Archive | April 27th, 2020

Is Amnesia a Symptom of Covid-19?

By: Gilad Atzmon

GA: an this piece in particular, I suggest that you load remote contents so you can review the relevant graphs and statistics.)I ask because just three years ago the USA experienced one of its most severe influenza outbreaks in recent memory.
am talking about the 2017-18 influenza that according to  The  American Centers of Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)  was associated with “45 million illnesses, 21 million medical visits, 810,000 hospitalizations.” By September 2018 CNN announced that as many as 80.000 were dead for reasons  associated with the outbreak.
I  The number of flu cases that year in the USA alone was about 18 times higher than the current number of Novel Coronavirus cases worldwide (2.5 million so far).
The number of hospitalized American patients was more than 4 times higher than those who have been hospitalised in the USA with Corona- virus symptoms (200.000 to date). The fatalities/hospitalized ratio that year was around 0.1, about the same ratio we saw in Northern Italy last month.   And if all of that isn’t enough, the number of American fatalities in 2017-18 was more than three times the deaths currently associated with Covid-19.
In case the above has yet to provoke your suspicious grey cells, maybe looking into the age groups of the 2017-18 USA influenza’s victims will do the job.  In the 2017-18 influenza, death rates were highest in the over-65 age group. The CDC reports that “people 65 years and older accounted for approximately 58% of reported influenza-associated hospitaliza- tions.” But the story gets even more interesting. In the 2017-18 flu season the second most affected group was those aged 50 to 64.

This is actually very unusual for influenza, as normally the second highest death rate occurs in children, from birth through age 4. Contagion-Infectious Disease Today reported in June 2018 that the “ferociousness of the 17-18 flu season overall, combined with above-average impacts on younger baby boomers, made 2017-2018 one for the record books.”In September 2018  CNN reported that: “Overall, the United States experienced one of the most severe flu seasons in recent decades.” At this stage, I hope it won’t surprise you  to find out that pneumonia was the primary fatal complication associated with the 2017 outbreak.

The following may sound like a description of the current Novel Corona- virus pandemic: “The season began with an increase of illness in November; high activity occurred during January and February, and then illness continued through the end of March.” You guessed right, this is not the description of the current global Corona pandemic but actually how CNN described the outbreak of influenza in America in September 2018.Does it take a genius to figure out that the American 2017-18 influ- enza outbreak was pretty ‘similar’ to the current Novel Coronavirus epidemic?
The first question that comes to mind is why didn’t America lock itself down amidst its catastrophic 2017-18 influenza as it has now?   One may wonder why the CDC didn’t react to the ‘severity’ of the outbreak that was at least three times as lethal as the current Novel Coronavirus health crisis?
But, even more disturbing is the fact that despite the severity of the 2017 flu outbreak and its deadly impact, the enormous number of hospitalisations and the infectious rate, the World Health Organisation (WHO) didn’t see the need to alert the world or to close the planet for business as it did this year. Peculiarly, the WHO didn’t even bother to tag the American outbreak as an epidemic or pandemic.
It was just an ordinary ‘influenza.’This makes me wonder, whether it is possible that what we now consider as ‘novel’ Coronavirus isn’t a novel event after all?  If this is the case, how is it possible that America failed to respond to a lethal virus that attacked almost 11% of its population and left 80.000 dead? Was it silenced or is it a story of total dysfunctionality on every possible level?

Look at the USA 2017-18 influenza graph (light blue) and try to figure out whether it reminds you another graph you happen see a lot in the news lately.
Those who know something about pandemics and, by now,  I am not convinced that Anthony Fauci or the WHO fall into this category,  tell us that global pandemics in recent decades came in three waves.
The first wave is often severe, the second wave is catastrophic and the third wave is relatively light. I wonder whether it is possible that this stage of the corona crisis is actually the second wave rather than a ‘new event’? If this is the case, the first wave was hidden from us by those who claim to be our guardians who defend our planet from viral attacks.
Look at the 2017-18 USA pneumonia and influenza mortality graph and try to figure out whether it reminds you another scary graph you happen see a lot in the news at the moment.
If this scenario is correct, President Trump can save his energy. Trying to shake off his responsibility by putting the blame on China with the hope that the Chinese may decide to build the wall instead of the Mexicans, is not going to work.
The American government may want to invest its energy eliminating some of the widely available information about the American 2017-18 Infl- uenza outbreak.  The current corona virus is certainly a global financial disaster but the Black Plague it isn’t.
However, it has been very effective in making us all aware of the danger in modern virology affairs and the possible impact of bioweapons and viral engineering. If there is any significance to the present crisis, it is because the government’s reaction ought to be an immediate criminal investigation. Questions must be raised with the WHO. Where were you in 2018? Why didn’t you warn the world?
What prevented you from tagging the American influenza outbreak as a pandemic or epidemic? Was it the $400 million the WHO receives ann- ually from the USA government or maybe it has something to do with the WHO’s intimate relationship with the American pharmaceutical industry.  I began by asking whether amnesia is a Covid-19 symptom.

The answer is a categorical NO. In 2017-18 America was subject to an alarming health situation far more dangerous than the current corona- virus. But not many in America knew about it. It wasn’t a news item. It is not that we forgot, we never knew. We lived through it despite the fact that it was far more severe than the current crisis. And the next neces- sary question is who decided to make the current crisis into a phanta- smic apocalyptic narrative and why? Soon we will know the answer as it clearly backfired.   
Everything You Want To Know About Covid-19 but Were Afraid To Ask Peter Duesberg

Whether we like to admit it or not, Peter Duesberg predicted the current institutional turmoil to do with Novel Coronavirus and the dangerous conjunction between those who mimic the image of ‘scientific thinking,’ and the pharmaceutical industry and other oligarchs who see financial opportunity in human suffering.Apr 18, 2020

The Meaning of Corona: Gilad Atzmon at Jason Liosatos Outside The Box.
In this interview I elabore together with Jason Liosatos on the prospects of a Corona paradigm shift, escalating the crisis into a criminal investig- ation. Is it a bio-lab accident, or may be a bio-weapon mutating into a mass killer? Who should investigate the possible culprit(s)? I offer some basic mathematical tools that could help to track down and identify the possible origin of the virus. If you regard yourself as a critical being you may enjoy this conversation.Apr 15, 2020

A Viral Pandemic or A Crime Scene?

We should treat the current epidemic as a potentially criminal act as well as a medical event. We must begin the search for the perpetrators who may be at the centre of this possible crime of global genocidal proportions.Apr 11, 2020

God and the Coronavirus

The Israeli press has reported extensively for the last two days that within the Jewish ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel, the Corona virus has spread like wildfire. Following is an extensive review of the situation in Israel and the health crisis within the orthodox community in Israel and abroad.Apr 6, 2020

Being in the Age of Corona

The only way to cope with the current nightmarish transition as a human species is to accept viruses, to let them be and let our biology fight them and to recognize that at the end of the day, we are each merely a piece of biology. We are thrown into the world for a limited time, we may have to have the modesty to respect the fact that this world may be far greater than we are. It was there before us and it will stay long after we are gone.Mar 30, 2020

Public Hysteria Vs. Scientific Thinking

At a time of crisis and particularly at a time of a crisis of such magnitude, an open scientific debate of the Athenian Agora nature that includes the exchanges with qualified skeptics and critics provide the only light at the end of the tunnel.

Mar 27, 2020

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Is Amnesia a Symptom of Covid-19?

UK care homes body estimates 4,000 residents died from coronavirus

NCF calls for ‘ring of steel’ and says findings highlight flaws in official count and ‘scale of tragedy’

Nadeem Badshah

A care home.
 A care home. The data came from providers that look after more than 30,000 people, about 7.5% of the UK’s total care home population. Photograph: Chris White/Craighealthcare/PA

A group representing care home providers in the UK has estimated that about 4,000 residents have died during the coronavirus pandemic and has called on the government to build a “ring of steel” to safeguard “the most vulnerable among us”.

The National Care Forum said that once the deaths of residents who had been moved to hospital were factored in, the true toll was likely to be more than 7,300.

Data collected by the NCF, which represents not-for-profit adult social care providers, suggests 4,040 people may have died from Covid-19 in residential and nursing homes up to 13 April but are yet to be included in official figures.

The figures will further fuel concerns that the recorded death toll does not give a true picture of the number of fatalities, and according to the NCF they highlight “significant flaws in the current national reporting”.

Confirmed UK

cases: 152,840  New cases: 4,463 

UK deaths; 20,732

England: 110,203 

Scotland: 10,324 

Wales: 9,078 NI3,308

Data from Public Health England at 15:02 BST 27 Apr 2020.

The NCF also found a doubling of deaths related to Covid-19 (2,500) in residential and nursing homes in the space of one week.Only 217 such care-home deaths had been officially recorded in England and Wales up to 3 April.

The NCF collected data from care homes that look after more than 30,000 people in total. That number represents almost 7.5% of all people living in such accommodation in the UK.

It said that in the week from 7-13 April there were 299 deaths linked to the coronavirus, three times more than in the previous week and double the number in the whole of the previous month.

Share your tributes and memories of UK coronavirus victims

Vic Rayner, the NCF’s executive director, said: “By highlighting the scale of the tragedy, we are giving the government an opportunity to respond with equal effort. It must act immediately and build a ‘ring of steel’ around care homes. They need the right PPE [personal protective equipment], medical monitoring devices, rapid and comprehensive testing, proper funding and intensive research to safeguard the people they care for.”

She added: “So long as groups such as residents in care services are omitted from the real-time national reporting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government will surely be unable to properly plan for how to protect its people or exit this crisis.

“Our current national debate on how to mitigate and exit this crisis is virtually entirely centred on the management of the peak within hospitals. We are overlooking how this crisis is playing out in other settings, which are there to protect those who are most vulnerable to the impact of the virus. If we truly believe that every life has value, there can be no meaningful discussions about exit strategies without considering these individuals.”

The official figure of 217 has been questioned as two of the UK’s largest care home providers, HC-One and MHA, said they collectively knew of 442 coronavirus-related deaths.

Separately, analysis from Care England suggests there have been 7,500 more deaths in care home from all causes in the past fortnight than would be expected at this time of year.

The daily number of UK-wide coronavirus deaths, announced each day by the government, only includes people who died in hospital. Virus-related deaths in care homes and elsewhere are measured separately, and figures for England and Wales are announced every Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

There is a two-week delay on collecting the data from thousands of care homes involved because it is derived from death certificates issued by doctors.

The Care Quality Commission, England’s health and social care regulator, said it was working to provide more detailed information about how the pandemicwas affecting care homes.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and that is why we are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this global pandemic.”

It said it was focusing on providing tests for care workers and their families and ensuring that workers get access to any protective equipment that they require.

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Jews in Germany Don’t Need Special Treatment Any More

Germany’s relationship with Jews and with Israel is understandably shaped by the Holocaust. But this has caused it to be ritualized, abnormal – and, sometimes, actively harmful

David Ranan  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the Ohel Jakob award ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the Munich synagogue's rededication. Nov. 9, 2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the Ohel Jakob award ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the Munich synagogue’s rededication. Nov. 9, 2016Matthias Schrader,AP

Germany is going through difficult times, and not only because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Angela Merkel, the embodiment of German, even European, common-sense and stability, and a staunch supporter of Germany’s post-war special relationship with Israel, is on her way out, whilst the extreme right-wing Alternative for Germany party is the third strongest political force in the Bundestag, and is consolidating its support regionally.

What does all this mean for the Jews? Is it possible to lead a “normal” post-Holocaust Jewish life in Germany? Which political trends really present a threat to the free choice of Jews in Germany to speak, act and identify as they wish? Is Germany’s post-war political elite consensus – being for “Jews and Israel, right or wrong” – as solid as it once was? Should it? Do Jews have a future in Germany? And if so, what kind of future?

To understand where Germany and its Jews are today, one needs to go back to the beginnings of Jewish life in the newly established Federal Republic. It started with a small group of some 15,000 Jews, mainly Eastern European, who chose not to leave the interim displaced persons camps established after the war, to make their way to Israel or the U.S., but to stay in Germany.   

These displaced Jews, who decided to stay in a country still full of Nazis, and the few thousand German Jews returning after the war, were considered pariahs in the Jewish world. For years, those that stayed, and their representative bodies, were boycotted by the Jewish world. 

A youth stands on one of the charcoal-coloured concrete slabs of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, May 12, 2005
A youth stands on one of the charcoal-coloured concrete slabs of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, May 12, 2005AP

For most Jews around the world, it was way too early for normalization: they needed to see Germany punished. That a small number of Jews chose to live in the land of the perpetrators, amongst the perpetrators, was an affront: they were considered to lack dignity, actively tarnishing the name and standing of the Jewish people.

For decades after the Holocaust, many Jews refused to visit Germany, to buy German goods, even rejecting German reparations – Israel saw violent demonstrations when its government signed a reparations agreement in 1952 – avoiding all and any contact with that country.

To deal with their own discomfort with their decision to live in the “land of the perpetrators,” the leadership of the small Jewish community invented an imaginary role. They convinced themselves and their community that they played an important role as intermediaries between the new Germany and Israel, as well as between Germany and Jews worldwide. This was blatantly untrue. 

In July 1949, John McCloy, the U.S. High Commissioner in occupied Germany, spoke about the future of Jewish life in Germany: “What this community will be, how it forms itself, how it becomes a part and how it merges with the new Germany, will, I believe be watched very closely and very carefully by the entire world. It will, in my judgement, be one of the real touchstones and the test of Germany‘s progress towards the light.”  

That message was internalized by both Jewish and German politicians. More than 70 years have passed, and Germany has doubtlessly come out from the dark and into the light. And yet, the fact is that Germany and Jews continue to have an unhealthy, abnormal relationship. Calling for a normalization of relations is considered by some to be indicative of harbouring anti-Semitic views. 

Relations with Israel are likewise imbued with heavy symbolic weight.  In a dramatic address to the Knesset is 2008, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that ensuring Israel’s security was part of Germany’s Staatsräson, “reasons of state” – its mission, justification and special historical responsibility. The declaration was mainly emotive – Germany is unlikely to send soldiers to fight Israel’s wars – but Merkel was clear that the responsibility was non-negotiable.  

The Brandenburg Gate is illuminated in the colors of the Israeli flag to show solidarity with the victims of a terror attack, January 9, 2017.
The Brandenburg Gate is illuminated in the colors of the Israeli flag to show solidarity with the victims of a terror attack, January 9, 2017.Michael Kappeler/AP

Almost 75 years have passed since Germany stopped running its program of extermination to rid the world of Jews and it has become a country which actually attracts many Jews to come and live there. It has not been an easy ride. Many post-Holocaust second-generation Jews did not want to stay and by 1989, the dwindling Jewish community in Germany numbered fewer than 30,000 members. 

So an emergency solution to prevent the community from dying out totally was found, by bringing in “new” Jews. In the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, more than 200,000 Jews from the FSU states accepted an open offer of visas made by the German government, and took up residence in Germany. Another group of non-German Jews finding Germany and especially Berlin attractive are young Israelis. The number of Israelis currently living in Berlin has been estimated at between 10-30,000

Germany’s relationship with Jews and with Israel is understandably shaped by the past. However, this has caused it to be ritualized and artificial. One specific act symbolises it well: about once a year, the German Chancellor and/or the German president find an opportunity to publicly voice their thanks to the Jews for coming to live in Germany. 

And German President Walter Steinmeier, speaking recently at Yad Vashem, noted he  was “laden with the heavy, historical burden of guilt” but also “filled with gratitude for the hands of the survivors stretched out to us, for the new trust given to us by people in Israel and across the world, for Jewish life flourishing in Germany.” German politicians and German media, but also the general public, tread exceptionally carefully when it comes to matters Jewish or Israeli. 

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on January 23.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on January 23. Ronen Zvulun,AP

Some of this extra sensitivity is expressed through another feature of German politics: philosemitism. If anti-Semitism is hostility to Jews because they are “Jews” – imagined negative traits they are believed to possess – then philosemitism is the opposite. It is an uncritical love of Jews, just because they are Jews, regardless of their personality, morality or actions. Some Germans afflicted with philosemitism – which, for many, is another way of dealing with their guilt feelings – are noticeably obsessive when it comes to matters connected to Jews or Israel. 

On the face of it, there should be no reason to object to do-gooders. And yet, often the “positive” obsession with matters Jewish, which in its compulsive fervor is not dissimilar to that of anti-Semites, leads philosemites to anomalous, and harmful, agitation and political activity.  

When philosemitism blinds one to Israeli human rights violations, or injustice, then it enables the bad, not the good. If philosemitism produces such a defensive shield over Jews and Jewish life that these become more and more enclosed in a benevolently-meant ghetto, then it is more harmful than beneficial. It should be noted in this context that polls in Germany show the reflexively pro-Israel attitudes of the political elites and of the self-identifying philosemites are not shared by the general population. 

Another German phenomenon that occasionally distorts the German discussions on Jewish and Israeli matters is the small, but rather aggressive, group that calls itself anti-Deutsche. They don’t shy away from labelling views they don’t accept as “anti-Semitic.” 

Fragment of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, a 1.3 km-long part of the original Berlin Wall which is now a graffiti gallery.Dreamstime

Anti-Deutsche (“Anti-Germans”) started out as an anti-nationalist political splinter group on the country’s radical left. Only one nationalism is sacralized: Israel’s. Blinkered support for Israel and opposition to anti-Zionism are an important feature of anti-German thinking. 

There are three more critical participants in the German discourse regarding Jews, anti-Semitism and Israel. They are the Central Council of Jews in Germany (the community’s representative umbrella body), the State of Israel, which operates directly, but also through a variety of informal and sometimes under-the-radar channels, and the major American Jewish advocacy organization, the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Their lobbying, together with the relentless work of philosemitic members of the Bundestag, has pressurised Germany into establishing a substantial new, and to my mind unnecessary, bureaucracy “combatting” anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism czars, on both federal and state levels.

It is noteworthy, that German politicians did not have the decency to consider the more than four million Muslims, many of whom experience Islamophobia on a regular basis, with a parallel appointment to handle issues of anti-Muslim incitement and violence. Or perhaps even better, creating one function dealing with both racism and anti-Semitism?

And if not decency, then at least pragmatism: Let there be no doubt, Jews, already seen as a privileged minority, appear to getting more special treatment.

Policemen secure the area around a memorial commemorating the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms, near the synagogue in Dresden, eastern Germany, after two people were shot dead near the synagogue in Halle. October 9, 2019
Policemen secure the area around a memorial commemorating the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms, near the Dresde synagogue, after two people were shot dead near the synagogue in Halle. Oct 9, 2019ROBERT MICHAEL / dpa / AFP

In my research on anti-Semitism amongst Muslims in Germany, some of my interviewees expressed resentment of special treatment like extra security for synagogues, compared to the zero extra protection afforded by the states to mosques, despite being threatened by the violent far right.

Those who lobby on behalf of a conflation between anti-Israel activism and anti-Semitism – the declared stance of Israel itself, as well as the Trump administration – are also very active and increasingly successful in campaigns seeking to no-platform opinions they disagree with. In plain language, to get such voices boycotted. Accusing individuals, organizations and states of anti-Semitism has always been an important weapon in Israel’s arsenal, to shut up those who criticize it, leading to the absurd construct of falsely maintaining that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is anti-Semitic. 

That campaign’s latest success was the Bundestag’s decision to define BDS as anti-Semitic. The decision has the immediate effect that anyone wishing to openly discuss this Palestinian non-violent civil-society movement is being no-platformed by all public bodies, government, local government and semi-governmental, churches, universities and more. Israel’s Embassy, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, even the Federal Anti-Semitism Czar, are all aggressively pushing for the implementation of this Bundestag decision. 

This unique mix of players, all demanding and receiving a special role in how Germany relates to Jews, Israel and anti-Semitism, has produced an unhealthy state of affairs: unhealthy for Germany and unhealthy for Germany’s Jews, some 90 percent of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their descendants. They were brought in by the German government to serve as Jews, to deliver Jewish life, because Germany believes that it needs a Jewish community to prove that it is “clean.” 

To that end, political and communal institutions and rituals, have created a community with a meta-mission, a community that lives in a weird, mollycoddled bubble that is also being mobilized, even weaponized, on behalf of right-wing Israeli politics. 

For change to take place, the Jewish community itself will have to bring it about. Neither philosemites nor the anti-Deutsche are likely to change their hymn book. Israel and its supporting actors, be it influential American Jewish groups or others, are committed to exploiting Germany’s fear of being accused of anti-Semitism to cover as much criticism of Israel as possible. The Jewish community needs a leadership that will lead the way to normality. This change is unlikely to come from Germany’s non-Jewish majority.

Hopefully the German Jewish community, which currently seems to consider combatting anti-Semitism as not just necessary self-defense but an integral to defining its own identity, will find a way out of this morbid pattern. These are people who chose to come and simply live in Germany. Full stop. Jews in Germany themselves should reject the notion that they have a meta-historical role to play. A new post-Merkel administration could be a good opportunity for a fresh start. 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, GermanyComments Off on Jews in Germany Don’t Need Special Treatment Any More

Thousands of Zionist maintain social distancing while protesting Naziyahu

Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing while protesting Netanyahu

Ursula Perano

Masses of protestors all standing six feet from one another

Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 2,000 Israelis stood 6 feet apart in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Sunday to protest what they consider the erosion of democracy under the coronavirus-era government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz reports.

The big picture: The “Black Flag” demonstrations, which began in March, are a response to stringent coronavirus policies that include phone tracking for civilians. Police marked spots on the ground where protesters could stand, and organizers were required to provide participants with masks, Haaretz notes.

What they’re saying: As Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz work to form a unity government, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid — who was part of the same Blue and White party as Gantz up until last month — accused them of destroying Israeli democracy, according to the Times of Israel.

  • “They are fighting to get into the government,” Lapid said in a speech to protestors. “Telling themselves stories. They say, ‘We’ll fight from the inside.’ You won’t fight from the inside. You don’t fight corruption from within. If you’re inside, you’re part of it.”
  • “A person with indictments can’t appoint a police chief, a state prosecutor, an attorney general, the judges who will deal with his case. That is Netanyahu’s list of demands. … That’s how democracies die in the 21st century. They’re not wiped out by tanks overrunning parliament. They die from within.”
In photos
A protestor
A protester wearing a face mask with ” crime minister” written on it. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
Protestors standing at a distance
Protestors standing at a distance. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
A protestor
The measures are being attacked as anti-democratic by opponents. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images
Woman wearing facemask and protesting Netanyahu
Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

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Czech comrade speaks in Birmingham and London

Dr Josef Skála described the advances made by socialist Czechoslovakia and discussed the challenges of organising the forces for socialist reinstatement.

Proletarian writers

Comrade Josef Skála from the Prague branch of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) gave two insightful talks this weekend, the first in Birmingham on Saturday evening, and the second in central London on Sunday.

In his talks to members of the CPGB-ML and the Stalin Society, Dr Skála recalled his youth in socialist Czechoslovakia and described the vast social and cultural progress that the Czech people made under socialism.

A huge growth in the Czech economy, a twelvefold increase in production in the years following the Nazi occupation, the building up of the Czech machine-tool industry and the fraternal assistance rendered by the Soviet Union in the post-war years were topics of interest and lively discussion.

It was notable, said Dr Skála that meat consumption in the Czech Republic has yet to return to the levels before the ‘velvet revolution’, and the GDP of the country took 15 years to recover to the levels it had reached before the counter-revolution.

Josef Skála joined the Czech communist party a few days after turning 18 in the fateful year of 1968, and his insights into the handling of the ‘Prague spring’ delivered in London will be made available on Proletarian TV soon.

In a long and distinguished political life, Dr Skála acted as the president of the International Union of Students, in which capacity he met Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi amongst other revolutionary leaders, as well as traitors such as Mikhail Gorbachev.

A well-read, multilingual worker-theoretician, he continues to write, teach and play an active role defending the honour of his homeland and the revolutionary teachings of Marxism Leninism.


Josef Skála (politician)

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PhDr. Josef Skála, CSc.
Vice-Chairman of the KSČMIn office:
31 October 2009  –  26 June 2010
In office:
14 May 2016  –  21 April 2018
Party affiliationMembershipCommunist Party (1970–1990)
Communist Party (since 1990)
BirthMay 27, 1952 (age 67)
Alma materCharles University in Prague
Some data may come from a data item .
Free image is missing .

Josef Skála (* May 27, 1952 ) is a Czech politician and businessman, journalist and publicist, university pedagogue, communist ideologue, from 2009 to 2010 and again from 2016 to 2018 vice-chairman of the KSČM . Since 2018, it has been a signatory of the left-wing platform Restart .

Content

Biography [ edit edit source ]

Josef Skála joined the Communist Party at the age of 18. He studied journalism at Charles University in Prague and graduated in 1975 . In his own biography from the 1970s, he stated:” I welcomed the international assistance of the USSR and other socialist countries in August 1968 with enthusiasm and relief. I welcomed the Soviet troops at dawn on August 21 at the Ruzyně airport. “” I tried to help the Soviet soldiers even in the seemingly insignificant things of their daily lives in our country. Soon after the troops joined, immediately after my parents managed to make contact, I started working as an author of articles, news and notes for the Vltava radio station . [p 1]

—Zpravy.aktualne.cz: 9.6.2016 [1] [2]

In 1978 he worked as an employee of the Municipal Committee of the Communist Party in Prague (MV KSČ Praha). [3] In 1980, he defended his dissertation “Social Consciousness and Contemporary Ideological Struggle” (his supervisor was the Marxist philosopher Ladislav Hrzal ) at the University of Political Affairs of the Communist Party (Department of Marxism-Leninism ). [4] At the Charles University, he taught philosophy and worked in high positions Socialist Youth Union , in 1986, was at a meeting of the Central Committee of SSM elected the Permanent Representative of Czechoslovak headquarters SSM college students in the International Union of Students (in office was replaced by Miroslav Stepanand held it until the abolition of the SSM in 1990), [5] [6] under Vasil Mohorita he was a member of the SSM Central Committee, also a member of the World Peace Council (an international organization of left-wing youth). [7]

His publication comes from this period:

  • Observations and Fiction of George Orwell (Prague: Svoboda, 1985),
  • The Second World War: Taboo and Falsification (Prague: Orbis , 1985, together with Ivo Dvořák) a
  • Czechoslovakia Yesterday and Today: 40 questions and answers (Praha: Orbis, 1985). [8]

On November 15, 1989, Josef Skála, as chairman of the International Union of Students, awarded the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Miloš Jakeš with the MSS highest medal “November 17” (on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of November 17, 1939 and International Student Day). [9] [10] [11]

He was led in the StB volumes as an ideological collaborator of the StB, which was a category of secret collaborators of intelligence that was part of the StB. [12] [13]

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he started a business. In 1991–1998, he was a member of the Board of Directors of ELIXTRADE, as , in which he also served as Director (1991–93) and Chairman of the Board of Directors (1993–98). He was also a short member of the Board of Directors of MONTPREFA as . Since 1995, his business activities have been associated with the company COMEXPORT, as , in which he has been the statutory director and chairman of the board of directors since 2014 (since 2004 he has also been the sole shareholder). [14]

He contributes to the internet magazine StřípkyZeSvěta.cz, published by the association INSPIRACE, os with its registered office at Londýnská street 14 in Prague 2. [15] He lives in Prague on Londýnská street in Prague 2. [16]

Business activities in 2019: [17]

  • SaneForest sro (partner with a deposit (40%) and a company executive)
  • LuxRE as (sole shareholder)
  • MONTPREFA as – in liquidation

Political action [ edit edit source ]

From 1970 up to 1990 he was a member of the Communist Party , since 1990 a member of the Communist Party. He holds the position of a member of the KSČM Prague Council and a member of the KSČM Central Committee. He was also a strategic adviser to the party on international politics. At the end of October 2009, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the KSČM in the area of ​​regional and municipal policy and the civil sector. [18] At the end of June 2010, he was removed from this position in a secret ballot at an extraordinary meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. [19]

He ran for the KSČM in Prague in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in 2006 and in 2010 , but failed once. [20] [21] He also failed to succeed in the 2014 elections to the European Parliament , in which he was ranked 5th in the KSČM candidate list. [22]

He pays for the party as a representative of the ultra-conservative wing and the traditionalist, he is also one of the opponents of the current leadership. In the ČT Události program , comments where he defended the communist MP Marta Semelová , for example, he questioned Biľak’s signing of an invitation letter before the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia , although its authenticity is clearly proven. [23] [24] He is a supporter of US President Donald Trump , saying in an interview with Parliamentary Papers that “only a fan club of political corpses is pounding in Trump – and a” left “that can’t see the tip of its nose.” [25]

And IX. Congress of the KSČM in Prague in mid-May 2016, he lost in the fight for the position of party chairman with Vojtěch Filip by a vote of 155 to 203. However, he became the vice-chairman of the KSČM. [26] He held the position of party vice-chairman until an extraordinary congress in April 2018. At that time, he again competed with Vojtěch Filip for the post of chairman of the KSČM and again failed. He received 143 votes, while Filip 165 votes. Subsequently, he did not even defend the position of vice-president. [27]

At the Litoměřice professional seminar on September 22, 2018, he announced the establishment of the Memory and Conscience Association , which is to respond to the “rewriting of history” in the service of politics. [28]

References [ edit edit source ]

Notes [ edit edit source ]

  1.  The most famous occupation publication – the magazine Zprávy was printed in the GDR and distributed on Czechoslovak territory in bulk. From August 30, 1968 to May 10, 1969, a total of sixty-one issues were published, Petr Blažek, Occupational Propaganda in Czechoslovak Territory after August 21, 1968, p. 204

References [ edit edit source ]

  1. ↑ In August ’68, I welcomed the Soviets at dawn in Ruzyně, the KSČM vice-president confessed in his CV for the StB. Aktuálně.cz: In August 68, I welcomed the Soviets at dawn in Ruzyně, the vice-chairman of the KSČM confessed in his CV for the StB [online]. 2016-06-09 [cit. 2019-11-12]. Available online . (Czech)
  2. ↑ The occupiers also had their own radio station. The Vltava has been broadcasting from the GDR since August 21, 1968. plus.rozhlas.cz [online]. 2018-05-16 [cit. 2019-11-12]. Available online . (Czech)
  3.  Party life: Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Central Committee, Red Law, 1978, Volume 1-13.
  4.  Czech Dissertations, Bibliographic Catalog of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Czech Books: State Library of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, 1979, p. 7.
  5. ↑ CTK Photobank – Josef SKÁLA, March 12, 1986 after election to the International Union of Students. multimedia.ctk.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online .
  6.  Czechoslovakia: Chronicle of Internal Political Events: Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Scientific Information Center, Svoboda, 1986, p. 39.
  7. ↑ Favorite for the head of the KSČM Skála: Lenin was an impressive cathedral of the spirit. www.forum24.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online . (Czech)
  8. ↑ Skála Josef [online]. CoJeCo.cz, 2006-09-14 [cit. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  9. ↑ CTK Photobank: Josef SKÁLA, Miloš JAKEŠ, Chairman of the MSS Josef Skála (left) presented Miloš Jakeš with the highest award of the MSS – the Gold Medal on November 17 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of November 17, 1939 – International Student Day. multimedia.ctk.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online .
  10. ↑ AS, Economy. M. Jakeš at the headquarters of MSS. Hospodářské noviny (IHNED.cz)[online]. 1999-11-16 [cit. 2019-11-12]. Available online . (Czech)
  11. ↑ JOSEF, Petráň. Philosophers make a revolution: the Faculty of Arts of Charles University during the communist experiment (1948–1968–1989) . [sl]: Charles University in Prague, Karolinum Press 1132 pp. Available online . ISBN 9788024629940 . (english) Google-Books-ID: Uv_cCwAAQBAJ.
  12. ↑ Records of StB persons of interest
  13. ↑ Archive of security forces
  14. ↑ Complete extract from the Commercial Register, COMEXPORT, as, B 3672 kept at the Municipal Court in Prague [online]. Business Register [cit. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  15. ↑ Snippets from the world: Published by INSPIRACE, os. www.stripkyzesveta.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online .
  16. ↑ PhDr. Josef Skála, CSc., Residence and company. Detail.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online .
  17. ↑ PhDr. Josef Skála, CSc., Residence and company. Detail.cz [online]. [feeling. 2019-11-12]. Available online .
  18. ↑ Grospič, Vostrá and Skála the new vice-chairmen of the KSČM. Novinky.cz [online]. 2009-10-31 [cit. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  19. ↑ The KSČM has four vice-chairmen. District Committee of KSČM Tábor [online]. 2010-06-28 [cit. 2015-08-05]. Available in the archive taken on 2016-03-04.
  20. ↑ Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic held on 02.06. – 03.06.2006, Name lists, Region: Hlavní město Praha, Page: Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, Selection: all valid candidates according to ord. numbers [online]. Czech Statistical Office, 2006 [cited. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  21. ↑ Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic held on 28.05. – 29.05.2010, Name lists, Region: Hlavní město Praha, Page: Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, Selection: all valid candidates according to ord. numbers [online]. Czech Statistical Office, 2010 [cited. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  22. ↑ Elections to the European Parliament held on the territory of the Czech Republic on 23.05. – 24.05.2014, Name lists, Page: Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, Selection: all valid candidates according to ord. numbers, Selection of candidate lists (parties) [online]. Czech Statistical Office, 2014 [cited. 2015-08-05]. Available online .
  23. ↑ Events, comments – Czech Television [online]. Czech Television [cit. 2016-01-09]. Available online .
  24. ↑ iDNES.cz [online]. iDNES.cz [cit. 2016-01-27]. Available online .
  25. ↑ parlamentilisty.cz [online]. [feeling. 2017-04-07]. Available online .
  26. ↑ Filip stopped the attempt at revolution within the KSČM. He repulsed the attack of the Orthodox wing. iDNES.cz [online]. 2016-05-14 [cit. 2016-05-15]. Available online .
  27. ↑ Despite the poor result of the KSČM, Filip kept the position of party chairman. iDNES.cz[online]. 2018-04-21 [cit. 2018-04-21]. Available online .
  28. ↑ Josef Skála founds an association to prevent the rewriting of history: There are many organizations that feed some Soros. Parlamentní listy.cz [online]. 2018-09-22 [cit. 2019-05-31]. Available online .

References [ edit edit source ]

  • Petr Blažek, Occupational Propaganda in Czechoslovak Territory after August 21, 1968, In: Security Apparatus, Propaganda and the Prague Spring: Proceedings of the International Conference Held in Prague on 7-9. September 2008. Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague 2009 pp. 199-217.

External links [ edit edit source ]

Posted in Campaigns, PoliticsComments Off on Czech comrade speaks in Birmingham and London

Stalin and the Bolsheviks of Transcaucasia, part 2

How the communists led the fight against aggressive nationalism and established peace and socialism in the Caucasus.

Lalkar writers

Insignia of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

Read part one on how the Bolsheviks established themselves as the leading force against tsarist oppression in the Caucasus.

*****

The Baku commune

In the central committee of the Bolshevik party, the right-opportunist position (expressed by Kamenev and Zinoviev) attempted sabotage of the October 1917 uprising in Petrograd. In the Caucasus, the Mensheviks played the leading role in opposing the transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the proletarian revolution.

Despite this sabotage, the Bolshevik revolution had an electrifying effect across the country. Josef Stalin summarised the effect on the Caucasus in an article in Pravda:

“The Transcaucasian soldiers who have returned from the front have spread the agrarian revolution through the villages. Manors of the muslim and Georgian landlords went up in smoke. The foundations of the feudal survivals were vigorously attacked by the ‘Bolshevised’ soldier-peasants.

“Obviously, the Transcaucasian commissariat’s empty promises to give the land to the peasants could no longer satisfy peasants caught up by the agrarian wave. Action was demanded of it, but revolutionary action, not counter-revolutionary. And the workers, too, did not and could not lag behind events.

“First, the revolution which was sweeping from the north and winning many gains for the workers naturally roused the Transcaucasian workers to struggle anew. Even the workers of sleepy Tiflis, the bulwark of Menshevik counter-revolution, began to forsake the Transcaucasian commissariat …

“Secondly, after the triumph of the Soviets in the north Caucasus, which supplied grain to Tiflis during the Kaledin-Philimonov occupation, the food shortage could not but get worse, which naturally provoked a number of food ‘riots’; revolutionary north Caucasus flatly refused to feed counter-revolutionary Tiflis.

“Thirdly, the absence of currency (token money cannot serve as a substitute) disrupted economic life and, most of all, railway transport, which undoubtedly aggravated the discontent of the urban masses.

“Finally, revolutionary, proletarian Baku, which had recognised Soviet power from the very first day of the October Revolution and had fought constantly against the Transcaucasian commissariat, did not let the Transcaucasian proletariat sleep, but served as an infectious example and a living beacon illumining the path to socialism.

“All this taken together could not but lead to the revolutionisation of the whole political situation in Transcaucasia.” (1918)

The Baku Bolsheviks took the utmost advantage of the revolutionary situation at the beginning of 1918, led by S Shaumyan and A Japaridze.

In April 1918, the Baku proletariat came to armed blows with the Mussayat-Balakhan counter-revolution and established Soviet rule (the Baku commune). According to Lavrentiy Beria:

“The Tiflis opportunist leadership – Comrade Makharadze and B Mdivani, Okujaya, Toroshelidat and others – ignoring the instructions of Lenin and Stalin – categorically refused to prepare or carry out an armed struggle for power in Georgia and Transcaucasia, actually surrendered the Tiflis arsenal to the Mensheviks, refused to agitate for Soviet power among the soldiers or to use the revolutionary soldiers from the Caucasian front to fight for the overthrow of the bloc of the counter-revolutionary parties of Transcaucasia (Mensheviks, Dashnaks, Mussavatists) which had seized power after the February Revolution.”

National council of Georgia and the execution of Baku commissars

The result of the treacherous activity of the national deviationists was that a national council of Georgia was formed in November 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution elsewhere.

This organisation was dominated by the Mensheviks, who ushered in the period of social-democratic government (1918-21) and came to a speedy alliance with both German imperialism and the Second International.

The Mensheviks had long pursued a policy of ‘national cultural autonomy’ for the nationalities of the Caucasus, as against the Bolshevik policy of ‘the right of nationals to self-determination and independent political existence’. Thus, with the coming of the socialist revolution in Russia, the Mensheviks attempted to put their bourgeois-nationalist line into practice.

Lavrentiy Beria wrote: “The programme of national cultural autonomy, borrowed – by the Mensheviks – from the Austrian social democrats (Mensheviks) and the Bund, was based upon a monarchist, liberal-constitutional solution of the national question in Russia.

“Since national cultural autonomy did not touch the foundations of the bourgeois-landlord system, it left full economic and political power in the hands of the landowners and the bourgeoisie of the ruling Great-Russian nation, and if it had been put into effect would have made Transcaucasia an arena of bloody conflicts between the nationalities.”

JV Stalin explained: “National cultural autonomy shuts up the nations within their old shells, chains them to the lower rungs of cultural development and prevents them from rising to the higher rungs of culture … in addition to retarding the development of the backward nations it transforms regional autonomy into a cause of conflict between the nations organised in the national unions.

“Thus, national cultural autonomy, which is unsuitable generally, would be a senseless reactionary escapade in the Caucasus.” (Marxism and the National and Colonial Question)

The Bolsheviks maintained that for the benefit of the Georgians, Azeris, Armenians and other peoples of the Caucasus, economic development was only possible through the economic cooperation of the region as a whole. Without such close cooperation, the economic and cultural life of the peoples would greatly suffer – one group would have no oil, one would have no food, one group would have trade access only to the east and one to the west.

It was, therefore, a question of the utmost importance for the survival of Soviet power that the development of the national economies of the Soviet republics proceed in unity and harmony with one another. However, the Mensheviks and national deviators resisted such a programme and sought to divert the revolutionary movement down a nationalist dead-end.

“The leaders of the Socialist and Labour International, Kautsky, Vandervelde, MacDonald and others, visited Georgia to establish personal contact with the Menshevik government. On their return to western Europe they published glowing accounts of this new land they had discovered, ‘the only land in which true socialist democracy reigned’.

“The Second International held up social-democratic Georgia as an example of how socialism could be attained in a truly ‘democratic’ way as opposed to the proletarian dictatorship, the method adopted by the Russian working class under the leadership of the Bolsheviks …

“On 14 May 1918, the so-called ‘Georgian National Council’, in which the influence of the social democrats predominated, decided to appeal to General Lossow, the commander-in-chief of the German army of occupation, to secure for Georgia Germany’s support in all international and internal political questions, to continue the advance of the German army to the north Caucasus, to leave the German prisoners of war and officers in Georgia and entrust them with the military organisation, so that the Georgian government might employ these troops to maintain internal order.” (GV Khachapuridze, The Struggle for the Proletarian Revolution in Georgia, p129)

According to GN Doidjashvili: “Later, on 28 May, in the presence of representatives of the German imperial authorities [and] the social-democratic prime minister Noah Jordania … the ‘independence’ of Georgia was proclaimed.

“The army of occupation was so satisfied with the activities of the ‘independent’ government that General von Kress recommended to the German chancellor that on the occasion of the official recognition of the ‘Georgian republic’ by the imperial German government, certain Georgian ‘personalities’ be decorated with high imperial orders and medals.

“Among a number of other social-democratic ministers and officials to receive these decorations were prime minister Jordania, minister of foreign affairs Chenkeli, and minister for the interior Ramishvili.

“After the collapse of Germany, a few weeks after these German decorations were received, the Georgian Mensheviks sought other protectors for their ‘independence.’

“Such was the Menshevik policy of ‘national cultural autonomy’, which in practice was the utter subservience of the Georgians to imperialism.” (GN Doidjashvili, Soviet Georgia – A living example of the Lenin-Stalin national policy)

Doidjashvili continues: “On 3 December 1918, Mr Jordan, the representative of British imperialism, was given an official reception with all due ceremony in Tiflis – in an almost empty square – for the people refused to witness the ceremony.

“The place of the German officers in the bed of the Menshevik prostitute was taken by British officers. Although the German army of occupation was replaced by the British army, the social-democratic ministers continued to crow about the independence of the country.

“‘We prefer the west to the Bolsheviks!’ This was the chief motto of the Mensheviks. They set to work to carry out their ‘programme’ by dissolving the workers’ organisations, flinging the leaders of the masses into prison and inciting the various nationalities in Transcaucasia against each other.

“For this purpose they advocated the restoration of Georgia within its ancient historical frontiers, and directed the spearhead of their activities against the national minorities. They robbed these nationalities not only of the right to autonomy, but even of the right to use their own languages in the schools, in the courts, and in dealings with government officials.

“At an annual meeting of shareholders of a certain oil trust, Herbert Ellen, the English chairman of a Baku oil company, said:

“‘Never in the history of the British Isles has there been such a favourable opportunity for the peaceful penetration of British influence, and for the creation of a second India, or second Egypt, for British trade … The Russian oil industry … will, in itself, be a valuable asset to the empire.’

“Thus, the real object of the British and American imperialists was to convert Georgia, and Transcaucasia, into a second India or Egypt. In pursuit of this object the British imperialists ruthlessly strode over mountains of corpses.

“In September 1918, they … occupied Baku, overthrew the Soviet government that had been established by the workers, and set up a puppet, social-democratic government, the so-called ‘Trans-Caspian dictatorship’.

“The best leaders of the Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian people, the twenty-six people’s commissars of Baku, were tried by court-martial, set up by the wretched ‘government’, and shot.”

As mentioned above, reputedly the only man to survive was Anastas Mikoyan.

“Thus, with the aid of the social-democratic leaders, the Transcaucasian republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were transformed into British colonies, like India or Malaya. The largest industrial establishments in Georgia, and the whole of Transcaucasia, passed into the hands of British, French and American concessionaires.

“They had no intention whatever of investing capital for the modernisation and technical improvement of these undertakings; their object was to exploit them to the very utmost and then abandon them. The result was that many of the factories, oil wells, manganese works, and so forth, were quickly reduced to utter ruin.

“At the eighteenth congress of the Georgian Social-Democratic Party, Ramishvili, one of the social-democratic leaders, ‘justified’ the preservation of capitalist and feudal private property in Georgia on the following ‘grounds’:

“‘The objective conditions for the realisation of our programme are lacking. We have been compelled to serve the cause of bourgeois democracy … A government which loses sight of the objective conditions serves the cause of reaction; that is why our object has been moderate and restrained; we are no longer intensifying the revolution.’” (Khachapuridze, op cit, p138)

The Mensheviks wished to cling onto power at all costs, and to do so meant a perpetual alliance with imperialism, be it of the German or British variety. As history has proven time and again, doing deals with imperialism only benefits imperialism, for the only law which it recognises is the jungle law of capitalism – the strong will take from the weak.

Thus the British demanded all the riches of the country, not only oil and manganese, but also corn and wine, vegetables and fruit. The Georgian landowners, to whom the social-democratic government allowed a free hand, immediately began to sell for export all the agricultural produce of the country.

In the ports of Batum and Poti foreign ships, protected by British troops and the social-democratic ‘Defence Corps’, were loaded with grain, cheese, tea, wine, fruit, vegetables, and so forth, while crowds of starving people saw the food going out of the country.

Doidjashvili said: “The economy of the country went to rack and ruin. Coal output dropped by no less than 85 percent; it took weeks for freight trains to travel between Tiflis and Batum. Wages were reduced nearly every month, so that in the third year of the reign of the social-democratic government the average wages of the Georgian workers amounted to only 20 percent of the pre-war level.”

Stalin, Ordzhonikidze and the Bolshevik counterattack

In April 1920, after the defeat of the counter-revolutionary General Anton Denikin, the Red Army found itself at the borders of Azerbaijan, where the Bolshevik underground organisation was preparing an insurrection against the Mussavatist nationalists.

Working in the underground were Mikoyan and Beria, while Sergey Kirov and Sergo Ordzhonikidze were commanding the Red Army. With the assistance of the Red Army, Daghestan was liberated and, shortly after, the insurgent Baku workers were assisted by the Eleventh Red Army in defeating the Mussavatists.

With Azerbaijan liberated, the Red Army proceeded through the territory of Azerbaijan to Armenia, where an uprising was being directed by the Armenian revolutionary committee. After some months, at the appeal of this committee, the Red Army helped the Armenian workers overthrow the Dashnak nationalists and, on 29 November 1920, Armenia was declared a Soviet republic.

The nationalists of Georgia, represented by Georgian menshevism, were sitting firm, with the backing of British imperialism and its ‘left’ wing, the Second International social democrats. Bogus ‘reforms’ by the Mensheviks had led to the transfer of surplus land to the kulaks and privateers, enraging the peasantry and causing widespread revolt.

But brutal reprisals and the treacherous activity of the national deviators in the ranks of the Bolsheviks had added to Georgia’s woes. With Soviet power established in Baku and Yerevan by November 1920, the Georgian Mensheviks pressed for peace with Soviet Russia.

Members of the Bolshevik underground like Lavrentiy Beria were sent to Tblisi to prepare the Bolshevik underground organisations, and Sergey Kirov was sent as Soviet plenipotentiary. Kirov exposed the dishonest practices of the Mensheviks, which must have had an enormous propagandist effect.

In January 1921, Armenians in territory seized by Georgian Menshevik nationalists rose in revolt. By February, a Georgian revolutionary committee was directing an uprising across the entire country. Ordzhonikidze arrived in Georgia with the Eleventh Red Army to aid the Bolshevik insurgents.

On 25 February 1921, he telegrammed Lenin and Stalin to declare: “The red flag of Soviet power is flying over Tiflis. Long live Soviet Georgia!”

The Mensheviks, in hasty retreat, boarded a French torpedo boat in Batumi harbour and fled Georgia, taking with them many treasures, which they used to fund their anti-Soviet work in the west.

Jordania, who settled in France, wrote numerous books attacking the Soviet Union. He founded a Menshevik newspaper, Our Flag, which was published until the 1990s (having been taken over by his son-in-law) and had a hand in organising a Menshevik uprising in Georgia in 1924.

That affair was referred to by Stalin thus: “Our newspapers write about the comic opera events in Georgia. This is correct, for, on the whole, the insurrection in Georgia was staged, and not a popular insurrection.”

So it was that Jordania, who first allied with the Mensheviks at the second congress of the RSDLP in 1903, came to find himself in the camp of counter-revolution.

Lavrentiy Beria remarked: “The dregs of the fascist counter-revolutionary Menshevik party, headed by N Jordania, sold themselves outright to the imperialists and interventionists, placing all their hopes on counter-revolutionary war and intervention by the imperialist powers against the Soviet Union.

“They became common spies and scouts of the general staffs and intelligence services of the imperialist states, direct agents of fascism and imperialism.”

Soviet power – Transcaucasia federation

Now that the republics were under Soviet power, the challenge was to accomplish the economic development of each as part of a harmonious whole.

Though the Mensheviks were overthrown, the Bolshevik national deviators were still in existence. In his report on the national question at the twelfth party congress, Stalin described Georgian national deviationism as follows:

“There is still a third factor hindering the amalgamation of the republics into a single union: it is the existence of nationalism in the individual republics. The New Economic Policy affects not only the Russian, but also the non-Russian population. The New Economic Policy is fostering private trade and industry not only in the centre of Russia, but also in the individual republics.

“And this New Economic Policy, and private capital, which is associated with it, nourish and foster Georgian, Azerbaijan, Uzbek and other nationalism …

“If this nationalism were only defensive, it might not be worth making a fuss about. We could concentrate our entire action, our entire struggle, on Great-Russian chauvinism in the hope that if this powerful enemy were overcome, anti-Russian nationalism would be overcome with it; for, I repeat, this nationalism is in the long run a reaction to Great-Russian nationalism, a reply to it, a definite form of defence.

“Yes, that would be so if anti-Russian nationalism in the localities were nothing more than a reaction to Russian nationalism. But the trouble is that in some republics this defensive nationalism becomes converted into aggressive nationalism.

“Take Georgia. Over 30 percent of its population are non-Georgians. They include Armenians, Abkhazians, Ajarians, Ossetians and Tatars. The Georgians dominate. And among a certain section of the Georgian communists the idea has sprung up and been developing that there is no particular need to reckon with these small nationalities: they are less cultured, less developed, and there is therefore no need to reckon with them.

“This is chauvinism – a, harmful and dangerous chauvinism; for it may turn, and has already turned, the small republic of Georgia into an arena of discord.”

In a number of questions of the general policy of the party the Georgian deviationists assumed an openly opportunist position, lapsing into Menshevism.

In the agrarian and peasant question, the deviationists entered upon a Menshevik, kulak land policy. They stubbornly resisted carrying out the Bolshevik agrarian reform, ostensibly on the ground that there was no landlordism in Georgia, but actually out of solicitude for the Georgian princes and nobles.

The central committee and the revolutionary committee of Georgia, in which the national deviationists predominated, hindered and delayed the carrying out of the land reform, and, although Soviet rule had existed for two years, the land remained in the hands of the landowners, princes and other noblemen.

On 25 January 1923, Comrade Ordzhonikidze, in summing up the results of the kulak land policy of the deviationists, wrote:

“In its two years’ existence the People’s Commissariat of Agriculture has had no clear idea of what is going on in our countryside. Otherwise, how is it that the biggest landholdings in the counties are still untouched and that the former princes and noblemen are still sitting tight …

“The landlords are living on their old estates, the estates of their grandfathers, while the peasants are completely dependent economically on their good old overlords and princes, as of old …

“According to the report of Comrade Shabanov, chairman of the executive committee of Borchalin county, matters are no better there. The old tsarist generals, the former Abkhazian princes, the Tumanovs, the Counts Kuchenbakh are still in possession of their estates and do not even allow the peasants to make roads through ‘their’ property.

“To our shame, nearly every one of these gentlemen has a special certificate, given him by some Soviet official in the People’s Commissariat for Agriculture, guaranteeing him immunity and undisturbed possession.

“An equally depressing picture is presented by Signakhi and Dushet counties, where the most illustrious princes of Abkhazia, the Muldiranskys, Androniko and Cholokayevs are living in clover in their fine mansions, jeering at the peasants and the Soviet power.” (We must drastically put an end to the outrages in the countryside by S Ordzhonikidze, Dawn of the East, 1923)

By the end of 1921, the Bolsheviks began the struggle for the political union of the Transcaucasian republics, as the best method of ensuring economic and political collaboration. This struggle was led by Ordzhonikidze as head of the Caucasian bureau, and he was assisted firstly by Sergey Kirov, who at that time occupied the post of secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party.

The Georgian Communist Party (Bolshevik) (as it was now known), was in the hands of Mdviani and the deviators. Viacheslav Molotov, a close collaborator with JV Stalin at that time as a secretary of the central committee, attended a plenum of the CC of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) on 3 November 1921 to discuss the Georgian question.

This meeting adopted a resolution in favour of political unity, noting: “The isolated political existence of the Transcaucasian republics enfeebles them in the face of the capitalist and bourgeois countries … political amalgamation will enable the republics really to establish a close economic alliance.”

This position was shared by VI Lenin, although the timing and methods for bringing it into being were hotly debated by all involved, including amongst the Leninists. The resolution also had the effect of bringing the Bolshevik deviators into the open, as Mdviani, Mkharadze and others openly opposed it.

The Georgian deviationists advocated a right-opportunist position on questions of foreign trade. The deviationists demanded that the Batum oil installations be denationalised and leased as a concession to the Standard Oil Company.

The national deviationists looked to the west in economic matters, with an eye to cheap goods from Istanbul, which was the first port of call made by Jordania aboard his French torpedo boat when he fled Menshevik Georgia.

Other rightist policies pursued by the Bolshevik national deviators included strongly urging that a private bank be opened in Tiflis or Batum and that this bank be a branch of the Ottoman Bank, which in actual fact was a subsidiary of Anglo-French capital.

At the beginning of the Sovietisation of Georgia, an amnesty was declared for the Mensheviks, who promptly took advantage of it in order to organise an underground and semi-underground struggle against Soviet rule.

The Caucasian bureau of the central committee of the RCP(B), headed by Comrade Sergo Ordzhonikidze, set the aim of ruthlessly combating the Mensheviks, both by intensifying ideological and political work against Menshevik influence, and by taking repressive measures against the Menshevik counter-revolutionaries.

Unfortunately, the resolute work conducted by Ordzhonikidze brought him into conflict with the majority of the central committee of the Georgian party, who struggled against Ordzhonikidze and attempted to enlist Lenin on their side. Lenin at that time sympathised with the Mdviani group, as he worked to bring into existence the USSR through unity of many other Soviet republics which had arisen throughout the civil war – eg, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Turkestan, etc.

In this context, Lenin advocated treating national deviators as leniently as possible, giving rise to the famous telegram of VI Lenin criticising Felix Dzerzhinsky, Ordzhonikidze and, ultimately, Stalin (as general secretary of the CC) for their handling of Mdviani and the national deviators.

Time was to prove that Mdviani and his group were not honest comrades set off on the wrong path, as Lenin clearly hoped, but were in fact firm opponents of Soviet power and the building of socialism.

Mdviani and his group frustrated attempts to grant autonomy to Ossetia, Abkazia and Ajaristan, and these decisions had to be forced through against the will of the deviationists. The national deviationists attempted to pass absurd laws which demanded that any Georgian woman who married a non-Georgian man should be stripped of her Georgian citizenship.

Furthermore, they wished to expel Armenians from Tblisi and shut off Georgia from the other republics. As Lavrentiy Beria remarked:

“National deviationism wanted to make use of Georgia’s geographical and economic advantages, which were due to her possession of such central points as Tiflis and Batum. On this basis the national deviationists, in demanding withdrawal from the federation, wanted to create and to develop privileges for the Georgians at the expense of the national minorities – the Abkhavians, Ajarians, Ossetians, Armenians, and others.

“Thus national deviationism represented openly expressed, aggressive Georgian chauvinism, which might have transformed Transcaucasia into an arena of inter-national conflicts, which might have restored the situation that existed under Menshevik rule, when people resorted to the firebrand and internecine slaughter in fits of chauvinistic fury.”

The work of the national deviators assisted the struggle of the Menshevik counter-revolutionaries and encouraged their abortive ‘comic opera’ insurrection in 1924. In 1927-35 national deviationism merged with counter-revolutionary Trotskyism and became a hired agency for fascism.

“Mdviani and a number of nationalist deviators (Okujava, Toroshelidze, Chikhladze and others) were exposed in 1936 as a Trotskyite spying and terrorist centre working under the leadership of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre.

Convinced of the inevitable fall of the USSR in the forthcoming war with German fascism, they hoped to break Georgia away from the USSR and establish an independent capitalist Georgia.

Mdviani and his group had pursued this aim in collaboration with Trotsky and in alliance with exiled Mensheviks like Jordania based in Paris, which was itself a meeting ground for former tsarists, anticommunists, Nazis and Mensheviks, and was a base for many anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary and imperialist intelligence and interventionist organisations such as the TorgProm and Comité Franco-Allemand, the latter founded with the assistance of Nazi agent Otto Abetz with the aim of spreading Nazi and anti-Soviet propaganda in France and Europe.

Soviet power – the Stalin Constitution

The heritage left to the workers by the Menshevik government was indeed a terrible one: industry and agriculture in a state of utter ruin; an impoverished people; a devastated culture, and national strife.

This national strife was the main obstacle to the socialist reconstruction of the Transcaucasian republic. In a speech he delivered at a meeting of the Tiflis party organisation on 6 June 1921, Stalin said:

“Obviously the three years’ existence of nationalist governments in Georgia (Mensheviks), in Azerbaijan (Mussavatists) and in Armenia (Dashnaks) did not pass without effect.

“By carrying out their national policies, by working among the toilers in a spirit of aggressive nationalism, these nationalist governments finally brought matters to the point where each of these small countries found itself surrounded by a hostile nationalist atmosphere which deprived Georgia and Armenia of Russian grain and Azerbaijani oil, and Azerbaijan and Russia of goods going through Batum – not to speak of armed clashes (Georgian-Armenian war) and massacres (Armenian-Tatar), the natural result of the nationalist policy.

“It was no easy task to clear the atmosphere, to imbue the working people of all nationalities as speedily as possible with feelings of true, fraternal friendship for each other. The enormous importance that Lenin attached to this task can be seen from the letter he sent to the communists in the Caucasus, dated 14 April 1921. In this letter Lenin wrote:

“‘I permit myself to express the hope that their close alliance [of the Soviet republics of the Caucasus] will serve as a model of national peace, unprecedented under the bourgeoisie and impossible under the bourgeois system.’”

GN Doidjashvili, writing in the socialist period, remarked: “Under the Soviet regime there is no strife over territory among the peoples of Transcaucasia, nor can there be any such strife. And this is due not only to the fact that the Soviet government has found a correct solution for the problem, but also to the fact that all the nationalities enjoy the same conditions of life.

“The conditions enjoyed by Armenians living in Georgia, or in Azerbaijan, say, are equally as good as those they would enjoy in their republic. Under the Soviet regime, Armenians in Georgia, or Georgians in Armenia, have opportunities of receiving their education in their native languages.

“They have their own national theatres. They can conduct any business they need in government offices in their own languages. They have the right to vote and be elected to all legislative, administrative, public and political organisations. They have their own newspapers, pamphlets and books printed in their own language. They can freely follow their religious customs, etc, etc.

“Among the peoples of the Caucasus, as indeed among the peoples throughout the USSR, there can be no strife over land, for the peasants of any nationality, irrespective of where they live, in their own national republic or in some other, everywhere enjoy the same right to land.

“There is no strife over the factories, mines, etc, nor can there be, for all are public property. The oil that is obtained in Baku, the tractors that are built in Kharkov, or the shoes made in Moscow, belong equally to the working people of Georgia, Armenia, Turkmenia, the Ukraine, etc. Hence, in the Soviet Union the causes of strife between nations have been completely eradicated.

“In the USSR, friendship among the nations rests on the firm and unshakeable foundation of socialism. And an example of this Lenin-Stalin friendship and fraternity among nations is provided by the Caucasus, where formerly national hatred and strife prevailed, and where now all the nationalities are united by bonds of fraternity, mutual aid, mutual achievement and mutual joy.” (Soviet Georgia – A Living Example of the Lenin-Stalin National Policy, 1939)

In 1936, with the adoption of the Stalin Constitution of the USSR, the Transcaucasian federation was dissolved, and the republics of Transcaucasia – Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia – entered the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics directly, as union republics with sovereign rights.

The abolition of the Transcaucasian federation was a direct result of the achievements and victories of the general line, and in particular of the national policy, of the Bolsheviks.

The Transcaucasian federation had performed a historical role, completely solving the tasks set before it. The republics of Transcaucasia became industrial-agrarian republics. The collective farm system prevailed in the agriculture of Transcaucasia. Enormous progress was made in developing national culture.

Having broadened the economic and cultural ties of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia with the other republics, territories and regions of the Soviet Union, the victories of socialist construction prepared the conditions for the abolition of the Transcaucasian federation and the direct entrance of the Transcaucasian republics into the Soviet Union.

The new republics were the most complete negation of all previous political systems in Transcaucasia. This negation, far from being a rejection of the Transcaucasian federation and the changing forms of Soviet power, was the fullest continuity of this power, the reforming of this power and its unification in a new and higher synthesis.

This was proof of the correctness of the national policy pursued by Stalin and the Soviet communists. And it is the reason a cursory appraisal of the history of the Bolsheviks in struggle in Transcaucasia is of such use for us today, in a world suffering the effects of imperialist interference in the rights of nations to self-determination, and in our appraisals of the incorrect and disastrous national policies pursued by many who claim to be communist.

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on Stalin and the Bolsheviks of Transcaucasia, part 2

Stalin and the Bolsheviks of Transcaucasia, part 1

How the revolutionary communists established themselves as the leading force against tsarist oppression in the Caucasus.

Lalkar writers

It might be asked why we should have any particular interest in the conduct of the class struggle in Transcaucasia that was carried out by the Bolsheviks. Beyond the fact that JV Stalin is known to have been a Georgian, little is known amongst our comrades about the history of the region.

Generally speaking, our comrades know the story of 1917 in the setting of Petrograd and Moscow. With the consolidation of power by the Khrushchevite revisionists at the 20th party congress, a concerted effort was made to rewrite the history of Bolshevism.

At that congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1956, the Armenian revisionist Anastas Mikoyan said during his report:

“Until quite recently we circulated and even held up as indisputable models books on the history of such big party organisations as the Transcaucasian and Baku organisations, in which the facts were juggled, some [persons] being arbitrarily glorified, while others were not mentioned at all.”

Of course, the person to whom Mikoyan objected to being ‘glorified’ was none other than JV Stalin, whom Mikoyan had himself publicly glorified for many years. Those whom Comrade Mikoyan thought had received insufficient praise is anybody’s guess, but you probably need to look no further than Comrade Mikoyan himself.

This article attempts to resurrect a little of the history of the Bolsheviks in Transcaucasia from the works of three Transcaucasian writers; Josef Stalin, Lavrentiy Beria and GN Doidjashvili.

Bolsheviks in the tsarist empire

The struggle waged by Stalin and the Bolsheviks of this region is important as an example of the Bolshevik work in Russia’s colonies, amongst the oppressed peoples of the Russian empire. Great significance lies in the fact that it was JV Stalin, a Georgian, who elaborated upon the basic Marxist teaching on the national question, and gave the famous definition of nation:

“A nation is a historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culture.” (Marxism and the National Question, 1913)

The principal towns in which the class struggle was conducted in Transcaucasia were Batumi and Tblisi (in modern-day Georgia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). Additionally, Yerevan in Armenia and various small towns in Abkhazia, Ossetia and other places in the Caucasus witnessed fierce national and class struggle in the period from 1900-36. 1936 brought about the complete victory of the national policy of the Bolsheviks with the introduction of the Stalin Constitution.

Of the three proletarian centres, Tblisi was always the sleepiest. In an early estimate of the class composition of the town by Stalin, he remarked upon the fact that the proletarians there numbered only a few thousand, of whom the railway workers were the best.

Outside of these large cities the area was inhabited by a variety of backward peoples, many of them mountain peoples, some of whom had no written form of their language until the Soviet revolution brought in linguists to create one.

These peoples had been granted various rights over one another, which had set off one section against another – rights that were granted by the landlords and feudal princes. These petty privileges sustained animosity and hatred that caused the Bolsheviks and the Red Army many problems in the struggle to unify the workers and peasants in the fight for Soviet power during the civil war.

Baku, Tblisi and Batumi were linked in the late nineteenth century by the Transcaucasian railroad, and the oil pipeline from Baku stretched all the way to Batumi by 1900. This entire area began to grow and develop at a rapid rate in the nineteenth century as a result of the industrialisation of Russia and her colonies.

In 1846, the world’s first mechanically-drilled oil well was sunk in Bibi-Heybat on the outskirts of Baku. It was principally in Baku, therefore, that Stalin and his comrades built up the Bolshevik party, and that city provided many great revolutionaries and future leaders of the USSR.

Amongst the 26 Baku commissars who perished at the hands of reactionaries aided by the British during the civil war, there was only one survivor, Anastas Mikoyan.

The history of the Bolshevik revolution is inextricably bound up with the lives of the colonial peoples of the Russian empire – its victories, its defeats, its setbacks and its betrayals. The success of the national policy of Lenin and Stalin was a guarantee of the lasting victory of the proletarian revolution; it is not for nothing that Stalin remarked:

“Friendship among the peoples of the USSR is a great and important achievement. For as long as this friendship exists, the peoples of our country will be free and invincible.” (JV Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, 1934)

Transcaucasia before 1900 – the three dassys

The origins of revolutionary social democracy in Transcaucasia can be found in three nationalist organisations that took shape in the latter half of the nineteenth century in Georgia, and especially in Tblisi, which was the centre of Transcaucasia; these groups were known as the ‘dassys’ (groups).

The ‘Pirveli’ dassy (literally meaning ‘first group’) was the product of the labours of a famous Georgian writer and poet named Ilya Chavchavadze (1837-1907). This group represented a feudal-progressive trend in Georgia and worked for the capitalist development and renaissance of Georgia.

The group defended the ‘Georgian nation’ and its language from attack by the tsar and his programme of ‘Russification’ in the mid to late-nineteenth century. In this way, the group played a progressive role, although its programme aimed for collaboration between the big landed estates, convinced that the liberal nobles could lead the capitalist development of Georgia.

A group of bourgeois intellectuals influenced by the Pirveli dassy began to publish the newspaper Droyeba (1866–86) and the journals Mnatobi (1869-72) and Krebuli (1871-73). This group was led in the main by Giorgi Tsereteli (1842-1900) and became known as the ‘Meori’ dassy (literally ‘second group’).

This group went further than the Pirveli generation, initially preaching bourgeois nationalism and republicanism. It stood for the capitalist development of Georgia’s national economy, although by the end of the nineteenth century it envisaged that its programme could be realised by supporting the big bourgeoisie and Russian tsardom.

As this process of intellectual exploration proceeded in Georgia, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had been busy on the other side of Europe laying the foundations of scientific socialism and organising the First and Second Internationals.

By the early 1890s, Marxist ideas began to find their way into Georgia through two channels. Firstly, a number of exiled Russian social democrats brought their politics with them into exile. Secondly, there was the return to Georgia of a generation of intellectuals who had been abroad, principally for education or business.

These intellectuals actually saw their ‘Marxism’ as a constituent part of their enlightened ‘Europeanism’. As Noah Jordania (future Menshevik) said: “To be a Georgian and a European is the new motto.” (N Zhordania, Iberia and nationality, 1897)

In Europe, they had been exposed to social-democratic ideas, and many of the individuals who returned came to be known as ‘legal Marxists’, since the Marxism with which they returned was of the Fabian variety.

This process led to the formation around 1893 of the Messameh dassy (‘third group’), and the group around Noah Jordania became the main exponent of ‘legal Marxism’. The leader of the Meori dassy, G Tsereteli, was responsible for the naming of the Messameh dassy.

In 1895, the newspaper of the Messameh dassy published a statement that revealed the (limited) extent to which Marxist ideas had permeated the group’s thinking, and the extent to which it was very far from working out a way forward:

“We say that

“1. During these 25-30 years a new era has begun in our lives. Its characteristic feature is manifest in special economic relations, which means commodity exchange, trade. Here the old master gives way to the new, money. Money destroys the old and builds the new; it divides the people into two parts; two classes arise – the rich and the poor. The old distinction of estates is a fiction. Exchange is brought about by the division of labour, by the production of commodities. The production of commodities is precisely capitalism in general.

“2. Capitalism has several stages or phases. The last stage of capitalism is large-scale production. We have entered this stage but are not yet entrenched.

“3. If the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in our country are not sufficiently defined, that does not mean that we have had neither the one nor the other. In so far as our big landowners grow rich through land incomes they are bourgeois. Add to them the manufacturer, the usurer, the merchant and others … Our proletariat is a mixed organism. The majority have small allotments which give them the mere title of property owners, but in reality they are proletarianised elements (Bogano). They are working people whose fate depends both on the commodity market and the labour market. They are on the way to complete proletarianisation.

“4. In our literature a new (third) group (‘dassy’) has arisen. This group (dassy) is the exact opposite of the old group (dassy), which has no basis. It is progressive, whereas the latter is retrogressive. So far the bourgeoisie does not have its own organisation in our literature, has no group (dassy) in it to express its interests, unless the reviews by Mr N Nikoladze in Moambeh are taken into consideration. The bourgeoisie functions in life. In so far as it destroys the old patriarchal system by its activity, it is progressive; in so far as it ruins the people, it is retrogressive. The motto of the new group (dassy) is: ‘Scientific investigation of the new trend of life, and struggle, not against its tendencies – that goes on without us – but against those consequences which demoralise the people.’ In this respect struggle means enlightening the oppressed and fighting for their interests. The enemy of this new trend is at the same time the enemy of the oppressed.

“This is our outlook upon the life in general and upon literature in particular.” (Kvali No 14, p.15, March 26 1895)

That the Messameh dassy recognised the class struggle in social development is clear. However, the Messameh dassy in general, and a number of groupings within it, never carried the Marxist understanding of class struggle to its conclusion.

Noah Jordania, who later became Menshevik president of ‘independent’ Georgia, consistently preached in favour of alliance between the proletariat and liberal bourgeoisie. He never broke with the ideological constraints of the previous dassyist groups and fought against recognition of the proletarian dictatorship.

This ideological position he carried over into open hostilities in his later years, when he worked against Soviet power and eventually became a paid hireling of the imperialists, much like many of his fellow Mensheviks.

The seeds of his future degeneration, as with other Mensheviks and opportunists such as Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin, can be found in the incorrect ideological positions that he took up in the early 1900s, which only Lenin and the Bolsheviks were to prove capable of answering.

On the national question Jordania wrote: “A nation united materially is united ideologically also. Everyone strives to develop national labour, to strengthen the nation … The peasant and the worker are just as interested in the greatness of the nation as the bourgeois merchant.” (N Zhordania, Economic Development and Nationality, 1894)

Jordania was not talking here about the real patriotism of the working class; he only understood the national question from the point of view of the liberal bourgeoisie. In later years, Jordania and the Georgian Mensheviks turned what Stalin termed ‘defencist’ nationalism – the nationalism of the oppressed (colonial) countries as a reaction against their national subjugation – into an aggressive nationalism, and even organised pogroms and fratricide amongst the workers of the Caucasus.

In 1897, the young revolutionary Lado Ketskhoveli joined the Messameh sassy. He gravitated towards the more revolutionary members of the group, principally Sasha Tsulukidze, who had joined in 1895. By 1898, the basis of a revolutionary leadership was completed with the recruitment of JV Stalin.

Lavrentiy Beria described the young Lado Ketskhoveli as follows: “The revolutionary activity of Comrade Lado Ketskhoveli began in 1893 in the Tiflis seminary from which he was expelled for the participation in a student ‘riot’. In order to continue his education he was compelled to move to Kiev in 1894.

“Between 1894 and 1896 Comrade L Ketskhoveli took an active part in the revolutionary Marxist circles of Kiev. In 1896 the police arrested him and after three months’ imprisonment he was sent to his birthplace (in Georgia) under police surveillance.” (L Beria, History of the Bolshevik Organisations of Transcaucasia, 1935)

Through Lado Ketskhoveli and progressives in Tblisi others in the legendary Tiflis seminary had been supplied with ‘illegal’ literature or came to attend study circles, and it was from the ranks of this seminary that Josef Stalin emerged. By 1898 the group of Stalin, Ketskhoveli and Tsulukidze comprised a young, revolutionary minority in the Messameh dassy.

Stalin and the minority within the Messameh dassy

Two conflicts broke out within the Messameh dassy soon after the emergence of the minority group under Stalin’s leadership. Firstly, the majority within the Messameh dassy were happy to limit the work of the group to the legal propagation of Marxist ideas in Kvali, a ‘legal’ paper, and to continue their work inside study circles away from open conflict with tsardom.

Stalin, Tsulukidze, Ketskhoveli and others held that an illegal press was highly important for the continuing spread of openly revolutionary propaganda amongst the workers, and for the organisation of a truly proletarian party, which alone could conduct the struggle against the autocracy.

In 1900, exiled Russian revolutionary Victor Kurnatovsky arrived in Georgia. He was a close collaborator of Lenin’s from the Emancipation of Labour group, and a follower of the newly published Iskra. Kurnatovsky added his considerable influence to the minority viewpoint, and the question of developing the work from study circles to the leadership of the mass struggle against the autocracy brought the minority within Messameh dassy into conflict with Noah Jordania.

These differences became more pronounced after the second congress of the Russian Sosial-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP, forerunner of the communist party) and eventually became differences of principle between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

When Lenin published his pamphlet What Is To Be Done? in 1901, he recalled how a mere description of conditions inside the factories was no longer sufficient; the time had now come to lead the mass struggle. The Georgian Bolsheviks were working in line with the thinking of Lenin and were advancing along the course that Lenin was charting.

Stalin and his comrades threw themselves into the work of winning over the study circles in their region to this viewpoint. With the help of Kalinin, Alliluyev, Franceschi and others, the minority group won considerable influence.

Stalin personally conducted more than five Georgian or Russian-language study groups around Tblisi at this time, and at least an additional six inside local tobacco, boot and vegetable oil factories, as well as inside the Mirzoyev weaving mill.

Speaking in 1926 to the railway workers of Tblisi, Stalin recalled these busy days when he too was a student: “Comrades, permit me first of all to tender my comradely thanks for the greetings conveyed to me here by the representatives of the workers.

“I must say in all conscience, comrades, that I do not deserve a good half of the flattering things that have been said here about me. I am, it appears, a hero of the October Revolution, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the leader of the Communist International, a legendary warrior-knight and all the rest of it.

“That is absurd, comrades, and quite unnecessary exaggeration. It is the sort of thing that is usually said at the graveside of a departed revolutionary. But I have no intention of dying yet.

“I must therefore give a true picture of what I was formerly, and to whom I owe my present position in our party.

“Comrade Arakel said here that in the old days he regarded himself as one of my teachers, and myself as his pupil. That is perfectly true, comrades. I really was, and still am, one of the pupils of the advanced workers of the Tiflis railway workshops,

”Let me turn back to the past.

“I recall the year 1898, when I was first put in charge of a study circle of workers from the railway workshops. That was some twenty-eight years ago. I recall the days when in the home of Comrade Sturua, and in the presence of Djibladze (he was also one of my teachers at that time), Chodrishvili, Chkheidze, Bochorishvili, Ninua and other advanced workers of Tiflis, I received my first lessons in practical work.

“Compared with these comrades, I was then quite a young man. I may have been a little better-read than many of them were, but as a practical worker I was unquestionably a novice in those days. It was here, among these comrades, that I received my first baptism in the revolutionary struggle. It was here, among these comrades, that I became an apprentice in the art of revolution. As you see, my first teachers were Tiflis workers.

“Permit me to tender them my sincere comradely thanks.” (Reply to the greetings of the workers of the chief railway workshops in Tiflis, 8 June 1926)

As Stalin and the minority group increased their influence, they began to help organise and lead strikes amongst the workers in the railway depots, where conditions were cruel. Sergei Alliluyev (whose daughter Stalin later married) was a worker in the railway depot at this time, and described the conditions in the works and the Bolshevik agitation there:

“July of that year [1900] was intolerably hot. The air in the workshops was stifling. Dazed men could barely walk across the shop floors, exhausted from overwork, from the stench and from the heat. Everyone wanted to finish his work and escape from this hell.

“When the siren finally sounded its harsh clamour, workmen sighed with relief. But this was often premature. The siren had barely begun its shaking wail, when the foreman would announce: ‘Keep the machines running. We are doing overtime!’ The siren would come to an abrupt stop, but the electric transmitters continued humming in the workshops.

“Overtime was a frequent occurrence. In some workshops a number of men stood for as long as 18 hours at the work benches. At first the opportunity to earn extra money was welcomed. But as the overtime system spread, so pay became smaller and smaller.

“In the last ten years, wages decreased by about 40 to 50 percent. If in the nineties turners and fitters received a rouble and a half for a day’s work, now they received a rouble for a full day’s work, plus two to three hours’ overtime.

“The turners working on carriage wheels received 60 kopecks a day. To secure a minimum living wage, every workman had to put in 50 working days a month. In other words, one had to stay for a further five or six hours at overtime. Some men did not leave the workshops for weeks on end and slept beside their machines.

“The plight of the unskilled labourers was even worse.

“By July the workers, driven by need and despair, demanded higher rates of pay and the abolition of overtime. Not everyone understood the need for this. Some were afraid that the management would stop overtime, but leave their wages at the existing level. We had to explain to them that overtime led to ill health, increased the number of unemployed, and lowered the daily wage rate.

“Whilst this was apparent to leading workers, the older, less educated men, with large families, remained unconvinced. No amount of propaganda could convince them. As a result, a number of fights flared up, of a totally unforeseen nature. The more militant among the younger workers beat up some of the older men.

“Things then came to a head at the end of July, and several mass meetings were held at night in the nearby hills. At one of the meetings attended by the lathe operators, Mikhail Kalinin appeared. The question of a strike was discussed. Kalinin talked about the difficulties this would entail, particularly for workers with large families.

“‘We must face facts.’ He said. ‘While we are getting ready to strike, the police are not slumbering, either. They might make a few arrests to sow confusion in our ranks. Are we ready to meet this challenge?’ But before he could answer his own question a dozen men replied in friendly unison: ‘We are ready!’

“‘Yes, we are ready,’ Kalinin continued decisively. Nothing can frighten us, and nothing will. We social democrats know that every struggle demands sacrifices, and that our struggle is for the cause of the working classes, the producers; it is a holy struggle.’

“The preparations for the strike were undertaken by the revolutionary social democrats in the face of the opposition of the majority of the Messame dassy, which tried to break the strike. Soso Djugashvilli [JV Stalin], Ivan Luzin and Mikhail Kalinin encouraged this open struggle among the workers.” (Citation)

The efforts of the minority began to pay off. Despite some setbacks, including the imprisonment and eviction of Sergei Alliluyev and his family, the minority around Stalin began to grow into the embryo of a Bolshevik organisation.

On May Day in 1900 a rally of some 500 workers was organised in the foothills outside Tblisi, and the following year saw the first public May Day demonstration end in bloodshed as many more rallied to the call of the Messameh dassy minority.

To organise this event, the minority group prepared a number of leaflets, and its members took part in strike action and demonstrations in the build-up.

A demonstration of striking Tblisi factory workers on 22 April saw a fierce battle with the Cossacks and police. Fourteen workers were injured and 50 arrested.

Writing in Iskra, Lenin declared: “The event that took place on Sunday 22 April in Tiflis is of historic import for the entire Caucasus: this day marks the beginning of an open revolutionary movement in the Caucasus.” (July 1901, cited in L Beria, History of the Bolshevik Organisations of Transcaucasia, 1949)

Before the temperatures had time to cool, the minority group issued more leaflets and brought more workers out for the 1 May holiday.

One of the leaflets issued by the minority group declared: “The workers of the whole of Russia have decided to celebrate the First of May openly – in the best thoroughfares of the city. They have proudly declared to the authorities that Cossack whips and sabres, torture by the police and the gendarmerie hold no terrors for them.

“Then friends, let us join our Russian comrades! Let us join hands, Georgians, Russians, Armenians; let us gather, raise the scarlet banner and celebrate our only holiday – the First of May!” (Central Archive Board, Georgian SSR, Folio 158, File no 355, 1901, leaf 47, quoted in L Beria, ibid)

The culmination of this work was the appearance in September 1901 of the first issue of Brdzola (The Struggle). By November 1901, on Stalin’s initiative, the first Tblisi conference of the social-democratic organisations was held, with 25 delegates in attendance.

This conference elected the first Tblisi committee of the RSDLP, which followed the line of Lenin’s Iskra. The committee set about in an organised fashion to disperse certain comrades to undertake revolutionary work across Transcaucasia. Following the demonstrations of April and May 1901, and the establishment of Brdzola, Stalin was now ‘underground’ and he left Tblisi on party work.

JV Stalin’s revolutionary activities in the period up to October 1917 include a great many adventures, arrests and exiles. His life mirrors closely the life of all the great Bolshevik revolutionaries of the period. These adventures are far too numerous to be dealt with here, as is the complete history of the February revolution and the role played by the Mensheviks.

For our purposes, having set out the origins of the Bolshevik and Menshevik groups in Transcaucasia, and having indicated the origins of the national chauvinists and national deviators, it will be enough to give a cursory picture of the situation of the national minorities in the period 1900-17 through the words of General Vorontsov-Dashkov, and then to proceed with the story of the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks in the period after October 1917 in Transcaucasia.

Class struggle in Transcaucasia 1900-17

In 1907, General Vorontsov-Dashkov, the viceroy of the Caucasus, wrote in great alarm to the tsar, Nicholas II:

“At the time of my arrival in the region, the revolutionary movement, evidently connected with the movement throughout the empire [ie, the revolution of 1905-07] had already assumed dimensions that were dangerous to the state. I immediately declared martial law in Tiflis …

“At the same time, part of the Tiflis gubernia [governorate], and the whole of the Kutais gubernia, were swept by revolts of the rural population; these revolts were accompanied by the wrecking of landlords’ mansions, the refusal of the peasants to pay taxes, their refusal to recognise their rural authorities, the forcible seizure of private land and the wholesale felling of trees in state and private woods …

“In Tiflis, Baku and other towns in the region, strikes of workers in all trades, including domestic servants, were a daily occurrence.”

What was at the bottom of these numerous and widespread peasant revolts in Georgia? General Voronstov-Dashkov, who cannot be suspected of having had any sympathy for the Georgian people, provided the answer to this question. He wrote:

“In Transcaucasia, and particularly in Georgia, the serfs were emancipated on terms that were particularly advantageous for the landlords and disadvantageous for the peasants … moreover, the peasants’ obligations to the landlords became more onerous than they were under serfdom …

“The state taxes are collected by fair means or foul. If any trees grow on the peasants’ lots, those lots immediately come under the forest tax; if another part of the lot is covered with water owing to a river changing its course, it comes under the fishing tax … Things have reached such a state that walnut trees, planted and reared by the peasants themselves, on their own land, come under the tax.”

Three-quarters of the total area of land in Georgia belonged to the big landlords, the church and the state, and only one-quarter belonged to the peasants. In some gubernias, Tiflis and Kutais for example, 90 percent of the land belonged to the state.

About half the total peasants in pre-revolutionary Georgia owned less than two-and-a-half acres of land per family; only one in 15 peasant households owned a plough, and only one in three or four owned a mattock [similar to a pick-axe] or other hand tool.

This economic oppression was still further intensified by political and moral oppression. Out of the state budget for Georgia, which amounted to 4.7m roubles, the tsarist government allocated 57 percent to the maintenance of the police force, and only 4 percent to public education.

Exposing the policy pursued by the tsarist government in the border regions of the Russian empire, Josef Stalin wrote in 1920:

“Tsarism deliberately settled the best areas in the border regions with colonisers in order to force the natives into the worst areas and to intensify national enmity. Tsarism restricted, and at times simply suppressed, the native schools, theatres and educational institutions in order to keep the masses in intellectual darkness.

“Tsarism frustrated the initiative of the best members of the native population. Lastly, tsarism suppressed all activity on the part of the masses of the border regions.” (JV Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question)

To be continued.

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Why do we celebrate the October Revolution?

Workers need to take inspiration from the achievements of October; an example that our rulers would prefer us to forget.

Ella Rule

Annual celebration of the Great October Socialist Revolution, held in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, 9 November 2019.

The following speech was delivered by our party’s chairman, Ella Rule, in Southall on 9 November 2019.

*****

We are meeting here this evening to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution led by the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, the Bolsheviks, headed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

The victory of this revolution enabled such a vast territory as that of the USSR to rid itself of feudalism and capitalism and to establish a planned economy designed to maximise production for the benefit of the masses of the people.

It lifted millions of people out of grinding poverty, it introduced widespread social facilities to improve the quality of life for workers and their families, and it enabled the Soviet Union to become a superpower, notwithstanding the constant attempts by imperialism to undermine it, including massive military intervention, economic sanctions, infiltration of provocateurs and saboteurs, and constant threats of violence.

More than that, it drew millions of people who had previously been disenfranchised into the business of actively influencing their own future by personal participation in the system of Soviets.

The example of the Soviet Union, with its emancipation of the masses and its gigantic achievements in the fields of production, education, the advancement of science, public welfare, etc, was a clarion call to the exploited and oppressed masses all over the world, giving tremendous impetus to movements against colonialism.

Despite all its massive achievements, including the victory over the allegedly invincible Nazi war machine in the second world war, after the Soviet Union was brought to collapse by Khrushchevite revisionism, we are told (by the imperialists and their toadies) that Soviet communism proved to be a failed system and this siren song has lured many a would-be anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist workers into a feeling of futility.

The most tragic example is that of anti-imperialists in the middle east, who, rejecting communism, turned to religious fundamentalists, supposedly to fight imperialism but who ended up as the bone-headed tools of imperialism for attempting to overthrow governments prepared to put obstacles in the way of the imperialist looting of their countries.

All over the world there have been popular uprisings that ultimately have fizzled out for want of Bolshevik leadership.

The fact is that the real ‘failed system’ is capitalism. Undoubtedly it has great achievements to its credit, but it has come to the end of the road. Yes, it can still come up with extraordinary technical advances, but nowadays the cost is far exceeding the benefits that could and would in any event be delivered under a socialist system in a far more consistent way.

What marks capitalism as a failed system is that for a country to be economically successful, it must impoverish its masses.

We have a prime example of this in Chile today. Chile is a success story as far as its economy is concerned, but only because the masses of its people are impoverished.

The average monthly salary in Chile is $807, the median salary $540, no less than a fifth of which goes on transportation costs. Of the total salaries earned in Chile, half go to one tenth of employees, with the other nine-tenths having to make do with sharing the other half.

In these circumstances, one can understand why a proposed increase of 3p on the average subway fare of $1.20 was capable of causing a mass uprising. It was not just the 3p rise, but the fact that prices for everything have been rising while wages are stagnant.

Chile also introduced one of the first defined-contribution pension schemes, which leaves pensioners struggling on a median pension of $200 a month. The result, as pointed out by Sky News economics editor Ed Conway, is “The lingering resentment generated by decades of record-high inequality, by fury with market-friendly reforms which promised much but failed to deliver, and by an economy which is no longer growing at breakneck rates have built up and are too much to resist.” (Chile’s chaos should be a warning to Britain, The Times, 1 November 2019)

It’s a similar story in other countries. In Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria and Bolivia, the people are taking to the streets. Many of these protests are in fact inspired by the massive demonstrations that imperialism has instigated in Hong Kong against the Chinese government and publicised all over the world with the aim of denigrating China and communism.

In fact, however, they are spreading inspiration and know-how for anti-government protests to many countries ruled by imperialist puppets implementing IMF programmes that are designed to boost the profits of imperialist bankers at the expense of the poorest of the poor.

Although these uprisings often do give rise to the governments in question making concessions, they do not lead to the overthrow of the system that causes the misery which motivated the uprising in the first place. Sooner or later the protests peter out, leaving the system intact and the protesters convinced that the problems are not endemic to the system but are due to the personal corruption of various individual members of the government – when in actual fact it is the system that is the cause of that corruption.

It is of course the case that some of these uprisings are taking place against anti-imperialist governments such as that of Evo Morales in Bolivia, and other relatively progressive governments. These uprisings are greeted with great enthusiasm by, and attract support from, imperialism, which hopes that the governments that attempt to resist its depredations will be overthrown and replaced by ‘responsible’ yes-men.

It is important, however, to bear in mind that a capitalist system will poison the economic atmosphere of even the most anti-imperialist country. Under capitalism, it is not possible to prevent the rich becoming richer while the poor get poorer; it is not possible to bring about full employment; it is not possible to avoid the crippling effects of debt.

Because of this, imperialism is sometimes able to take advantage of some people’s disillusion to foment trouble in anti-imperialist countries.

The people of Argentina were taken in by such propaganda, as a result of which they used the country’s elections to overthrow a relatively progressive Peronist government in favour of Mauricio Macri, a willing tool of imperialism. He soon disabused the Argentine people of their illusions and they have now voted back a Peronist government. But, because of capitalism, the problems remain.

Our party’s annual celebration of the October Revolution is designed to remind people that there is only one solution to the problems caused by capitalism and that is proletarian revolution, proved to be the necessary first step in a cure for chronic underdevelopment, unequal income distribution and mass destitution.

The second step is setting up, as soon as is practicable, a planned economy that ensures work for everybody and puts the wellbeing of the masses as the motivator of production in place of the profits of the few multibillionaires.

It also emphasises the fact that a revolutionary movement cannot be successful without the leadership of a skilled revolutionary party to organise and direct it, and we would urge everyone to help in our efforts to build such a party for Britain and to spread its influence far and wide among the British masses, who are becoming increasingly restless as their living standards and public services relentlessly deteriorate.

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International communists on the attack against anti-Stalin lies

Workers will never find courage in their own strength until they have learned to see through the exploiters’ lies about socialism.

Proletarian writers

Josef Stalin worked tirelessly in the service of the people from the age of 15 until his death. He is hated and his legacy is feared by the imperialists because he led the working class in building a prosperous and peaceful life without exploitation.

The following resolution was passed by a gathering of communist and workers’ parties in Minsk, Belarus on 15 December 2019.

*****

Decisive resistance to anti-Stalinism is an ideological condition for the victory of a modern socialist revolution

We, representatives of the communist and workers’ parties, gathered in the hero city of Minsk for an international conference dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the birth of comrade JV Stalin, entitled ‘Resolute resistance to anti-Stalinism is an ideological condition for victory in the modern socialist revolution’, state the following:

I

Josef Stalin, becoming the head of the party, of the CPSU(b) and the proletarian state after the death of VI Lenin as his faithful disciple, for 29 years led the first country of socialism – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – in accordance with Lenin’s scientific principles.

He was the recognised leader of the Soviet people. Under his leadership in the USSR for the first time in human history real socialism was built as the first stage of communism; Stalin’s constitution was adopted – the constitution of the victorious, in its main, socialism; the Soviet people won a heroic battle over Hitler’s Germany which was supported by the labour of the enslaved countries of Europe, and also over imperialist Japan; in the postwar period the national economy was restored at an unprecedentedly rapid pace and the USSR began the transition to the construction of communism.

Under the leadership of Stalin the main obstacles to successful socialist development were eliminated: the activities of harmful and hostile elements who had embarked on the path of subversion and sabotage against the actions of the Soviet government were exposed and suppressed, as well as of the Trotskyites and right deviators, who were threatening the very existence of the Soviet country; a determined struggle against nationalism was waged; and powerful support for internationalist communist, workers’ and national-liberation movements abroad were carried out, in the struggle against imperialism, for peace and socialism.

As a result of Stalin’s activities, the conditions were created for the formation of the world system of socialism, which called into question the further existence of capitalism on our planet.

Having held fast to these obligations, in opposition to the conditions existing in all previous exploitative societies, JV Stalin led the creation of a socialist society, able to manage its own activities on a scientific basis, and developed Marxist-Leninist science in accordance with the requirements of his time, theoretically outlining to Soviet society the path to the realisation of the transition period to communism, and, above all:

– formulated the basic economic law of socialism and outlined the way to create the material and technical base of communism on the basis of scientific planning and the principles of the ‘Stalinist economy’, including its social orientation – a constant increase in wages as social productivity increases and a lowering of prices as the cost of production decreases;

– showed how society can gradually effect the liquidation of separate classes in the transition to communism, as well as of commodity production and of the market on the basis of rise of collective farms and the gradual replacement of cooperative property by state property (for this purpose at first restoration of machine tractor stations and other state bodies is required);

– determined the way of transition to communist public self-government by developing the dictatorship of the working class as the highest democracy under the leadership of the Communist party, which ensures the suppression of the possibility of the counter-revolutionary degeneration of Soviet society.

JV Stalin opened for mankind the only true way of getting rid of wars, especially important today, when the imperialists’ mastery of weapons of mass destruction makes them capable of sending mankind into oblivion. He wrote: “To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism.”

Thus, there is every reason to characterise the theory and practice of Stalin as a Stalinist development of Marxism Leninism. This period of development of Marxism Leninism was aimed at the revolutionary victory of the world proletariat, ridding it forever of capitalist exploitation and wars.

II

This explains why imperialism’s struggle against Marxism Leninism took the line of discrediting Stalin’s personality, and of denigrating the practice of building socialism during the period of Stalin’s leadership.

This policy was criminally aided by Nikita Khrushchev, when in 1956 he imposed on the CPSU’s twentieth congress the so-called issue of the “cult of the personality”. Since then, the anti-Stalinists have been fighting the Stalinist theoretical legacy of Marxism Leninism and the Stalinist style of leadership in the construction of socialism in the USSR.

The future of mankind depends on the outcome of this struggle: either men will get rid of the shackles of imperialism by crushing it through the socialist revolution, or they will perish in a nuclear cataclysm, to which the general crisis of the entire imperialist system is inevitably leading.

The decisive factor in the victory over world imperialism, the continuation of the first victorious proletarian revolution – the Great October Revolution – should be the world proletarian organisation of the new Comintern, which would be the heir to the political line of the Leninist-Stalinist Third, Communist, International (1919-43).

Now it is necessary to actively carry out preparatory work in this direction. Such an organisation is designed to combine the national efforts of the communists in the struggle against their own national bourgeoisies with their joint efforts in the struggle against the world financial oligarchy.

III

In the struggle against JV Stalin, the reactionaries slanderously attributed to him immodesty and the creation of a cult of his personality, while keeping silent about the fact that Stalin enjoyed the highest and most deserved respect and authority among the working people. The people remember that the epoch-making successes of the Soviet workers and the world workers’ and national-liberation movement were achieved thanks to the activities and leadership of Stalin.

The theme of so-called ‘mass political repressions’ that were attributed to Stalin was used as a lever to denigrate all his activities. But it would be surprising if the dictatorship of the proletariat, which overthrew the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and landlords, refused to fight against the enemies of Soviet power: against anti-Soviet Trotskyists and Bukharinites, against the traitors to the Soviet Motherland such as Vlasov, Bandera, etc, such as the Basmachis in central Asia and the so-called ‘forest brothers’ (bourgeois nationalists) in the Baltic states, against malicious saboteurs of the political and economic line of development pursued by the Soviet government, etc.

Any state has the right to defend itself, and the Soviet state especially had many enemies. It was a just purification of the Soviet organisations from harmful and hostile elements, without which there would be neither creative nor military victories.

But there were also unjust repressions, which were deliberately cultivated by Trotskyists entrenched in the state machinery, including in law enforcement agencies, and by hidden anti-Soviet careerists for the sake of discrediting the Soviet power and bringing about its fall. Injustice was also allowed to occur by politically illiterate persons and by careerist elements who found themselves in those bodies.

Such actions during the time of Stalin were exposed and suppressed by the state itself, including the rehabilitation of the repressed. The attempt to shift the responsibility for the bloody acts of sabotage to the winner over Trotskyism, JV Stalin, is an insidious tactic of the ideologists of the world financial oligarchy.

The internal and external enemies of the USSR have maliciously distorted the picture of repressions as a whole. It was an remains purposely hidden from the public that JV Stalin supported fair punishment of the enemies of the working people and resolutely suppressed all unfair repressions.

It is also hidden that Stalin played a decisive role in the defeat of Trotskyism, and that this greatly contributed to the suppression of unjust political repression. Hidden also is the fact that on the initiative of Stalin the death penalty was abolished as a form of punishment in the USSR.

His enemies have blamed Stalin for the alleged ‘unpreparedness’ of the USSR to repel Hitler’s aggression, even though the victory of the Soviet people over the Nazi beast clearly highlights the unprecedentedly powerful preparations that were made for repulsing the enemy.

These took the form of the rapid industrialisation of the Soviet state, the collectivisation of agriculture, a cultural revolution, the all-round and comprehensive strengthening of the army, the actual defeat of the ‘fifth column’ – the whole building of a socialist society with its collectivist class homogeneity, moral and political unity, friendship of peoples, labour enthusiasm and social activity of citizens, with the fortress of unity of the vanguard of the working class and its labour allies.

Such concrete measures as the policy of re-equipping the Red Army with modern weapons and the advance deployment of the defence industry in the eastern regions of the country had a positive impact.

The conclusion of the non-aggression treaty with Germany gave the necessary respite for better preparation of the country for defence, allowed the splitting of the Munich front of imperialists directed against the USSR fronted by Germany and Italy, but with England, France and the USA standing behind them.

The reunification of western Belarus with the Belarussian SSR and of western Ukraine with the Ukrainian SSR at the same time allowed the moving of the state borders to the west. The reunification with the USSR of Bessarabia, previously illegally occupied by Romania, and the establishment of new borders with Finland also contributed to the strengthening of the security of the Soviet state.

Stalin’s skillful use of interimperialist contradictions, and his continuation of Lenin’s tactics of compromise must be especially emphasised. As a result of these the ‘democratic’ imperialist states became part of the anti-Hitler coalition and fought in alliance with the USSR against the Hitlerite bloc of states.

The myth of the alleged lack of preparedness of the country under the leadership of JV Stalin for war is cultivated in spite of objective facts, such as the fact that the concentrated power of all of pro-fascist Europe was brought down on the USSR.

Stalin is accused of establishing a system of totalitarianism in the USSR. However, the critics of Stalin frankly ignore the fact that he sought to prevent the bureaucratisation of Soviet society and the associated possibility of its bourgeois rebirth. He sought to intensify the efforts of the workers in the comprehensive communist construction through the development of socialist democracy, criticism and self-criticism

The elimination of antagonistic classes in the USSR made it possible to adopt the socialist constitution of 1936. Stalin laid out in this unprecedented social and political guarantees to workers. The Soviet constitution ensured equal participation in the elections of all citizens of the USSR, gave the right to nominate candidates for deputies from party, trade unions, Komsomol organisations and cooperatives (collective farms, etc).

These measures under the leadership of the Communist party ensured the dictatorship of the working class and guaranteed the protection of Soviet power from internal degeneration and external threats.

IV

After Stalin’s death, it was his opponents who revised the scientific path of the movement towards communism, transforming it into its opposite and sending it into oblivion in all its parts.

This opportunism opened the way for the deformation of socialism, the restoration of bourgeois relations and the revival of nationalism, followed by the explosion of the socialist superstructure and the destruction of the USSR.

The theoretical and practical legacy of Stalin is Marxism Leninism of the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism on a world scale.

Thus the purification of the mass consciousness of workers against the slanders of Stalin is the most important task during the ideological offensive of imperialism; an ideological condition for effective resistance of the counter-revolution in the USSR and in the countries of eastern Europe, and for the victory of the socialist revolution in individual countries and around the world.

Today the name of Stalin rightly stands alongside the classics of Marxism Leninism, the luminaries of thought and practice of the world proletariat: Karl MarxFriedrich Engels and VI Lenin.

Glory and eternal gratitude to Comrade Stalin – the great leader of the Soviet people and the entire world proletariat!Long live Marxism Leninism and its Stalinist legacy!Long live the victory of communism on a global scale – a society without classes and social exploitation, with a single national ownership of the means of production, universal prosperity, produced by highly-organised and creative collective labour using the latest achievements of science and technology, in harmony with nature!Communism is the only means of saving humanity from destruction in a nuclear cataclysm and of ensuring its entry into the path of progress and prosperity!

Let us repulse the attacks on Stalin and continue the struggle for the cause of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin!

______________________________

The conference also agreed on the following:

– On the proposal of the delegate from Moldova, it instructed the organising committee to draw up and publish a document against the demolition of Soviet-era monuments in a number of states and the prohibition of communist symbols.

– At the suggestion of the delegate from Bulgaria, it supported the creation of an international front against imperialism and fascism and called for the active holding of events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory over European fascism led by Hitler’s Germany.

– At the suggestion of the delegates from Belarus, it supported the international people’s movement ‘Immortal Regiment’ and the widespread annual commemoration of 22 June – the day of the attack in 1941 by Nazi Germany and its satellites on the USSR – as the day of the struggle against imperialism, war and fascism.

– At the suggestion of the delegate from Turkey, it decided to continue the development of the theme of combating anti-Stalinism, including the synthesis of experience in the application of its specific methods.

– On the proposal of the delegate from Ukraine, it agreed to continue the development of Stalin’s plan for the construction of communism and, above all, in its fundamental part – the economic.

– It has discussed the ways to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lenin, whose faithful successor was Stalin.

Conference Organising Committee
In the hero-city of Minsk, 15 December 2019

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Harpal Brar: Long live Leninism!

Why does Lenin hold such an honoured position in the lexicon of socialist leaders? A century later, what can we learn from his teachings?

Harpal Brar

22 April this year marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the inspirer of the great proletarian socialist revolution in Russia, the leader of the Russian and world proletariat. We publish this article in tribute to his earth-shaking contribution to the cause of world proletarian revolution and the struggle for the overthrow of world imperialism.

*****

VI Lenin fought all his life against opportunism in the working-class movement, in Russia as well as in the west. He exposed and fought against the German socialist Kautsky’s degeneration into opportunism, making a concrete analysis of every important question at issue, drawing clear and definite lines of demarcation between Marxism and Kautskyism, between the Marxist position and the plethora of tendencies within the socialist movement that conciliated with opportunism and thus stood in the way of successfully making a socialist revolution.

Lenin delved deep into the root causes of the emergence of Kautsky’s degeneration, bringing them into the broad light of day – not allowing any considerations of diplomacy (for Kautsky was the acknowledged leader of world socialism at that time), tactics or expediency to inhibit his thorough exposure of this dangerous trend, for he knew only too well that any gains made by ‘tactical’ manoeuvres are not worth a farthing if into the bargain they bring strategic losses and even the negation of basic principles.

Had it not been for Lenin’s exposure of Kautsky’s opportunism during the first world war, the gigantic proletarian opposition to social democracy a few years later would have been out of the question. The result would have been widespread confusion in the working-class movement, accompanied by organisational stagnation.

After Lenin’s death, Josef Stalin maintained that because of Lenin’s services in the defence of Marxism against social-democratic opportunism, because of his development of Marxism on such questions as proletarian revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, party organisation, etc, the science of Marxism should be called Marxism-Leninism; and in this Stalin was absolutely right, for such was Lenin’s contribution to Marxism – to its general treasury.

Leninism, far from being merely a Russian phenomenon, became an international phenomenon rooted in the entire international development.

Lenin applied Marxism to Russian conditions in a masterly way. He helped restore the revolutionary content of Marxism, which had long been suppressed by the opportunists of the Second International. Above all, he took a giant leap forward, developing Marxism further under the new conditions of capitalism and proletarian class struggle.

This is how Stalin defined Leninism: “Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is a theory of proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular.” (JV Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism, 1924, Introduction)

Leninism is characterised by its exceptionally militant and revolutionary spirit, which can be explained by two causes: first, that Leninism was born of the proletarian revolution, the imprint of which it could not but bear; second, that it grew and gained strength in the struggle against the opportunism of the Second International.

The Second International followed the line of opportunism in practice, while paying lip service to Marxism in theory. As Stalin put it: “The opportunists adapted themselves to the bourgeoisie because of their adaptive, petty-bourgeois nature; the ‘orthodox’, in turn adapted themselves to the opportunists in order to ‘preserve’ unity with them, in the interests of ‘peace within the party’. Thus the link between the policy of the bourgeoisie and the policy of the ‘orthodox’ was closed, and, as a result, opportunism reigned supreme.” (Ibid, chapter 2)

Instead of an integral revolutionary theory, there prevailed eclectic, contradictory propositions and scraps of theory. Instead of a revolutionary policy, there was flabby philistinism and contemptible parliamentary scheming and diplomacy. Instead of a correction of mistakes and of tactics on the basis of the party’s own mistakes, every attempt was made to evade difficult questions and to gloss over them.

As a new era of imperialist wars and of revolutionary proletarian battles drew nearer, the old methods, parliamentary and trade union, were patently useless and powerless “in the face of the omnipotence of finance capital”. (Ibid)

It thus became a matter of the utmost importance to “overhaul the entire activity of the Second International, its entire method of work” and to drive out all philistinism, renegacy, social-pacifism and social-chauvinism; to throw out all that was rusty and antiquated in the arsenal of the Second International and to forge new weapons.

Without the fulfilment of this task, the proletariat would have been completely unarmed in its struggle against imperialism. Stalin added: “The honour of bringing about this general overhauling and general cleansing of the Augean stables of the Second International fell to Leninism.” (Ibid)

Leninism insisted on restoring the breach between theory and practice, through testing the theoretical dogmas of the Second International in the crucible of living practice. It insisted that the policy of the parties belonging to the Second International be tested, not by their slogans and resolutions, but by their actions.

And it insisted on the reorganisation of all party work around new revolutionary lines, in order to train and prepare the masses for the revolutionary struggle.

Finally, it insisted on the necessity of self-criticism within the proletarian parties, in order that they may learn from their own mistakes. In this context, Lenin wrote in his pamphlet Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder:

“The attitude of a political party towards its own mistakes is one of the most important and surest ways of judging how earnest the party is and how it in practice fulfils its obligations towards its class and the toiling masses.

“Frankly admitting a mistake, ascertaining the reasons for it, analysing the circumstances which gave rise to it, and thoroughly discussing the means of correcting it – that is the earmark of a serious party; that is the way it should perform its duties, that is the way it should educate and train the class, and then the masses.” (1920, chapter 7)

A party, according to Leninism, is to be judged not by its pompous slogans and declarations but by its practice.

On the eve of the first world war, at its conference in Basel, the Second International, knowing full well that war was then impending, passed a resolution declaring “war against war”. A little later, as the war began, the parties of the Second International gave the workers a new slogan – to slaughter each other at the altar of the glory of their imperialist fatherlands.

The contrast between the policy of the Second International and that of the Leninist policy of transforming the imperialist war into a civil war for the overthrow of one’s own bourgeoisie makes starkly clear not only the baseness of the opportunism of the leaders of the Second International but also the magnificent grandeur of the method of Leninism.

The Bolsheviks generally, and Lenin in particular, were often accused by their opportunist opponents in Russia, as well as in the Second International, of being guided by their factional struggles and always putting fundamental problems of the Russian revolution in the forefront.

Doubtless, the Bolsheviks put in the forefront the fundamental problems of the Russian revolution. These, however, were the fundamental problems of the revolution everywhere – not just Russia.

Problems such as the question of theory, the attitude of the Marxist party towards the bourgeois-democratic revolution, of the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, of the hegemony of the proletariat, of the significance of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggles, of general strike, of the passing of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of imperialism, of the self-determination of nations, of the liberation movements of the colonial and oppressed peoples and of the necessity for the proletariat to support these movements.

The Bolsheviks put forward these problems as the touchstone on which to judge the revolutionary consistency of the parties of the Second International.

They were right to do so. Nay, they had a duty to do so, because all these problems were also the fundamental problems of the world proletarian revolution, to which the Bolsheviks subordinated their policy.

The Russian revolution was no private affair of the Bolsheviks or the Russian proletariat. Lenin had realised very early on that the revolutionary centre was beginning to shift from the west to Russia, and that the outcome of the Russian revolution would have world-historic significance.

As early as 1902, in his pamphlet What Is to be Done?, Lenin wrote:

“History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks that confront the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark not only of European but (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat.” (Chapter 1A)

Nearly 120 years have passed since these words were written and history has eloquently confirmed Lenin’s words. However, it does follow from this that the Russian revolution was “the nodal point of world revolution; that the fundamental problems of the Russian revolution were … the fundamental problems of the world revolution”. (JV Stalin, Some questions concerning the history of Bolshevism, January 1934)

Let us now briefly look at some of these fundamental problems of Leninism.

Marxist theory

Lenin constantly insisted that the proletariat should recognise the role of revolutionary theory. “Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement,” he wrote in What Is to be Done? (Chapter 1D)

He understood better than anyone else the importance of theory, for theory alone can give the movement confidence, purpose and direction. As early as 1902 he pointed out: “The role of vanguard fighter can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory.” (Ibid)

This does not mean that theory should be separated from practice, for “theory becomes purposeless if it is not connected with revolutionary practice, just as practice gropes in the dark if its path is not illumined by revolutionary theory”. (JV Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, 1924, chapter 3)

Lenin waged a merciless struggle against the ‘theory’ of spontaneity, the ‘theory’ of worshipping the spontaneity of the labour movement, as an opportunist theory which repudiated the leading role of the party of the proletariat, a ‘theory’ which dragged the party of the proletariat to tag along at the tail end of the spontaneous working-class movement.

The leading proponents of this ‘theory’, the Economists, went to the extent of denying the need for an independent party of the proletariat. Lenin’s What is To Be Done? demolished this ‘theory’ and furnished the theoretical foundations for a genuinely revolutionary movement of the Russian proletariat.

Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution

According to Lenin, imperialism (monopoly capitalism) intensifies all the contradictions of capitalism to the extreme. In the heartlands of capitalism, finance capital makes the yoke of monopolies unbearable, thus serving to exacerbate the resentment of the working class against the foundations of capitalism, and bringing the masses to the proletarian revolution as their only salvation.

Second, the export of capital, which is such a characteristic feature of monopoly capital (finance capital), leads to the transformation of capitalism into a world system of financial enslavement and colonial oppression of the overwhelming majority of the population of the world by a handful of ‘advanced’countries, thus splitting the global population into two camps: the handful of countries that exploit and oppress the vast masses of dependent and colonial countries, and the huge majority inhabiting the oppressed world.

All this leads to the intensification of the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed countries, resulting in the growth of the movements of revolt against imperialism on the external front.

Third, the uneven development of capitalist countries, and the resultant frenzied struggle for the redivision of the world between those countries that already possess territories and those claiming a ‘fair share’, leads to imperialist wars as the sole means for restoring the disturbed ‘equilibrium’ – the intensification of the struggle on the third front, the interimperialist front.

Hence Lenin’s conclusion: that wars cannot be averted under imperialism. Hence also the inevitability of a coalition between proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries and the anti-imperialist movements in the oppressed countries in a united revolutionary front against the world front of imperialism.

Combining all these conclusions into one general conclusion, Lenin observed that: “Imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution.” (Preface to Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, April 1917)

According to Lenin’s theory, with the development of capitalism into imperialism, individual national economies have ceased to be self-sufficient units; they have become links in a single chain of the world economy; that imperialism is a global system of financial enslavement and oppression of the vast majority of the world’s population by a handful of imperialist countries.

This creates the objective conditions for revolution to break out in countries that are not particularly advanced in terms of industrial development because the system in its entirety is ripe for revolution.

As a result, the chain of the world imperialist front may break in any one country or another depending on where the chain is at its weakest. Hence the victory of the revolution is possible in one country, even a relatively backward country (as for instance Russia in 1917).

Dictatorship of the proletariat

“The fundamental question of every revolution is the question of power,” said Lenin. The aim of the dictatorship of the proletariat is to overthrow the bourgeoisie and break its resistance; to organise construction; and to arm the revolution, organising the army against foreign enemies in the struggle against imperialism.

The dictatorship of the proletariat spans a whole historical epoch. It cannot result in complete democracy for all – it institutes democracy for the majority and dictatorship over the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat cannot result from peaceful development of bourgeois society and bourgeois democracy; it can only arise as a result of the smashing of the bourgeois state machine.

With the appearance of Soviet power, the era of bourgeois-democratic parliamentarism draws to a close and a new chapter in world history – the era of proletarian dictatorship – is ushered in.

The Republic of Soviets is thus the political form so long sought and finally discovered, within the framework of which the economic emancipation of the proletariat, the complete victory of socialism, must be accomplished. (Theses on the constituent assemblyDecember 1917)

The peasant question

Leninism has three slogans on the peasant question, each corresponding to a different stage of the revolution: (a) the peasantry during the bourgeois-democratic revolution; (b) the peasantry during the proletarian revolution; and (c) the peasantry after the consolidation of Soviet power.

Those who are marching and preparing to assume power cannot but be interested in the question of who are their real allies. In this sense, the peasant question is part of the general question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and is thus one of the most important problems of Leninism.

Some people maintain that what is special about Leninism is its stance on the peasantry. This is not true. “The fundamental question of Leninism, its point of departure, is … the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the conditions under which it is to be achieved, of the conditions under which it can be consolidated.” (JV Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, chapter 5)

The peasant question, since it concerns the question of who are the allies of the proletariat in its struggle for power, is a secondary question, deriving from the question of state power.

During the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the struggle was between the Cadets (the liberal bourgeoisie) and the Bolsheviks (the proletariat) for influence over the peasantry. The Cadets were attempting to win over the peasantry and to reconcile it to tsarism. During this stage of the revolution, therefore, the Bolsheviks concentrated their fire on the Cadets.

During the proletarian revolution, the struggle was between the so-called Socialist Revolutionaries (petty-bourgeois democrats) and the Bolsheviks for influence over the peasantry – a struggle to win over the majority of the people by ending the war. But to end the war it was necessary to overthrow the provisional government – to overthrow the power of the bourgeoisie and the power of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks who were compromising with the bourgeoisie.

After the consolidation of Soviet power, the task was to win over the majority of the peasantry for socialist construction. Lenin was correctly of the view that a peasantry that had received peace and land at the hands of the proletariat could be mobilised to build socialism through the cooperatives.

“State power over all large-scale means of production, state power in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc – is not this all that is necessary for the building of the complete socialist society from the cooperatives, from the cooperatives alone, which we formerly looked down upon as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we have the right to look down upon as such now under the NEP?

“Is this not all that is necessary for building a socialist society? This is not yet the building of a socialist society, but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building.” (On cooperation, January 1923)

The national question

In the period of the Second International, the national question was seen as being confined to a few European countries – ie, Poland, Hungary, Ireland, etc. The vast majority of subjugated peoples in Asia and Africa remained outside the purview of the Second International.

Leninism broke down the wall between whites and blacks, Europeans and Asians and Africans; between the ‘civilised’ and ‘uncivilised’ slaves of imperialism. With this, the national question was transformed from being an internal state problem into a general international problem – a problem of the liberation of oppressed peoples in the colonial and dependent countries from the yoke of imperialism through self-determination and complete secession.

With this slogan of self-determination, Leninism educated the masses in the spirit of internationalism. It brought the national question from the realm of high-sounding declarations to the solid ground of the utilisation of the revolutionary potentialities of the national movements for advancing the movement of the proletariat for the overthrow of imperialism.

It thus transformed the revolutionary national-liberation movements into a reserve of the revolutionary proletariat.

The revolutionary character of the national movements does not presuppose the existence of proletarian elements in the movement or a republican programme.

Thus, according to Leninism, the world is divided into two camps: (1) the camp of a handful of imperialist exploiting and oppressing nations, which possess finance capital and exploit the majority of the population of the globe; (2) the camp of the oppressed and exploited hundreds of millions around the world.

The interests of the proletarian movement in the developed countries and the national-liberation movement call for a union of these two forms of revolutionary movement in a common front against imperialism – against the common enemy.

Without such a front, the victory of either is impossible. “No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.” (Speech by Friedrich Engels, November 1847)

The union between the revolutionary proletarian movement and the national-liberation movements can only be voluntary – on the basis of mutual confidence and fraternal relations amongst the people.

“If a [Marxist] belonging to a great, oppressing, annexing nation, while advocating the amalgamation of nations in general, were to forget even for one moment that ‘his’ Nicholas II, ‘his’ Wilhelm, George, Poincaré, etc, also stands for amalgamation with small nations (by means of annexations) … such a Marxist would be a ridiculous doctrinaire in theory and an abettor of imperialism in practice.

“The weight of emphasis in the internationalist education of the workers in the oppressing countries must necessarily consist in their advocating and upholding freedom of secession for oppressed countries. Without this there can be no internationalism.

“It is our right and duty to treat every Marxist of an oppressing nation who fails to conduct such propaganda as an imperialist scoundrel.” (The discussion on self-determination summed up, July 1916)

The wars of national liberation against imperialist domination are just wars, and it is the duty of every proletarian revolutionary in the imperialist countries to support such wars and to work for the defeat of his own ruling class. Any other stance would be a total betrayal of the principles and ideals of socialism, for:

“The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would in fact be nothing but a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of “colonial” slaves, who are oppressed by that capital.” (Speech at the second congress of the Communist International, August 1920)

Strategy and tactics

The period of domination of the Second International was characterised by parliamentary forms of struggle, whose importance it overestimated. Only in the period of revolution could an integral strategy and elaborated tactics for the struggle of the proletariat be worked out.

It was in this period that Lenin brought out into the light of day the brilliant ideas of Marx and Engels on strategy and tactics, which had been suppressed by the opportunists of the Second International. He developed them further and supplemented them with new provisions, working them all into a system of rules and guiding principles for the leadership of the class struggle of the proletariat.

His works such as What Is to be Done?,Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic RevolutionImperialism, the Highest Stage of CapitalismThe State and RevolutionThe Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky and ‘Left-Wing’ Communism: an Infantile Disorderconstitute priceless contributions to the general treasury of Marxism, to its general arsenal.

The strategy and tactics of Leninism constitute the science of leadership in the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.

Stages of the revolution and strategy

Strategy is the determination of the direction of the main blow of the proletariat at a given stage of the revolution; the elaboration of a corresponding plan for the disposition of the revolutionary forces. This is how Lenin’s teachings on strategy and tactics worked during the various stages of the Russian revolution:

First stage: 1903 to February 1917

The objective at this stage was the overthrow of tsarism and the destruction of the survivals of medievalism. The main force of the revolution in this period was the proletariat and its immediate reserves, the peasantry.

In this stage, the direction of the blow was the isolation of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, which was attempting to bring the peasantry under its wing and liquidate the revolution by a compromise with tsarism.

“The proletariat must carry to completion the democratic revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and paralyse the instability of the bourgeoisie.” (Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, 1905, chapter 12)

Second stage: March 1917 to October 1917

The objective during this stage was to overthrow imperialism and withdraw from the imperialist war. During this period, the proletariat was the main force of the revolution and its immediate reserves were the poor peasantry.

The direction of the blow in this period was the isolation of the petty-bourgeois parties – the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks – which were trying to win over the toiling masses of the peasantry and liquidate the revolution by a compromise with imperialism.

“The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty-bourgeoisie.” (Ibid)

Third stage: After the October Revolution

The objective of the revolution during this stage was to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country, using it as a base for the defeat of imperialism in all countries. The main forces of the revolution in this period were the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country and the revolutionary movement of the proletariat in all countries. The main reserves of the revolution were the semi-proletarian and small peasant masses in the developed countries and liberation movements in colonial and dependent countries.

The direction of the main blow in this period was the isolation of petty-bourgeois democrats and isolation of the parties of the Second International, which formed the main support for compromise with imperialism. The plan for the disposition of forces in this period was the alliance of the proletarian revolution with the liberation movements of the oppressed peoples.

Tactics determine the line of conduct of the proletariat over a comparatively short period of the ebb or flow of the movement. They are a part of the strategy, subordinated to it and serving it.

Changes in the form of struggle are accompanied by corresponding changes in the form of organisation. The point is to put to the fore precisely those forms of struggle and organisation which are best suited to the conditions during the ebb or flow of the movement, and thus facilitate and ensure the bringing of the millions to the revolutionary front, organising also their disposition at the revolutionary front.

The aim must be to locate at any given moment the particular link in the chain of processes which, if grasped, will enable the proletariat to keep hold of the whole of the chain and to prepare the conditions for achieving strategic success.

“It is not enough to be a revolutionary and an adherent of socialism or a communist in general. One must be able at each particular moment to find the particular link in the chain which one must grasp with all one’s might in order to keep hold of the whole chain and prepare firmly for the transition to the next link.” (The importance of gold now and after the complete victory of socialism, November 1921)

The revolutionary party of the proletariat must know not only how to advance, but also how to retreat in good order when the circumstances so require.

“The revolutionary parties,” said Lenin, “must complete their education. They have learnt to attack. Now they have to realise that this knowledge must be supplemented with the knowledge of how to retreat properly.

“They have to realise – and the revolutionary class is taught to realise it by its own bitter experience – that victory is impossible unless they have learnt both how to attack and how to retreat properly.” (‘Left-wing’ Communism, chapter 3)

The purpose of any retreat is to gain time, to disrupt the enemy, and to gather force in order later to assume the offensive. The signing of the Brest peace treaty in 1917 is a model of this strategy as it gained the Bolshevik party time to take advantage of the conflicts in the imperialist camp, to disrupt the enemy forces, to maintain the support of the peasantry, and to gather sufficient forces in preparation for the offensive against the counter-revolutionary generals Kolchak and Denikin.

“In concluding a separate peace,” said Lenin at the time, “we free ourselves as much as is possible at the present moment from both warring imperialist groups, we take advantage of their mutual enmity and warfare, which hinder them from making a deal against us, and for a certain period have our hands free to advance and consolidate the socialist revolution.” (On the history of the question of the unfortunate peace, January 1918)

Three years after the Brest peace, Lenin returned to the subject, saying: “Now even the biggest fool [Trotsky being the chief of these fools] can see that the ‘Brest peace’ was a concession that strengthened us and broke up the forces of international imperialism.” (New times and old mistakes in a new guise, August 1921)

The workers’ party

According to Leninism, the party of the proletariat is the advanced detachment of the working class, possessed of the best elements and an advanced theory.

It must be ahead of the masses and see further than the working class; it must lead the proletariat and not drag at the tail end of the spontaneous movement. Only such a party can divert the working class from the path of trade unionism.

No army at war can do without an experienced general staff if it does not want to be doomed to defeat. The revolutionary party of the proletariat constitutes precisely such a general staff. The working class without a revolutionary party is an army without a general staff.

“We,” said Lenin, “are the party of a class, and therefore almost the whole class … should act under the leadership of our party, should adhere to our party as closely as possible.

“It would be Manilovism [smug complacency] and ‘khvostism’ [tailism] to think that any time under capitalism almost the whole class, or the whole class, would be able to rise to the level of consciousness and activity of its advanced detachment … No sensible Marxist has ever yet doubted that under capitalism even the trade union organisations (which are more primitive and more comprehensible to the undeveloped strata) are unable to embrace almost the whole, or the whole, working class.

“To forget the distinction between the advanced detachment and the whole of the masses which gravitate towards it, to forget the constant duty of the advanced detachment to raise ever-wider strata to this advanced level, means merely to deceive oneself, to shut one’s eyes to the immensity of our task, and narrow down these tasks.” (One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, 1904, Chapter I)

The party is the organised detachment of the working class. It must imbue the millions of unorganised non-party workers with the spirit of discipline in the struggle, with the spirit of organisation and endurance. But the party can fulfil these tasks only if it is itself the embodiment of discipline and organisation.

Lenin’s formulation of the first paragraph of the Bolshevik party rules embodies this concept. According to it, the party is the sum total of its organisations, and the party member is a member of one of the organisations of the party.

It denies self-enrolment so as to prevent the party from being inundated with professors and high-school students and thus degenerate into a loose, amorphous, disorganised body lost in a sea of ‘sympathisers’ that would obliterate the dividing line between the party and the class and thus thwart the party’s task of raising the unorganised masses to the level of the advanced detachment.

“From the point of view of Comrade Martov,” said Lenin, “the borderline of the party remains quite indefinite, for ‘every striker’ may ‘proclaim himself a party member’. What is the use of this vagueness? A wide extension of the ‘title’. Its harm is that it introduces a disorganising idea, the confusing of class and party.” (Ibid)

The Leninist party is a single system of these organisations, with higher and lower bodies, with subordination of the minority to the majority.

“Formerly,” said Lenin, “our party was not a formally organised whole, but only the sum of separate groups, and therefore no other relations except those of ideological influence were possible between these groups. Now we have become an organised Party, and this implies the establishment of authority, the transformation of the power of ideas into the power of authority, the subordination of lower Party bodies to the higher Party bodies.” (Ibid, Chapter O)

Fighting against wavering elements like Martov, who at the second congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) opposed Lenin’s formulation of the party rules, he wrote:

“This aristocratic anarchism is particularly characteristic of the Russian nihilist. He thinks of the party organisation as a monstrous ‘factory’, he regards the subordination of the part to the whole and of the minority to the majority as ‘serfdom’ … division of labour under the direction of a centre evokes from him a tragicomical outcry against people being transformed into ‘wheels and cogs’ …

“Mention of the organisational rules of the party calls forth a contemptuous grimace and the disdainful remark that one could very well dispense with rules altogether.

“It is clear, I think, that the cries about this celebrated bureaucracy are just a screen for dissatisfaction with the personal composition of the central bodies, a figleaf …

“You are a bureaucrat because you were appointed by the congress, not by my will, but against it; you are a formalist because you rely on the formal decisions of the congress, and not on my consent; you are acting in a grossly mechanical way because you plead the ‘mechanical’ majority at the party congress and pay no heed to my wish to be co-opted; you are an autocrat because you refuse to hand over the power to the old gang [the ‘gang’ referred to was composed of Axelrod, Martov, Potresov and others, who would not submit to the decisions of the second congress and accused Lenin of being a ‘bureaucrat’].” (Ibid)

The Leninist party is the highest form of class organisation of the proletariat. It is the rallying centre of the finest elements of the working class, whose political leadership must extend to every other form of organisation of the proletariat.

That is why the opportunist theory of the ‘independence’ and ‘ neutrality’ of non-party organisations, which breeds independent members of parliament and journalists isolated from the party, narrow-minded trade-union functionaries and cooperative officials who have become philistines, is wholly incompatible with the theory and practice of Leninism.

The party is the instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat – an instrument in the hands of the proletariat for achieving and consolidating state power.

“The dictatorship of the proletariat,” said Lenin, “is a stubborn struggle – bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative – against the forces and traditions of old society.

“The force of habit of millions and tens of millions is a most terrible force. Without an iron party tempered in the struggle, without a party enjoying the confidence of all that is honest in the given class, without a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, it is impossible to conduct such a struggle successfully.” (‘Left-wing’ Communism, chapter 5)

The party is the embodiment of the unity of will of the workers, unity incompatible with the existence of factions. Hence Lenin’s insistence on the “complete elimination of all factionalism” and the “immediate dissolution of all groups, without exception, that have been formed on the basis of various platforms”, on pain of “unconditional and immediate expulsion from the party”. (Resolution on party unity, 1921)

Elsewhere, he wrote: “In the present epoch of acute civil war, the Communist party will be able to perform its duty only if it is organised in the most centralised manner, if iron discipline bordering on military discipline prevails in it, and if the party centre is a powerful and authoritative organ, wielding wide powers and enjoying the universal confidence of the members of the party.” (The terms of admission into the Communist International, 1920)

And further: “Whoever weakens in the least the discipline of the party of the proletariat (especially during the time of its dictatorship) actually aids the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.” (‘Left-wing’ communism, chapter 5)

The party becomes strong by purging itself of opposition elements. A source of factionalism is its opportunist elements – the “stratum of bourgeoisified workers or the ‘labour aristocracy’ who are quite philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their entire outlook, is … the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie.

“For they are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, the real channels of reformism and chauvinism. (Preface to the French and German editions of Imperialism, 1920)

Style of work

The Leninist style of work represents a specific and peculiar feature in the practice of Leninism, which creates a special type of Leninist worker.

Leninism is the school of theory and practice that trains a special type of worker and creates a special Leninist style of work. It combines Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency. Revolutionary sweep is the life-giving force that stimulates thought and propels things forward, opening up new perspectives. Without such revolutionary sweep, no progress is possible.

However, on its own revolutionary sweep stands every chance of degenerating into empty phrasemongering if it is not combined with professionalism and efficiency. That is why Lenin emphasised: “Fewer pompous phrases, more plain, everyday work … less political fireworks and more attention to the simplest but vital facts of communist construction.” (A great beginning, June 1919)

On the other hand, such workaday efficiency stands every chance of degenerating into narrow and unprincipled practicalism if it is not combined with a wide revolutionary sweep.

“The combination of Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism in party and state work.” (JV Stalin, Foundations, chapter 9)

Lenin’s fight against opportunism

Leninism was born, grew up and became strong in its relentless struggle against opportunism of every variety.

As early as 1903-4, when the Bolshevik group took shape in Russia, Lenin pursued the line aimed at a rupture, a split, with the opportunists both in Russia and in the Second International. Not surprisingly, then, the Bolsheviks were abused by their opportunist opponents as ‘splitters’ and ‘disrupters’.

The Bolsheviks pursued this line long before the imperialist war (from 1904-12). In 1903, the left-wingers in the German social-democratic party, Rosa Luxemburg and Alexander Parvus, came out against the Bolsheviks on the question of the party rules, accusing them of betraying ultra-centralist and Blanquist tendencies.

In 1905, on the question of the character of the Russian revolution, Luxemburg and Parvus invented the semi-Menshevik scheme of permanent revolution (a distorted version of the Marxian scheme of revolution), characterised by the Menshevik repudiation of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry, opposing the Bolshevik scheme of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.

Subsequently, this semi-Menshevist scheme was picked up by Leon Trotsky and turned into a weapon of struggle against Leninism.

The Bolshevik support for the liberation movement of the oppressed and colonised nations on the basis of self-determination, and the creation of a united front between the proletarian revolution in the advanced countries and the revolutionary-liberation movement of the peoples of colonies and oppressed countries invited abuse from the opportunists of the Second International.

For this line of theirs, the Bolsheviks were baited like mad dogs. Even the German lefts opposed the Bolsheviks on this. Naturally, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, strongly criticised the German lefts for this approach of theirs; any other course of action would have been a betrayal of the working class, a betrayal of the interests of the revolution, a betrayal of communism.

The consistent and thoroughly revolutionary internationalism of the Bolsheviks is a model of proletarian internationalism for the workers of all countries.

The alliance between the proletariat of the advanced countries and the oppressed peoples of the enslaved countries is a question of emancipating the oppressed peoples, a question of emancipating the labouring masses of non-proletarian classes from the oppression and exploitation of finance capital.

Thus Bolshevism is not only a Russian phenomenon; it is “a model of tactics for all”. (Lenin)

The international significance of the October Revolution

In this context, the following points are worthy of note:

1. The October Revolution, unlike all previous revolutions (except for the short-lived Paris Commune) did not merely replace one type of exploitation by another; it put an end to all exploitation.

2. It caused a breach in the front of imperialism and ushered in a new era of proletarian revolution in the countries of imperialism.

3. It ushered in the era of Soviet democracy and put an end to bourgeois parliamentarism; it showed the world that the proletariat can not only destroy the old but also build a new society, thus setting a contagious example.

4. It shook the rear of imperialism by breaking the chains of national and colonial oppression under the flag of internationalism, thus unleashing an era of colonial revolution.

5. Before the October Revolution, the world was supposed to be divided between inferior and superior races, between blacks and whites, according to which only the superior white races were the bearers of civilisation and were the natural rulers of the world. The October Revolution shattered this legend forever.

6. The October Revolution jeopardised the very existence of world imperialism and created a powerful base for the world revolutionary movement. The result of the October Revolution has been that capitalism can never recover the ‘equilibrium’ and ‘stability’ that it possessed before the revolution. The October Revolution created a beacon which has illumined the path of the labouring masses ever since.

7. The October Revolution was a revolution in minds as well, a revolution in the ideology of the working class; it represented the victory of Marxism over reformism, of Leninism over social-democratism. From then on the only vehicle and bulwark of Marxism has been Leninism.

The above, then, were the achievements of Leninism and of the October Revolution. These were badly damaged by the triumph of Khrushchevite revisionism at the 20th party congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which eventually led to the collapse of the once great and glorious Soviet Union, and brought in its train, albeit temporarily, the destruction of the base of the world revolution, casting over the social and political life of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples the gloom of unbridled reaction.

In marking the 150th anniversary of the great VI Lenin’s birth, that giant of revolutionary thought and action, we must remember Lenin’s injunction as to the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism and conducting a ruthless struggle against it:

“Most dangerous are those who do not wish to understand that the fight against imperialism is a sham and a humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.” (Imperialism, chapter 10)

Finally, we greet hundreds upon hundreds of millions of proletarian and labouring masses all over the world on Lenin’s birthday and join them in their celebrations of this great occasion, and we pledge ourselves to revive the theory and practice of Leninism and devote ourselves to the cause of overthrowing imperialism and ending all exploitation through proletarian revolution.

Our day will come, and there shall be celebrations in our street.

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