Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 22. 1973
A Readers Guide to Salient
A Readers Guide to Salient
"They fail to understand that voting within the bounds of institutions and customs of bourgeois Parliamentarianism is a part of the bourgeoise state machinery that has to be broken in order to pass from bourgeoise democracy to proletarian democracy." Lenin
The first article of the "Reader's Guide" indicated that the whole state apparatus of a capitalist country is geared to benefit the ruling class, the bourgeoisie. The state is an instrument of class rule, in the words of Lenin it is the "creation of order, which legalises and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes."
A few individuals of bourgeois origin (such as Lenin himself) may betray their own class, and work in the interests of the proletariat. However the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat cannot be resolved by peaceful means. The relationship between the Federation of Labour and the Labour Party in New Zealand is merely an exercise in "moderating" the conflict between classes. At the moment this relationship, in combination with all the other devices of trickery and deceit possessed by the capitalist state of New Zealand is doing its work well. But this in no way alters the fact that the monopolies continue to grow, that the workers continue to create surplus value, and become more and more alienated by the system of capitalist production, in which they are economically, culturally and spiritually oppressed. This situation can only intensify .
"The essential condition for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labour. Wage labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoise, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of modem industry, therefore, cuts from under it's feet the very foundation on which the bourgoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoise therefore produces above all is its own grave diggers. Its fall, and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable." (Communist Manifesto)
Thus we may see that the vital question is the contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of ownership - as the monopolies expand so too the proletariat grows in strength, in organisation, and in knowledge of the relationship between itself and the class rule which holds it in wage slavery i.e. "A dictatorship of the bourgeoise masked by Parliamentary forms." (Lenin) Ultimately the only way this contradiction can be resolved is for the working class, under the leadership of a genuine workers' party to destroy the old bourgeois state structure in all its forms and to create a new state the dictatorship of the proletariat. "The Proletarian movement is the self conscious independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole incumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air." (communist Manifesto)
Under the leadership of a revolutionary workers' party the proletariat immediately establishes and consolidates its position by the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This dictatorship of the majority over the minority is an essential stage in the construction of socialism. Lenin commented, "Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat." During his life time of successful [unclear: real Jonary act] [unclear: int] [unclear: ly] stressed the necessity for such a dictatorship as the transitional stage between capitalism and communism. During this stage of revolutionary development as the work of socialist construction is carried out, the class struggle continues. Reviewing the results of the first five year plan in the USSR (1933) Stalin commented "We must bear in mind that the growth of the power of the Soviet State will intensify the resistance of the last remnants of the ruling classes. It is precisely because they are dying and their days are numbered that they will go on from one form of attack to another, sharper form, appealing to the backward sections of the population and mobilising them against the Soviet regime."
The dictatorship of the proletariat must therefore be maintained to ensure that the national bourgeoise do not regain power - by means of power or assets they may retain, by infiltrating and subverting the workers movement or by any other means. But this is not the only reason for the maintainance of a socialist state, of the proletarian dictatorship. Stalin pointed out another aspect of the class struggle in a socialist country in 1934, at the end of the second five year plan, "but can we say that we have already overcome all the survivials of capitalism in economic life? No, we cannot say that. Still less can we say that we have overcome the survivials of capitalism in people's minds. We cannot say that, not only because the development of peoples minds trails behind their economic position, but because we are still surrounded by capitalist countries, which art- trying to revive and sustain the survivals of capitalism in economic life and in the minds of the people of the USSR, and against which we Bolsheviks must always keep our powder dry."
Marxism and Revisionism
Although history has shown that Lenin and Stalin were correct in insisting that it is possible to build socialism in one country Stalin's comment points out the necessity of maintaining an armed, vigilant organised socialist state in a hostile, capitalist world. The uneven development of capitalism (and therefore of socialist revolution) in different countries ensures that forces hostile to socialism will exist for a long time, this is why there are no "communist countries" at present. A communist society is one in which the state (an organ by which one class opposses another) is no longer necessary to defend socialism from attacks, internal or external. Communist society is a classless society. The state is not necessary for its function and consequently withers away.
In the present period of history there arc many different opponents to the liberation of the working classes of all nations. As we have indicated these opponents may be clearly seen in the existance of the powerful, capitalist countries referred to by Stalin, the imperialist countries. Opposition to the struggle of the working class is also evident in the workers movement itself. This takes the form of various "false Gods", of theories demonstratably unworkable in practice. In order of their historical development these trends are anarchism, syndicalism, reformism and revisionism.
Anarchists believe that the abolition of the state is the immediate task of the proletariat, not by forming a workers' party, not by any political struggle at all, but simply by direct action.
"Individualism is the basis of the entire anarchist world outlook... Failure to understand the development of society — the role of large scale production — the development of capitalism into socialism. Anarchism is a product of depair. The psychology of the unsettled intellectual or the vagabond, not of the proletarian." (Lenin)
Syndicalism is a close relative of anarchism. It repudiates the dictatorship of the proletariat, maintaining that through the trade unions the workers can call a general strike, seize control of production and overthrow capitalism.
Reformism is the doctrine of the Fabians. It is a movement largely of intellectuals upholding the thoroughly unMarxist idea of the "inevitability of gradualism". This position maintains (falsely) that capitalism can be transformed into socialism by a series of gradual changes, without a revolution, or qualitative change. At present, none of these discredited theories have significant working class support anywhere.
Revisionism, of which there arc varied forms, is reformism represented as Marxism. The modern revisionists of the Soviet Union claim to be Marxist—Leninists, but their practice exposes the true nature of their treacherous position.
Trotskyism is a form of revisionism aptly described by Mao Tsetung as being "Left in form and right in essence" i.e. having the outward trappings of Marxism—Leninism but being objectively a servant of the bourgeoise. Trotskyism has not had any significant working class support for many years, it has been predominantly reduced to movements of petty bourgeoise youth and students in western countries. (In New Zealand the Socialist Action League and their campus front the Young Socialists.) Trotskyism denies the possibility of building socialism in one country (a position proved false by history). Trotskyism fails to distinguish between the bourgeoise democratic stage and the proletariat socialist stage of the revolution. In the countries where the peasants constitute a large mass of the rural proletariat and petty bourgeoise it denies the revolutionary role of the peasantry. This position has also been disproved in practice. Trotskyism also takes the anti Marxist—Leninist position of demanding factions within the workers' party.
"The essence of Trotskyism is, lastly, denial of the necessity for iron discipline in the party, recognition of freedom for factional groupings in the party, recognition of the need to form a Trotskyist party. According to Trotskyism the communist Party must not be a single- united militant party, but a collection of groups and factions, each with its own centre, its own discipline, its own press and so forth. What does this mean it means proclaiming freedom for political factions in the party. It means that freedom for political groupings in the party must be followed by freedom for political parties in the country, that is, bourgeoise democracy," (as opposed to proletarian democracy.) (Stalin)
The opinion of Lenin on Trotsky may be indicated by an excerpt from a letter written in 1917: "Trotsky arrived, and this scoundrel at once ganged up with the right wing of Novy Mir against the left Zimmerwaldists!! Thai's it!! That's Trotsky for you!! Always true to himself twists, swindles, poses as left, helps the right, so long as he can....." Because of their destructive splitting and disruptive tendencies (arising from the vacilliating petty bourgeoise character of Trotskyism itself) communists have been forced to shoot and imprison Trotskyites in such countries as Russia, China, Albania and Vietnam.
The only means by which the proletariat may establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and build socialism is by means of a Marxist-leninist communist party run on the lines of democratic centralism. A united and militant party run on democratic centralist lines is essential for the proletariat to gain victory. As Lenin stressed "organisation is the only weapon of the working class." This disciplined organisation has the police, and ultimately the armed forces of the capitalist state to confront.
But although it is disciplined and thoroughly united the workers' party is also essentially democratic. "We have already more than once enunciated our theoretical view on the importance of discipline and how this concept is to be understood in the party of the working class. We defined it as unity of action, freedom of discussion and criticism." (Lenin)
"If we are to make the party strong, we must practise democratic centralism to stimulate the initiative of the whole membership...... centralism must be closely linked with democracy. Let us apply democracy and so give scope to initiative throughout the party." Mao Tse-tung.
An excellent example of this style of work may be found in the book "Vietnam will Win" by Wilfred Burchett, where the revolutionary fighters for Vietnamese liberation are shown to have successfully applied Lenin's principle of unity of action and freedom of discussion and criticism.
Only such a party of the most politically conscious and advanced elements of the working class can lead the masses to victory.
This has never been more true than in the present era of imperialism. Imperialism is, as Lenin pointed out, the highest stage of capitalism. It is the financial and political control of one or more countries by a highly industrialised country in the interests of obtaining at the cheapest cost the minerals, products and labour and selling at the highest profits. If the exploited people resist then the military of the imperialist country intervene.
The relationship of people's liberation movements and imperialism may be illustrated by a comment from W.W. Rostow, one of Lyndon Johnson's advisers. (We always give the other side of the story!!!)
"The location, natural resources, and populations of the underdeveloped areas arc such that, should they become effectively attached to the communist bloc, the United States would become the second power in the world... If the underdeveloped areas fall under communist domination or if they move to fixed hostility to the West, the economic and military strength of Western Europe and Japan will be diminished, the British Commonwealth as it is now organised will disintegrate, and the Atlantic world will become, at best, an awkward alliance, incapable of exercising effective influence outside a limited orbit, with the balance of the world's power lost to it. In short, our military security and our way of life as well as the fate of Western Europe and Japan are at stake..." (W.W. Rostow)
And of course Rostow's "military security and "our way of Iife" is the way of life of the bourgeoise, the exploiter.
As Stalin correctly pointed out in "The Foundations of Leninism", "Leninism is Marxism in the era of imperialism and of the proletarian revolution."
The progressive people of the world, the oppressed masses of Africa, South America and South-east Asia, the working classes of the capitalist nations are all struggling in a common battle to the death against imperialism and capitalism.
"People of the world, unite and defeat the U.S. aggressors and all their running dogs! People of the world, be courageous, dare to fight, defy difficulties and advance wave upon wave. Then the whole world will belong to the people. Monsters of all kinds will be destroyed." (Mao Tsetung).
|Vietnam will win!||Wilfred Burchett|
|The State and Revolution||V.I. Lenin|
|Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism||V.I. Lenin|
|Foundations of Leninism||J. V. Stalin|
|Selected Works (4 vols)||Mao Tsetung|
|The South African Connection||Ruth First, Johna—than Steele, Chris—label Gurney.|