Chapter 6 Lenin said so Himself
It has been shown that from July 1917 Lenin was working consciously and deliberately towards a proletarian revolution that would, in October, transfer state power to the proletariat and initiate the first steps towards socialism. The decision that the international socialist revolution could begin in semi-feudal, backward Russia meant Lenin had independently arrived at one of the core conclusions of the ToPR. The previous chapter also showed that in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, up to the summer of 1918 at least, Lenin consistently described the October Revolution as a socialist, proletarian revolution with a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government resting on the dictatorship of the proletariat.
But is it possible that Lenin, after due reflection, later changed his mind: that the October Revolution was not a socialist revolution and the regime that resulted from it was not the dictatorship of the proletariat? Is it possible, on the basis of Lenin’s published works, to maintain that he held, or later returned to, his 1905-06 schema of the RDDPP as accurately describing the events in Russia 1917-1918? Or could it be, that Lenin simply failed to see that his governmental strategy from 1905 for at least a decade had been realised, and was just plain wrong in the many speeches, pamphlets and articles, where he analysed and described the October Revolution as a socialist, proletarian revolution and the Soviet state immediately following it as a dictatorship of the proletariat? The suggestion would be that Lenin, at the height of his intellectual powers, did not understand the class nature of the revolution he had campaigned for, organised and led.
Nevertheless, a number of authors have attempted to square this particular circle, and in this chapter we discuss four more recent examples. The core of the argument, is proposed by, for example, Jenness(1,2) and rests on the observations that:
(i) the Bolshevik Party adopted a policy which, at least initially, mobilised the peasantry as a whole in its support,
(ii) the participation of a peasant party (the Left SRs) alongside the Bolsheviks in the government, from mid-December 1917 to early March 1918, gave that government a two-class character,
(iii) the proletarian revolution did not extend to the rural districts before the summer of 1918. So, from October 1917 to that time, the Russian state rested predominantly on bourgeois and petty bourgeois property relations, and
(iv) the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, while it included the Left SRs, largely limited itself to carrying through the bourgeois-democratic revolution and did not begin to systematically overthrow the capitalist economy until the summer of 1918, after the peasant party had quit the government.
From these observations Jenness has concluded that from October 1917 to the summer of 1918 the Soviet regime was the RDDPP foreseen by Lenin in Two Tactics. Jenness’ arguments lack rigour because they do not contain a sufficient criterion to allow us to differentiate between the three schemas as proposed by Lenin pre-1917 in the RDDPP, Lenin post-July 1917 after he had adopted a permanentist perspective, and Trotsky in the ToPR in 1906.
(i) Common to the stated positions of Lenin in 1905 and 1917 was the proposition that the proletariat - by resolutely endorsing a consistently revolutionary solution of the agrarian problem - would obtain the support of the peasantry as a whole for the completion of the bourgeois-democratic tasks of the revolution. It has already been shown that Trotsky in 1906 was convinced that a the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, by ratifying the peasants’ seizure of the land, would gain the support of the peasantry as a whole. Of course, because they were writing about likely future events, neither Lenin nor Trotsky could even hint in 1905 or 1906 that the mechanics of gaining the support of the peasants as a whole for the proletarian revolution, would require the RDSLP(B) to borrow without alteration the land programme of the SRs, and then implement it against the wishes of that party. All three schemas were clear that governmental endorsement of the revolutionary seizure of the land by the peasants and its distribution by the peasants to the peasants, would win for that government the support of the peasantry as a whole, at least in its early stages. Peasant support for the government is not the issue, what is in question is the class nature of the government and state required to have the will to nationalise the land without compensation, and ‘give’ it to the peasants.
(ii) Did the inclusion of the Left SRs in the government, offer a way of differentiating between Lenin’s position in 1905, his position post-July 1917, and Trotsky’s ToPR? Is it possible to argue sensibly that the participation of the Left SRs was essential for the government to successfully carry through the bourgeois-democratic tasks of the revolution? And, if essential, did such a requirement determine the nature of the state on which the government rested? The answer to these questions is “No”.
The necessary condition for entry and participation of the Left SRs in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government was acceptance of the core Bolshevik programme, which openly included the goal of socialism and taking the first steps towards it(3). This alone effectively excluded the possibility of the Left SRs playing the determining role in the nature of that government.
That the presence of the Left SRs did not make the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government the RDDPP was unequivocally demonstrated when the Left SRs accepted the dissolution and dispersion of the Constituent Assembly - the governmental goal of the RDDPP.
The key bourgeois-democratic task, and the one of paramount importance to the peasants - nationalisation of the land - was carried out by the Bolsheviks alone, before the Left SRs joined the Government. We have already seen that Lenin claimed it was this action that won for the Bolsheviks the support of the peasants as a whole (support that had previously gone to the SRs), and won it quickly.
Neither the SRs joining nor leaving the government marked any significant change in that government’s direction or momentum. The Left SRs were participants for only three of the nine months for which Jenness claims the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government was, in fact, the RDDPP. The issue on which the Left SRs quit the government, was not the steps taken towards socialism, but the terms for peace with Germany. Such transitory participation (as junior partners who determined not one major item of policy), cannot be taken to mean that the inclusion of the Left SRs determined the class character of the regime.
The conditions imposed on the Left SRs were not accidental, they were the result of lengthy and acrimonious discussions within the Bolshevik Central Committee with Lenin, Sverdlov and Trotsky at one extreme, and the erstwhile supporters of the RDDPP, Kamenev, Rykov and Zinoviev at the other. The issue was the ultimatum of the Union of Railway Workers to bring the country to a halt by strike action unless the Bolsheviks agreed to a coalition government of leading members of all the socialist parties with the exception of Lenin and Trotsky(4). Opposition within the Central Committee to Lenin’s view was founded on the belief that a Bolshevik-only government did not have the support required to carry through the necessary tasks, and that a coalition government of all the so-called socialist parties was required. Lenin’s response was to move a resolution at the Central Committee on 2 November denouncing any such coalition. Here Lenin was arguing against a core concept of the RDDPP: “The CC affirms that the purely Bolshevik government cannot be renounced without betraying the slogan of Soviet power”(5). Compare this to Lenin’s writings of 1905, when a revolutionary dictatorship with a Social Democratic majority was not only undesirable, it was ... “impossible”.
We have already visited Trotsky’s position regarding peasant representation in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, and seen that the only condition he imposed was that the proletariat wielded hegemony in the government, and through it in the country(6) Although written twelve years earlier, it was identical in principle with Lenin’s stated position of 1917.
While participation of the Left SRs in the government may have been desirable, it did not alter the essential nature of that government, and does not offer a rigorous basis on which to challenge Lenin’s opinion that this period was the dictatorship of the proletariat.
(iii) Jenness’ third observation is that the proletarian revolution did not extend to the rural districts before the summer of 1918, with the establishment of the Poor Peasants’ Committees (kombedy). Thus, during the intervening nine months, the Russian state rested predominantly on bourgeois and petty bourgeois property relations. From this Jenness draws the conclusion that because, in his opinion, a state can never have a distinctly different class character from its economic base, a state resting on a petty bourgeois economic base could not be the dictatorship of the proletariat. It then followed quite naturally, that the dictatorship of the proletariat did not become the state power in Russia until the summer of 1918, at the earliest, and thus the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government over the preceding period must have been a transitional regime leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is it must have been the RDDPP.
What Lenin would have made of such formalism, it is only possible to imagine, for such an argument fails to recognise that any real process takes time. In Russia, in 1917-18, with its antiquated communication systems and its vast distances, the revolution may have been completed quickly in the major towns, but it took months for it to extend into the countryside, and then only after the working class consolidated its hold on power in the towns. Lenin developed the argument that Trotsky had first proposed thirteen years earlier, and explained “the proletariat must first overthrow the bourgeoisie and win for itself state power, and then use that state power, that is, the dictatorship of the proletariat, as an instrument of its class for the purpose of winning the sympathy of the majority of the working people”(7).
Trotsky addressed the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat during the transition from capitalist economy to workers’ state thus:
“During the first few months of the Soviet regime the proletariat administered a bourgeois economy. As regards agriculture the dictatorship of the proletariat supported itself upon a petty bourgeois economy ... But what is the meaning of this kind of temporary contradiction between state and economy? It means revolution or counter-revolution. The victory of one class over another is gained precisely in order to transform the economy in the interests of the victor. But such a dual state of affairs is a necessary moment of every social revolution ... it was accomplished, to use Marx’s words, in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasant war. ...
The proletariat took power together with the peasantry in October, says Lenin. By that alone, the revolution was a bourgeois revolution. Is that right? In a certain sense, yes. But this means that the true democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, that is, the one which actually destroyed the regime of autocracy and serfdom and snatched the land from the feudalists, was accomplished not before October but only after October; it was accomplished, to use Marx’s words, in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasant war - and then, a few months later, began growing into a socialist dictatorship. Is this really hard to understand? Can differences of opinion prevail on this point today?”(8).
Lenin wrote State and Revolution in August and September 1917. He hadn’t finished when he was interrupted by the October Revolution, so we can take this pamphlet as representing his final thoughts on the nature of the transitional state as he analysed and planned what he later consistently referred to as a socialist revolution. Lenin was breaking new ground, so the pamphlet was primarily concerned with defining principles and the necessary strategic activities of the proletariat during their seizure of power. If Jenness were correct that the class nature of the regime was directly determined by its economic base, even during its initial transitional period, then he should have found something here to cite in his favour.
However, it turns out that State and Revolution was surprisingly unconcerned with the economic base of society during and immediately after the workers’ socialist revolution. Instead Lenin was absorbed with the question of the “power of the state”, the chief instruments of which were the special bodies of armed men having prisons, etc., at their disposal, and so he placed great emphasis on the role of the army, police and bureaucracy(9). In this respect Lenin understood that the immediate and crucial issue was governmental power. A party that gained governmental power thereby gained the possibility of smashing the old state structure and overturning capitalism.
Lenin argued that when (i) the proletariat had taken political power, (ii) the army and police had been smashed by the armed workers, and (iii) the bureaucratic machine smashed, then the dictatorship of the proletariat had been realised. Whilst the smashing of the standing army and police were essential pre-requisites, it was wishful thinking to expect to complete the abolition of the Tsarist bureaucracy overnight. What had to be achieved was the smashing of the old bureaucratic machine and to begin at once to construct a new one under workers’ control that would, in time, enable the abolition of all bureaucracy(10).
Specific measures Lenin recommended for the abolition of the bureaucratic machine included the well-known, simple and direct(11);
1. All officials, without exception, elected and subject to recall at any time, and
2. Salaries of all ‘servants of the state’ reduced to the level of ordinary workmen’s wages,
These simple and ‘self-evident’ democratic measures would, under a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, serve as a bridge leading from capitalism to socialism, and implementing these measures would show clearly the end of the state as a special force for the suppression of the majority, and its transition into a force composed of the majority of the people - the workers and the peasants - for the suppression of the minority. The economic condition Lenin set was that the ‘expropriation of the expropriators’ was in preparation(12), i.e., the first steps of the transformation of capitalist private ownership of the means of production into social ownership had been taken. From this last point it is clear that Lenin considered that the dictatorship of the proletariat would require time to carry through the expropriation of the expropriators and, in its early days would be limited only to planning that expropriation. But what else could the situation have been in a Russia, where the predominant, small-scale, peasant economy formed an insurmountable barrier to the introduction of socialism without the aid of socialist revolution in the West? As an aside it is worth mentioning that nowhere in State and Revolution did Lenin propose any interim state forms such as the RDDPP.
A second serious flaw in Jenness’ argument that the dictatorship of the proletariat could not be the state power in Russia until the summer of 1918, due to the class nature of its economic base is that, to be self-consistent, he should defer classifying the post-October 1917 Russian state as the dictatorship of the proletariat until the end of the New Economic Policy (NEP). The NEP, which was introduced in the middle of 1921 to increase food production, emphasised private enterprise, particularly private agriculture, and did not end until about 1929(13). Here Jenness is at odds not only with Lenin, but virtually every member of the Bolshevik Party. The very moment that Jenness chooses to switch from claiming the regime was the RDDPP to confirming the existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is just the moment when - for the first time - rank and file Bolsheviks raised the question of whether the free market in agricultural produce would undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It could be argued that agricultural production in the USSR remained petty-bourgeois until the fall of the Soviet Union, as the collectives were not statised but petty-bourgeois enterprises which, sold their “surplus” produce in the market place. The Kremlin legally granted collective farms the use of the land in perpetuity, and the individual collective farm families the use of private plots for the production of cattle and goods which theu could dispose of in more or less any way they wanted. This petty-bourgeois mode of production was a significant factor in the disorganisation and collapse of the Soviet economy.
Contradictorily, the October Revolution greatly strengthened the petty bourgeois nature of agriculture in Russia. Bukharin in his ABC of Communism(14), describes how the outcome of the land revolution throughout Great Russia was that virtually all the large estates passed into hands of those who had previously worked them, and were now farmed as small-holdings. The state had retained for Soviet agriculture less than 5% of the lands seized, and most of this was unsuitable for cultivation. In fact, both the number and proportion of poor peasants and agricultural labourers, on which state power was notionally resting, fell substantially. Indeed, as early as 1907, Lenin had foreseen that land distribution would transform the poor peasants into middle peasants, and this was one of the core reasons why, in the RDDPP, he had predicted the peasantry would desert the revolution, and an interim period of decades would be necessary between the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the beginning of the socialist(15). Simultaneously, the number of rich peasants significantly decreased and landlordism was eliminated, so class antagonisms in the countryside were substantially reduced as a result of the October revolution.
On the first anniversary of the October Revolution, Lenin discussed the processes of expanding the revolution into the countryside. Having consistently defined the October Revolution as socialist, he makes the point that there was a deliberate delay in extending this socialist revolution from the towns into the countryside. The Bolsheviks saw themselves as, initially, limiting their rural activities to the democratic as a stratagem to protect the socialist, urban revolution and lay the ground for the expansion of that revolution into a socialist rural revolution:
“ ... it was only in the summer and autumn of 1918 that the urban October Revolution became a real rural October Revolution. The Petrograd workers and the Petrograd garrison soldiers fully realised when they took power that great difficulties would crop up in rural organisational work, and our progress there would have to be more gradual ... We therefore confined ourselves to what was absolutely essential in the interests of promoting the revolution ... In October we confined ourselves to sweeping away at one blow the age-old enemy of the peasants, the feudal landowner, the big landed proprietor. This was a struggle in which all the peasants joined. ...
The law we then passed was based on general democratic principles, on that which unites the rich kulak peasant with the poor peasant - hatred for the landowner. ... We left the road open for agriculture to develop along socialist lines, knowing perfectly well that at that time, October 1917, it was not yet ready for it”(16).
The use of the adjective ‘transitional’ to describe the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government does not determine its class nature. Both Lenin and Trotsky saw the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government in Russia resting on the dictatorship of the proletariat. What was in transition was the nature of the economic base of the state. In the periods between revolutions, when progress is more gradual and linear, it is quite correct to say that the state power cannot have a different class character from its economic base. In the last analysis the economic base and political superstructure must correspond, but in the highly turbulent and non-linear situations that constitute a revolution, it is perfectly possible, for a short period in historical terms (months or even years), for the class that has seized power and destroyed the old state machine, to hold state power while it re-orders the economic base to its own requirements.
(iv) Neither Lenin pre or post-July 1917, nor Trotsky in 1906, suggested that every economic element of capitalism would be overthrown immediately, although both insisted that the initial tasks necessary for the introduction of socialism would begin at once. However, Lenin was keen for it to be widely understood that the Soviet regime moved ahead as fast as it could and accomplished “at one revolutionary blow, all that can, in general, be accomplished instantly”(17). Lenin was fond of pointing out that not only was private ownership of land immediately abolished without compensation, but that within the space of a few months practically all the big capitalists, owners of factories, joint-stock companies, banks, railways, and so forth, were also expropriated without compensation. The pace of events may have been largely determined by the practical problems facing the Soviet regime due to the civil war, but Lenin never suggested there was a qualitative change in the class nature of the dictatorship, from democratic to a proletarian, some time after October 1917. Is Jenness suggesting he just didn’t notice it?
(v) Jenness has challenged the statement that Lenin adopted a permanentist approach. However, his arguments ignore one of the most fundamental facts of all: that the Bolsheviks, under Lenin’s leadership, began the world socialist revolution in backward, semi-feudal Russia.
6.3 Lenin’s Considered Opinion
How then did Lenin describe the process of the October Revolution in subsequent years? The following will show his analysis was consistent, and demonstrate that Lenin never deviated from considering the October Revolution a proletarian, socialist revolution and the immediately consequent regime, the dictatorship of the proletariat. In March 1918, as part of the discussion on the Bolshevik Party’s programme, Lenin had this to say:
“The Revolution of October 25, 1917 in Russia brought about the dictatorship of the proletariat ... the sole type of state corresponding, on the basis of the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871 and equally of the experience of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917-18, to the transitional period between capitalism and socialism”(18).
It must be made clear, however, that during this period Lenin saw the Russian Revolution as an integral part of the international revolutionary upsurge and without this perspective - which flowed naturally from his economic analysis laid out in Imperialism(19) - his socialist perspective for Russia cannot be fully appreciated. In December 1917 he wrote: “We have now reached the stage of world economy that is the immediate stepping stone to socialism. The socialist revolution that has begun in Russia is, therefore, only the beginning of the world socialist revolution”(20). The schema of 1905, where the more advanced workers of Western Europe would show “how to do it” is turned on its head, and a permanentist perspective accepted as a guide to action.
Lenin, as has been shown, was always keen to stress the continuity in his ideas and analyses. After October, he refers many times to the correctness of elements contained in Two Tactics including; the necessity of destroying the absolutist state, the leadership role of the proletariat in the revolution, the need for a worker-peasant alliance, the expected support of the peasantry as a whole for the end to feudalism, the subsequent differentiation of the peasantry, and opposition of the well-to-do peasants. It has been shown that these elements were common with both his position post-July 1917, and the ToPR as developed in 1906. However, should one wish, it is quite possible to select passages in Lenin’s writings that stress this continuity, and avoid any reference to the issues which qualitatively separated the 1905 theory of the RDDPP from the post-July 1917 Lenin. Such passages, taken out of context, are open to misinterpretation and might be seen to contradict the argument that he adopted a permanentist position. When reading such extracts it is necessary to determine whether the item was written before or after Lenin went through the experience of 1917 and re-assessed his 1905 schema, to check the source and read the extract in context, and always to bear in mind the multitude of speeches, articles and pamphlets in which Lenin, repeatedly stressed the socialist nature of the October Revolution and the proletarian nature of the resulting state power.
The method used by Jenness and others to support their argument that the Russian state between October 1917 and the summer of 1918 was the RDDPP, is to present selected extracts from Lenin’s writings in an attempt to demonstrate that more or less everything else Lenin wrote about the October Revolution was wrong. The authority of Lenin is used in an attempt to show he was wrong in his analysis of the most important event in his life.
Attempts are made to mislead the reader by taking certain of Lenin’s articles and speeches where he discussed the dynamics of the revolution in the Russian countryside (which had two distinct stages in the period being discussed - the bourgeois-democratic land to the peasant and, subsequently, the introduction of the kombedy and War Communism), and presenting the selected quotations as though they referred to the urban, proletarian revolution, giving the impression that the latter was also a two-stage affair. Typically, all that Lenin wrote which demonstrated that initial stage of land to the peasant could not have been realised without the October, socialist Revolution, is ignored.
One of Lenin’s most important pamphlets on the theory and history of the Russian dictatorship of the proletariat was his November 1918 reply to Kautsky who had accused the Bolsheviks of opportunistically changing their policy towards the Constituent Assembly and, as part of his reply, Lenin naturally emphasised the continuity of Bolshevik ideas. It is possible to find a number of passages in this pamphlet which, in isolation, could give the impression that Lenin considered the bourgeois and socialist revolutions as quite separate and that it was necessary to complete the former before undertaking the latter: “It was the Bolsheviks who strictly differentiated between the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution: by carrying the former to its end, they opened the door for the transition to the latter. This was the only policy that was revolutionary and Marxian”.
The passage above was, indeed, used by Jenness(21) to give the false impression that the solution of the agrarian question took place before, not after the proletarian, socialist revolution. Here is the original passage, in context, with the extract given by Jenness highlighted:
“It was the Bolsheviks who strictly differentiated between the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution: by carrying the former to its end, they opened the door for the transition to the latter. This was the only policy that was revolutionary and Marxian.
... On October 26, 1917, i.e., on the very first day of the proletarian, socialist revolution, private ownership of land was abolished in Russia.
This laid the foundation, the most perfect from the point of view of the development of capitalism ... and at the same time created an agrarian system which is the most flexible from the point of view of the transition to Socialism. From the bourgeois-democratic point of view, the revolutionary peasantry in Russia could go no further ... than the nationalisation of the land and equal land tenure. It was the Bolsheviks, and only the Bolsheviks, who, thanks only to the victory of the proletarian revolution, helped the peasantry to carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution really to its conclusion. And only in this way did they do the utmost to facilitate and accelerate the transition to the socialist revolution”(22).
There can be no doubt, after reading the section from which the quotation was torn, that Lenin was the discussing the revolution in the countryside and making the case that the proletarian, urban, socialist revolution was necessary before nationalisation of the land and equal land tenure was, or could have been, enacted in Russia. That is, the socialist, October Revolution was necessary in the urban centres before the bourgeois-democratic revolution could be carried through in the countryside, and that the latter was undertaken to best facilitate the future (unrealised in 1918) socialist revolution on the land.
A second example of an attempt, using selected quotations from The .... Renegade Kautsky, to present the government that emerged in October 1917 as the RDDPP, is by Mavrakis. The argument is little different from that of Jenness, it simply uses another quotation. The argument is that the government of Bolsheviks and Left SRs carried through democratic tasks and thereby opened the door to the workers to form an alliance with the rural poor in the struggle against the bourgeoisie. That is, the government was a transitional government and, because it was followed by the dictatorship of the proletariat, must have been the RDDPP. Mavrakis, with no sense of irony, gives this scenario the name “uninterrupted revolution by stages”(23)!
Here the quoted extract is again given (in bold) with its two immediately preceding paragraphs. It can be seen that, again, Lenin is referring to the revolution in the countryside, and relates his argument to what he said in 1905 and how this changed in April 1917. It is obvious, when in context, that the quotation is claiming that elements in Two Tactics which were common to the ToPR, i.e. the necessary support of the peasantry for the proletarian revolution, plus the changes Lenin made in April 1917 had been confirmed by the course of the revolution:
“The question which Kautsky has so tangled up was fully explained by the Bolsheviks as far back as 1905. Yes, our revolution is a bourgeois revolution so long as we march with the peasantry as a whole. This has been as clear as clear can be to us, we have said it hundreds and thousands of times since 1905, and we have never attempted to skip this necessary stage of the historical process or abolish it by decrees. ...
But beginning with April 1917, long before the October Revolution, that is, long before we assumed power, we publicly declared and explained to the people: the revolution cannot now stop at this stage, for the country has marched forward, capitalism has advanced, ruin has reached unprecedented dimensions, which (whether one likes it or not) will demand steps forward, to Socialism. For there is no other way of advancing, of saving the country which is exhausted by war, and of alleviating the sufferings of the toilers and exploited.
Things have turned out just as we said they would. The course taken by the revolution has confirmed the correctness of our reasoning. First, with the “whole” of the peasantry against the monarchy, against the landlords, against the medieval regime (and to that extent, the revolution remains bourgeois, bourgeois-democratic). Then, with the poor peasants, with the semi-proletarians, with all the exploited, against capitalism, including the rural rich, the kulaks, the profiteers, and to that extent the revolution becomes a socialist one. To attempt to raise an artificial Chinese Wall between the first and second, to separate them by anything else than the degree of preparedness of the proletariat and the degree of its unity with the poor peasants, means monstrously to distort Marxism, to vulgarise it, to substitute liberalism in its place. It means smuggling in a reactionary defence of the bourgeoisie against the socialist proletariat by means of quasi-scientific references to the progressive character of the bourgeoisie as compared with medievalism”(24).
In so far as Lenin was describing the two stages of the revolution in the countryside there is nothing here to challenge the view that Lenin adopted a permanentist approach in 1917. Rather the reverse, Lenin is saying that there was a qualitative change in his analysis of the Russian Revolution in 1917, it could no longer stop at the stage of the bourgeois revolution. The Bolshevik, proletarian, socialist revolution did not skip the bourgeois-democratic stage of (primarily) land to the peasant and was, in fact, a necessary pre-requirement in Russia for carrying through the bourgeois-democratic revolution to its end.
Carr’s interpretation of the above passage, was the precise opposite of Mavrakis, that Lenin was “reviving after a long interval, Marx’s idea (though not the phrase itself) of ‘permanent’ or ‘uninterrupted’ revolution.”(25) This links back directly to Two Tactics, but as its antithesis, since in Two Tactics Lenin had taken great pains to explain that the degree of consciousness of the working class then existing, and the constraints needed to maintain unity with the peasantry, made it impossible to proceed to the socialist stage of the revolution without an interim period of at least several decades.
In the period from 1905, while he was still working towards the RDDPP, Lenin maintained that the alliance between the proletariat and the peasants would be with the peasantry as a whole, within a bourgeois-democratic state. But in 1917 his position changed, the land question could not be solved without all state power being transferred to the proletariat(26), without the peasant poor being organised separately from the better-off peasants to protect their own interests, and to support the most resolute, revolutionary measures of a proletarian state power against the capitalists(27). Lenin’s move to a permanentist perspective is epitomised by his change of perspective for the revolution, from a democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants as a whole, to a dictatorship of the proletariat and poor peasants(28).
Jenness and Mavrakis were highly selective in the quotations they took from The ... Renegade Kautsky, and ignore all those passages where Lenin left no doubt that the central bourgeois-democratic task of land to the peasant was carried out as the result of the proletarian, socialist revolution:
“... the vast majority of the peasants in Russia, members of village communities as well as individual peasant proprietors, were in favour of the nationalisation of all the land. The Revolution of 1917 confirmed this, and after the assumption of power by the proletariat this was done. The Bolsheviks remained loyal to Marxism and never tried ... to “skip” the bourgeois-democratic revolution. ... On October 26, 1917, i.e., on the very first day of the proletarian, socialist revolution, private ownership of land was abolished in Russia.”(29).
We now turn our attention to the second article, from which Jenness quotes in his attempt to show the period from October 1917 to the summer of 1918 was the RDDPP, Lenin’s Report of the Central Committee at the Eighth Congress of the RCP(B), on 18 March 1919:
“our revolution was largely a bourgeois revolution until the Poor Peasants’ Committees were set up, i.e., until the summer and even the autumn of 1918. We are not afraid to admit that. We accomplished the October Revolution so easily because the peasants as a whole supported us and fought the landowners for they saw that as far as they were concerned we would go the limit, ... But from the moment the Poor Peasants’ Committees began to be organised, our revolution became a proletarian revolution”(30).
But Jenness’ interpretation is soon seen to be unacceptable for at least five reasons:
1. It is clear that Lenin is describing the extension of the urban revolution into the countryside, and that “our revolution” with which Jenness’ quotation begins, refers to the revolution in the countryside.
2. Jenness omits a section of the first sentence from the quotation: “In a country where the proletariat could only assume power with the aid of the peasantry, where the proletariat had to serve as the agent of a petty bourgeois revolution, our revolution was largely a bourgeois revolution ... “. Lenin is describing the revolutionary processes in the countryside, but the words excised by Jenness (innocently I’ve no doubt) confirm that it would not have occurred at all without the urban, socialist revolution.
3. At the commencement of his report Lenin situated the party’s work in the countryside in its revolutionary context. The first and principal task of the revolution had been to “transfer power to the working class, to secure its dictatorship, to overthrow the bourgeoisie”(31). Now the regime wanted to win the support of the middle peasants. Lenin’s Report made no pretence of presenting a systematic summary of the experiences of the previous year but instead presented that history “only in the light of what is required for our policy tomorrow and the day after”(32).
4. At the same Congress, Lenin confirmed that the struggle for power had passed through two main phases, the first of which was the seizure of power in the cities and the establishment of the Soviet form of government. In the countryside the parallel phase had the support of the peasants as a whole since the measures taken had a bourgeois character(33).
5. With the food crisis threatening to engulf the regime, a major theme of the Eighth Congress was how to win the confidence and support of, or at least neutralise, the middle peasants. It should be noted that while authors such as Jenness stress the importance of the founding of the kombedy, they make no claims of significant economic or social changes in the countryside as a result of their existence. This is most strange if these committees spearheaded the socialist revolution into the countryside, and were a key factor in the transition from a revolutionary democratic dictatorship to the dictatorship of the proletariat. In fact, these committees failed in the major task set for them - finding food for the starving towns - and were “consolidated” after about six months (the promised Soviets of rural workers and poor peasants failed to appear), and their functions returned to the local Soviets most of which were dominated by middle peasants(34,35,36). It was precisely because of the failure of such initiatives as the Poor Peasants’ Committees that the NEP was launched. War Communism, of which these committees were an initial step, was a stop-gap measure, necessary to sustain the regime during the civil war but - despite the hopes of many Bolsheviks - without a socialist revolution in the West proved a dead end(37). That Lenin could describe the Poor Peasants’ Committees as representing the extension of the October Revolution into the countryside despite there being no consequent qualitative or substantial social changes, demonstrated he was consistent in the criteria he used for determining the October Revolution as socialist from the start. One searches in vain through Lenin’s writings of 1917 for any attempt to justify the socialist nature of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat in economic terms. Instead, Lenin’s emphasis was on who held state power and the nature of the new state; arguing that it was sufficient that a Workers’ and Peasants’ government (led, of course, by a party dedicated to the socialist transformation of Russia) was taking, or preparing to take, the first steps to socialism, and was implementing measures which demonstrated that state power was serving the interests of the great majority of the people. The socialist nature of the revolution was guaranteed by the presence of the Bolshevik party of Lenin and Trotsky, and its leadership role in the soviets and the government.
On the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution, Lenin was explicit that the bourgeois-democratic revolution was a by-product of the Bolsheviks’ main proletarian, revolutionary, socialist activities:
“The direct and immediate object of the revolution in Russia was a bourgeois-democratic one, namely, to destroy the survivals of medievalism and sweep them away completely, to purge Russia of this barbarism, of this shame, and to remove this immense obstacle to all culture and progress in our country.
... The last four years have proved to the hilt that our interpretation of Marxism on this point, and our estimate of the experience of former revolutions were correct. We have consummated the bourgeois-democratic revolution as nobody had done before. ... the social relations (system, institutions) of the country are purged of medievalism, serfdom, feudalism.
... We solved the problems of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in passing, as a ‘by-product’ of our main and genuinely proletarian - revolutionary, socialist activities. .... The Soviet system is one of the most vivid proofs, or manifestations, of how the one revolution develops into the other(38).
This last sentence is a wonderful statement, describing precisely the actuality of the ToPR in 1917.
A slightly more sophisticated method of attempting to ascribe to Lenin, post-July 1917, anti-permanentist views, is to take selected passages written before and after 1917 and present them as a continuous thread. Johnstone took an abridged quotation from Two Tactics and followed it with a passage from The ... Renegade Kautsky. This is a particularly good example of this method of juxtaposition, as Johnstone does not date the passages and refers to an unspecified edition of Lenin’s Selected Works where the volume numbers give no indication of the dates on which the passages were written, so there is little to indicate that the selected quotations are separated by thirteen years and the October Revolution:
“In concrete historical circumstances, the elements of the past get mixed ... Surely we all draw a distinction between bourgeois revolution and socialist revolution, we all absolutely insist on the necessity of drawing a most strict line between them; but can it be denied that in history certain particular elements of both revolutions become interwoven ? ... Will not the future socialist revolution in Europe still have to do a very great deal that has been left undone in the field of democracy?”
“To attempt to raise an artificial Chinese Wall between the first and second, to separate them by anything else than the degree of preparedness of the proletariat and the degree of its unity with the poor peasants, means monstrously to distort Marxism, to vulgarise it, to substitute liberalism in its place”(39).
The first extract is from Two Tactics, from a passage in which Lenin was arguing against exactly the point that Johnstone wishes to make. Lenin explained that it was necessary to insist on the absolute necessity of strictly distinguishing between the democratic and socialist revolutions; but that nevertheless in the course of history there would occur certain specific situations where individual, particular elements of the two revolutions (bourgeois and socialist) would become interwoven. Lenin cites the example that the future socialist revolution in Europe will still have to complete a great deal left undone by the earlier democratic revolutions - in the UK he might have had in mind votes for women, or abolition of the House of Lords. But, in 1906, he was absolutely clear that to raise socialist demands in the struggle for the democratic revolution “would be tantamount to forgetting the logical and historical difference between a democratic revolution and a socialist revolution. To forget this would be tantamount to forgetting the character of the democratic revolution as one of the whole people: ... Beyond the bounds of democracy there can be no question of the proletariat and the peasant bourgeoisie having a single will”(40). Because of its nature, the socialist revolution can solve outstanding problems remaining from the bourgeois-democratic revolution, en-passant. The opposite is most certainly not the case. The latter extract from The ... Renegade Kautsky, has already been discussed.
The latest example of taking quotations from different stages in Lenin’s development, combining them a-historically and using them to claim support for the idea that the regime in Russia after October 1917 was the RDDPP, has raised the method to new heights. It appears in an 80-page pamphlet by Lorimer(41) which attempts a critique of Trotsky’s ToPR from 1905 to 1940. In this book, concern is limited to his analysis and treatment of the Russian Revolution.
In common with Jenness, Johnstone, and Mavrakis, Lorimer studiously ignores the multitude of references by Lenin describing the October Revolution as socialist and proletarian, and the Bolshevik-only government resulting from it being a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, resting on the dictatorship of the proletariat. What is novel about Lorimer’s approach is a certain determined casualness in the interpretation of what Lenin wrote in 1905-07. Such an approach may have been adopted because the passages in Lenin’s writings that can be made suitable for his purposes are limited, and to increase their number, interpretation had to be widened. Lorimer starts as he means to go on. On p13-16 of his pamphlet he lays out the core of his thesis. Passages from three pamphlets by Lenin, one written in 1905, one in 1907 and one from 1918 are strung together and interpreted in a manner that allows the former to be presented as prescient of events in 1917-18.
Lorimer first quotes from Lenin’s Speech on Attitudes Towards Bourgeois Parties given at the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP in May 1907. “In all the embryonic organs of revolutionary power (the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, the Soviets of Peasants’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, etc.) representatives of the proletariat were the main participants, followed by the most advanced of the insurgent peasantry”(42). This is followed by an extract from the 1905 article Social-Democracy’s Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement to the effect that the Bolsheviks stood “for uninterrupted revolution”, and would “not stop half-way”(43). To complete the argument there is the now familiar quotation from The ... Renegade Kautsky to the effect that “Things have turned out as we said they would”. (What a wonderful sentence that is! “Things have turned out just as we said they would”. A possible litmus test for the lack of rigour and depth in any analysis of Lenin’s works could be the presence of this sentence.) From this amalgam it is concluded that Lenin argued in 1905-07 that the revolution would organise state power through the Soviets, would pass uninterruptedly to the socialist revolution, and in 1918 things had worked out just as predicted.
Unfortunately for Lorimer’s argument, the 1907 speech from which his first quotation is taken has, as a major theme, Lenin maintaining unequivocally that the forthcoming revolution in its social and economic content would be a bourgeois revolution. That the aims of the revolution then taking place in Russia did not exceed the bounds of bourgeois society:
“even the fullest possible victory of the present revolution -- in other words, the achievement of the most democratic republic possible, and the confiscation of all landed estates by the peasantry -- would not in any way affect the foundations of the bourgeois social system. Private ownership of the means of production (or private farming on the land, irrespective of its juridical owner) and commodity economy will remain”(44).
In this very pamphlet Lenin was at pains to point out that the basic question of the revolution was whether it would secure the development of capitalism through the landowners’ victory over the peasants or through the peasants’ victory over the landowners(45). That is, whether the future bourgeois development would take place in the “Prussian” or “American” way.
The reference to Soviets is equally problematic for Lorimer’s argument. In the aftermath of the First Russian Revolution, Lenin’s attitude to the Soviets was quite different from that implied by Lorimer. In his article defining the Bolshevik attitude to the Soviets, Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, Lenin does indeed expect them to be “a strong nucleus” for the RDDPP, but not with the content or form that Lorimer suggests(46). Lenin argued that representation in the Soviets was far too narrow, and should be extended to include the “revolutionary bourgeois intelligentsia” including the Union of Unions, the better to achieve an alliance with the “revolutionary democrats”. The programme of the alliance was bourgeois-democratic; the workers’ demands would be limited to the 8-hour day and measures to curb the worst excesses of capitalist exploitation. The political goal of the revolution was, “a freely convened constituent assembly of the whole people” to which “every class of the population” would turn. In 1905 Lenin considered the Union of Unions - led by the liberal professor P Miliukov - later to become Foreign Minister in Prince Lvov’s Provisional Government - “really revolutionary”, and would “really support” the proletariat(47). But what happened in October 1917? The revolution was openly socialist, and the Russian middle classes acted accordingly. The social groups which comprised the Union of Unions formed the core of the middle class strike wave against the Bolshevik government. Did Lenin completely misunderstand the dynamics of the middle classes in 1905? No. In 1905 he expected the middle classes to support the revolution because at that time the Bolsheviks limited the revolution to bourgeois-democratic tasks. Lorimer has failed to understand that in 1905 Lenin proposed quite different goals for the Soviets than he did in 1917.
In 1905-07, Lenin presented the Soviets as the key element of the state and governmental structures during the provisional RDDPP, but there was never any suggestion that the Soviets would seek to overthrow the bourgeois economic base, no suggestions of the Soviets immediately taking the first steps towards socialism. In fact, there was no suggestion that the Soviets would continue their existence after completing their task of convening of the Constituent Assembly. Such a scenario would have been a form of dual power which, as we know, Lenin had never conceived of before 1917, and had rejected as unacceptable in a stable state structure(48).
Lorimer then adds a passage taken from the article Social-Democracy’s Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement (published 1 September 1905). Lenin is discussing the class struggle during and after the revolutionary dictatorship:
“ ... from the democratic revolution we shall at once, and precisely in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half-way. ...
... we shall bend every effort to help the entire peasantry achieve the democratic revolution, in order thereby to make it easier for us, the party of the proletariat, to pass on as quickly as possible to the new and higher task - the socialist revolution” (49).
Of course the Bolsheviks stood for “uninterrupted revolution”, of course the Bolsheviks would not stop half-way, of course the Bolsheviks would strive at once, as quickly as possible for a new (socialist) revolution. Of course the Bolsheviks were unafraid to carry the democratic revolution to its furthest limits, and even try to take it beyond those limits(50). But Lenin imposed a severe constraint on this “uninterrupted revolution”. The limiting factor would be “the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organised proletariat”, and we know from his other writings at the time, particularly Two Tactics, that the alliance with the peasants would impose limitations on the revolution, and the success of the bourgeois revolution would remove the peasantry (as a whole) from the revolutionary alliance. There would then be a period of the development of urban capitalism, the raising of the class consciousness in the proletariat, and class differentiation in the countryside, before the Russian socialist revolution (unless the Western socialist revolution came to its aid). Class-antagonisms in the countryside would develop after the democratic revolution with the rural and urban proletariat as allies against the peasant bourgeoisie within a democratic - that is bourgeois - state.
It must be said that Lenin’s use of the phrase “uninterrupted revolution” in September 1905 was a one-off, and rather out of character. It is possible, of course, that Lenin, in the early stages of developing a new theory (the RDDPP), did indeed briefly consider a permanentist approach but, atypically for Lenin, whose style was to reinforce his views by repetition, presenting them in a number of different ways, each with an altered emphasis, there is no repetition of these views on “uninterrupted revolution”. There is neither any development of this idea, nor anything resembling any further endorsement of “uninterrupted revolution” in Lenin’s writings from 1905 to 1917, quite the reverse, as has already been shown in Chapter 3. However, Lenin, himself, cleared up any possible ambiguity on this point when, at the Fifth Congress of the RDSLP, held in April-May 1907, after Trotsky had spoken and proposed his new theory, Lenin replied: “Quite apart from the question of ‘uninterrupted revolution’, we have here solidarity on fundamental points in the question of the attitude towards bourgeois parties”(51). That is, Lenin declared himself no supporter of “uninterrupted revolution” in the sense of the revolution flowing directly from the bourgeois-democratic into the socialist, proletarian revolution.
But there is another important reason for rejecting Lorimer’s interpretation of Lenin’s use of the phrase “uninterrupted revolution”, a reason which shows Lorimer et al’s ignorance of Lenin’s role in the continuity of Marxist ideas and clearly confirms that Lenin did NOT (before 1917) argue that the Russian socialist revolution could occur before the socialist revolution in Western Europe. Lenin’s earliest economic and political writings on Russia overlapped with Engels’ last works on Russia (1894). We would, therefore, expect that Lenin’s initial analysis would be much the same as that of Engels and, of course, this is just what we find.
Between about 1875 and 1894, Marx and/or Engels wrote a series of letters and articles on Russia in which they considered the theoretically possible development of the Russian commune system(81). They concluded that due to a unique combination of circumstances - the rural commune had been preserved on a national scale and existed contemporaneously with an international capitalist system that was threatened by proletarian revolution - it was possible that the commune system could leave its primitive features behind and develop directly as an element of collective production on a nationwide scale. With the elimination of capitalism in the economically advanced countries Russia could by-pass the capitalist system and avoid experiencing all its frightful miseries. As Marx put it “in the return of modern societies to the ‘archaic’ type of communal property, ... (the Russian commune) will be a revival in a superior form of an archaic social type. ... If the revolution came at an opportune moment, if it concentrated all its forces so as to allow the rural commune full scope, the latter will soon develop as an element of regeneration in Russian society and an element of superiority over the countries enslaved by the capitalist system”(82). Of course, the outcome would be determined by the historical situation in which the commune found itself. The context that would make such a transition possible, would be a successful a proletarian revolution in Western Europe which, alone, could provide the Russian peasant with the massive resources necessary to revolutionise the entire Russian agricultural system(83).
In 1882, in their preface to Plekhanov’s Russian translation of the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels stated:
“in Russia ... the question is: can the Russian commune, this form of the original common ownership of land which is actually already in a state of severe disintegration, make the direct transition into a higher communist form of landed property - or must it first undergo the same process of dissolution that characterises the historical development of the West? The only possible answer to this question today is as follows: when the Russian revolution gives the signal for a workers’ revolution in the West, so that each complements the other, then Russian landed property might become the starting point for a communist development.(84)”
However this outcome was not predetermined. The common ownership of land as practised, allowed individual families to farm parcels of land and take the produce as their own. There was thus an element of private property in the commune which allowed an alternative development. Theoretically it was possible that this element could gain dominance over the collective. By 1894 Engels would write(85) that the commune was fading away, and the likelihood facing Russia was replacing the landowners by a new class of bourgeois landed proprietors which could only be carried out with fearful suffering for the peasants. However, Engels remained convinced that what remained of the commune could be preserved, but only through the revolutionary overthrow of Tsarism, which would tear the peasant masses away from the isolation of their village existence, simultaneously energise the labour movement of Western Europe and so hasten the victory of the modern industrial proletariat without which Russia could never achieve a socialist transformation, whether proceeding from the commune or from capitalism.
Marx’s and Engels’ writings were quite clear that transition to a socialist revolution could NOT take place in Russia without a simultaneous or prior socialist revolution in Western Europe. This is identical, in principle, with Lenin’s position as described in his writings on the RDDPP. Examining what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually wrote about the Russian Revolution one can see a clear common thread. The Russian Revolution against absolutism could lead to the socialist transformation of Russia provided the Western European proletariat simultaneously rose in a socialist revolution. If the communes maintained their existence and changed production from family based farming to collective farming they could move directly to a higher form of production and miss out the capitalist stage because the Western European states would provide the necessary material support. There is no suggestion in any of this that the Russian workers could lead the revolution against the Tsarist state and then, based on the mode of production present in the village communes, leap directly to the socialist revolution.
Later in The ... Renegade Kautsky, Lenin justified the October 1917 socialist revolution arguing that “Struggle, and struggle alone, decides how far the second succeeds in outgrowing the first”(52). This, of course, was simply another way of expressing his famous dictum “Concrete political aims must be set in concrete circumstances. All things are relative, all things flow and all things change. ... There is no such thing as abstract truth. Truth is always concrete”(53). This emphasis on objective events gave him sufficient insight and flexibility of mind that he could drop a dead slogan - no matter how important it had been in its day - and formulate a new one to match the given circumstances(54), as happened in 1917. It was one of Lenin’s great strengths that he could throw away schema if events proved them outmoded, and develop new strategies that would take the movement forward.
Finally, Lorimer refers to the obligatory passage from The ... Renegade Kautsky: “Things have turned out just as we said they would. ... “. This has been discussed above to show that it refers to the changes made in 1917 and not the 1905 schema projected onto the revolution.
Lorimer’s pamphlet also contains a systematic attempt to misrepresent Lenin:
“Lenin argued [in 1905] that the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution by an alliance of the workers and peasants, led by the Marxist Party, would then enable the working class, in alliance with the poor, semi-proletarian majority of the peasantry, to pass uninterruptedly to the socialist revolution”(55).
But Lenin, in 1905, as we have seen in Chapter 3, was of the opinion that it was precisely the RDSLP that would restrict the proletarian demands to the minimum programme, and that the possibility of a socialist revolution would be eliminated by the Marxist Party itself. Lenin had addressed this question directly in Social Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government when he criticised Parvus for declaring that the revolutionary provisional government in Russia would be a Social Democratic government. Lenin was at pains to show that he considered such a scenario impossible(56).
Lorimer also ignores completely two key elements in Lenin’s writings of 1905 et seq: (i) that the rightist backlash against the democratic revolution would be defeated only with the support of workers in Western Europe, and (ii) the socialist revolution in Russia would occur only as a subsidiary part of an international socialist revolution led by the Western proletariat.
Finally, Lorimer gives his own, very personal, interpretation of Lenin’s 1905 schema, which has absolutely nothing to do with Lenin’s actual strategy during the first Russian Revolution:
“A revolutionary worker-peasant dictatorship, or state power, could only come into being if the workers in the cities overthrew and replaced the state institutions of the tsarist landlord-capitalist state with their own organs of state power. The workers would use the state power they had conquered to rally the peasantry as a whole to consummate the bourgeois-democratic revolution and then, once the poor peasants came into conflict with the peasant bourgeoisie, to rally the poor peasants in the struggle for the transition to socialism. The proletarian-peasant dictatorship would therefore be the first stage of the proletarian dictatorship in Russia, .....” (57).
Lorimer has attempted to backdate onto Lenin his (Lorimer’s) interpretation of what happened in 1917. It is extremely telling that in doing so he is forced to project onto Lenin a schema that was far closer to Trotsky’s ToPR than to Lenin’s own RDDPP!
To bolster his argument that the regime immediately following the October Revolution was the RDDPP (and, incidentally, to attempt to prove that Trotsky under-estimated the importance of the peasantry in the bourgeois-democratic revolution), Lorimer is reduced to, somewhat foolishly, describing the Left SRs as an independent revolutionary peasant party capable of expressing the interests of the peasants in general and - with the support of the proletariat - capable of conquering power(58). This is clearly nonsense. The ‘soap bubble’ that was the Left SRs was defined by:
(i) the conditions whereby it came into existence. The Left SR Party formally emerged from a split in the SRs as a result of the October Revolution. In a sense, the Left SR Party was an incidental and accidental creation of the socialist revolution. The Left SR Party initially defined itself by its support for the proletarian revolution led by the Bolsheviks and, in doing so, irrevocably condemned itself to a secondary role, and
(ii) the essential condition to which the Left SRs agreed as part of their joining the Bolshevik government, was that they would support all key Soviet decisions. When they could no longer agree with government policy they withdrew, with no significant change in direction or tempo of the revolution.
Until the Bolsheviks led the October Revolution the Left SRs were part of the SR Party, a party which, while it held de facto power in the Soviets, did its best to hold back the peasant masses and stop them from enacting the SRs’ very own land programme. The Left SR Party came into existence just as the mass of their supporters in the army and towns participated in the seizure of power, mostly under the leadership of Bolsheviks. Simultaneously, the Land Decree issued by the Bolshevik-only government effectively removed their peasant support. The Left SRs played no independent revolutionary role representing either the interests of the peasants in general or of major sections of the peasantry. Nor were the Left SRs, with or without, the support of the proletariat, ever capable of conquering power. The lack of any response amongst the peasantry either to the Left SRs leaving the government or the subsequent moves to ban the party, show it had little or no real independent mass base.
The great majority of Lenin’s writings which define the post-October regime as socialist, as a dictatorship of the proletariat, and which directly contradict Lorimer’s core argument, are simply ignored in the pamphlet. Thus, Lorimer fails to even note, let alone address, a major division between the Lenin of 1905 and the Lenin of 1917, whether or not a workers’ revolution was necessary before the agrarian problem in Russia could be solved in the interests of the peasants. Instead, emphasis is placed on Trotsky supposedly under-estimating the revolutionary role of the peasantry in the bourgeois-democratic revolution in his book Results and Prospects.
“Trotsky argued in Results and Prospects that immediately on coming to power, the ‘proletariat will find itself compelled to carry the class struggle into the villages and in this manner destroy that community of interest which is undoubtedly to be found among all peasants, although within comparatively narrow limits. From the very first moment after its taking power, the proletariat will have to find support in the antagonisms between the village poor and village rich, between the agricultural proletariat and the agricultural bourgeoisie’”(59).
On referring to the actual text, we find that Lorimer has dramatically shortened the time-scale with the introduction of “immediately”. The impression given is that an impatient, ultra-left Trotsky had no interest in any alliance with the peasantry as a whole and was hell bent on prematurely introducing class differentiation into the villages. In fact, Trotsky believed that if the revolutionary workers’ government - which would include influential revolutionary leaders of the peasantry - abolished feudalism, recognised and legitimised all revolutionary expropriations of land carried out by the peasants, then it would have the support of the “entire peasantry” in the first and most difficult period of the revolution(60). It should be noted that in the real, October Revolution, Lenin believed the class division in the countryside had taken place so rapidly that after only nine months the “rural October Revolution” could occur, and the class struggle be extended into the countryside. Its difficult to see how it could have happened more quickly, and one wonders why this was not too “immediate” for Lorimer.
At this point dear reader, please note that none of the passages supplied by Jenness, Johnstone, Mavrakis, Lorimer or any of the others who attempt to “prove” Lenin’s support for the RDDPP after April 1917, even mention the RDDPP as a necessary or intermediate governmental form, let alone argue in favour of it. Nowhere, after April 1917, can they find a single passage where Lenin described the post-October regime as the RDDPP, or endorsed the RDDPP as a schema for any other country.
6.4 The Communist International
It would be expected that the theories that led to the success of the Russian Revolution would be seen in the subsequent policies of the Third (Communist) International (CI). Unfortunately, there were a number of factors which complicated the issue.
Firstly, explicit references to the ToPR should not be expected as Trotsky arrived at the original theory from a study of the specific conditions in Russia and, until about 1925, until the revolutionary upsurge in China, did not extend his theory to beyond Russia. During the first years of the Third International Trotsky was engaged on such crucial domestic tasks as the building of the Red Army, and internationally was concerned primarily with the situation in the French CP(61). Where the ToPR appeared in the documents relating to the CI, it was in the form of Lenin’s more fundamental formulations, such as his descriptions of the overthrow in Russia of the landlords, and how realising land to the peasants, was not possible “without overthrowing capitalist rule, without all state power being transferred to the proletariat, without the peasant poor supporting the most resolute, revolutionary measures of a proletarian state power against the capitalists”(62).
Secondly, Lenin suffered a severe stroke at the end of May 1922, which totally incapacitated him for some four months and he did not return to active work until 2 October, only a few weeks before the Fourth Congress (November - December 1922). His state of health restricted his participation to a single report on the first five years of the Russian Revolution, given on 13 November. Thus, Lenin’s relevant writings are largely restricted to those for the Second Congress of the CI, from about the end of 1919 to mid-1920. The National and Colonial Question (including reference to Turkey, India and China) was discussed at the Fourth Congress of the CI, but Lenin’s contribution was minimal.
Thirdly, key figures in the CI, especially Zinoviev (President of the CI), had important deeply-rooted political differences with Trotsky over domestic matters, such as the question of the role of trade unions during the dictatorship of the proletariat. Typically, Trotsky had insulted Zinoviev before several thousand party members at a debate held at the Bolshoi Theatre in late December 1920, calling him “an apologist, defender, advocate and proponent of what is purely unproductive”(63).
However, Zinoviev, as President, dominated much of the Third International and was not above using his presentations to justify his political position of 1917; “The Mensheviks ... were quarter-Bolsheviks. ... Objectively the Menshevik government was best adapted to make a hash of capitalism by making its position impossible. ... they made steps which are objectively against the bourgeois state”(64). By the Fourth Congress the triumvirate of Kamenev, Stalin and Zinoviev had begun to prepare for their battle with Trotsky, and the ground chosen was the ToPR: in 1923, Zinoviev published his History of the Bolshevik Party(65), which sought to downplay Trotsky’s role in the 1905 Petrograd Soviet and the October Revolution, and vilify the ToPR. Trotsky replied at the beginning of 1924 by writing Lessons of October as an introduction to Volume Three of his collected works, containing his writings of 1917(66). By the time of Lenin’s death, the Troika’s faction struggle against Trotsky (and Lenin) was well developed, and the fight that subsequently took place for the continuity of Leninism was couched in terms of Permanent Revolution against socialism in one country.
Fourthly, the Soviet government was initially much more interested in Europe than in Asia as, simultaneously, both the main danger to it (war with one or more of the major capitalist countries), and its main opportunity (revolution in Germany), came from the centre of world capitalism(67).
Some seven to eight months before the Second Congress of the CI, Lenin addressed the Second All-Russian Congress of Communist Organisations of the Peoples of the East where, after describing the majority of the Eastern peoples as exploited peasants and victims of feudalism, he explained the process by which the October Revolution overthrew such conditions in Russia. “The Russian revolution showed how the proletarians, after defeating capitalism and uniting with the vast diffuse mass of working peasants, rose up victoriously against medieval oppression”(68). That is, medieval oppression was ended in Russia after the proletarian revolution overthrew the bourgeoisie. Lenin returned to this theme in June 1920, just one month prior to the Second Congress, in his Draft Theses on the Agrarian Question(69). Here, he articulated the form of the alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry that led to the success of the Russian Revolution. The similarity with Trotsky’s position as described in 1906 “The proletariat in power will stand before the peasants as the class which has emancipated it.”(70) is, once again, striking:
“ ... a truth which has been fully proved by Marxist theory and fully corroborated by the experience of the proletarian revolution in Russia, namely, that .... the rural population - who are incredibly downtrodden, disunited, crushed, and doomed to semi-barbarous conditions of existence in all countries, even the most advanced - are economically, socially, and culturally interested in the victory of socialism, they are capable of giving resolute support to the revolutionary proletariat only after the latter has won political power, only after it has resolutely dealt with the big landowners and capitalists, and only after these downtrodden people see in practice that they have an organised leader and champion, strong and firm enough to assist and lead them and to show them the right path”(71).
That this analysis was presented to both the CI and Communist Organisations of the East is significant. It analysed the process of the revolution in Russia, a backward capitalist, semi-colonial country, a country of which Lenin had said in Democracy and Narodnism in China: “In very many and very essential respects, Russia is undoubtedly an Asian country and, what is more, one of the most benighted, medieval and shamefully backward of Asian countries”(72). There can be little doubt, that Lenin meant his analysis to be taken seriously as a guide to action in, e.g., China, and as a basis for the CI’s strategic orientation towards the peasant masses in the semi-colonial countries. The analysis is unapologetically permanentist. The proletariat first took state and governmental power, overthrew capitalism and then won the support of the peasantry as a whole by dispossessing the landlords. This confirmed exactly the analysis proposed by Lenin in August 1917, in From a Publicist’s Diary(73), where he said the solution of the land question was not possible without all state power being transferred to the proletariat (and the poor peasants). There is no question here but that the proletariat took power relying on the support of the semi-proletarians in the countryside (though, in fact, enacting the SR land programme gained the support of the peasantry as a whole). In Lenin’s description we see the proletariat standing before the peasantry as its liberator. There is no suggestion in this analysis of a RDDPP type solution to the agrarian problem, engendering a subsequent class differentiation in the countryside, and then the overthrow of the capitalist class and seizure of state power by the proletariat.
In the immediate term, Lenin’s appraisal strongly suggested that the emerging communist parties in the colonial countries had to establish relations with the peasants using the same fundamental slogan as won the Russian peasants to the October Revolution: an end to feudal relations on the land, expropriation of the land and its division amongst the peasants by the peasants themselves. This was to be achieved by peasant Soviets set up in opposition to the local bourgeoisie and landlords who were tied to imperialism and would not support the necessary radical land reforms.
The Bolsheviks in Russia had used all manner of means to conduct their campaigns including participation in elections to the autocratic Duma, day-to-day-work in police-organised trade unions, etc., so it was to be expected that the CI recommended work in, and with, the bourgeois national revolutionary movement, provided it was a genuinely revolutionary movement against imperialism, which allowed the communists to organise and educate the workers and peasants separately(74).
However, the material and human base for socialism - a developed industry, high productivity of labour and a working class conscious of its own interests, simply did not exist in the backward and colonial countries. What perspective did the CI offer? In an important passage in his Report of the Commission on the National and Colonial Question, Lenin confirmed that he considered there was a non-capitalist road to socialism:
“The question was posed as follows: are we to consider as correct the assertion that the capitalist stage of economic development is inevitable for backward nations now on the road to emancipation and among whom a certain advance towards progress is to be seen since the war? We replied in the negative. If the victorious revolutionary proletariat conducts systematic propaganda among them, and the Soviet governments come to their aid with all the means at their disposal - in that event it will be mistaken to assume that the backward peoples must inevitably go through the capitalist stage of development. Not only should we create independent contingents of fighters and party organisations in the colonies and the backward countries, not only at once launch propaganda for the organisation of peasants’ Soviets and strive to adapt them to the pre-capitalist conditions, but the Communist International should advance the proposition, with the appropriate theoretical grounding, that with the aid of the proletariat of the advanced countries, backward countries can go over to the Soviet system and, through certain stages of development, to communism, without having to pass through the capitalist stage”(75).
It is noticeable that Lenin never recommended the RDDPP either as a strategy or goal for the revolutionary movements in the colonial world. There was one occasion on which Lenin did refer to the RDDPP in passing (quoted by both Jenness and Lorimer(76)). Lenin was arguing that due to the semi-feudal nature of Russian society the agrarian revolution and the proletarian revolution had merged, and it was this that made the initial success of the October 1917 Revolution so easy. He then refers to the RDDPP to demonstrate that the Bolsheviks recognised the importance of allying the proletarian revolution with the goals of the peasantry, an element which Two Tactics has in common with the ToPR and Lenin’s own post-July 1917 goals:
“As long ago as 1856, Marx spoke, in reference to Prussia, of the possibility of a peculiar combination of proletarian revolution and peasant war. From the beginning of 1905 the Bolsheviks advocated the idea of a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry”(77).
Lenin did not elaborate his point, he simply used it to demonstrate that the Bolsheviks recognised the importance of the worker-peasant alliance in a semi-feudal country, at least as far back as 1905. There was no suggestion that the RDDPP itself was being recommended as a correct strategy for the CI. A search of Lenin’s Collected Works reveals this to be the one and only reference to the RDDPP in his writings for the CI, and this is taken as confirmation that he considered the formula - as a guide to action - obsolete, no good at all, as dead, and that it was no use trying to revive it(78).
What alliances a Communist Party adopted on the way to the overthrow of capitalism, and how it worked with the national bourgeois movements, were matters that, as Lenin put it, must be based on a concrete appraisal of actual national and international conditions. The point is that Lenin was quite clear that the national bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia was carried through to success with the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by a Soviet system. Hybrid state forms such as the RDDPP, or transitional stages, are significant by their absence, an omission that is all the more significant when we consider that Lenin was including in this discussion, countries with an even more overwhelmingly peasant population than Russia.
In April 1919, Lenin made the point,
“How is it that one of the most backward countries of Europe was the first country to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, and to organise a Soviet republic? We shall hardly be wrong if we say that it is this contradiction between the backwardness of Russia and the ‘leap’ she has made over bourgeois democracy to the highest form of democracy, to Soviet, or proletarian, democracy ...”(79).
Lenin, then, considered that in Russia, bourgeois democracy had been leapt over. It is obvious that he is talking about governmental and state forms and not such bourgeois-democratic tasks as the abolition of the monarchy, or the right to civil marriage and divorce, but this again confirms Lenin’s view that the bourgeois-democratic revolution was carried through under the Soviet regime, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
However, Lenin did refer to the slogan of the RDDPP just once more between June 1917 and his death in January 1924. In October 1920 Lenin wrote an article A Contribution to the History of the Question of the Dictatorship (CW 33:340-361) and in this (on p 359) examines events in Russia in the revolutionary period October, November and December 1905. He compares the use of slogans of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the RDDPP at that time. How come Jenness and Lorimer missed this? Almost certainly because in this article Lenin comes the closest he ever did to saying Trotsky had been right and he had been wrong.
Lenin compares the slogan of Trotsky’s paper The Beginning (dictatorship of the proletariat) with that of the Bolshevik paper New Life (RDDPP) and says, for him, some truly amazing things. He begins the comparison by saying the argumnents were “over matters of detail in the appraisal of events”. Yes reader, by 1920, Lenin was saying that the differences between the ToPR and the RDDPP were “matters of detail”! He then plays down the differences even more; “have not disagreements of this kind been observed at every stage of development of every socialist party in Europe?” Lenin, usually so keen to clarify and contrast political differences is here playing down the very real divergence of ToPR and the RDDPP. Why was Lenin so reticent in criticising the ToPR? It was because in 1917 Lenin had adopted a position that was in every important point the same as Trotsky’s. As the 1917 revolution unfurled Lenin had come to understand that “without all state power being transferred to the proletariat” the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution could not be achieved (CW25:280 From a Publicist’s Diary, August 1917). Why then was Lenin so reticent about criticising the RDDPP? For three reasons, (i) he had already argued just this against Kamenev and Zinoviev in April 1917(78), (ii) Lenin was keen to stress the continuity of Bolshevik politics against the criticisms of opportunism from Kautsky and others, and (iii) Lenin was very reluctant to admit past mistakes (see page 80 above) and in this case has forgotten that, in the event, he condemned the Peterburg Soviet because it did not have the goal of convening a Constituent Assembly (CW10:24-25, Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, Nov 1905).
Lenin, with Trotsky, organised the Bolshevik, October Revolution and brought into power the first dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin, Trotsky, and all the Bolshevik leaders agreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat (also referred to as the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government) began in Russia with the October Revolution. A review of Lenin’s post-October 1917 publications, speeches and reports, demonstrate he was consistent and never changed his opinion on the character of the October Revolution. The failure of Lenin to recommend, after 1917, the RDDPP as a strategy at any time, in any way, and the wealth of material where he stated unambiguously that the dictatorship of the proletariat was initiated in Russia by the October Revolution, confirm that Lenin dropped a dead slogan and embraced a permanentist perspective.
It should be noted that the arguments of Jennes, Johnstone, Mavrakis, and Lorimer, do not challenge the undeniable fact that the international socialist revolution began in backward, semi-feudal Russia. They merely argue over how it was implemented. Their differences are not with the essence of Trotsky’s idea but the manner in which Lenin carried it out. We are dealing here with the touchstone of the proletarian revolution and the heart of Marxist politics - the class character of the state. When we deal with this question the utmost scrupulousness is required of us, but in the works of these authors, particularly Lorimer, the method of the amalgam replaced factual, scientific analysis.
After 1917, and during Lenin’s leadership, Trotsky’s writings such as 1905 and Results and Prospects were republished, in many languages, making the ToPR an authoritative statement of Communist doctrine.
During and after the October 1917 Revolution, the Bolshevik leaders had more to do than analyse past errors. However, there is a footnote that appeared in Lenin’s Collected Works Moscow 1921, that makes more than a nod in this direction: “Before the Revolution of 1905 he (Trotsky) advanced his own unique and now completely celebrated theory of permanent revolution, asserting that the bourgeois revolution of 1905 would pass directly to a socialist revolution which would prove the first of a series of national revolutions”(80). As this statement appeared in his officially published Collected Works, one can assume that, at the very least, Lenin was aware of it and raised no objections.
1. Jenness, D., How Lenin Saw the Russian Revolution. International Socialist Review November 1981
2. Jenness, D., Our Political Continuity with Bolshevism, International Socialist Review June 1982
[both above references available in Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution, published in 1985 by Education for Socialists, Pathfinder Press, 410 West St., N.Y. 10014, USA]
3. Lenin, V.I., From the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks), Nov 1917, CW 26:303-307
4. Cliff, T.C., Lenin: Revolution Besieged, Pluto Press, 1975, p22-29
5. Lenin, V.I., Resolution of the CC, November 1917, CW 26:277
6. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p202
7. Lenin, V.I., The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, December 1919, CW 30:263
8. Trotsky, L.D., The USSR; non-Proletarian and non-Bourgeois State? W.I.R. Publications, London. 1946
9. Lenin, V.I., State and Revolution, Aug-Sept 1917, CW 25:394
10. Lenin, V.I., ibid:p430
11. Lenin, V.I., ibid:p 426
12. Lenin, V.I., ibid:p 426
13. Knei-Paz, B., The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978, p262
14. Bukharin, N. and Preobrazhensky, E., op cit p296-297
15. Lenin, V.I., Third International and its Place in History, April 1919, CW 29:310
16. Lenin, V.I., Extraordinary 6th All Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Cossacks’ and Red Army Deputies: Speech on the Anniversary of the Revolution November 6, November 1918, CW 28:141-142
17. Lenin, V.I., Third International and its Place in History, April 1919, CW 29:307-308
18. Lenin, V.I., Extraordinary 7th Congress of the RCP(B): Rough Outline of the Draft Programme, March 1918, CW 27:153
19. Lenin, V.I., Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism CW 22:185-304, Jan-June 1916
20. Lenin, V.I., For Bread and Peace, December 1917, CW 26:386
21. Jenness, D., Our Political Continuity with Bolshevism, International Socialist Review, June 1982, p23
22. Lenin, V.I., The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, November 1918, CW 28:311 and 313. (Quoted in Our Political Continuity with Bolshevism, Doug Jenness, International Socialist Review, June 1982, p23)
23. Mavrakis, K., On Trotskyism Problems of Theory and History, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London, 1976, p34
24. Lenin, V.I., The Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky, November 1918, CW 28:299-300, (Quoted in Kostas Mavrakis On Trotskyism Problems of Theory and History, Routledge & Keegan Paul, London, 1976, p22)
25. Carr, E.H., The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923. In 3 volumes. Pelican, 1983, Vol 1 p312
26. Lenin, V.I., From a Publicists Diary, August 1917, CW 25:280
27. Lenin, V.I., First All-Russian Congress of Peasant Deputies, May-June 1917, CW 24:501
28. Lenin, V.I., April Theses, April 7 1917, CW 24:21
29. Lenin, V.I., The Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky, November 1918, CW 28:313
30. Lenin, V.I., Report of the Central Committee, March 1919, CW 29:157
31. Lenin, V.I. Report on Work in the Countryside, March 23 1919, CW 29:198
32. Lenin, V.I., Report of the Central Committee, March 1919, CW 29:151
33. Lenin, V.I., Report on Work in the Countryside, March 1919, CW 29:203
34. Harding, N., op cit, Vol 2 p217,
35. Carr, E.H., The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923. In 3 volumes. Pelican, 1983, Vol 2 p162
36. Willets, H., Lenin and Marxism, in Schapiro, L, and Reddaway, P. (eds), Lenin, the Man, the Theorist, the Leader, a Reappraisal, Pall Mall Press, London, 1967, p225
37. Trotsky, L.D., The First Five Years of the Comintern (Vol 2) Pioneer Publishers, New York, 1945, pp227-231.
38. Lenin, V.I., Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution, October 1921, CW 33:51-59
39. Johnstone, M., Trotsky - His Ideas, Cogito, Journal of the Young Communist League, No 5, 1968 (Juxtaposed quotations from CW 9:85 and CW 28:299-300)
40. Lenin, V.I., The Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, June-July 1905, CW 9:84
41. Lorimer, D., Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution: A Leninist Critique, Resistance Books NSW, 1998
42. Lenin, V.I., Speech on Attitudes Towards Bourgeois Parties, May 1907, CW 12:459
43. Lenin, V.I., Social-Democracy’s Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement, Sept 1905, CW 9:236
44. Lenin, V. I., Speech on Attitudes Towards Bourgeois Parties. May 1907 CW 12:457
45. Lenin, V. I., Ibid, CW 12:465
46. Lenin, V.I., Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, Nov 1905, CW 10:19-28
47. Lenin, V.I., ibid:p24
48. Lenin, V.I., The Dual Power, April 1917, CW 24:38. See also Report on the Present Situation, April 1917, CW24:145
49. Lenin, V.I., Social-Democracy’s Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement, Sept 1905, CW 9:236-237
50. Lenin, V.I., Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, July 1905, CW 9:124
51. Lenin, V.I., The Fifth Congress of the RDSLP, April-May 1907, CW 12:470
52. Lenin, V.I., The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, November 1918, CW 28:237-238
53. Lenin, V.I., Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, July 1905, CW 9:92
54. Rees, J.C., Lenin and Marxism, in Schapiro, L, and Reddaway, P. (eds), Lenin, the Man, the Theorist, the Leader, a Reappraisal, Pall Mall Press, London, 1967, p97
55. Lorimer, D., Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution: A Leninist Critique, Resistance Books NSW 1998, p13
56. Lenin, V.I., Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government, April 1905, CW 8:291
57. Lorimer, D., op cit, p41
58. Lorimer, D., op cit, p75
59. Lorimer, D., op cit, p19
60. Trotsky, L.D., Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, 1962, the quotations are from p208, 201 and 203, respectively.
61. Thatcher, I. D., Trotsky, Routledge, London and New York, 2003, p110
62. Lenin, V.I., From a Publicist’s Diary, August 1918, CW 25:278-286
63. Quoted in Thatcher, op cit, p109
64. Zonoviev, G., Theses on Tactics, Minutes Fourth Congress C.I. November 1922
65. Zinoviev, G., History of the Bolshevik Party, New Park Publications, London, 1973
66. Thatcher, I. D., op cit, p6
67. Trotsky, L., The First Five Years of the Communist International, New Park Publications, London, 1973
68. Lenin, V.I., Address to the Second All-Russia Congress of Communist Organisations of Peoples of the East, November 1919, CW 30:161
69. Lenin, V.I., Draft Theses on the Agrarian Question, June 1920, CW 31:152-164
70. Trotsky, L.D., Results and Prospects, New Park Publications, London, 1962, p203
71. Lenin, V.I., Draft Theses on the Agrarian Question, June 1920, CW 35:155-6
72. Lenin, V.I., Democracy and Narodnism in China, July 1912, CW 18:164
73. Lenin, V.I., From a Publicist’s Diary, August 1917, CW 25:278-286
74. Lenin, V.I., Report of the Commission on the National and Colonial Question, July 1920, CW 31:240-5
75. Lenin, V.I., Ibid, CW 31:244
76. Lorimer, D., op cit, p6
77. Lenin, V.I., Third International and its Place in History, April 1919, CW 29:310
78. Lenin, V.I., Letter on Tactics, April 1917, CW 24:50
79. Lenin, V.I., Third International and its Place in History, April 1919, CW 29:307-308
80. Quoted in Lenin and Trotsky: What They Really Stood For, by Woods, A. and Grant, T., Wellred Publications, London, 1976, p78 - (Lenin, V.I. Moscow 1921, CW 14 (Part 2):481-2)
81. See www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/subject/russia/index.htm.
82. Marx, K., First Draft of Letter To Vera Zasulich, Source: MECW 24:346. March 1881.
83. Engels, F., On Social Relations in Russia, MECW 12:39-50. April 1875.
84. Marx, K and Engels, F. Preface to Plekhanov’s Russian translation of the Communist Manifesto. January 21, 1882.
85. Engels, F., Afterword to Social Relations In Russia, MECW 27:421. January 1894