On 11 June, 2017, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), briefly spoke on the contributions of great Lenin in November Revolution in a meeting convened by the Odisha State Committee at the ‘Study Centre of Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought’ in Ghatsila, Jharkhand. We are of the opinion that this speech would help all sections of people to understand the significance of November Revolution as well as the historic role of Lenin in this. Responsibility of translation error or inadequate expression, if any, lies with the editorial board of Proletarian era.
I have not come here to discuss on any topic. I came to listen to your deliberations. During listening, it occurred to me that something needs to said about the role of great Lenin in November Revolution. Comrades are well conversant with the valuable discussions of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, our great leader, teacher and guide, on this issue. Later, there have been some more publications on this subject from the Party which comrades are also aware of. I would refer to some aspects of the historic role Comrade Lenin played in the pre-revolution period. You all know that great Marx and Engels had laid the foundation of dialectical materialism and based on that philosophy, made invaluable contributions to the fields of epistemology covering the entire gamut of knowledge—politics-economics-history-sociology-literature-culture. They had also provided educative analyses of the various problems and incidents of the contemporary period. Marx had established the First International as an organization to guide working class revolution. When the First International became degenerated, Engels built up the Second International. Engels was alive for 12 years after Marx’s demise. The Second International properly functioned under his leadership. Even for sometimes after Engels’ death, it was on the right track. Under the leadership of this Second International, many powerful working class parties were formed in Germany, Italy, France and England. When Lenin joined the Marxist movement, the Second International was a powerful organization. Lenin obeyed its leaders as his teachers. At the same time, Russian Social-Democrat Labour Party (RSDLP) was formed as the Marxist party on the Russian soil. Lenin was associated with that. The Second International had leaders like Bernstein, Kautsky and others. Plekhanov and others were in the leadership of RSDLP. In the later period, Lenin had to dauntlessly fight these leaders in order to safeguard the kernel of Marxism and provide its correct interpretation. He had played a historic role in this regard. At that time, he was virtually unknown in the Second International. Even in Russia, he was not that known. In age also, he was much junior to all of the leaders I have mentioned above. Just think, what high an understanding of Marxism he had acquired in that young age, what profound feeling he had for the oppressed classes, what level of truthfulness he had attained, what indomitable courage he had acquired, what firm grit and determination he possessed to conduct this historic struggle. I have already said that Lenin had earlier recognized them as his leaders and teachers. Those who have gone through the works of Lenin would find that how the leaders of the Second International were then distorting and misinterpreting Marxism.
How Lenin defended Marxism from misinterpretation
While discussing about these leaders and quoting them, he had qualified his references as “when they were Marxists”. It means when they were Marxists, their interpretations were correct. But, later these very leaders of the Second International had deviated from Marxism and had been saying wrong things. In the era of imperialism, the big imperialist powers had amassed huge wealth by plundering other countries. Using a part of those riches, they had bribed and purchased most of the working class leaders of the then Europe. Becoming members of the parliament, delivering speeches inside the legislature, seeing those speeches in print and earning fame by way of that provided a cosy environment of bourgeois parliamentarism in which all these leaders of the Second International got sunk into, lost their revolutionary character and were virtually sold out to the ruling imperialists. As a result, proneness to compromise, aversion towards revolutionary struggle and corruption engulfed most of the leaders of working class movement of Europe. Lenin could realize that. Lenin had grasped the essence of Marxism and Marxist methodology of analysis and acquired through struggle the ability of applying the teachings of Marxism to arrive at the truth in correct appraisal of the objective situation. In a word, he had learned how to apply Marxism correctly and concretely in a concrete situation. So, he protected Marxism from the clutches of the deviators. This role of his in the international sphere has been outstanding. So far I know, Lenin was first to use the word ‘revisionism’. He showed that those leaders having deviated from Marxism were seeking to revise Marxism and hence were revisionist. Lenin said, that by distorting, falsifying and stripping it of its revolutionary essence, these degenerated leaders were spreading a twisted version of Marxism which the bourgeoisie would gladly accept. In other words, the bourgeoisie would find nothing objectionable in this distorted version of Marxism. So Lenin said that these leaders were presenting a revised version of Marxism by misinterpreting it. What is the revolutionary understanding of Marxism? What is the correct understanding of Marxism? It was Lenin who was the first to show that to the world at that time. This is where his role has been foremost and historic.
Lenin’s exposition of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism
There is another area where also his role has been no less historic. Marx had applied dialectical materialism in the pre-imperialism period. Marx and Engels had not seen the era of imperialism. After a few years from Engels’ demise, capitalism attained the stage of imperialism by giving birth to monopoly and finance capital and began plundering the underdeveloped countries by exploiting their cheap labour and raw material. Lenin showed that capitalism in course of development gave birth to monopoly and then had reached imperialism, its highest stage. That marked the moribund stage of capitalism. He also elaborated the nature and features of imperialism and deduced the line of revolution, revolutionary politics, strategy and tactics of revolution in the era of imperialism. It is for this reason that great Stalin showed through detailed analysis that Leninism is the Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Marx was correct in his time to say that revolution would break out first in the advanced capitalist countries. But applying Marxist methodology of analysis, Lenin showed that after attaining the stage of imperialism, the advanced capitalist countries were plundering the colonies and distributing a part of the booty to the workers of their own countries as extra wage and bonus to bribe them. This had corrupted the workers to a great extent and destroyed their struggling spirit. Now, revolution would take place first in the relatively backward countries where the people are more oppressed and repressed. Thereafter, as crisis in the advanced capitalist-imperialist countries would intensify and assume severity, it would pave the way for revolution to break out. The leaders of the Second International charged Lenin of disobeying Marx. Lenin retorted by saying that they were not standing but lying down on Marxism. Lenin showed that in the backward countries only, the chain of world imperialism-capitalism would be broken first. More revolutions become successful in these countries, more crisis-ridden would be the advanced imperialist-capitalist countries and more and more would the working class of these countries be initiated towards revolution.
As I have already mentioned, it was Lenin who first enunciated the main features of imperialism as follows —
i) development of monopoly capital
ii) birth of finance capital through merger of banking capital with industrial capital
iii) exporting finance capital besides commodities to the backward countries
iv) formation of international trusts and cartels of the imperialists (which have now taken the form of multi-national corporations) for plundering world market and
v) division of the world market amongst the big imperialists-capitalist powers for limitless pillage.
Lenin showed that for capturing and recapturing the markets for unbounded loot and plunder, imperialism generates wars including world wars. He further added that finance capital is so powerful and decisive a force that it can control the economies as well as foreign policies of politically independent sovereign countries. He also pointed out another feature that imperialism manifested at its early stage. The imperialists used to invest capital in colonies, semi-colonies and backward countries to build up industries for reaping profit. But lest they should incur any loss on such investments, another avenue was opened up. That is, without directly investing capital, they were giving loans as promoters of usury or were indulging in speculation in share market. They found this usury less risky. Lenin branded this as rentier or usurious finance capital which was indulging in the business of giving loan at hefty interest and thereby making good profit with the least of risk. This usury business has flourished manifold today compared to what Lenin had seen. He also showed that in the pre-imperialist period, capitalism was more attached to democracy and individual freedom. But, at the stage of imperialism, it is more attached to bureaucratism and militarism.
Degeneration of Second International
Before the First World War, the leaders of the Second International had a serious difference of opinion with Lenin on the question of the role of the working class of the imperialist countries once the war would break out. Lenin was of the opinion that the workers of the different imperialist countries cannot point guns at each other to serve the interest of their respective imperialist rulers. Their task would be to oppose the imperialist war and trigger civil wars in their respective countries to accomplish proletarian revolution taking advantage of the war. Though the leaders of the Second International verbally supported Lenin’s view and agreed with his proposal, they, after the outbreak of the war, made a somersault and stood in favour of their respective imperialist rulers. Lenin called it treachery to the cause of internationalism and successfully accomplished revolution in his country by taking full advantage of the First World War. He thus proved the correctness of his vision. Also Lenin had a severe disagreement with the leaders of the Second International on whether socialist revolution could be accomplished in a backward country like Russia as well as on the imperativeness of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. Because of all these reasons, he branded the Second International as traitor and revisionist and severed his relationship with it.
On formation of a communist party
Another valuable contribution of Lenin is in regard to formation of a communist party. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had called it Leninist model of party formation and developed and enriched this concept further. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had elaborately discussed this issue in his celebrated work, “Why SUCI(C) is the only genuine Communist Party in India”. If comrades go through this work meticulously, they would be acquainted with all the details in this regard. On the other hand, while being within the RSDLP, Lenin had a difference of opinion on some vital issues with its leaders like Plekhanov, Martov and Axelrod. One of such issues was the fundamental question in regard to the process to be adopted for building a communist party. Lenin said that there should first develop a unity of ideas through a course of ideological struggle. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh elaborated this concept of achieving ideological centralism. Lenin opined that a communist party cannot be formed just by accepting a resolution or making certain declarations. The imperative task is to first arrive at a unity of ideas through conduction of an ideological struggle. Next question that arose was who would be the members of the party. Lenin held that no one other than professional revolutionaries can be party members. Others were of the opinion that whoever accepted the principles and analyses of the party could have membership. Lenin said, no. If this was accepted then anybody could be a member of the party. A revolutionary working class party could never grow like this. It is imperative to examine if the members are adhering to the norms and principles of the party and working under any of the party organizations observing party discipline. As a result, RSDLP was divided into two groups—the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Later, in 1912, the Bolshevik Party was formally founded. So, it was Lenin who as worthy continuer of Marx and Engels provided elaborated guideline to the international communist movement in regard to a host of important questions like how should a communist party be formed, how democratic centralism would grow through fusion of proletarian democracy and centralism, how the various party bodies would develop at various levels and what would be their mutual relationship and how the party workers should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner obeying the party authority.
On dictatorship of the proletariat
There was a debate centring on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat as well. Marx had said that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be a transitory phase between capitalism and communism. When Lenin tried to implement that, others accused him of butchering democracy. Lenin rebutted them by pointing out that the democracy they were so concerned about was nothing but bourgeois dictatorship, that is, democracy in favour of the bourgeoisie and dictatorship against the working class. On the contrary, socialism is democracy of the working class and dictatorship against the bourgeoisie. Lenin also developed this concept of Marx from various angles. It was Marx who stated that revolution could not be achieved through peaceful means. Based on the experience of Paris Commune, Marx also taught that the working class must smash the bourgeois state machine.
On continuous development of Marxian science
There is another field where Lenin’s role had been path-breaking. In the post-Marx-Engels period, the bourgeois theoreticians were training their guns anew against Marxism, misinterpreting science in various ways. It was necessary to defend Marxism against these attacks. Lenin did that. And in course of that, he also developed the science of Marxism. He had to conduct intense ideological struggle against so-called Marxist theoreticians of Russia like Bazarov, Bogdanov and Lunacharsky as well as their foreign friends. Lenin did not accept Marxism as a dogma but as a creative and developing science, as a guide to action. His famous quote in this regard is, “We do not regard Marx’s theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has 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 CW, Vol. IV, p.211-12) This task was brilliantly performed by Lenin after Marx-Engels in the era of imperialism. 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) Stalin was the first to use the word ‘Leninism’.
As science is developing, Marxism is also developing in tandem as scientific philosophy. Its development is two-fold. One is the continuous development and enrichment of the understanding of its three fundamental universal principles, i.e. i) Unity of and Struggle between opposite forces, ii) From Quantitative Change to Qualitative Change and vice versa and iii) Negation of the Negation. To be illustrative, Newton had discovered the laws of motion of matter. The concepts in regard to motion of matter had developed and got enriched further with more and more developments of science. Similarly, the understanding of the three principles of Marxism is also developing and getting enriched with newer developments in the field of science and epistemology. The other development is in regard to formulating the political line and strategy of revolution in the emerging newer situations in national as well as international spheres. At the same time, as and when there is a fundamental change in the objective situation, newer revolutionary political line and strategy has to be evolved to illumine the path in the context of emerging newer problems. That is why, Lenin had not only deduced new political line and strategy to guide proletarian revolution to success in the changed international 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.” (ibid.) So, it can be seen that Lenin had faced problems which did not arise in Marx’s time. Lenin enriched Marxism in course of providing guideline on resolution of the newer emerging problems and brought its understanding to a new height. After Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong and Comrade Shibdas Ghosh developed and enriched Marxism further.
On organizing revolution
It also merits special mention as to how the genius of Lenin worked in organizing Russian revolution. On the one hand, he founded the Bolshevik Party by waging intense ideological struggle. On the other hand, he had to relentlessly expose the Mensheviks as well as the socialist-revolutionaries who had considerable strength and thereby isolate them from the workers, peasants and other sections of the toiling people. It was not that the November Revolution was accomplished by performing the tasks which we have been entrusted with today like developing party organizations in the urban and rural belts over a long period, intensifying class and mass struggles on various legitimate demands, undertaking ideological campaign on a large scale or setting up people’s struggle committees since we are to organize revolution in a relatively advanced capitalist country. It is true that there was widespread impact of Lenin’s revolutionary thoughts on Russian soil and most of the members of the erstwhile RSDLP supported him.
It is to be noted that there was no scope for practice of long standing parliamentarian politics in Tsarist Russia. Duma (parliament) was formed occasionally under pressure of people. But each of the Duma was temporary in nature and formed based on restricted franchise and undemocratic constitution. So, there was little scope for creating parliamentary illusion among the people unlike in other developed imperialist-capitalist countries. Working class in Russia was also not bribed, corrupted or carried away by economic opportunism to the extent the imperialist capital could do in other western countries. So, the Russian workers were relatively militant. Moreover, religious values were not fully exhausted in the then Russia and bourgeois humanist values had much influence. Russia did not face severe moral crisis at that time as all imperialist-capitalist countries including our country are facing today. In this background, there was a surge of industrial strikes over various economic and other demands broke out in Russia then and all these strikes were turned into political strikes due to the efforts of the Bolsheviks on the eve of the revolution in 1905. The revolutionary uprising was joined by the armed forces and naval fleet also. Soviets as the instruments of political power were developed spontaneously among the workers and soldiers and even among the peasants in some areas. Though the Bolsheviks at that time did not have much political or organizational strength to make revolution successful, it became evidently clear from their role at the time of uprising of 1905 that they were the most trusted force then. Lenin termed this revolution of 1905 as ‘dress rehearsal’ of future November Revolution and said that had there been no attempt of revolution in 1905, November Revolution could never have achieved victory in 1917.
The word “Bolshevik” means majority while “Menshevik” denotes minority. Hence, compared to other socialist forces, the Bolshevik Party was stronger. Pre-Revolution Russia was almost similar to what our country was before independence. Capitalism did not grow much in Russia. In fact, development of capitalism in Russia was weak compared to the growth of Indian capitalism during the period of our freedom movement. There was Tsardom in Russia meaning serfdom under the feudal rule of lord Tsar. Feudal production relations of serf-feudal lord governed most of the agriculture. Only a few industries were established. Such was the situation there. At the same time, foreign imperial capital had made forays into Russian soil in collaboration with the Tsar. As a result, Russia was at the stage of bourgeois democratic revolution to a great extent.
Bourgeois democratic revolution means revolution to establish right to have individual property ownership over property. In feudalism, no one other than the feudal lord or monarch considered to be the accredited representative of god could own property. When mercantile capital was transformed into industrial capital, it raised the slogans of individual ownership, of setting up big industries by replacing cottage industries and freeing the serfs from land for working independently in the industries as labour. From the economic point of view, these demands were then progressive. Based on that, right to all individuals to have ownership on property emerged as a democratic demand. Indian constitution also grants in letters the right to own individual property. This right was given by the bourgeoisie only. In capitalism, every individual has the right to own property. This right was not granted in feudalism. Based on this right evolved the concept of individual freedom, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of women, right to protest, right to form organization and the right to establish bourgeois parliamentary democracy in place of feudal monarchic system. All these concepts and rights came into being based on the necessity of individual ownership. From this perspective, bourgeois democratic revolution was progressive at that stage of history. The French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution of England and the Peasants’ War in Germany were all progressive revolutions. The slogan of equality-fraternity-liberty was also raised in this period. Similarly were raised the slogans of establishing Republics, of setting up governments ‘By the people, for the people, of the people’. The very slogan of individual freedom endowed the people with a new consciousness, a new sense of right. Hence, individual freedom then represented a progressive urge. No leader, cadre or martyr of our freedom movement was a proletarian revolutionary. Their philosophical base was individual freedom in the bourgeois sense. Because, the very freedom movement of ours was anti-imperialist in character—a movement to establish bourgeois democracy. There was also a need to fight feudalism though the compromising leadership of our freedom movement did not raise that slogan. In any case, the anti-imperialist struggle was also a struggle for achieving bourgeois democratic revolution. The leaders and workers who were initiated into our freedom movement with the main objective of unshackling the country from the alien rule were also spurred on by the urge for achieving individual liberty.
Enriched concept of a true communist
When February Revolution took place in Russia prior to November Revolution, the main demand of the people was the right to have individual freedom. The Bolshevik Party too raised the slogan of individual liberty. The comrades should take proper note of it. In the celebrated novel titled Pather Dabi (Demand of the Path) by Saratchandra Chatterjee, Apurba, one of the characters, asked Ramdas Talwarkar, a freedom fighter of revolutionary trend, “Why have you involved yourself in this revolutionary movement when you are married?” Ramdas replied, “Bapuji, marriage is a dharma. But greater dharma is to work for the country’s freedom. If I had known that a smaller dharma would pose obstacle before a greater dharma, I would not have married.” It means the interest of the country was prior. The freedom movement had primacy over the need of the individual as well as the need of the individual family. In the Soviet Constitution also, it was written that individual interest was subordinate to the interest of revolution. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had shown that this, in the main, was a bourgeois humanist value concept. He had also pointed out that this bourgeois humanist value had worked in Russia during November Revolution as well as for a considerable period after revolution. It also worked during Chinese Revolution because that was a revolution against imperialism-feudalism. He had further added that though the concept of individual interest being subordinate to the interest of revolution worked favourably in fulfilling the need of revolution during its preparatory stage, during insurrection for seizure of power and later upto a period of socialist reconstruction. In the later phase of gigantic progress and stability of socialist economy this very concept gave birth to a new phenomenon of ‘socialist individualism’ and endangered socialist system. What is needed at this phase are higher communist values which calls for not only complete abolition of private property but also freeing the self from ‘private-property mental complex’ and thereby identifying individual interest with the interest of class, revolution and party. I have just recalled this teaching as a passing but relevant reference.
Strategizing November Revolution
Coming back to what I was discussing, despite an important role of the working class in the February Revolution, it could not capture power. The power was usurped by the bourgeoisie because of Mensheviks’ betrayal. You ought to know that earlier the Mensheviks controlled majority of the Soviets because of two reasons. The first one was that the Bolsheviks were busy taking on the Tsarist army in the streets but the Mensheviks were not. So the Bolsheviks could not take that much initiative in the various Soviets then being formed spontaneously everywhere. Seizing that opportunity, the Mensheviks established control over majority of the Soviets. Along with this, Lenin also drew attention to another aspect. He showed that those who had been working in the factories for long did develop some proletarian consciousness within themselves. But most of them were sent to the warfield as soldiers by Tsar. So, they were engaged in war. Those who were appointed in their place as factory workers were recent migrants from the villages. That means, they were earlier peasants but now transformed into workers. Since the peasants possessed petty-bourgeois mentality, these new workers also had influence of that. They were not proletariats of the kind the previous workers who were sent to war, were. In the Soviets, these new workers who came from the villages formed the majority of the members. For these two reasons, the Bolsheviks initially had no majority in the Soviets. So, the Mensheviks had majority in the Soviets and they handed over power to the bourgeoisie in February. Even then, Lenin applied Marxism with deftness. While highlighting the major reasons behind success of November Revolution, he himself said that the opportunity November Revolution had obtained would not be available to the revolutions in other countries. There always exists difference among the revolutionary situations of different countries. In Russia, first of all, the First World War was on and the imperialists were divided into two warring groups. So, as explained Lenin, they would not be able to oppose Russian Revolution unitedly. This was one opportunity. Secondly, the Tsar was facing defeat in the war. The Tsar had a pact with British and French imperialism while German imperialism was their opponent. Alongside Tsar’s defeat, the whole of Russia was in the grip of famine because of war. In such circumstances, the Russian people were demanding peace, not war. So, the slogan of Russian Revolution was—we want bread, we want peace, we want liberty and we want land to the tillers. The very slogans of individual freedom and land to the tillers are slogans of bourgeois democratic revolution. February Revolution was victorious based on these slogans. It was the workers, peasants and common people who fought for revolution. But due to the treachery of the Mensheviks, the bourgeoisie captured power. At that point of time, Lenin showed that after being in power, the Russian bourgeoisie was not withdrawing from the war but continuing it. The bourgeois rulers were not opting for peace. Lenin pointed out that the state was not confiscating food articles from the big food hoarders and distributing these to the hungry people. The bourgeois government was compromising with Tsar and feudalism. So, it was not distributing land to the tillers as well. Clearly, the bourgeois rulers were betraying people. Citing all these and waging an intense ideological struggle, the Bolsheviks gained majority in the Soviets by defeating the Mensheviks. Lenin also noticed that after February Revolution also, the fervour of revolution was very much alive among the masses. Those who joined revolution with guns had not returned from the field. The weapons were at their disposal. They were also carrying the fighting mentality. So, he could realize that it was high time for insurrection of power. He convinced the Soviets that the bourgeois Kerensky government, the Mensheviks and the socialists had betrayed them, had worked against their interest. So, they ought to bring about the socialist revolution. The call was for anti-capitalist socialist revolution because the state power was in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Lenin explained that since “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) He also elaborated that the stage of revolution is determined based on the question as to which class will overthrow which class from state power. Since the bourgeoisie captured state power after February Revolution, revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie from power would be an anti-capitalist socialist revolution. But this socialist revolution would not be similar to revolution in an advanced capitalist-imperialist country. This socialist revolution would have to complete the unfulfilled tasks of bourgeois democratic revolution. For that reason, 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. After completing this phase, he introduced New Economic Policy (NEP). In accordance with that policy, he gave some scope to the private capitalists to establish industries under control of the socialist state. This was the situation then. Trotsky and others opposed the policies of war communism and NEP. Trotsky even opposed socialist revolution by arguing that revolution could not take place in a backward country like Russia. Lenin said that at the first stage of revolution, there would be unity of workers and peasants. In the later stage, unity would be of the workers and poor peasants. Trotsky held that there could not be any unity between the workers and the peasants. The working class alone would lead revolution. On such various questions, Lenin had a difference with Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev. On each of these controversies, Stalin stood firmly by the side of Lenin and played an important role. Another factor was also alluded to by Lenin for success of November Revolution. He showed that Russia was a vast country and the communication system was very poor. So, it was possible to continue civil war for a long period.
Lenin had assimilated the essence of Marxism
Lenin correctly grasped Marxism. Since he could correctly apply Marxism in analysing the obtaining international as well as Russian situation, he could in the process further develop and enrich Marxism. By fighting the bourgeois concepts, he could establish why Marxism was needed in Russia. At the same time, by fighting the wrong conceptions of Plekhanov, Trotsky and such others, he provided the correct understanding of Marxism. Comrades should understand this role of his as well. The issues that I have discussed in half an hour today were then not that easy to clinch and deal with. Starting as a student of the giant Second International leaders of Europe and Russia, Lenin could realize their deviations because he had assimilated the essence of Marxism. Hence, he had to fight them philosophically and point out their mistakes. In course of that, he provided correct revolutionary understanding of Marxism and how one should develop that understanding in the changed international situation and how should it be applied in the concrete situation of Russia. What an heightened understanding of Marxism was required to feel the pulse of the country, correctly sense the mood of the working class as well as people at large and above all to realize that after February Revolution, it was high time to accomplish socialist revolution. When the call of November Revolution was given, some persons argued: according to Marx, revolution would break out first in an advanced capitalist country. But capitalism in Russia is not developed. Then, how could revolution be accomplished here? Lenin told them that they had read Marx’s works as pedants but had not understood Marxist methodology of analysis. He pointed out that in the era of imperialism, capitalism in backward countries cannot develop in the manner witnessed earlier because of uneven development of capitalism. Moreover, the big imperialist powers today would not allow capitalism to flourish in the backward or under-developed countries. So, in this era, industrial revolution could not take place under the leadership of the bourgeoisie. It would only be under the leadership of the working class that industrial revolution could become a total success. Lenin had to conduct many such struggles in the theoretical field. In order to understand the significance of November Revolution, one has to comprehend this unique role and the invaluable contributions of Lenin.
Understanding of Marxism should be living, creative
How could Lenin be successful in providing correct interpretation and application of Marxism? Here comes the question of the role of an individual. This needs to be realized properly. Lenin was not born as Lenin, the genius. Nor was Stalin, Mao or Shibdas Ghosh. No great man was born and could be born as genius in any period. Genius is also product of a process. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh in his tribute to Comrade Subodh Banerjee had elaborately discussed this aspect. He showed that no one is born as a genius or with talent. To what extent would one develop his talent, ability or competence depends on how best one conducts struggle covering all aspects of life by accepting correct revolutionary or progressive ideology. While his teachers failed, Lenin was successful in conducting the struggle appropriately and accomplished revolution. What seemed to be impossible to all in the world was achieved by him. He led the socialist revolution to success. This very task was not that easy, rather extremely difficult. It is never enough to just go through the books on Marxism. That is why, it is said that Marxism is a creative science. The scholars also read many books. But, mere memorizing what one reads does not entail that creativity. Are you analysing based on Marxist outlook? Are you taking due note of the contradictions? Are you in a position to diagnose the disease of the society like a doctor? Are you able to identify the class contradictions? How is the bourgeoisie attacking with its ideology and culture? How should the proletariat conduct struggle to repel these bourgeois attacks? How would the Marxian science be creatively applied in a new situation? What are the natures of various contradictions within matter? How are these contradictions featuring in a country? What is the standard of consciousness of comrades within the Party? How are the contradictions working in the mental sphere of the comrades? How is a comrade vacillating in the contradiction between the bourgeois and the proletariat? How to help that comrade? How are the contradictions manifested every moment? What are the external and internal contradictions? What is the principal contradiction among them? What is the principal aspect of that contradiction? How are these contradictions changing with the passage of time? Creative living application of Marxism presupposes the ability to correctly note and understand all these aspects. Hence, understanding of Marxism ought to be living. And for that, Marxism has to be applied in life. To whatever extent one understands Marxism, one has to apply that in life. To the extent, one applies that in life, one acquires higher culture. To the extent higher culture is acquired, higher is the understanding of Marxism. This is how one has to advance. Which demand is to be raised at what point of time, which programme is to be adopted, which call for struggle would be given so that people respond—studying and realizing all these means understanding various contradictions and their nature. In other words, it means to have concrete understanding of the concrete contradictions of a specific time. Just like the way Lenin understood after February Revolution that people were asking for bread, peace, land and freedom. But the bourgeoisie was betraying them. It could neither provide nor deliver what people were crying for. The Mensheviks also betrayed people. By that time, Soviets were established almost everywhere. Lenin and his compatriots had to explain these in details to the Soviets. In this process, the Bolsheviks who were earlier minority in the Soviets gained majority. Then he gave the slogan—‘All power to the Soviets’. The bourgeoisie mounted attack with its entire arsenal. But at the call of the Bolshevik Party led by Lenin, the working class rose up and defeated the bourgeoisie. November Revolution became victorious.
Lenin cautioned about danger for socialism from within
November Revolution was accomplished on 17 November, 1917. But Lenin became seriously ill shortly after that and finally breathed his last on 21 January, 1924 at the age of 53 only. But within this short time, he took notice of the objective reality and cautioned about the probable danger socialism might face. He pointed out that the resistance of the bourgeoisie is increased tenfold by its overthrow (that is, after revolution). And not only does the strength of the bourgeoisie (even in one country) lie in the strength and durability of its international connections with imperialist-capitalist powers but also in the strength of small production as well as in the force of habit (both bourgeois and feudal) Small production was then very, very widespread in the world, and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. So, he held that the dictatorship of the proletariat was a most determined and most ruthless war to be waged by the new class (the proletariat) against a more powerful enemy, the overthrown bourgeoisie. In another place, he showed that the force of habit of millions and tens of millions is a most terrible force.
After Lenin, his worthy continuers like Stalin, Mao Zedong and Shibdas Ghosh had, based on his teachings, showed from various angles how and why socialism could be endangered by counter-revolution and unless the causes behind such endangerment are not properly thwarted, counter-revolution might score victory and dismantle socialism.