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Some Lessons from the October Revolution for the Socialist Revolution

Oskar Finkbohner (MLPD), Article No. A16 for the "International Internet Discussion on the importance of the 100th October Revolution", 29 September 2017

1. The victory of the October Revolution and the building of socialism were only possible because Marxism was defended and developed universally in its three components: dialectical and historical materialism, political economy and the doctrine of the class struggle. In the dispute with the revisionists and the dogmatists Lenin pointed out what was “the very gist, the living soul, of Marxism - a concrete analysis of a concrete situation.”1 Since Lenin's time essential changes within nature, society and human thinking have developed.

 2. In building a party of a new type the MLPD not only defended Marxism-Leninism. From the very beginning it drew conclusions for the revolutionary class struggle out of the strengths and weaknesses of the old communist movement and the changes in the imperialist world system. The creative character of Marxism-Leninism is based on materialist dialectics. The MLPD made the conscious application of the dialectical method to the burning issues of our time the guideline of its theoretical and practical work:

 3.a) Changes in the political economy of the imperialist world system: When Lenin studied the political economy of imperialism, the transformation of monopoly capitalism into state monopoly capitalism and the internationalization of the mode of production had only just begun. On the foundation of the power base of state-monopoly capitalism, the internationalized capitalist mode of production became the dominant feature with the reorganization of international production since the beginning of the 1990s. The MLPD analyzed this essential change in the imperialist world system: A leading stratum of about 500 international supermonopolies established their dictatorship over the world economy, world politics and societal life worldwide. The overaccumulation of capital became chronic and gave rise to a new quality of the general crisis-proneness of imperialism. The inter-imperialist rivalry is intensifying to the utmost with the emergence of numerous new-imperialist countries. The threatening global environmental catastrophe and the general danger of war jeopardize the very foundations of human life. Fierce struggles of the workers and the broad masses are an indication that after the revolutionary world crisis of 1917–1923 a growing potential for a new revolutionary world crisis is developing. A new historical period of transformation from capitalism to socialism has been ushered in.

3.b) Changes in the relationship of spontaneity and consciousness in the working-class movement. The October Revolution was a victory of consciousness over the opportunist worship of spontaneity. It was a victory of the ability of the revolutionary party to win over the decisive majority of the working class for socialism, and win over broad masses as allies, on the basis of the spontaneous class struggles. Since then, chiefly three new problems in the interrelationship of the objective and subjective factors for the socialist revolution have emerged. They become identical in the question of the mode of thinking.

First, socialism was destroyed from within. The essential factor was changes in the way of life of leading cadres. They changed their mode of thinking to the point where they transformed into petty-bourgeois bureaucrats. They seized power after Stalin’s death and, as a new bourgeoisie, pushed through the restoration of a new-type bureaucratic state-monopoly capitalism in the Soviet Union.

Second, in the building of new Marxist-Leninist parties the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking proved the main cause of division and liquidationism. It found expression in the disregard for winning class-conscious workers, in action for action’s sake, in the underestimation of systematic rank-and-file work, in scant regard for ideological-political work and scientific methods of work, in dogmatism, arrogance, petty-bourgeois culture of debate, ultrademocratism and ultracentralism, incapability of self-criticism, etc.

Third, the relative calm in the proletarian class struggle in all imperialist countries, which has lasted a comparatively long time, had its cause also in the refined state-monopoly apparatus of deception. Solely ruling international finance capital developed an entire system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking as method of government in more or less all countries in order to disorient, disorganize and demoralize the proletarian class struggle.

With the doctrine of the mode of thinking the MLPD worked out conclusions for the building of the revolutionary party, for proletarian class struggle and for the building of socialism on the basis of the proletarian mode of thinking.

3.c) Changes in the doctrine of class struggle: Lenin further developed Marx’s and Engels’ strategy of the international proletarian revolution. The fundamental goal of the united socialist states of the world and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat remain universally applicable.

Because of the changes up to now, the MLPD has developed a strategy and tactics of the international socialist revolution. Today the strategy of the international revolution no longer embraces just a few developed capitalist countries, but the proletarian class struggle and the anti-imperialist liberation struggle in all countries of the world. The direct opponent is solely ruling international finance capital and the imperialist world system, though in every country the respective main imperialist enemy must be fought and defeated. Today the international industrial proletariat in the worldwide production systems, some 500 million strong, must take the lead in the struggle of the international working class and its allies against imperialism and for socialism.

Lenin assumed there would be a chain reaction of successive proletarian revolutions in the capitalist countries. Today the international revolution unfolds as an interactive process of revolutions which take place at different times and differ in their character in the individual countries and which mutually revolutionize each other, cooperate with each other and must be coordinated with each other.

The October Revolution triumphed with proletarian internationalism as general basis of the communist movement. Today, in particular the proletarian-internationalist consciousness of the international working class must be promoted in dialectical unity with the internationalist consciousness of the broad masses. This must be asserted against the influences of the petty-bourgeois social-chauvinist mode of thinking, the petty-bourgeois nationalist mode of thinking, and the petty-bourgeois internationalist mode of thinking.

Today a many-faceted system of international forms of organization for the coordi­nation and revolutionization of the struggles of the working class and the mass movements associated with it is necessary. The ICOR as a form of enduringly organized cooperation of the revolutionary international working-class movement acquires a key role in the development of the subjective prerequisites for the international socialist revolution. The strengthening of the subjective factor is the order of the day!

Oskar Finkbohner (MLPD)

1 Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 31, p. 166

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