energy self-sufficiency and be independent from the Russia’s natural gas supply. As Turkey questions the half of the Aegean, as Albania’s provocations about the Great Albania and Tsamouria are continuing, the TAP pipeline is being built in a friendly co-operation between Greece, Turkey and Albania. The businesses about the energy that are being built across the Eastern Mediterranean are escalating the competition for which business group will prevail over its competitors, they intensify the controversy among capitalist states about who owns the rights of expoitation, in which designated EEZs, who will have the control of critical energy passages. And that’s the cause of the ongoing competitions in Balkan countries such as FYROM, Serbia, Kosovo, etc. with inter-bourgeois contradictions in each country and with the involvement of forces such as the USA, Russia and the EU. Contradictions that are also associated with border changes, taking advantage of the poison of nationalism.
In any case, the peoples of the region will be harmed, entering into great adventures. For the peoples the issue of energy, the new pipelines and deposits are false hopes, because while the pipes around these peoples are rapidly appearing, the people are still paying heavily the electricity, the oil, in total, the energy.
Consequently, our participation in these imperialist organizations is far from beneficial for our sovereign rights, the borders and the interests of the Greek people, who, in the period of the economic crisis, pay a heavy cost for this participation. The Greek people, like the peoples of the neighbouring countries, have to demand the disengagement of Greece from the imperialist interventions and adventurisms, the closure of the NATO bases, such as of Souda, which the Greek government is upgrading and is also expanding the infrastructures (in Larissa, Aktio, Andravida), the return of Greek troops from missions abroad, disengagement from the looting of the capital in the wider region. To throw off together the poison of nationalism and racism that infects the workers and the youth.
As the joint declaration of the Trade Unions and the Unionists against the imperialist war:
“The all-out attack that condemns the working class in every country in unemployment, poverty, misery is the one side of the class policy.
The other side is the unjust, imperialist war that they wage in the interests of the big business groups.
Faced with the possibility of a generalized warfare in our region, we are now building a wall of protection for the working class of our countries, our peoples, in joint action and solidarity with each other and with our trade unions at the forefront of this struggle. “
Through the mobilization of thousands of workers from Greece yesterday, through today’s meeting of trade unionists from 10 countries, PAME continues its efforts in this direction.
We consider it our task, we consider a first-line issue for the trade unions of each country, on the one hand, to strengthen the struggle for workers’ rights, and on the other hand, to increase the vigilance of the working class against nationalism, xenophobia, racism and fascism. Against the hate incitements that our exploiters cultivate to keep us divided and to exploit us.
That is why we consider it very important that the 17th Conference of the International Congress of the WFTU, which was held successfully in Durban, South Africa, about a year ago, has set the tone for the decisions that the world working movement must be vigilant about imperialism. To strengthen its struggle against the NATO and the imperialist organizations.
At the same time we should be concerned as trade unions, about the role of the ITUC, which not only supports the US-NATO imperialist interventions, but also plays an active role in order to be supported by the workers of each country, as in the case of Libya, and as it is doing today, for example, in Syria.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary for the working movement of each country to prepare the workers so that they do not support foreign flags which are against their interests. As during the “imperialist peace” the workers should not accept to cut their salary for the profitability of their bosses, so in wartime they should not accept “to kill the peoples to feed the boss”.
We have a duty to strengthen the struggle against nationalism, xenophobia, imperialist plans within the working class of each country. Strengthen the solidarity with other peoples, the solidarity with refugees and immigrants, the exclusion of the fascists. These problems cannot be left outside the trade unions because the workers have no interest in bleeding for the bosses. We shall not let our countries become a huge base for the imperialist massacres, and our children, the soldiers used for their cannons.
In this direction, it is necessary for the trade unions, that along with the struggle for salary, social security, free healthcare and education, they integrate the struggle against the imperialist plans.
They must strengthen their struggle against imperialist organizations, NATO and the EU to strengthen their struggles against the anti-workers governments in each country, against business groups.
We have nothing to divide among the working class of other countries, with other peoples. On the contrary, the common interest of struggle for a life without wealth and poverty, without bosses, unites us- that is the life that we own. Our struggle will be effective as long as it links the defence of the borders and sovereign rights, the struggle for the peoples to live peacefully, with the struggle to overthrow the barbarous exploitative system that has been proven to cause and nourish poverty, unemployment, wars and refugees.
That’s why we fight for:
  • • No involvement in the imperialist interventions and wars outside the borders. No involvement in NATO and EU slaughterhouses.
  • • Closure of all foreign military bases. NATO out of the Aegean and the Balkans.
  • • No involvement in the political- military alliance of the capitalists.
  • • Struggle against the change of borders.
  • • Struggle against the abolition of trade union rights and other freedoms.
  • • We say no to the war expenditure for military action outside the borders, we demand funding to satisfy the needs of the working class, of workers’ family.
  • • Struggle against nationalism, racism, chauvinism
  • • Solidarity with the refugees, the immigrants, solidarity to all peoples.
  • We do not stand behind the foreign and hostile to us flag of the capitalists and their allies. We raise the flag of the interests of the working class.
We are fighting against the unjust wars, to eliminate what causes them.
Solidarity is the weapon of peoples.
The 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) declares 2017 as the year of Socialism

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) declares 2017 as the year of Socialism

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-12th-congress-of-communist-party-of.html
The Communist Party of Turkey’s (TKP) 12th Congress was held in Istanbul on May 27-28 with the slogan, ‘to empower the socialist alternative’. The Congress unanimously approved six basic documents, and declared 2017 as ‘the year of socialism’. The Congress has also announced that TKP will hold a ‘festival of socialism’ during the anniversary of the Great October Revolution.
Many important resolutions were taken during the conference sessions, in which 383 delegates from all party organisations participated, including 14 delegates from abroad.
The conference started with the opening speech of Kemal Okuyan, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey.
Party member poet Nihat Behram’s salutation message was also read during the conference. Nihat Behram has donated the revenues of his book to TKP. Communist poet’s bookmarks the 50th year of his poetry.
‘THE YEAR OF SOCIALISM’
 
Many delegates took part in discussions and made contributions during the 2-day countrywide conference of TKP. The delegates unanimously approved such documents as “The Preface of the Party Programme”, “On the Party and Party life”, “Our Road is the Road of Revolution at the 100th Year of the Great October Socialist Revolution”, “Theses of 2017 on Imperialism Regarding Russia and China”, “Theses on the Party History”, “The Political and Organizational Goals, June 2017-June 2018”.
The Conference that was held with the slogan, “to empower the socialist alternative”, declared the existing working period as “the year of Socialism”, and decided to hold a grand “Festival of Socialism” during the anniversary of the October Revolution.
Apart from various documents and the report on the political and organisational goals, which were approved by the Congress delegation, some political resolutions were also put on the agenda.
TKP’s 12th Congress-Turkey Conference ended with the closing speech by Kemal Okuyan.
POLITICAL RESOLUTIONS OF TKP’s 12th CONGRESS
 
The Communist Party of Turkey’s 12th Congress approved and declared seven political resolutions.
The first resolution, “On the anniversary of the June Resistance”, echoes the fourth anniversary of Turkey’s mass anti-governmental protests and rallies in 2013, which attracted millions of people across the country, particularly in İstanbul’s iconic Taksim Square. 8 people were murdered by the police force of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the protests.
Indicating to the secularist position of the patriotic people in June 2013, TKP has declared that the people could not fit in the counterrevolution of AKP. TKP enthusiastically commemorates the fourth anniversary of the June Resistance in 2013, and bows respectfully before the memory of the people who lost their lives.
TKP’s 12th Congress has pointed out to the importance of the June Resistance and the role of the Party: “This mass movement, sustained by millions of compatriots for months, was a unique action in the history of our country. The Communist Party of Turkey took its part in the front lines of the resistance during the months of summer in 2013, made significant contributions in respect of militant struggles and also made critical interventions in the political character of the movement.”
TKP has also underlined the liberal and liquidationist attacks within the left: “The June Resistance could not gain continuity as a dynamic of the mass struggle because of insufficiencies in this very second aspect. It is not a coincidence that after 2013, a liberal political restoration and liquidation of the left was intended. The hegemonic powers tried to take revenge of the resistance by not only imposing nefarious policies of pressure but also intercepting the left.”
Following this political resolution, TKP has promised to bring the AKP power to account for all the crimes committed against Turkey’s people.
‘LOOTERS WILL BE BROUGHT TO ACCOUNT’
 
The second political resolution of the Congress, “On ‘the power of the rich’”, states: “A capitalist dictatorship reigns in Turkey. The capitalist dictatorship is run by deputy politicians in the name of bosses.”
For the struggle against ‘the power of the rich’, TKP has declared: “12th Congress of the Communist Party of Turkey emphasises that this is a robbery that deprives our working people, who are getting poorer day by day, of all their rights. It represents the gravest attack against the dignity of our people. Our Congress declares that the working class will bring this humiliation to account.”
The third political resolution underlines the Party’s solidarity with the glass workers, whose strike was banned by the AKP government under the pretext of “a threat to national security”.
Announcing that the working class will not yield, this resolution has also described the recent situation of the working people in Turkey: “It has been a custom for the AKP government, which does not hesitate to attack the most fundamental rights of the working class, to ban strikes and to justify it with concerns of national security. Recently they also intended to ban the strike of the metal workers, which was frustrated with the actual struggle of workers. Now our sister and brother workers are defending their labour against the ban on strike declared in facilities of Şişecam [Turkey’s biggest glassware enterprise]. The unyielding glass workers are leading this resistance not only for their own rights but also on the name of our people as a whole.”
Upon the Congress resolution, TKP has declared that it will continue with all might its solidarity with the workers’ resistance and called all pro-labour forces to be part of the resistance.
‘ON THE POLICIES OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY’
 
TKP’s 12th Congress has also pointed out to the unlawful implementations of the government that sacked tens of thousands of labourers during the existing long-termed state of emergency in Turkey. TKP, therefore, has declared that Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça should be set free. The two educators in question were sacked by the government, started a hunger strike for over 2 months for their right to work, and finally were arrested by the government.
TKP has clearly pointed out: “Finally, the arrest of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, the education workers who chose to resist with the hunger strike for their right to work, with fabricated reasons has blatantly shown the inhumane and labour-enemy character of the reactionary capitalist government. The Communist Party of Turkey categorically protests that and demands the liberation of Gülmen and Özakça and immediate restitution of their jobs.”
‘UNITED STRUGGLE OF THE PEOPLES OF THE REGION FOR SOCIALISM’
 
12th Congress of the Communist Party of Turkey has taken a fifth political resolution regarding the foreign affairs of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). TKP has particularly indicated to the notorious role of AKP in Syria, Cyprus and the Middle East:
“The foreign policy of AKP against the neighbouring countries as being totally irrelevant to the historical values of our people. AKP government is primarily liable of the current war and the bloodshed in Syria. AKP government initiates provocation against Greece and tries to antagonise our people, whenever it needs to manipulate the domestic or foreign political agenda. AKP government prefers to keep the Cyprus issue unsolved to be able to blackmail all the people of the Island. AKP government has been threatening the peoples of the regions and involving military activity implicitly and explicitly at times in the Middle East at others in the Black Sea. Those policies are amongst the primary reasons of the lost lives of thousands of immigrants, wars and bloodshed in our region.”
TKP has shown its fraternal solidarity with the neighbouring peoples in the region, emphasising that peace and justice could be achieved only with the struggle for socialism.
‘THE VENEZUELAN REVOLUTION WILL NOT SURRENDER’
 
The sixth political resolution of TKP’s 12th Congress has pointed out to the imperialist-led intervention in Venezuela: “Venezuela is being a scene of a nefarious scenario of counter-revolution by imperialism and its collaborators. The purpose of the provocation of the right-wing opposition, the smear campaigns waged by international bourgeois media, and the violent counter-revolutionary actions, which caused lives of tens of people, is to drag the Bolivarian government into chaos and pay the way for counter-revolution.”
In addition to its message of solidarity with the people of Venezuela, TKP has also stated its support to the Venezuelan Communists: “The Communist Party of Turkey salutes enthusiastically the strategic preference and policies of the Communist Party of Venezuela to deepen the revolution to protect it and, through the Communist Party of Venezuela, conveys its message of solidarity with the people of Venezuela.”
‘WE SALUTE SOCIALIST CUBA’
 
The seventh political resolution of TKP’s 12th Congress has saluted Socialist Cuba, which has been targeted by imperialism, particularly the US imperialism, for long decades.
Declaring its solidarity with Cuba, TKP has underlined that the Cuban people have proved repeatedly that they would never retreat from the gains of socialism and the merits of patriotism.
In conclusion, TKP has shown solidarity with the Cuban people and their vanguard the Communist Party of Cuba, saluting Raul Castro as the comrade and leader of Cuban socialism.
Held with a slogan to empower the socialist alternative in Turkey and reinforced the decisive stance of TKP, 12th Congress of the Communist of Turkey received so many greetings and solidarity messages from the communist and workers’ parties around the whole world.
Joseph V. Stalin- Concerning Questions of Leninism

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Joseph V. Stalin- Concerning Questions of Leninism

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

Concerning Questions of Leninism.

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