Hundred years have passed by since the epoch-making November Revolution was victoriously accomplished, heralding the dawn of a new era in this world. The communist revolutionaries the world over have been celebrating the centenary of this historic event to recall how it was organized and led by whom, how it helped change Russia from one of the most backward countries of Europe to one of the leading powers in the world and thereby providing inspiration to workers-peasants-toiling people at large all over the world, at the same time laying down the tasks before the communist revolutionaries of posterity to hold its banner aloft. Our Party SUCI (Communist) , as the genuine Marxist revolutionary party of the country founded by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, one of the foremost Marxist-Leninist thinkers of this era, harnessed all its resources, engaged all its units, from the lowest to the highest rung, geared up all its mass and class organizations, published a series of literatures and analytical write-ups to observe the centenary of this historic event in the most befitting manner through a year-long programme. Ours has been an endeavour to recollect and assimilate the essence of the teachings of November Revolution and bring to the fore once again how it provides the beacon to emancipation from exploitation of man by man that is obstructing the natural progress of civilization and all out development of mankind. The toiling people of not only this country but of the entire world could see for themselves that amidst the prevailing dismal and frustrating situation in the world communist movement , it is the SUCI(C) which took up all-out efforts to upheld the glory of this historic event when there is orchestrated attempt on the part of reaction to wipe it out from people’s mind. 17 November, 2017 is drawing near to mark the completion of the centenary year of the great November Revolution. Here we present a brief write-up to mark the occasion.
November Revolution was founded upon Marxism
The historic November Revolution was founded upon and came in the wake of the world communist movement that was initiated and guided by Karl Marx, an outstanding genius produced by human civilization. It was his thoughts that stirred the whole world on a scale never witnessed in history. Marx’s thoughts along with the instance of the November Revolution built on it, led to foundation of communist parties in one country after another to build up resistance movements against the fascists and imperialists of their respective countries. The historic November Revolution was followed by New Democratic revolutions in eastern European counries and subse-quently People’s Democratic Revolution became successful in China, and revolution was accomplished in Korea, Cuba and Indo-China including Viet-nam based on Marx’s thoughts. Guided by his ideology and teachings the people of the Soviet Union inflicted crushing defeat on the fascist forces in the Second World War. Marx’s thoughts also provided momentum to the national liberation struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America. On the whole, while providing hope and confidence to the myriads of oppressed people, Marx’s thoughts made the exploiting class, the capitalists-imperialists spend sleepless nights. It was because Marx provided a comprehensive world outlook, a revolutionary philosophy based on science that helped men to know any and every concrete truth concerning the material world as well as human society and the course of its development, thereby providing ‘a guide to action’ to reach the truth and empowered with a philosophy ‘to change the world’. His philosophy provided the proletariat with its spiritual weapon, ‘as soon as the lightning’ of which ‘struck deep into the virgin soil of the people’, they were roused to fight to ‘emancipate themselves’. Hence great Frederick Engels, his life-long revolutionary compatriot, who had ably assisted and supplemented Marx’s every endeavour, did not hesitate to say that the revolutionary philosophy of Dialectical Materialism that Marx propounded, must be known as Marxism. The November Revolution in the then Russia represented actualization of Marxist thoughts, concrete application of Marxism to bring about revolutionary change of the then backward society of Russia. And the architect of this process was the great leader of the proletariat Vladimir Lenin, the great leader of the proletariat and a worthy continuer of Marx-Engels.
Lenin concretizes Marxism on the Russian soil
With his deep realization developed in course of his long arduous ideological struggle, Lenin comprehended correctly that “Marx’s theory” was not “something completed and inviolable”; it had “only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life” (Articles for Rabochaya Gazeta, Collected Works, Vol. IV, p.211-12). This realization was brilliantly concretized by Lenin after Marx-Engels in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. It was for this reason that great Stalin, his worthy student, said that “Leninism is the Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.” (Foundations of Leninism)
Since Lenin assimilated the essence of Marxism not as a dogma but a creative science, he could realize that with onset of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, Marx’s original proposition that revolution would break out in the advanced capitalist countries first was no more valid. So, refuting the dogmatic views of the degenerated leaders of the Second International, Lenin firmly held based on correct Marxist analysis of the objective situation that in the changed era the chain of world imperialism-capitalism and colonialism would be broken first in relatively backward countries where people are more oppressed and repressed, whereas the fighting spirit of the workers in advanced capitalist countries had been affected as their imperialist rulers bribed them out of their plunder from the colonies. Along with this general guideline for proletarian revolution to succeed in the changed world situation, he also made it amply clear that this general line cannot be exactly replicated in different countries. In his language, “We think that an independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially essential for Russian socialists; for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which, in particular, are applied in England differently than in France, in France differently than in Germany, and in Germany differently than in Russia.” (Lenin, ibid.)
This concrete comprehension found enunciation in Lenin’s famous formulation that ‘Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement’. Added to that he also emphasized that ‘Without a revolutionary party of the proletariat, there cannot be any revolution, there can be no struggle to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat’. And in this struggle for building up a revolutionary party in Russia, he fought tooth and nail against all deviations- vulgarizations of Marxism including those by other leaders of the RSDLP, among whom there was Plekhanov, once mentor of Lenin. In consequence of these intense ideological struggles, the then party in Russia, namely the RSDLP was divided into two groups—the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Later, in 1912, the Bolshevik Party (later renamed as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or CPSU) was formally founded under the leadership of Lenin. Then even after the February Revolution in 1917, which was fought by the workers, peasants and common people and which overthrew the Tsar to end with the feudal rule of Tsardom in Russia, the Mensheviks, who had majority in the Soviets, which were people’s instruments of struggle, betrayed people and handed over power to the Russian bourgeoisie who compromised with the Tsar and feudalism. In Russia capitalism was still very weak and feudal production relations of serf-feudal lords governed most of the agriculture. Besides, with the Tsar facing defeat in the ongoing first world war and the country being in the grip of famine because of war, workers, peasants and common people were demanding peace, not war. Under such circumstances, by deftly and concretely applying Marxism, Lenin gave the call of proletarian revolution on the slogan ‘We want bread, we want peace, we want liberty and we want land to the tillers’. These very slogans of individual freedom and land to the tillers were slogans of bourgeois democratic revolution. Yet with unique concrete application of Marxism, Lenin said that the “State power in Russia has passed into the hands of a new class, namely, the bourgeoisie and landowners who had become bourgeois. To this extent the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia is completed.” (April Thesis). This led to the great November Revolution, anti-capitalist socialist in character, to be accomplished under the leadership of Lenin.
While formulating its strategy, Lenin showed that because of the first world war, the mutually warring imperialists would not be able to oppose Russian Revolution united together. Also, people were tired of war, fleeced by feudal Tsarist exploitation. So the slogan of bread, peace, liberty and land, reflected their demand in precision and attracted them to the Bolsheviks, more so because of the treachery of the Mensheviks. With these critical observations and waging an intense ideological struggle, the Bolsheviks led by Lenin gained majority in the Soviets by defeating the Mensheviks and utilizing the still-alive fighting zeal of people, including those in the army and navy, ultimately attained victory in the November Revolution and founded the Soviet Union , the first socialist state in the world.
Though socialist in character, the November Revolution was to complete the unfulfilled tasks of bourgeois democratic revolution. In post-revolution Russia, Lenin adopted the policy of war communism to contain famine, confiscate the hoarded foodgrains from the food traders and distribute the same among the hungry and also to control trade, and after completing this phase, he introduced New Economic Policy (NEP). This meant in substance a temporary, planned retreat to capitalism in certain sectors, but under full control of the working class state.
In Russia the historic alliance between the peasantry, the majority of population, and the working class, the most advanced detachment of the working people, was the political foundation on which the battle for socialist revolution was fought and won. The peasantry stood firmly by the side of workers in the struggle for socialist reconstruction. But the masses lagged in political consciousness. Calling out to the workers, peasants and masses of toiling people of the USSR, saying “… in the past you worked for the benefit of the capitalists, of the exploiters, and of course you did not do your best. But now you are working for yourselves, for the workers’ and peasants’ state” ( The New Economic Policy, Collected Works, 33, p.71), Lenin exhorted them to realise that revolution had created the condition for them to win free access to the necessities of life by augmenting production and thereupon win freedom from coercion. He urged for their heightened sense of obligation and to grasp the dialectics and necessity of socialist development at that stage. He elaborated “Without the correct political approach to the matter, the given class will be unable to stay on, and, consequently, will be incapable of solving its production problem either.” (ibid., p. 79) “Today we are confronted with cultural tasks, those of assimilating that political experience, which can and must be put into practice. Either we lay an economic foundation for the political gains of the Soviet state, or we shall lose all. This foundation has not yet been laid — that is what we must get down to.” (ibid., p. 73) And the people, including the masses of peasantry, responded overwhel-mingly. The Soviet economy started picking up and the NEP’s objective was realised rapidly in full. The instance of the NEP thus goes to show that the revolutionary party and the socialist state must try, first and foremost, to meet the basic needs of the masses of people, organize them, and elevate the level of their political consciousness, else revolution will suffer defeat. With his wisdom and ingenuity, Lenin responded with unmistakable authority to build the edifice of socialism on the foundation he had created by leading the November Revolution.
And in all these Lenin concretized Marx’s epoch-making discovery of the general law of social development that revealed the dialectical relationship between economy and politics — one influencing the other constantly and ceaselessly, each complementing the other in the act of realising the material process of production, which Lenin himself expressed succinctly in his famous aphorism: ‘Politics is a concentrated expression of economics.’ (Collected Works, 42, p. 278)
Added to it, from his deepest sense of proletarian internationalism and his feelings for the exploited, oppressed masses of the world, particularly of the colonies, he clearly defined that in the era of imperialism, the most decadent stage of capitalism, the bourgeoisie had lost the progressive role it once had. Thus even the anti-imperialist freedom struggle of colonies must be led by the working class and their party with a view to achieving the goal. Hence, the era is to be understood as of imperialism and proletarian revolution. This Leninist guideline came out to be invaluable guideline for the struggling people of colonies and semi-colonies like China and a score of Afro- Asian- Latin American countries.
And during this whole course of struggle for the Russian as well as the world revolution, Lenin undertook painstaking, thorough and extensive analysis of thousand and one issues of human life, society, knowledge including epistemology. He had to combat a whole battalion of leaders and intellectuals, like Plekhanov, Trotsky and others, who ultimately went down into different shades of ideological aberrations against Marxism. Emerging victorious in every single battle of ideology, as the architect of the November Revolution and the unfailing guide to the world communist movement Lenin emerged as a giant Marxist authority. Marxism –Leninism came out to be the invincible weapon in the hands of the oppressed people of the world to ‘break the chain of exploitation, steer advancement of civilization and conquer the whole world’. His creation, the November Revolution, his thoughts spread the message of revolution to every corner of the world. Sadly , he did not live long to see his efforts reaching further heights. The banner of revolution he had passed on to his worthy disciple, Joseph Stalin.
Stalin defended revolution and made long strides towards further victory
Stalin, presented with a gigantic task of defending, preserving and enhancing the fruits of the November Revolution, that is, the astounding all-out development under socialism in the Soviet Union, initiated under the leadership of Lenin, proved equal to the occasion. Within shortest possible time socialist reconstruction and all-round progress changed Russia , once one of the ‘sickest’ and most backward of the countries in Europe, to register mind-boggling progress in every sphere of economic-industrial activities in the USSR, surpassing big imperialist countries of Europe, even the USA. It became a concrete example of what a state-owned, socialist planned economy fostered by correct grasp of dignity of labour could produce. But not just economy and production. The hallmark of the Soviet Union lay elsewhere.
As Marx indicated, in socialism, ‘a special phase of transition from capitalism to communism’ it is required to go through a period of ‘revolutionary transformation of outlook and attitude’. (Critique of the Gotha Programme, K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, 2, 1962) The Soviet society at that time carried its ‘birth-marks’ (Marx, ibid) of the old capitalist society in the sphere of economy chiefly in the form of group- or collective-farm ownership, commodity production and circulation, along with its law of value, rightly considered still a necessity by Stalin, and in economic and cultural relations certain discrimination between town and village, between industry and agriculture, between physical and mental labour. Stalin elaborately dealt with the problem in his well known treatise Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR (1952). The important question concerned the ways and means to raise the collective-farm property to the level of public property, unquestionably without coercion , without expropriating the collective farms by the socialist state. Correct policy demanded integrating industrial production and collective-farm production into a single sector of production under the law of balanced socialist-economic development. Stalin added : “it will be wrong to rest easy and to think that there are no contradictions between our productive forces and the relations of production …. the development of relations of production lags, and will lag, behind development of productive forces”… “economic factors as group-, or collective-farm, property and commodity circulation… . hamper the powerful development of our productive forces, since they create obstruction to the full extension of government planning to the whole of national economy, especially agriculture. …. The task, therefore, is to eliminate these contradictions by gradually converting collective-farm property into public property, and by introducing — also gradually — products-exchange in place of commodity circulation.” ( Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, p.70) This was a requisite among ‘the basic conditions required to pave the way for transition to communism.’ (ibid.,p. 71) along with ‘continuous expansion of all social production’, plus ensuring a ‘cultural advancement of society’ conducive to ‘all-round development of physical and mental abilities of all members of society’. Only that would convert work ‘in the eye of the members of society from a nuisance into ‘life’s prime want’’ through measures like shortening the working day to facilitate workers have time to receive all-round education etc., and ultimately make them MAN as conceived by Marx, men who will be harbouring ‘humanism minus private property’ overcoming traits like socialist individualism or new form of economism that tend to develop in socialism in absence of correct guidance and leadership. Obviously with all these analyses and measures Stalin showed his intent and endeavour to lead Soviet Union to the cherished goal envisaged in the November Revolution.
The glorious victory of the Soviet Army and the Soviet people led by Stalin over the fascists in the second world war further revealed the high socialist morale of the new Soviet citizens , the roots of which lay in the great November Revolution. It also raised the prestige of the socialist state of the USSR to the pinnacle and heightened the regard for communism as the only philosophy capable of solving all problems and which all roads must lead to. Inspired and encouraged, one third of the world including China embraced socialism. The national liberation struggles in the colonies received tremendous impetus.
However, it was equally true that though on the verge of elimination in the Soviet Union, existence of collective farming and production of commodities and commodity circulation, as also of individual property like houses, money, bank deposits, etc., showed that the seeds of private property had not been destroyed there. Deep in the mental complex round this private property remained individualist tendency further fuelled by economic uplift and improvement in the standard of living flowing from socialist construction. A new kind of economism and individualism, which latter Comrade Shibdas Ghosh designated as ‘socialist individua-lism’ were being born. In this phase of decadent capitalism such tendency became definite hindrance to development of mental set-up for socialism and proletarian internationalism. Besides, such individualistic traits along with vestiges of bourgeois outlook and forces of habit and attitude to work as though it were a necessary evil, told upon the status of labour in the eye of society, the division between physical labour and mental labour. Presence of all these manifested themselves in the ongoing class struggle in the Soviet Union.
That Stalin was aware of these and was preparing for a fresh fight against these becomes evident from the Report to the Nineteenth Congress (1952) of the CPSU, placed by Comrade Malenkov under his guidance. The Nineteenth Congress recorded that “… where criticism and self-criticism are neglected, where mass control over the activities of the organisations and establishments are weakened, the inevitable result is such ugly developments as bureaucratism, rottenness and even disintegration in individual links of our apparatus.” The Congress also recorded a tendency to give priority to production instead of to politics and continuation of private-property mentality and morality as a strong and tenacious force. So it laid down: “Ideological work is prime duty of the party, and underestimation of its importance may do irreparable damage to the interests of party and state. We must always remember that if the influence of socialist ideology is weakened the effect is to strengthen the influence of the bourgeois ideology.” (Report to the Nineteenth Congress of the CPSU, 1952) Apparently, under Comrade Stalin’s leadership the party was contemplating to initiate a revolutionary struggle against the counter-revolutionary forces and bourgeois tendencies. But just after great Stalin died and modern revisionist Khrushchev and his cohorts usurped leadership of the party and the state, the process got reversed. The entire march with glorious heroism and sacrifice for preservation, progress and development of socialism met with a tragic end. The glory of November Revolution was tarnished.
Modern revisionism brought debacle by blatantly violating laws of development of socialism
After the death of Stalin, the Soviet party and the socialist state of USSR came under the attack of modern revisionists from within so much so that the defeated bourgeoisie regained strength, accelerated the process of degeneration by polluting the CPSU and finally restored capitalism through counter-revolution, also turning CPSU into a bourgeois party. The same thing happened in China after the demise of Mao Zedong. Similar has been the case with Vietnam. The international communist movement which had brought the world virtually at the threshold of world revolution was pushed into disarray with practically no powerful communist party anywhere in the world.
The modern revisionist leadership in the USSR overturned, one after another, the policies framed and pursued by the preceding revolutionary leadership, only to push the economy to stagnation and bring down national income by more than half in a space of three decades. In line with the bourgeois trend of thinking material incentives were liberally offered which simply failed to check workers’ aversion to work and hence to prevent sagging of the level of production. Rather with this, the revisionist leadership dowsed the revolutionary fervour and the spirit of people, while it led bourgeois individualism to penetrate deeper in the mind-set. In pathetic contrast to the teachings of all great Marxist authorities, they advanced the untenable argument that the Soviet state needed no longer continue as the dictatorship of the proletariat, nor the CPSU as the party of the working class. Instead, they claimed, the state and the party had transformed to the state of the people and the party of the people, respectively. It meant, all they sought was to drive home the travesty that class struggle had ceased to exist in the USSR. Instead they favoured collaboration with, leading ultimately to capitulation to, the defeated bourgeoisie. In the name of fighting cult of personality centring round Stalin, a massive de-Stalinization campaign was released that undermined Marxian authority and which ultimately led towards undermining Lenin and communism also. Such deviations in respect of basic approach and outlook had far-reaching consequences on economic, political, social and cultural life of the people. Whatever identity had been achieved between labour and its product in the course of socialist pursuit started faltering and wearing off fast. The more the workers felt alienated, the more fell production. While the crying need was to elevate the ideological standard of the workers and the people in general under strict rigour of the dictatorship of the proletariat and fight off the growing individualist trends, this leadership took recourse to measures like offering vulgar inducement. Measures as these, which are divorced from ideology, could not and cannot raise the cultural level and outlook. Instead they fanned up vulgar bourgeois culture and mind-set in people. Bureaucratism ate into the leadership and administration. As it took root, the party and the state were alienated from the masses. While Stalin had denounced coercion in the process of transformation, the revisionist leadership isolated from the masses became more and more oppressive and hinged more on militarism in the name of and as against proletarian internationalism. In due course the revisionist leadership led the country into counter revolution establishing capitalism in the land that was about to tread the path towards communism in its journey beginning with the November Revolution.
Truly, it presented and still presents a dismal picture. The questions that loomed large in the mass-mind were : How could the USSR and the socialist camp collapse even after the phenomenal success of the great November Revolution and socialist construction built thereupon. Does it then prove wrong the Marxist affirmation of historical inevitability of socialism? Or is it that. imperialist machinations were responsible? To any vigilant conversant communist revolutionary, rise of revisionism and debacle of the socialist camp were definitely immensely shocking, but not something inconceivable, something unforeseen or unanticipated.
Cautions on probability of reversal were already there from great Marxist authorities
Long back, Marx himself cautioned in his Critique of the Gotha Programme (K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, 2, 1962) about ‘the birthmarks of the old society’ which the socialist society carried ‘in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually’. It is clear from this teaching of Marx that the socialist system, which he termed as the transitional phase between capitalism and communism was born out of the womb of the economic structure of capitalism would contain the hangovers of bourgeois thoughts, sense of morality and economic laws.
Later, Lenin clearly proclaimed: “The bourgeoisie , whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connection of the bourgeoisie, but also in the forces of habit… the class struggle waged by overthrown Exploiters against victorious vanguard of the Exploited, i.e., the Proletariat, has become incomparably more bitter. And it cannot be otherwise in the case of revolution, unless the concept is replaced by reformist illusions.” He pointedly indicated if small scale productions were not abolished in correct way and extent, those will give birth daily and hourly, to the private property mental complex to help capitalism infiltrate through this alley. He added elsewhere : “… in order to abolish classes completely it is not enough to overthrow the exploiters… not enough to abolish their rights of ownership; it is necessary also to abolish all private ownership of the means of production, ….. This requires a very long period of time.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 29, p., 421).
Apart from the speech of the 19th Congress of the CPSU prepared under his guidance, referred above, Stalin reiterated Lenin’s teaching: “The more the socialist system and the socialist economy will be strengthened and consolidated, the more sharpened will be the class struggle.” (Quoted in the book Paradoxes of Power 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin, p.711) Speaking on the perspective of the Chinese Revolution, Comrade Mao Zedong said : “We have won the basic victory in transforming the ownership of the means of production, but we have not yet won complete victory on the political and ideological fronts. In the ideological field, the question of who will win in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has not been settled yet.” (Mao Zedong, Speech at the Communist Party of China’s National Conference on Propagnda Work, 12 March, 1957)
And elaborating this premise of class struggle continuing in socialist society, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the post-Lenin era and the founder General Secretary of our Party SUCI (Communist) explained that in a socialist state: “ The class struggle has assumed a new form, and has become subtle more and more. …. The reactionary ideas and thinking of the old society have not been thoroughly wiped out from the minds of the leaders, cadres and the people, on the one hand; rather the bourgeois ideas, in the new condition, are infiltrating in new forms and in more subtle ways, while, on the other, with the growing economic and political stability of the socialist system, the sense of individual liberty is gradually tending to assume the character of a sense of privilege. As a result, conducting class struggle has become all the more difficult today. …. … here, the enemy infiltrates stealthily, the party falls victim to it unconsciously ….. It is a struggle against the tendencies that grow from within.” (Cultural Revolution of China, Selected Works, 1, p. 216)
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh elaborated the issue bringing up the question of fall of ideological standard in communist movement
All these teachings point to certain truths : The inexorable law of development of society is an objective law, which stipulates that socialist revolution is historically inevitable in a capitalist society. Its necessity is inviolable—and hence inevitable, it is rational and necessary in the process of social development under given conditions. But following seizure of state power by the proletariat, reversion to capitalism may happen under certain conditions. This reversion is not an historical inevitability as it is not the necessity of the law. Reversal happens only if and when the law is violated.
Besides, as Comrade Shibdas Ghosh pointed out : “Now, if anybody thinks from this that revisionism came about in the Soviet Union all of a sudden just because the tiny seeds of capitalism were there, then that would be a one-sided analysis, that would be subscribing to sheer economic determinism. … we should always keep in view the contradiction between and the mutual disposition of the economic base and superstructure, that is, the realm of ideas of society.” (ibid, p. 303-304).
On this question of ideological condition, back in 1948, at the time of Tito’s expulsion from the Cominform, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had pointed finger to the portents of the prevailing ideological shortcomings namely, mechanical process of thinking and mechanical relationship between parties and within parties in the world communist camp: “While acknowledging with just pride and deference the very many achievements and successes and glorious sacrifices of the world communist movement, we have not failed, even for a moment, to point out the serious shortcomings in it. … These serious shortcomings and defects are largely due to the fact that the present leadership of the world communist movement is, to a very large extent, influenced by mechanical process of thinking.” ( Self-Criticism of the Communist Camp, Selected Works, 1, p. 2)
He forewarned: “From all this it appears that instead of overcoming the present crisis of the world communist camp, the approach and attitude of the present leadership would presumably push the present situation to a far deeper crisis in near future.” (ibid., p. 2)
And it is right here, that is, in the neglect of ideological struggle to overcome mechanical process of thinking and mechanical relationship between parties and within parties in the world communist camp, in failure to intensify class struggle in socialism particularly in realm of mind and culture, that the incipient danger of revisionism loomed. It was also there in failure to grasp at that juncture the objectively defined necessity of identification of the individual being with the social being, correctly, and concretely on the philosophical plane, putting it into practice and in failure to enrich Marxism keeping pace with the changing panorama and newer scientific inventions and discoveries.
Total identification of individual with society is the only way to fight vulgar bourgeois individualism and save socialism
So it boils down to a question of changing the mindset, the entire psyche of people — one which has been cast over thousands of years of class rule. How to accomplish this task and what is the contradiction to be resolved on this count?
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh went into the heart of these questions as he clearly spelt that in the communist movement this struggle belongs to the realm of idea and culture. The traditional understanding of communist morality, the sacrificing of the personal interest happily and unconditionally to the interests of revolution— is inadequate to fight bourgeois individualism of today, when, in particular, individualism has been vulgarized and reduced to a privilege of the worst kind. Consequently, pursuit of a new and qualitatively higher standard of ethics and human values, one which is capable of ultimately “transforming the antagonistic nature of contradiction existing between individual necessity and social necessity into a non-antagonistic one”, is the crying necessity both of anti-capitalist socialist revolution and of socialism’s transition to communism.
In the Proletarian Cultural Revolution launched in 1966 involving not only the party but the entire masses of people, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) under the leadership of Mao Zedong made a serious attempt in this regard concerning fight against advent of revisionism. Hailing it, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh commented, ‘I hold that this Cultural Revolution has a sound scientific basis, judged by the yardstick of Marxism-Leninism, and the way the CPC is conducting this Cultural Revolution is really magnificent and full of great significance.’ (Cultural Revolution in China, Selected Works, 1)Yet, he pointed out that the Cultural Revolution of China was directed in the main “against bourgeois humanist ideology and political thoughts, but not so much against bourgeois culture.” As a result, their ideological struggle was inadequate for the task to free the then Chinese society from the evils of bourgeois individualism.
Comrade Ghosh held : “So long as antagonistic contradictions between the individual and the state (socialist state — added) on the one hand, and between the individual interests and social interests on the other remain, the state will not wither away. … And so long as the state exists as a reflection of this antagonistic contradiction, even in socialism, the individual must have to submit to the social interests, and the trend of revolt against the repressive character of the socialist state would appear repeatedly in individuals and, for this, the social objective would suffer time and again… Because of the continuance of class struggle in the socialist society, the oppression by the state still remains necessary to some extent — mainly to curb the conspiratorial activities of the dispossessed bourgeoisie and the vile self-centred individualistic activities of certain individuals that stand in the path of development of individual’s real freedom and complete emancipation with the gradual development of the socialist social system.” (ibid., p. 243)
Further delving into the issue, he said that the problem which the Chinese society confronted at the time was a trend which aimed at reducing the “sense of individual freedom and liberty, emancipation of the individual and individuality to individual privileges and vulgar individualism, with the attainment of more and more stability in economic and political spheres in the socialist society, which I have already termed as ‘socialist individualism’, meaning a new kind of individualism in socialist society…They (the CPC — added) have not yet been able to provide any theoretical formulation confirmed by history and social sciences as to the fundamental difference between the moral value of bourgeois humanism and proletarian culture.” (ibid., p. 239)
Comrade Ghosh showed that the traditional understanding standard with which the Russian and the Chinese revolutions had been successful, was no longer adequate to meet the necessity of changed complex situation of today. Now, individualism has degenerated into individual privilege giving birth to individual’s increasing indifference to social problems. Hence, raising caution that despite the successful Cultural Revolution, the danger of reappearance of revisionism remained, Comrade Ghosh added “…individual’s struggle for emancipation has reached a new and complex height and has assumed a new character in the socialist society where to resolve the problem a more intense and arduous struggle is to be conducted for complete identification of self-interest with the interest of society through unflagging dedication and constant vigil.” (ibid., p. 244) Moreover, “…the main object of the struggle for emancipation of the individual should be to transform the antagonistic nature of contradiction existing between the individual necessity and social necessity into a non-antagonistic one.” Only by carrying out this struggle for cultural revolution through to logical conclusion, with identification of individual necessity and social necessity established, that self-interests will transform into ‘social interests individualised’. A new and higher standard of ethics and values will then evolve, establishing the idea “Where humanism ends, communism begins”, as Comrade Ghosh put it in his immaculate expression.
Long Live Great November Revolution
In the course of the last few decades the world communist movement and revolutionary march towards socialism has been overwhelmed by modern revisionism, without fighting which no genuine communist movement can be developed worldwide. However, the November Revolution has left us with a lesson that there is no scope for leaving the battle-ground. The communist revolutionaries will only have to prepare and organize themselves so as to strike back. A movement has to be generated launching relentless class and mass struggles in one country after another. However, no effort is going to be fruitful without adequate and proper emphasis on correct ideological foundation, that should incorporate the crying issues confronting the movement.
The centenary celebration of November Revolution has once again brought to the fore the issues of revisionism, alongside how it gained ground, what is the crux of the whole process, how to launch revolutionary offensive against socialist individualism and the new type of economism, through complete identification of individual with collective, i.e., society. The communist revolutionaries of today can make celebration of the November Revolution really meaningful only by releasing intensive ideological struggle so as to free the world communist movement from the tentacles of modern revisionism. Herein lies the real significance of observing the centenary of this great November Revolution.
Long Live the Great November Revolution!