Eloisa Rule (Great Britain ) – To the issue of a severe split of the international communist movement
The international communist movement suffered a severe split in the 1960’s as a result of Khrushchevite revisionism – a split that has severely weakened it. To repair this split, we must examine its causes.
What were the issues which caused the split?
The main issues that caused the split and which must be resolved if the world communist movement is going to be able to reunite as a genuinely proletarian revolutionary force are:
Revision of Marxist economics
The reintroduction by the Khrushchevite revisionist clique and its successors of bourgeois economic norms into the socialist economy of the Soviet Union, so-called ‘market socialism’, paved the way for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, as Cde Stalin had warned in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR (1952). The whole point of proletarian revolution is to free humanity of the havoc wreaked on the wellbeing of its overwhelming majority by the operation of the laws of the market, in particular the law of value. Expanding the scope of the law of value in a socialist society, and thus necessarily undermining the role of central planning, cannot possibly be a method of advancing socialism, unlike what the revisionists claimed. The departure from the basics of Marxism on this point was one step that helped to fracture the international communist movement, as well as to weaken the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union and east European People’s Democracies.
‘Peaceful transition to socialism’
At the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Khrushchev raised the question of “peaceful transition” to socialism, on the pretext that “radical changes” had taken place in the international situation. He asserted that, in view of the changed situation since the October revolution, it had become possible to carry through the transition from capitalism to socialism “through the parliamentary road”. This marked a clear revision of, and complete departure from, the teachings of Marxism-Leninism on the state and revolution. It went against Lenin’s very clear assessment of the purpose of participating in bourgeois elections:
“The party of the revolutionary proletariat must take part in bourgeois parliamentarism in order to enlighten the masses, which can be done during elections and in the struggle between parties in parliament. But to limit the class struggle to the parliamentary struggle, or to regard the latter as the highest and decisive form, to which all the other forms of struggle are subordinate, means actually deserting to the side of the bourgeoisie and going against the proletariat.”.
Departing from Leninism on this point not only caused division in the international communist movement, but turned many communist parties into ordinary social-democratic parties with no vision for the working class except within the framework of capitalism.
The state and party of the whole people
According to the revisionists, since class divisions had been abolished in the Soviet Union (in the sense that there were no longer any exploiters of the labour of others), class struggle had come to an end. Therefore the state was no longer an instrument of proletarian class rule but a ‘state of the whole people’, and the party was no longer the leader of the proletariat in the intensifying class struggle but a ‘party of the whole people’.
Here again the revisionists were departing from the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism which teaches that the proletariat needs its own state – the dictatorship of the proletariat – for the “entire historical period which separates capitalism from ‘classless society’, from communism”. The dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary to make possible the “expropriation of the expropriators”, to crush the inevitable resistance and attempts at restoration of the former exploiting classes, to organise the economic reconstruction of society – in a word, to prepare the material and spiritual conditions for the transference of society from the lower phase to the higher phase of communism.
Since classes, and struggle, continue long after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, and for an entire historical epoch, during this period the dictatorship of the proletariat too is needed. In the words of Lenin, “only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. …” Moreover, the party is needed to lead the working class in that difficult and intense struggle.
The Khrushchevites asserted that only by the replacement of the dictatorship of the proletariat by the “state of the whole people” could democracy be deepened into “genuine democracy for the whole people”. Anyone in the least acquainted with the subject knows that democracy is a form of state, and, as such, is a class democracy. There is no such thing as non-class democracy – “democracy of the whole people”.
As Lenin says: “Democracy for the vast majority of the people, and suppression by force, i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the exploiters and oppressors of the people -this is the change democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to communism”.
In other words, without the dictatorship of the proletariat over the exploiting classes, there can be no real democracy for the working people. Proletarian democracy and bourgeois democracy are mutually exclusive.
Distortions on the question of peaceful coexistence
Khrushchev shamelessly distorted Lenin’s policy of peaceful co-existence between socialist and capitalist countries to be instead of policy of class collaboration by socialist with imperialist countries, in other words, a policy of abject surrender to the diktat of imperialism.
Lenin’s policy of peaceful co-existence was directed at imperialist policies of war and aggression, was based on the standpoint of international class struggle and the historical mission of the proletariat that requires socialist countries, while pursuing the policy of peaceful co-existence, also to render firm support to the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed nations and proletarian revolutionary movements. It is only through struggle and armed defence, only through inflicting staggering defeats on imperialism, that the socialist countries won the right to live side by side with imperialism – the right to peaceful co-existence. The bourgeois pacifist Khrushchevite concept of peaceful co-existence, on the other hand, serves imperialism and encourages imperialist policies of war and aggression, seeking as it does to replace proletarian world revolution with pacifism and a complete renunciation of proletarian internationalism. The Khrushchevite policy is one of class capitulation,
Going against the Leninist thesis, fully corroborated by historical practice, that it is impossible to eliminate war without putting an end to imperialism, Khrushchevite revisionism maintained that all wars could be prevented without eliminating imperialism, by peaceful negotiation with imperialism. The Khrushchevites advised the oppressed peoples to abandon all ideas of revolution and refrain from waging just and popular wars and wars of national liberation, for such wars could easily result in the complete annihilation of the human race through a nuclear holocaust:
Following Khrushchev’s line, the socialist countries would have but one option – to capitulate to imperialism’s nuclear blackmail and threats and collaborate with its schemes for world domination.
For fear of nuclear holocaust, the contradictions between the working class and the bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and between the oppressed countries and the oppressor countries, on the other hand, would have to remain unresolved. Even as, in accordance with the inherent laws of capitalism, the poor grow ever poorer and more numerous, the revisionists were denying their right to fight back.
Needless to say, this bourgeois pacifism, which has nothing at all in common with Marxism, could not but split the communist movement and weaken it as a force for revolution.
These are the issues that must be addressed by the international communist movement if it is to reclaim its unity and its leadership of the exploited and oppressed masses in the fight for socialism. Having learnt from bitter experience the disastrous consequences that arose from the revisionist departures from Marxism, the time is now more than ripe for parties to cleanse their programmes and their practice of any revisionist gunge that still sticks to them. Only then will they become parties fit to lead the proletarian masses forward to victory; only then will they be able to march in unity at the head of the proletarian masses on the road to liberation.