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Article by D. Koutsoumpas, G.S of the CC of the KKE, dedicated to the150th anniversary of the birth of Lenin, in the “Sovetskaya Rossiya” newspaper
Today, 150 years after the birth of V.I. Lenin, the teachings of this great revolutionary and theoretician of scientific communism, are still alive, up-to-date, a leader and guide for the struggle of the international working class, the people’s movements for the final and irreversible this time around, liberation from exploitation, oppression and injustice that capitalist relations of production bear, the capitalist system, which for decades now is at its final and highest, its most dangerous and barbaric stage, imperialism.
The developments that we are experiencing during this period facing the coronavirus epidemic and the new global economic recession, show, and once again confirm, the Leninist precepts and analyses that the real danger for all the peoples of the world is capitalism.
This is because it not only goes against the needs of the people , of social development itself, but it also constantly causes irreparable destruction on a mass scale in all domains, due to the great sharpening of its conflicts and contradictions.
The necessity and the timeliness of socialism and socialist revolution are approaching and will continue to come to the surface as time passes, in a compelling way, with a new dynamic, coming closer and closer.
Lenin and the Bolshevik Party led the Great October Socialist Revolution. It was the first victorious battle in history to liberate the working class and its effect has not diminished even today.
Lenin’s pioneering study and action, the very victory of the revolution, enabled its teachings to be summed up into a comprehensive theory on Socialist Revolution and the Party. These teachings provided the ideological and political basis for the formation of the Communist International, for a new impetus for the International Communist movement.
Today, even more than yesterday, the theoretical Leninist legacy is precious.
It confirms in practice the correctness of Marxist-Leninist theory on revolution, which stems from the comprehensive systematic analysis of imperialism, that it matures over the course of historical development and erupts in a period determined by a complex of a whole series of objective and subjective causes.
The nihilistic stance towards the socialism that we knew, the adoption of viewpoints citing total failure – since its course was cut short – are unscientific and anti-historical stances, leading to dead-ends.
Socialism was built, it developed, it was on the path to solving huge economic and social problems. It was not possible, for a number of reasons, to demonstrate and above all to unleash throughout the entire course of its construction, its inherent possibilities for continuous development and refinement, to consolidate it in its struggle with the capitalist system.
However, this in no way negates the contribution and the role of the socialist system, as it was formed in the 20th century, regardless of the shortcomings, weaknesses and mistakes that became evident over its difficult course.
Lenin’s elaborations on the weak link in the imperialist chain were verified, beginning from 1917. Up until then, the international movement lacked the theoretical documentation indicating the possibility of a victory for socialist revolution, initially in one country or group of countries, those which emerge as weak links, as the result of the sharpening of internal contradictions under the influence of international developments.
The contribution of Lenin and the Bolshevik party was decisive in their opposition with that section of social democracy who by violating decisions of the Second International, supported the bourgeois classes of their countries, sometimes by voting for war credits in their parliaments, sometimes by participating in governments that waged wars, supposedly in order for there to exist “peaceful development”, defending “imperialist peace” with a pistol to the head of the peoples. A line that fundamentally sunk them deeper into imperialist war, into the sharpening of contradictions and competitions.
Lenin, with the strategic line that he followed, determined that from the standpoint of the revolutionary movement, the issue is not one of a simple “pacifist” opposition to war, but rather the exploitation of its rifts that are objectively created within the imperialist camp in such conditions, the exploitation of the weakening of the bourgeois class of every country with the goal of turning the imperialist war in each country, either from the side of the “attacking” or the “defending country, into a struggle for the overthrow of the power of the bourgeois class that brings killings and poverty to the children of the working class, the people of every country.
The October Socialist Revolution also confirmed the role of opportunism as an ideological political expression of bought-off sections of the working class, as the influence of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology on the labor movement.
Based on the experience of October, Lenin was particularly concerned with the issues of power of the new workers’ state, the dictatorship of the proletariat. He also studied in detail the experience of the Commune, the experience of the Soviets in the 1905 Revolution in Russia, the role of the state based on the Marx-Engels legacy.
Lenin’s special contribution to the identification of the budding elements of the organs of the new power, the character of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as a superior form of state organization of the class in power, on the passage from the immature, developing socialist society, to the higher fully-developed communist society, both in its form and content.
The experience and teachings in Lenin’s work are of timeless value and today, when it comes to organizing the labor-popular struggle, when the class struggle intensifies in conditions of revolutionary crisis, a revolutionary situation, the organization and the expression of the alliance of the working class with the poor popular strata, its natural allies, the poor farmers and the self-employed, with the working class as the vanguard, able to lead the way to a decisive clash with the bourgeoisie, and to create people’s institutions of the new power.
The KKE, studying this valuable experience, the legacy of Lenin, the experience of the ICM, studied and set out conclusions in its elaborations and documents.
We drew the crucial conclusion that the determination of the political goal, workers’ power, must be made based on the objective determination of the character of the period, which is determined by which class comprises the movement which is objectively at the forefront of social development.
The experience and the theoretical elaborations of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, together with their revolutionary action, during the period from the 1905 Revolution until the 1917 October Revolution, concerns all the aspects of struggle of a revolutionary workers’ party that does not lose sight of its goal of workers’ power.
It offers valuable experience for the work of communists among the broad, immature workers’ - popular masses. It shows the constant and simultaneously contradictory movement in the development of their alliance.
It teaches that the elevated militant, and even revolutionary dispositions, co-exist alongside misguided conceptions and viewpoints. Of course, the firmest dispositions develop among the industrial workers, within the working class.
It is therefore very important that the ideological and political vanguard, the Communist Party, elaborates and closely monitors the political line, to intervene effectively and specifically to provide a revolutionary orientation to the movement of insurgent masses, militant protest and planned clash, subversive action, calculating that within the ranks of the movement there are forces that are influenced by bourgeois ideology, a multitude of petty bourgeois vacillating forces, and they bring all of this into the ranks of the vanguard.
The continual ability of the Bolsheviks to adapt, with Lenin at the head, did not lead them down the wrong path, to lose the essence of the goal of revolutionary overthrow and workers’ power. Responding to any task due to the proper adaptation of that task, must not lead to a gradual change of the strategic goal in the name of adaptation. This is crucial for every CP.
Otherwise, there is the existing danger of dissipation into the masses, of being assimilated into positions within the system, of turning strategy into continual maneuvering and tactics. At the same time, the communist vanguard must be careful to not be led into isolation, to entrenchment, to dogmatism.
The continual creative use of the Leninist method and experience in daily political action, must be a permanent concern for the Communist Parties.
The scientific explanation and defense of the contribution of socialism in the 20th century is an element of strengthening the revolutionary strategy of the communist movement. The comprehensive study of the contradictions and conflicts, of the very subjective errors of the whole of historical motion, is a process of developing the theory of socialism – communism which will result in the ideological and political revitalization and supremacy of the communist movement for a new charge forward and final victory.
This will be the greatest tribute on the 150th anniversary of the birth of V.I. Lenin. In this difficult but beautiful struggle, the creative use of Lenin’s theory and action guides us!