by V. Sevin & G. Golikov
First published by Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, Moscow,
Transcribed for WW BBS & MEIA by Workers' Web ASCII Pamphlet project (Nov-Dec 1997)
ROAD TO REVOLUTION
Lenin is the pseudonym which the then young Russian Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Ulyanov first used for reasons of secrecy to sign an article written in 1901. And though he used many other names, it was as Lenin that his party comrades and the working masses had known him. And it was under this name that he became world-famous as founder of the Soviet state and its Communist Party, and as the leader of the world proletariat.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov-Lenin was born on April 22, 1870 in the Volga town of Simbirsk, now Ulyanovsk, where he spent his childhood and youth, those formative years that were to transform him into a great revolutionary and thinker. The American journalist John Reed, author of the famous book about the October Revolution in Russia, "Ten Days that Shook the World," wrote after visiting Simbirsk that as he looked at the Volga's rolling expanses, he thought that Lenin had to be born on the banks of such a mighty river.
Still intact is the wooden house in which Lenin was born, as well as the house to which his family moved later. Today this is a museum, where great care has been taken to reproduce the atmosphere of those years. Hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the world have visited Ulyanovsk to see Lenin's birthplace.
Lenin's parents came of a progressive, democratic, intellectual milieu. His paternal grandfather, Nikolai Ulyanov, had been a serf of an estate in Nizhni Novgorod Gubernia; in search of a livelihood he had gone to Astrakhan where he worked as a tailor and died in poverty. Lenin's father, Ilya Nikolayevich, a man of many gifts and great industry, worked his way through secondary school and Kazan University, following which he taught mathematics and physics at various schools in the cities of Penza and Nizhni Novgorod. In 1869 he was appointed inspector and subsequently director of state schools in Simbirsk Gubernia.
A man of the people, Lenin's father was a dedicated educator, and worked indefatigably in the field of public education. As Lenin's younger brother Dmitri recalled later:
"Father infected us with a feeling of affection for the common people, to whose wellbeing he devoted all his energies and knowledge. For us he was the authority, and an example of a man with a high standard of culture and education, an industrious and noble man, a man of integrity".
Lenin's mother, Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova (née Blank), was the daughter of a physician. Prior to her marriage she had lived in the country and was educated at home. But, as a person of many parts and abilities, she passed the necessary examinations to be certified as an elementary school-teacher. She knew several languages, was fond of music and played the piano, was good at needlework and, generally, displayed great industry. She devoted every moment of her life to her children. As friends of the family observed, "she was a real friend to her restless brood. Outwardly quiet and serene, she was brimming with some great inner power; she never complained, never lost heart, but always silently and proudly assumed one more burden. She was a person of enormous will power and of a warm and brave heart."
The Ulyanovs had six children, all of whom, with the exception of Olga who died early, embraced the cause of revolution. These were, besides Lenin himself, his two brothers Alexander and Dmitri, and his sisters Anna and Maria.
At the age of nine Lenin entered the Simbirsk gymnasium. Highly gifted and diligent, and well prepared at home, he made excellent progress, and showed a keen interest in literature, history and languages, including Latin and Greek. He could freely translate the ancient classics and spoke and read in several modern European languages. All this helped to develop in him an encyclopaedic turn of mind.
The social conditions of the time, the atmosphere at home and the example afforded by his parents were decisive in moulding his character and outlook.
Even in his early youth Lenin was able to discern the reactionary character of the political and social system in tsarist Russia. His own observations, complemented by the stories his father related after visiting one or another village, and the shocking scenes of misery, and the suffering of the down-trodden, ignorant peasants and workingmen, who were so harshly exploited by the capitalist and landowning class and tsarist officialdom, moved him together with his brothers and sisters to protest against social and national inequality and to vow to dedicate their lives to the emancipation of the working people.
A fondness for reading was a tradition with the Ulyanovs and to the end of his days books remained among Lenin's faithful friends and companions. In prison, exile or emigration, his first care was to surround himself with books. He had done research in some of the world's best-known public libraries, including those in St. Petersburg, Moscow, London, Paris, Berlin, and Geneva.
Progressive writings, and above all the works of the great Russian revolutionary democrats Belinsky, Herzen and Chernyshevsky helped develop the revolutionary outlook of the Ulyanov children. Lenin particularly admired Chernyshevsky for his intellectual power, who as inspirer and leader of the Russian revolutionaries of the 1860s, was close in thought to Marx.
Lenin revealed his revolutionary sentiments already in his school compositions. One day, his teacher, who had always held him up as an example for his classmates, irascibly observed when returning a composition: "What are these oppressed classes you've written about here? Where do they come in?"
In 1887, Vladimir Ulyanov completed his course at the gymnasium and was the only pupil in his class to receive a gold medal for outstanding ability. His headmaster wrote the following in his student record: "Highly capable, hard-working and painstaking, Ulyanov was a top scholar in all forms, and upon completing the course has been awarded a gold medal as the most deserving pupil in regard to progress, development and conduct."
At the very moment Lenin was taking his school-leaving examinations the sad news came of the arrest and subsequent execution of his elder brother Alexander, a St. Petersburg University student, for involvement in a plot to assassinate Tsar Alexander III. Lenin loved and greatly respected his brother, with whom he often discussed social and political subjects, though, for reasons of secrecy, the latter had never spoken of his revolutionary activity to anyone in the family.
Alexander Ulyanov was a member of the revolutionary wing of the movement known as Narodism. Though they sought to uphold popular interests, the Narodniks, ignorant of the laws of social development, were unable to find the right road in the struggle against tsarism and social oppression. Despite Russia's rising capitalism, they were convinced that her life followed its own peculiar pattern and that the traditions of rural community could serve as the starting point for a direct transition to socialism. They were incapable of understanding the role of the working class as the decisive factor in the socialist remaking of society, adhering as they did to the fallacious idealistic theory of "active" heroes and a "passive mob" that blindly followed in the wake of the history-making "great personalities". Part of the revolutionary Narodniks were of the view that they could rouse the peasant masses and lead them on to the road of socialist revolution, while another part, sceptical of this course, hoped that a small band of conspirators would be able to seize power and believed that the main means to this end were individual acts of terror against the tsar and his ministers. Though Lenin's brother was somewhere halfway between Narodism and Marxism - Lenin had seen "Capital" in his possession - he was for the most part a Narodnik.
Subsequently, Lenin was to make a brilliant Marxist critique of Narodism. While paying tribute to the heroism of the revolutionary Narodniks, he at the same time exposed the untenability of their ideology and tactics. Then a seventeen-year-old schoolboy, though stunned by his brother's execution, and honouring him for his courage, young Ulyanov arrived at an important conclusion that was to shape all his future activity. As his younger sister Maria noted later in her recollections, he had firmly said: "No, we shall not take that road, that is not the road to follow." And as she wrote further, "he began to gird himself for that road which he believed would lead, and indeed, did lead, to victory."
To continue his education, Lenin decided to enroll at Kazan University's Department of Law, as he was convinced that "it is the time now to study law and political economy." It is noteworthy that he took the same decision as Marx once did: Marx had chosen a university law course and subsequently devoted all of his life to the study of political economy.
Following Lenin's enrollment at the university, the Ulyanovs moved to Kazan, modestly subsisting on the pension granted them after the death of the head of the family, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, in 1886. However, Lenin's university career was cut short when he was sent down, arrested and jailed for taking part in a revolutionary student demonstration. When the policeman escorting him to the prison observed: "What's the use of rebelling, young man? Don't you see there's a wall before you?" Lenin replied: "Yes, but the wall is rotten. Give it a good push and it will topple over!" This was an answer of a dedicated revolutionary, and not of a casually involved student. Later, while in prison the arrested students, who were his cell-mates, began asking one another what they were going to do further. When his turn came Lenin said with a smile, after a short pause, during which he seemed to be gathering his thoughts: "There's nothing particularly much for me to think about. My elder brother has shown me the way."
Lenin had made his choice, once and for all. However, the road he took was a different one than that conceived by his elder brother and the preceding generations of revolutionaries.
The authorities banished Lenin to the village of Kokushkino, now Lenino, 40 km from Kazan. The police department at once instructed the Chief of the Kazan Gubernia Gendarmerie to "see to it that a strict and secret watch be kept on the banished Vladimir Ulyanov.' After that he was under continuous police surveillance. While in Kokushkino Lenin led a secluded life, reading avidly from morning to night.
In the autumn of 1888, he was allowed to return to Kazan, but failed to gain re-admission to the University. On his application the university administration had written: "Isn't this the brother of that Ulyanov? He's from the Simbirsk gymnasium too, isn't he? Not to be admitted under any circumstances." He was also denied a passport for travelling abroad.
At this time Lenin plunged wholeheartedly into a study of Marxist literature, and it was to become a lifelong rule with him "to take counsel with Marx." He had a high opinion of the writings of G. V. Plekhanov, a Marxist theoretician and propagandist, who in 1883 had organised the first Russian Marxist group - "Emancipation of Labour" - in Geneva. In his works Plekhanov explained what Marxism was, criticised Narodism and applied Marxist principles to the vital questions of Russian society. In Kazan Lenin joined a Marxist group, organised by N. I. Fedoseyev, one of Russia's first Marxists. He was enthusiastic, and as his sister Anna recollected: "He would explain to me with great fervour and enthusiasm the fundamentals of Marx's theory and talk of the new horizons it opened.'
Of great importance in the formation of Lenin's Marxist outlook were the four years he spent in the city of Samara, where the Ulyanovs moved in September 1889. In summer the family lived at a farmstead near the village of Alakayevka. In the spring of 1890 Lenin was permitted to take examinations for a degree in law at the St. Petersburg University. He completed the entire course in the space of eighteen months of intensive study at home and passed with honours.
Though he subsequently practised law for a while as a barrister, he concentrated on the further study of Marxism. In Samara, he organised its first Marxist study group, to whose members he read a number of papers. It was in Samara, in 1893, that he wrote the earliest of his works that has come down to us - "New Economic Developments in Peasant Life." This is the first essay of Volume One of his "Complete Works." In Samara Lenin also made a translation, which unfortunately has not survived, of Marx and Engels's 'Communist Manifesto." Among Samara's Marxists he quickly gained the reputation of being a capable theoretician and organiser.
I. K. Lalayants, one of the members of Lenin's group, recollected later: "Simplicity, tactfulness, a zest for life were remarkably combined in this twenty-three-year-old man with dignity, profound knowledge, ruthless logical consistency, clear judgement and precision in definitions."
In August 1893 Lenin moved to St. Petersburg, today Leningrad.
FOUNDER OF COMMUNIST PARTY
Lenin's arrival in St. Petersburg, capital of the Russian empire and a centre of social and political activity, initiated a new chapter in his life, one of direct effort to organise a Marxist party in Russia.
The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in Russia was a time of a marked upsurge in the working-class movement, the centre of which was St. Petersburg with its big Putilov, Obukhov, Semyannikov factories and other mills and plants located in the suburbs and employing thousands of workers. The main task Lenin set himself at this time was to bring to the proletariat the ideas of scientific socialism, to equip the workers with the all-powerful philosophy of Marxism, and build up an organisation of revolutionaries capable of rallying the masses and leading them in an attack on tsarism and, subsequently, capitalism. Being in close contact with the more class-conscious proletarians in St. Petersburg Lenin matured as leader of the working class.
At that time there were several Marxist study groups active in the Russian capital. They consisted of class-conscious factory workers and college students, who had only recently come to Marxism and were still unable to apply it to the practical tasks of revolutionary struggle. An outstanding theoretician and practical organiser was needed who would be able to weld them into a real fighting force. Lenin achieved this.
After his arrival in St. Petersburg Lenin established contacts with the group of Marxist students at the Technological Institute. To this group belonged Pyotr Zaporozhets, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, who was to become Chairman of the State Planning Commission after the revolution, the Nevzorov sisters, and Mikhail Silvin. It was at one of the gatherings of Marxists in the city that Lenin met Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, who was then a teacher at a Sunday school for factory workers, an acquaintance which blossomed in lifelong love.
Lenin quickly earned the respect of the group and was looked up to as an outstanding Marxist theoretician. This "arrival from the Volga" was much talked about among the "capital's Marxists" and though he was only 23 at the time, he soon came to be known as "The Old Man" for his encyclopaedic learning. "And here, in our northern plains," Krzhizhanovsky wrote later, "there appeared an unusual man, who more than any other understood the power of the weapon forged by the genius of Marx. For him a Marxist was above all a revolutionary." What Russia's Social-Democratic movement lacked most then was the ability to unite theory and practice of revolutionary struggle, to creatively apply Marxism to Russian reality. "Social-Democracy," Lenin wrote, 'existed without a working-class movement, and as a political party it was at the embryonic stage of development."
Besides studying and propagating Marxism amidst small underground groups of Social-Democratic intellectuals, Lenin also gave lectures in Marxist circles of factory workers in working-class neighbourhoods With illustrations drawn directly from the life of his listeners he explained the basic points of Marx's "Capital", presenting the subject in a way that was understandable to the workers Ivan Babushkin, one of Lenin's listeners, wrote later: "The lecturer explained the subject to us in his own words, without reading from notes; he would try to get us to disagree with him or start a dispute, and then he would egg us on, making one of us argue his point of view with another. Our lectures, therefore, were very lively and interesting, and tended to develop a habit for public speaking; this method of study was the best way of mastering the subject."
The hard core of progressive, revolutionary workers that soon emerged consisted among others, of I. V. Babushkin, the Bodrov brothers, V. A. Knyazev, N. Y. Merkulov and V. A. Shelgunov. A wide network of Marxist circles sprang up in the factory districts. The task of leading the working-class movement on to the road of open political struggle was being tackled in earnest and successfully.
One obstacle that had to be removed was liberal Narodism into which the revolutionary Narodism of the 1870s had degenerated.
Unless the influence of Narodism among the masses was overcome, there could be no thought of further success. The liberal Narodniks, who had abandoned all revolutionary struggle against tsarism in favour of a programme of minor reforms, launched violent attacks against Marxism.
Lenin, who had first criticised liberal Narodism when still in Samara, started a full-fledged campaign against it in St. Petersburg, pointing out the untenability of its views and ripping off its mask of "friends of the people". He dealt with the question in his book, published in a hectographed form in 1894, and entitled What the 'Friends of the People' Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats. It consisted of three sections, one providing a comprehensive critique of the philosophical views of the Narodniks and mainly of their leading ideologist, N. K. Mikhailovsky, the second (the original text of which has still to be found) - a critique of their economic views as most clearly expressed in the reactionary Utopian writings of S. N. Yuzhakov, and the third - a critique of their political programme and tactics as developed by S. N. Krivenko.
This is Lenin's first major work and a masterly Marxist analysis of Russian reality. In it Lenin gives a vigorous defence of Marxism and shows a creative approach to questions of the theory and practice of the working-class movement. Developing a series of basic tenets of Marxist sociology and scientific communism, Lenin formulated the immediate objective of the Russian liberation movement as the overthrow of tsarist autocracy and abolition of the survivals of feudal serfdom, which would be followed by a full-scale struggle against capitalism and for the remaking of society along socialist lines. He propounded the idea of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry and other non-proletarian strata of the working masses, pointing out that this was necessary for achieving victory in the fight for democracy and socialism. Finally, Lenin argued the need - and he was Russia's first Marxist to do so - to organise a revolutionary proletarian party. This, he said, was the most urgent task of Russian Social Democracy.
Defining the prospects ahead of the revolutionary movement, Lenin wrote: "...the Russian WORKER, rising at the head of all the democratic elements, will overthrow absolutism and lead the RUSSIAN PROLETARIAT (side by side with the proletariat of ALL COUNTRIES) along the straight road of open political struggle to THE VICTORIOUS COMMUNIST REVOLUTION".
Lenin's What the 'Friends of the People' Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats furnished a powerful weapon in the effort to organise a Marxist party; it served as the ideological platform upon which the revolutionary Social-Democrats united into one party. "When this book appeared," recalled S. I. Mickiewicz, a member of a Moscow group of Social-Democrats, "Lenin became a still more popular and recognised authority among the Marxists. The young Russian Marxist movement realised that it had found in him a political leader and an outstanding theoretician."
At the same time Lenin had to battle with the so-called legal Marxists, bourgeois intellectuals who, using "Marxist" phraseology, in reality concealed capitalism's contradictions and sought to make the working-class movement serve bourgeois interests. They discarded Marxism's basic tenet, namely the teaching on the proletarian revolution and seizure of power by the working class.
Later, in speaking of the continual struggle he had to carry on against various ideological adversaries and against deviations from Marxism's revolutionary principles, Lenin wrote in one of his private letters: "So that's my lot, one fight after another, against political stupidities, philistinism, opportunism, etc. And it has been so ever since 1893. And for this I am hated by the philistines. Still I wouldn't change this lot for a state of 'peace' with them."
Owing to the work carried out by revolutionary Social-Democracy, Marxism spread in Russia and became linked with the working- class movement. Many Russian cities, apart from the capital, now had their revolutionary Marxist organisations. Meanwhile in St. Petersburg, a leading Marxist group, with Lenin at its head, emerged which began to direct the activity of the hitherto disunited groups.
In 1895 Lenin succeeded in getting a passport and went abroad in order to establish contact with the Marxist "Emancipation of Labour" group there. Plekhanov was greatly impressed by Lenin about whom he wrote: "A young comrade has been here, who is very intelligent, well-educated and a gifted speaker. What luck to have such young people in our revolutionary movement!"
While away from Russia Lenin learned about the working-class movement in Western Europe and met two prominent Socialists of the time, Paul Lafargue and Wilhelm Liebknecht.
Back home, Lenin imparted fresh drive to the revolutionary movement among the St. Petersburg proletariat, and intensified his effort to establish a Marxist party. He founded "The League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class" which by the autumn of 1895 became the leading Social-Democratic organisation in the Russian capital. For the first time in Russia an organisation was founded that wed scientific socialism and the working-class movement. Shortly afterwards, similar "Leagues" were set up elsewhere in the country.
The police had kept an eye on Lenin's League and in an early morning raid on December 9, 1895 arrested Lenin along with other leading members of the League (Vaneyev, Krzhizhanovsky and Starkov). Lenin was kept for fourteen months in solitary confinement. But, despite the grim prison conditions, he continued to direct the Marxist organisations outside, employing various secret means and relying on the help of comrades who were still at liberty, and above all Nadezhda Krupskaya. While in prison he also wrote a number of papers, including the Draft and Explanation of a Programme for the Social-Democratic Party and gathered material for a fundamental study of the development of capitalism in Russia.
In February 1897 the authorities announced their verdict: Lenin and the other arrested "League" members were sentenced to exile for three years in Eastern Siberia, Before going they were allowed to spend three days with their families in St. Petersburg. They used the time in attending clandestine gatherings arranged to discuss the "League's" further programme of action. It took Lenin over a fortnight to get to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, where he waited another two months until he was finally told his destination, the backwoods village of Shushenskoye in the Minusinsk district, at the foot of the Sayan mountain range. While in Krasnoyarsk Lenin met other banished revolutionaries, made contacts, and worked in the private library of the well-known local merchant-bibliophile Yudin. In a letter to his relatives he wrote:
"Yesterday I managed to find the famous local library belonging to Yudin. I have not seen all his library by far, but in any case it is an excellent collection of books. There are, for example, complete sets of journals (the most important) from the end of the 18th century up to date. I hope I shall be able to make use of them as necessary reference material for the information I need so much for my work."
On May 8, 1897, Lenin began the life of an exile, under the never-relaxing surveillance of the police. A year later Nadezhda Krupskaya, who had also been banished for the involvement in the "League," arrived in Shushenskoye with her mother. Here she and Lenin were married, and throughout their life together she remained his loyal companion and helper, equally dedicated to the cause of the revolution.
While in exile Lenin read and wrote much, working into the early hours of the morning by the light of a kerosene lamp in the log cabin where he lived with his wife. This fact was noted in a report by the policeman assigned to keep the exile under surveillance:
"Keeps on writing all the time. Must be a writer. I have already informed the district police chief that I'm afraid no good will come of his writing."
In his three years in Siberia Lenin wrote more than thirty works, all of which are of great theoretical and political significance. Among them is his fundamental The Development of Capitalism in Russia, which complements Marx's analysis of the rise and the essence of capitalism. "It is interesting to note," Lenin wrote, "how far the main features of this general process in Western Europe and in Russia are identical, notwithstanding the tremendous peculiarities of the latter, in both the economic and non-economic spheres." Lenin's profound analysis of Russia's socio-economic relationships provided a firm theoretical basis upon which to develop the programme, strategy and tactics of a Marxist party. Another work by Lenin which also gained wide currency among the advanced segment of the Russian working class was pamphlet The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats, which dealt with the question of the relationship between the democratic and socialist objectives of the proletariat, and of the Russian working-class movement.
In 1898 the representatives of several Russian Social-Democratic organisations held their First Congress at which they announced the foundation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). In actual fact, however, no party was formed, since the congress adopted neither programme nor rules, and furthermore, the Social-Democratic organisations represented lacked ideological and organisational unity.
There emerged at this time within the ranks of Social-Democracy the Opportunist trend of "Economism", the Russian version of revisionism in the international socialist movement. The "Economists", followers of the ideologist of revisionism, the German Social-Democrat, F. Bernstein, maintained that the main task of the working-class movement was to wage an economic struggle (for higher pay, a shorter working day, etc.). They were against a political struggle for proletarian democracy and power and denied the need for an independent proletarian political party. Like Bernstein, they held that "the movement is everything, the final aim nothing". They said that a socialist revolution was unnecessary and demanded only that the ruling exploiting class carry out reforms and improve the conditions of workers. In other words, they called for measures that would not impinge upon capitalism's foundations. Lenin pointed out that it was vital resolutely to repulse revisionism and the "Economists". To this end he wrote the Protest by Russian Social-Democrats which 17 Marxist exiles in the Minusinsk district discussed and signed.
In conditions of ideological confusion and organisational disunity, Lenin evolved the only correct solution for Russian Social-Democracy; he drafted a plan for the establishment of a Marxist party and pointed out that it was necessary for this purpose to start a national clandestine political newspaper and through it rally the country's revolutionary Social-Democrats on the basis of the principles of Marxism.
As the end of his term of exile approached, Lenin pondered all the more intensively over the entire range of problems related to the organisation of a party. "I shall never forget one of my walks with Lenin on the banks of the broad Yenisei," Krzhizhanovsky recollected. "It was a frosty moonlit night, and the Siberian snows spread before us in an endless glittering waste. Lenin spoke with enthusiasm of his plans when he would return to Russia. He concentrated on problems of organising a central party paper, of publishing it abroad and of building up a party by means of this paper, which would represent the scaffolding, as it were, for the erection of the entire edifice of the revolutionary organisation of the proletariat."
On January 29, 1900, the term of exile came to an end. And on that very day, despite the bitter cold, Lenin and his wife and mother- in-law set off from Shushenskoye across snow-swept Siberia for the railway station of Achinsk, where they were to take the train to Ufa. Here Krupskaya was to spend the remaining year of her term of exile. Meanwhile Lenin himself, who was not permitted to live in the capital and many other cities, chose Pskov as his place of "free" residence.
Within a short time, Lenin had visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhni Novgorod, Ufa, Samara, Riga, Smolensk and Syzran, where he met with Social-Democrats and discussed with them his plans for starting a revolutionary Marxist paper. The police continued to keep close watch on him; a Colonel Zubatov of the gendarmerie noted that "there is nobody bigger than Ulyanov in the revolution today."
In the early years of the 20th century large-scale class battles broke out in Russia, which at once placed its proletariat in the vanguard of the international working-class movement and made the country itself the focal point of the world revolutionary process. There arose the pressing need for a working-class party that could lead the masses in the fight against tsarism and capitalism.
Lenin sought to set up a party of a new type, a party that would be different from the West-European Social-Democratic parties in which opportunism was tolerated and which, because of that, were growing increasingly reformist. In its principle, form and method, he maintained, the party of a new type should meet the requirements of the new historical epoch of socialist revolution. And he devoted all his unquenchable energy and theoretical and organisational genius to the accomplishment of this epoch-making objective.
In the summer of 1900 Lenin went to Switzerland. This was his first forced emigration. In Geneva he discussed with Plekhanov and other members of the 'Emancipation of Labour" group plans to start an all-Russia working-class paper, which, as a collective propagandist, agitator and organiser, would pave the way for the founding of a party. These talks were extremely heated for Plekhanov was arrogant and dictatorial. But an understanding was reached, though with great difficulty, on the joint publication of a newspaper to be called Iskra (Spark). The entire episode was described by Lenin in an article called How the 'Spark' Was Nearly Extinguished".
The symbolic name of the paper is explained by its motto: "The spark will kindle a flame," a quotation taken from the reply by exiled Decembrists (participants in the unsuccessful mutiny against the tsar in December 1825) to the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Iskra was published in Leipzig and Munich and later in London and Geneva.
Iskra was conceived by Lenin; he was its heart and soul, its actual editor. In the more than fifty articles he published in it, he set out a programme for forming a party and discussed questions of revolutionary theory and practice. The first issue, which came out in December 1900, carried his programme article The Urgent Tasks of Our Movement, in which he wrote: "Before us, in all its strength, towers the enemy fortress which is raining shot and shell upon us, mowing down our best fighters. We must capture this fortress, and we will capture it, if we unite all the forces of the awakening proletariat with all the forces of the Russian revolutionaries into one party which will attract all that is vital and honest in Russia. Only then will the great prophecy of the Russian worker-revolutionary, Pyotr Alexeyev, be fulfilled: 'The muscular arm of the working millions will be lifted and the yoke of despotism, guarded by the soldiers' bayonets, will be smashed to atoms!' " (These were the words with which Pyotr Alexeyev concluded his statement in court when on trial in March 1877.)
The difficulties that stood in the way of publication and circulation of Iskra seemed well-nigh insuperable. However, they were overcome owing to the courage and hard work of Lenin and his comrades. The paper was smuggled into Russia and illicitly distributed there. It quickly became popular with the workers. "The finest elements in the class-conscious proletariat sided with Iskra," Lenin noted with gratification. The workers themselves attested to this fact. One letter to the editor said: "I have shown Iskra to many comrades. It's almost in shreds and yet it is precious...It tells about our cause, all about our Russian cause, which you can't price in kopecks or count in hours. When you read it, you understand why the gendarmes and the police are afraid of us workers and of the intellectuals whose lead we follow."
Iskra successfully discharged its mission. It exposed opportunism, and rallied revolutionaries around Lenin. An important contribution to the effort to found a proletarian party of a new type and develop Marxism and the teaching on the party was made by Lenin in his book What Is to Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement, which was published in Stuttgart in 1902. In it, as in Iskra, Lenin attacked revisionism, social-reformism and the "Economists," and discussed crucial questions of party structure, strategy and policy. He contended that only a party equipped with advanced Marxist theory could fulfil its role of the foremost fighter, of leader of the working class. He advanced the thesis that it was essential to propagate socialist ideas among the proletarian masses and outlined the concrete tasks facing the working class as the vanguard and leader in the movement to emancipate the toiling masses. Under Lenin's direction the Iskra editorial board drafted a party programme. Lenin himself drew up the party rules and formulated its organisational principles.
A particularly urgent question at that time, especially in view of the attitude adopted by the Bund - the General Jewish Workers' Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia - was the question of the internationalist character of party structure and activity. The Bundists arrogated to themselves the role of sole spokesman for Jewish workers, and, clinging to separatism, demanded the establishment of autonomous national Social-Democratic parties that would be independent of the RSDLP and only federated with each other. Lenin condemned both anti-Semitism and Zionism pointing out that the Jewish question could be solved only together with the basic issues of the struggle for democracy and socialism. The Bund, he observed, was speculating with "the idea that the Jews form a separate nation," an idea which was Zionist, scientifically untenable and politically reactionary.
In his article Does the Jewish Proletariat Need an 'Independent Political Party'? Lenin criticised the Bundist approach. He wrote: ". . . in matters pertaining to the struggle against the autocracy, the struggle against the bourgeoisie of Russia as a whole, we must act as a single and centralised militant organisation, have behind us the whole of the proletariat, without distinction of language or nationality, a proletariat whose unity is cemented by the continual joint solution of problems of theory and practice, of tactics and organisation; and we must not set up organisations that would march separately, each along its own track; we must not weaken the force of our offensive by breaking up into numerous independent political parties; we must not introduce estrangement and isolation and then have to heal an artificially implanted disease with the aid of these notorious 'federation' plasters."
The RSDLP held its Second Congress in July-August 1903, first in Brussels, and then, because of police intervention, in London. In attendance were 43 delegates from 26 organisations. Owing to the heterogeneous composition - besides staunch Iskraites, there were outright opportunists and waverers - a bitter struggle developed at the congress, which focused on the party programme and rules. Delegates greatly admired Lenin's unflagging zeal; he chaired many of the meetings, presented reports, drafted resolutions, and discussed matters with the delegates. M. N. Lyadov, a veteran Party member and a delegate from Saratov, summed up his observations as follows: "One felt one was dealing with a real party leader."
In fierce grapples with the "Economists", Bundists and other opportunists, Lenin and the Iskraites managed to put through their programme, which set as the immediate aim the overthrow of tsarism by means of a democratic revolution and as the ultimate aim the waging of a socialist revolution, the establishment of a proletarian dictatorship and the building of socialism.
Heated arguments flared up over Lenin's report on the party rules. Lenin firmly upheld the principles of democratic centralism in party structure and activity, which would ensure party unity and discipline. "Every Party member is responsible for the Party, and the Party is responsible for everyone of its members," he emphasised. The opportunists led by Martov assailed Lenin's principles of party organisation, and proposed that party membership be open to all who wished to join, without demanding from them observance of the norms of party life and party discipline or active involvement in the work of party organisations.
The Second Congress of the RSDLP united the revolutionary Marxist organisations and set up a working-class party on the basis of the ideological, political and organisational principles worked out by Lenin.
However, at this congress two trends within the Party were revealed. One of them, a revolutionary trend, was represented by Lenin and his supporters who received a majority of votes at the elections to the leading Party bodies, and came to be called Bolsheviks. The other trend was opportunist (Mensheviks) and was headed by martov, Plekhanov, Dan Potresov and others.
The Bolsheviks had the qualities that a proletarian party of a new type should have. Addressing the meeting held in Moscow on July 13, 1973, marking the 70th Anniversary of the Second RSDLP Congress, Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, said:
"The outstanding role of this event in the history of the great struggle for the victory of the revolution and socialism is determined, if you put it in a nutshell, by the fact that at this Congress the Party of Bolsheviks was founded - our glorious Leninist Party.
"Looking back today at this past, remote but nonetheless close to us, we cannot but admire the deeds of Lenin and his comrades-in-arms who created our Party, the first party of a new type, and who led it, in defiance of hostile whirlwinds, through the barricades of 1905, to the revolution of February 1917, and from February 1917 to the victory of the Great October Revolution...
"Our party has proved to be equal to the task. It succeeded in paving hitherto unknown ways from capitalism to socialism.It succeeded, having won the boundless confidence of the working class, and all the working people, in creating a developed socialist society, a state of the whole people, bringing the world's largest country onto the high road of communist construction."
For Soviet Communists, Lenin and those who fought and won victories together with him have always been and will remain an inspiring ideal. After Lenin's death, it has become a tradition, when party membership cards are exchanged, to put Lenin's name on card No. 1. This is not merely a symbolic act but an expression of the Soviet Communist Party's loyalty to the ideas of Leninism and its readiness to devote all its strength to the cause of carrying out Lenin's behests.
The Second RSDLP Congress marked a turning point in the Russian and the international working-class movement. In his report The Second Congress of the RSDLP and its Historic Significance at the meeting commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Congress, M.A. Suslov, Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, said that "the emergence of the Bolshevik Party was an event of epoch-making significance ushering in a new stage in the development of the Russian and the world working-class movement and marking a decisive turn from the old Social-Democratic parties to a proletarian party of a new type on an international scale." For the first time in history the working class had an organisation which was able, in the new historical conditions, in an epoch of great social upheavals and revolutions, to direct its struggle for social emancipation, for the triumph of communist ideals.
The proletarian party of a new type is Lenin's great legacy to the world revolutionary movement and the builders of socialism and communism.
Shortly after the congress the Mensheviks engineered what Martov called "an uprising against Leninism". They engaged in direct divisive tactics and obstructed the carrying out of the congress decisions. Lenin exposed the schismatic, anti-party doings of the Mensheviks, including Trotsky, who opposed Lenin's ideas on party organisation and sided with the Mensheviks. In his One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, which was published in Geneva in 1904, Lenin analysed the work of the Second Congress, criticised Menshevik opportunism with regard to Party structure and developed his teaching on the proletarian party of a new type.
According to Lenin the proletarian party is the supreme form of working class organisation, the vanguard and leader of the working class, which, as a union of persons having the same convictions, comprises class-conscious workers dedicated to the communist cause and the best representatives of other segments of the working masses. In all its work it is guided by Marxism, which gives a scientific explanation of the laws of social development, and which shows the surest road to emancipation of the working people from social and national oppression and to socialism and communism. Firmly adhering to the Marxist method and teaching, it develops revolutionary theory and creatively applies it in its work.
As the organised detachment of the working class, the party draws its strength from its ideological and organisational unity, from the joint resolve and action of all party organisations and members. It is built on the principles of democratic centralism, which imply inner-party democracy, the active involvement of members in party affairs and collective leadership, on the one hand, and on the other, centralised structure, direction of party activity from one single centre, conscious and strict discipline that is binding on all members, and the subordination of the minority to the majority and of the lower organisations to the higher.
The proletarian party of a new type is profoundly internationalist in ideology and activity. Lenin's party emerged and developed as a party of genuine proletarian internationalists, integrating within its ranks advanced proletarians of every nationality. From its inception, the Bolshevik Party has been a part of the international working-class movement.
Lenin pointed out that a salient feature of this new proletarian party, an indispensable condition for its further development and successful carrying out of the tasks before it, is the maintenance of close ties with the entire working class and with the toiling masses generally. He emphasised that the Communist Party must be truly communist in action as well as in name And this, he said. depends both on the party's composition and on ''the men that lead it, and the content of its actions and its political tactics. Only this latter determines whether we really have before us a political party of the proletariat."
In developing his theory about a proletarian party of a new type and in founding such a party, Lenin rendered an invaluable service to the world working class. The Party he founded, the Bolshevik Communist Party has become a model for Marxists in all lands. The history of the Communist and Workers Parties of different countries convincingly demonstrates that they derive their strength from their adherence to Lenin's ideological and organisational principles and the Leninist norms of party life.
STRATEGIST OF CLASS BATTLES
The popular revolution whose inevitable approach Lenin had many times noted in his writings, broke out on January 9, 1905, in St. Petersburg. on that day - which has come to be known as the Bloody Sunday - a peaceful demonstration of factory workers was fired on by tsarist troops. The incident deeply shocked the nation. and marked the beginning of revolutionary unrest in the country that lasted for more than two years.
As soon as Lenin, then in political emigration in Geneva, learned what had happened in the Russian capital, he wrote a series of articles beginning with Revolution in Russia. In them he discussed the substance and motive forces of this revolution, which proved to be the first popular bourgeois-democratic revolution in the epoch of imperialism. Besides defining Bolshevik strategy and tactics, he attacked Menshevist opportunism, cxposed the conciliatory attitude of bourgeois liberalism which was seeking to make a deal with tsarism, and demonstrated the inconsistency of the ideological platform and the adventurism of the activities of the petty-bourgeois party of "Socialist Revolutionaries" (the SR's). Lenin's ideas and programme concerning Bolshevik action in the conditions of revolution were reflected in the decisions of the RSDLP's Third Congress held in London in the spring of 1905. As some delegates noted, Lenin was the "heart and brain of the congress". Pursuing their divisive tactics, the Mensheviks declined to attend and held a parallel conference in Geneva.
Shortly after the congress, Lenin wrote his Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution in which he analysed the main difference between the decisions of the Bolshevik congress and of the Menshevik conference, and summing up the experience of struggle showed the correctness of the Bolshevik line. For Bolsheviks this book provided a guide to action; the Bolshevik V.V. Adoratsky, commenting on its significance, said: "We all felt that the interests of the development of the revolution could not have been upheld more correctly, more consistently and with greater talent than was done by Vladimir Ilyich."
In this book and in other writings Lenin developed the Marxist theory of revolution, drawing the important conclusion that in the context of social development the working class possessed a power far greater than its numerical strength would suggest. He elaborated the idea of proletarian hegemony in revolution and defined the relationship between democratic and socialist revolutions. Under imperialism, which is characterised by acute antagonisms between labour and capital, with the bourgeoisie joining the reactionaries, Lenin pointed out, it is the working class that stands forth as the most consistent fighter for democracy. Proletarian hegemony ensures the full victory of democratic revolution, while holding out the prospect of its development into a socialist one. The chief ally of the working class in a democratic revolution is the peasantry that seeks to abolish landlordism and all survivals of feudal serfdom. Not the bourgeoisie's advent to power, but the institution of a revolutionary democratic authority - the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry - creates conditions for the full victory of a democratic revolution and paves the way for the immediate transition to the struggle for socialism. In this connection Lenin praised the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, the Soviets of Soldiers' Deputies and the Peasant Revolutionary Committees which the people set up in the course of the first Russian revolution. He described the Soviets as the embryo of genuine people's power.
Already in those early days, Lenin advanced what was in effect the idea of a united democratic front, a "Left-bloc policy" in the movement against tsarism and all reactionary forces. He said that it was necessary to achieve "the unification of all the genuinely revolutionary forces, of all the forces that are already operating in a revolutionary fashion." In a letter entitled Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, Lenin pointed out that not only workers but seamen, soldiers, peasants, revolutionary bourgeois intellectuals, office employees, in short, "every group of the population" prepared to strive for a democratic programme, for the betterment of the life of all the working masses, should be represented in the Soviets.
"We," Lenin wrote, "are not afraid of so broad and mixed a composition - indeed, we want it, for unless the proletariat and the peasantry unite and unless the Social-Democrats and revolutionary democrats form a fighting alliance, the great Russian revolution cannot be fully successful. It will be a temporary alliance that is to fulfil clearly defined immediate practical tasks, while the more important interests of the socialist proletariat, its fundamental interests and ultimate goals, will be steadfastly upheld by the independent and consistently principled Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party...The essential thing is that the main, purely proletarian body of the provisional revolutionary government should be strong."
Lenin considered the ''Left-bloc policy" an important question of principle. Whether in a revolution or in parliamentary struggle it means class demarcation of the proletariat from all bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties in order to achieve socialist aims; joint action by the working class and non-proletarian segments of the working masses and the petty bourgeoisie; the right and the duty of the Marxist proletarian party to guide the petty-bourgeois democratic parties; and proletarian hegemony in the struggle waged by the entire revolutionary democracy against autocracy and the vacillating counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. In the democratic movement, Lenin emphasised. it is necessary for the proletarian party to adopt this policy.
Lenin attached great significance to the work carried on by the proletariat and its party among the younger generation, and to their effort to draw the youth into the revolutionary movement led by the working class. In his articles The Tasks of the Revolutionary Youth and The Student Movement and the Present Political Situation, he urged revolutionary Social-Democrats and Communists to take an active part in the youth and student movement, to propagate within it the ideas of scientific socialism, to combat the influence of Right-wing and "Leftist'' adventurists, to rally it around the working class, and to secure joint action by the working-class and student youth. Contact with the proletariat, he observed, helps to develop healthy revolutionary spirit among the student youth. Only under the guidance of the working class will the student movement acquire determination and consistency.
Meanwhile in the specific conditions obtaining during the 1905 revolution Lenin maintained that only a popular nationwide armed uprising could depose the tsar and crush the resistance of tsarism's bureaucratic police machine. He analysed and argued the need for such forms of struggle as mass political strike and political demonstration and examined the relationship between strike and armed uprising.
The Mensheviks believed that in Russia too, as during earlier bourgeois revolutions in Western Europe, revolution should be directed by the bourgeoisie and should lead to the victory of the bourgeoisie. They spurned the idea of proletarian hegemony and denied the peasantry its revolutionary role. They were opposed to an armed uprising, which, they said, would alienate the bourgeoisie from revolution.
Equally fallacious was the approach taken by Trotsky, who, as Lenin said, ''abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Menslieviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases."
With borrowings from the German Social-Democrat Parvus, Trotsky put together his so-called "theory of permanent revolution". The term "permanent revolution" was used by Marx and Engels when they attacked the idea of subordinating the working-class movement to the bourgeoisie in a bourgeois-democratic revolution and emphasised that the proletariat should advance beyond a bourgeois or petty-bourgeois democracy. Trotsky's "theory", however, had nothing at all in common with this, and, as he himself had admitted, it fundamentally differed from Lenin's thesis on developing the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one.
In Trotsky's writings, "permanency" does not mean the phased development of revolution, it means the simultaneous tackling of all the political tasks confronting the proletariat. He maintained that the proletariat must at once depose tsarist autocracy, establish its own dictatorship, effect democratic reforms, remake society along socialist lines, ensure the victory of the revolution on a national scale, and promote it on an international plane. And, like the Mensheviks, he denied the peasantry's revolutionary role and the need for a worker-peasant alliance and rejected proletarian hegemony.
In place of painstaking effort to win the masses over to revolution, Trotsky was in effect calling for haphazard, unorganised and unprepared riots.
Confusing the aims of the two - democratic and socialist - phases of revolution, Trotsky advanced the formally "Leftist" but actually opportunistic, adventuristic slogan of "No tsar, but a workers' government". As Lenin said, "Trotsky's major mistake is that he ignores the bourgeois character of the revolution and has no clear conception of the transition from this revolution to the socialist revolution," and "...he has never been able to form any definite views on the role of the proletariat in the Russian bourgeois revolution." Later, speaking ironically of Trotsky's "original" theory, Lenin remarked that "life has been bypassing this splendid theory".
With every month, in 1905, the revolution in Russia gained momentum. By autumn, the class struggle had reached an acute stage. The nationwide political strike in October forced the tsar to issue a manifesto hypocritically proclaiming certain political liberties and announcing the formation of a parliamentary body with legislative functions - the State Duma.
Only now could Lenin safely return home from "hateful emigration." On November 8, 1905 he arrived in St. Petersburg. With characteristic vigour he directed the activities of both the Central and St. Petersburg Bolshevik Committees, preparations for an armed uprising, and the work of the editors of the newspapers Vperyod, Novaya Zhizn and Proletary. He gathered around Novaya Zhizn (New Life), the first legal Bolshevik paper which had close ties with party organisations and revolutionary workers, the party's best writers including M.S. Olminsky, V.V. Vorovsky, A.V. Lunacharsky and V.D. Bonch-Bruyevich; Maxim Gorky, father of proletarian literature, also wrote for the paper.
The culmination of the revolution was the December armed uprising in Moscow. However, the odds were too great. The Moscow uprising was not supported by similar revolutionary actions in other cities, and it was quashed. A period of decline of the revolntionary movement set in, though there was fierce rearguard fighting.
The Fourth (Unity) Congress of the RSDLP, which both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks attended, was held in Stockholm in April 1906. Against fierce attacks by the Mensheviks, Lenin upheld the Bolshevik tactics in the revolution and elaborated upon its prospects. In his report on the agrarian question he argued that it was imperative to confiscate the landed estates and nationalise the land. This, he pointed out. accorded with the peasantry's aspirations and the interests of the development of the revolution.
In the late summer of 1906 intensified police persecution forced Lenin once again to go abroad, this time to Finland.
In the spring of 1907 the RSDLP held in London its Fifth Congress to discuss questions concerning the Party's attitude to bourgeois parties, tactics in the State Duma and relations between the proletarian party and the trade unions. Gorky, who was present at this congress, has left the following vivid portrait of Lenin as orator and as the tribune of the revolution. "Lenin," wrote Gorky. "did not try to invent fine phrases. He set things forth word by word, revealing each in its precise meaning, and with amazing ease. It is very difficult to convey the unusual impression he made.
"His arm outstretched and slightly raised, he seemed to weigh every word in his open palm, winnowing away his opponents' fine talk and replacing it with weighty arguments, demonstrating the right and the duty of the working class to take its own way rather than follow, or even accompany the liberal bourgeoisie. All this was unaccustomed, and it was said not as though coming from him, Lenin, but as the dictate of history. There was a monolithic completeness, directness and force in his speech, and his entire figure as he stood on the rostrum produced the impression of a classical statue with everything that was needed and not one unnecessary detail, not one embellishment. Indeed, if there were any, they could not be seen, being as natural as the two eyes in one's face or the five fingers on one's hand...His speech always produced the physical sensation of incontestable truth.''
For a number of reasons, both objective aud subjective, the first Russian revolution failed. However. it was of colossal significance in that it had schooled the proletariat and the masses generally in the class struggle. Later Lenin called it the dress rehearsal for the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917.
Having held out in the face of the revolutionary onslaught, tsarism now sought revenge. What Lenin called the hellishly difficult years of reaction began. Revolutionaries, and above all, Bolsheviks, were subjected to cruel reprisals. Hundreds were executed and thousands more were imprisoned or exiled or sentenced to penal servitude. Lenin had to flee Russia; in December 1907, dodging police sleuths, he walked, at great risk, across the as yet thin ice of the Gulf of Finland towards a place where a steamer was to pick him up and take him to Stockholm. Nadezhda Krupskaya soon joined him, and together they left for Geneva to begin a second period in emigration that was to last for almost ten years. After a year in Switzerland, in late 1908 they moved to Paris. "It was difficult for us, after the revolution, to get used to life in emigration again," Krupskaya recollected later.
Here is an account of their stay in Geneva provided by a Swiss Social-Democratic leader:
"The year is 1908. Lenin and his wife have just returned to Geneva and are living at 61, rue des Maraichers. The furniture of this tiny two-room flat consisted of two iron bedsteads, a rickety table covered with piles of magazines and brochures, a few kitchen utensils, three stools, and that was the lot.
"One day I arrived at the rue des Maraichers...to find Comrade Lenin helping his wife with the housework...
"When his wife was not at home Comrade Lenin would go and have a meal for 80 centimes in a small restaurant on the rue de Carouge, run by a Russian emigre.
"...The political refugee Ulyanov, a man of remarkable intelligence, could speak and write German, English and French fluently.
"...He was a frequent visitor to the University library and the Lecture Society."
Interesting too is the recollection of Pal Petrovski, a young Hungarian worker employed at a garments factory in Paris, who attended gatherings of Russian emigre Social-Democrats. He wrote:
"I visited them for the first time in 1908. There were about thirty people, most of them workers, gathered in the premises of a club for Russian emigres. They were sitting round a table listening carefully to a simply-dressed man with a gingery beard.
"'That's Vladimir Ilyich,' they explained to me.
"I had never seen Ilyich before. At the first glance there was nothing particularly striking about him. His clothes and small pointed beard were just the same as those worn by many French workers at that time. He would have not attracted anyone's attention in a factory or on the street. But here among the Russian emigres it was obvious at once that Vladimir Ilyich was a leader. He was the person to whom everyone put their questions, from whom everyone expected an answer to difficult problems, who explained everything. He was always the centre of attention and was an acknowledged leader. You could see this immediately because all the members of the circle treated him with great affection and respect."
From Russia, meanwhile, came news about the brutalities of reaction and of pessimism and confusion, especially among the intellectuals. The Mensheviks were panic-stricken and cried: "They should not have taken up arms." They now tried to adapt to tsarism by liquidating the revolutionary proletarian party and replacing it by a legal, in effect, non-party organisation - for which they came to be known as the Liquidators.
Lenin described the Bolshevik approach as follows: "We knew how to work during the long years preceding the revolution. Not for nothing do they say we are as hard as rock. The Social-Democrats have built a proletarian party which will not be disheartened by the failure of the first armed onslaught, will not lose its head, nor be carried away by adventures. That party is marching to socialism, without tying itself or its future to the outcome of any particular period of bourgeois revolutions. That is precisely why it is also free of the weaker aspects of bourgeois revolutions. And this proletarian party is marching to victory." Belief in the ultimate victory of the revolution, coupled with an unflagging effort to win this victory, and political realism and optimism were ever characteristic of Lenin.
At this juncture Lenin believed that the main task was to preserve and consolidate the illegal proletarian party in Russia, to uphold the principles of Marxism and the party's programme and strategy, and to sum up the experience of the 1905-07 revolution. Lenin directed party conferences, Central Committee plenary meetings and a meeting of the enlarged editorial board of the newspaper Proletary held to chart the party line. He was the moving spirit behind the RSDLP's central organ Sotsial-Demokrat which began to be published underground from February 1908. To teach theory to party workers, in 1911 Lenin organised at Longjumeau, outside Paris, a party school, where he gave more than fifty lectures.
He battled not only against the Menshevik Liquidators but also against the "Left-wing" opportunists, the "Otzovists," so called because they demanded that the Social Democrats recall - otozvat in Russian - their deputies from the State Duma. The "Otzovists" held that the party should renounce all legal forms of activity; this, if carried out, would mean renouncing ties with the masses. And finally Lenin exposed the double-cross stand of Trotsky, who while declaring that he was with neither the Bolsheviks nor the Mensheviks, actually helped the Liquidators. "Trotsky," wrote Lenin, "follows in the wake of the Mensheviks, taking cover behind particularly sonorous phrases." And further: "Trotsky's particular task is to conceal liquidationism by throwing dust in the eyes of the workers." Of Trotsky's anti-party doings, Lenin wrote: "Trotsky behaves like a despicable careerist and factionalist... He pays lip-service to the Party and behaves worse than any other of the factionalists." And: "Trotsky groups all the enemies of Marxism...Trotsky unites all to whom ideological decay is dear."
Lenin's Materialism and Empiro-Criticism, which appeared in 1909, played an exceptionally important role in routing the "Liquidators" and "Otzovists" ideologically, and in further developing Marxist philosophical thought. It provided a critical analysis of bourgeois idealist philosophy and revisionist concepts. On the basis of the latest achievements and discoveries in the natural sciences, Lenin examined the main questions of dialectical materialism, showed that matter is an objective reality, which is inexhaustible, multiple in form and motion, and analysed various aspects of the theory of reflection and of the theory of cognition. Of particular importance is what Lenin said about the relationship between social being and social consciousness and the class and gnosiological roots of various philosophies.
In the years that followed Lenin continued to devote great attention to philosophical problems. For a book on materialist dialectics which he had planned to write, he amassed a wealth of material which was later published under the title Philosophical Notebooks (and which made up one whole volume in his Collected Works). Though he did not finish writing the book, the various notes and remarks are of tremendous significance and demonstrate the fundamental contribution Lenin had made to the further development of Marxist dialectics and to the deepening of our understanding of the laws and categories of Marxist philosophy. It should be noted here that Lenin's contribution to Marxist philosophy is found not only in these two works, but in many other writings in which he elaborated upon the key precepts of dialectical and historical materialism and sociology and displayed an ability to apply dialectics to social analysis, party policy and the working-class struggle.
The agrarian question was always one of Lenin's major concerns. Many of his works deal with agrarian problems under capitalism, and the role of the peasants in the working people's movement against social oppression.
He showed that capitalism meant ruin for a majority of the rural population and that only a socialist transformation of society could bring genuine freedom, well-being and cultural advance to the peasantry. He pointed out that the vital interests of the working class and working peasantry were identical, and proved that their firm unity was essential in the struggle for democracy. Lenin also explained that such a struggle could be successful only provided that the working class led the peasantry, a class which was disunited and vacillating because it consisted of working people who were also private owners, and whose social position was that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
In 1908 Lenin wrote his Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-07. On the basis of the experience of that revolution, Lenin proved the necessity of confiscating big private landed estates and nationalising all land, and the importance of these measures for involving the peasants in the struggle against tsarist autocracy and feudal survivals and for turning the bourgeois democratic revolution into a socialist revolution.
Lenin believed that nationalisation of land would make it possible to create an agrarian system that would he very flexible from the standpoint of the transition to socialism and provide the best opportunities for the proletarian state to effect the transition to socialism in agriculture. He pointed out, however, that in countries where the survivals of feudalism were not very pronouned and the traditional attachment of the peasants to private property was relatively strong, agrarian transformations could be carried out without nationalisation of all land.
Lenin never lost faith in the early advent of revolution, even in the darkest days of tsarist reaction. His optimism was fully confirmed when a new upsurge of the revolutionary movement took place in late 1910. The Sixth All-Russia Conference of the RSDLP was held in Prague in January 1912 under Lenin's direction. It was attended also by a group known as the pro-party Mensheviks, who believed it necessary to preserve a Marxist party in Russia. The conference expelled the Liquidators from the party, defined the party's tasks in the new situation of revolutionary upswing, and elected a new Central Committee. The conference greatly contributed to the consolidation of the proletarian party as the leading force in Russia's working-class movement.
The legal Bolshevik paper Pravda, which was started at Lenin's initiative and whose first issue came out in St. Petersburg on May 5, 1912, provided the Party with a powerful ideological weapon. In this paper, which served as the Party's tribune, as a militant Bolshevik organ that schooled a legion of working-class revolutionaries, Lenin discussed major social problems in and outside Russia, examined the Party's policies and propagated Marxism. As he said: "Pravda was more a workers' paper in name; that is something any paper could call itself. It was a workers' paper in fact in its approach and in its working-class readership and in its contents in general, and more particularly in its numerous workers' dispatches (more than 17,000 were published -- Ed.) and, finally, in the support given it by the workers."
In the effort to win over the masses, Lenin attached great importance to the work done by the Bolsheviks who were members of the Duma. He took particular care to instruct the Bolshevik deputies in how to use the parliamentary rostrum in the interests of the revolutionary movement. He emphasised that they must constantly keep in mind the decisions and directives of the Central Committee, obey it and subordinate their activities in the Duma to the overall tasks of the party and combine them with other, more decisive non-parliamentary forms of revolutionary struggle.
To be closer to Russia and more efficiently to direct the activities of the Central Committee Bureau in Russia, Pravda, and the Bolshevik group in the State Duma, in June 1912 Lenin moved to the Polish city of Cracow, which was then within the Austro-Hungarian empire. Here he stayed till the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914. Soon after he and his wife again moved to neutral Switzerland. During the war they were almost penniless though they had always lived in the most modest conditions. Lenin never complained, but once he wrote in a letter: "As for myself, I need to earn something. Otherwise we'll starve to death! Everything's so hellishly dear, and there's nothing to live on."
Lenin had long warned of the impending battle between the imperialist predators for a redivision of the world. "There's going to be a war. That's for certain," he wrote. "The capitalist world has reached a stage of putrid decomposition; already people are beginning to be poisoned with the venom of chauvinism and nationalism." At its congresses the Second International had discussed the question of struggle against imperialist war and militarism and passed many fine-sounding resolutions pointing out the need to avert a world war or to seize the opportunity provided by the political crisis that would inevitably erupt should war break out, to struggle for a socialist revolution. However, when war did break out, the Second International's opportunist leaders, including the Mensheviks, reneged on the decisions of the socialist congresses, and, siding with their respective imperialist governments, adopted a social-chauvinist position. Some did this openly, while others including Kautsky and Trotsky and their supporters declared allegiance, as Lenin put it, to "Marxism in word" and showed "subordination to opportunism in deed," disguising their social-chauvinism behind beautiful phrases. This, Lenin said, meant that "the Second International is dead, overcome by opportunism."
Only the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and a few groups of socialist internationalists, such as Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and Klara Zetkin in Germany, D. Blagoev and K. Kabakchiev in Bulgaria, and Fritz Platten in Switzerland, adhered to revolutionary positions. Lenin held aloft the banner of proletarian internationalism, declared war on war, proclaimed the slogan of turning the imperialist war into a civil war against the imperialist governments, and exposed the social-chauvinism of the leaders of the Second International.
In that same month of August 1914, Lenin presented his theses on the tasks of revolutionary Social-Democracy in the war in Europe, which were adopted as a resolution by the Berne group of Bolshevik emigrants. Smuggled into Russia, this document gained wide currency and was discussed and approved by the Central Committee's Russian Bureau, the Bolshevik group in the State Duma and party organisations. Despite war-time difficulties, Lenin started the systematic publication of the paper Sotsial-Demokrat, contacted party organisations inside Russia and directed their work. On November 1, 1914, in Sotsial-Demokrat No.33, the first wartime issue, appeared as the leading article an RSDLP Central Committee appeal, which Lenin had drawn up and which was entitled The War and Russian Social-Democracy. In subsequent articles and pamphlets including On the National Pride of the Great Russians, The Collapse of the Second Interiiational, and Socialism and War, Lenin defined the war-time strategy and tactics of the Bolsheviks and international revolutionary Social-Democracy, and also discussed crucial theoretical issues.
A major contribution to Marxism was Lenin's teaching on imperialism. At the beginning of the century Lenin had noted new phenomena in capitalism's development. During the war he made a comprehensive study of imperialism's economy and policy. His Notebooks on Imperialism, a work of great scholarship, contains quotations from 148 books and 232 articles in Russian, German, French, English and other languages, and along with outlines, synopses and notes add up to a volume of more than 1,000 pages. In 1916 he wrote Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Of programmatic importance were his articles On the Slogan for a United States of Europe and A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism, in which, as in a number of his other writings, he revealed the essence of imperialism as monopoly and state-monopoly capitalism, described its main features, and showed how the law of the uneven development of capitalism operated in the imperialist epoch. He demonstrated that imperialism exacerbates to the extreme the contradictions characteristic of capitalism, creates the material requisites for the victory of socialism, and paves the way for proletarian revolution.
Bourgeois scholars, social reformists and revisionists of Marxism have long tried to prove that in the imperialist stage capitalism becomes "organised" and that the greater role played by the imperialist state as economic regulator, along with elements of planning and the integrative processes occurring in the imperialist world would transform capitalism into socialism. Such concepts were demolished by Lenin when he wrote: "...the erroneous bourgeois reformist assertion that monopoly capitalism or state-monopoly capitalism is no longer capitalism, but can now be called 'state socialism' and so on, is very common. The trusts, of course, never provided, do not now provide, and cannot provide complete planning. But however much they do plan, however much the capitalist magnates calculate in advance the volume of production on a national and even on an international scale, and however much they systematically regulate it, we still remain under capitalism - at its new stage, it is true, but still capitalism, without a doubt. The 'proximity' of such capitalism to socialism should serve genuine representatives of the proletariat as an argument proving the proximity, facility, feasibility and urgency of the socialist revolution, and not at all as an argument for tolerating the repudiation of such a revolution and the efforts to make capitalism look more attractive, something which all reformists are trying to do."
With his analysis of imperialism Lenin enriched the theory of socialist revolution. He developed the idea of the world revolution as an integral process, noting at the same time the inevitable ripening of revolution at different times in different countries by virtue of the law of capitalism's uneven economic and political development in the imperialist stage.
Lenin drew the conclusion, which is of tremendous theoretical and political importance, that socialism could win initially in a few or even in one single capitalist country. The world socialist revolution, he said, constituted a whole epoch, combining the struggle for socialism waged by the proletanat and its allies with a series of democratic, including national-liberation, movements. In pointing out that imperialism meant all-out reaction, Lenin showed the increasing importance of the fight for democracy; he emphasised that the task before the working class and its party was to know how to combine the struggle for democracy with the struggle for a socialist revolution, with the former being subordinated to the latter.
Lenin paid much attention to developing a theory and a programme and policy of the Communist Party on the national question. Before the war he wrote Critical Remarks on the National Question and The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, and during the war The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up. He explained the importance of the national question, and at the same time showed that this question was subordinate to socialism's supreme interests. He argued the need for the full equality of nations, underscored the right of the oppressed colonial and dependent peoples to self-determination (including secession and independent statehood), and simultaneously called attention to the internationalist principles of the working-class movement and proletarian organisations. He pointed out that it was essential for the working masses of all nationalities to unite in their fight against tsarism and capitalism in order to achieve social and national emancipation and establish a close voluntary alliance of peoples. Finally he proposed the setting up of a world-wide front of the proletariat and oppressed nations against the common foe - imperialism - and stressed the importance of giving the most resolute support to progressive national movements. Lenin was firmly opposed to racialism and chauvinism. He attacked bourgeois nationalism and the attempts to place one nation above others and secure privileges to it, to divide working people of different nationalities from one another, to conceal class contradictions and sacrifice the interests of the world-wide movement for emancipation to the interests, wrongly understood, of one or another nation. He wrote: "Bourgeois nationalism and proletarian internationalism - these are the two irreconcilably hostile trends that correspond to the two great class camps throughout the capitalist world, and express the two policies (nay, the two world outlooks) in the national question."
The First World War, which brought the peoples untold suffering, exacerbated imperialism's contradictions to the extreme. A revolutionary situation developed in many countries. As Lenin had foreseen, Russia proved to be the weakest link in the chain of world imperialism. The bourgeois-democratic revolution that broke out in Russia in February 1917 overthrew the tsar and became the prologue to the Great October Socialist Revolution. Lenin's foresight was truly astounding; indeed world history knows of no other case where revolutionary practice would have so brilliantly and unerringly confirmed theoretical prevision.
LEADER OF A REVOLUTION THAT USHERED IN A NEW ERA
Those who were fortunate enough to witness what Lenin did in those times of social upheavals, agreed that he was a born revolutionary. And indeed Lenin dedicated all his life to the attainment of the great humanitarian aim of freeing the working masses from social and national oppression. The road lay through a social revolution which he described as a profound, difficult and complex science, of which he himself was a great master. He directed the revolutionary battles with extraordinary skill. Veteran Bolshevik V.A. Karpinsky wrote the following about Lenin as a revolutionary leader: "Unerringly determining the alignment of the class forces and the aims that each class sought, he foresaw developments, correctly charted party policy and tactics, boldly advanced new slogans, and even named the latest possible day on which the Party must mount the decisive action." The entire course of the Great October Socialist Revolution demonstrates that.
As soon as he learned of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia, Lenin set about analysing it and charting the tasks of the working class and its party. In his Letters from Afar he formulated the basic principles of the party's new policy and advanced the task of striving for a triumphant socialist revolution.
The February revolution brought about the extraordinary situation of dual power. In St. Petersburg, renamed Petrograd, and other cities, the masses, profiting by the experience of the first Russian revolution of 1905, established the Soviets as the organ of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat in alliance with the peasantry. At the same time the bourgeois and landlord parties set up their provisional government as the organ of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The revolution had roused to political activity tens of millions of people, mostly from the petty-bourgeoisie and the working class. As a result, many of the Soviets, including the Petrograd Soviet, were dominated by the petty-bourgeois parties of the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries, who did not believe that socialism could triumph in Russia, indeed did not want the revolution to go any further. They in effect made the Soviets hand over power to the bourgeois Provisional Government, which was later joined by representatives of the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. The Socialist Revolutionary Kerensky even became prime minister. But this did not alter the bourgeois character of this government which continued to pursue an anti-popular, imperialist policy.
What was the proletarian party to do in such a situation? Lenin furnished a brilliant, scientifically-founded answer, working out a concrete plan of action to accomplish a victorious socialist revolution.
Lenin returned from emigration to Russia on April 16, 1917. He was given a rousing welcome in Petrograd by thousands of workers and soldiers. At the railway station he made a brief speech which he concluded with these words: "Long live the socialist revolution!" thereby determining the further development of the revolution. On the evening of that same day he addressed party workers and explained his views on the obtaining situation. "One experienced an extraordinary feeling, which is hard to convey in words, on seeing Lenin, the founder of our party, so near at hand," recalled A. A. Andreyev, who was present at the meeting. "How many times had we Bolsheviks in the underground movement dreamed of seeing and hearing Lenin in person, and now, at last, this had come true". Everything that Lenin said was memorable, because it was "novel, unusual, fresh, interesting and inspiring...Wings seemed to sprout from our shoulders."
The next morning. at a meeting of Bolshevik delegates to the All-Russia Conference of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Lenin presented a report entitled The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution which he later also delivered at a joint assembly of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at the Tauride Palace. A summary of his report was published in Pravda and it has since become known as the April Theses. This document sets out a clear-cut programme of action for the party and the working class and its allies in the effort to transform the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one. "The specific feature of the present situation in Russia," the theses said, "is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution - which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie - to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants."
The stupendous prospects that had opened up ad the emergence of many new theoretical and tactical problems led to a debate within the Party. L.B. Kamenev, A.I. Rykov, G.L. Pyatakov and their handful of followers opposed the April Theses on the ground that Russia was still not ripe for a socialist revolution. But the majority of the Party members supported Lenin's line and rallied to his platform. In his Letters on Tactics, On Dual Power and The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party) and in his reports and speeches at the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the RSDLP (Bolsheviks), he outlined the strategy and tactics in the struggle for a triumphant socialist revolution.
In Lenin's view the bourgeois revolution in Russia could be considered completed, insofar as power, the crucial issue of revolution, had passed into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Such basic issues of the bourgeois-democratic revolution as confiscation of the landed estates and the abolition of national oppression still awaited solution, but the bourgeois Provisional Government showed no intention of tackling them. Only a socialist revolution that would establish a proletarian dictatorship could do that, and only a socialist revolution could give the people peace which was the most urgent question at that time.
In mapping out the course for a socialist revolution, Lenin took into consideration the fact that Russia had the material and socio-political requisites for it to succeed. Though economically it was far behind the leading capitalist states, Russia was an imperialist power with a highly concentrated industry, developing capitalist monopolies, and, owing to the war, an emerging state-monopoly capitalism. It had a strong proletariat, steeled in class struggles and led by the Communist Party. Moreover, Russia's proletariat had a powerful ally in the millions upon millions of toiling peasants.
Lenin was the first to recognise the Soviets created by the revolutionary endeavour of the working class as the form of government of proletarian dictatorship. This conclusion was of immense importance for accomplishing a socialist revolution and represented the further development of the Marxist teaching on the proletarian state and on the forms of society's political organisation in the period of transition from capitalism to communism. Lenin put forward the slogan "All Power to the Soviets!"
This, Lenin wrote, "means radically reshaping the entire old stale apparatus, that bureaucratic apparatus which hampers everything democratic. It means removing this apparatus and substituting for it a new, popular one, i.e., a truly democratic apparatus of Soviets. i.e., the organised and armed majority of the people - the workers, soldiers and peasants. It means allowing the majority of the people initiative and independence not only in the election of deputies, but also in state administration, in effecting reforms and various other changes."
Lenin evolved a programme for radical social changes, a programme of action for a future Soviet government. The programme called for the following: immediate proposal to all the belligerents that they conclude peace on just and democratic terms; confiscation of landed estates and nationalisation of all the land; nationalisation of the banks and major industries; introduction of statewide workers' control over the manufacture and distribution of produce; abolition of national oppression and the granting to all nations of the right to self-determination, and resolute and consistent struggle against landlord and capitalist counter-revolution. All these demands expressed the vital interests of the broad masses and rallied them for the fight to establish Soviet power and effect the transition to socialism.
The motive forces of the socialist revolution were the proletariat and the poorest peasantry - classes that had the most interest in consummating the revolution. This was the view held by the Bolsheviks whose strategy envisaged an alliance between these two forces, with the working class playing the role of leader. At the same time Lenin maintained that the socialist revolution should involve the broadest segments of the people, and that the party must rally around itself all revolutionary democratic forces, especially since the socialist revolution in Russia had also to tackle problems which the bourgeois democratie revolution had left unsolved. Lenin put forward the task, which the Bolshevik Party successfully carried out, of directing to a single aim - that of overthrowing imperialism - all the currents of the revolutionary movement; the struggle of the working class for socialism; the nationwide popular struggle for peace; the peasantry's movement for land, and the fight waged by Russia's oppressed peoples for liberation.
In the conditions of dual power then obtaining in Russia, the call of "All Power to the Soviets!' was not a call for an immediate armed uprising to depose the Provisional Government. For, Lenin explained, to overthrow this government by force would mean to come out against the Soviets which, led by the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries, had made a deal with the Provisional Government and were supporting it. But there existed real possibilities of effecting a peaceful transfer of all power to the Soviets, which relying on the resolve and strength of an armed nation, represented the majority of the population. Indeed, if the Soviets announced that they intended to assume full power, the capitalists and landed gentry could do nothing to prevent it. "What really mattered was that arms were in the hands of the people," Lenin wrote, "and that there was no coercion of the peopIe from without. That is what opened up and ensured a peaceful path for the progress of the revolution." This path, he said, envisaged, following the transfer of all power to the Soviets, "a peaceful struggle of parties inside the Soviets...Power could pass peacefully from one party to another..." The Bolsheviks believed that educational work and especially experience would lead the masses to transfer their allegiance from the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries to the Communists who expressed their vital interests and whom they would entrust with state power.
While guiding the work of the party in accordance with the idea of peaceful development of the revolution, Lenin at the same time emphasised that it was always possible that the political situation in the country might change abruptly, in which case an armed uprising would be necessary. And even in the case of peaceful transition the revolutionary forces must have sufficient strength to ensure this transition and to provide the Soviets with armed safeguards Thus, the Bolsheviks worked to mobilise the armed forces for revolution; they formed and trained the volunteer Red Guard detachments of revolutionary workers and strove to win the army over to the side of the revolution.
Lenin's idea of peaceful development of the revolution and the party's consistent implementation of this line represented a contribution both to Marxist theory and to the revolutionary practice of the international working-class movement. This, incidentally, shows what malicious slander bourgeois ideologists are capable of uttering when they assert that Lenin and the Bolsheviks had thirsted for blood and violence, for civil war, as the only way to power. Long before the October revolution, Lenin wrote: "The working class would, of course, prefer to take power peacefully." And when, in 1917, the peaceful transfer of power appeared to be a real possibility, Lenin called the opportunity "extremely valuable" and "extremely rare in history" and urged the Communists to use it and even strike a compromise with the other parties for the sake of ensuring the victory of socialism. Thus, the Bolsheviks sought to evade a civil war. Indeed, as Lenin said, "an immediate transfer of all power to the Soviets would make civil war in Russia impossible."
Led by Lenin, the Bolshevik Party carried out large-scale political and organisational work among the masses. Lenin directed the activities of the Party Central Committee and edited Pravda, now the party's central organ. In the four months between April and the July events he wrote more than 170 articles, pamphlets, draft resolutions for Bolshevik conferences and Central Committee meetings, and appeals. He spoke at rallies of factory workers and soldiers, and he addressed the First All-Russia Congress of Peasant Deputies and the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. As one man who attended a meeting at the Putilov works recollected: "It was as if everything that the workers had pent up inside them was being voiced by Lenin. Everything that each one of us had thought and felt but could not find the words for or the opportunity to express clearly and fully to a comrade, everything suddenly took shape and came out." The truth of history as interpreted by Lenin and his own ideas and theories which he forcefully presented in his speeches and writings came home with irrepressible force to the party rank and file and through them to the masses, rousing them to assault Russia's outdated capitalism.
Each day brought new proof of the correctness of the policy on revolution which Lenin had charted and which the Bolshevik Party was carrying out. This was particularly clear during the political crises of April, June and July 1917, when popular discontent found expression in peaceful demonstrations against the government. Lenin called them "something considerably more than a demonstration, but less than a revolution". The masses were impelled towards revolution through participation in revolutionary actions.
Developments in July marked a turning point in the revolution. On July 3, in Petrograd, mass political demonstrations of workers and soldiers were held - for that time this was nothing out of the ordinary. The demonstrators put forth an urgent demand: "All Power to the Soviets!" The demand was voiced again the next day during a mammoth demonstration more than half a million strong. The Provisional Government, which by that time had been able to move reactionary regiments into the capital, met the marchers with armed force, thus starting a fierce onslaught against the revolution. There were mass reprisals against the workers, soldiers and peasants. Punitive squads were sent out and the premises of the Central and Petrograd Committees of the Bolshevik Party and also of the Pravda editorial offices were ransacked. With the aid of provocateurs Lenin was falsely accused of high treason, and the Provisional Government ordered his arrest and arraignment for trial. As police spies searched for him, the Central Committee decided that he should go into hiding. On July 6 Lenin went underground for the last time for a period lasting more than three months.
Lenin had to leave Petrograd. At first he lived in a hayloft on the shore of a large lake near the Razliv station not far from the capital, where the worker-revolutionary N. A. Yemelyanov owned a small cottage. In this hayloft, which could be reached by means of a very steep ladder, Lenin had, besides a bed, a small table and two chairs. However, even this was thought too risky and it was decided that Lenin should move to a hut - now world-famous - on the other side of the lake, where Finnish peasants came to make hay. The hut itself was constructed of branches and thatched with straw. Scythes and rakes lay nearby and a soot-covered pot hung over a camp fire from a couple of supporting stakes. Lenin, who had shaved off his beard and moustache, was provided with an identity card made out in the name of Konstantin Petrovich Ivanov, a worker at the Sestroretsk arsenal.
This was a remote, desolate place. To reach it one first travelled by boat for about four kilometres across the lake and then went on foot along a narrow, winding path leading towards the hut. A small clearing, a kind of green arbour was made in the thick bushes and here two tree stumps served as table and chair. Lenin called this his "green study" and it was here that he lived and worked all through the summer of 1917 and discussed questions of party activity in that complex period of revolutionary development with other party leaders whom Yemelyanov or some member of his family would guide to the spot. With autumn it grew colder and riskier and Lenin secretly went to Finland. There he continued to maintain close contact with the party Central Committee and receive through diverse channels information on party activity, the plans of the reactionaries and the development of the revolutionary process.
"After the July days," Lenin recalled later, "thanks to the extremely solicitous attention with which the Kerensky government honoured me, I was obliged to go underground. Of course, it was the workers who sheltered people like us...
"My thoughts had been revolving around the political significance of those events, weighing the role they played in the general course of events, analysing the situation that caused this zigzag in history and the situation it would create, and how we ought to change our slogans and alter our party apparatus to adapt it to the changed situation."
In conditions of revolutionary ferment, at a time when the further trend of political developments was barely discernible, Lenin was able with astounding accuracy to grasp the substance of the moment and chart the party's tasks and tactics in the new situation. In his theses The Political Situation, written immediately after the July events, he drew the following important conclusions: dual power had come to an end; the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie had virtually seized all power; the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries had definitely defected to the camp of counter-revolution, and the call of "All Power to the Soviets!", which was a call for the peaceful transfer of power, had become obsolete and must for the time being be laid aside. Without abandoning the effort to set up a Republic of Soviets, the party now had to prepare the masses for an armed uprising, utilising to that end every possible form of legal and illegal activity and every possible opportunity to organise the masses. In other essays and articles that followed, such as On Slogans, An Answer, Constitutional Illusions, The Beginning of Bonapartism and Lessons of the Revolution, Lenin elaborated upon the foregoing points.
This is one more example showing how Lenin was able to go straight to the heart of the matter in analysing complex social phenomena, to foresee the future course of events, and to work out a realistic party policy at a crucial moment of the revolution. Lenin formulated his basic conclusion as follows: "This is the objective situation: either complete victory for the military dictatorship, or victory for the workers' armed uprising; the latter victory is only possible when the insurrection coincides with a deep, mass upheaval against the government and the bourgeoisie caused by economic disruption and the prolongation of the war...The aim of the insurrection can only be to transfer power to the proletariat, supported by the poor peasants, with a view to putting our Party programme into effect."
Lenin outlined a programme for the party in this new stage of the revolution. Guided by Lenin's ideas, the RSDLP(B) mapped out at its Sixth Congress in late July 1917 the course of preparing for an armed uprising.
While in hiding Lenin completed his book The State and Revolution and wrote two pamphlets entitled The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It and Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power? They are of great theoretical and practical importance, and represent a major contribution to scientific communism. In them Lenin outlined the basic principles of the party's policy in the struggle to effect a victorious socialist revolution and establish the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat. He also gave a detailed analysis of imperialism, elaborated several basic concepts concerning state-monopoly capitalism, developed the idea about the blending of the democratic and socialist goals of the proletariat and its allies under imperialism, presented a programme of struggle against monopoly capitalism, and outlined plans for the establishment of a worker-led revolutionary democratic regime as the first step towards the remaking of society along socialist lines. He pointed out the need to introduce a system for democratic control of the state's economic affairs in the interests of the masses and with the participation of the masses, and to nationalise the biggest monopolies, the banks and the key industries, emphasizing that these measures were not simply democratic reforms but changes of a revolutionary-democratic nature and that to carry them out it was necessary to establish a "revolutionary dictatorship of the democracy" led by the revolutionary proletariat. In Lenin's opinion such revolutionary-democratic changes were in themselves a step towards socialism. "We," he said, "cannot be revolutionary democrats in the twentieth century and in a capitalist country if we fear to advance towards socialism." The objective development of history is such that "it is impossible" to advance from state-monopoly capitalism "without advancing to socialism." To attain genuine revolutionary democracy, true democrats must "march in very close alliance with the proletariat, supporting it in its struggle as the only thoroughly revolutionary class."
At the same time, however, Lenin emphasized that the most serious democratic reforms. if undertaken within the framework of capitalism, would still not mean a transition to socialism.
Combatting social-reformist and anarchistic views, Lenin upheld and further developed the thesis of Marx and Engels about the need to carry out a socialist revolution and establish a proletarian dictatorship, the need to break up the old bourgeois state machinery.
In a number of his works Lenin defined the tasks that would face the working class when it came to power. Using the Marxist approach Lenin discussed the problems of the transition period from capitalism to socialism, examined the role of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and further developed the Marxist thesis on socialism and communism as the initial and the highest phase respectively of the communist socio-economic formation.
Lenin summed up the experience of the revolution in Russia and analysed the forms and methods of struggle. In such articles as On Compromises, One of the Fundamental Issues of the Revolution, The Russian Revolution and Civil War, and The Tasks of the Revolution he discussed the possibility of revolution and the conditions needed for it to develop.
By mid-September 1917, Lenin once again set forth the task of making preparations for an armed uprising. Fully aware of his responsibility to the party and the people and to history for the decisions taken, Lenin in his famous letters to the Central, Petrograd and Moscow Committees of the party known as The Bolsheviks Must Assume Power and Marxism and Insurrection and also in his essay The Crisis Has Matured gave a comprehensive analysis of the alignment of class forces in Russia and throughout the world and stated his conclusion that a nationwide crisis had erupted. Led by the heroic Russian proletariat, the millions of poor peasants had risen up against capitalist rule, they had the majority of the soldiers on their side. In the struggle against the bourgeoisie and landlords the broadest sections of working people of all nationalities inhabiting Russia had rallied around the proletariat. Conditions developed in the country under which a successful armed uprising to overthrow the bourgeois government and place the working class, the Soviets, in power could take place.
"To be successful," Lenin wrote, "insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revo1ution are strongest. That is the third point."
After a careful analysis of the situation inside the country Lenin concluded that all the objective conditions needed for a successful armed insurrection were present:
"We have the following of the majority of a class, the vanguard of the revolution, the vanguard of the people, which is capable of carrying the masses with it.
"We have the following of the majority of the people.
"We are in the advantageous position of a party that knows for certain which way to go at a time when imperialism as a whole and the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary bloc as a whole are vacillating in an incredible fashion.
"Our victory is assured."
Lenin regarded what he called the "Bolshevisation" of the Soviets, that is, the winning by the Bolsheviks of an elected majority in the Soviets, as essential for victory, as this would enable the Party to once again issue the call of "All Power to the Soviets!" which in September-October 1917 became a call for an armed uprising to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat which would be allied with the non-proletarian segments of the working people.
"The Bolsheviks," Lenin emphasized, "can and must take state power into their own hands." Whereas, prior to the July events Lenin had condemned the Left-opportunist and adventuristic cries for an armed insurrection, now he criticised those who underestimated the importance of armed insurrection and of its military-technical preparation, who failed to understand the urgent need for such an insurrection.
Early in October 1917 Lenin secretly returned to Petrograd from Vyborg to personally direct preparations for the uprising. He took up lodgings in a flat in a working-class neighbourhood, which had been provided for him by the party activist M.V. Fofanova. There he wrote a document of paramount importance, which for reasons of secrecy he called Advice of an Onlooker. In it he set out the concrete tasks of organising and conducting armed insurrection, which "is a special form of political struggle, one subject to special laws." He referred to the Marxist principles that characterised an uprising as an art:
"1) Never play with insurrection, but when beginning it realise firmly that you must go all the way.
"2) Concentrate a great superiority of forces at the decisive point and at the decisive moment, otherwise the enemy, who has the advantage of better preparation and organisation, will destroy the insurgents.
"3) Once the insurrection has begun, you must act with the greatest determination and by all means, without fail, take the offensive. 'The defensive is the death of every armed rising.'
"4) You must try to take the enemy by surprise and seize the moment when his forces are scattered.
"5) You must strive for dai1y successes, however small (one might say hourly, if it is the case of one town), and at all costs retain 'moral superiority'."
Lenin's plan for insurrection, though taking into account the countrywide alignment of class forces, concentrated on scoring a decisive victory in Petrograd. It called for combined operations by armed workers, seamen and soldiers. the formation of shock detachments and the capture of such key points as the telegraph and telephone offices, the railway stations, the bridges over the Neva, government buildings, the officer cadet schools and the army headquarters.
On October 23 Lenin addressed a secret gathering of the Bolshevik Central Committee with a report analysing the obtaining situation in the country. On his suggestion a resolution to launch an armed uprising was adopted, and the Central Committee formed a Political Bureau, with Lenin at its head, to direct the insurrection. On October 29 the Central Committee held an enlarged meeting together with Party activists, at which Lenin spoke forcefully on the need for thorough preparation for the armed uprising.
Kamenev and Zinoviev were opposed to the uprising. Failing to win support for their position in the Central Comnuttee, they published in a non-Bolshevik paper a statement, in which, contrary to the Central Committee line, they defended their point of view and thus made known the Committee's secret resolution on the uprising. As soon as he learned of this, Lenin, in a Letter to Bolshevik Party Members vehemently denounced the betrayal and capitulation and asked that both Kamenev and Zinoviev be expelled from the party.
Meanwhile Trotsky adopted a totally erroneous stand. It is all the more necessary to stress this, as bourgeois historians have tried to portray him as almost the leader of the October uprising and revolution. Actually, it was only in July 1917 that Trotsky was admitted to membership in the Bolshevik Party. And even then he had not sided completely with Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He himself had said: "I cannot call myself a Bolshevik...We cannot be demanded to accept Bolshevism." Earlier Trotsky had opposed Lenin's theory of imperialism, and had questioned Lenin's conclusion that a socialist revolution could win, initially, in one separate country. After the February Revolution Trotsky continued to adhere to his anti-Marxist and anti-Leninist "theory of permanent revolution". Like the Mensheviks, he asserted that Russia was not ripe for revolution. As for the planned armed insurrection he insisted that it be postponed till after the Second Congress of Soviets. Rejecting such a position, Lenin said: ''If we 'wait' for the Congress of Soviets and let the present moment pass we shall ruin the revolutio." Trotsky was not appointed either to the Political Bureau, which the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party had set up to direct the insurrection, or to the Revolutionary Military Centre, whose members included A.S. Bubnov, F.E. Dzerzhinsky, J.V. Stalin, Y.M. Sverdlov and M.S. Uritsky. False too is the assertion that Trotsky was chairman of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, the legal headquarters of the uprising; actually its chairman was N.I. Podvoisky. Documents show that Trotsky did not play any particular role at all in the armed uprising.
The activities of the Military Revolutionary Centre, the Military Revolutionary Committee and the Central Committee's Military Organisation were directed by Lenin, who, Krupskaya recalled later, "that last month thought of nothing else, lived for nothing else but the insurrection. His mood and his deep conviction communicated themselves to his comrades."
The day of the insurrection was approaching. The Bolsheviks had gone out evervwhere - to the factories, and the farms, and to the army barracks and the warships, employing every available means to mobilise the masses for the fight for Soviet power. When, on the morning of November 6, the Provisional Government tried to crush the revolution, it was repulsed. As Lenin had foreseen, developments proceeded at lightning speed.
While still in hiding, on November 6 (October 24 according to the old calendar) Lenin wrote to the members of the Central Committee: "I am writing these lines on the evening of the 24th. The situation is critical in the extreme. In fact it is now absolutely clear that to delay the uprising would be fatal." In calling for decisive and resolute action, he had proceeded from the experience of all previous revolutions and from a careful assessment of the alignment of class forces and of the class struggle, which had now reached a climax. "With all my might," he continued, "I urge comrades to realise that everything now hangs by a thread; that we are confronted by problems which are not to be solved by conferences or congresses (even congresses of Soviets), but exclusively by peoples, by the masses, by the struggle of the armed people... We must at all costs, this very evening, this very night, arrest the government, having first disarmed the officer cadets (defeating them, if they resist) and so on.
"We must not wait! We may lose everything!"
And further: "The government is tottering. It must be given the death-blow at all costs.
"To delay action is fatal."
On the day of November 6, powerful revolutionary forces, made up of armed workers, the soldiers of the garrison, and the seamen of the Baltic Fleet, were sent into action. Within the space of a few hours they were in full control in the factory districts and had siezed eight of the ten bridges across the Niva. Towards nightfall they had occupied the premises of the Central Telegraph Office and of the Petrograd wire service. Lenin's plan for insurrection was being successfully carried out. Closer to midnight, Lenin accompanied by Eino Rahja, a liaison agent for the Central Committee, arrived at Smolny Institute, then the headquarters of the revolution, and personally assumed direction of the great uprising. As G.K. Ordzhonikidze, a leading Bolshevik who took an active part in the uprising, later recalled, "Lenin took the organisation of the October uprising into his own iron hands and pursued it to its victorious conclusion."
With every hour the uprising gathered momentum. In the course of the night the revolutionary forces took over the railway stations, the telephone exchange, the power station, the State Bank and other objects of strategic importance. Kerensky fled to join the armies on the Northern Front. The other members of the government remained in the Winter Palace under the guard of officer cadets and Cossacks.
At 10 a.m. on November 7, the Revolutionary Military Committee published Lenin's appeal To the Citizens of Russia! It read:
"The Provisional Government has been deposed. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies - the Revolutionary Military Committee, which heads the Petrograd prolelariat and garrison.
"The cause for which the people have fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landed proprietorship, workers' control over production, and the establishment of Soviet power - this cause has been secured.
"Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!"
At 9:40 pm the cruiser "Aurora" fired a blank shot as the signal for the final assault on the Winter Palace. Towards midnight revolutionary forces had burst into the building but fighting continued inside, the officer cadets offering furious resistance from almost each of the palace's more than one thousand rooms. However, by 2 a.m. the palace was taken, and the ministers of the Provisional Government arrested.
The Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies opened at 10:40 pm. In attendance were 649 delegates from Soviets from all over the country. Of this number 390 were Bolsheviks. They carried mandates demanding that all power be transferred to the Soviets. Such was the voice of the people, of the nations of revolutionary Russia. The congress announced that the Soviets were assuming full power, thus legalising the victory of the armed uprising. "Backed by the will of the vast majority of the workers, soldiers and peasants, backed by the victorious uprising of the workers and the garrison which has taken place in Petrograd, the Congress takes power into its own hands," proclaimed the appeal issued by the congress. "The Provisional Government has been overthrown."
On the following day, November 8, the congress heard Lenin's report on peace, and adopted the Decree on Peace drafted by Lenin which called on all the belligerent nations and their governments to end the war and conclude a just and democratic peace. Thus, with its first legislative act Soviet power raised on high Lenin's banner of the fight for peace.
Lenin's Decree on Peace exemplified a new type of international relations, unprecedented in history. It laid the groundwork for all peaceful policies that the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet Government have conducted. The Peace Programme put forward by the 24th CPSU Congress and being successfully implemented now, develops the ideas contained in the Decree on Peace.
Lenin next proposed the Decree on Land whereby all landed estates, as well as crown, monastery, and church lands, with their buildings, livestock, etc., were to be turned over to the volost Land Committees and the uyezd Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. The peasants would thus receive gratis from Soviet power more than 150 million hectares of land. They would also be absolved of their debts and arrears to the state and the landed gentry.
The Congress of Soviets discharged its historic mission. It enacted Lenin's Decrees on Peace and on Land, formed the Soviet government - the Council of People's Commissars - with Lenin at its head, and appointed the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.
After the Petrograd uprising the entire working people of Russia rose under Bolshevik leadership to carry the revolution forward, and Soviet power set out on its triumlihal march throughout the country.
The victory of the Great October Revolution ushered in a new era in world history, the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism and communism. it was the world's first triumphant socialist revolution, and it was inspired and led by Lenin. The victory of the Great October Revolution is a victory of Leninism.
GREAT BUILDER OF SOCIALISM
From November 7, 1917, Smolny, which had served as the headquarters of the revolution, became the residence of the Soviet Government and of the Central Committee of the now ruling Bolshevik Party. This was where Lenin lived and worked in the early months of Soviet power.
At Smolny activity continued round the clock. Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lenin's wife and comrade, later recalled: "Ilyich was the centre of all that activity, he organised it. That work was more than strenuous. it was work at high pressure that absorbed all of one's energies and strained one's nerves to breaking point No wonder that, coming into his room behind the partition of our Smolny apartment late in the night, Ilyich could not fall asleep; he would get up again to ring someone up on the telephone and issue some urgent orders, and when he did fall asleep at last he would talk business in his sleep. Work at Smolny went on day and night. In the early days it was the centre of all activities - Party meetings and sittings of the Council of People's Commissars were held there, the different Commissariats carried out their work there, telegrams and orders were issued from there, and people flocked there from all over...They were swamped with work, and Ilyich was often obliged to do ordinary office jobs...The old machinery of state had to be broken up link by link."
The chief aim now of the working class and its party, of the Soviet people, was to scrap all that was old and moribund and build a new socialist society. This invoived coping with tasks which had never before been tackled, throughout mankind's history. All that had been said in Marxist teachings about the transition to socialism, all that had been put forward in the Communist Party's programme as theoretical issues, as the goal and ideal, now had to be translated into practice in the turmoil of the revolution, day after day. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this gigantic effort to build a new world hegan during a world war, in the midst of chaos and devastation and in the face of the furious resistance offered by the exploiting classes, to whose assistance world imperialism at once rushed with all its might.
Lenin was a statesman of the new, proletarian type. He put government policies on a scientific foundation. He knew what were the people's most cherished thoughts and aspirations, and had boundless faith in the creative energies of the masses and relied on their support. He was tied by a thousand threads with the workers and peasants who in turn had infinite confidence in him. As leader of the ruling party and head of the Soviet Goverument he carried on a stupendous amount of work. He directed the affairs of state, the country's economic and cultural development, military matters and foreign policy, actively participated in various conferences and meetings, and took time to address factory workers and rural dwellers. But as before, he continued to combine his immense practical activity with intensive theoretical study; what he wrote after the October Revolution represented a new stage in the development of Marxist thought.
But the most strenuous perod of his life was at Smolny in Petrograd, immediately after the Revolution. In an interview given to a correspondent of the Swedish paper "Folkets Dagblad Politiken" in February 1918, Lenin said that he felt fine despite the enormous load of work which hardly left him any time for sleep. "I have but one dream," he added, "and that is to get a little rest, if only for half an hour."
"At meetings of the Council of People's Commissars," recalled the veteran Communist G.I. Petrovsky, then People's Commissar for the Interior, "we discussed the most important questions - the very first steps in socialist construction and the organisation of Soviet power both on a state and local level. Questions of abolishing all bourgeois institutions were decided on. The first measures were taken in socialist production and trade. Lenin taught us how to work as a team...This was the world's first and at that time the only university where the People's Commissars learned how to build worker and peasant power."
Under Lenin's leadership the Communist Party and the Soviet Government organised a new state apparatus, confiscated the landed estates. nationalised all the land, banks, the bigger industries and transport, promulgated a state monopoly on foreign trade, abolished national oppression, formed a worker-and-peasant militia in place of the old police force, and set up the Red Army. All the work relating to the building up of the Soviet state and to socio-economic reforms was carried out with the active participation of the masses.
From all over Russia factory workers, soldiers, and peasant delegates flocked to Smolny to see Lenin. They wanted him to tell them what the Soviets should do now that they had become the sole bodies of power, how to run the factories and mills, and how to apportion among peasants the landed estates which the Decree on Land had made over to them. They wanted to know when the war would end and when peace would be concluded as the Congress of Soviets had announced. They wanted to know the answers to a thousand other equally vital and pressing questions. Summing up his conversations with the envoys of the people, Lenin once said: "And I said to them: you are the power, do all you want to do, take all you want, we shall support you, but take care of production, see that production is useful." And all who came to Smolny left feeling confident that the cause of the Great October revolution would triumph.
The people worked hard and energetically in order to use to full advantage the vast creative opportunities, opportunities for achieving humanist aims, opened up by the revolution. However, they had at the same time to wage a bitter struggle against the exploiting classes and their parties, which the revolution had overthrown. The first attempt against Soviet power was made by Kerensky, Prime Minister of the deposed Provisional Government. However, he failed to rally any appreciable support from the army and the revolt was put down in a few days. Other counter-revolutionary acts followed in rapid succession. On January 1, 1918, an attempt was made on Lenin's life, but he escaped unhurt. The enemies resorted to every means at their disposal - sabotage, conspiracy, subversion and terror, in an attempt to topple Soviet power. However, all the anti-Soviet sallies undertaken by domestic or foreign counter-revolution came to nothing. The revolution continued on its triumphant march through the country. "We achieved victory with extraordinary ease precisely because the fruit had ripened...," Lenin observed. "Our slogan 'All Power to the Soviets' which the masses had tested in practice by long historical experience, had become part of their flesh and blood."
After the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries had failed to set up a "homogeneous socialist government", in which the opponents of the proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship would have constituted a decisive majority, they pinned their hopes on the Constituent Assembly, elections to which were held in November, but on the basis of lists of candidates that the deposed Provisional Government had compiled still before the revolution. As a result its composition did not at all reflect the new balance of class forces that had emerged after the revolution, and did not express the will of the masses. Nevertheless Lenin believed that the Assembly should be convened in order to make it face the demands of the victorious revolutionary masses. The Assembly's counter-revolutionary majority refused to recognise the decisions of the Second Congress of Soviets and the decrees of Soviet power. At this point the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, as the supreme body of power formed by the Congress of Soviets, resolved to disband the Constituent Assembly.
The new state apparatus was organised on the basis of the decisions taken at the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets in January 1918. After hearing Lenin's report on the activities of the Council of People's Commissars, the report of Y.M. Sverdlov, Chairman of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, and the report presented by J.V. Stalin, the People's Commissar for the Affairs of Nationalities, on the federal structure of the Soviet republic and its nationality policy, the Congress adopted "The Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People" drafted by Lenin. As the groundwork for the Soviet Constitution, it summed up the experience accumulated in the process of organising the Soviet state and proclaimed and guaranteed to the people their rights, liberties and gains. Russia was declared a socialist republic of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies established on the basis of free union of nations as a federation of national Soviet republics. All power, both on a state and local level, was invested in the Soviets. The historic tasks of Soviet power were defined as follows: abolition of all exploitation, ruthless suppression of the exploiters, and the building of a socialist society. Pointing out the importance of the Third Congress of Soviets, Lenin said that it had "projected the lines of future socialist construction for the whole world, for the working people of all countries''.
In its defence of the gains of the revolution from the hostile actions of its numerous enemies, the Soviet Government launched a resolute campaign for peace. Its first legislative act was Lenin's Decree on Peace, which incorporated the humanist essence of the socialist revolution.
However, many difficulties had to be overcome before peace could be attained. The imperialist rulers met the Soviet Government's peace bids with an anti-Soviet conspiracy and preparation for outright intervention. ''It was the Anglo-French and the American bourgeoisie," Lenin wrote in his "Letter to American Workers", "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!"
The Soviet Government, wishing to extricate Russia from the war and to obtain breathing space in which to strengthen the Soviet Republic, decided to initiate talks with the German-Austrian bloc.
The struggle that flared up within the Party's Central Committee and the Soviet Government over the question of concluding peace, was most bitter. Lenin's policy which called for the signing of a peace treaty was opposed by Trotsky and by "Left Communists" led by Bukharin. Trotsky put forward the adventuriistic slogan of "nether peace nor war"; he asserted that the Germans would not advance into Russia and proposed that the war be declared over and the army demobilised, but that no treaty be signed. This would have spelled disaster for the Soviet Republic, as it would have opened the way into the country for German troops and would have meant the continuation of war at a time when Soviet Russia had still not formed its own, new army. Meanwhile the "Left Communists" demanded that Soviet Russia declare a "revolutionary war" on the imperialists, arguing that ths would spur revolution in Germany and elsewhere. On that occasion Lenin observed that it would be a mistake for the Russian socialist government to try to determine whether a revolution would occur throughout Europe and especially in Germany, "within the next half a year", as that could not be done, and would simply amount to reckless gambling.
In the final analysis, the position of both the "Left Communists' and Trotsky was rooted in a rejection of the idea that socialism could win in one country, namely Russia, if the tempo of the world revolution was to slacken. They failed to understand or were unwilling to acknowledge that Soviet Russia was now the bulwark and stronghold of the world revolutionary process. The "Left Communists" went so far as to say that Soviet power had become purely formal and could therefore be sacrificed in the interests of world revolution. Trotsky said that the land of the victorious proletariat should "carry the revolution on its bayonets" to other countries. This meant that Soviet Russia must either declare a "revolutionary war'' on capitalism or admit that "Soviet power is too heavy a burden for us, that we have arrived prematurely and should go underground."
Lenin called "strange and monstrous" the assertion that Soviet power could be sacrificed in the interests of world revolution. On the contrary, he stressed that precisely by preserving and strengthening the Soviet Republic would the cause of the worldwide emancipation of the working people best be served. As for the calls to declare war, he said in connection with one such resolution: "Perhaps the authors believe that the interests of the world revolution require that it should be given a push, and that such a push can be given only by war, never by peace, which might give the people the impression that imperialism was being 'legitimised'? Such a 'theory' would be completely at variance with Marxism, for Marxism has always been opposed to 'pushing' revolutions, which develop with the growing acuteness of the class antagonisms that engender revolutions."
Lenin maintained that in opposing peace, the "Left Communists" and Trotsky were in fact urging the Party to gamble with the lot of the Soviet socialist republic which was the bulwark of the worldwide struggle of the working people for liberation.
Both at Central Committee meetings and through the medium of the press, Lenin, exercising great restraint, proved to the "Left" phrase-mongers that their attitude was totally wrong and harmful to the cause of the revolution. "We must fight against the revolutionary phrase," he said, "we have to fight it, we absolutely must fight it, so that at some future time people will not say of us the bitter truth that 'a revolutionary phrase about revolutionary war ruined the revolution'. " Lenin overcame his opponents owing to his fidelity to principle, his prestige and his ability to drive his point home. In the Central Committee, the majority voted for Lenin's proposals and a peace treaty with Germany was signed on March 3, 1918. At its Seventh Emergency Congress, the Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks or RCP(B) (it was thus renamed at this Congress) formally approved Lenin's line. The Brest Peace was ratified by the Fourth Extraordinary All-Russia Congress of Soviets.
To secure peace and strengthen the international position of the Soviet republic, Lenin formulated the basic principles of the socialist state's foreign policy. He emphasised that such a policy should always promote the further development of the working people's movement for liberation, a decisive factor in which was successful socialist construction in countries where a proletarian revolution had been accomplished.
A basic principle of Soviet socialist foreign policy is the preservation of peace, the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems, or what Lenin termed in an interview to foreign correspondents "peaceful cohabitation" with other nations. A stable peace creates favourable conditions on the international scene for the building of a new society in the socialist countries and for the development of the entire revolutionary process. The struggle against unjust wars, the effort to avert new world wars which would bring people fearful sacrifice and destruction, accords with the vital interests of the majority of mankind. Lenin regarded peaceful, businesslike and equal relations between states with different social systems, between Soviet Russia and the capitalist world, "as the only correct way out of the difficulties, chaos and danger of wars," so long as the two opposing systems - socialism and capitalism - remained.
Lenin's line of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems does not preclude, but, on the contrary, presupposes competition between socialism and capitalism, the carrying on of the class struggle in all forms in the capitalist countries, the furtherance of the national-liberation movement waged by the oppressed peoples against imperialism, and support from the socialist state for the world revolutionary process. Lenin said that "the interests of the world revolution demand that Soviet power, having overthrown the bourgeoisie in our country, should help that revolution, but that it should choose a form of help which is commensurate with its own strength."
The Soviet Government, with Lenin at its head, made a consistent effort to secure peace and avert another world war, and strove to establish economic and diplomatic relations with other countries. "The Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic wishes to live in peace with all peoples and devote all its efforts to internal development," declared a resolution drafted by Lenin and adopted by one of the congresses of Soviets. In an interview given to a foreign newsman, Lenin said: "I know of no reason why a socialistic commonwealth like ours cannot do business indefinitely with capitalistic countries." At the same time the Soviet people gave all the help they could at that time to revolutionary movements and oppressed peoples fighting against imperialism. Lenin attached great significance to the establishment and further promotion of Soviet links with Eastern nations newly embarked upon the road of independent development.
On March 11, 1918 the Soviet Government and the Central Committee moved to Moscow, henceforth capital of the Soviet Republic. Lenin, his wife and his sister Maria lived in a small four-room flat in one of the Kremlin buildings housing the Council of People's Commissars. All three bedrooms and the dining room were simply furnished. Lenin's bedroom, which also served as his study, had only a desk by the window and an iron bedstead covered by a chequered travelling rug, which he greatly cherished as a gift which his mother had given him in 1910. His office in the same building was as modestly furnished. Now both the flat and the office are a museum, where everything is preserved as it was in Lenin's lifetime. Below are a few comments taken from the museum visitors' book.
"Everything here speaks of his simplicity, his great modesty and unremitting work for the people, which will always remain as an example to each of us," wrote the workers of Moscow's Krasny Proletary Tool Works.
"The group of Danish trade-unionists who came here are most grateful for this very interesting visit. We were tremendously impressed by the modesty that was characteristic of the entire life of this great statesman."
A group of visitors from Nepal wrote: "We are tremendously impressed by this historical museum dedicated to a great man who by the great things he did and by his profound philosophy made come true the motto of a simple life but great ideas. We render homage to this great man who founded this great land of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."
Summing up the achievements of Soviet power in the first few months after the October Revolution, Lenin wrote: "We established and consolidated a Soviet Republic, a new type of state, which is infinitely superior to, and more democratic than, the best of the bourgeois-parliamentary republics. We established the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the poor peasantry, and began a broadly conceived system of socialist reforms. We awakened the faith of the millions upon millions of workers of all countries in their own strength and kindled the fires of enthusiasm in them."
Following the conclusion of the Brest Treaty, Lenin evolved a concrete programme for Russia's socialist reconstruction. "We, the Bolshevik Party," he wrote, "have convinced Russia. We have won Russia from the rich for the poor, from the exploiters for the working people. Now we must govern Russia."
The chief tasks facing the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet people then were to administer and build up the country. Lenin set about examining the entire range of questions involved in this undertaking. In late March and early April 1918 he wrote The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government" in which he summed up the initial experience of socialist reforms and indicated what lay ahead in the effort to build a new world. The immediate tasks as outlined by Lenin were: the further socialisation of the means of production, the laying of the economic groundwork for a socialist society, the introduction of planning, stock-taking and control, the stimulation of socialist emulation, the strengthening of labour discipline, the promotion of initiative and a creative attitude in work, and a steady effort to increase labour productivity. "Keep regular and honest accounts of money, manage economically, do not be lazy, do not steal, observe the strictest labour discipline - it is these slogans, justly scorned by the revolutionary proletariat when the bourgeoisie used them to conceal its rule as an exploiting class, that are now, since the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, becoming the immediate and the principal slogans of the moment."
The successes of the socialist revolution and its penetration into the countryside called forth savage resistance from the village bourgeoisie, the kulaks, or rich farmers, who declared an open war against Soviet power. As Lenin pointed out, the fight for bread, for food for the people, became the fight for socialism.
With every passing day Soviet Russia's position, both home and international, grew more and more complex. All the forces of the old world had clubbed together in a "crusade" against the Soviet Republic. As Winston Churchill, then Britain's Secretary for War, put it, the "Bolshevik infant must be strangled in its cradle." From now on, the task of defending the gains of the Great October Revolution by force of arms assumed top priority. A powerful coalition of anti-Soviet forces was formed, uniting Whiteguard counter-revolution at home and foreign interventionists including Britain, Germany, Italy, the USA, France and Japan. They seized vast areas in Northern Russia, the Far East, Siberia, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, and overran the Baltic states, the Ukraine and Byelorussia. Meanwhile, in the interior regions counter-revolutionary elements staged numerous insurrections. The young Soviet Republic stood in mortal danger.
The number of "prophets" who have predicted the inevitable and early downfall of Soviet power has been legion. But the young Soviet Republic mustered strength, and despite the tremendous odds vanquished its countless enemies. In their truly titanic struggle against the interventionists and Whiteguard hordes the Soviet people were led by the Communist Party headed by Lenin.
The counter-revolutionary elements engineered a dastardly attempt on Lenin's life. On August 30, 1918, when he came out of the gates of a factory after addressing a meeting there and was about to get into his car, the Socialist-Revolutionary terrorist Kaplan shot at and seriously wounded him. Deeply shocked, Communists, factory workers, peasants, Red Army men, all honest men and women, followed with profound anxiety the medical bulletins on Lenin's condition and in countless telegrams and letters wished him a speedy recovery. Happily, owing to his sturdy constitution his wounds quickly healed and a mere fortnight later Lenin was back in his office.
The Kremlin, where he lived and worked, was the guiding centre that mobilised the entire nation for the fight against the enemy and planned military strategy. The Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defence, set up in November 1918 and headed by Lenin, coordinated and directed the activities of all military and civilian agencies, both on a state and local level, uniting the front and the rear. Although Lenin was not a trained military strategist, he was well familiar with military history and had studied numerous treatises on the art of warfare. Experts in the field were often amazed by his ability to grasp quickly the fine points of military questions. He outlined the principles underlying the organisational set-up of the armed forces of the socialist state, directed the country's defence, and masterminded the defeats inflicted upon the interventionists' troops and Whiteguard forces.
Meanwhile the Red Army grew stronger and became a regular and well-trained fighting force. It brought to the fore many brave and talented commanders including V.A. Antonov-Ovseyenko, V.K. Blukher, K.Y. Voroshilov, M.V. Frunze, M.N. Tukhachevsky, I.E. Yakir, S.M. Budenny, G.I. Kotovsky, V.I. Chapayev and N.A. Shchors, who inflicted one crushing defeat after another on the interventionists' armies and the troops led by former tsarist generals. In this they were assisted by the political workers whom the Party had sent, the commissars who won the respect of the rank and file by their dedication and bravery. Lenin considered the Party's guidance as the source of the Red Army's strength.
The Red Army won its first impressive victories in the field in the second half of 1918. When Lenin's birthplace, Simbirsk, was freed from the enemy in September, the Red Army men sent Lenin, who was then recuperating from the wounds he had received in the assassination attempt, the following affectionately worded cable: "Dear Vladimir Ilyich, the capture of your native town is our reply for one of your wounds, the capture of Samara will be for the other!" Lenin's reply ran: "The capture of Simbirsk, my home town, is a wonderful tonic, the best treatment for my wounds. I feel a new lease of life and energy. Congratulations to the Red Army men on their victory, and, on behalf of all working people, thanks for all their sacrifices." This was followed by news of more victories scored by the Red Army elsewhere along the Volga, and also in the Ukraine, Byelorussia and in the Baltic states. On hearing the news Lenin said: 'We have won enormous victories."
The year 1919 was marked by still more fierce battles fought to defend the gains of the socialist revolution. The overall situation of the country remained extremely grave. Responding to Lenin's calls to defeat the enemy, the men of the Red Army displayed peerless heroism and won more resounding victories - over Kolchak in Siberia, Yudenich at Petrograd, and Denikin in the South. Of the Red Army's victories won in 1919, Lenin said that the year "will be called that of the onslaught of Anglo-American imperialism and of victory over that onslaught." By the close of 1920, with the exception of a few nests of counter-revolutionary resistance that were wiped out later, the White Guards had been completely routed and all foreign forces driven out of the country.
Of particular importance in ensuring these epoch-making victories of the Soviet people were the decisions taken by the Communist Party at its Eighth Congress in March 1919 on consolidating the worker-peasant alliance and the organisation of the Red Army. Also adopted at this congress was a new party programme for the building of socialism, which had been drafted by a special commission headed by Lenin.
Even in those days of bitter struggle against the united forces of domestic counter-revolution and world imperialism, Lenin continued to devote attention to questions of theory. In the autumn of 1918 he wrote The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, in 1919 the articles A Great Beginning and Economics and Politics in the Era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and in June 1920 his famous book 'Left Wing' Communism - An Infantile Disorder in which he summed up the Bolshevik experience and underscored its importance for the world communist movement. In these writings Lenin analysed the specific features and forms of the class struggle in the transition period from capitalism to socialism and further developed the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. He discussed such important questions as the initial and the highest phases of communist society, the dialectics of socialism's development into communism, the material and technical foundations of the new society and how to build them up, the significance of socialism's victory over capitalism in the field of economics, and the formation of socialist and communist social relationships.
Bourgeois ideologists, propagandists of anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, and revisionists of Marxist theory strive to distort Lenin's views on the dictatorship of the proletariat. In an attempt to frighten the masses with the "horrors" of socialist revolution and to set the non-proletarian segments of the working people against the working class, they identify proletarian dictatorship with violence and bloodshed and assert that this dictatorship is "anti-democratic" and so on. These are monstrous falsehoods.
The dictatorship of the proletariat means political power of the working class. Why did Lenin call it precisely "the dictatorship of the proletariat," insist upon the demand for a dictatorship of the proletariat and set the goal of establishing such a dictatorship as the prerequisite for the transition from capitalism to socialism? He believed this vital in contrast to the social-reformists and revisionists who, while paying lip-service to the idea of the power of the working class, refuse to recognise the revolutionary character of this power and the need to expropriate the capitalists and quell the resistance offered by the deposed exploiting classes. Today in several capitalist countries Socialist-Democratic leaders are in power; they call themselves representatives of the working class, but in reality they have not the slightest intention of infringing upon the foundations of the capitalist system.
In any society with antagonistic classes, said Lenin, the state is a dictatorship of the ruling class; that is, the state represents the power of this ruling class which is bolstered up by armed force. It is a dictatorship of the class that uses political power to safeguard the economic foundations of its rule and to suppress its class adversaries. The point is that whereas the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie has always been, and to this day remains, an instrument for the suppression of the overwhelming majority of the population, the working people, proletarian dictatorship is spearheaded against the exploiters, who make up a minority of the population.
Under a proletarian dictatorship, it is the working class that is the leading and directing force in society, the most revolutionary and best organised force, united by the very conditions of large-scale industrial production. However, this does not at all imply that the working class stands in opposition to the non-proletarian segments of the working masses. On the contrary, Lenin defined the dictatorship of the proletariat as a "specific form of class alliance between the proletariat, the vanguard of the working people, and the numerous non-proletarian strata of the working people (petty bourgeoisie, small proprietors, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, etc.), or the majority of these strata, an alliance against capital, an alliance whose aim is the complete overthrow of capital, complete suppression of the resistance offered by the bourgeoisie as well as of attempts at restoration on its part, an alliance for the final establishment and consolidation of socialism." He called the alliance of the working class and the peasantry and other non-proletarian segments of the working masses the supreme principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Just as there is no, nor can there be dictatorship in general, so there is no, nor can there be "pure democracy", nor democracy in general, Lenin explained. There is bourgeois democracy, which under capitalism is a narrow and hypocritical democracy for the rich and exploiting classes, and can be nothing else. Then, there is proletarian, socialist democracy. When the proletariat takes power into its own hands, it is compelled to restrict to a greater or lesser degree - depending on the extent of the resistance offered by the deposed exploiting classes - the freedom of the former exploiting classes: it cannot grant freedom to counter-revolutionary, anti-socialist elements, who acting hand in glove with world imperialism, seek to exercise democratic rights solely for the purpose of restoring capitalism. The dictatorship of the proletariat makes possible the development on an unprecedented scale and the broadening of democracy for the overwhelming majority of the population, for the working people. In contrast to bourgeois democracy, which in effect does not go beyond mere formal declaration of political rights and liberties, socialist democracy ensures the working people, now freed from exploitation and spiritual oppression, the full exercise of social and political rights. As Lenin said: "Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic."
In power, the working class must resolutely crush the resistance offered by the exploiting classes, the capitalists, landlords and their confederates. "Whoever does not understand this," Lenin stressed, "is not a revolutionary and must be removed from the post of leader or adviser of the proletanat." As said earlier, the extent to which revolutionary force is used by the working class against the exploiting classes depends on the extent of the resistance offered by the deposed exploiters. After the October Revolution, Lenin observed, even bourgeois newspapers were not shut down, and there was no thought at all of terror. Soviet power released not only many of the ministers in the previous Provisional Government but even General Krasnov, the leader of a revolt, who gave his "word of honour" that he would never again take up arms against Soviet power (though soon he broke his promise and became head of a White Cossack army active in the river Don valley). It was bourgeois sabotage and terror that forced Soviet power to take stern retaliatory measures. But, Lenin emphasized, as soon as the resistance of the exploiting classes was crushed, Soviet power would "renounce all extraordinary measures". He noted that in countries where the bourgeoisie did not offer such frenzied resistance the proletariat would have a much easier task and would be able to dispense with the violence that imperialism and domestic counter-revolution had compelled Soviet power to employ.
The chief point, however, is that this function is not the basic or main function of proletarian dictatorship. "The essence of proletarian dictatorship," Lenin said, "is not in force alone, or even mainly in force. Its chief feature is the organisation and discipline of the advanced contingent of the working people, of their vanguard, of their sole leader, the proletariat, whose object is to build socialism, abolish the division of society into classes, make all members of society working people, and remove the basis for all exploitation of man by man." This constructive role of the working-class dictatorship and the proletarian state as organiser and administrator of the country's economy and cultural development assumes ever-increasing importance when the task of quelling the resistance of the exploiters is accomplished and when socialist construction is under way.
Lenin made an important contribution to Marxist theory by developing and substantiating the thesis of the Communist Party's role as leader under the system of the proletarian dictatorship and in the building of socialism and communism. "By educating the workers' party," Lenin wrote, "Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat, capable of assuming power and leading the whole people to socialism, of directing and organising the new system, of being the teacher, the guide, the leader of all the working and exploited people in organising their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie." Only the Communist Party is capable of uniting, educating, and organising the working class and the entire working people, of checking and correcting the effect of inevitable relapses into professional narrow-mindedness and prejudice which are traditionally observed among the working people, as well as the parochialism of various institutions and organisations. It is the Communist Party that formulates the policy for the running of society's affairs, that unites, coordinates and directs the activities of all administrative bodies, of all public organisations. "The dictatorship of the proletariat," Lenin said, "would not work except through the Communist Party." He sharply criticised those working-class leaders, who after the victory of the socialist revolution either completely denied the need for a proletarian dictatorship, or while acknowledging the need in words, in reality failed to understand or did not wish to understand the importance of establishing the dictatorship of the prolelariat.
Lenin , it should be noted, did not say that proletarian dictatorship necessarily meant a one-party system. In November 1917, shortly after the Second Congress of Soviets, which set up a Bolshevik government, Lenin said that the Bolsheviks "agreed and still agree to share power with the minority in the Soviets, provided that minority loyally and honestly undertake to submit to the majority and carry out the programme approved by the whole Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, for gradual, but firm and undeviating steps towards socialism." The fact that the bloc including both Communists and "Left-wing" Socialist Revolutionaries was short-lived and that afterwards there remained only one political party, namely, the Communist Party, is explained by the petty-bourgeois Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties going over to the side of the counter-revolutionary forces, thereby sustaining a political fiasco. Lenin maintained that even in the case of a multi-party system within the framework of the dictatorship of the proletariat the Communist Party should play the leading role since it knew best the tasks of the working class and most fully expressed the interests of the entire working people, since it most correctly understood how to effect the transition to socialism, and was capable of most consistently implementing the chief aims of the proletariat and its allies and of making the greatest sacrifices in this effort.
One should note that capitalism's apologists well realise that the state power of the working class derives its strength from its Communist leadership. For this reason, as the history of the socialist countries has shown, the enemies of socialism do not always at once mount an open attack against the new system, but invariably strive first of all to undermine the Communist Party's role as leader, and by relying on opportunists, to make counter-revolution in one way or another, as Lenin observed, to put power in the hands of a political group or organisation which outwardly comes closest to acknowledging working-class power, in the hope of eventually restoring capitalism. Lcnin said that such attempts must be most resolutely rebuffed.
The experience of the socialist countries has confirmed Lenin's thesis on the working-class party's role in socialist construction, and has disclosed the true essence of the various revisionist concepts that reject Communist leadership.
Lenin expounded the thesis that proletarian dictatorship could take different political forms. It was inevitable, he said, that all nations should arrive at socialism. However, each one would do so in its own way, contributing something of its own to one or another form of democracy, to one or another form of proletarian dictatorship and to the rates of transformation in the different aspects of social life. The transition from capitalism to socialism could, of course, take diverse political forms, but, as Lenin emphasized, their essence will be one and the same - the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is important to note in this connection that Lenin warned against exaggerating the significance of the specific features of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia; on the contrary, he underlined the decisive importance of the common general laws governing the transition from capitalism to socialism, which the proletarian dictatorship in Russia embodied. In 1919 Lenin noted several features that were peculiar to the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia, but, said Lenin, they did not contradict what was basic and essential to a proletarian dictatorship.
While fighting was still going on at the front during the Civil War, Lenin began working on a plan for the recovery of the national economy which had been disrupted by the First World War and foreign intervention. This was the famous GOELRO plan for the electrification of Russia, a plan for the creation of the first socialist society in the history of man. This task of unparalleled complexity was carried out in a titanic effort by the party and people, in the midst of hunger and economic dislocation, and during the capitalist encirclement. At its Tenth Congress in March 1921, the Communist Party mapped out the strategy for the building of socialism, that of transition from what was known as War Communism to the New Economic Policy.
War Communism was an emergency policy that was adopted because of the tremendous difficulties resulting from the Civil War, from imperialist intervention and blockade. Its object was to mobilise all of Soviet Russia's industrial, food and raw material resources for achieving victory. A keystone of this policy was what was known as the food-surplus requisitioning system, under which the peasants were to hand over to the state all food surplus in order to supply the army and the factory workers with food. This policy was no longer called for when the war ended. Promulgated in place of it was the New Economic Policy, a start upon which had already been made in 1918 during the brief respite following the conclusion of the Brest Peace treaty.
On the basis of Lenin's report, the Communist Party resolved at its Tenth Congress to replace the surplus-requisitioning system by a tax in kind. This encouraged the peasant to expand production, since after delivering to the state the required amount he could sell the surplus on the market. The peasantry welcomed this new policy. In his reports at the Tenth and Eleventh Party Congresses, and in the brochure The Tax in Kind and a series of articles, Lenin explained that the New Economic Policy was a policy of the transition period from capitalism to socialism, whose prime objective was to strengthen the alliance of the working class and the toiling peasantry, build up the industrial base of socialism. abolish the multi-sectoral pattern of the country's economy and ensure the domination of the socialist sector.
The New Economic Policy, Lenin said, provided the political and economic conditions for building the foundations of socialism. The conclusions that he drew about the need for preserving and making use in the proletarian state of the system of commodity-money relations, about the management of enterprises on a profit-and-loss basis and the combined application of material and moral incentives in work for everyone - worker, peasant, or intellectual - represented a great contribution to the theory of how to build the new society. The experience of socialist construction has confirmed the importance of combining centralised economic planning and guidance by the socialist state with the participation of the masses in economic management, and with guarantees of the rights and free initiative of local agencies and enterprises.
At this time of a sharp change from war to peace in the country, Trotsky, Bukharin and others of the opposition resumed their attacks on Lenin's course of building socialism. The ostensible point at issue was the role of the trade unions in Soviet society. The real issue, however, concerned the methods used by the party in its guidance of the masses in socialist construction. Trotsky put forward the anti-democratic plan of making the trade unions part of the machinery of state and of introducing army discipline in purely voluntary workers' associations. If that were done the proletariat would inevitably become dissatisfied with the party's policy; in other words, Trotsky's plan would have subverted the working-class dictatorship. Thus, Lenin regarded the plan as theoretically erroneous and politically tactless and harmful. Though Bukharin assumed a "middle-of-the-road" position, he in reality supported Trotsky.
Meanwhile the so-called Workers' Opposition led by A.G. Shlyapnikov, A.M. Kollontai and others, which represented an anarcho-syndicalist trend within the the party, demanded that economic administration be made the function of a Congress of Producers. This was again tantamount to calling for the abolition of the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat. These and other anti-party groups, undermining the unity of party ranks. led to a crisis within the party. At its Tenth Congress, the party summed up the results of the discussion and adopted a special resolution On Party Unity, which Lenin had drawn up and which, by barring all factionalism, was of exceptional importance for strengthening party unity.
During this period Lenin concentrated on problems of economic recovery and advancement. On his initiative, in February 1921 the State Planning Commission was set up as the main body responsible for overall planning. Lenin both defined the new Commission's tasks and directed its activities. The Statute that the Government adopted with regard to the Commission said that its principal task was "to draft one overall state economic plan, along with the ways and means and procedure for its implementation." Lenin attached particular importance to industrial recovery and progress and showed a keen interest in the development of every branch of industry and of its key enterprises and held talks with numerous economic administrators and rank-and-file factory workers. He also paid close attention to problems of agriculture, such as how to increase crop areas and raise yields. Another priority task in his view was the expansion of the trade network, and the building up of a stable financial system. He was particularly concerned about scientific and technological development, looked into the needs of research and other scientific institutions, and supported and encouraged all scientists who dedicated themselves to serving the Soviet people. He pointed out time and again that socialist economy must rely on scientific achievements and advanced technology.
Lenin was the first Marxist comprehensively to examine the question of what attitude the triumphant proletariat should take to the old bourgeois intelligentsia. He pointed out that it was essential to enlist its cooperation in the effort to build socialism. At the same time he emphasized the need to educate a new, truly people's intelligentsia from among the working masses.
During society's transition from capitalism to socialism there takes place notable cultural progress. Lenin called this process a "cultural revolution". "The entire people," he said, "must go through a period of cultural development." This means the attainment of complete literacy, scientific progress, and progress in literature and the arts. It also means a serious and deep-going change in the working people's mentality and outlook, their re-education in the socialist spirit and the acquisition by the broadest masses of increasing political knowledge and aesthetic awareness. Lenin was against a nihilistic attitude to the world's cultural heritage; he pointed out that socialist culture should logically rise from the intellectual wealth that man had accumulated from the dawn of civilisation. Is there any need to note how alien to all this are the Maoist slogans of "the great proletarian cultural revolution", under cover of which the classical literary and artistic heritage is renounced, a military-bureaucratic dictatorship, an "army-barracks socialism" is imposed, and true Marxists-Leninists and internationalists are repressed?
Lenin paid great attention to the development of the social sciences, to the ideological work of the party, to the system of educating the working people in the spirit of communism, and to the struggle against bourgeois ideology. "We," he said, "must overcome resistance from the capitalists in all its forms, not only in the military and the political spheres, but also ideological resistance, which is the most deep-seated and the strongest."
Led by the Communist Party, the Soviet people successfully accomplished the task of economic recovery. With every year the record of achievement grew. Within the space of a few years Soviet Russia reached pre-war figures in the key fields of industrial production. Its international standing became stronger, and gradually it established trade links with capitalist countries, which one after another extended diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Republic. The Soviet people celebrated the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution in an atmosphere of confidence.
The enormous load of work, extreme fatigue and the consequences of the grave wounds all combined seriously to undermine Lenin's health. In May 1922 he fell seriously ill, the diagnosis being sclerosis of the blood vessels of the brain. In early October he returned to his duties, working as intensively as before. A secretarial note on what he did between October 2 and December 16, 1922, reads as follows: "Wrote 224 business letters and notes, received 171 persons (125 audiences), chaired 32 meetings and conferences of the Council of People's Commissars, the Council of Labour and Defence, the Politbureau and various commissions."
The crucial question at the time was that of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Lenin had always paid special attention to problems of national statehood and socialist reform in the national areas as the destinies of socialism itself largely depended on the solution found for these problems in the multi-national Soviet state. He drafted the Communist Party's national policy within the framework of the proletarian dictatorship and directed its implementation.
Lenin showed great concern for the well-being of all the nations and nationalities of the Soviet republics without exception, and took a personal interest in cultural and economic development and the administration of government affairs in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenia, Kazakhstan, Daghestan, Bashkiria, Tataria, Karelia, Yakutia and other national republics and regions. The recollections of representatives of many nationalities who saw and talked with Lenin as well as the minutes of his conversations with them and other documents show what serious attention he gave to their needs and requirements, how well he understood their national psychology, and what tremendous help he rendered them in ther effort to build a new life.
In his letter, To the Comrades Communists of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Daghestan and the Mountaineer Republic, he called to the attention of the party organisations in the national regions their paramount task of consolidating Soviet power with the object of effecting the transition to socialism. To accomplish this task he considered it necessary for the Communists in the Caucasus to realise the difference between their republics and the Russian Federation and instead of blindly copying the tactics adopted by party organisations in the economically and culturally more advanced regions of Central Russia, to adapt them to the local conditions. The national regions, he observed, were still more rustic than Russia, and thus a still more cautious approach had to be used in the effort to introduce socialism there, in short, a still more tolerant and lenient attitude to the petty bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and, especially the peasantry there.
Lenin set the objective of making the previously oppressed and backward nations and nationalities genuinely equal with the more advanced nations. Particularly important for achieving this was the fraternal, disinterested assistance extended to the working masses of the previously oppressed nations by the working class and people of Soviet Russia. Much money was invested in the development of the national outskirts, to which Central Russia sent its skilled workers and scientists besides substantial material supplies.
Lenin defined the principles that should govern the relations between the different Soviet republics. Of exceptional theoretical and practical significance in this respect are the conclusions he drew in his Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine Apropos of the Victories over Denikin.
Soviet Russia, he emphasized, does not question the right to self-determination of peoples embarked on socialist development. The working masses themselves, through the Congresses of Soviets, should decide matters of national statehood, and forms of alliance between the different Soviet republics. From the standpoint of the interests of the working class and the peasantry and of the effort to build socialism, the correct handling of these matters is as follows.
First, the Communists of the different nations should agree on such basic issues as the need for a proletarian dictatorship, for working-class hegemony with respect to the peasantry and other non-proletarian strata of the working people, for a firm alliance between them in the fight against domestic counter-revolution and international imperialism, and for the consistent, undeviating implementalion of these points.
Secondly, whatever the solution evolved for national statehood, the workers and peasants of all the nations embarked upon the building of socialism should maintain what Lenin termed "a close military and economic alliance", for otherwise the imperialists would "crush and strangle us separately", and further, realise that anyone violating this unity and alliance would be assisting capitalism and international imperialism.
And, thirdly, as Lenin stressed: "We want a voluntary union of nations - a union which precludes any coercion of one nation by another - a union founded on complete confidence, on a clear recognition of brotherly unity, on absolutely voluntary consent. Such a union cannot be effected at one stroke; we have to work towards it with the greatest patience and circumspection, so as not to spoil matters and not to arouse distrust, and so that the distrust inherited from centuries of landowner and capitalist oppression, centuries of private property and the enmity caused by its divisions and redivisions may have a chance to wear off."
Everything that the party did under Lenm's guidance shows how it slowly but steadily, and acting "with the greatest patience and circumspection", built up and strengthened that voluntary union of nations which finally became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
There has come true Lenin's prophecy that owing to the implementation of the principle of self-determination of nations and to the help extended by the proletariat of the more developed countries, the working people of the smaller, previously oppressed and backward nations and nationalities would strive to ally themselves with the greater, advanced socialist nations. All the Soviet republics established in the process of the revolution by the peoples of the former tsarist empire naturally gravitated towards the idea of forming a federation. Their road to union was pointed out by Lenin.
Lenin comprehensively developed the idea of federation as one of the most expedient forms of union during the transition period from capitalism to communism in countries inhabited by several or many nations and nationalities. Summing up the experience of building up national statehood, Lenin, when drafting the Second Party Programme and his theses on the national and colonial questions for the Second Comintern Congress, pointed out that federation represented the stepping stone towards the full and complete unity of working people of different nationalities, one that would bring them closer together. He emphasized that the various Soviet republics should strive towards an ever closer political, military and economic federal union, as this was necessary for their existence, for restoring and further developing their productive forces, for ensuring the well-being of their working people, and finally, for establishing a single planned economy.
In both his writings and speeches Lenin explained the principles underlying the federation of socialist republics, and the fundamental difference between such a federation and multi-national state formations under capitalism. The basis and essence of the Soviet federation consisted in Soviet power - the power of the working class and the entire working people, socialist democracy, public ownership of the means of production, the abolition of all exploiting classes, a socialist ideology, the ideas of internationalism, and the leading role of the Communist Party under proletarian dictatorship in the effort to build a new socialist society.
Ties between the different Soviet republics found expression both in bilateral treaties and in the unification of several Soviet republics such as the Russian Federation, the Transcaucasian Federation and the military and political alliance of the Soviet republics during the years of the Civil War and foreign intervention. The objective march of historical development, the tasks of socialist construction, the consolidation of defences, common interests, and the striving for fraternal cooperation of the working masses of diverse nationalities all demanded the integration of the Soviet republics into one federalised state that would be capable of safeguarding against outside encroachment, and ensuring economic prosperity and the unfettered development of all the different peoples inhabiting the country.
Voicing the sentiments of the masses, in the spring and summer of 1922 the central party organisations of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Azerbaijan, Georgian and Armenian Soviet republics raised the question of adjusting the relations between themselves and the Russian Federation with the object of strengthening their federal links.
In his letter to the Politbureau members of the Russian Communist Party's Central Committee dated September 26, 1922, Lenin presented a plan for the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a federation of equal and sovereign Soviet repubtics. He proposed that the first paragraph of the corresponding resolution should state that the independent national Soviet repubtics were not entering the Russian Federation but were uniting with it to form a new state. "We," he explained, having the Russian Federation in mind, "regard ourselves as equal with the Ukrainian SSR and the others, and on an equal footing with them enter a new union, a new federation..." He suggested that an All-Union Central Executive Committee of Soviets and a number of All-Union People's Commissariats be set up. Lenin thus greatly enriched Marxist theory on the national question by introducing the concept of a new type of federalised proletarian state - a united multi-national socialist state which is a voluntary union of equal and sovereign republics based on the principles of proletarian Internationalism.
At a plenary meeting on October 6, 1922, the Central Committee of the party unanimously supported Lenin's proposal, adopted a resolution drawn up on the basis of this proposal, and instructed a Central Committee commission under Stalin to draft a bill on the formation of the USSR for its endorsement by the All-Union Congress of Soviets.
Lenin's plan for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was greeted with enthusiasm by the working class, the peasantry and progressive intelligentsia, and soon a country-wide movement for unification was under way. The question was extensively discussed at mass meetings and rallies and at congresses of Soviets at various administrative levels. The working masses of all the nationalities expressed their resolve to pool their efforts and resources to accomplish the common goal of building socialism. At congresses of Soviets in all the republics the decision was adopted to form a federal state.
The First All-Union Congress of Soviets opened on December 30, 1922. Lenin could not attend in person; in mid-December he had another relapse and his doctors ordered complete rest. But the entire work of the congress, which elected Lenin its honorary chairman, was an embodiment of his ideas. It adopted the Declaration and Treaty on the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which was signed by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian and Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republics and the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic incorporating Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. The voluntary integration of the Soviet republics into one federal state attested to their socialist sovereignty and at the same time provided reliable guarantees for it.
In his report on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Leonid Brezhnev said: "This event was a fitting outcome of the first five years of Soviet government, the workers' and peasants' power. The power born of the Revolution not only withstood all the storms, calamities and dangers but also united the working people of our multinational country into the mighty and solid Soviet Union!"
Lenin regarded the further consolidation of the USSR as one of the paramount tasks of the party and the multi-national Soviet people. "Of this there can be no doubt," he said in a letter on the national question which he dictated on December 30-31, 1922. "This measure is necessary for us and it is necessary for the world communist proletariat in its struggle against the world bourgeoisie and its defence against bourgeois intrigues."
In terms of political, economic and social significance, the formation of the USSR is an outstanding event in Soviet history. It is a decisive factor in the building of socialism and communism in the country, in the economic and cultural advancement of all its constituent republics and the consolidation of the multi-national socialist state's defence potential and international prestige. It is also a landmark in mankind's social progress that exerts a profound impact on the entire world revolutionary process.
Though, following his serious setback in December 1922, his doctors had forbidden him to tend to current affairs, Lenin could not stay idle. In late 1922 and early 1923 he dictated Pages From a Diary, On Cooperation, Our Revolution, How We Should Reorganise the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection and Better Fewer, But Better, which have been rightly called Lenin's political testament; in them he outlined a programme for turning Russia into a socialist land and discussed the prospects for the world revolutionary process.
Bourgeois "biographers" of Lenin assert that these final writings reveal a feeling of disillusionment and pessimism. Actually, however, they testify to a profound faith in the strength and power of the working class, of the entire working people under the Communist Party's leadership, and in the triumph of socialism. In contrast to the Mensheviks and Western social-reformists, to the Right-wing opportunists and capitulators inside the Party, and to Trotsky who in 1922 contended that it was impossible to build socialism in one country, in one national state, Lenin emphasized that the USSR had "all that is necessary to build a complete socialist society". Lenin never considered Trotsky a Bolshevik, and in his Letter to the Congress noted Trotsky's "non-Bolshevism" and denounced his cocksureness and Bonapartism.
Lenin regarded as the main tasks in socialist construction industrialisation, the establishment of cooperative farming which would enable the peasantry to turn to large-scale social production, and finally, a cultural revolution. He stressed the need for strengthening the worker-peasant alliance and the friendship of the Soviet peoples, for improving the state apparatus and for ensuring the Party's leading role and unity within its ranks.
Lenin's plan for the building of socialism in the USSR provides a model of a scientific, comprehensive and realistic approach to the task of shaping a new society. This plan was adopted by the CPSU and the entire Soviet people as their general line in their effort to remake the country and turn it into a socialist power, an effort which is of worldwide significance.
On March 10, 1923, Lenin had another serious relapse, and he was moved to a country house in Gorki near Moscow. There he gradually began to recover. But in January 1924 his condition took a sudden turn for the worse and at 6:50 p.m. on January 21 he died. That night the Central Committee of the Party called an emergency meeting and adopted an appeal To the Party, to All Working People, which was broadcast the next morning.
"Never since Marx," the appeal said, "has the history of the great liberation movement of the proletariat produced such a titanic figure as our departed leader, teacher and friend. All that is truly great and heroic in the proletariat - a fearless mind, a will of iron, unbending, persistent and able to surmount all obstacles, a burning, undying hatred of slavery and oppression, a revolutionary passion that moves mountains, boundless faith in the creative energies of the masses, vast organisational genius - all this found splendid embodiment in Lenin, whose name has become the symbol of the new world from East to West, from North to South...
"The death of our teacher, a heavy blow, will unite our ranks even more closely. We are marching against capital in a solid militant body and no force on earth will he able to prevent our ultimate victory.
"This victory will be the finest monument to Comrade Lenin, to the man whom as their best friend, the masses called their 'Ilyich'.
More than 900,000 people filed past the bier with Lenin's remains, in Moscow's Trade Unions House, to pay their last respects to the leader and founder of the Communist Party and the Soviet State. Meanwhile millions throughout the country gathered at funerary meetings to pledge to the Party and the government that they would dedicate all their energies to carrying out Lenin's behests. Working people all over the world voiced deep sorrow on the occasion.
On the morning of January 27 the casket with Lenin's remains was brought to the Red Square and placed on a specially erected podium. Again Moscow's working people, along with numerous delegations from all the Soviet republics, passed by to render their last homage. Then, at 4 p.m. the coffin was placed in the Mausoleum by the Kremlin wall to the solemn strains of funeral music, the strident, shrill blasts of thousands of factory whistles and the salvoes of artillery salute. Ever since, people from all over the world have visited Lenin's tomb to pay tribute to the revolutionary leader and vow their fidelity to his teaching and cause.
Carrying out Lenin's behests, the Communist Party and the Soviet people have covered a glorious, though difficult, path. The Party upheld Lenin's plan for the building of socialism in bitter struggle against the sceptics and capitulators, against the Trotskyites, the Right-wing opportunists, the national deviationists and other hostile factions that sought to impose either capitulatory or adventuristic policies on the Soviet Government and lead the nation away from the road that Lenin had charted. But Lenin's ideas triumphed. The cause of socialist construction aroused tremendous revolutionary fervour that swept away every obstacle in the way towards socialism and inspired the people to self-denying labour.
In the shortest of historical periods and without any outside help, the USSR built up a large-scale, modern industry. By the end of the first three five-year plan periods, i.e., from 1929 to the time of the outbreak of the war in 1941, the country had been transformed into a mighty socialist power that was economically independent of the capitalist world. The age-old problem of the peasantry had at last found a solution based on Lenin's programme for cooperation in farming. The peasants went on the road of socialism, with the millions of small landholders voluntarily uniting to form collective farms. Collectivisation forever rid them of kulak oppression, class stratification, ruin and beggary. A wide network of state farms was set up. Meanwhile the cultural revolution that was carried out led the working masses out of the slough of ignorance and spiritual slavery, and opened up before them the wealth of cultural treasures that mankind had amassed. This country, in which only 50 years ago the majority of the population could neither read nor write, has scaled the summits of science and culture in one gigantic leap.
As a result of the titanic, selfless effort made by the Soviet people under the Communist Party's leadership, a socialist society was built for the first time in world history. By the 1930s socialism had been firmly established in every aspect of Soviet life. And socialism, whose inevitable triumph Marx and Engels had scientifically proved and a plan for whose implementation Lenin had evolved, became a reality in the USSR.
The Soviet social and state system was put to a gruelling test in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 against fascism, the most brutal the world has ever known. The victory which the Soviet people won in that war showed that nothing could halt socialism's triumphant advance.
Further Soviet economic and cultural achievements, socialism's consolidation, the strengthening of the USSR's economic and defence potential and the emergence of the world socialist system tilted the world balance of forces in favour of socialism and barred any possibilities of the restoration of capitalism. In the country socialism has triumphed once and for all: a developed socialist society has been built and the way has been paved for successful communist construction.
Socialism has forever abolished private ownership of the means of production, which is the cause of society's division into antagonistic classes. Socialist ownership of the means of production has now become the firm economic foundation in the USSR. Boundless vistas have opened up for the development of the productive forces. The vast Soviet economic potential rests on a diversified industry, large-scale socialist farming, advanced science and an immense pool of skilled workers, specialists and managerial personnel. The total daily product amounts to nearly two thousand million roubles, or ten times more than was produced in the country in the late 1930s. Meanwhile, thanks to scientific and technological progress and the fuller use of all reserves, the efficiency of social production is steadily rising.
Socialism solved one of the biggest social problems when it did away with the exploiting classes and the causes of man's exploitation of man. In the USSR there are two friendly classes, the workers and the farmers, and they are now entirely different from what they were before. The common nature of the two forms of socialist property - that owned by the state, that is, by the entire people, and that owned cooperatively by the collective-farming peasantry - has brought these two classes much closer together, strengthening their alliance and making their friendship truly indissoluble. The new intelligentsia that has emerged sprang from the midst of the people and is devoted to socialism. The contrasts which existed before between town and country and between manual and mental labour have been eliminated and the essential distinctions between them are gradually being erased. The common vital interests of the workers, peasantry and intelligentsia are the basis on which rests the indestructible social, political and ideological unity of the Soviet people.
In the USSR the socialist principle of "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his work" has become a reality. This principle serves to make all members of society interested in the results of their work and at the same time to unite personal and public interests, and makes it possible to increase labour productivity and to raise the living standard of the people. The awareness that they are working for their own benefit, for their own society, and not to enrich the exploiters, makes people work with enthusiasm and creatively, and this leads to a truly mass socialist emulation movement. In a socialist society it is logical and natural for the masses to work with ever greater vigour in the effort to build a new life.
The object of socialism is to ever more fully satisfy the growing material and cultural requirements of the people by consistently increasing and improving social production. The Communist Party and Soviet Government are steadily pursuing the Leninist line of raising the nation's material and cultural standards. Unemployment has been abolished. A seven-hour, and in some cases a six-hour day and even shorter, and a six-day working week or a five-day working week with two days off but with the same number of working hours, have been introduced. Everything has been done to make working conditions healthier.
Housing is greatly improved and now the USSR builds more flats than any other country in the world. Education is universal and is state maintained. The state pays for a considerable share of the expenses involved in bringing up the rising generation. A uniform pension scheme with pensions granted and paid either by the state or by the collective farms has been introduced, and the retirement age is lower than in most countries. The health services and mother-and-child care are free. In the past fifty years the average expectation of life has more than doubled and now exceeds seventy years - one of the highest in the world.
Life in socialist society rests on a broad democratic foundation. Through the Soviets, the trade unions and other public organisations, the masses actively participate in the administration of state affairs and in the solution of economic and cultural problems. More than 25 million people, almost a quarter of the able-bodied population, are either elected deputies to Soviets at various levels or actively help the Soviets in their work. Socialist democracy incorporates both political liberties and social rights. In contrast to bourgeois democracy it not only proclaims these rights and freedoms but also guarantees their exercise.
Socialism has created the most favourable conditions for the development of science. The achievements of Soviet science strikingly demonstrate the advantages and superiority of the socialist system; they are indicative of the infinite opportunities that socialism provides for science to develop and assume an ever-mounting significance. That the land of victorious socialism pioneered the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and blazed the trail into outer space is only natural.
Only under socialism does scientific and technological progress serve to stimulate the advance of all society, to raise the material and cultural standards of the entire people, and to promote the all-round development of the individual.
One of socialism's greatest gains is the solution it has provided for the national question. It has not only ensured the political equality of all nations and nationalities and made it possible to establish the Soviet multinational state, but has also led to the abolition of the economic and cultural inequality of nations and nationalities bequeathed by the bourgeois-landowner regime. The previously backward national areas of the old tsarist empire have become prosperous socialist republics with a modern industry and agriculture and a culture that is national in form and socialist in content. This achievement is all the more remarkable since peoples that had been at different levels of development advanced to socialism more or less simultaneously, with many of them moving straight out of a pre-capitalist formation.
In the years of socialist and communist construction there has emerged in the USSR a new historical community of people - the Soviet nation. It has developed on the basis of public ownership of the means of production, a common economic, social, political and cultural way of life, the Marxist-Leninist ideology, and the interests and communist ideals of the working class. The new Soviet man is devoted to the communist cause, has a deep sense of socialist patriotism and internationalism, is hard-working and socially and politically active, intolerant of exploitation, oppression, and national and racial prejudices, and has a profound feeling of solidarity with working people all over the world. Generations of true internationalists and champions of communism have come into being in the USSR.
The Leninist policy pursued by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is designed to promote the growth of each and every Soviet nation and nationality and at the same time bring them ever closer together. The achievements of the Soviet republics are due to their being members of a voluntary union which is the USSR, the friendship and mutual assistance between all the different nations and nationalities inhabiting the USSR. As a form of statehood enabling a union of free peoples to strive conjointly for their communist ideals, the USSR has fully justified itself in the eyes of history.
As Lenin pointed out, the successful solution of the national question in the USSR is of world-historic significance, for it shows that only the road of socialism and communism can ensure all nations and nationalities genuine equality and prosperity and make it possible for them to become friends and brothers. The entire world has recognised the Soviet experience in creating a multi-national socialist state, in rallying all the Soviet peoples for the building of a developed socialist society, and in providing a solution for the complex national question. This experience is of inestimable importance to all who are fighting for social and national liberation.
The year 1972 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the USSR. The nation celebrated the great event at the peak of its might, having accomplished a tremendous advance in the construction of communism, and remembering Lenin, the inspirer of the creation of the USSR, with gratitude.
As Leonid Brezhnev aptly said in his speech on the occasion, "For half a century now the victorious Red Banner of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has been flying proudly, symbolising the greatness of the communist ideals - the ideals of social justice, peace, friendship, and the fraternal co-operation of nations. This banner has inspired us in labour and in battle, in days of great jubilation and in the hour of grave ordeal. Our present jubilee is, in a manner of speaking, a solemn vow given by the whole Soviet peoplc, a vow of loyalty to our great Union, a vow of loyalty to the sacred ideal of communism!"
By building a socialist society the Soviet people have erected a fitting monument to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, their leader and teacher, who blazed for all mankind the road to socialism.
As a living teaching, Leninism provides the guidelines for the Soviet people and their Communist Party in their effort to build a new society. Remaining loyal to Lenin's ideological heritage, the Party regards as its prime task that of solving all problems of communist construction on the basis of Lenin's ideas and methods.
The decisions adopted by the CPSU at its 24th Congress are an embodiment of Leninist principles. The congress was one more milestone in the effort of the Soviet people and their party to build communism, and was thus also a stride forward in the development of the world revolutionary process. The Central Committee report to the congress, delivered by Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, gives a profound Marxist-Leninist analysis of the country's international standing and of the situation at home, and examines the most pressing problems of communist construction, inner-party affairs and the world communist, working-class and national-liberation movements. These are problems whose solution is of immense significance for both the Soviet Union and the entire world. The 24th Congress summed up the results of the political and organisational work carried out by the CPSU and adopted a concrete programme of action both for the immediate future and for many years ahead. The party is confidently leading the entire Soviet people onward to communism along the road charted by Lenin.
INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LENINISM
Lenin was a staunch internationalist who regarded all questions relating to the revolution and socialist construction in Russia from the standpoint of the interests of the worldwide working-class movement for emancipation. The fact that he so skilfully applied Marxist methods in solving the problems facing the Russian proletariat, does not at all warrant the conclusion that Leninism is merely the Russian variant of Marxism, whose significance is limited to Russia; on the contrary, it demonstrates the internationalistic character of Leninism.
Owing to a number of historical reasons, Russia at the beginning of the 20th century was the country where all of imperialism's basic antagonisms were revealed at their sharpest, and the Great October Socialist Revolution thus came to be a point of departure and the cornerstone for the entire contemporary international revolutionary movement. The main laws governing the world revolutionary process were confirmed in Russia's three revolutions, which succeeded one another, each larger in scope than the preceding one, and which historically are the most important events in the early 20th century. All three, and especially the October 1917 Revolution, were of epoch-making significance and had a tremendous impact on the revolutionary movement in every country. The problems posed by the Russian working-class movement and these three revolutions were problems that confronted the entire world revolutionary movement. Thus, Lenin's approach to questions of Russia's social and political development is of international significance.
In Russia were found all the most diverse socio-economic patterns; what Lenin called "the most modern capitalistic imperialism" existed side by side with survivals of feudal serfdom, and regions where capitalism was more or less developed bordered on parts where pre-capitalist, semi-feudal, patriarchal-feudal and even patriarchal-clan relations dominated. Here, taking place simultaneously were a nationwide struggle against tsarist autocracy and the survivals of feudal serfdom, and for socialism by the working class in alliance with the poor peasantry and other non-proletarian segments of the working masses, a working-class movement, a peasant movement, a national-liberation movement, and finally a popular campaign for peace. Here, in Russia, on one-sixth of the world's land surface, the working people for the first time in history overthrew capitalism and set about building socialism in the highly diversified conditions obtaining over the vast expanses of the Soviet republic. Thus, Lenin pointed out that in Russia, as in no other country, there was a great variety of forms, nuances and methods of struggle which were used by all the classes of contemporary society, and that Bolshevism had gained a wealth of historical experience which was without precedent. He noted that the laws of social development manifested in the Russian revolution were applicable to all countries.
"Experience has proved," Lenin wrote in 1920, in speaking of both the Russian revolution and the post-October development of the world revolutionary process. ''that, on certain very important questions of the proletarian revolution, all countries will inevitably have to do what Russia has done." In his book 'Left-wing' Communism - an Infantile Disorder Lenin examined the Russian experience from the standpoint of the pressing problems relating to international Communist tactics, and of applying to the work and the policies of the Communist Parties of olher countries "whatever is universally practicable, significant and relevant in the history and the present-day tactics of Bolshevism."
Thus, the internationalist character of Leninism is also explained by its incorporation of the vast experience of the Bolshevik Party, which had been called upon to carry out tasks that faced both the leading industrial capitalist countries and the relatively under-developed countries, including those where pre-capitalist formations dominated.
At the same time - and this is to be emphasized - Leninism emerged and developed as a summation of the experience of the worldwide, and not only Russian, working-class and national-liberation and anti-colonialist movements. In Lenin's writings one finds the most profound analyses of the economic, social and political development and the revolutionary movement in such countries as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Many of his articles deal with the national liberation and revolutionary movements in China, India, Indonesia and the Middle East. Lenin also showed a keen interest in Latin American and African countries.
A number of his works deal with the general laws of historical development and of the working people's struggle for emancipation in the epoch of imperIialism and socialist revolutions, and of the transition from capitalism to socialism. Problems of the world revolutionary process are also discussed at length in works devoted mainly to Russia and its revolutionary movement and to socialist construction in the USSR. Lenin had also drawn up a number of important, often programmatic, documents for the international working-class and communist movement.
All this shows that Leninism is an international teaching, a guide to action for working people everywhere. It is not surprising, therefore, that millions upon millions of workingmen throughout the world regard Lenin as their teacher and leader. Lenin as founder of a proletarian party of a new type, emerged as a leader of the international working-class movement at the beginning of the 20th century. From October 1905 to 1912 he represented the RSDLP in the International Socialist Bureau of the Second International, and actively participated in discussions of major questions of the world revolutionary movement and of the tasks of the working-class parties of different countries. He headed the Bolshevik delegations at the 1907 Stuttgart and 1910 Copenhagen International Socialist Congresses, to which he devoted the articles The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart and The Question of Cooperative Societies at the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen.
Already then, Lenin resolutely fought the opportunists on an international scale, and tried to rally together all 'Left-wing' revolutionaries. The meetings which he organised during the Stuttgart Congress with K. Zetkin, R. Luxemburg, L. Tyszka, G. Ledebour and other Left-wingers were one of the first steps ever taken to bring revolutionary Marxists together in the international socialist movement in the imperialist epoch. As a member of the congress's "Militarism and International Conflicts" Committee, he introduced important amendments, which were seconded by Polish Social-Democrats, to A. Bebel's draft resolution so that the final version reflected the spirit of revolutionary Marxism. At the Copenhagen Congress he again conferred with the Left-wingers in the Second International and also drafted the resolution on cooperatives which the RSDLP delegation put before the congress's Cooperatives Committee.
Georg Ledebour. a leading German Social-Democrat, whom, incidentally, Lenin criticised for his middle-of-the-road position during and after the First World War, wrote of Lenin in 1924: "I had occasion to work with Lenin at international congresses in the prewar days. Even at that early time Lenin's clear, logical thinking and his capacity for decisive action had convinced all of us that he was destined to achieve great things when the time came."
When the Second International disintegrated during the First World War, Lenin put forth the task of setting up a new and truly revolutionary Third International. He worked hard to convene the two international socialist conferences that took place in 1915 and 1916 in Zimmerwald and Kienthal in Switzerland. At these gatherings he upheld revolutionary Marxist principles and fought against social-chauvinism and Kautskyism. He emerged as a leading figure around whom all true internationalists in the world working-class movement rallied.
Willi Münzenberg, who in 1914-17 was a leader of the Swiss Social-Democratic Youth organisation, wrote later that long before the war, after it had begun, and during the war they had always taken a strong stand against it. The betrayal by the Social-Democratic leadership at the beginning of the war aroused their contempt. They were young revolutionaries and the only thing they knew then was that they wanted to bring about a revolution and change the world. However, in this ardent desire to accomplish a revolution they sometimes seized on the wrong things and went astray. But when they came to know Lenin personally in the spring and summer of 1915 they realised that they had before them a genuinely great leader who could lead them onto the road of fruitful revolutionary activity and this attracted them to him.
The Great October Socialist Revolution opened up a new era in the working people's worldwide struggle for emancipation. Soviet Russia became the base and stronghold and a catalyst of the world revolutionary process. "Our socialist Republic of Soviets," Lenin said with fervour in one of his speeches, "will stand secure, as a torch of international socialism and as an example to all the working people. Over there - conflict, war, bloodshed, the sacrifice of millions of people, capitalist exploitation; here - a genuine policy of peace and a socialist Republic of Soviets."
During the Civil War, Lenin addressed a number of letters to the workingmen of Europe and America, in which he explained the meaning of the October Revolution, pointing out that the Soviet people were waging a struggle to liberate themselves, and urged the workers of Europe and the United States to protest against the imperialist anti-Soviet intervention. In August 1918 he wrote the famous Letter to American Workers in which he condemned imperialism, especially US imperialism, explained Bolshevik tactics, and described the large-scale, revolutionary reforms undertaken by Soviet power.
Rebuffing the slanderous attacks on Soviet power and the Bolshevik Party by the bourgeois and Right-wing socialist press, Lenin wrote:
"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...
"For every hundred mistakes we commit, and which the bourgeoisie and their lackeys...shout about to the whole world, 10,000 great and heroic deeds are performed.
"But even if the contrary were true - although I know such an assumption is wrong - even if we committed 10,000 mistakes 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...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."
One would do well to recall these words of Lenin's today when the propagandists of anti-communism and anti-Sovietism are doing their best to falsify Soviet history, 'forgetting' the colossal difficulties that the Soviet people had to overcome and slurring over their stupendous achievements and the fact that they have built socialism and in the last war saved mankind from the menace of fascist enslavement, and concentrating instead on the setbacks, shortcomings and mistakes and gloating over the tragic pages in the annals of Soviet history.
Notwithstanding the spate of lies and vile slander that the bourgeois press slung at the Bolsheviks, the truth about the Soviet republic and the October Revolution continued to reach working people all over the world. In many countries the masses launched big campaigns in support of Soviet Russia. Soldiers of the interventionist armies that had overrun Russia refused to fight Soviet people. Meanwhile workers went on strike, refusing to load arms shipments for the White Guards, and set up Councils of Action under the motto of "Hands off Russia!" Lenin regarded as a most striking manifestation of proletarian internationalism the formation of international detachments in which the best of the working class of different countries fought shoulder to shoulder with the Red Army against the troops of the interventionists and the White Guards.
"There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism," Lenin said, "and that is working wholeheartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one's own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy and material aid) this struggle, this, and onIy this, line, in every country without exception." The Soviet republic's Leninist Party has always pursued this internationalist policy.
Lenin closely followed revolutionary developments in the West. In connection with the growing revolutionary movement in Germany, he wrote: "...for the German worker masses, the German working people in their millions...we are beginning to prepare a fraternal alliance, bread, military aid."
In his message of greetings to the revolutionary government set up in Bavaria after a Soviet republic was proclaimed there, Lenin pointed out the priority tasks before the proletarian party that had assumed power. He noted that it was necessary to organise bodies of revolutionary authority in town and country, arm the proletariat and disarm the bourgeoisie, and at once take steps to improve the conditions of the factory workers, farm labourers, and small landholders.
The people of Soviet Russia greeted with enthusiasm the proclamation in March 1919 of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. In a message to the Hungarian Communist leader BéIa Kun, Lenin noted that it was necessary creatively to apply Marxism and the Russian experience and that the Hungarian Government must establish a working-class dictatorship. Of great theoretical and practical significance is his Greetings to the Hungarian Workers in which he explained the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship. When the imperialists intervened in Soviet Hungary, Soviet Russia, loyal to its internationalist duty, did all in its power to help; unfortunately, however, the Red Army, owing to the situation then obtaining on the Civil War fronts, was unable to come to Hungary's assistance. Aided by the betrayal by the Right-wing Socialists in Hungary, the imperialists were able to destroy the Hungarian Soviet Republic.
Lenin was the inspirer and leader of the world communist movement. On his initiative, in 1919, the Communist Parties established the Third, Communist lnternational, which played an important role in promoting the liberation movement of the working masses, in facilitating the forming and strengthening of Communist Parties, in evolving working-class tactics and strategies, and in bringing to the fore and training outstanding Ieaders of the communist movement.
The Third, Communist International, or Comintern, held its congresses under Lenin's direction. He delivered the main report at the First Congress, which was on bourgeois democracy and the proletarian dictatorship. He drafted the key resolutions adopted at the Second Congress in 1920 - the theses on the congress's main tasks, and the theses on the agrarian questions and on the national and colonial questions. At this congress he presented a report on the international situation and the Comintern's basic tasks, took part in the work of several of the commissions, delivering the report of the commission on the national question, and spoke about the role of the Communist Party and other matters. At the Third Congress in 1921 he spoke of the tactics of the Russian Communist Party and brillianty defended the Comintern's tactics; he also took part in drafting the Theses on the Organisational Structure of Communist Parties and the Methods and Content of Their Work.' At the Fourth Congress (1922), the last attended by Lenin, he delivered a report entitled Five Years of the Russian Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revolution, and, as head of the Russian Communist Party delegation, directed all its activities and took part in drafting congress resolutions and decisions.
Of tremendous importance both for individual Communist Parties and for the entire international communist movement are the letters which Lenin addressed to Communists and working-class leaders of different countries.
Before, during and after the Comintern congresses, Lenin would meet with individual delegates and also whole delegations to learn about the situation and the working-class movement in their countries and to discuss questions of Communist Party organisation and activity. All who talked with him were astounded by his grasp of the problems facing various countries. His speeches, writings and letters and also talking or working together with him left an indelible impression upon foreign Communists and greatly helped them attain political maturity. Many of them later became leaders of national Communist parties and of the international communist and working-class movement.
Paul Vaillant-Couturier, the poet and publicist who was one of the founders of the French Communist Party, said of Lenin:
"Vladimir Ilyich was and still is the personification of ceaseless activity, and at the same time a Marxist from head to foot. Contact with him had the effect of a gust of wind sweeping into a stuffy room; it refreshed the mind burdened by prejudice and formal doctrines.
"Lenin, the intellectual, could think like a worker. Lenin, the orator, spoke without rhetoric or bombast. The man who had shaken the whole world, whose mind was constantly absorbing all that constituted the living breath of that world, this man, to the end of his life, preserved a remarkable ability to feel and think like a Chinese coolie or a Negro porter. The oppressed Annamite or Hindu were as much of an open book to him as the Leningrad metal-worker, the Paris textile-worker, the miner from New Virginia. Lenin was the perfect type of the new man; he was for us the prototype of the future."
"Lenin's thoughts," wrote the well-known Danish writer Martin Andersen-Nexo, when recollecting the report which Lenin delivered at the Comintern's Fourth Congress, "flowed limpid and clear, even when he touched upon great human problems and showed with a clarity comprehensible to one and all that the future is inevitably and assuredly developing out of the present. He seemed to be living all these human lives himself....
"'This is a real man,' a Norwegian worker beside me whispered. 'He looks like any of us, yet he sees a thousand times farther!'"
Sen Katayama, founder of the Japanese Communist Party, in describing Lenin's conversations with delegates to the First Congress of Revolutionary Organisations of the Far East (from China, Japan, Indonesia and Mongolia) recalled that Lenin chatted with each delegation in turn, but so that all could hear the questions put and his answers and that he discussed with each delegation both the problems arising in its own country and the issues facing the entire Far East. ''He," Sen Katayama wrote, "was very attentive to everyone who spoke to him. He was also a very good listener, his answers satisfied and encouraged evervone. We all felt perfectly at ease with him. He was a fine conversationalist and all of us were interested in everything he had to say. Comrade Lenin gave many useful suggestions and advice to each delegalion in this brief but extremely important talk with the Congress delegates."
At one of the sessions of the Second Comintern Congress the delegates decided to write down what they thought of Lenin. Their notes were later put together as an album. Below are some of the notes.
Giacinto Menotti Serrati, a prominent figure in Italy's working-class movement and a leader of the Italian Socialist Party who later joined the Communists, wrote: "We are no lovers of fetishes and in our communist view of things isolated individuals act as landmarks in historical events and not as the driving force behind them. But when, as Engels remarked in connection with the death of Karl Marx, these individuals embody the mind of the age and the hopes of a class, they become sacred for mankind and history. Today Lenin personifies the age of the proletarian revolution and the struggle between oppressors and oppressed. His name is synonymous with protest, struggle and liberation."
Edward Martin, a member of the US Communist Party, wrote. "Lenin stands with Marx, as the greatest of socialist students, whose name will live for ages."
John Reed, the American Communist writer, said: "Lenin, simple, most human. and yet most far-seeing and immovable."
Delegates from the colonies and the dependent countries wrote that Lenin had awakened fresh hopes in the hearts of the Eastern peoples and had pointed out to them the way to happiness. "Mankind's noblest son," an Indian delegate noted.
Luis Emilio Recabarren Serrano, founder of the Chilean Communist Party, who attended the Fourth Comintern Congress, described Lenin as "the greatest man of his time, a man whom all the world's scholars and reverend people esteem, whom the world proletariat sacredly reveres."
Finally here is what other two prominent figures said of Lenin. They had never met Lenin though they were his contemporaries and were greatly influenced in their outlook by his ideas and personality.
Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Vietnamese people and an outstanding figure in the world Communist movement, said: "In his lifetime he was our father, teacher, comrade and counsellor. Today he is our lodestar, leading us to social revolution."
William Du Bois, the Negro leader and scholar, wrote that Lenin's books translated into the local languages would provide the embattled African peoples with clear-shining, guiding beacons on the way to a bright and historic future. They would erect one more impressive and effective monument to that great genius of mankind in a continent which today has a particular need of wise counsel, that of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
In his writings, and above all in his 'Left-Wing' Communism - an Infantile Disorder, in the theses and decisions he drafted for Comintern Congresses and in the letters he addressed to Communist parties and working-class leaders, Lenin defined the basic principles for the programmes, strategy and tactics of the worldwide communist movement.
Lenin described the substance of the present epoch which was ushered in by the October Revolution in Russia as one of mankind's transition from capitalism to socialism, as "the abolition of capitalism and its vestiges, and the establishment of the fundamentals of the communist order". He pointed out that the main contradiction of this epoch was that between socialism and capitalism, and that the struggle between these two systems determined "world political developments". He described the principal revolutionary forces of modern times and the prospects before the working people's worldwide movement for emancipation following the world's division into two systems.
Lenin regarded the socialist system, represented then by the Soviet Republic, as the leading force in the struggle against imperialism. He pointed out that the Land of Soviets was inevitably grouping around itself, on the one hand, the socialist "movements of the advanced workers in all countries", and, on the other, "all the national-liberation movements in the colonies and among the oppressed nationalities". He foresaw the development of the proletarian dictatorship from national (existing in one country) into international (existing in a number of countries). In other words, he anticipated the emergence of a world socialist system that would be "capable of exercising a decisive influence upon world politics as a whole". He defined the principles underlying the relations between countries where a socialist revolution had been accomplished, pointing out that it would be essential for them to unite, cooperate and extend mutual assistance; he emphasized that the Communists and all working people must render "unselfish support" to each socialist republic "in its struggle against counter-revolutionary forces".
Lenin attached paramount importance to the working-class struggle in the capitalist countries, and, above all, in imperialism's citadels. He sharply criticised those who underestimated the opportunities for revolutionary action by the proletariat of the leading capitalist countries. It would be stupid, he said, to exclude from the revolutionary forces the proletariat of Europe and the United States. Summing up the newly accumulated experience of the working-class movement, he further developed the thesis about the proletariat's allies, stressing the importance of work among the peasantry and the need to win the progressive intelligentsia over to communism and rally the broadest masses around the working class. Noting that unity in the working-class movement was one of the most decisive factors enabling the working class to discharge its historic mission, he proposed a united working-class front and defined the tactics for achieving joint working-class action.
Lenin regarded the national-liberation movement as a powerful revolutionary force in the modern world. He discussed at length the question of the driving forces of this movement, noting how the relationship between them would change as the movement developed, and pointed out that "the movement of the majority of the population of the globe, initially directed towards national liberation, will turn against capitalism and imperialism". In connection with the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the prospect of the emergence of the world system of socialism, he considered the possibility of backward countries embarking upon socialism and skipping the capitalist stage of development. A prerequisite for this, said Lenin, would be the establishment in these countries of a government that truly represented the interests of the people, a revolutionary democracy, and cooperation between these countries and the socialist states. He urged both oppressed nations and nations that had thrown off the chains of imperialist bondage to closely cooperate with the socialist system, with the Soviet republic. He said that it was inevitable that revolutions in the Eastern and Afro-Asian countries should have their own specific features, but at the same time emphasized that, despite these specific features, social evolution and the class struggle in these countries would be governed by the general laws of historical development which Marxism had disclosed.
Lenin said that the decisive factors in the worldwide triumph of socialism were: unity between the forces of revolution, the hegemony of the working class and the Communist Parties, their correct strategy and tactics, a most determined drive against social-reformism, revisionism, dogmatism, sectarianism and nationalism, and cohesion of the international communist movement.
He regarded Right-wing revisionism, opportunism, and social reformism as the chief enemies of Marxism and the world communist, working-class, and national-liberation movements. "Opportunism," he pointed out, "is our principal enemy. Opportunism in the upper ranks of the working-class movement is bourgeois socialism, not proletarian socialism. It has been shown in practice that working-class activists who follow the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeois themselves. Without their leadership of the workers, the bourgeoisie could not remain in power." In the capitalist countries the opportunists and revisionists are opposed to a socialist revolution. They call for reforms that do not impinge upon the mainstays of the capitalist order. They are against working-class solidarity and, in effect, deny proletarian hegemony in the struggle against imperialism. In their attempt to derogate the time-tested experience of socialist construction the social-reformists and revisionists preach a "liberalised" socialism which rejects the leading role of the Marxist-Leninist parties, replaces socialist democracy by a liberalism of a bourgeois type, undermines centralised planning and economic management, and encourages market anarchy and competition.
At the same time Lenin warned of the immense danger emanating from "Left" opportunism, dogmatism and sectarianism. He pointed out that unless the most resolute struggle was carried out against them, they could inflict serious harm not only on individual Communist or Workers' parties, but on the entire international communist movement. He described "Left" opportunism as a "petty-bourgeois revolutionariness" akin to anarchism, as adventurism. Characteristic of "Left" opportunists and sundry extremists, he said, were a subjective approach to the evaluation of developments and the desire to skip stages in the movement. A salient feature of "Left" opportunism, which makes it particularly dangerous, is its attempts to cover up its utterly wrong theories and policies with "revolutionary" phrase-mongering and with allegations that Marxists-Leninists are ''reformists", "revisionists" and the like. ln reality the adventurist policies of "Left" opportunism tend to isolate the Communist Parties from the masses and to undermine the revolutionary movement and the unity of all democratic forces under working-class leadership in the struggle against imperialism.
Lenin had noted on several occasions that on many fundamental points the positions of Right-wing and "Left" opportunism coincided and interwove. Thus, for example, they attack from different standpoints the ideas of working-class hegemony, proletarian dictatorship and the Marxist-Leninist teaching on the role and organisational principles of the proletarian party of a new type. An example of this is Trotskyism, which is a hodgepodge of adventurism and capitulatory views.
There are a number of essential features which are common to both Trotskyism and Maoism. Although Maoism is not a variant of Trotskyism, it is likewise an eclectical medley of views incorporating sundry Trotskyite tenets along with elements of Confucianism, anarchism and petty-bourgeois chauvinism. There is much that the Maoists have in common with the Trotskyites. This includes their similar anti-Leninist attitude to the world revolutionary process, their striving to "export revolution", their extolling of war as the one and only way of promoting world revolution, their capitulatory assessment of the prospects for socialist construction, their setting the revolutionary forces in opposition to one another, their anti-Sovietism, their slanderous charges of "degeneration" levied against the Communist parties of many countries, and so on.
Lenin vigorously rebuffed nationalistic tendencies in the world working-class and communist movement, noting the link between them and both Right-wing and "Left" opportunism. He wrote: "The ideological and political affinity, connection and even identity between opportunism and social-nationalism are beyond doubt." He called on the Communist parties and the world communist movement to combat opportunistic distortion of the concept and policy of internationalism and the practice of paying lip-service to internationalism in order to camouflage nationalism. He was for the unswerving implementation of proletarian internationalism, emphasizing that it was essential correctly to combine the national and international tasks of the Communist parties and that "the interests of the proletarian struggle in any one country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a worldwide scale".
Time and again Lenin pointed out that in formulating their policies the Communist parties must take into account the national and other specific features of their respective countries. At the same time he emphasized the importance of the common laws of development governing the socialist revolution and the transition from capitalism to communism, which applied to all countries. He said that the question was one of correctly modifying the basic principles of communism in accordance with the particular features of one or another country, of correctly adapting and applying them with account being taken of national distinctions. At total variance with Leninism are social-reformist ratiocinations about "different models of socialism", about a "special" road to socialism for one or another country, notions that reflect opportunistic deviations from the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
All of Lenin's writings are permeated with a profound feeling of confidence in the inevitable, ultimate triumph of communist ideals. "Communism is bound to win. It will win," he wrote. In his last article Better Fewer, But Better, which he completed on March 2, 1923, he once again noted that the complete worldwide victory of socialism was inevitable, "fully and absolutely assured".
Our epoch is one of the triumph of Leninism.
Under the banner of Leninism the Soviet people have built a developed socialist society and are now building communism. There has come true Lenin's prophecy that more states would break away from the capitalist system as a result of the socialist revolution, and that from a national force the proletarian dictatorship would develop into an international force. The universality and correctness of Lenin's teaching on socialist construction have been fully confirmed by the experience of many countries on three continents. The world system of socialism is growing and gaining in strength. The system of international cooperation that has been established within the framework of the world socialist community demonstrates the viability of Lenin's principles concerning a new type of relations between nations.
The entire world revolutionary movement has gone forward and attained new and higher levels under the banner of Leninism.
Practice has demolished the outdated thesis of bourgeois-reformist and petty-bourgeois anarchistic theorists on the alleged "waning" of the revolutionary spirit among the working people in the West. In class battles fought over recent years the working class has displayed a gift for organisation, militancy, and a readiness to take decisive action in the name of democratic and socialist ideals. It has demonstrated its ability to lead the masses in the new conditions of deep-going changes in economy, social relations and the social outlook of the working people. In most capitalist countries it is the peasants who remain the proletariat's main ally. The progressive intelligentsia is playing an increasingly important role as an ally of the proletariat. More groups of young people are joining the revolutionary movement.
Lenin's theses on the national-liberation movement and the strategy of forging a firm alliance between the world socialist system and the international proletariat, on the one hand, and the oppressed peoples, on the other, have shown the road to victory in the struggle against colonialism and for national independence, freedom and social progress. Imperialism's colonial empire has collapsed under the blows of the national-liberation movement, and hundreds of millions of people have thrown off the chains of imperialist bondage. Tens of former colonial and semi-colonial nations have begun to pursue an independent course of social and political development. As Lenin had foreseen, in many countries the national-liberation movement has developed into a fight against every kind of exploitation, feudal and capitalist. Many countries that have cast off the imperialist yoke have taken a non-capitatist road of development with the ultimate aim of building a socialist society.
A salient feature of our time is the popular movement to preserve and strengthen peace and prevent another world war. In the van of the peace movement are the socialist countries and the world's Communists. The peace movement confirms Lenin's view that the maintenance of peace, the prevention of world wars, provides the most favourable conditions for socialist and communist construction and the entire revolutionary process and accords with the vital interests of the overwhelming majority of mankind.
Loyal to Lenin's behests, the CPSU and the Soviet Government consistently strengthen the unity and fraternal friendship of the socialist countries, pursue a policy of international solidarity with the working-class movement in the capitalist countries, support the national-liberation movement and cooperate with the developing countries, uphold the principle of the peaceful coexistence of states with differing social systems, resolutely repulse the aggressive forces of imperialism, and do all in their power to safeguard humanity from another world war. And now that major progress in carrying out the Leninist principle of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems has been made, and that the peace movement in all parts of the world has been growing in scope, the following words said by Lenin many years ago acquire particular importance: "...our peace policy is approved by the vast majority of people all over the world."
The unceasing striving of peoples for peace on earth has been most vividly demonstrated at the World Congress of Peace Forces which was held in Moscow in October 1973 and attended by more than 3,000 delegates from 144 countries. The address by Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, at the Congress has met with warm approval. In his speech he noted: "The principles of the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems are winning ever broader recognition. They are assuming more and more practical content, gradually becoming a generally accepted standard of international relations." Addressing the world army of peace champions he said: "You can depend on the Soviet people, who have always - in the early years after their great revolution, in the years of building socialism, in the battle against fascism, in the post-war decades, and at the present time - stood and will continue to stand in the front line of the struggle for the interests of humanity."
The USSR stands forth before the world today as the land which is building communism, as the citadel of international friendship, as the bulwark of the world revolutionary movement for liberation.
The world communist movement has become the most influential political factor in the world today. Its unity is being consistently strengthened. The 1969 Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties greatly contributed to international communist solidarity and to the consolidation of all anti-imperialist forces and to the development of a number of points of Marxist-Leninist theory. In league with the other fraternal parties the CPSU steadily seeks firmer political cohesion and Marxist-Leninist unity in the communist movement, which must play a still more instrumental role in the struggle against imperialism.
"This path of ours," Lenin said, "is the right one, for it is the path which, sooner or later, all other countries must inevitably take." The entire course of social development has confirmed this, thus proving the international significance and historical truth of Leninism.
Lenin's ideological heritage is of truly inestimable importance; it is an inexhaustible source of revolutionary thought and inspiration. Leninism has always been the victorious banner of the fighters against imperialism and for peace, national independence, social progress, democracy and socialism, for the triumph of communist ideals.