age – 24
- [ru] Коммунисты должны заново проанализировать вопрос о том, в чем суть марксизма
- [en] Communists must re-analyze and ask again the question of what is the essence of Marxism
1.Is it possible in the 21st century - taking in to account all the economic and political changes in the world that have taken place over a hundred years since the Great October Revolution - that the victory of a socialist revolution in a single country or within a large region could take place?
The victory of socialist revolution in a single country is undoubtedly possible, and the entire experience of 20th century socialism has proven as much. Those who argue that the collapse of the Soviet Union has proven the inability for socialist revolution to succeed in a single country are some seven decades too late in their prescription, neglecting that following the Stalin revolution, Socialism itself acquired a history beyond the mere negation of capitalism.
The prospects of this victory in the 21st century have indeed been altered. However, they have not been altered for the worse, but for the better: Forms of statehood in the 21st century is more developed than they were one hundred years ago, and the ground of socialist struggle has been clarified to an unprecedented degree. Of course, humanity is also inter-connected to an unprecedented degree, and the victory of socialism in a single country undoubtedly has consequences for all other countries.
However, those consequences do not necessarily amount to the immediate victory of socialism in all countries. The realities of nations, the exertion of mutual influence, and civilizational dialogue between different polarities are objective realities, that cannot be bypassed by means of immediate political revolution. Political revolution is a matter internal to a particular state, nation, people, or civilization – and the differences between different states, nations, peoples or civilizations cannot be swept away by means of political revolution, but must develop according to the work of mutual interaction, dialogue and exchange.
The victory of socialism in a single country, or region, enables the possibility for the acceleration of this mutual development, and fighting fervently against forms of national chauvinism. Socialism in one country also means setting an example for friendly relations between peoples. The Soviet Union, by example, though did not seek to forcefully spread socialism in an adventuristic matter, was committed to the fraternity and equality of nations, as evinced by their condemnation of Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia – a region outside of its own immediate geopolitical interest.
The victory of socialism in a single country or region does not a priori entail hostility to countries where socialists have not yet acquired power. Political revolution does not make for a substitute for the work of diplomacy, interaction, influence, and exchange between countries. Today, it may appear that American unipolarity has put an end to this. This is untrue. Since the 1970s, there has been a growing community of nations that have formed in opposition to American unipolarity, and today it is clear that the unipolar position of America is utterly blind to the particular and minute realities of different peoples and civilizations, realities whose historical development has occurred, and will continue to occur independently of American blindness.
2.Taking into account the experience of the countries of the "left turn" in Latin America in the last two decades, is the victory of an unarmed revolution possible (or, as it is often called, "by peaceful means")? Is it possible for the working people to come to power on a broad popular front using bourgeois electoral devices?
The question must be taken in a dialectic sense, rather than in a one-sided sense. The coincidence of unarmed revolution – or victory by means of ‘bourgeois’ electoral devices – and armed defense of revolution is perfectly possible.
It is only the one-sidedness of bourgeois formalism, and bourgeois liberalism, which finds itself caught in confusion between the two. By example, Allende had won Chile by legitimate, electoral means. But he did not take the next step, in establishing extra-legal, extra-electoral means of the consolidation of power through armed force.
Legitimate, popular, and legal means cannot be dismissed in favor of armed force, just as much as armed force cannot be dismissed in favor of legal means to power. That is not only because legal means compromise a necessary site of acquiring legitimacy among the masses – but because it comprises an objective sphere of political realities. It does not exhaust the objective sphere of political reality – but it also is not completely estranged from it.
Revolutionary theories do not make for a substitute of the necessary experience, knowledge and sense that is acquired in engaging, analyzing, participating, and being fully attune to ‘bourgeois electoral’ realities. As Lenin recognized in his critique of ‘Left-Wing Communists’ in Europe, revolutionaries may have expelled the reality of ‘bourgeois electoralism’ in their heads, but it has not been expelled in objective reality, or the reality of the masses.
The decisiveness of revolutionary consciousness rather consists in knowing when it is both necessary and possible that bourgeois legal forms are suspended, for purposes of the defense and consolidation of people’s power by means of proletarian dictatorship. And this knowledge comes intuitively by means of possessing dialectic sense. Without dialectic sense, one inevitably becomes entrapped by formalistic one-sidedness, that begins to view bourgeois legal forms as the only site of objective political reality – rather than artifacts of this reality.
Herein lies one principal mistake of Latin America’s ‘left turn.’
3. Is the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat relevant today, and what could be the forms of implementing it? When answering this question, please take into account that the very concept of "proletarian" inevitably needs to be clarified due to the scientific and technological revolution, the changes in the level of education of the population, etc.
Proletarian dictatorship is quite relevant. Today we witness the era of the outmoding of bourgeois-legal formalism and Anglo-Saxon parliamentary statehood, not only in relation to a growing socialism, but to the necessary reality of today’s ‘social capitalism’. In this sense, proletarian dictatorship is quite uncontroversial, and almost superfluous today.
In every country, including ‘democratic’ Europe and America, extra-legal, extra-formal sites of power are quite apparent. In America, there is the reality of the deep state, the media, the establishment, the party apparatuses, corporations and academia. In Europe, the European Union has no real democratic sanction, and exists beyond any of the constituent countries parliaments. Russia, of course, is a so-called ‘managed democracy.’
The reality of China speaks quite plainly for itself.
The question concerns the meaning and content of ‘proletarian dictatorship.’ Thus far, the experience of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics has provided the most comprehensive meaning, that is, the use of extra-formal, extra-parliamentary levers of power for the overwhelming benefit of the people, and the furtherance of the development of the forces of production. The challenge of today’s socialists is not to a priori liquidate this meaning of proletarian dictatorship, but further, advance, and move beyond it.
‘Proletarian dictatorship’ cannot be taken in any liberal or bourgeois sense of electoral formalism. In the early years of the Soviet Union, the majority of the industrial working class had been wiped out by civil war, or had returned to the countryside. Can it be said that the Soviet Union was no longer a proletarian dictatorship?
No, it cannot. Because the proletariat refers to an essence of the people that is deeper than any one apparent social formation. It refers to a tendency that is internal to the people, as Lenin explicated in his analysis of the development of capitalism in the Russian countryside. Here, there is no discrete, pure proletariat – there are rather proletarian tendencies to be exhumed, and given recognition by revolutionaries.
During the years of industrialization that followed collectivization in the Stalin era, a ‘proletarianization’ – that is, assimilation of former peasants into factories – followed inevitably. But was this ‘proletarianization’ of the same nature as that which had occurred in England a century prior? No, it was not. It was a process that empowered and gave dignity to the former peasants, and occurred under the auspices of a state constructed entirely in their interests. Here lies the decisive significance of proletarian dictatorship.
The decisive significance of the proletariat consists not in replacing the people’s or democratic revolutions, but in clarifying them by scientific means. The proletariat proves that a return to the relations of production the majority of the people considered a point of stability, safety, and certainty – that is, those that prevail in the countryside – is not possible, and that revolution in the forces of production is an inevitability. Proletarian consciousness allows for Communists to lead the whole people – and not just one small segment – through this inevitable revolution in the forces of production, and herein lies the decisive significance of the proletariat, which proves the survival and perseverance of the people after their debasement, landlessness, and separation from their original means of production.
In this respect, the significance of proletarian dictatorship under Socialism with Chinese Characteristics deserves further analysis – critical analysis, of course – but the work of serious, particular analysis none the less.
4. Is the victory of the revolution in the United States and other centers of global imperialism possible in the foreseeable future?
In the first place, whether it is possible or not – no one outside of the United States should hedge their bets in favor of this. The struggle against American imperialism, or unipolarity, is of foremost importance for progressive and revolutionary forces world-wide as it concerns the relation and expectation to the United States.
As for my view, revolution in the United States is not only possible, it is inevitable. The question concerns which elements will preponderate the terms of this revolution, for what is not inevitable is that it will be led by Communistic or progressive forces. A fundamental political transformation in America is indeed inevitable.
The question concerns not how to trigger a revolution in America, but how to preponderate and gain hegemony over the revolution that is already underway. That is not only the political revolution that will follow the disintegration of American democracy, but the revolution in the forces of production currently led by China.
5. What are the reasons for the decline of the communist movement in the world? We ask this question with pain, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that in many countries, ultra-right, populist or downright demagogic movements or the ones that distance themselves from politics deliberately, have more supporters among the workers and exploited than the Communists do.
In general, the decline of the communist movement globally is ‘theological’ in nature.
That is to say, is not just a result of theoretical confusion on the part of Communists, but an overall inability to make sense of the world, the people, and the countries within which Communists live in within the past few decades – from the perspective of the narrow confines of Talmudistic Marxism.
Communists, particularly in the West, are unable to make sense not only of the present world, but the entire pasts. They have failed to make sense of civilizational, national, et. al realities of the people over whom they are attempting to win over. The reason for this is complex, but I will try to give a brief explanation:
During the period of the 20th century, the industrial or Fordist revolution had still been underway across the globe. Communists thus also represented technological modernity and a path to ‘development’ or ‘catching up with the West’ for the majority of the world’s population. Now, in the 21st century, technological modernity is no longer as shocking, no longer as surprising or new as it was in the 20th. While many countries have yet to develop technological forces of production, it has become quite superfluous.
And so, there has been a return to what Heidegger calls the question of Being, or Dasein. Peoples are attempting to reconcile the meaning of modernity with their unique civilizational realities.
Stalin accomplished this in the re-discovery of the forgotten unique Russian civilization, and Mao did precisely this for the Chinese one. Communists have not learned from the experience of Stalin or Mao, but instead have returned to the dogmatic and Talmudistic Marxism that prevailed during the period of the Second International, still fundamentally weighed down by the project of ‘orthodoxy’ that in the late 19th century, after the death of Marx.
Communists must re-analyze and ask again the question of what is the essence of Marxism: What is the meaning of Marx’s discovery, or Marxism, in relation to world history – what is the meaning of Marxism after Lenin. Instead of asking the meaning of Marxism after the example of Lenin, Communists dogmatically insist only on the narrow meaning of Marxism established before Lenin, and which is in contradiction to the achievement of Lenin – who accomplished, for the first time in history, the rediscovery of a forgotten essence in Marx.
6. How justified is the existence of communist parties on a national scale in the modern world? What could be the logic and the prospects for the development of the Communist Party today and in the future?
What first must be understood is the future of the very party-form in general, not just those of communist-parties, in relation to the mobilization of a given country’s population. What is, today, a party?
This, in the first place, is a legal question particular to different countries. Parties are official and registered organs of electoral democracy. So, a thought experiment is necessary: When the legal and official aspect of a party is abstracted, what is left? Say, all ‘parties’ are banned, what then is the meaning of a Communist party?
In the 20th century, for example, when parties were banned, the Communist or Social-Democratic Party merely went underground. This is how the essence of what a party is can be distilled.
A party is fist and foremost a form of association. How is that association made intelligible? How is it recognized, beyond mere individual identification? These questions deserve more scrutiny, and further analysis, in the age of communications revolution – in the age of the internet and social media.
In social media, for example, how are forms of association intelligible? They are not intelligible at the level of individual identification, but mass digital phenomena, including ‘memes.’ At the individual level, more than their explicit identification – their very habits, what they ‘like,’ and engage with online, this is how their relation to higher forms is intelligible. In fact, the entire data economy is built upon making intelligible ‘forms of association,’ collecting data in order to determine an individual’s tastes, beliefs, habits, and even political persuasions.
So, the party-form, abstracted from its official, registered, legal sense – has broken out of a discrete, intelligible, contractual form of association, into an ambiguous flux, or stream of ‘collective consciousness,’ where only tendencies, polarities, and orientations are discernible.
That is not to say an illegal mass phenomenon, or party institution, is not possible. But it is only possible when it is not so much illegal as it is ‘extra-legal,’ that is, acquiring relevance not strictly in relation to seizing political power, but establishing organs of dual power that are beyond the reach of a state – being more attune to the relations of production than the state is. Hezbollah during its heyday is a quite good example of this: it was not only an ‘illegal’ party, it also had a practical significance for the people that the Lebanese state was too incompetent, backward, and lacked the dynamism to have.
Niches, in other words, must be filled that are outside the sphere of the state, or established institutions. This is how the party-form as an institution may acquire newfound relevance, beyond being a registered party in a ‘managed democracy’ (which all ‘democracies’ are becoming).
7. Why do the old forms of economic struggle by labor against capital such as strikes do not bring the desired results to modern workers? What forms of economic and political struggle are possible and necessary in the current and projected conditions?
Because strikes are nodal. In the communications-age, there is a precedence of infrastructure, or lines of flight – over particular nodes. Thus when there is a strike, it has to immediately acquire universal significance for the whole people, and in the eyes of the whole people, it must be mass publicized and immediately politicized – or else, workers may simply be replaced, or a company may move operations. You see, companies are far more dynamic in their organization and structure than labor unions are. It’s also because they are international in nature.
The truth is that the site of economic reality now acquires national scale, and is no longer confined to particular workplaces as in the past. Citizenship is itself an economic relationship, not just a political one. So the site of economic struggle has to correspondingly be organized on an equal scale as that of companies. Coordination must be national, or regional, rather than local.
For a ‘strike’ to be truly effective, it must become a ‘meme’ that becomes a ‘nation-wide strike.’ It must result in a ‘citizen’s strike,’ where truckers all over a country no longer transport goods, based on examples or trends they see on social media – where warehouse packagers no longer show up to work, etc.
A mistaken assumption is that this is only possible in conditions of revolution. But this is not true – this provides sufficient conditions for gains to be had by the working class. Online outrage, and trends, are a great lever of change. But they obey a different logic than that of classical modernity: they cannot be forced. They must succeed on the basis of their objective significance and merit – they must succeed in relating to people on a mass scale, which requires revolutionary partisans to possess correct people’s sense.
If there is something worth striking over on a local level, the chances are that is not just local, but a universal problem. In the past, factories were not as standardized as the workplaces of today. Many of them were owned by individual capitalists, who establish arbitrary personal rules, rather than follow uniform corporate procedures.
8. What practical forms of international workers' solidarity are possible and necessary today and tomorrow?
The most important thing is for revolutionary partisans to acquire correct sense, in part by means of international dialogue and exchange.
The significance of the working-class, and its concrete reality must be analyzed in relation to the whole people. Marxists have not correctly interpreted the significance of Lenin’s imperialism, and the rise of labour aristocracy. They have not thoroughly appreciated national, democratic, and peoples revolution – which include anti-imperialist struggle – as a site for which the working class, or the proletrariat, has decisive and necessary significance. Instead they continue to debate over whether it is compatible with the ‘interests’ of the ‘working class’ – which, as a discrete social entity, they have largely failed in identifying.
Distinctions between working-class and peasantry are not, and have never been absolutely clear. As Lenin notes, there has never been such a thing as a ‘pure proletariat.’ It is necessary to ask: What is the meaning and real content of the ‘international working class’? Labor struggles continue to occur, which resemble the old working-class struggles, but they do not have the same significance.
Why is this? It is because the essence of the proletariat is not exhausted in them. The lesson of the experience of 20th century Communism, why it is revolutions occur primarily in ‘backward’ countries, must be appreciated: It is because the essence of the proletariat is not the same as the appearance of one.
- For the decoration of the article, a painting by the English artist David Newton was used