Primary_Sources_on_Communism - I“ I , mm N‘le and...

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Unformatted text preview: I“ I , mm N‘le and cage/5, 200 “A World to Wml”; The Indusmal Revolution The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat. The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would—be universal reformer. 7 They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive fea— ture of Communism. All property relations in the past have continually been subject to histori- cal change consequent upon the change in historical conditions. ' The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property. The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois pri- vate property is the final and most complete expression of the system of pro— ducing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonism, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the sin- gle sentence: Abolition of private property. . . The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property~relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas. But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism. We have seen abovejthat the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy, to wrest, by degrees, all cap- ital from‘the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible. Of course, in theebeginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of hour-- geois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economi— cally insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of pro— duction. These measures will of course be different in different countries. Nevertheless in the most advanced countries the followmg will be pretty generally applicable: 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to pub- lic purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 7‘1 Qmmuwv’ filmm‘fm‘o ’ fat/AM? “A World to Win!” Thei’ndusinalRevolution 201 . Abolition of all rights of inheritance. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. . Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank With State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, espe— cially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abo— lition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of population over the country. 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with indus— trial production, etc., etc. Org-ism When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for. op— pressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoiSie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution. it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the 01d conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antago— nisms, and of class generally, and will thereby have abolished its own su— premacy as a class. In place of the old bourge01s society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. , . . In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary move— ment against the existing social and political order of things. In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter What its degree of development at the time. Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democ— ratic parties of all countries. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly de— clare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all ex- isting social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revo— lution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to Win. Workers of the world, unitel 22 / INDUSTRIALIZATION, URBANIZATION, AND REVOLUTION, 1830—1850 WWW”. Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith June 9, 1847 QUESTION 1: Are you a Communist? ANSWER: Yes. QUESTION 2: What is the aim of the Communists? ANSWER: To organise society in such a way that every member of it can de~ velop and use all his capabilities and powers in complete freedom and without thereby infringing the basic conditions of this society. QUESTION 3: How do you wish to achieve this aim? ANSWER: By the elimination of private property and its replacement by com— munity of property. QUESTION 4: On what do you base your community of property? ANSWER: Firstly, on the mass of productive forces and means of subsistence resulting from the development of industry, agriculture, trade and colonisation, and on the possibility inherent in machinery, chemical and other resources of their infinite extension. Secondly, on the fact that in the consciousness or feeling of every individual there exist certain irrefutable basic principles which, being the result of the whole of historical development, require no proof. QUESTION 5: What are such principles? ANSWER: For example, every individual strives to be happy. The happiness of the individual is inseparable from the happiness of all, etc. QUESTION 6: How do you wish to prepare the way for your community of property? ANSWER: By enlightening and uniting the proletariat. QUESTION 7: What is the proletariat? ANSWER: The proletariat is that class of society which lives exclusively by its labour and not on the profit from any kind of capital; that class whose weal and woe, whose life and death, therefore, depend on the alternation of times of good and bad business; in a word, on the fluctuations of competition. QUESTION 8: Then there have not always been proletarians? ANSWER: No. There have always been poor and working classes; and those who worked were almost always the poor. But there have not always been prole— tarians, just as competition has not always been free. QUESTION 9: How did the proletariat arise? ANSWER: The proletariat came into being as a result of the introduction of the machines which have been invented since the middle of the last century and the moSt important of which are: the steam-engine, the spinning machine and the power loom. These machines, which were very expensive and could therefore only be purchased by rich people, supplanted the workers of the time, because by the use of machinery it was possible to produce commodities more quickly and cheaply than could the workers with their imperfect spinning wheels and hand—looms. The machines thus delivered industry entirely into the hands of the big capitalists and Friedrich Engels Tu Draft of a Communist Confessum of Faith 127 mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ,. WWW...” MmmmamwmnmwnWWMMW—«Wma rendered the workers’ scanty property which consisted mainly of their tools, looms, etc, quite worthless, so that the capitalist was left with everything, the worker with nothing. In this way the factory system was introduced. Once the capitalists saw how advantageous this was for them, they sought to extend it to more and more branches of labour. They divided work more and more between the workers so that workers who formerly had made a whole article now produced only a part of it. Labour simplified in this way produced goods more quickly and therefore more cheaply and only now was it found in almost every branch of labour that here also machines could be used. As soon as any branch of labour went over to factory pro- duction it ended up, just as in the case of spinning and weaving, in the hands of the big capitalists, and the workers were deprived of the last remnants of their indepen— dence. We have gradually arrived at the position where almost all branches of labour are run on a factory basis. This has increasingly brought about the ruin of the pre— viously exrsting middle class, especially of the small master craftsmen, completely transformed the previous position of the workers, and two new classes which are gradually swallowing up all other classes have come into being, namely: 1. The class Of the big capitalists, who in all advanced countries are in al— most exclusrve possession of the means of subsistence and those means (machines, factories, workshops, etc.) by which these means of subsis— tence are produced. This is the bourgeois class, or the hourgeoiste. II. The class of the completely propertyless, who are compelled to sell their labour to the first class, the bourgeois, simply to obtain from them in return their means of subsistence. Since the parties to this trading in labour are not equal, but the bourgeois have the advantage, the property- less must submit to the bad conditions laid down by the bourgeois. This class, dependent on the bourgeois, is called the class of the proletarians or the proletariat. QUESTION 10: In what way does the proletarian alifi‘er from the slave? ANSWER: The slave is sold once and for all, the proletarian has to sell himself by the day and by the hour. The slave is the property of one master and for that very reason has a guaranteed subsistence, however wretched it may be. The pro— letarian is, so to speak, the slave of the entire bourgeois class, not Of one master, and therefore has no guaranteed subsistence, since nobody buys his labour if he does not need it. The slave is accounted a thing and not a Inember of civil society. The proletarian is recognised as a person, as a member of civil society. The slave may, therefore, have a better subsistence than the proletarian but the latter stands at a higher stage of development. The Slave frees himself by becoming a proletar— ian, abolishing from the totality of property relationships only the relationship of slavery. The proletarian can free himself only by abolishing property in general. QUESTION 11: In what way does the proletarian difler from the serf? ANSWER: The serf has the piece of land, that is, of an instrument of produc— tion, in return for handing over a greater or lesser portion of the yield. The pro— letarian works with instruments of production which belong to someone else who, in return for his labour, hands over to him a portion, determined by 128 22 / lNDUSTRIALIZATION, URBANIZATION, AND REVOLUTION, 18304850 competition, of the products. In the case of the serf, the share of the labourer is determined by his own labour, that is, by himself. In the case of the proletarian it is determined by competition, therefore in the first place by the bourgeOIs. The serf has guaranteed subsistence, the proletarian has not. The serf frees himself by driving out his feudal lord and becoming a property owner himself, thus enter— ing into competition and joining for the time being the possessing class, the privileged class. The proletarian frees himself by doing away with property, competition, and all class differences. QUESTION 12: In what way does the proletarian dififer from the handicraftsman? ANSWER: As opposed to the proletarian, the so—called handicraftsman, who still existed nearly everywhere during the last century and still exists here and there, is at most a temporary proletarian. His aim is to acquire capital himself and so to exploit other workers. He can often achieve this aim where the craft guilds still exist or where freedom to follow a trade has not yet led to the organisation of handwork on a factory basis and to intense competition. But as soon as the fac— tory system is introduced into handwork and competition is in full swing, this prospect is eliminated and the handicraftsman becomes more and more a prole— tarian. The handicraftsman therefore frees himself either by becoming a hour— geois or in general passing over into the middle Class, or, by becoming a proletarian as a result of competition (as now happens in most cases) and joining the movement of the proletariat—Le, the more or less conscious communist movement. QUESTION 13: Then you do not believe that community ofproperty has been possible at any time? ‘ ANSWER: No. Communism has only arisen since machinery and other inven— tions made it- possible to hold out the prospect of an all—sided development, a happy existence, for all members of society. Communism is the theory of a liber— ation which was not possible for the slaves, the serfs, or the handicraftsmen, but only for the proletarians and hence it belongs of necessity to the 19th century and was not possible in any earlier period. QUESTION 14: Let us go back to the sixth question. As you wish to prepare for community of property by the enlightening and uniting of the proletariat, then you reject revolution? ANSWER: We are convinced not only of the uselessness but even of the harm— fulness of all conspiracies. We are also aware that revolutions are not made deliberately and arbitrarily but that everywhere and at all times they are the nec— essary consequence of circumstances which are not in any way whatever depen— dent either on the will or on the leadership of individual parties or of whole classes. But we also see that the development of the proletariat in almost all countries of the world is forcibly repressed by the possessing classes and that thus a revolution is being forcibly worked for by the opponents of communism. If, in the end, the oppressed proletariat is thus driven into a revolution, then we will defend the cause of the proletariat just as well by our deeds as now by our words. Friedrich Engels o Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith 129 QUESTION 15: Do you intend to rep prroperty at one stroke? ANSWER: We have no such intention. The development of the masses cannot be ordered by decree. It is determined by the development of the conditions in which these masses live, and therefore proceeds gradually. QUESTION 16: How do you think the transition from the present situation to community of property is to be efi’ected? ANSWER: The first, fundamental condition for the introduction of commu— nity of property is the political liberation of the proletariat through a democratic constitution. lace the existing social order by community 2QUESTION 17: What will be your first measure once you have established democ- racy. ANSWER: Guaranteeing the subsistence of the proletariat. QUEsrioN 18: How will you do this? ANSWER: l. By limiting private property in such a way that it gradually pre~ pares the way for its transformation into social property, eig., by progressive taxation, limitation of the right of inheritance in favour of the state, etc., etc. ll. By employing workers in national workshops and factories and on national estates. Ill. By educating all children at the expense of the state. QUESTION I9: How will you arrange this kind of education during the period of transition? ANSWER: All children will be educated in state establishments from the time when they can do without the first maternal care. QUESTION 20: Will not the introduction of community of property be accompa— nied by the proclamation of the community of women? ANSWER: By no means. We will only interfere in the personal relationship be— tween men and women or With the family in general to the extent that the mainte— nance of the ex13ting institution would disturb the new social order. Besides, we are well aware that the family relationship has been modified in t i I he course of history by the property relationships and by periods of development, a i 1 d. I . nd that consequently tie en ing of private property Will also have a most important influence on it. QUESTION 21: Will nationalities continue to exist under communism? ; ANSWER: The nationalities of the peoples who join together according to the principle of community will be just as much compelled by this union to merge with one another and thereby supersede themselves as the various differences be- tween estates and classes disappear through the superseding of their basis—pri~ vate property. QUESTION 22: Do Communists reject the existing religions? r ANSWER: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of histor— ical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But com- munism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and supersedes them. 324 The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitmion State (19] 7—1939) In fulfilling these tasks, the Provisional Government is animated by the be- lief that it will thus execute the will of the people, and that the whole nation will support it in its honest efforts to insure the happiness of Russia. This belief in— spires it with courage. Only in the common effort of the entire nation and the Provisional Government can it see a pledge of triumph of the new order. March 19. 1917 Policy of the Petrograd Soviet (March 27, 1917) Comrade—proletarians, and toilers of all countries: We, Russian workers and soldiers, united in the Petrograd Soviet of Work— ers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, send you warmest greetings and announce the great event. The Russian democracy has shattered in the dust the age—long despotism of the Tsar and enters your family [of nations] as an equal, and as a mighty force in the struggle for our common liberation. Our Victory is a great victory for the freedom and democracy of the world. The chief pillar of reaction in the world, the “Gendarme of Europe” is no more. May the earth turn to heavy granite on his gravel Long live freedom! Long live the interna- tional solidarity of the proletariat, and its struggle for final victoryl Our work is not yet finished: the shades of the old order have not yet been dispersed, and not a4 few enemies are gathering their forces against the Russ- ian revolution. Nevertheless our achievement so far is tremendous. The peo— ple of Russia will express their will in the Constituent Assembly, which will be called as soon as possible on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. And it may already be said without a doubt that a democratic repub- lic will triumph in Russia. The Russian people now possess full political lib— erty. They can now assert their mighty power in the internal government of the country and in its foreign policy. And, appealing to all people who are being, destroyed and ruined in the monstrous war, we announce that the time has come to/startl a decisive struggle against the grasping ambitions of the governments of all countries; the time has come for the people to take into their own hands the decision of the question of war and peace. Conscious of its revolutionary power, the Russian democracy announces that it will, by every means, resist the policy of conquest of its ruling classes, and. it calls upon the peoples of Europe for concerted, decisive action in favor of peace. We are appealing to our brother—proletarians of the Austro—German coali- tion, and, first of all, to the German proletariat. From the first days of,the war, you were assured that by raising arms against autocratic Rus51a, you were defending the culture of Europe from Asiatic despotism. Many of you saw in this a justification of that support which you were giving to the war. Now even this justification is gone: democratic Russia cannot be a threat to liberty and civilization. “Policy of the Petrograd Soviet” IS from Frank A. Golder, ed., Documents of Russzan Histmy (1914—1917), trans. Emanuel Aronsberg (NewYork: The Century Company, 1927), pp. 325—326. 1 l l l l i g l l l g l l i l l l l i l E The Russzon Revolution and the Development of the Totalitrman State (191 7—1939) 325 We will firme defend our own liberty from all reactionary attempts from within, as well as from without. The Russian revolution will not retreat before the bayonets of conquerors, and will not allow itself to be crushed by foreign military force. But we are calling to you: Throw off the yoke of your semi— autocratic rule, as the Russian people have shaken off the Tsar’s autocracy; refuse to serve as an instrument of conquest and Violence in the hands of kings, landowners, and bankers—and then by our united efforts, we will stop the horrible butchery, which is disgracing humanity and. is beclouding the great days of the birth of Russian freedom. Toilers of all countries: lVe hold out to you the hand of brotherhood across the mountains of our brothers’ corpses, across rivers of innocent blood and tears, over the smoking ruins of cities and Villages, over the wreck— age of the treasures of civilization;—~—we appeal to you for the reestablishment and strengthening of international unity. In it is the pledge of future victories and the complete liberation of humanity. Proletarians of all countries, Unite! PETROGRAD SOVIET OF WORKERS’ AND SOLDIERS’ DEPUTIES The Apri Theses (April 20, 1917) v= |. LENIN The class consolous proletariat can consent to a revolutionary war, which would really justify revolutionary defencism, only on condition: (a) that the power of government pass to the proletariat and the poor sections of the peasantry bordering on the proletariat; (b) that all annexations be re nounced in deed as well as in words; (c) that a complete and real break be made with all capitalist interests. In view of the undoubted honesty of the mass of the rank~and~file believers in revolutionary defencism, who accept the war as a necessity only and not as a means of conquest; in View of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary thoroughly, persistently and patiently to explain their error to them, to explain the indissoluble connection between capital and the imperialist war, and to prove that it 23 impossible to end the war by a truly democratic, non-coercive peace without overthrow of capital. The widespread propaganda of this View among the army on active service must be organised. lEraternisation (2) The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that it repre— sents a transition from the first stage of the revolution—which owmg to the “The April Theses” is from Martin McCauley, ed., The Russzem Revolution and the Same: Stole (New York: Barnes 8c Noble, 1975), pp. 52—54. Permission granted by Barnes 8c Noble Books, To— towa, Newjersey. 326 The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitaiian State (191 7—1939) insufficient class consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, led to the assumption of power by the bourgeoisie—40 the second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poor strata of the peas— antry. This transition is characterised, on the one hand, by a maximum of free- dom (Russia is now the freest of all the belligerent countries in the world); on the other, by the absence ofviolence in relation to the masses, and, finally, by the naive confidence of the masses in the government of capitalists, the worst enemies of peace and socialism. This specific situation demands on our part an ability to adapt ourselves to the specific requirements of Party work among unprecedently large masses of _ proletarians who have just awakened to political life. '(3) No support must be given to the Provisional Government, the utter falsity of all its promises must be exposed, particularly of those relating to the renunciation of annexations. Exposure, and not the unpardonable illusion— breeding ‘demand’ that this government, a government of capitalists, should cease to be an imperialist government. (4) The fact must be recognised that in most of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies our Party is in a minority, and so far in a small minority, as against a bloc of all the petty—bourgeois opportunist elements, who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie and are the conveyors of its influence to the pro- letariat. . . . ‘ It must be explained to the masses that the Soviet of Workers‘ Deputies is the only possible form of revolutionary government and that therefore our task is, as long as this government submits to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of its errors and tac— tics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses. As long as we are in the minority we carry on the work of criticising and ex— posing errors and at the same time advocate the necessity of transferring the entire power of state to the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, so that the masses may by experience overcome their mistakes. (5) Not a parliamentary republic—to return to a parliamentary republic from the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies would be a retrograde step—but a re- public of Soviets of Workers’, Agricultural Labourerss and Peasants’ Deputies throughout the country, from top to bottom. Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy. (6) The agrarian programme must be centered around the Sov1ets of Agri- cultural Labourers’ Deputies. Confiscation of All Landed Estates Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the disposal of such lands to be in the charge of v the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers‘ and Peasaints’ Deputies. The organisation of separate soviets of Deputies of the Poor Peas— ants. The creation of model farms on each of the large estates. . . . The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitartan State (191 7—1939) 327 ('7) The immediate amalgamation of all banks in the country into a single national bank, control over which shall be exercised by the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. (8) Our immediate task shall be not the ‘introduction of socialism,’ but to bring social production and distribution of products at once under the con— trol of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. (9) Party tasks: (a) Immediate summoning of a Party congress. (b) Alteration of the Party programme, mainly: 1. On the question of imperialism and the imperialist war; 12. On the question of our attitude towards the state and our de- mand for a Scommune state.’ 3. Amendment of our antiquated minimum programme; (c) A new name for die Party. (10) A new International. The Bolshevk Revolution (November—December 1917) The Bolshevik faction, led by Lenin and his very competent colleague Leon Trot— sky, had suflered reversals during an abortive uprising in 1917. Trotsky was imprisoned and Lenin fled to Finland. Finally in November 1917, Lenin persuaded his faction that the time was ripe for a coup. The first selection is Lenin’s speech after his successful storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd. Note the critical editorialfrom the newspaper Izvestia on November 8. It was the last before the Bolsheviks censored the press. Lenin’s seizure of power also in— cluded the establishment of a secret police (Cheka), an institution that had been used (in another form) by the autocratic tsar to eliminate opposition. Speech After the Overthrow of the Provisional Government v. I. LENlN Comrades, the workmen’s and peasant’s revolution, the need of which the Bolsheviks have emphasized many times, has come to pass. “Speech After the Overthro'w of the PrOViSional Government” is from Frank A. Golder, ed., Documents of Russian History (1914—1917), trans. Emanuel Aronsberg (New.York: The Century Company, 1927), pp. 6l8—619. 334 The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitarian State (191 7—1939) The Rusmm RWOZutiUn and lhe Development Of the Twat-land” State (191 7‘1939) 335 Penalties incurred for revolutionary activities: 1887 prison; 1895—7 prison; 1898— 1900 Siberia; 1900 prison How long in prison: Several days and 14 months How long at hard labor: None State and Revolution: The Transition from Capitalism to Communism (August 1917) v. I. LENIN Earlier the question was put thus: to attain its emancipation, the proletariat must overthrow the Bourgeoisie, conquer political power and establish its own revolutionary dictatorship. Now the question is put somewhat differently: the transition from capital- ist society, developing towards Communism, towards a Communist society, is impossible without a “political transition period,” and the state in this period can. only be the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. ‘What, then, is the relation of this dictatorship to democracy? ‘Ne have seen that the Communist Manifesto simply places side by side the two ideas: the “transformation of the proletariat into the ruling class” and the “establishment of democracy.” On the basis of all that has been said above, one can define more exactly how democracy changes in the transition from capitalism to Communism. In capitalist society, under the conditions most favourable to its develop- ment, we have more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always bound by the narrow framework of capitalist ex— ploitation, and consequently always remains, in reality, a democracy for the minority, only for the possessing classes, only for the rich. . . . Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich—that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the mecha- nism of capitalist democracy, everywhere, both in the . . . details of suffrage (residential qualification, exclusion of women, etc.), and in the technique of the representative institutions. . . on all sides we see restriction after restric- tion upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor, seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has himself never known want and has never been in close contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine—tenths, if not ninety-nine hundredths, of the bour— How long in exile: Three years How long a political refugee: 9—10 years Party functions since 191 7: October 1917 to March 1921, Moscow, Member of the Central Committee Present Party function: As above Have you ever been tried by the courts of the RSFSR or of the Party: No Date: March, 1921 Signature of delegate: V. Ulyanov (Lenin) The Aftermath of Revolution The Bolsheviks were thrust into a diflicult situation on achieving power. Lenin was true to his slogan “Peace, Bread, and Land, ” and took Russia out of the war, negotiating a peace-with Germany (Brest—Litovsk) that conceded much Russian territory. Lenin then applied his energies to quelling a civil war that pitted his Red Army _( led by Trotsky) against the “White ” forces, which consisted in 1918 removed a possible impediment to the progress of the revolution. The civil war ended in'1921, and Lenin spent the next three years until his death consolidating his gains and preparingfor Russia’s transition from a capitalist to a communist state. In this, Lenin endeavored to apply Marxist theory to the realities of the situation. The first selection is from a pamphlet entitled “State and Revolution” written in August 1917, two months before the Bolshevih seizure of power. In it Lenin discusses this crucial period of transition. Events were to move in logical progression: from bourgeois capitalism to the dictator— of the proletariat, to the “withering away” of the state, and finally to the justice and equality of the purely communist society. But things did not quite go as planned. The chaos of the civil war and a great drought rendered the socialization. of the economic system an unrealistic proposition. Lenin thus allowed a “partial return to capitalism” by permitting the revival of private industry and authorizing the peasantry to produce and trade for profit as part of his New Economic Plan (NEP). Although Russia would still move toward Marx’s dream of a truly communist existence, the journey would take longer than Lenin expected. In any event, Lenin enviszoned an egalitarian future, one that included women as integral members of society, valued for their talents and abilities. His thoughts on the role of women in the new state are included in the second selection. i l l l i i i i _! E i l of supporters of the tsar or of other anti-Bolshevik elements. The tsar’s execution I l I geois publicists and politicians are of this class), but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and. squeeze out the poor from politics and from an ac- tive: share in democracy. Marx splendidly grasped this essence of capitalist democracy, when . . .he said that the oppressed were allowed once every few years, to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class should be in parliament to represent and repress them! But from this capitalist democracy—-inevitably narrow, subtly rejecting the poor, and therefore hypocritical and false to the core—progress does not march onward, simply, smoothly and directly, to “greater and greater “State and Revolution” is from V. I. Lenin, State and Revolution (New York: International Pub- lishers, 1971), pp. 71—74. Copyright © 1932 and 1943 by International Publishers (30., Inc. Reprinted by pei'misSion of the publisher. 336 The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitanan State (19] 7—1939), democracy,” as the liberal professors and petty—bourgeois opportunists would have us believe. No, progress marches onward, i.e., towards Communism, through the dictatorship of the proletariat; it cannot do otherwise, for there is no one else and no other way to break the resistance of the capitalist exploiters. But the dictatorship of the proletariat~i.e., the organisation of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of crushing the oppressors—— cannot produce merely an expansion of democracy. Together With an immense expansion of democracy which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the rich folk, the dictatorship of the proletariat produces a series of restrictions of liberty [by itself oppressing] the exploiters, the capitalists. We must crush them in order to free humanity from wage-slavery; their resistance must be broken by force; it is clear that where there is suppression there is also violence, there is no liberty, no democracy. Engels expressed this splendidly: . .when he said. . , that “as long as the proletariat still needs the state, it needs it not in the interests of freedom, but for the purpose of crushing its antagonists; and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom, then the state, as such, ceases to exist.” Democracy for the vast majority of the people, and suppression by force. 7 i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the explmters and oppressors of the peo- ple—~this is the modification of democracy during the transition from capital— ism to Communism. Only in Communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists has been completely broken, when the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes (i.e., there is no difference between the members of soc1ety in their rela— tion to the social means of producnon), only then “the state ceases to exist,” and “it becomes possible to speak of freedom. ” Only then a really full democracy, a democ- racy without any exceptions, will be possible and will be realised. And only then will democracy itself begin to wither away due to the simple fact that, free from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to the observance of the elementary rules of soc1al life that have been known for centuries and re— peated for thousands of years in all school books; they will become accustomed to observing them without force, without compulsion,- W1thout subordination, without the special apparatus for compulsion which is called the state. The expression “the state withers away,” is very well chosen, for it indicates both the gradual and the elemental nature of the process. Only habit can, and undoubtedly will, have such an effect; for we see around us millions of times how readily people get accustomed to observe the necessary rules of life in common, if there is no exploitation, if there is nothing that causes indigna— tion, that calls forth protest and revolt and has to be suppressed. Thus, in capitalist society, we have a democracy that is curtailed, poor, false; a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to Communism, will, for the first time, produce democracy for the people, for the majority, side by side with the nec— essary suppression of the minority—the exploiters. Communism alone is ca— pable of giving a really complete democracy, and the more complete it is the more quickly will it become unnecessary and wither away of itself. ; . ; The Russzan Revolution and the Development of the Totalitartan State (191 7—1939) 337 Again, during the transition from capitalism to Communism, suppression is still necessary; but it is the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of exploited. , , , Finally, only Communism renders the Siate ab- solutely unnecessary, for there is no one to be suppressed-“no one in the sense of a class, in the sense of a systematic struggle with a definite section of the population. The Communist Emancipation of Women (1920) v. E. LENIN The thesis must clearly point out that real freedom for women is possible only through communism. The inseparable connection between the social and human position of the woman, and private property in the means ofproduc- tion, must be strongly brought out. . t And it will also supply the ba51s for re: garding the woman question as a part of the social question, of the workers problem, and so bind it firmly to the proletarian class struggle and the revolu- tion. The Communist women’s movement must itself be a mass movement, a part of the general mass movement. Not only of the proletariat, but of all the ex- ploited and oppressed, all the Victims of capitalism or any other mastery. . ; . We must win over to our side the millions of toiling women in the towns and Vi]- lages. Win them for our struggles and in particular for the communist transfor~ mation of society. There can be no real mass movement Without women. ; . ; Could there be more damning proof of [female exploitation] than the cal- lous acquiescence of men who see how women grow worn out in the petty, monotonous household work, their strength and time dissipated and wasted, their minds growing narrow and stale, their hearts beating slowly, their will weakened? Of course, I am not speaking of the ladies of the bourgemsie who shove onto servants the responsibility of all household work, including the care of children. What I am saying applies to the overwhelming majority of women, to the wives of workers and to those who stand all day in a factory. So few men—~even among the proletariat—realize how much effort and trou— ble they could save women, even quite do away with, if they were to lend a hand in "‘woman75 work.” But no, that is contrary to the “right and dignity of a man.” They want their peace and comfort. The home life of the woman is a daily sacri— fice to a thousand unimportant trivialities. The old master right of the man still lives in secret His slave takes her revenge, almost secretly. The backwardness of women, their lack of understanding for the revolutionary ideals of the man de— crease his joy and determination in fighting. They are like little worms which, unseen slowly but surely rot and corrode. I know the life of the worker, and not only from books. Our Communist work:among the women, our political work, embraces a great deal of educational work among men. We must root out the “The Communist Emancipation of Women” is from V. I. Lenin, The Woman Question (New York: International Publishers 00., 1951), pp. 89—90, 93—94. Copyright ©1951 by International Publishers (30., Inc. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. . 4w ...
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Primary_Sources_on_Communism - I“ I , mm N‘le and...

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