Louis C. Fraina

Revolutionary Socialism


WARS, says Marx, are the locomotives of history. The world war is acting as an accelerator of events and as a drastic revealer of purposes and capacity. War cleanses and re-creates as it dirties and destroys. In the lightning-riven gulfs of the great catastrophe, Capitalism and the dominant moderate Socialism are each appearing in their true character and proporions, each proven unfit to direct the destiny of the world.

The world war signalized the collapse of the dominant Socialism; but it also signalized the advent of the proletarian revolution in Russia, organized and directed by revolutionary Socialism. Having cast off the petty bourgeois fetters that hampered its action, Socialism appeared as the revolutionary force and maker of a new world that are its essential characteristics. Out of defeats Socialism and the proletariat emerge with new vigor and vision.

The proletarian revolution in Russia marks the entry of the proletariat into a new revolutionary epoch. In this epoch the Social Revolution is no longer simply an aspiration, but a dynamic process of immediate revolutionary struggles. This is an historic development of decisive importance. It means the preparation of the proletariat for the final struggle against Capitalism and the necessity of an uncompromising policy in the activity of Socialism; it means, in short, the revolutionary reconstruction of Socialist policy and tactics, in accord with the imperative requirements of the new epoch.

The collapse of the dominant moderate Socialism was not a collapse of fundamental Socialism; it was a collapse simply of the contemporary historical expression of Socialism, and Socialism itself provides all the materials for the criticism of this collapse and for the reconstruction of Socialism.

The great task of Socialist reconstruction is proceeding actively throughout the world. It is a task that will require the co-operation of all the revolutionary elements of international Socialism. The complexity of forces and problems, the diversity of development, make co-operation mandatory. The old concepts of revolutionary Socialism will clash with the new, and the new with the old, until a synthesis emerges through the process of action and reconstruction. And the process of reconstruction will be animated by the struggles of the proletariat, not by the academic formulation of theory upon theory: Socialism is dynamic and not academic. Theory becomes an instrument of life, and not life an instrument of theory.

This book is a contribution to the task of reconstruction; its chief purpose is to provide a suggestive synthesis of Socialist reconstruction, and not an exhaustive analysis of all the problems involved.

I wish to express the deep appreciation I feel to my good Comrade, S.J. Rutgers, my colleague for one year on The New International, who read the manuscript of this book, making many an acute criticism and suggestion. A member of the revolutionary Social Democratic Party of Holland, Comrade Rutgers’ sojourn of two years in this country and his activity in the Socialist Propaganda League were a source of inspiration and ideas to the comrades associated with him.


New York City, November 6, 1918
First Anniversary of the
Proletarian Revolution in Russia

Last updated on 14.10.2007