Guido Baracchi November 1920
Source: "Reason in Revolt", Source documents of Australian Radicalism;
First Published: in The Proletarian Review, Editorial “Proletarian Comment” by the Editor (Guido Baracchi), November 1920;
Transcribed: by Chris Clayton.
JUST prior to the onset of the Russian workers’ and peasants’ revolution in November, 1917, Nicolai Lenin, surely the most representative figure of this revolution, said that while in countries economically more highly developed than Russia, the first step of the proletarian revolution would be comparatively hard and the subsequent steps easy, in Russia, on the other hand, the first step of the revolution would be easy and the subsequent steps comparatively difficult. On the occasion of the third anniversary of the Russian revolution it is possible for us to realise how truly Lenin spoke. For the Bolsheviki to overthrow the barely established capitalist regime and set up the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat, was, comparatively speaking, a task simple enough. Not so easy has it been for the Russian workers and poorer peasants to maintain Soviet power against the counter-revolutionary aggression of the world’s bourgeoisie; nevertheless, this too they have successfully accomplished so successfully, indeed, that the political stability of Soviet Russia to-day stands forth unchallengeable. But it is upon economic conditions that political conditions ultimately depend, and it is on the economic field that the Russian workers, inheriting an industrial system backward in the first instance and ruined by the autocracy and bourgeoisie in the second, are having their hardest fight. Tremendous task though the Communist reconstruction of Russian economy be, yet here also the indomitable proletariat is winning out step by step, until so careful an observer as Lenin is now convinced that in the existing conditions and with the encouragement of the proletarian state, the shoots of Communism will not wither, but will wax strong and finally expand into complete Communism. That the social revolution in Russia is far from complete, that very great difficulties still confront the Russian proletariat, is certain; but that all these difficulties will be finally surmounted, the inexorable progress of the revolution towards Communism during the last three years is sufficient earnest.
THE operation of the effects of the revolution has not stopped short at the frontiers of Soviet Russia. On the contrary, these effects are now operating throughout the world. For some time previous to the outbreak of the revolution the changed conditions of developed imperialist capitalism and the utter inability of the Second International to adapt itself to these conditions, had urgently called for the formation of a new international organisation of the revolutionary proletariat. But it required the dynamic force of the Russian Revolution to galvanise the Third International into life. This organisation has rescued Marxism, made more concrete by the historical experience of the Russian revolution, from the clutch of the dead hand of the Second International, and put its revolutionary content once more at the disposal of the world’s proletariat. It leads this proletariat in the fight for the overthrow of the capitalist class, and the establishment everywhere of Soviet power. The national sections of the Third International are the Communist parties of every land; these stand in the sharpest contrast to the old outworn opportunist “Socialist” parties of the Second International, and for Marxist education to make the workers class-conscious, industrial unionism as an important factor both in the revolutionary struggle and in the Communist reconstruction of society, parliamentarism only as a means of demonstrating the uselessness of parliaments to the workers, mass action as the means of the conquest of power by the workers, and Workmen’s Councils as the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In celebrating the anniversary of the Russian revolution, we cannot but also hail the young and vigorous International which that revolution brought to life. In the Third International and the Communist Parties abides the living hope of the proletariat, just as in the “Socialist” parties of the Second International lies its dead hopelessness.
AS the conditions of the class struggle in the final phase of capitalism demand, the Australian proletariat also has now its Communist Party. In our last issue we wrote somewhat dubiously of the chances at the present moment of uniting the different Communist elements in this country; on the anniversary of the Russian revolution we can cry triumphantly to the world that Communist unity is a fact accomplished. For the conference called by the Australian Socialist Party in Sydney duly assembled, proceeded unanimously to form itself into a centralised Communist Party based on the principles of the Third International, and elected a provisional secretary and central executive committee, representative of almost every aspect of the labor movement. The following day the C.E.C. also met and drafted a preliminary Manifesto and Program for the party’s acceptance. Practically all the groups and parties represented at the conference have already dissolved their identity in the new organisation, and the work of forming branches in the other States is proceeding. This eminently satisfactory outcome of the conference is due primarily to the fact that the crying need for a united Communist party had evidently impressed itself upon the minds of all the delegates, and, in this connection, the fine spirit in which the A.S.P. met the conference must also be mentioned. Thus the Communist Party of Australia has had an auspicious beginning, and we look forward to its becoming what has not previously been seen in this country, the party which stands true to the teachings of Marxism, yet at the same time establishes contact with the rank and file of the workers everywhere, the veritable party of the proletariat. It will have no room for yellow socialists and opportunists, but the place of every worker who adheres to the revolutionary principles of the Third International and is prepared to work for them, is in the ranks of the Communist Party of Australia.