Again on the Essence of Leninism

Communiqué from the Central Soviet of the International Center for the Formation of the Modern Communist Doctrine, delivered to the conference-commemoration of Lenin's birthday, Moscow, January 21, 1997, by V.I. Dyachenko.

The question of the essence of Leninism is not a random one and it appears it is raised as a result of the continuous attempts to revise the teachings of Marxism-Leninism.

The revisionists and opportunists of all sorts who took over the leadership of the CPSU and the Soviet State after the death of Stalin, in the period of forty years managed to distort in the consciousness of the majority of the Soviet communists and communists abroad the essence of Marxism-Leninism regarding the strategy and tactics of construction of the communist society. The main point is the teaching on the communist (in the broad sense) revolution with the purpose of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat - working class - and the formation of the communist social relations. It is specifically against these basic principles that the ideology of the CPRF [Communist Party of the Russian Federation - Note of Translator] is fighting, under the "wise" leadership of the "chief communist of the country" G.A. Zyuganov, who, as far as the essence of Marxism-Leninism is concerned, is nothing more than a true follower of the counter-revolutionary trend of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbachev clique of renegades.

"It is often said and written that the main point in Marx's theory is the class struggle. But this is wrong. And this wrong notion very often results in an opportunist distortion of Marxism and its falsification in a spirit acceptable to the bourgeoisie. For the theory of the class struggle was created not by Marx, but by the bourgeoisie before Marx, and, generally speaking, it is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxists; they may be found to be still within the bounds of bourgeois thinking and bourgeois politics. To confine Marxism to the theory of the class struggle means curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound distinction between the Marxist and the ordinary petty (as well as big) bourgeois. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism should be tested...

"The essence of Marx's theory of the state" Lenin concludes "has been mastered only by those who realize that the dictatorship of a single class is necessary not only for every class society in general, not only for the proletariat which has overthrown the bourgeoisie, but also for the entire historical period which separates capitalism from 'classless society.' from communism." (V.I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, Collected Works, V. 25, p. 417-418.)

According to the definition given by Lenin, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the "root content of the proletarian revolution." From here J.V. Stalin drew a fully substantiated conclusion that the essence of Leninism consists of the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution with the purpose of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat (J.V. Stalin, Works V. 8, p. 17.)

The greatest contribution of Lenin to the international working class consisted in the revival of the revolutionary essence of Marxism, that was perverted and transformed into a theory of class coexistence by the representatives of the petty bourgeoisie in the communist movement - the opportunists of the Second International, who denied the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Lenin had to undertake within the party a thorough ideological struggle against the holders of private-owner ideology, who represented the interests of the petty bourgeoisie in the countryside and the cities. In this regard in his work The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government Lenin wrote: "In the land in which the small-proprietor population greatly predominates over the purely proletarian population, the difference between the proletariat revolutionary and petty-bourgeoisie revolutionary will inevitably make itself felt, and from time to time will make itself felt very sharply... The social origin of such types is the small proprietor, who has been driven to frenzy by the horrors of war, by sudden ruin, by unprecedented torments of famine and devastation, who... seeking a way out, seeking salvation, places his confidence in the proletariat and supports it one moment and the next gives way to fits of despair. We must clearly understand and firmly remember the fact that socialism cannot be built on such a social basis. The only class that can lead the working and exploited people is the class that unswervingly follows its path... What we need is the steady advance of iron proletarian battalions." (V.I. Lenin V. 27, p. 276-277).

Attempts at perverting the essence of Leninism have been carried out since the death of V.I. Lenin by both left and right opportunists within the CPSU(B). However Stalin fought them. Take for example Trotsky's definition of Leninism. He wrote regarding this question: "Leninism, as a system of revolutionary action, presumes a revolutionary instinct trained in reflection and experience which, in the social sphere, is equivalent to muscular sensation in physical labor." Stalin showed that this is nothing more than playing with words. (J.V. Stalin, Works, V. 8, p. 289.) The Trotskyist Zinoviev defined Leninism this way: "Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialist wars and of the world revolution which began directly in a country where the peasant predominates." Based on his own definition of Leninism, Zinoviev considered that the main question is the role of the peasantry. Stalin said: "As you see, Zinoviev's thesis follows entirely from his wrong definition of Leninism. It is therefore as wrong as his definition of Leninism is wrong.

"Is Lenin's thesis that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the 'root content of the proletarian revolution' correct? It is unquestionably correct. Is the thesis that Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution correct?. I think it is correct. But what follows from this? From this it follows that the fundamental question of Leninism, its point of departure, its foundation, is the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat" (J.V. Stalin, Works, V. 8, p. 14, 17.)

Right opportunists under the leadership of Bukharin, who expressed the interests of the kulaks in the countryside, denied the dictatorship of the proletariat. The idea of the dying off of the dictatorship of the proletariat under the construction of socialism and the transformation of class society into a classless one, belongs particularly to Bukharin. However his theory was exposed first by Lenin and after his death by J.V. Stalin. "Hence" pointed out Stalin "the three main aspects of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

"1) The utilization of the rule of the proletariat for the suppression of the exploiters, for the defence of the country, for the consolidation of the ties with the proletarians of other lands, and for the development and victory of the revolution in all countries.

"2) The utilization of the rule of the proletariat in order to detach the laboring and exploited masses once and for all from the bourgeoisie, to consolidate the alliance of the proletariat with these masses, to draw these masses into the work of socialist construction, and to ensure the state leadership of these masses by the proletariat.

"3) The utilization of the rule of the proletariat for the organization of socialism, for the abolition of classes, for the transition to a society without classes, to a socialist society.

"The proletarian dictatorship is a combination of all these three aspects. No single one of these aspects can be advanced as the sole characteristic feature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. On the other hand, in the circumstances of capitalist encirclement, the absence of even one of these features is sufficient for the dictatorship of the proletariat to cease being a dictatorship." (J.V. Stalin, Concerning Questions of Leninism, "The Proletarian Revolution and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat", V. 8, p. 31-32)

Defending the essence of Leninism in the course of the ideological struggle against the opposition, Stalin said: "Indeed why does the C.P.S.U.(B.) express utter distrust of the opposition? The reason is that the opposition intended to replace Leninism by Trotskyism... to 'improve' Leninism by means of Trotskyism. But the Party wants to remain faithful to Leninism, in spite of all the various artifices of the down-at-heel aristocrats in the Party. That is the root cause why the Party, which has made three revolutions, found necessary to turn its back on Trotsky and on the opposition as a whole." (J.V. Stalin, Works, V. 10. 165.)

The tragedy occurred after the death of Stalin, when the leadership of the CPSU and the State was seized by holders of petty-bourgeois psychology and ideology, the continuators of the Trostskyite-Bukharinite opposition. As a result petty-bourgeois anarchy took over the party and society.

Revisionism in the CPSU was fought afterwards by the Party of Labor of Albania led by Enver Hoxha. This ended up with a total confrontation between the Soviet Union and Albania. In the article "Soviet revisionists will not manage to disguise their treacherous face with demagogy" in 1969 he wrote:

"Khrushchevite revisionism in the Soviet Union has undergone several stages, in compliance with which its forms, methods and tactics of struggle and action to carry out in practice its anti-Marxist and traitorous course and to camouflage it, have also changed...

"In the ideological field the revisionists replaced the ideas and the consistent Marxist-Leninist line of Stalin on all the fundamental questions with the ideas and the anti-Marxist line of modern revisionism. Opportunists and various Trotskyist, Bukharinist and Zinovievist enemies, nationalists, and others, in the Soviet Union were proclaimed as 'victims of Stalin' and where placed on the pedestal of 'martyrs' and 'heroes'... They launched the slogan of unity with the social-democrats on a national and international scale 'in the joint struggle for socialism,' and the way was paved for the complete ideological, political and organizational rapprochement and merger of the communist parties with the social-democratic parties...

"In the political field Khrushchev and his group besmirched and discarded the Marxist-Leninist theory and practice about the class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat, calling it a 'Stalinist distortion' and proclaiming the whole historic period of Stalin's leadership a 'dark, anti-democratic period, a period of violations of socialist legality, of terror and murders, of prisons and concentration camps.' The road was thus opened for the liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and for its replacement with the bureaucratic and counterrevolutionary dictatorship of the new 'socialist' aristocracy which was born and was developing, all this being covered with the deceptive slogans of 'democratization' and of 'restoration of freedom and socialist justice' allegedly 'lost and now regained.'

"In the economic field the Khrushchevites declared as erroneous and incorrect the Stalin line and methods of development and management of the socialist economy in all branches, especially in that of agriculture, rejected Stalin's directives on further improvement and development of socialist relations of production in the historic period of the transition from socialism to communism, and, under the pretext of overcoming the economic 'stagnation' and difficulties allegedly created as a result of the Stalin 'dogmatic' line, undertook a series of 'reforms' which paved the way to the gradual degeneration of the socialist economic order and to the uncontrolled operation of the economic laws of capitalism." (Enver Hoxha, The Party of Labor of Albania in Battle with Modern Revisionism, Speeches and Articles, p. 477, 481-482).

This path lead to the total restoration of capitalist relations in our country, which in terms of theory is a result, in our view, of the revision of the essence of Leninism by the CPSU.

To conclude, let me return again to the brilliant words of Enver Hoxha who said, I remind you, in 1969:

"Despite the fact that not all the communists and the working class in the Soviet Union see that the present-day Communist Party of the Soviet Union has nothing in common with the Bolshevik Party of Lenin-Stalin, bolshevism is always alive in the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bolshevik revolutionaries will not be defeated in the face of the tragedy which the land of the Soviets is living, but they will restore the great traditions of October Revolution, of the heroic times of Lenin and Stalin. And the only road to this is the recreation of the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist revolutionary party, that must take in its hands the banner of the struggle for the overthrow of the revisionist clique and the restoration of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to turn the Soviet Union back to the road of communism". (Ibid. p. 503-504).

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