Leninism and Modern Revisionism

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LENINISM AND MODERN REVISIONISM ''H on gq i'' Editorial, Wo. 1, 1963


Printe d in the Peopl e's Repu blic of China

Le ni ni sm , th e fu nd am en ta l re vo lu tio na ry pr in ci pl es of M ar xi sm ex po un de d by th e gr ea t Le ni n, \Vhich rep1"esents a ne\V st ag e in th e de ve lo pm en t of M ar xi sm , is be in g as sa ile d, di st or te d an d ad ul te ra te d by th e m od er n re vi si on ist~ m or e vi ci ou sl y th an ev er be fo re . Th e es se nt ia l th in g ab ou t Le ni ni sm is th e fa ct th at i·t ha s ca rr ie d. th e te ac hi ng s of M ar x an d En ge ls fu rt he r, pr ov id in g a sc ie nt ifi c an al ys is of ca pi ta lis m 's shar12ening co nt ra di ct io ns in its de ve lo pm en t to th e st ag e of im pe ria lis m , an d .. fu rt he r en ric hi ng th e M ar xi st th eo ry ln d ta ct ic s on p1..ol et ar ia n re vo lu tio n an d pr ol et ar ia n di c( at or sh ip . Th e .~Great O ct ob er Re vo lu tio n ac hi ev ed vi ct or y un de r th e di re ct le ad er sh ip of Le ni n. Ca1..ry in g on th e ca us e of th~ O ct ob er Re vo lu tip n, th e Ch in es e pe op le an d th e peo·pl~ of m an y ot he r co un tri es ha ve al so w ou a se rie s of vi ct or ie s. These ar e vi ct or i s fo r Marxis1n, vi ct or ie s fo r Le ni ni sm . Le ni n on ce sa id th at ''t hi s do ct rin e [o f M ar x] had~ to fig ht at ev er y st ep in its ' co ur se ''. 1 Si m ila rly , Le ni ni sm de ve lo pe d in th e C·OUrse of st1. ug gl e !lg ai ns t th e re vi si on is m of th e Se co nd In te 1' na tio na l. Ev er y ne w co nf irm atio n an d vi ct or y of Le ni ni sm ha s un av oi da bl y be en ac co m pa ni ed by ''o ne ·b at tle af te r an ot he r ag ai ns t po lit ic al st up id ity , vu lg ar ity , op po rtu ni sm , et c. '' 2 1 V. I. Le ni n, ''M ar xi sm an d Re vi sio ni sm '', Se lec ted ~wo vo lu me s, Fo re ig n La ng ua ge s Pu bl ish in g Ho us e,

W or ks , in

M os co w, 1950,

Vol. I, Pa rt 1, p.~ 87. 2 V. I. Le ni n, ''L et te r to In es sa Ar ma nd '', Ag ai ns t Revisionism, Forei~n La ng ua ge s Pu bl ish in g Ho us e, M os co w, 19 59, p. 351. 1


Th e old -lin e rev isio nis ts of the Sec ond Int ern ati ona l oft en use d wh at the y cal led ''ne w dat a on eco nom ic dev elo pm ent '' to con fus e the ma sse s and cut the rev olu tio nar y sou l out of Ma rxi sm , and yet the y fal sel y dis pla yed the co·l our s of ''M arx ism ''. His tor y is rep eat ing itsel f und er dif fer ent cir cum sta nce s and in dif fer ent for ms . Th e mo der n rev isio nis ts, fal sel y dis pla yin g the colours of ''Le nin ism '' and talk i:ag gli bly abo ut bei ng ''fa ith ful to Len in'' , are act ual ly rep eat ing the sam e pro ces s of usi ng cer tain ''ne w dat a'' dn his tor ica l dev elo p.m ent to con fus e peo ple , und e·r mi ne the ~evolutionary tea chi ngs of Le nin • ism and ass ail the ess ent ials of Len ini sm , i.e., Len in's tea chi ngs on imp eri alis m and his the ory and tac·t ics on pro let ari an r~volution and pro leta ria n dict~torshiP,. Lik e the rev isi·oni.s m- opp ort uni sm of the Sec ond Int ernat ion al, mo der n rev isio nis m is try ing har d to cov er up the con tra dic tio ns of cap ital ism and imp eri alis m a11d to den y tha t imp eri alis m is mo rib und , dec ayi ng cap ital ism wh ose day s are num ber ed. It has gon e so far as to des cri be mo der n imp eri alis m as '·'peaceful'' and ''de mo cra tic' ' ''su pra -im per iali sm ''. Th e mo der n rev isio nis ts rep res ent ed by the Tit o gro up of Yu gos lav ia hav e esp eci ally trie d to ma ke the imp eri alis t mo nop oly cap ital ist sta te ma chi ne loo k attr act ive . Th ey des cri be the so- cal led pol icy of n?t ion aliz atio n, sta te- mo nop oly cap ital ism and sta te eco nom ic int erv ent ion in the im peria list cou ntr ies and cap ital ist cou ntr ies in gen era l in suc• h ter ms a~ ''th e gro wth of soc iali st fac tor s'', ''th e rea liza tio n of pla nne d eco nom y'', ''th e beg inn ing of the pro ces s of 5,ocialist tra nsf orm atio n'', aI)d so on. Th ey pra te abo ut ''gr adu al cha nge '', ''th e int egr atio n of rev olu tio n and ref orm '', ''en ter ing dee ply int o the soc iali st era '', and so on. Bu t the y nev er hav e a sin gle wo rd te say 2

about the need, in the transition from capitalism to socialism, to make a revolution that will smash the bourgeois state machi11e and to replace bourgeois dictatorship with proletarian dictatorship. It is we·ll known that the fundan1e11tal Ma1"xist standpoint which Lenin to,ok great pains to expound was precisely that of the revolution to smash the b·ourgeois state machine and the replacement of bourgeois dictatorship by proletarian dictatorship. For without such a revolution, all talk about socialist transformation will be meaningless, and statemonopoly capitalism will remain capitalism and nothing • else. Lenin had well said that the existence and growth of monopoly capitalism, including state-monopoly capitalism, can only demonstrate the maturing of the material prerequisites for socialism and the impending approach and inevitability of the socialist revolution, but cannot in any way serve ''as an argument in favour of tolerating the repudiation of such a revolution and the efforts to make capitalism look more att,.active, an occupation in which all the re·form.ists are en aged''. 1 Herein lies a fundamental difference in the appraisal of our epoch. When Marxist-Leninists say that ''the main content of our epoch is the transition from capitalism to socialism which was begun by~ the G·reat October Socialist Revolution in Russia'',2 they base thems.elves on the viewpoint of proletarian revolution and proletarian dictato,rship, and on the fundamental experience of the V. I. Lenin, ''The State and Revolution'', Selected Works, in two volumes, Moscow, 1952, Vol. II, Part 1, P'· 270. 2 Declaration of the Meeting of Representatives of the Com-munist and Workers' Parties of the Socialist Countries, held in Mosco\v, November 14 to 16, 1957. 1


Great Octobe r Sociali st Revolu tion. But the modern revisfo nis·t s, shunni ng this vi.ewpo int like the plague, distort the experie nce of the Octobe r Revolu tion and avoid referri ng to the road of the Octobe r RevQlution as the commo n road leading to the emanci pation of mankin d. As a matter of fact, they i--egard our epoch as one of ''capita lism growin g into socialis m peacefu lly''. Marxis m-Leni nisn1 has always attache d in1port ance to the st1~uggle for democr acy. In cot1ntr!es where the bow--geois-d emocra tic revolut ion has not yet been accom• plished , the proleta riat must mobiliz e the masses , make every effort to lead the bourge ois-den 1ocrati c revolµt ion and fight for its victory . In countri es where bourge ois democr acy exists, the proleta riat should utilize the democ1"atic rights already won to fight for mo1"e democr atic rights in order to educat~, aro':lse and organiz e the masses to fight the bourg€ ois system of exploit ation and violenc e. After the seizure of power, the proleta riat should solidify and strengt hen the dictato rship of the proleta riat and at the same time give effect to widesp read democr acy under highly centraliz~d g~idance. In other words, it must enforce dictato rship over the enemy a11d practis e people' s democr acy within the ranks of the people in order to ensure the success ful buildin g of socialis m and communism . Den1ocracy invaria bly has a class charact er. MaI·xis t-Lenin ists have always treated the problem of democr acy in its historic al contex t and have never talked about ''democ racy in the abstrac t'' or ''democ racy in genera l''. Lenin emphas ized that under capitalisn1, the p1..oletariat can reJLain~ its indepe ndence only if it makes its struggl e for democr acy serve its ove1"-all objecti ve 4

' of proleta rian dictato rship. 1 He we~t on to point out that the replace ment of bourge ois dictato rship by proletarian dictato rship means an extensi on of democr acy which is of world- wide historic signific ance; it means a change from bogus democr acy to genuin e democr acy; and it means to deprive the exploit ing few of democ1--atic rights and enable the workin g people, the overwh elming majorit y, to enjoy democr acy. To think that the dictato rship of the proleta riat implies the rejectio n of democr acy is a degene rate ''libera l and false assertio n'' which loses sight pf the class struggl e. 2 Like the old-lin e revisio nists, the modern revisio nists use every kind of pretex t ,,to obliterat~ the class charac ter of democr acy and the difference betwee n bourge ois and proleta rian democr acy. In champi oning ''democ racy in general ,, or ''democ racy of the whole people' ', they are actuall y making a fetish of bourge ois democr acy, i.e., of bourge ois dictato rship. Proceeding from this viewpo int, they do their utmost to confou nd revolut ion with reform and to limit and confine all their work to the scope permit ted by bourge ois dictato rship. Lenin long ago repudia ted this extrem ely wrong point of view. HJ said: •


It would be sheer nonsen se to think that the most profou nd revolut ion in human history one which for the first time transfe rred power from the exploit ing minori ty to the exploit ed ~ majority could be performed within the old·' framew ork of bourgeois, par-


V. I. Lenin, ''The Socialis t Revolut ion and the Right of Nations to Self-De terminat ion'', Selected Works, Internctt ional Publishe rs, Ne\v York, 1943, Vol. V, p. 273. ~ 2 Cf. V. I. Lenin, ''The Proletar ian Revolut ion and the Renegad e Kautsky '', Selected Works, in two volumes , Moscow, Vol. II, Part 2, pp. 40, 48-57. l


liam entar y demo cracy , with out drast ic chan ges, with out the c1"eatio11 of new fo1..ms of demo cracy and new i11stitutions conf ormi ng to the new cond ition s fo1-apply ing demo cracy , etc. 1 This prop ositio n of Leni n's has prov ed corre ct in relat ion to the Octo ber Revo lutio n and also comp letel y ·corr ect in relat ion to the victo ries subs eque ntly won by a num ber of coun tries in their socia list revol ution . Yet what the mod ern revis ionis ts persi st in is exac tly the absu1..d theo ry Leni n had refut ed. Unde r socialis1n, the mode rn revis ionis ts, again on the prete xt of ''den1 ocrac y in gene•ral'', deny the class char acter of demo cracy and st1--ive to achie ve their objec tive of grad ually elim inati ng the dicta torsh ip of the p1--oletariat in orde r to facil itate the g1--adua1 resto ratio n of capit alism in a certa in form . On the ques tion of the fight for worl d peac e and peac eful coex isten ce, too, the mode rn revis ionis ts have vulgariz ed Leni nism in the extre me and have comp letely adul terat ed it. Ever sinc·e the first socia list state in the worl d mad e its appe aranc e, all Marx ist-L enini sts, from Leni n onwa rd, have cons idere d it a majo r task for socia list coun tries to work for peac eful coex isten ce betw een coun tries with differen t socia l syste ms and to oppo se the· impe rialis t polic ies of aggre ssion an,d war. The Com mun ist Party of Chin a heade·d by Com rade Mao Tse- tung has alwa ys held tha·t dispu tes betw een natio ns shou ld be settle·d by peac eful mean s and not by force . This Chin ese C.o mmu nist • Part y view is not only cons tantl y reite rated in our V. I. Lenin , ''Thes es on Bourg eois Demo cracy and Prole tarian Dicta torshi p Prese nted to the First Cong ress of the Comm unist Intern ationa l'', Again st Revis ionism , Mosc ow, p. 494. 1


sta tem ent s bu t is firm ly exp res sed in our po~icies and .ac tio ns. All the wo rld kno ws tha t the Peo ple 's Re pub lic of Ch ina wa s an ini tia tor of the Fiv e Pri nci ple s of Pea ceful Co exi ste nce and has ste adf ast ly pu t the m int o pra ctice . All the att em pts of the imp eri alis ts, rea ctio na.r ies and mo der 'n rev isio nis ts to obl ite rat e the se fac ts are vai n. Of course, the pol icy of p€a c·e pur sue d by the soc iali st cou ntr ies has no·t nul lifi ed the var iou s con tra dic tio ns objec tiv ely exi stin g in the wo rld , nam ely , the con tra dic tio n bet we en the soc iali st and the im per iali st cou ntr ies , the con tra dic tio n bet we en the bou rge o·i sie and the pro let ari at in the cap ital ist cou ntr ies , the con tra dic tio n bet)Veen imp eri alis m and the opp res sed nat ion s, the con tra dic tio ns bet we en the imp eri alis t pow ers and the con tra dic tio ns bet we en the var iou s mo nop oly gro ups ins ide eac h im peria list cou ntr y. Ma rxi st-L eni nis ts tak e the vie w tha t, wh eth er in the pas t, pre sen t or fut ure , the re can be no ign ori ng or cov eri ng up of the se con tra dic tio ns, as suc h pol itic al phi list ine s as the mo der n rev isio nis ts are try ing to do, if wo rld pea ce is to be secur~d and pea cef ul coe xis ten ce bet we en the soc iali st cou ntr ies and cou ntr ies wi th dif fer ent soc ial sys tem s is to be achieved. Ma rxi st-L eni nis ts, inc lud ing the Ch ine se Co mm uni sts , hav e alw ays hel d tha t pea cef ul coe xis ten ce bet we en ;th e soc iali st cou ntt ies and cou ntr ies wit h dif fer ent social sys tem s can be attain ed, and tha t the wo rld wa r wh ich the imp eri alis ts are see kin g to kin dle can be pre ven ted , pro vid ed the soc iali st cou ntr ies per sis t in the ir pol icy of pea ce, pro vid ed th~ peo ple 's rev olu tio nar y forces in var iou s cou ntr ies and all the p€a ce- lov ing cou ntr ies and peo ple of the wo rld un ite in res olu te and eff ect ive str ugg le aga ins t the im per iali st for ces of agg res sio n and wa r, ma nac le the imp eri alis ts in var iou s wa ys and nar row dow n the ir sp·h ere of ope ra•


tion. At . the same time, Marxist-Leni nists have consistently held that . the strivings for peaceful co·existence_ between the socialist countries and countries with different social systems _on -the one hand; and the class struggle within the capitalist countries and the revolunationary anti-imperial ist struggles of the oppressed • tions on the other, are two different matters . and two · different kinds of problem, and that the former cannot substitute or negate the latter. The struggle. w§lged by the oppressed people in the capitalist countries and the struggle of the oppressed nations are helpful to th~ striv).ngs for world peace . and for peaceful coexistence between couhtri~s with different social systems. The attempt of the i:nodern reVisionists to restrict, weaken and even ·negate tlie revolutionary 'struggles of the oppressed people and oppressed nations by hypocritical ·appeals for ''peace'' and ''peaceful coexistence'' is in complet~ accord wfth the wish~~ of the imperialists and the reactionaries of various countries and is most damaging to the· struggle~ for peace and fot peaceful coexistence between countrie,s with different social systems. .Just as the old-line revisionists attacked Marxism under the pretext of opposing dogmatism, so the modern revisiqnists ~ use the same pretext to attack Leninism. -As'i. far back as the beginning of the 20th·~entury, Lenin wrote that the reformists and revisidnists in the working·-