Why Lenin? – An Attempt at the Reconstitution of Revolutionary Theory

By Natasha

Introduction: Everyone Hates Lenin
Part I: Back to the Basics of Progressivism
Part II: Ultra-Leftism, Ultra-Rightism, and “Serious Mistakes”
Part III: A Summary of Lenin’s Relevance
Appendix: Neo-Kautskyism and Organization

Introduction: Everyone Hates Lenin

Any serious look at the modern-day left shows us, if anything, that Lenin is far from being a popular figure. I am not speaking about obvious opponents here: anarchists who call him an “authoritarian”, social-democrats foaming at his “radicalism”. I am instead speaking about the
more general left, the various projects that rise and fall every so often, be they the old, official communist parties, the New Left, or, as the 21st century has shown us, the many reformist and “populist” parties such as Syriza, Podemos, and their different Latin American manifestations. Lenin is either unmentioned or denounced as a pariah even worse than Karl Marx! Or, in even more problematic cases, is praised and turned into an idol, whose ideas are nevertheless not spoken of once.

At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that these different left-groups, no matter how well-intentioned, end in disappointment, nationalism, imperialism, to put it simply: class
collaboration. If they do not, they remain small, dogmatic sects with cultish structures and well, I hope readers see the issues with both. These issues, crucial problems facing not just the western left, but the international left, are not a product of material conditions, nor random and ignorable errors. As I will explain in the next section, they are structural errors, innate to the strategies and tactics being pursued by all sorts of left-groups; these may be reinforced by the material realities we inhabit, such as aristocrats in the labor bureaucracy making corruption an “easier” process, but ultimately originate in the inability of class conscious militants to produce structures and strategies strong enough for the struggle to dominate over petty personal wants.

On a very phenomenal level, many would lay the blame for these issues on… Lenin.
Organization being so “authoritarian” and so alienated? The so-called “vanguard” being
unaccountable? It is all the work of that scheming Russian! However, as I will argue for throughout this text, not only does that horribly misunderstand Lenin’s political line, but the issues of the left are, actually, ROOTED in forgetting Lenin, and their solutions hidden in plain sight – “hidden” inside the grand experience of the October Revolution and Bolshevism.

the issues of the left are, actually, ROOTED in forgetting Lenin, and their solutions hidden in plain sight – “hidden” inside the grand experience of the October Revolution and Bolshevism. I know that such a theoretical proposal is not the most popular thing: after all, we all know that “Leninism” is not meant for “the west”, but only for Russian material conditions! However, I think that when the question is as important as the class struggle, there is no room for what is “popular” now being protected if it is so damn destructive, and, as I will undoubtedly prove in the next few sections, touting this famous and repetitive line: “Leninism is Marxism under the Tsarist state, so we need no Leninism in the modern day”, is not only ignorant of Lenin, but openly works to ignore massive amounts of experience that the movement should instead be sifting through.

In fact, it would only be helpful to a renegade who wants to justify their opportunism and
treachery to the workers’ movement – while maintaining and upholding the image of Lenin. It would be helpful for those who, as a great man once said, hounded revolutionaries when they were alive, only to turn them into common liberals after their early deaths.

Whether one is an anarchist, a follower of the “official communist parties”, a believer in the
populist parties and the project of socialism in the 21st century, I would highly recommend a
dive into this analysis of Lenin’s relevance in a modern scenario like our own. And I say that not just because I think Lenin’s political line – which I will from now refer to as Bolshevism – “is correct”, but because despite a century of falsification by opportunists and reformists in the Stalinist Era of the COMINTERN, in the official Eurocommunist parties, and in small sectarian groupings (including, yes, some Trotskyist groupings), Lenin remains a huge reserve of revolutionary theory for anyone internationally who is indignant at the “now”, the present state of things, and who has a backbone – the lacking aspect of renegades – strong enough to act on that indignance.

Part I: Back to the Basics of Progressivism

What is the left? Many online extremists like to pretend that, currently, there is no real left! The many concrete examples of organization that have shaken the world for the past few years, such as Occupy Wallstreet, various movements opposed to austerity, strikes, etc., are, in the minds of many “Marxist-Leninists”, Maoists, or (online) left-communists NOT left-wing, or not socialist movements, but the mere “left-wing of capital”. On the other hand, every time a great movement like this rises, many who are swayed by the ideological promises of that movement end up
fetishizing its methods and wrongly identifying its organizations and its leaders SPECIFICALLY with the “left”. To be a “leftist” or a “progressive” is about one’s ideology and one’s loyalties to politician X or Y: this is true both for the category of people falling into a popular movement, and the category ignoring and denouncing popular movements. There is, according to this mindset, a political spectrum, or, in some cases, a political compass in which one stands, and
depending on the specifics of someone’s views, the movement or party that happens to be sufficiently “left”, or that holds sufficient ideas, is to be supported: it must be upheld as not just tactically correct, but, as we are basing ourselves in their ideas, ideally and even morally correct. At its very root, this way of thinking displays the most destructive problem faced by the modern left: idealism. I am not here speaking of having principles, or having a certain line you adhere to; I am also not about to praise Chinese capitalism. By idealism I mean what I described above:
seeing the left as a movement based not on practical, objective needs of say… A class, but as a big list of people who hold certain ideas.

Now, the natural reason someone would try to denounce this is because it breeds sectarianism. When one’s politics are rooted in specifics, and detailed theories, does this not lead to splits and squabbles over interpretation? And is it not the case that Lenin and Leninists are idealists par
excellence, wanting a supposedly small and pure “vanguard party” with an (at least initially
unpopular) revolutionary program?

I will deal with this misunderstanding of Lenin later (though I would also redirect anyone who is interested in the myth of Lenin’s “vanguard party” to Hal Draper’s work on vanguardism). What is more important here is analyzing what exactly idealism is, and what it is not. Any time politics are based on metaphysical, vague, and detached concepts, they are IDEALIST; this is true even if
the idealist party in question has a “diversity of opinion”, or a very wide range of idealisms
within it. The core of idealism is not that it is “exclusive”, but that it is not (like say, materialism) on real, material interests of real, material social groups, but on fetishes and on concepts that rise above and dominate people.

Let us start with an example that is anything but left-wing: fascism. Materially, fascism has a clear and concrete purpose: crushing workers, dividing the proletariat, strengthening capital in a specific country, etc.; however, as a movement that people engage in, none of these things are the
directly-stated goals. Relevant, large fascist movements may base themselves on bourgeois social forces, but their ideas are detached from this: the members think in terms of race, or in terms of religion, in who knows what. There is, quite certainly, massive ideological diversity in fascism: anyone who has done a bit of research knows that all fascisms are self-contradictory, disorganized messes, where the enemy is both super powerful and degenerate, X and Y. But,
does this mean fascism is “practical” and NOT idealistic? Of course not: otherwise, it wouldn’t be fascism, but a movement objectively trying to improve the mass of people’s lives, and only rich bastards would want to support a regime dictatorial and chauvinistic like this; but from Marx
onwards we know that ideas can destroy all “practical” “material” opinions, and turn a
proletarian into a perfect agent of capital.

The critique of ideology is not an invention of western Marxists, not of Gramsci, not of Zizek, not of video essay youtubers; it is inherent to any mass movement of the workers, and in fact it has a root even before the workers’ movement, in the German philosophical trend towards materialist critiques of religion (Feuerbach is one such philosopher).

Whenever idealism comes into play, real class interests, i.e.: class consciousness, is obstructed and replaced by a fundamentally flawed, even utopian concept (that having the right ideals – without a basis in reality – will change reality). This usually serves whoever has the money, or the power, in a specific society: idealistic sects are infinitely more prone to corruption than a real movement; however, it can serve anyone’s petty personal interests, since the absence of real
tactics and real analysis caused by idealist abstraction is fertile ground for redirecting all these young radical activists to one’s cultism. The examples of old Social Democracy, or just Stalinism, are obviously relevant here: these parties did not “fail”, they got in charge – just on the other side of the class struggle. And smaller, pettier examples obviously exist here too: every serious Trotskyist knows just how destructive the sect-form has been for us, and how it empowered idiots and opportunists to seize power; anarchists, on the other hand, do also know that small groups, even when there isn’t a formal authority structure, can develop into tyrannical, sectarian hellscapes (here I will be frank and say that the essay “The Tyranny of
Structurelessness” by Jo Freeman summarizes this point much better than I can).

As a result, the party must not be seen as just a group with the “right ideas”, trying to spread, to disseminate those ideas in the workers. It must be seen materially, as a part of a process of the working class realizing its proletarian identity, its political potential; it is an ORGAN OF THE CLASS, formal or informal, which holds within it all workers and non-workers who understand that current class society has contradictions and that said contradictions will only be resolved by
proletarian revolution and communism. It exists, not as a sect, not as something that creates the socialist society out of thin air; Marx denounced those who saw socialism as something that can be created from within the minds of a few good “world-reformers”. Instead, being composed of people conscious of class society and the needs of the proletariat in fighting it, it analyzes and
draws lessons from history, coordinating WITH (not in the place of) workers to help struggles small and large, to achieve not ideal goals, but the concrete needs of the class, on the basis of the current needs of the class, the current education and slogans, the international situation, etc. – that is the “Leninist” conception of the party.

It would be wrong to perceive this as some “attack” on worker independence, or worker
“autonomy”. Critics of Lenin who understand his idea on the party enough not to call him a
“Blanquist”, who wanted the party to act without the class, might respond: “but does this idea, of the party somehow teaching or advising the class, not imply that the party knows more than the class? Does it not fetishize and raise the organization above the class?” This idea, even if it is well-intentioned, fundamentally misunderstands the connection between parties and the class: of
course, no specific organization “is” the class party. The class party, historically, is defined as the sum of all conscious thoughts and activities carried out for the class and its historic goals. No organization can possibly dominate over the class, because these thoughts and activities derive from the class, not some organization, nor some holy book an organization can adopt; however, a
class might, to strengthen its struggle, decide to form an organized body where experience, and more importantly consciousness, is, unlike the struggle in general, constant, an organized group which, learning from history, acts not just against capitalism, but also to make the necessary changes needed INSIDE the class before it seizes power, in order for it to seize power. And such crucial changes cannot be dragooned into existence, true; that is why the party, to conquer the class, the unions, etc., must prove to said class why its line of proletarian revolution, communism
and so on, is necessary. But without the party doing this, the class remains inexperienced, open to opportunism and, in times of crisis, vacillation from whichever leadership they chose without full consciousness.

Leaving the decision of who coordinates the revolution to chance pretends that, somehow, the workers will always automatically do what is right, when in reality the fight against capitalism depends on years and years of experience, on centuries of history, on tactics,
on international situations, and yes, on the economic laws of reality. Without the class party, on the basis of class struggle, elaborating the class struggle, the class weakens, the various “progressive” movements and events remain split, uncoordinated, short, insufficient; this is why
Lenin, and Marxists in general, advocated for the most conscious layers of the proletariat to
organize in parties. I dislike trying to prove politics with quotes alone, and my argument stands without this reference, but it was too relevant to leave out:

“[this] collective appropriation (i.e.: socialism -not Marx’s note) can arise only from the
revolutionary action of the productive class – or proletariat – organized in a distinct political
party” (Preamble of the “Programme of the Parti Ouvrier”) Marxists never deny the necessity of a party; however, the “classics” of Marxism, including the frequently-criticized Lenin, never raised the party to something for-itself. Any theory, any ideology, anything the party did was within the context of a certain class struggle; the peasant
policy, the democratic struggles, the parliamentary participation did not happen just to “strengthen the party” in abstract, but to strengthen the proletarian struggle against Tsarist and other forms of reaction. The party itself “being stronger” or “being bigger” had no value of its own, and Lenin exemplified that when calling out the treacherous German Social-Democratic Party and its betrayal of internationalism during the breakout of WW1. It may have “secured reforms”, it may have kept its legality and fancy social club organizations, but it betrayed the
current needs of the proletariat to the world slaughter of the working masses, and as a result acted as an opportunist sect seeking petty personal gains, political influence, government seats, etc., rather than a class party. And in that moment, the class party was no longer contained within
the formal organization of the SPD; the class (or historical) party’s content was present in new, revolutionary organizations, such as the Spartacist League. Those that fetishized the SPD (or, to be honest, those who wanted to keep their seats), sides with the counter-revolution carried out by the Social Democracy.

Any question of the left (strategic, tactical, or otherwise), when we start from a basis of class struggle and socialism arising due to said struggle, can be answered much more easily. Questions about the role of the party, democracy, even a proper analysis of why things like revolutions in Russia degenerated into Stalinism can be seen more concretely, more realistically; if we accept that a “Socialist Party” is not necessarily a “Workers’ Party” (or, to be precise, that parties which claim to be socialistic but have lines that are not derived from the workers’ struggle are at best problematic), we can move on to seeing why we need an actual Proletarian Party, why it is that historical organizations have failed, and, most importantly right now, WHAT IS TO BE DONE.

Part II: Ultra-Rightism, Ultra-Leftism, and “Serious Mistakes”

A very stereotypical thing done by the renegade Stalin in many of his speeches is to posit his own view as in-between two other views: on the one hand, the view usually advocating for more change, more speed, more extremism, there was the “ultra-left” view; on the other hand, more care, less speed, more compromise: rightism. Of course, this sort of viewpoint was, in reality, a
very nice tool for Stalinists to justify their own, opportunistic zig-zags left and right, but even
when we accept that, is it not true that, at least from the sober point of view we have adopted, the current (to use another Stalinist term) very “serious”, structural mistakes of communists – that leave them either small or corrupt – can be neatly fit into the categories of “too hasty and inconsiderate of the class” or “too slow, and too bourgeois”?

It is not a matter of being “too radical”. We may never be too radical, because radicalism is about how effectively someone brings about change, and as we have established that change is only brought about by basing ourselves in real need, real people, it might be that, e.g.: a non-violent tactic that involves the class is in reality MORE radical than adventurist terrorism operations – which are the greatest ally of those who desire a small, isolated left.

Ultra-right and ultra-left mistakes are both not radical in the sense of class struggle, and that is precisely why they are “mistakes”: they ignore, sideline the class, substituting it with the party and forgetting about the proletarian struggle – and this results either in “radical” ideas being forced on the class DESPITE its current material interests and development (and this is what we call ultra-leftism) or the opposite: a milquetoast, treacherous, centrist line that doesn’t rise to the current level of proletarian consciousness, but which thinks in opportunistic terms of how to win more votes (as if the party being strong is worth anything without the class struggle benefiting), how to “support the nation” (as if the nation is a thing to be supported, and there exists no independent class framework through which national-cultural policy can be decided), and so on. This, we call rightism, or opportunist politics. However, as you may have noticed:

Ultra-leftism and ultra-rightism do not express a different thing, but the same thing, used in
different ways, by the same, alienated, idiotic or naive or just straight-up evil party politicians. The absence of class policy and the dominance of idealism can be said to be the biggest reason that, unlike “the old days”, not only are workers disillusioned with much of politics, but many do not even think of themselves as workers. We try to find so many excuses for why the proletarian
movement has stagnated, decayed, even; maybe imperialism, maybe chauvinism, maybe even too much technological growth; but all of these are either secondary factors that can be transcended by workers’ indignation or – in the case of those trying to convince us that we no longer live in capitalism because now there are computers – plain old falsities. Anyone engaged
in production (even indirectly) knows very well of the wage struggles, the struggles of workers against the tyrannical conditions of the workplace. This text is not meant to be a proof of these conditions, of social decadence and alienation: if you need a proof for such pervasive and universal illnesses, which manifest in the most diverse ways, then… you have the wrong mindset in the first place. Furthermore, this text is not a clear explanation of any crisis theory (or of the
opposition to theories of crisis). Despite any details, if you accept hugely uncontroversial (to a sober looker at proletarian reality, if not to leftists) situations as real, such as the alienation under capitalism, the drive to massive social squalor and poverty, the horrific operation of the workplace, etc., you recognize the class struggle, and if you recognize how we can group together and fight in that struggle, you are class conscious. But if you do not base yourself in that
sober, absolutely realistic and fetish-unveiling struggle; if you think, maybe, that the bourgeoisie, perhaps due to a shared national identity, perhaps with regulations, can be reconciled with, long-term… you should not be surprised that workers have forgotten the world “proletarian”, and
are absolutely hopeless apart from a few months, every decade or so, when a young and hip vote seeker stimulates their hopes for a bit. You either exclude the workers, wanting to dominate right over them, or you support the domination of the bourgeoisie over them, in any case rejecting their potential for independent politics – even when it comes to short-term struggle! The best you hope for is shifting some ideal spectrum of bourgeois politics “left”, without any organized class
to threaten those politics to move “left” at all. You believe in compromise – or in moralist
posturing that has no outcome; you either try your absolute best to be the left-wing of the
opportunist and rotten realm that is bourgeois politics, or sit outside criticizing it, no basis for
your criticism to turn into a force.

You pretend this is because people simply don’t care about class when it is YOUR historic task to try and make them aware of the class nature of any struggles they have; and instead, you oscillate in power – or in isolation, moving from crackpot to even more crackpot theory, New Leftism, Post-Marxism – whatever. No matter what sort of excuse you come up with, it is you who – for who knows how long – upholds the cycle of the workers’ energy being squandered, defeated, disappointed.

The solution has only been pushed further away by the anarchist disavowal of organization, or the SPGB line of “just propaganda, no praxis”. One of the main ways the party (and the idea of independent proletarian politics) becomes really entangled with the class is by coordinating and conquering the class BEFORE the revolution, by proving to it concretely that independence from the capitalist parties and the “democratic” petty bourgeoisie works (first in strikes, then in votes, then in…). This naturally means participation in unions, and all struggles. And this is NOT participation to recruit members individually, or not primarily so, but to shape proletarian
consciousness and improve our position in the struggle by not letting the bourgeois moderate tactics, likely to be used by the movement without our presence, result in failures (let us remember that merely trying to recruit more of “the masses” to our ideas without influencing the struggle, we are a club of Utopian world-reformers who will end as such). And if we succeed in strikes, or protests, we will be heard during crises too; the proletariat has proven historically to
be able to abandon reformists and centrists as quick as a bullet, should the correct and relevant tactics be presented to them by a correct (and class) party.

Without class politics, we are not just nothing, but we will forever serve as a funnel for workers’ anger every few years, only working to stabilize the system. Without Marxism (which is NOT an economic theory, nor a set of opinions, but the class way of viewing things) we will never again be “great and authentic revolutionaries”. While official communist parties, reformists, and sect
kooks have forgotten all about the workers, we cannot but follow Marx and declare the current need for PERMANENT REVOLUTION, i.e.: total and constant proletarian independence in every struggle, even started by non-proletarians, until communism. And while it is true that this
idea: “permanent revolution”, was thought of by Marx in the 1850’s, it was not until the
indescribably important historical event of October, led first and foremost by Lenin and Trotsky, that it truly happened, despite all Menshevik/SR pressures.

Years have passed and no permanent revolution has occurred, apart from the permanent cycle of sectarian splits and unprincipled mergers of a few, small parties. It is about time that Marxists,
nay, anyone who truly cares for the proletarian struggle, unite in a party for said struggle, and act with solely it in mind. This includes worker organization, propaganda, and other struggles, such as national oppression or the queer rights movement, being tackled from a workers’ point of view; but it is not the first time a party such as this would be built. The German “Social Democratic Party” is the go-to example of a large workers’ party for any historically-aware leftist. But any such leftist also knows it ended up literally murdering the revolutionary proletariat. Opportunism could still develop at a time before the question of a party bureaucracy or alienation had properly been addressed, and in concord with imperial German ambitions, militarism and chauvinist idiocy won out during the most crucial times. No one wants a history lesson right now, but the German revolution deserves immense study. The only tendency which, after WW1 broke out, remained without any theoretical and practical opportunism, which did not forget about worker independence in the face of the war, which did not replace Marx with Kaisers or Tsars, was the revolutionary internationalist grouping around
Lenin, with representatives all over the world. It was not Russian Marxism, nor feudal Marxism; it was the only Marxism left in Europe, and the only enemy of chauvinism and murder. All the official communist parties may think otherwise, but Lenin never thought much of them, really. The rest of this text goes into details about X or Y tactic, utilizing the class method and history to
derive conclusions desperately needed by modern Marxists. But if you need one conclusion from this… main chunk of the text, if you need one main idea to hold, it is that, historically, Marxist politics and Lenin are inseparable; that if there is a Marxism without Lenin, it is opportunist or treacherous, and had the sole conclusion of the body of Rosa Luxemburg floating on a canal. If the point of Marx is class independence, it was not until Lenin that Marx became concrete, for it
was in Lenin and the Bolshevik Party that, despite all the Social Democratic whining about the “material conditions” being “immature”, realized that the only condition that needs to be truly mature is the level of consciousness present in the working class, whether or not they accept and
want to smash the state with the “proletarian dictatorship” (i.e.: their own rule). Whereas the Bernsteinists and the economists saw “revolution” (if they saw it at all) as a matter of immediate economic transition, whereas the Kautskyists saw it as an expansion of democracy in the abstract and the election of a Social Democratic Party in the concrete, the Bolsheviks saw it as pure and
simple class struggle: in the same way that a protest tries to win a specific concession, the revolt of the proletariat against the bourgeois state challenges the bourgeois state, and has the goal of destroying its power, replacing it with a proletarian one. Maybe the goal of this is economic transition; in some cases, immediate economic transition is impossible until further world revolts and revolution; whatever the case is, the state power being challenged is done, naturally, because
the state power is a problem, and cannot coexist with the proletariat. Revolutionary times are times when this contradiction between state power and proletariat becomes such that the gains or sentiments of the workers are under threat, and they decide to seize power as a response – either
when they are forced to, or whenever they find opportune.

Bolshevism, which should just be called Marxism, has one characteristic move: casting off the robe of formal rule of law, of fetishism, of disagreeing over forms, and looks only at content. It is a hysteric tendency, opposed to being identified with what it finds irrational, a tendency which
totally contradicts the conduct of the Communist Parties (“real socialist”, Eurocommunist, regular old pro-Sovietist), a conduct subservient to popular fronts, to the “benefit and unity of the nation”, even to constitutions and the rule of law. As has been discussed, class independence is a
cornerstone of the left, because even when one seeks to sway the bourgeoisie into concessions, or to cooperate with the bourgeoisie in something, surrendering class independence means that it is impossible to properly force your line – you are negotiating from a weak position. The events in
Chile, with the coup of Pinochet against Allende, must be remembered: Allende was not some ideal saint. Of course, he was a good man, who died for his beliefs, but why did the coup happen? He refused the arming of the people, tried to compromise with generals for the sake of the holy constitution and the rule of law. When the interests of “the nation” are placed over the interests of the proletariat, it is usual for both to be lost, especially in cases of anti-imperialism,
anti-fascism, or anything, really. Even in the midst of anti-fascist war, why should we surrender to speak of patriotism or unity with the bourgeoisie? Temporary alliances are one thing; uniting with those who caused this fascism, perhaps even collaborated with the fascist enemy, is quite another. And should the struggle for proletarian revolution be forced to turn its guns against the bourgeoisie – or be murdered – does it have a choice, even when the threat of fascists, or
Germans, or Kornilovist coups is present? What should be done then? Kautsky, the Mensheviks, and countless others who were involved in keeping the workers docile
during the great imperialist slaughter screamed of “defending democracy”. Lenin said “all power to the Soviets”.

We must not fall to Neo-Menshevik lies. The only way to truly defend democracy, outside of the ideal realm inside a liberal’s head, is not with anything other than the proletarian movement. If fascism was prevented by slow surrenders rightwards, then Germany would be known as the most devout adherent to democratic processes.

Part III: A Summary of Lenin’s Relevance

  1. The issues of the modern left can be traced back to sectarianism and the abandoning of
    class politics and class independence.
  2. Marxism historically and theoretically defines itself as THE theory of class
    independence, though non-Marxist parties can rise to the role of conscious and
    independent agitators, including the anarchists in Spain for some time, for example.
  3. Lenin exemplified Marxism in opposition to opportunist deviations that forgot about the content of Marx: class struggle and independence. As a result, identifying with Marx but not Lenin ends up risking a fall into sectarianism, “broad popular” politics, and just being
    problematic altogether.
  4. In elections, in party-building, in unions, we must push the line of independent class struggle, not because it is correct, but because it produces results. Communism is adopted out of practicality, even if it is life-changing; this includes the methods of the Communist movement (which, in reality, are embryonic forms of Communism itself).
  5. Obviously, independent class struggle means no more Syrizas: participation in
    left-populist movements inhibits the blooming of class movements. Participation in political fronts and parties only based on the working class and more or less its natural historical objectives, as the Workers’ Left Front in Argentina shows.
  6. United fronts and temporary agreements and alliances are not to be stopped by any means; they are merely not going to be matters over which we sacrifice our independence. No ideological or political defence of Social Democracy, Stalinism, or other forms of social-patriotism under any circumstances; participation in “Labour
    Parties” on the basis of free criticism ALONE.
  7. Engagement with the proletariat must come as that… as something based on the proletarian identity. The left must display itself as the class party, must concretely show how class struggle exists and needs such and such policy, on the basis of the current level
    of the struggle, current maturity, and so on and so on. The end of such a process remains the dictatorship of the proletariat, even if under current reality
    this seems impossible, far off. Proletarian identity has been crushed enough for the revolutionary order to seem impossible, but impossible or not, I’d argue as the struggle advances, we shall eventually see. And Marxists tend to be good with one thing in particular: historical predictions.

The end of such a process remains the dictatorship of the proletariat, even if under current reality this seems impossible, far off. Proletarian identity has been crushed enough for the revolutionary order to seem impossible, but impossible or not, I’d argue as the struggle advances, we shall eventually see. And Marxists tend to be good with one thing in particular: historical predictions.

Appendix: Neo-Kautskyism and Organization

The main point repeated throughout this text is that of class independence. Class independence in relation to political power is summarized in some of the classic Bolshevik texts, such as Lenin’s “The Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky” and Trotsky’s (bigger, and in my view more detailed) “Terrorism and Communism”. However, a new tendency seems to have
developed which, while claiming to side with Lenin over Kautsky in the split of 1914, retains an openly “centrist” position between the two tendencies, supporting parliamentarism and other such bodies over the soviet system, due to various reasons and details. The aforementioned texts
to an excellent work debunking the idea of pure democracy, or democracy of the whole people without class; here, I will limit myself to one small point.

As the revolution develops, it will be clear which bodies are revolutionary, and which are not. By theorizing about how technically the workers are a majority… or how parliaments are more numerically representative… we forget the real point of it all: getting a working, legislative AND executive body that represents the class line, which will naturally emerge out of the organic institutions of the class, perhaps with restricted suffrage. Maybe these will be like the Commune,
maybe like the soviets; either way, our job is to look at specific conditions for these things,
specific, current needs, and the current need is creating for the first time in… decades, probably, full-on, proletarian politics. Starting soviets now is maybe not the priority, but why should we fetishize the bourgeois parliaments over potential soviet organizations? Unions remain very important… territorial organization also remains important… the point is finding what works to build class consciousness and independence during struggles, and everything from armed
defence detachments to sport’s clubs might be relevant. So long as they are not mere front groups justifying our sect’s isolation, and have a concrete use for the current proletarian struggle, the current, real proletarian condition

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