Onorato Damen 1943
The Russia we Love and Defend
First Published: Prometeo, 1943;
Source: Internationalist Communist Tendency;
Transcribed: by R.K Sabatino.
It is no accident that today we communists, the unwavering supporters
and defenders of the Russian Revolution, of its ideas and of its first
actions, have to defend ourselves from the accusation of now being
against this great historic experience. This accusation is thrown at us
by those who were the Revolution’s most open and ferocious enemies
during the period when the bourgeois liberal and social democratic
coalition tried to strangle it either militarily with mercenary banditry
or through starvation; and sought to isolate it from the capitalist
world behind a barbed wire fence of defamation and conspiracy.
Such a complete change of mind, and of political sympathy, towards
Russia is much less surprising than may be imagined. In the light of
Marxism it is easily understandable. Today this sympathy and solidarity
runs from the Church to the captains of industry, from the Socialists to
the magnates of high finance.
We are not amongst these; and the workers who have defended, and
still defend Russia as the first great experiment of their class, have
to finally understand the reason why we communists do not hesitate to
state our opposition to the Russia of Stalin while, at the same time, we
proclaim ourselves faithful fighters for the Russia of Lenin.
For us the revolutionary events were not insignificant trifles and we
adhere completely to the ideas of October through our absolute
dedication to the cause of the Russian Revolution, the beginning of the
international revolution. For more than twenty years most of us have
given everything to its cause: financial interests, family affections,
freedom, often ending up in prison, internment or concentration camps.
And so it is that the thankless, but necessary and inescapable task of
not remaining silent on the truth about Russia therefore falls to us. We
have learned in the school of Marxism to struggle openly and firmly
against myths, against any kind of ‘taboo’, and for the most
concrete truths of the class struggle.
And before we set out our ideas we would like those workers who have
held on to their critical capacities, and whose class instincts have not
been contaminated, to consider the real reasons which lie behind the
profound and sudden solidarity of so many bourgeois reactionaries with
the Russia of today, and from which we can define its true nature. For
ourselves, we want to clarify here some aspects of this vexed problem
and we are sure we shall all reach the same conclusions.
- The bourgeoisie’s passionate and noisy love for Stalin’s
Russia is a direct result of their interest in preserving the capitalist
system. It follows from this that what we love, the bourgeoisie through
class antagonism, naturally hates. When our theoretical critique and our
Party’s actions put us at the forefront of the class struggle, the
bourgeoisie cannot stomach it.
- The legitimisation of the Second imperialist war in Stalinist
“people’s war for democracy,” and the official
recognition by the Orthodox Church which naturally supported the war for
the great Slav fatherland, has deeply impressed the honest bourgeois who
are always full of love for the fatherland. To legitimise the war meant
to tie the working masses to it, to chain them to that most brutal and
hateful force, chauvinism, in order to make victory certain, and with it
the salvation of capital.
- The bolshevisation of the Russian (Communist) Party and the International,
the liquidation in these bodies of leading organised expressions of the
proletariat and their substitution by the stupid servants of opportunism, the
inequalities in wages which inevitably restored social differences; the role
assumed by the State and party bureaucracy, the dominance of the class of
technicians which came from forced industrialisation and the rise of the Church
as a prominent force; the pre-eminence of the State in the place of the
dictatorship of proletariat; the Five Year Plans for the intensive exploitation
of a re-created subject class of workers – these are all the surface
features which confirm that the interests of Russia are no longer those of the
proletariat. It was the implementation, given the imminence of war, of an
economic and political plan, unprecedented in its grandeur of purpose and
scope, made possible by the particular ‘Soviet’ social
organisation, that was best suited to interpreting and expressing in its
ideology and structure of state capitalism, the extreme phase of imperialism.
At this point those who have ditched the revolution deemed it opportune to
demonstrate their loyalty and consistency of the new direction in Russian
policy to the international bourgeoisie, sacrificing on the altar of democratic
concord the men of the old guard, the incorruptible builders of the October
Revolution. This is the Russia dear to the hearts of Roosevelt, of Churchill
and all international radicals – but it is not ours.
- The Russia which we love and defend, as a revolutionary achievement,
is that Russia of the proletariat and poor peasantry who under the
guidance of Lenin and the revolutionary party dared to break the
framework of feudalism and capitalism and to pose the class dictatorship
– the transitional proletarian state power whose goal has to be to
signal the destruction of that very state and that very class. The
Russia which we love and defend is that Russia which for years gave its
proletariat, and to the international proletariat, the consciousness of
its force, the historic sense of its revolutionary role, the organic
demonstration of the new workers’ world that has its creative
heart in the ‘Soviets’.
The Russia which we love and defend is that Russia which for years
had to operate clandestinely in the shadow of the present
‘Bolshevik’ Party and which in the prisons, in the
deportations throughout the Russian wastes preserved intact its faith in
the principles of October and which is waiting for the time when it will
be able to unite its revolutionary re-awakening with that of the
international proletariat. This is the Russia of our anti-bourgeois
struggle, the Russia of our unchanging revolutionary passion.