A Future That Works

A Future That Works
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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lenin's Political Thought

Theory and Practice in the Democratic and Socialist Revolutions

Theory and Practice in the Socialist Revolution Volume 2

Lenin's Political Thought, now available as one volume

Lenin argued that any localized attempt to establish communism was utopian as analysis showed that international finance capital was a highly integrated world system, rent with contradictions but united in its opposition to Communism.

‘‘As a world system imperialism would stand or fall and as a world system it would co-ordinate its attacks on any attempts at realizing socialism’’

Until imperialism was defeated on a worldwide scale there could be no possibility of advancing to communism

(N Harding 198I p202 v2)


  1. As Marx put it Communism can only exist ‘‘world historically’’ that is to say universally (N Harding 198I p202 v2)

    K Marx and F Engels, The German Ideology, (Moscow 1965)

  2. ‘‘Capitalism is an international force, and it can therefore be completely destroyed only through victory in all countries not in one alone’’ (N Harding 198I p232 v2)

    Lenin’s Collected Works (Moscow 1960-70)

  3. European Union and the British Left

    To quote Steve Davison former Amicus president and current vice-chairman of the Unite & Workers Uniting steering committee ‘‘The assault against capital has to be industrial and political. Most importantly it has to be global and globally co-ordinated. Capital is a global system.’’ And he goes on to say ‘‘Ideologically Unite is built on the three pillars of mass organising, winning back the Labour Party and the building of a global union, Workers Uniting - with the USW of north America - as a fighting workers' organisation against global capital.’’ Amicus-Unite has forged a three way pact with IG Metall of Germany and USW of north America.

  4. Former General Secretary of Amicus Derek Simpson, Steve Davison and the current General Secretary of Unite Len McCluskey represent the industrial side of an international Left Bloc along with Pierre Laurent and Francis Wurtz of the European Left and European United Left/Nordic Green Left groups and members of the French communist party PCF which from a Marxist and Leninist theory represent the political Left Bloc in practice.

  5. Then I am biased of course because the AUEW/TASS which became Amicus and then Unite is my own union. The union initiative was initiated by the former General Secretary of Amicus Derek Simpson a former member of the Communist Party.

  6. I would argue that the EU has moved decidedly to the right as an institution, to the degree that its constitution enshrines neo-liberal privatization of health care and social services since 1995 this process has accelerated with the Service Directive of 2001 and again with the Lisbon Treaty in 2007. This compares markedly with the European Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of 1989 or the Social Chapter and Treaty of Maastricht of 1992 and Jacque Delors President of the European Union from 1985 to 1994 which was based on a social-democratic vision as for the EU.

    Jacque Delors fellow French socialist Francois Mitterrand who was President of France from 1981to 1995 followed a radical left-wing programme, including nationalization of key parts of French industry but was forced to abandon most of his programme after a few years in the mid 1980’s. Proving that one nation cannot pursue an alternative left-wing programme alone and succeed. This is why I’ve argued in the CPB that its naïve to believe that if we managed to get a Left-Labour government (which I desire as part of a British Road to Socialism) that it could pursue a radical left-wing programme on its own against the global governance of the IMF, World Bank and WTO.

  7. If we accept Lenin’s theoretical analysis and imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and the economic structure is global, monopolistic and regressive. Whereas in the progressive phase it was possible for the working classes to act within the confines of the nation state, in the current phase of globalized finance capital where imperialism has exhausted capitalisms progressive potential according to Lenin’s analysis it becomes necessary for the proletariat to organize on an international level. It’s on this basis that I have tried to argue my case within the CPB that as Marxist-Leninists analysis and full implications of global, monopolistic finance capitalism requires an internationalist rather than nationalist response.

  8. Harvey like Marx and Lenin argues that each successive crisis of capitalism has got more sever and that state institutions are used to protect global finance capital, therefore we need an appropriate Marxist-Leninist response not the old dogma of National Bolshevism but a response that represents the reality of globalized finance capital.

    ‘‘undoubtedly, the mother of all crises. Yet it must also be seen as the culmination of a pattern of financial crises that had become both more frequent and deeper over the years since the last big crisis of capitalism in the 1970s and early 1980s’’. (David Harvey, p. 6)

    ‘‘One of the basic pragmatic principles that emerged in the 1980s, for example, was that state power should protect financial institutions at all costs…the policy was: privatise profits and socialise risks; save the banks and put the screws on the people…’’ (David Harvey, pp. 10-11, 2010)

    ‘‘Financial crises serve to rationalise the irrationalities of capitalism. They typically lead to reconfigurations, new models of development, new spheres of investment and new forms of class power.” (David Harvey, p. 11)

    David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism (2010)

  9. Capitalism dips into a deeper crisis - Communist Party of Britain, general secretary Rob Griffiths says ‘‘As Marx warned almost 150 years ago, capitalism is like the sorcerer who has conjured up forces from the deep over which he no longer has control’’. Where does this leave the broad left in Britain or Europe, the IMF, ECB and national governments will implement cuts and privatization by picking of the infrastructure of post-war welfare capitalism nation by nation in the interests of global capital if the leaders of the Marxist and non-Marxist left cannot organized a Left bloc at a European level in a pact against the bureaucracy of international finance capital. Only as a united front will the working classes resist global capitalism.

  10. Socialism in One Country was the theory promoted by Joseph Stalin that socialism could be developed in a single country, even an underdeveloped country such as Russia. This theory stated that revolution need no longer be encouraged in the capitalist countries since Russia could and should achieve socialism alone. Stalinism needs to be rejected as an outmoded dogma and bureaucratic practice which is inadequate for the historical and dialectic material reality of the 21st century. Whilst the CPB and KKE hold on to National Bolshevism they cannot play a truly leading role in the theoretical and practical fightback against neo-liberal economics and the neo-conservative state at the national, European and global level or any viable process of transforming Britain, Greece and Europe from a capitalist to a socialist social system. This theoretical inertia is at the heart of the CPB’s failure to attract and keep new members and whilst the very respectable old comrades hold control of the party through the practices of democratic centralism it will remain on the periphery of the British, European and global class struggle. Globalization and the influence of international finance capital has as Lenin argued a hundred years ago means that only an internationalist theoretical approach will achieve lasting social change in practice, the nationalist road for Britain and other European nation states is utopian and unscientific therefore in both theory and practice.

  11. If I can quote from Moshe Lewin’s book Lenin’s Last Struggle ‘‘We have always proclaimed and repeated this elementary truth of Marxism, that the victory of Socialism requires the joint efforts of workers in a number of advanced countries’’ from V I Lenin Sochineniya (Works) 5th ed. (Moscow, Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 1958-65), Vol. XLIV, pp. 9 and 418. sited on page 4.

  12. ‘‘We have the advantage that the whole world is now passing to a movement that must give rise to a world socialist revolution. But we are labouring under the disadvantage that imperialist have succeeded in splitting the world into two camps’’ sited on page 171.

    ‘‘can we save ourselves from the impending conflict with these imperialist countries? sited on page 172.

    ‘‘In the long run capitalism itself is educating and training the vast majority of the population of the globe for the struggle’’ sited on page 172.

  13. ‘‘in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be’’ sited on page 172.173.

    ‘‘But what interests us is not the inevitability of this complete victory of socialism but the tactics which we the Russian Communist Party, we the Russian Soviet Government should pursue’’ sited on page 173.

    ‘‘We must strive to build up a state in which the workers retain the leadership of the peasants, in which they retain the confidence of the peasants and by exercising the greatest economy remove every trace of extravagance from our social relations’’ sited on page 173.

    ‘‘Only by thoroughly purging our government machine, by reducing to the utmost everything that is not absolutely essential in it, shall we be certain of being able to keep going’’ sited on page 174.

  14. V I Lenin, Sochineniya (Collected Works) 4th ed. (Moscow, Progress Publishers 1960-70), Vol. XXX111, pp.487-502.

  15. Lenin also argued that nationalism in the form of national liberation movements against imperialist powers is progressive when they occur in economically slightly developed or totally under developed nations. Lenin’s Collected Works (Moscow 1960-70) Vol. 23 p39 and 59 sited in Lenin’s Political Thought Vol.2 by Neil Harding p 66.

    ‘‘As Marx put it Communism can only exist ‘World historically that is universally’’ K Marx and F Engels, the German Ideology, (Moscow, 1965) p.47 sited in Lenin’s Political Thought Vol.2 by Neil Harding p 202.

    Lenin argues that the imperialist state becomes more oppressive, militaristic and dictatorial and the distinctions between liberal and conservative bourgeois regimes disappear as they become more dictatorial. Lenin’s Collected Works (Moscow 1960-70) Vol. 28 p462 sited in Lenin’s Political Thought Vol.2 by Neil Harding p 202.

  16. ‘‘Capitalism is an international force, and it can therefore be completely destroyed only through victory in all countries not in one alone’’ Lenin’s Collected Works (Moscow 1960-70) Vol. 28 p78 sited in Lenin’s Political Thought Vol.2 by Neil Harding p 232.

    Any localised attempt to establish socialism is utopian as international finance capital is a highly integrated world system. Despite the contradictions between national and international capital it’s united in its opposition to socialism ‘‘As a world system imperialism would stand or fall as a world system it would co-ordinate its attacks on any attempt at realizing socialism’’ and until imperialism is defeated on a world-wide scale there can be no possibility of advancing to communism. (Neil Harding p 202)

  17. It is not sufficient, in the present conditions of the international proletarian revolution, to renounce the crying absurdities of "National Bolshevism" (Lauffenberg and others), which has talked itself into a bloc with the German bourgeoisie for war against the Entente. One must understand those tactics to be fundamentally wrong which do not admit that it is necessary for a Soviet Germany (if a German Soviet Republic were shortly to be established) to recognize the Versailles Peace, and to submit to it for a certain time.

    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Marxian Educational Society, 1921, University of Michigan

  18. ‘‘Before the revolution, and even after it, we thought either revolution breaks out in the other countries, in the capitalistically more developed countries immediately or at least very quickly, or we must perish’’ (N Harding P235)

    Lenin Collected Works Vol. 27 (Moscow 1960-70) page 460

    In the end the Soviet Union did indeed perish, so the lesson for Marxists must be that the Stalinist doctrine of building socialism in one country was a flawed ideology and Lenin was correct that it had to be an international as well as national project if it was to succeed in the long run.


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