Translated by Petr Yakovlev
The Russian proletarian movement is the social and political activity of the working masses on the territory of Russia, caused by the exploitation and oppression by the bourgeoisie, proceeding in the mainstream of the objective material interests of hired workers.
The spontaneous side of the proletarian movement is a set of social processes that, due to the low level of consciousness of the masses, occur regardless of their conscious will and any organizations. The main factors in the formation of these processes are the economic development of the country, the specifics of the development of capitalism, the class alignment of forces, the policy of state power, the degree and nature of the ignorance of the masses. The field of spontaneous is subject to study and consideration in Marxism.
The conscious side of the proletarian movement is a set of social processes, primarily the activities of the masses, based on an understanding of the situation, class and group interests, goals, objectives, and so on. The area of the conscious is subject to the directing influence of Marxism by the most literate and authoritative theorists, groups, organizations.
Scientifically, the goal of the Russian proletarian movement in the class struggle is to organize the working masses into a revolutionary class to overthrow the power of capital and establish the dictatorship of the working class, with the subsequent building of a Communist society. The ideological and theoretical, organizing headquarters and guiding vanguard force of the revolutionary class will be its Communist Party, which should be formed by the most advanced, conscious, literate, and dedicated Marxists on the basis of science-based centralism.
The science-based centralism of the Communist Party is a reliable guarantee of victories in the class struggle to overthrow the power of capital and to build Communism. The science-based centralism means that the leaders of the organization have the highest Marxist competence, and the majority of party members are carriers of a scientific, that is, Marxist, worldview, and the strictest discipline based on the mobilization of the party conscience and comradeship is the internal law of its life.
The party of the vanguard type is the highest form of organization of the revolutionary class. The most advanced strata of the working people adhere to such a party, forming an agent network among the broad masses of the people. Thus the influence of the subjective side of the proletarian movement on its objective side is ensured. Thus, the development of a revolutionary situation, which is developing, as a rule, objectively, into a social revolution, is ensured.
The objective side of the revolutionary situation, which absolutely prevails in history, is the degree of the blind stimulating influence of the ruling class on the proletarian and people`s masses, leading them to the disturbance. In other words, in a revolutionary situation, all the conditions are objective that induce the masses to actively resist the tyranny of the oligarchy. An approximate list of signs of this kind of conditions was given by Lenin — this is i) „the impossibility for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change“, ii) „the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual“, iii) „a considerable increase, as a consequence of the above causes, in the activity of the masses “.
The subjective side of a revolutionary situation is the level of organization of the revolutionary class, which is ultimately ensured by the level of its consciousness and partyness. The relation between the objective and the subjective in the theory of a revolutionary situation is such that the situation that objectively arises as a result of the development of internal and external contradictions of capitalism, with its main, leading driving force, has a contradiction between the exploited and the exploiters of a given country, which, in turn, can be subjectively brought to its extreme degree by the revolutionary working class under the leadership of the Communist Party in the form of the seizure of state power. That is, the objective reveal itself in the subjective, they constitute an identity under certain conditions, the requirements of the objective laws of the development of the revolution.
The proletarian movement, the subjective side of which is the struggle for Communism, is the Communist movement of the working class. Such a Communist movement is a kind of revolutionary movement, that is, a movement aimed at social revolution — a change the socio-economic formation, in this case — the transition from class societies to Communism. Revolutionary movements without the organization of a revolutionary class and the theory of Communism are adventures, conspiracies, putschism.
I. Formation of the Party of Science-based Centralism is the first immediate goal.
II. The formation by the Party of Science-based Centralism of the proletarian masses into a revolutionary working class is the second immediate goal.
III. The overthrow of the power of capital and the establishment of the dictatorship of the working class under the leadership of the Party of Science-based Centralism is the third immediate goal.
Overthrowing the power of capital
Power is a form of relations between people, which is reduced to forceful coercion to act to the detriment of their own interests. State power, therefore, is an instrument of the rule of one class over other classes, of the exploiters over the exploited, through professionally organized violence, a special social institution standing above society.
The state arises together with the split of society into classes, as a product of the irreconcilability of their antagonism, and will disappear along with the destruction of this conflicting division of society. No power can become state power if it does not rely on the interests of a really existing economically and politically sufficiently developed class.
The source of power is private property relations, that is, production relations, the content of which is the violent alienation of the factors of life, primarily from the direct producers. The source of state power is the private property relations of a large isolated economically and politically organized group of people, i.e., a class.
People enter into production social relations of private property (slavery, serfdom, exchange, money, capital, wage labour, and other historical types) regardless of their will, which forms the real economic basis, the economic structure of society. Since the content of all these relations, differing only in form, is the violent alienation of the factors of life, insofar as to maintain this economic order, to keep the exploited and oppressed masses from reprisals against the bloodsuckers, slave owners, feudal lords, capitalists of all stripes, a political superstructure arises, primarily the state as a product of irreconcilability of classes.
A superstructure is a political form for the exploitative economic content of social life. The revolutionary change of one class socioeconomic formation to another class socio-economic formation, from slavery to feudalism, from feudalism to capitalism, was a transformation of one and the same class society that arose on the basis of private property relations.
Thus, power in a class society, including state power, is ultimately in the hands of the economically ruling class. In the final analysis, state power is the dictatorship of one class or another; therefore, its essence consists in the relation of classes.
The content of state power in the hands of the exploiting class as a form of social relations is primarily the process of maintaining an economic and political order that meets the interests and needs of this class. Or, to put it in very simple words, the content of power is to force some people for the benefit of others. The exploiting class itself is politically shaped around its own state, held together by general class discipline. In the exploiting class, a headquarters, its leaders, a formal or informal party or parties are distinguished, which determine the state policy of a given class by virtue of their understanding.
Various regimes of power from a democratic parliamentary republic to a fascist dictatorship become the forms of embodiment of state power in the hands of the exploiting class. The form of embodiment of state power is its formal legal expression, that is, the complex of legal norms through which state policy is sent by the hands of hundreds of thousands of civil state servants. The form of embodiment of state power is that system of remedies and a set of measures that the ruling class uses based on an understanding of the current situation. The form of embodiment of state power significantly affects other institutions of the superstructure.
The state, by virtue of its specific nature, to a certain extent rises above the whole society, and the highest officials of the state rise to a certain limit above the class they serve. The highest apparatus of state power, especially if the distribution of powers concentrates large administrative functions in the hands of a narrow circle of people, can, to a certain extent, break away from its class. Indeed, this will never cause a change in the class nature of the state itself; it will continue to maintain an order beneficial to the ruling class.
The real class alignment of forces is determined primarily by the balance of power between the exploiting class and the exploited masses. The main factor in the strength of a class is the level of its organization and consciousness. The exploiting class is organized into its own state, the corrupt intelligentsia works for it — scientists, teachers, journalists, writers, painters, actors, and so on. In general, it is strong, although it is quite capable of getting confused in his own policies or may weaken as a result of external aggression. The exploited masses are generally disorganized and are under the total influence of the propaganda of the exploiting class; they only resist in the form of strikes, rallies and pogroms to the most outrageous phenomena of life. Therefore, the most important objective task of all exploited and oppressed people is to organize into a political party of the vanguard type in order to form a revolutionary class around this party. And it will be the factor of force.
From what has been said it is clear that in order for the revolutionary working class to change the economic system and develop the building of Communism, the first step is to establish its dictatorship. Which, of course, is possible only after the removal of the exploiting class from power, that is, the overthrow in our case of the power of capital.
In Russia, the economically dominant class is the bourgeoisie. The most privileged stratum of the bourgeoisie, which has concentrated in its hands the commanding heights in the economy, is the upper detachment of the bourgeoisie — the monopoly magnates (oligarchy). In Russia, a state-monopoly stage of capitalism is observed, that is, a superstructure of undivided domination of the magnates of finance capital has formed over classical capitalism with its small and middle, non-monopoly bourgeoisie. The country’s economy has passed from competition to the rule of monopolies through the concentration of huge capital in the hands of a narrow circle of people. State-monopoly capitalism is a complete material preparation for the first phase of Communism, because for the formal socialization of production, the painless removal of the oligarch’s figure is sufficient.
In Russia, state power is in the hands of the bourgeoisie, serving its upper detachment — the oligarchy. It is the oligarchs who promote their interests in the field of lawmaking and application of laws, their candidacies for deputies, mayors, governors, ministers, and presidents. It is precisely on the interests and needs of the oligarchy and, to a lesser extent, other strata of the bourgeoisie that the state apparatus is guided by in the administration of state regulation and coercion measures. Top officials from municipal to government level are themselves millionaires, that is, they belong to the bourgeois class. The Russian Federation as a state in its entirety functions within the framework of capitalism protects and preserves the capitalist system, maintains an economic, political, and ideological order that is beneficial to the bourgeoisie.
The historical specificity of the formation of state-monopoly capitalism in Russia consists of the promotion of a strong team of top officials and managers headed by Putin as a center of bourgeois forces consolidating around the state. It was the activities of Putin and his team to strengthen the bourgeois state, to further consolidate capital, that formed the current model of state power in Russia.
This model is characterized by Bonapartism, that is, the maneuvering of the supreme power between the bourgeoisie and the proletarian popular masses, aimed at achieving a certain compromise within the framework of capitalism, the so-called stability. The team of top officials of the state acts as an arbiter in the confrontation between various bureaucratic-oligarchic groupings, has become a guarantor of safekeeping balance in the class balance of forces, including through pacifying the proletarian movement with measures of social support and the introduction of bourgeois-patriotic ideology.
At the same time, the form of embodiment of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in Russia is the bourgeois-democratic presidential republic. This means that the set of legal norms through which state policy is administered by the hands of hundreds of thousands of civil servants contains provisions on democratic freedoms, including the freedom of Communist propaganda and the legality of Communist organizations. There are no formal legal obstacles to the successful development of the proletarian movement in Russia today. In addition, according to the fundamental foundations of the bourgeois law of the Russian Federation, the source of power is the people, all power belongs to the people, which is expressed in the corresponding election and voting procedures. Of course, in this case, such elements in the embodiment of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie are called upon, first of all, to create in the minds of the masses the illusion of a supra-class, nation-wide state. However, at the same time, these bourgeois-democratic norms, which have received wide recognition in many countries, are the conquest of the entire world proletarian movement and give relative freedom to Communist work.
The presence or absence of bourgeois-democratic freedoms in the superstructure of capitalist society is a fundamental condition for developing the tactics of the Communist struggle. The presence of bourgeois-democratic freedoms speaks either of the extraordinary strength of the bourgeois class and the weakness of the proletarian movement or the extraordinary strength and onslaught of the revolutionary working class and the weakness of the bourgeoisie.
In our case, the bourgeois-democratic freedoms were raised on the shield by the bourgeoisie in the fight against the CPSU, therefore they became an integral part of the political and legal system of the Russian Federation and continue to exist due to the extreme weakness and disorganization of the proletarian movement. The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is in fact not threatened yet, so there is no need to trample on freedoms.
At the same time, it is important to understand that the abolition of constitutional rights, to which these freedoms belong, is a rather complex undertaking that requires long-term propaganda training and the formation of certain circumstances. It would be ideal for us if bourgeois-democratic freedoms are at first perceived as a permissible sign of the weakness of the proletarian movement for some time, and then, as soon as possible, turn out to be a sign of the strength and onslaught of the revolutionary working class.
The legality of Communist work under conditions of bourgeois-democratic freedoms means that the very goal of building a Communist society is not considered illegal by the bourgeois state. This phenomenon, contrary to the nature of the bourgeois dictatorship, serves as a kind of deception of the masses. But at the same time, the same phenomenon, with the correct organization of Communist work, becomes a factor in the unhindered strengthening of the revolutionary class.
The ideological and theoretical justification of capitalism, continuously propagandizing by various superstructural institutions of the bourgeoisie, is based on a total lie. Numerous ideologues of capitalism lie that wage labour will enable proletarians to achieve a prosperous, happy life. They lie that without capitalist owners the organization of social production is impossible. They lie that without the dictatorship of unemployment, hunger, and cold, workers will lose their motivation. They lie that it is impossible to completely get rid of hard physical and monotonous work. They lie that Communism is contrary to human nature itself. They lie that scientific production planning will lead to shortages, poverty, and monotony of life. They lie that the dictatorship of the working class is based on extreme forms of coercion. They lie that the administrative apparatus of the Communist state will become an exploiting class. They lie that the theory and practice of building Communism in the USSR turned out to be a complete failure. They lie that there were massive repressions in the Communist countries. In short, they lie that there is no scientific alternative to capitalism and cannot be. And yet they lie that the bourgeois-democratic state expresses the interests and will of the entire people, including employees. Given this latter, the struggle for Communism is equated with any other political goal and is completely legal.
Just as some bourgeois political forces advocate the removal from power of one or another grouping of other bourgeois forces, the revolutionary working class advocates the removal of the capitalist class from power as such. This removal is only possible if the dictatorship of the working class is established.
The dictatorship of the working class is a form of class organization based on the confidence of the broad masses, the essence of which is the full-power implementation of measures necessary for social progress, ultimately in the form of building Communism. The method of implementation of these measures is based on persuasion, propaganda, raising consciousness, culturalism, and so on, and coercion is a subordinate element associated with resistance, remnants of the past, foundations, traditions, and the decomposition of unconscious elements.
The state of the dictatorship of the working class, from a scientific point of view, is no longer quite a state. The dictatorship of the working class in the strict sense is no longer power. As we can see, such a dictatorship is not aimed at exploitation and oppression, on the contrary, it is a way to overcome them, a means of harmonizing social relations. It is not a dictatorship over people, but a dictatorship of the scientific worldview, a dictatorship of objective laws. But at the same time, the dictatorship of the working class is forced to be a form of class struggle, because the capitalists and their henchmen will fight with all their might and means for their parasitic way of life and the restoration of capitalism.
The system of organization of state governing bodies of the working class is fundamentally different from the system of power of the bourgeoisie, which consequently requires the destruction of the bourgeois apparatus of power and the formation of new institutions. This process means, first of all, the leading role of the Party in the state, as well as the necessary change in the structure of the organization of state administration, a powerful reliance on the most conscious elements of the working class, the mobilization of the broad masses of the people in state measures, the reorganization and re-staffing of the army and coercive organs. All competent, worthy, honest civil state servants loyal to the „new government“ will, of course, be used by the working class according to their abilities.
When comparing the goal of overthrowing the power of capital, the necessary destruction of the apparatus of bourgeois power, and those bourgeois-democratic freedoms within which a legal struggle is postulated, a false opinion is often propagated that this is a violent change of the constitutional order.
In reality, the revolutionary working class aims at first taking power, and then destroying the bourgeois apparatus, establishing an appropriate system of law, and implementing a program of its measures.
The method of overthrowing the power of capital depends on the class alignment of forces and the presence of bourgeois-democratic freedoms. If there are no democratic freedoms, it means that underground illegal Communist work is being carried out in combination with available legal forms to prepare the revolutionary class for an armed uprising. This is how the Bolsheviks acted, for example, during the years of tsarism and after the coup d’etat on July 4, 1917. If there are democratic freedoms, it means that completely legal Communist work is underway to prepare the revolutionary class for the peaceful seizure of power. This is how the Bolsheviks acted, for example, from the February Revolution to July 4, 1917.
It should be noted that the legal position of the communists does not mean that there is no need for parallel preparation for the possible curtailment of democratic freedoms and the terrorist defeat of the forces of the revolutionary class.
It should also be noted that the peaceful seizure of power is not limited to participation in bourgeois elections. The forms of peaceful seizure of power entirely depend on the specific conditions of the current situation.
The removal of the bourgeoisie from power and the establishment of the dictatorship of the working class, as mentioned above, is associated with a powerful economic and government crisis. In particular, the peaceful overthrow of the power of capital is accompanied by the self-imposition of the government to complete insignificance, paralysis of the authorities, their loss of legitimacy, state betrayal of the top, and similar manifestations of a revolutionary situation.
Because the masses have unlimited material and creative power, the balance of power between the bourgeoisie and the revolutionary working class is inversely proportional. The stronger the organizationally and spiritually is working class, the weaker is the bourgeoisie, and vice versa. The main factor in the strength of the working class, as mentioned above, is the degree of its organization and consciousness, which are formed by the party of the vanguard type. Improving the organization and consciousness of the class means: i) the formation on the basis of the party leadership, discipline and a program of action of the unity of the will of the class, ii) the conducting of a scientifically verified strategy and tactics, iii) the acquisition of sufficient personnel potential for the establishment of a dictatorship and management of society, iv) the establishment of a high revolutionary spirit. The higher is the level of organization and consciousness of the revolutionary class, the closer is the situation to revolutionary.
It is clear from the above, that the Communists in the conditions of bourgeois-democratic freedoms do not advocate a violent seizure of power or a violent change of the constitutional order. The Communists stand for the complete exhaustion of the peaceful stage of the revolution, for the peaceful seizure of power.
It does not follow, of course, that the peaceful overthrow of the power of capital is the most probable development of the revolution. Only certain methods of the class struggle for power correspond to each stage and each specific condition.
An armed uprising, in turn, is an extreme, retaliatory measure, possible in accordance with the will of the people under conditions of oppression by tyranny, fascism, racism, occupation, and other similar forms of embodiment of bourgeois power.
The overthrow of the power of capital and the establishment of a revolutionary dictatorship of the working class, of course, will cause fierce resistance from the capitalist class, up to an attempt to unleash a civil war. In this sense, and only after the seizure of power, the working class fully employs state violence as a form of social protection.
„The method of violence and violent action is not the method of Communists. On the contrary, history says that it is the enemies of Communism and all kinds of agents of foreign intelligence services who practice the method of violence and violent actions“ (I.V. Stalin).