First Published: In Struggle! No. 228, November 25, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
It appears that the Workers Communist Party (WCP) has decided to launch a new attack against IN STRUGGLE!. After working for years to “destroy” our Organization, the WCP has decided to take another jab at us by publishing an article by Roger Rashi entitled “Socialism is a real alternative”, in the October 3 issue of The Forge, pages 10 and 11.
Rashi has decided that “principles” are the best way to oppose IN STRUGGLE!’s efforts to retrace the development of the proletariat’s class struggle in the last century and to draw lessons that will help communists guide this struggle on a more solid basis today and tomorrow.
But Rashi’s “two principles” amount to either misusing some of Lenin’s past analyses or simply deforming Marxism-Leninism without batting an eye.
The following article deals with Rashi’s “first principle”. This principle maintains that today, proletarian revolution is possible only in underdeveloped countries and that this revolution is a two-stage revolution. In an upcoming article, we will take a look at Rashi’s “second principle” according to which, under socialism, victory over the bourgeoisie depends on “different measures” of various nature.
According to Rashi, “Lenin’s theory of revolution shows, as has been confirmed in practice, that revolution does not necessarily occur in the country where industry is most advanced... Instead it breaks out in those countries where the imperialist chain (or “world imperialist system”) is weakest.“ Rashi continues: “... as Lenin predicted, it was in the underdeveloped countries... where conditions favourable to proletarian revolution came together.”
Lenin did analyse the conditions that prevailed throughout the world after the 1917 October Revolution. He realized that capitalism had spread its tentacles from one end of the world to the other. Most important though, Lenin also realized that whereas working-class forces were losing ground in Western Europe – particularly in Germany after the revolutionary crises of 1918 and 1923 – anti-colonial struggles were gaining ground. This was particularly true in Asia. Lenin came to the conclusion that in such a situation, conditions were particularly ripe for revolution in the colonies.
History has proven time and time again that Lenin’s analysis was correct. Since the beginning of the century, not one single region in the world where colonialism reigned supreme in Lenin’s time, has not known revolutionary struggles and even, in some cases, revolutionary victories. Essentially, old-style colonialism has been overthrown everywhere, the colonies have won their political independence and, in most cases, feudalism has been either abolished or placed under the domination of capitalism: yesterday’s serfs have become mainly farmworkers, proletarians, or... unemployed.
We should also however take a closer look at Rashi’s two-stage revolution. According to Rashi, Leninism teaches us that in our era, proletarian revolution (my emphasis) is possible only in the less developped countries and that this revolution is necessarily a “two-stage” revolution.
Once again. Rashi is deforming Lenin’s writings. He starts by applying them in an abstract way, without bothering to analyse today’s conditions, without asking himself the question if conclusions formulated under different conditions still apply as such or not today. Since this analysis has yet to be made, let us simply recall the fact that after 1917, Lenin took into account the existence of revolutionary Russia, of the Soviet Union. We could also add that during the same period, Lenin placed a lot of hope in the victory of revolution in one or more of the industrialized countries. He considered this to be a practically indispensable factor to ensure the victory of socialism in the Soviet Union itself! And it was with these questions in mind that Lenin called for the creation of the Comintern in 1918.
But Rashi doesn’t seem to find such “details” interesting. Our man has found a certain number of “principles” that give him the illusion that he can accuse IN STRUGGLE! of revisionism.
Rashi’s problem is that his “principles” don’t measure up to reality. First, where are the former colonies of Asia and Africa presumably engaged in the “national democratic” stage of proletarian revolution? We believe that most of these countries are engaged on the path of State capitalism and that they are still economically submitted to one or more imperialist powers.
As well, since Lenin himself, the strategy of a two-stage revolution has only been put forward in the context where former colonies could count on the help of the socialist camp to wrench themselves free from imperialism’s grip. And this brings us to a second question: where has this socialist “camp” or “metropolis” disappeared to, where is this camp capable of supporting a regime of “national democracy” on the path to socialism, capable most of all of supporting an underdeveloped country in its struggle to reach the first stage? Could Rashi please explain how China supposedly plays this role at present for Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Iran, Guatemala, Eritrea, and others?
In the past fifty year, reality has dealt many hard blows against the hopes of communists. To understand the complexity of today’s situation, communists must analyse history, they must take a journey back in time. But Rashi has decided that it is much easier to whip up a little recipe of his own with a dash of expressions picked from Lenin’s analyses of the situation. This recipe is good for one thing: spreading confusion on the questions of revolution in general, and on the question of proletarian revolution in particular. It is made up of 60-year old conclusions presented as if they were integrally applicable to today’s situation, though it doesn’t say so in so many words...
A few months ago, the WCP used the “three worlds theory”, that important contemporary “theory” of such great “strategic insight”, to try and “politically demolish” IN STRUGGLE!. Don’t you find that this “great theory” has suddenly fallen into oblivion? I guess that one has to realize that as far as the WCP is concerned, any “theory” is good enough...to supposedly “demolish” IN STRUGGLE!
After 5 years of “demolition derbies”, the WCP’s “theories” and “principles” have run out of gas.
In our next article, we will take a closer look at Rashi’s “second principle” on the “correct measures” to combat the bourgeoisie under socialism.
Charles Gagnon, Secretary General of IN STRUGGLE!