With an Introduction by Ajoy Ghosh
1. Laws of the Revolutionary Transformation of Society
2. The Revolutionary Experience of the European Countries of People's Democracy
3. Distinctive Features of the Developments of the Revolution in China
4. The Parliamentary Way to Socialism
Only a few months have passed since the XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but already the significance of the decisions of the Congress are visible in the powerful impact they have had on the minds of men and the course of events. Taking into account the mighty advance of the forces of peace, democracy and socialism on a world scale and on the basis of a concrete assessment of the change in the correlation of class forces since November 1917 when the first breach in the world imperialist system was effected, the Congress put forward a number of profoundly important new theses that arm the world working class movement with weapons of exceptional power.
"It is the great and historic merit of Marx and Engels," said Lenin on November 7, 1918, "that they proved by scientific analysis the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism and its transition to Communism, under which there will be no more exploitation of man by man.
"It is the great and historic merit of Marx and Engels that they indicated to the proletarians of all countries their role, their task, their mission, namely, to be the first to rise in the revolutionary struggle against capital and to rally around themselves in this struggle all the toilers and exploited."*
* V.I. Lenin, Marx-Engels-Marxism, (Moscow, 1951 edn.) p. 75
Kings and emperors, capitalists and landlords, militarists and bureaucrats, together with their hired scribes and theoreticians ridiculed the prophetic words of Marx and Engels. They strove to prove that the capitalist system would last for ever. They dismissed communism – under which there would be no more exploitation of man by man, as an idle dream, a mirage, a utopia.
They did not stop there. With all their power, they strove to crush the struggles of the working people and of the oppressed nations.
But all this has proved of no avail. The movement inspired by the ideas of Marxism-Leninism has already triumphed over one-third of the world. Socialism has emerged as a world system. It has demonstrated its incontestable superiority over capitalism. It is attracting not merely the working class but also vast sections of the peasantry, the intelligentsia and progressive elements and sections from all classes.
A large number of countries of the former colonial world which have not yet taken to the path of socialism have nevertheless ceased to be dominated by imperialist powers. With the aid of the socialist world they are strengthening their national economy. The colonial order is in a state of deep crisis and disintegration.
Making desperate efforts to halt the march of humanity towards liberation from the yoke of capital and with the object of perpetuating their own parasitic existence based on plunder and exploitation, the imperialists are planning new acts of aggression against the Socialist world and the people who have thrown off colonial slavery. But their efforts have suffered repeated fiascoes. A vast zone of peace has come into existence. The forces of peace have already attained the strength, if they are firm, united and vigilant, to frustrate the efforts of the instigators of a new world war.
With these developments of world-historic importance, new and vast possibilities have opened out before a number of countries of effecting the transition to socialism in a new way, in a way different in several respects from the path that was historically inevitable in the earlier period. The fiery ordeals through which the working people of Tsarist Russia, China and other countries had to go, the untold sacrifices they made in raising and defending the edifice of the new order have rendered the task easier for the people of other countries.
What the new possibilities are, what conditions have given rise to them, what are the main features of the new forms, methods and ways of effecting the transition to socialism – these are questions of exceptional theoretical and practical importance.
The article by A. Sobolev deals with these questions historically and on the basis of the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. As such, it deserves to be carefully studied by all Indian Marxists.
Sobolev gives an effective reply to those whose ossified way of thinking and hide-bound sectarianism prevent them from seeing what is new in the situation, who repeat parrot-like certain postulates of Marxism, without taking into account the specific historic conditions in which these postulates were advanced. He points out that the stronger is the position of socialism in the world as a whole and the more the Socialist countries consolidate, the more possibilities open up for transition from capitalism to socialism, the more flexible will be the struggle of socialism against capitalism and the richer will the forms by which a new life will be built.
At the same time, the article combats a number of erroneous and un-Marxist concepts that have grown in certain circles as a result of faulty interpretation of the teachings of the XX Congress.
The theory of peaceful transition has nothing in common with the theory of "gradualism," with the theory that certain "socialist elements" are growing inside capitalist economy – such as nationalization of some branches of industry, some agrarian reforms, some concessions which the working class has won by hard struggle—and that a progressive increase in these elements will bring about socialism by means of evolution.
It is undoubtedly true that the development of state capitalism in several countries, especially in countries like India, strengthens national economy and national independence; under certain conditions state capitalism helps to strengthen the material basis for effecting the transition to people's democracy and socialism. Therefore, the Communist Party extends full support to such measures. It is equally true that every measure of agrarian reform, every democratic advance, every concession won by the working people can become an instrument to weaken the position of reaction. The struggle for such reforms, advance and concessions unite and organize the broad masses, strengthen their morale, help to alter the correlation of forces inside the country in favour of democracy and socialism, which is the essential political condition for conquest of power by the working people. All of this, however, does not mean that the theory of gradualism, the theory that struggle for reforms can itself lead to socialism, has any validity either in theory or in life.
The Report of the Central Committee of CPSU to the XX Congress states:
"...the present situation offers the working class in a number of capitalist countries a real opportunity to unite the overwhelming majority of the people under its leadership and to secure the transfer of the basic means of production into the hands of the people. The Right-wing bourgeois parties and their governments are suffering bankruptcy with increasing frequency. In these circumstances the working class, by rallying around itself the toiling peasantry, the intelligentsia, all patriotic forces, and resolutely repulsing the opportunist elements who are incapable of giving up the policy of compromise with the capitalists and landlords, is in a position to defeat the reactionary forces opposed to the popular interest, to capture a stable majority in Parliament, and transform the latter from an organ of bourgeois democracy into a genuine instrument of the people's will. In such an event, this institution, traditional in many highly developed capitalist countries, may become an organ of genuine democracy, democracy for the working people.
"The winning of a stable parliamentary majority backed by a mass revolutionary movement of the proletariat and of all working people could create for the working class of a number of capitalist and former colonial countries the conditions needed to secure fundamental social changes.
"In the countries where capitalism is still strong and has a huge military and police apparatus at its disposal, the reactionary forces will of course inevitably offer serious resistance. There the transition to socialism will be attended by a sharp class, revolutionary struggle.
"Whatever the form of transition to socialism, the decisive and indispensable factor is the political leadership of the working class headed by its vanguard. Without this there can be no transition to socialism."*
* N.S. Khrushchev, Report of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the 20th Party Congress, pp. 45-46.
No matter how it is effected, socialism which involves the abolition of old property relations, is impossible without a revolution. And the fundamental question of every revolution, as Lenin taught, is the question of power. State power in the hands of the working people led by the proletariat and the replacement of the bureaucratic State apparatus by a new State system in which power is exercised by the working people, at all levels, through their own elected organs – these continue to be, as before, the basic conditions for the building of socialism. To deny this, to minimise the significance of this, to imagine that the bourgeois-led State can be an instrument for creating "Socialist elements" – means to step into opportunism and to depart from the very fundamental teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
"Only he is a Marxist," said Lenin, "who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound difference between the Marxist and the ordinary petty (and even big) bourgeoisie. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested."*
* V.I. Lenin, Marx-Engels-Marxism, p. 393.
No reason exists for the belief that these fundamental teachings of Marxism-Leninism have become outmoded.
Power in the hands of the masses led by the working classes – this is essential in order to defend the new system against external and internal enemies, in order to abolish the old property relations, in order to abolish classes and weld together the working people in the task of Socialist reconstruction.
At the same time, it would be a serious mistake not to recognise certain important changes that have taken place in recent years.
Today, with the emergence of socialism as a world system, with the change in the correlation of forces on a world scale, with the growing moral and political isolation of capitalism, the ideas of socialism have come to dominate the mind of mankind. In such a situation not only is it possible for the working class to win over a majority of the people and come to power by peaceful means but the form of State power and the methods of struggle for the abolition of classes will change in many respects from the past.
The functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat can today be exercised by a broad alliance of democratic classes firmly led by the working class. The new State power will have, right from the beginning, a very wide base, embracing the overwhelming majority of the nation and all progressive elements in the country. Inevitably, therefore, the role of education and example, of persuasion and moral influence will increase enormously. The role of force will correspondingly be reduced to a minimum. That this is no idle dream is seen strikingly in the developments that are taking place even now in the People's Republic of China.
Our enemies depict us as people who love methods of terror, who revel in bloodshed, as people for whom violence is a creed. The masses who desire socialism, but abhor violence, are often misled by such propaganda which, however, is based on distortion of historic facts.
It was not the Bolsheviks but their enemies that made it impossible for the revolution to develop peacefully after the fall of Tsarism. It was not Communists but the Hitlerites who destroyed democracy in Germany and instituted a reign of bloody terror. It was not Communists, Socialists and Democrats but Franco who plunged Spain in civil war. It was not Communists but Chiang Kai-shek who rejected the path of peaceful settlement. It was not Ho Chi Minh but the American-backed Government of South Vietnam that has violated the agreement for peaceful unification of the country. Imbued with deep humanism, the Communists have never advocated violence for its own sake. If violence has occurred again and again, the responsibility lies primarily on the exploiting classes and their government.
Today, conscious of the growing strength of socialism, confident that the future belongs to socialism, the Communists unhesitatingly declare that in the new world situation, it is not only desirable but possible in many countries to achieve socialism by peaceful means.
Essential for this is the establishment of unity of the working class, of all forces standing for socialism, the creation of a broad united front of all progressive classes, sections and elements for the defence of national freedom, peace and the immediate interest of the masses and determined struggle for the most thorough-going democratic changes in economy, in social and State structure, in every sphere of national life.
To the extent such unity is forged, to the extent the working class is able to rally round its banner all patriotic, progressive and Socialist forces in society, to the extent the correlation of forces is changed in the course of the movement and the position of democracy and socialism is strengthened in the legislatures as well as in the country – the conditions will be created for effecting the transition to socialism peacefully and also for the elimination of violence from political life. Such violence occurs most when the ruling classes, drunk with power, betray callous disregard for human life and dare to resort provocation and arbitrary acts of suppression against the working people. This is amply borne out by our experience in India. The unification and the strengthening of the forces of socialism and democracy in the legislature and in the political life of the country do not, as our enemies assert, create conditions for anarchy and violence. On the contrary, they create conditions in which the efforts of the instigators of violence can be defeated.
Great and glorious perspectives have opened out today for peaceful realisation of the age-old ideal of mankind for a society based on principles of universal brotherhood. The Communist Parties in all countries, in alliance with all Socialist and democratic forces will strive their utmost to translate this possibility into reality.
September 17, 1956
Every major revolutionary event advances Marxist-Leninist teaching to a new stage: comprehension of the general laws of historical development and revolutionary struggle is deepened; the operation of those laws in specific conditions is concretized; theoretical propositions are given new content, with all the variety of specific national features inherent in such events, and thus become richer, clearer and more many-sided. Since the Great October Socialist Revolution our generation has seen a number of other great revolutionary upheavals: there have been victorious revolutions in the countries of Central and South-East Europe and the power of the people has been consolidated in China and in other People's Democracies in Asia. These revolutionary events, which wrenched from the capitalist system seven hundred million beings, have considerably enriched our conception of the paths of revolutionary development, of the forms of transition from capitalism to socialism and of the methods of socialist construction. In other words, the Marxist-Leninist theory of social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is developing and becoming more perfect.
Hence, it is necessary to reconsider the incorrect assertion made in the History of the C.P.S.U., Short Course that there is an accomplished theory of socialist revolution. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels laid the cornerstone of the theory of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the new stage, in the conditions of imperialism, V.I. Lenin concretized and developed that theory. He analyzed the changes that had taken place in the economy of capitalism as a result of its transition to its last stage, the stage of its decay, the imperialist stage, and proved the possibility of the victory of socialism in a single country. Further Lenin thoroughly worked out the problem of the transition of democratic revolution into socialist revolution, showed the full significance of the alliance between the working class and the peasantry for the victory of the revolution and the building of socialism and discovered in the Soviets a new state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In all its practical work of preparation of the revolution, the Bolshevik Party was consistently and steadily guided by Lenin's theory of socialist revolution. This was of primary importance in establishing the correct political line and in determining strategy and tactics at various historical stages. The victory of the Great October Revolution and the building of socialism in the Soviet Union are real triumphs of the Leninist theory of socialist revolution and reveal its tremendous vital force in all its fullness.
The basic propositions of this theory, which generalize the experience of the world liberation movement as applied to the epoch of imperialism, are of truly historical importance for the whole world; they are a reliable compass for all Marxist-Leninist parties in their struggle for social progress and a bright future. But these propositions operate in different ways depending on the various historical and national circumstances. Hence, it is the duty of Communists to apply general principles constructively to the concrete conditions of the struggle and to develop and enrich theory.
V.I. Lenin was most determined in his opposition to a dogmatic attitude towards Marxist theory and insisted on the constructive nature of the latter. "Marx," he wrote, "did not tie his own hands or the hands of the future leaders of socialist revolutions as far as the forms, methods and ways of the upheaval are concerned, perfectly understanding that a mass of new problems would arise and the whole situation would change and continue to change during the course of the upheaval."*
* V.I. Lenin, Works, Vol. 32, p. 316 (Russian Edition).
The revolutionary events of the post-war period and the special features of the building of socialism in the European People's Democracies, China, Mongolia and other countries show that many completely new, peculiar and complicated problems have presented themselves to the Communists of those countries in the process of the construction of socialism. The creative solution of these problems from a Marxist-Leninist viewpoint has considerably enriched the theory of socialist revolution.
It is quite clear that the further development of the liberation movement will face Marxists with new problems to solve. The theory of socialist revolution will be further developed and enriched by new experience and new theses.
Special note must be made of the following historical law: the stronger the position of socialism in the world as a whole and the more the socialist countries consolidate, the more possibilities open up for transition from capitalism, the more flexible will be the struggle for socialism against capitalism, and the richer and more varied will be the forms by which a new life will be built.
V.I. Lenin proved in his works that imperialism is the complete material preparation for socialism, that it is the eve of the socialist revolution. It is a fact that at this stage capitalism has matured and overripened to such an extent that revolution is knocking at the door. The necessity of setting up a new, socialist form of society becomes clearer and clearer to millions of people all over the world. Mankind cannot now go forward except towards socialism. All lines and paths of social development inevitably lead to socialism. But the exploiting classes, not wishing to depart of their own free will from the stage of history, fight desperately to maintain their mastery, to prevent further victories of socialism; they try to stifle the revolutionary forces of the people and thus the sufferings of the workers are increased.
The working class in the capitalist world has a great historical mission, that of destroying capitalist relations and ensuring the transition of the peoples to socialism. The Communist and Workers' parties consider it their principal duty to lead the struggle of the working class for the building of socialism, to ease the birth throes of the new system, to find the most expedient means of developing the revolution, effective and the least painful methods of destroying capitalism and building socialism. They accordingly continue stubbornly to seek new possibilities of effecting the socialist transformation of society.
Setting themselves the task of finding the most effective methods of transforming the capitalist system into the socialist system, Marxists show how the revolutionary and the reformist conceptions of the paths of development of humanity are completely opposed to each other; they show that in actual fact the reformists are not out to abolish the decayed capitalist system, but are only engaged in the fruitless task of "renewing" and "rejuvenating" it.
The reformists hold that capitalism can grow into socialism by evolution, without a social revolution. In the capitalist economy, they say, there have appeared or can appear various socialist elements. In particular, they consider the concessions which the working class wins from the capitalists by its unrelenting struggle (certain rises in wages, social insurance, etc.) as elements of socialism. They try to represent the capitalist nationalization of a number of branches of industry carried out in certain countries (e.g., the partial nationalization of power stations, the coal industry, the banks and the railways in France) as social nationalization. The increase in the number of small shareholders in capitalist enterprises and joint-stock companies is also presented by certain sociologists as a "socialist tendency."
The quantitative increase in these allegedly socialist elements will lead, the reformists think, to capitalism's growing into socialism by evolution without any revolutionary abolition of the capitalist relations of production.
Marxist-Leninist theory convincingly proves that such "reforms" do not do away with capitalism and cannot do away with it. They are directed at the "renovation" of capitalism; this in fact only increases the hardships of the masses.
A revolutionary upheaval, the shattering of the old social relations and the building of new ones is absolutely necessary for the transition of capitalism to socialism. A revolutionary leap out of the old qualitative condition into a new one is inevitable, but the revolutionary process itself may and will unfold in different ways in different countries.
The transition from capitalism to socialism requires in all cases the overthrow of the old power, the power of the exploiters and the establishment of the power of the people led by the working class. But the forms by which the revolution develops and the bourgeois power is overthrown can and do differ completely. When the bourgeoisie offers exceptionally great resistance force must be applied. When the bourgeoisie after being overthrown, attempts to restore its mastery by force the working class is obliged to resort to arms in order to suppress the resistance of the exploiters.
A peaceful transfer of power from the hands of the bourgeoisie to those of the people is quite possible. It can take place when the latter is closely rallied round the working class, when the reactionary classes are isolated and the bourgeoisie is obliged to submit to the clearly expressed will of the working people. In certain historical circumstances the power of the people may be set up by parliamentary methods. The liberation movement today is gradually accumulating experience in this respect. In Czechoslovakia, in particular, parliamentary forms of struggle were applied to a great extent.
To enable the working class to maintain power and suppress the resistance of the overthrown classes the old anti-popular bourgeois state machine must be destroyed and a new popular state machine created. There have been and will be various methods for doing this too. In some countries, for example in the Soviet Union, the bourgeois state apparatus was smashed decisively and rapidly during the October Revolution and in the period immediately following it. In other countries, for example Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Rumania, the bourgeois state apparatus was not smashed all at once, but by degrees, by a series of gradual structural alterations. In some cases this or that link in the old apparatus has been temporarily made use of the proletariat in its struggle for power. Another way in which the bourgeois state machine may be smashed is by maintaining the old forms of state administration and giving them a new revolutionary content. In particular, in the present stage of the liberation movement it is quite admissible to use Parliament in the interests of the people.
In order that socialism may be built the capitalist relations of production based on private ownership of the means of production must be destroyed and new socialist relations of production based on social ownership of the means of productions must be created.
Capitalism with its economic relations cannot grow into socialism. Socialization of the means of production is a historical necessity and a most important part of the revolutionary process of transition from capitalism to socialism. It reflects the demand of the objective economic law of the necessary conformity of the relations of production with the character of the productive forces. But there are different ways by which the capitalist relations of production can be abolished, that is, ways by which socialization of the means of production can be carried out. In certain conditions there will be a rapid and decisive expropriation of the expropriators, that is, the nationalization of industry, the banks, transport, etc. Under other conditions there may be gradual nationalization of the means of production. Again the transformation of capitalist relations of production into socialist relations may take place by means of state capitalism. In order to facilitate the transition from capitalism to socialism private owners may be given compensation for the means of production they own. "Marx was profoundly correct," Lenin wrote, "when he taught the workers of the importance of maintaining the organization of large-scale production for the very sake of facilitating the transition to socialism and the complete admissibility of the idea of paying the capitalists well, buying them out if (in exceptional cases: Britain was then an exception) the situation is such that the capitalists can be forced to submit peacefully and decently, to accept to be bought out and to go over to socialism in an organized way."*
* Ibid, Vol. 32, p. 317 (Russian Edition).
The socialist revolution wherever it develops and under whatever conditions it takes place is, therefore, the same in all countries as regards its social substance and historical content. There are only variations in the mode of development of the revolution, in the methods of seizing power, in the means of transforming the old economic relations into new socialist ones – in the forms of political organization of society, in strategy and tactics in the struggle against capitalism, for socialism.
At present there are thirteen countries which are following the path of socialism: the U.S.S.R. where the building of socialism is being completed and the gradual transition from socialism to communism is being carried out; China, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, the German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia, Mongolia, the Korean People's Democratic Republic and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam,
The general laws of the transition from the capitalism to socialism are expressed in particular national forms, specific to each country. At the same time there are historical conditions common to a number of countries. As a result we can distinguish a group of countries whose socialist development has the same characteristic features. At present three basic paths of development of the revolution, three basic forms of socialist transformation of society can be distinguished: the Soviet way of building socialism, the socialist path of the European People's Democracies and the socialist development of China and other Asian countries of people's democracy.
It must be added that such a division is subject to qualification: it naturally does not explain all the variety of ways of transition to socialism, for the building of socialism in Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic, for example, has notable peculiarities and requires special examination.
Creative Marxist-Leninist generalization of the experience of socialist development of all countries building socialism, and of the experience of the whole liberation movement in modern times allowed the XX Congress of the C.P.S.U. to advance the proposition that under modern conditions it is possible to use the parliamentary path of transition from capitalism to socialism.
The progress of the liberation movement will presumably reveal new paths and forms of socialist development in various countries.
In the present article the peculiarities of the building of socialism in the U.S.S.R. will not be considered in detail, for it assumed that the reader is well acquainted with them. It is desirable merely to stress the thesis formulated by V.I. Lenin in The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky concerning the particular conditions of development of the Russian Revolution. These particular conditions resulted from the fact that the socialist revolution in our country was the first and therefore the most difficult breach in the chain of imperialism. The revolution took place in an economically backward country, which had, moreover, been brought to ruin by war. The classes that had been overthrown did not believe in their defeat and bent all their energies to the struggle for their restoration. They received active support from imperialist circles in the biggest capitalist countries, who started intervention against the Soviet Republic. The class struggle of our country was exacerbated to the extreme and took on the bitterest forms, civil war among them.
The Soviet people built socialism alone, a target for uninterrupted and fierce onslaughts from the international forces of imperialism who made it their objective to restore the capitalist system in the U.S.S.R. These and a number of other circumstances had a profound influence not on the political, socialist revolution alone, but on the whole process of the building of a new life, the methods of suppressing the bourgeoisie and the speed and the forms of socialist development.
The great achievements of the Soviet people are of epoch-making
importance. Socialist construction in our country gave our peoples
immense experience in the revolutionary transformation of all aspects
of public life. This is the Soviet people's invaluable contribution to
the world liberation movement. In their struggle against capitalism for
the triumph of socialism the workers of all countries creatively apply
this wealth of Soviet experience.
The establishment of revolutionary power and of the system of people's democracy in the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe was an event of great international significance.
Each of these countries has its own peculiar features in its revolutionary development but at the same time many features are common to all those countries. It is these features that are generally considered in analyzing the revolutionary events in the European countries of people's democracy. This question has been sufficiently clarified in our literature and therefore does not need detailed exposition here. The aim of this article is to give a brief formulation of the new contribution made by the working class of the European People's Democracies to the treasure house of the world liberation movement, of how it has enriched the theory of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
First, the experience of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe shows that in the epoch of imperialism the general democratic tasks of the working class become greatly extended. The growth of state monopoly capitalism is attended by furious attacks by the forces of reaction in all fields of public life and affects the interests of the majority of the population. The intensification of reaction calls forth a mighty movement of all the democratic forces. This movement can and must be made use of to detach wide sections of the non-proletarian population from the bourgeoisie and unite them around the working class, to neutralize and then isolate the bourgeoisie and strengthen the position of the working class. The creation of a broad democratic front is the decisive condition for the further development of the revolution; it is the social basis for the direct and immediate passing of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution into socialist revolution. This means that in the epoch of imperialism the general democratic movement in the capitalist countries becomes wider, not narrower; it weakens the bourgeoisie and constitutes the initial phase of the development of the subsequent socialist revolutionary upheaval.
Secondly, as a result of the creation of a broad democratic front, the peaceful development of the revolution becomes increasingly possible and the prerequisites are created for the utilization of parliamentary methods among others, for the winning of power by the working class.
Thirdly, the experience of the countries of people's democracy shows that the working class can exercise power when there are a number of working people's parties, when the Government is a coalition one – a fact of great international significance.
Fourthly, it has been proved in practice that it is possible to overcome the split in the working-class movement by uniting the Communist and Socialist parties on the ideological basis of Marxism-Leninism.
Fifthly, the political awakening of the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the intellectuals, their active participation in the socialist revolution, demanded the working out of new organizational forms of the alliance between the working class and all working people in town and country. Organizations of the National Front type are examples of these.
Sixthly, the defeat of the bourgeoisie, and the victory of the genuine people's power in the European countries of people's democracy meant the creation of a system of socialist states which are continually strengthening their economic ties with each other. As a result, the economic laws of socialism, operating hitherto within the national framework of the U.S.S.R., reached out beyond that framework and emerged on to the international arena. A world socialist system of economy began to take shape and this radically changed the conditions of socialist construction in the countries of people's democracy.
Questions of socialist industrialization began to be solved on the basis of an international division of labour between the countries of the socialist camp. This allowed each of these countries to begin creating the material and production basis of socialism with those branches of industry which were either the most necessary or economically the most advantageous for it. Further, the appearance of the countries of people's democracy lent considerably greater significance to the foreign policy activity of the socialist state. If in respect of capitalist countries the content of that activity is to maintain and strengthen the independence of the socialist states, in their mutual relations with other countries in the same camp that activity has as its content mutual political, economic, scientific and technical help in the struggle for socialism.
Seventhly, in the countries of people's democracy private ownership of land has been maintained, a fact which is distinctly reflected in agrarian relations in those countries. During the establishment of agricultural cooperatives new forms of cooperation in production have arisen.
There are other facts which go to show that the socialist revolution and the building of socialism in the European countries of people's democracy have considerably enriched world experience in the fight for socialism.
The establishment of people's power in China is the greatest historical event since the October Revolution.
The revolutionary changes in China have much in common with those in the European countries of people's democracy, but at the same time they have many specifically national features of their own. These features are the result, on the one hand, of the strengthening of socialism's position in the world, and on the other hand, of specific conditions inside China, where the transition is from a semi-feudal, semi-colonial economy to socialism.
Addressing the peoples of the East, Lenin once said: "Here you are faced with a task which never before faced Communists anywhere in the world: relying on the general communist theory and practice and taking into account conditions which do not exist in any European country, you must be able to apply that theory and practice to conditions under which the main mass is the peasantry and in which the task is to fight not capital, but survivals of medievalism."*
* Ibid, Vol. 30, p. 140 (Russian Edition).
The creative application of the general propositions of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of Chinese reality has considerably enriched our conception of the paths of development of socialist revolution, of the methods of building socialism and of the forms which the revolutionary state power can take.
Great anti-imperialist, anti-feudal tasks faced the Chinese Revolution. They were solved by armed force. In fierce battles with the Kuomintang the People's Liberation Army freed once province after another from foreign imperialists, compradors and feudal lords. Revolutionary people's power under the leadership of the working class was established in the liberated areas, and it set about making democratic changes. Two classes – the working class and the peasantry – formed the social basis of the new revolutionary power. This was what determined the class nature of the rule set up in the freed areas as the rule of the workers and peasants.
The national bourgeoisie hesitated for a long time, but when the revolution started its stormy development and it became clear that the popular masses would defeat the Kuomintang forces, the national bourgeoisie went over to the side of the democratic revolution and thus the basis of the revolutionary upheaval was widened. But this did not change the class content of the revolutionary power, as the power first and foremost of the working class and the peasantry. However, the widening of the social basis of the revolution naturally accelerated the rout of the Chiang Kai-shek clique. By autumn 1949, nearly the whole of continental China had been liberated. Then the question arose how the revolution would develop further.
The chief question in a political revolution is the question of power. After the shattering of the Kuomintang – the political representatives of the comprador bourgeoisie and the landlords and the proteges of American imperialism – the question of the relations between the working class and the national bourgeoisie came up for decision. After the establishment of the dictatorship of the working class and peasantry in the European countries of people's democracy the whole trend of political life was determined by the struggle for power between the working class and the middle bourgeoisie. A similar struggle could have developed between the working class and national bourgeoisie in China, but in fact it did not. This is one of the peculiarities of the development of the Chinese Revolution. The national bourgeoisie, like every other bourgeoisie, would, of course, have liked to take power into its own hands and dreamt of doing so. But it was given no real possibility of altering or delaying the course of the revolution and could not therefore, in practice, raise the question of seizing power.
Of China it may be said that the unity of the people closely rallied around the working class forced the national bourgeoisie to submit to the will of the working people. This is explained by the concrete relation of forces that established itself in China. First, the Chinese national bourgeoisie was small and weak organizationally. Secondly, while the working class rallied around itself a broad democratic coalition, strengthened its alliance with the peasantry and won authority as the real leader of the whole people the national bourgeoisie had no good links with the people, and was, as a matter of fact, isolated from it. Thirdly, the Chinese working class had a powerful army and experience of state administration acquired in the liberated areas. The national bourgeoisie had neither of these. Fourthly, the Chinese working class had the support of the socialist camp, and this multiplied its strength. The national bourgeoisie, which had suffered under the yoke of foreign monopolies, was anti-imperialist and had no firm connections abroad.
Finally, a very important fact was that the national bourgeoisie profited economically from the revolution. Under the foreign imperialists it had been hamstrung, stifled by competition and deprived of markets. The shattering of the imperialist forces gave it the opportunity to extend its production, make bigger profits and secure new markets. This caused the bourgeoisie to behave in a very contradictory manner.
Due to the circumstances mentioned, the bourgeoisie, finding itself faced with the united forces of the people led by the working class, was forced to submit to the will of the people. Its resistance was broken.
That is why a sharp turn took place in the Chinese Revolution before the end of 1949 when the Chinese People's Republic was formed. Although in the social and economic field the Chinese working class was still faced with the tremendous and difficult tasks of the democratic revolution, the abolition of feudalism, the tasks of the socialist revolution in the political field had already been practically solved by the end of 1949. Political power was in fact concentrated in the hands of the working class, around which the majority of the people had united. A people's dictatorship was established in China, the class essence of which was the dictatorship of the working class.
In this way the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution passed into socialist revolution in the most favourable conditions, peacefully and without armed conflict. Armed clashes – the struggle against the interventionists in Korea who wished to carry the war into China and the military situation resulting from the occupation of Taiwan by the U.S.A. – came not from internal but from external forces.
The favourable international situation and the internal peculiarities of the Chinese Revolution predetermined the specific features of the state system of the Chinese People's Republic and of the practical solution of the problems of building socialism. By its state system the Chinese People's Republic is a people's democracy. The state form of people's power is a People's Republic. The aim of the revolutionary power created in China under the leadership of the working class is to ensure the building of socialism and the abolition of the exploiting classes, including the bourgeoisie. This naturally raises the question of the relations at the present stage between the working class and the national bourgeoisie. These reactions are very peculiar and full of dialectical contradictions.
In the political and economic fields the policy of the working class towards the national bourgeoisie is simultaneously one of alliance and struggle. In what does it find expression? The national bourgeoisie in China has the same political rights as the other classes; it has its own political parties and its representatives in the legislative bodies. Bourgeois figures occupy a number of responsible posts in the Government. But it would naturally be incorrect to think that the bourgeoisie, though playing an active part in political life, is in no way restricted in its activities. By peaceful political means, i.e., by rallying around itself the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the intellectuals, the working class neutralizes the national bourgeoisie, prevents it from extending its influence among the people and limits its activity. The result is the constant process of isolation of the national bourgeoisie as a class.
In the economic field the Chinese working class clearly distinguishes between the property of the comprador bourgeoisie and that of the national bourgeoisie. The property of the comprador bourgeoisie and of foreign imperialists, mainly Japanese, German and American, was nationalized. All the railways, iron and steel, electric and war industries and many enterprises in other branches were transferred to the people. Thus there arose a socialist sector in the economy and it has since continuously developed and grown stronger.
In respect of the national bourgeoisie, which took part in the struggle against the foreign imperialists, a policy of direct expropriation would have been incorrect and the Chinese working class does not follow it. In this sphere, too, the relations between the working class and the national bourgeoisie are full of dialectical contradictions which reflect the contradictions existing in real life.
Expressing the interests of the majority of the population, the People's Government openly informed the bourgeoisie that in the country's development towards socialism it was allowed certain scope for its economic activity, provided that the latter was in accordance with the laws of the land and the interests of the people. At the same time the Government stressed that the gradual socialization of the capitalist sector by means of various forms of state capitalism was intended.
This socialization will naturally narrow the sphere of private capitalist production but it is open to each capitalist to take part personally in the productive process and for a certain period to receive part profits from private enterprise. This ensures such members of the bourgeoisie a minimum of material prosperity. Any member of the bourgeoisie who does not accept these proposals and indulges in activity hostile to the power of the people by sabotage, dislocation of economic life or opposition to the development of socialist economy is dealt with all the rigour of the law.
It must be noted that immediately after the establishment of people's power individual members of the bourgeoisie tried by economic means to delay the socialist development of the country. Some bourgeois groups, wishing to delay the building of socialism, tried to disorganize and weaken the state and party apparatus by bribes, refused under various pretexts to pay their taxes, squandered state property, juggled with state contracts and stole economic information. These were serious attacks by the capitalist elements against the people's democratic state and the working class. The Communist Party called on the people to fight the hostile activity of these members of the bourgeoisie. During the struggle, which was given the name of the "Movement against the Five Abuses," the resistance of the bourgeoisie was broken. Meeting with organized resistance from the people it was forced to submit in the main to the will of the working class.
Control by the workers was gradually established in private enterprises. Under the influence of this struggle, of criticism and other educational measures, a regrouping took place within the bourgeoisie. The number of those ready to collaborate economically with the people's democratic state increased. The national bourgeoisie was obliged to agree to proposed peaceful transition of the capitalist economy into a socialist one.
The chief form this transformation is now taking in China is state capitalism. Lenin's ideas on state capitalism are fully applied and further concretely developed in the C.P.R. Lenin once wrote: "If we reflect on these concrete conditions it will become clear that we can and must now unite methods of pitiless reprisal against intractable capitalists who will not agree to any form of 'state capitalism,' think of no compromise and continue to wreck the measures of the soviets by speculation, bribing the poor and similar steps with compromise methods or compensation in respect to the decent capitalists who agree to 'state capitalism,' are able to implement it and are useful to the proletariat in their capacity as sensible and experienced organizers of large-scale enterprises really embracing the supply with products of tens of millions of people."*
* Ibid., Vol. 32, p. 317 (Russian Edition).
In the U.S.S.R. state capitalism was not widespread because of a number of international and domestic factors. In China it is the basic form by which the capitalist economy is being transformed into a socialist economy. State capitalism in China has several forms. The lowest form consists in state establishments buying up the produce of capitalist enterprises by agreement; the medium form is the work of private establishments on raw material provided by the state; the highest form is joint state-capitalist ownership of enterprises.
At the end of 1955 and the beginning of 1956, the highest form became the basic form of state capitalism in China. Whole branches of industry were transformed into state-capitalist ones. A majority of the establishments which had formerly belonged to private capital became state-capitalist establishments. At the same time the principle of distribution of income was altered. The capitalist started to receive from 1 percent to 6 percent on his capital invested. In fact, as a result of the measures carried out, the socialization of the means of production has been achieved in China peacefully. Private capitalist establishments have to a large extent been transformed through the medium of state capitalism into socialist enterprises. The payment of from 1 to 6 percent is, of course, a kind of compensation and shows that the capitalist has not yet left the stage. But now the people has become the real master of these enterprises. Relations based on private ownership of the means of production have been replaced by relations founded on social ownership of these means.
In modern historical conditions there exists a mighty socialist camp, the forces of socialism are growing rapidly throughout the world and it is becoming ever clearer that capitalism is doomed. Under these conditions, as we see from the experience of the Chinese Revolution, in certain countries – as a rule in former colonial or semi-colonial lands (above all where the bourgeoisie is weaker) – there is the possibility of: firstly, a split in the bourgeoisie, and the attraction, on certain conditions, of part of it as an ally even at the stage of socialist revolution; secondly, the maintenance, again on certain conditions, of an alliance with part of the bourgeoisie even in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat up to the very abolition of the bourgeoisie as a class in the process of the peaceful transformation of capitalist economy into socialist and the re-education of a part of the bourgeois class. This means that under certain circumstances during the epoch of the dictatorship of the proletariat the political activity of the bourgeoisie, the existence of bourgeois parties and participation of members of the bourgeoisie in the organs of power may be allowed.
The creation of a powerful socialist camp, its rapid political and economic success and the uninterrupted aggravation of capitalist contradictions have greatly accelerated the growth of the liberation movement and opened up new possibilities for the socialist transformation of society. Taking due account of changes and developments and generalizing the experience accumulated over the last ten years by the working-class movement, the XX Congress of the C.P.S.U. advanced the proposition that the parliamentary path could be used for the transformation to socialism.
Marxism-Leninism has always ascribed great importance to parliamentary forms of struggle. In his famous book, "Left-Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder V.I. Lenin vigorously criticized sectarians in the communist movement who ignored parliamentary forms of struggle. He showed that such a course does considerable damage to the working-class movement, weakens the links of the working class with the labouring masses and restricts the influence of the revolutionary classes on the vacillating sections of society. The great Lenin taught that Communists in Western Europe and America must learn to create a new form of parliamentarianism, not like the ordinary one, no opportunistic, not careerist and make use of it in the interests of the working class.
The Marxists at the same time stressed that the parliamentary struggle could not lead to the victory of the working class over the bourgeoisie nor ensure the destruction of capitalism and the building of socialism. This was correct in the historical circumstances. Now conditions have changed and the prerequisites really exist in certain countries for winning power by parliamentary methods. The formation of a socialist camp and the growth of its power is of primary importance in this respect. The success of communist construction in the U.S.S.R., the achievements in the development of socialism in the Chinese People's Republic and other countries of people's democracy, the growth of socialist culture and the efflorescence of socialist democracy – all these factors are continually changing the relation of forces in the world arena in favour of socialism and increase the attraction towards socialism of millions and millions of people. The petty bourgeoisie and the intellectuals are gradually resolving their hesitations. Everywhere in the capitalist countries there is a desire among broad sections of the population for social changes similar to those which have taken place in the Soviet Union and the countries of people's democracy. It means that the ranks of the supporters of socialism are swelling and that the social basis of the socialist revolution is widening.
Phenomena of this kind have special significance when the crisis of capitalist system is growing deeper and deeper and the doom of capitalism is clear for all to see. If the sayings of bourgeoisie sociologists of today are carefully examined it will be seen that they have less and less theoretical and ideological means of defence for the bourgeoisie system. The bourgeoisie is no longer able to provide any even superficially attractive ideological system around which attempts could be made to rally masses. The social bankruptcy of capitalism is becoming more and more obvious.
The possibility of using the parliamentary path of transition from capitalism to socialism depends on the degree of consciousness, organization and fighting quality of the working class. This is manifest first of all in the growing strength of the Communist parties. In the whole world there are now 76 Communist parties numbering about 30 million members. Never in the history of the working-class movement has the working class had such militant solidarity and so battle-hardened a vanguard. The Communists are capable of taking the lead in any kind of struggle waged by the working class, the parliamentary struggle included, and, given the necessary conditions, of ensuring results. Without the Communist parties it would be impossible to secure victory, and still less would it be possible to make use of the parliamentary form of struggle.
The experience of the 19th century showed that parties which were not ideologically and politically seasoned and organizationally not solidly welded together degenerated in the parliamentary struggle and deserted revolutionary Marxism for reformism and opportunism; in practice they became the champions of the interests of the bourgeoisie. The existence of a militant Marxist vanguard tempered in the stern school of political struggle, the resolute fight against opportunists who are unable to abandon the policy of compromise with the bourgeoisie and the landlords, give positive assurance that the parliamentary path of struggle will really be used for the benefit of the working class, for the struggle against capitalism and for socialism.
In order to determine correctly the possibilities of making use of parliamentary methods of struggle an exact understanding of the changes both in the development of capitalism and in the disposition of class forces within the capitalist countries is of prime importance. The basic tendency of modern capitalism is uninterrupted increase of the economic power and political influence of the monopolies, the intensification of state-monopoly capitalism. The result is that power is more and more concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of economically powerful monopolists. The abyss separating them from the masses of the people is continually widening. The narrowing of the social basis of monopoly rule frightens the big bourgeoisie and leads to an intensification of reaction. The reactionary tendencies which manifested themselves at the very beginning of the development of imperialism become more and more palpable in present conditions. In the field of politics this is reflected in the fight against democracy which is being stubbornly pursued under one form or another in all the imperialist countries.
The monopolies’ attack on democracy faces the working class with the important task of defending democratic freedoms.
The working class, uniting broad sections of the population, resists the reactionary and fascist tendencies of the monopolists. It was by rallying round the working class that the people in Italy beat back the enemies of democracy who tried to force on them an anti-popular election law. The energetic action of broad sections of the American people stopped short the attack of McCarthy and his supporters and fascist reaction in America is now obliged to look for new forms of activity.
The working class in the capitalist countries is also confronted with the important task of defending peace. Monopolistic circles in the capitalist countries are persistently and actively aggressive, pushing the world to "the brink of war." The menace of war is an equal threat to the working class, to the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the intellectuals. This makes the fight for peace a genuinely democratic movement of the whole people embracing the broadest possible sections of the population in the capitalist countries. During this fight the masses learn to defend their interests against the encroachments of the monopolies; this is of enormous importance in uniting the working class with the rest of the people. Certain sections of the middle bourgeoisie also play a part in the struggle for peace.
All capitalist countries, with the exception of the U.S.A., are obliged to defend their national sovereignty against infringement in one form or another by foreign imperialists, mainly American. The principal force in the defence of national sovereignty is the working class, the people.
All these facts are further proof that the democratic tasks of the working class under state-monopoly capitalism, far from diminishing, grow broader.
It might seem that the solution of socialist problems by the working class is somewhat pushed into the background. Outwardly it may seem so, but in reality it is not the case. In actual fact socialist changes are not receding, but coming nearer. The chief proof of this is the extension of the social basis of revolutionary upheavals. In the course of the democratic struggle against the monopolies the working class acquires more and more allies. A real political chance offers of winning over the majority of the population to the side of the working class, on the basis of the struggle against the monopolies and the fight for democracy, that is to say there is a real chance of creating a broad anti-monopoly front. This leads to the isolation of the monopoly bourgeoisie, weakens reaction and brings a bright future nearer.
In colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries in which there are still many survivals of feudalism the general democratic task determines the content of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal stage of the development of the liberation movement.
At the present time when the monopolies in pursuit of maximum profit are conducting an assault on the living standard of the workers, intensifying the exploitation of the working class, cynically plundering the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie in the town and lowering the living standard of the intellectuals, the economic conditions for winning over the majority of the population to the side of the working class are taking shape.
The ending of the split in the working class is of vital importance for winning over the majority of the population to the side of the proletariat. Real possibilities are shaping for this too.
With the fierce competition among giant monopoly unions coinciding with the narrowing of the sphere of influence of capitalism and the disintegration of the colonial system, the monopolists are forced to wage war on the whole working class. This war affects the aristocracy of the working class which bred and still breeds reformism.
The scale of the attack on the working-class aristocracy is of course less in countries where the monopolies still have sufficient room for manoeuvre, as in the United States, and it is greater in countries where there is less possibility of manoeuvring, like Italy.
In analyzing the degree of exploitation of the working class in capitalist countries the difference between the workers’ wages in the metropolis and in the colonies, between those for men and women, for white and coloured, for adults and youths, must be taken into consideration. By savage exploitation of the workers in the colonies, discrimination in pay against coloured workers, women and youths, i.e., the less organized sections of the population, the monopolies make huge extra profits. In the U.S.A. alone the difference in pay between men and women, between white and coloured, brings the monopolists millions and millions of dollars a year.
The working class replies to the intensification of exploitation by an increase in the strike movement. The number of strikes has considerably increased in the last ten years. This leads to economic conditions ever more favourable for ending the split in the working-class movement.
Life itself now demands elimination of the split in the working-class movement, and we shall presumably witness a new stage in the development of that movement in the capitalist countries, a stage in which unity of the working class in the struggle for its social aims will be achieved. What was said at the XX Congress of the C.P.S.U. on the attitude of Communists to Social-Democrats takes account precisely of the new phenomena in the economy of capitalism and the condition of the working class in capitalist countries. The achievement of unity in the working class is the basis for winning over the majority of the population.
The peasant question is presented in a new way under modern conditions. When the main exploiters of the peasants are landlords, when the peasant is stifled by survivals of feudalism, the task of the working class is to defend the peasant against oppression by the landlords and rural usurers. It is on this basis, mainly an anti-feudal one, that the alliance between the working class and the peasantry is founded. At present the main exploiters of the farmers in the United States are the bankers and monopolists, and of the peasants in France the bankers, monopolists and landlords, and so forth. The alliance between the working class and the peasantry in such countries therefore, can and will be based on the fight against the monopolies. This is a new social basis for the alliance between the working class and the peasantry.
The fight against the monopolies will also be the basis of the alliance of the working class with the urban petty bourgeoisie and the intellectuals. More and more intellectuals are now disappointed in capitalism and turn towards socialism. They have not yet come to acknowledge the idea of socialism, they are hesitating, but it has become much easier to win them over.
The working class is therefore in a position to win over the majority of the population. This changes the disposition of forces. The political army of the socialist revolution must be raised on the basis of the fight against the monopolies, due attention being paid to both political and economic factors.
It is entirely possible that parliamentary forms and methods of struggle will be used for these purposes. "Inexperienced revolutionaries," V.I. Lenin wrote, "often think that legal methods of struggle are opportunistic because the bourgeoisie has often (generally in 'peaceful,' not revolutionary periods) deceived and duped the workers by means of them, and that illegal methods of struggle are revolutionary. But that is incorrect."* However, Marxism-Leninism does not consider parliamentary forms of struggle as exclusive; it holds that both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forms must be used.
* Ibid., Vol. 31, p. 76 (Russian Edition).
The question arises of how to use parliamentary means of struggle. Is the bourgeoisie expected to give up its power of its own free will? Will the bourgeoisie in the course of the struggle in Parliament consent to the changes that take place? Of course not! But a political superiority of the people over the bourgeoisie can certainly be achieved which will force the bourgeoisie to submit. It must never be forgotten that the bourgeoisie maintains itself in power by deceiving the people as well as by force. If the deception is revealed there is no force capable of saving the bourgeoisie.
Examining the question of the possibility of using the parliamentary path of struggle for genuinely popular rule the programme of the British Communist Party says: "The people cannot advance to socialism... without real political power, which must be taken from the hands of the capitalist minority and firmly grasped by the majority of the people led by the working class. Only by this means can democracy become a reality." Further it says: "The working people of Britain in industry and agriculture form the immense majority of the population and constitute with their families fully two-thirds of the population. To this must be added the great bulk of the clerical and professional workers, the teachers, technicians and scientists, the working farmers, shopkeepers and small businessmen, whose interests are equally threatened by the big landowning, industrial and financial capitalists, and whose security and future prospects are closely bound up with those of the industrial working class."
Decisive struggle against the monopolies unites a steady majority of the population and isolates the monopoly bourgeoisie. Can the bourgeoisie resort to a fascist rising? That is a possibility. But it must be remembered that, as recent history has shown, the bourgeoisie in the past has resorted to fascist coups only when they had real prospects of success. It will be remembered that Hitler did not carry out his plans until he had duped the petty bourgeoisie in the towns and a certain section of the peasantry into coming over to his side. In this the fascists exploited the lack of cohesion among the working class and the democratic forces. Had the German Communist Party then succeeded in forming a united Popular Front, the fascist menace would have been averted. Although the possibility of a fascist coup by the monopoly bourgeoisie is not out of the question it will be difficult if there is a sufficient majority on the side of the working class.
It may, therefore, be concluded that the further development of the socialist revolution in different countries will depend on concrete conditions. Parliamentary as well as extra-parliamentary methods of struggle may be used. The great virtue of the decisions of the XX Congress of the C.P.S.U. lies in the contribution they make to the theory of parliamentary forms of struggle. This gives the working class more opportunity to manoeuvre and, against the background of achievements in the socialist camp, will have increasing significance for the triumph of socialism.
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