Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Black Workers Congress

The Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism: Against the Communist League and the Revolutionary Union


This then comrades is CL’s line on the dictatorship of the proletariat. Before we go into a detailed analysis of this “position”, perhaps it is clear now why CL says that the dictatorship of the proletariat leaps into existence without any base whatsoever, why they damn almost every national movement in the Third World, and why they have manufactured slavery into capitalism in the history of the Black people in the U.S. CL’s position on the dictatorship of the proletariat is a counter-revolutionary Trotskyite poisonous weed. This foul weed of theirs can be seen beginning with their idealist world outlook, their conciliation with Soviet social-imperialism and their complete lying distortions of the relations of production which corresponded to a definite stage of development of the material forces of production in the Black Belt south. And these foul weeds of the CL’s are the essence of opportunism in as much as they attack the quintessence of Marxism: the dictatorship of the proletariat. Their whole method is to begin by denying the necessity for a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, using dialectical and historical materialism, but instead, substituting the outlook of Hegelian idealism and using a pure metaphysical method; they deny that in certain conditions the revolution must proceed in two stages; and finally, they have thrown themselves at the feet of the Modern Revisionists. But in order to make our point crystal clear it is necessary to go on into their “Party School Report” on the dictatorship of the proletariat, and for the sake of analysis, we will divide the “Report” into four sections:

1) CL’s definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which takes up the first five paragraphs of the first page
2) CL’s explanation of the relationship between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the party
3) The “alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry”
4) And the “Discussion of Slogans”

The major criticism of this beginning section of CL’s position is that much of what should be said is not there. For example, in Foundations of Leninism Stalin articulates the Leninist position on this question in section IV – “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”

From this theme I take three fundamental questions:

a) the dictatorship of the proletariat as the instrument of the proletarian revolution
b) the dictatorship of the proletariat as the rule of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie
c) Soviet power as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Under section a), Stalin continues: “The dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument of the proletarian revolution, its organ, its most important mainstay, brought into being for the purpose of firstly, crushing the residence of the overthrown exploiters and consolidating the achievements of the proletarian revolution to its completion, carrying the revolution to the complete victory of socialism.” (ibid)

Under section b), “..the dictatorship of the proletariat as the rule of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie”. The essential point Stalin analyzes here is:

The dictatorship of the proletariat arises not on the basis of the bourgeois order, but in the process of the breaking up of this order, after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, in the process of the expropriation of the landlords and capitalists, in the process of the socialization of the principal instruments and means of production, in the process of violent proletarian revolution. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a revolutionary power based on the use of force against the bourgeoisie. (p.45 Ibid)

In section c), “Soviet Power as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Stalin concludes:

The Republic of Soviets is thus the political form, so long sought and finally discovered, within the framework of which the economic emancipation of the proletariat, the complete victory of socialism must be accomplished. (p.53 Ibid)

CL’s introductory definition commits sins of omission by not speaking to these all important points that Stalin stresses in his definition.

Point number two. In this section, which begins on the bottom of the first page, CL begins by trying to answer the false question the Trotskyites and other “democratic socialists” raise about the dictatorship of the proletariat being no more than the “dictatorship of the Party”. Though CL correctly points out that the Party’s chief task is to guide the other mass organizations of the proletariat, the “transmission belts”, “levers”, etc., CL forgets to mention again what Stalin stresses. For example, CL concludes this section (according to our outline) with the following statement:

The Communist Party must guide the work in the proletarian organizations. It must guide the economic, political and cultural and educational struggle of the working class as a whole. (p.2)

In the “Problems Of Leninism” (Co-operative Publishing Society Of Foreign Workers in the USSR, ed. Moscow, 1934), Stalin speaks of the role of the Party in the dictatorship of the proletariat as follows:

Lastly, there is the Party of the proletariat, its vanguard. The Party’s strength lies in the fact that it draws into its ranks all the best elements of the proletariat out of all the mass organizations of the proletariat. Its function is to combine the work of all the mass organizations of the proletariat, without exception, and to guide their activities towards a single goal, that of the emancipation of the proletariat. AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO UNITE AND GUIDE THEM TOWARDS ONE GOAL, FOR OTHERWISE THE UNITY OF THE STRUGGLE OF THE PROLETARIAT AND THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAN MASSES IN THEIR FIGHT FOR POWER AND FOR THE BUILDING OF SOCIALISM IS IMPOSSIBLE... (p.276 Ibid)

Stalin goes on to say that as long as the Party has a correct line, does prolonged work among the masses, and has the ability to convince the masses through their own experiences of the correctness of its policy – “The dictatorship of the proletariat must not be contrasted with the leadership (the “dictatorship”) of the Party...It is inadmissible (to contrast it, ed. BWC) because the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the Party rest, as it were, on one line of activity, and operate in one direction. (p.286 Ibid)

Then Stalin says that these conditions don’t always exist and the opposite situation (the “dictatorship of a Party” over the class), can and does arise. On the very next page he continues:

But what is to be done if the correct relationships between the vanguard and the class, if the relations of “mutual confidence” between the Party and the class are disturbed? What is to be done if the Party itself begins, in some way or other, to draw a contrast between itself and the class, thus disturbing the foundations of its correct relationships with the class, disturbing the foundations of “mutual confidence”? Are such cases, in general, possible? Yes, they are. They are possible:

1) If the Party begins to base its prestige among the masses, not on its work, and on the confidence of the masses, but upon its “unrestricted” rights.
2) If the Party’s policy is obviously incorrect and yet it will not reconsider and rectify its mistake;
3) If the policy of the Party, although generally correct, is one which the masses are not ready to adopt, while the Party either does not wish to or is not able to wait long enough to give the masses a chance to convince themselves by their own experience that the Party’s policy is correct.

The history of our Party provides a whole series of such cases; various groupings and factions within our Party have fallen and have been dispersed because they violated one of these conditions, or sometimes all these conditions taken together. (p.287)

We know now that Stalin’s words have proven to be even more profound in light of the experience of the Soviet Communist Party since its degeneracy into revisionism. As we discussed in the section on the “International Situation”, the Soviet Communist Party has indeed become a counter-revolutionary Party of the new Soviet bourgeoisie, a Party transformed from one representing the interest of the proletariat, into one representing the interests of the bourgeoisie. Why does the CL paper “omit” this extremely important fact? Because it is consistent with their conciliation with Soviet social-imperialism and their Trotskyite line on the International situation.

But there are more serious errors to come.

In the last part of their “Party School Report”, in the section “Discussion On Slogans”, the second paragraph is most revealing:

IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT BY COMBINING SEVERAL PARTIES IN THE APPARATUS, (our emphasis – BWC). This was successfully done in China. It is not the form of the state that is important, it is the content. There is no possibility of sharing power with antagonistic classes. Thus in the lands of People’s Democracy the long term participation of nominally anti-fascist capitalist parties could not but set the stage for the restoration of capitalism. On the other hand the participation of some seven political parties in the Chinese state after the revolution was backed up by an army led by the experienced and highly developed Chinese Communist Party. (p.80)

In the previous paragraph on the same page, CL opens this section by saying that “certain elements on the ’left’ are confused about the fact that the revolution is for the dictatorship of the proletariat”. Now just from this very statement we can see whose really “confused” and this is an understatement. Listen as they continue:

..Nothing could be further from the truth and it is certain that for Communists, dictatorship of the proletariat is their strategy: but for the vast majority of the toiling strata the revolutionary upsurge is the result of some particular demand, such as land, bread, peace, national liberation, democratic rights, etc.

Comrades this statement is a slap in the face to the entire principles and history of the international Communist movement. What “revolution” is the CL speaking of, that is not for the dictatorship of the proletariat? Are they speaking of a bourgeois-democratic revolution of the old type? Or are they speaking of a new democratic revolution? For if they are not speaking of these two types of revolutions, and they’re not, and are talking about proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, they are running a straight- up revisionist line.

CL drives a wedge between the Communist Party’s policy andpolitical line and the mass line for the “vast majority of the tolling strata” who must, in addition to the proletariat and its vanguard, consciously support the seizure of power by the working class. The CL’s line would have us throw the masses a sop (democratic rights, peace, bread, etc.) while we Communists would seek to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat alone, without any allies and without any conscious support from the broad toiling masses; incidently, another Trotskyite position. Lenin and Stalin, if not the CL are very clear on this question:

The dictatorship of the proletariat – Lenin says – is a special form of class alliance between the proletariat, the vanguard of the toilers, and the numerous non-proletarian strata of toilers (the petty bourgeoisie, the small masters, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, etc.), or the majority of these; it is an alliance against capital, an alliance aiming at the complete overthrow of capital , at the complete suppression of the resistance of the bourgeoisie and any attempt on their part at restoration, an alliance aiming at the FINAL ESTABLISHMENT AND CONSOLIDATION OF SOCIALISM. (p.271, Ibid)

That is how matters stand in regards to the basic character of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Note the phrase – “alliance against capital” and “complete overthrow of capital”. Does it sound like Lenin and Stalin are saying that the dictatorship of the proletariat is “only the strategy for communists”. There’s only one anti-Leninist person we know that ran such a line – Leon Trotsky! Is the CL following his footsteps? We shall see.

In regards to the slogan “dictatorship of the proletariat”, which the CL says is the slogan “only for Communists”, Stalin says this:

Why did we succeed in overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie and establishing the power of the proletariat? Because we prepared under the slogan of DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT AND THE POOR PEASANTRY; because proceeding from this slogan, we waged a systematic struggle against the compromising tactics of the petty bourgeois parties; because, proceeding from this slogan, we waged a systematic struggle against the vacillations of the middle peasants in the Soviets; because ONLY WITH SUCH A SLOGAN (emphasis original) could we overcome the vacillations of the middle peasants, defeat, the compromising tactics of the petty bourgeois parties, and rally a political army capable of waging the struggle to transfer power to the proletariat. (p. 54, Leninism, Intnl. Pub. ed. 1942)

CL’s statements fundamentally contradict the teachings of Marxism-Leninism on both the nature and character of the dictatorship of the proletariat as well as the “slogan” “dictatorship of the proletariat”. In his polemical article against comrade Pokrovsky, Stalin makes crystal clear in 1927 what the CL fails (?) to understand in 1974. Continuing from the paragraph above, Stalin says:

This is how the combination of peasant wars with the proletarian revolution is to be understood. Comrade Pokrovsky. This why to contrast the support of the peasantry as a whole during October and after October with the preparations made for October under the slogan of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poor peasantry MEANS TO UNDERSTAND NOTHING OF LENINISM. (original emphasis p.54 Ibid)

CL just like Comrade Pokrovsky over forty years ago, understands nothing of Leninism. And their friends from the RU fair no better in their understanding of Leninism in terms of the “interweaving during the October Revolution of Socialist tasks of carrying the Bourgeois revolution to completion.” Just note their formulation of a ’Nation of a New Type’ in a “new” THIRD STAGE!

But the CL does seem to know more than a little of Trotskyism.

On the bottom of page 80, under the same section – “Discussion Of Slogans”, CL attacks the People’s Democracies in Eastern Europe because of the existence of the “anti-fascist elements in the state”. The People’s Democracies are another favorite target of the modern-day Trotskyites, who, like their founder and leader – Leon Trotsky – oppose two-stage revolutions. For example, in an article in the ’Albania Today’ (Nov.5,1972), entitled “The Present-Day Revolutionary Movement And Trotskyism”, the Albanians say:

The unprincipled vascillations to the “left” and right, unity at one time with the extreme Right opportunists and at another with the most extremist and adventurist “leftist” elements, is also a characteristic feature of the concepts and attitudes of the Trotskyites. Thus, for instance, on the one hand they pursue the so-called policy of “entrism”, i.e., the merger of the Trotskyist groups with other parties, including the Right Social-Democratic parties; while on the Other hand they “FURIOUSLY ATTACK THE POLICY OF THE ANTIFASCIST POPULAR FRONTS, DESCRIBING IT AS “OPPORTUNIST POLICY OF CLASS COLLABORATION.” (p.45)

Comrades from the CL, we were hoping you didn’t fall into this category, but your statements are not to the contrary and combined with all else you have said, there is only one conclusion to reach – THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CL HAS NOT ESCAPED THE “Trotskyism” which was “imposed” upon them in the old POC. Listen for yourselves.

CL says: “It is entirely possible to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat by combining several parties in the apparatus. This was successfully done in China.” (p.80 Ibid) This is another straight-up Trotskyite position and nothing else. In the same article from ’Albania Today’ that we quoted above, they speak of this very position of the modern Trotskyites:

Second, the Trotskyites are against the undivided leadership of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party after the seizure of power by the working class and, together with the various rightist bourgeois and revisionist ideologists, advocate the ’MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM IN SOCIALISM.’ Thus, it is a question of the existence of several so-called workers’ parties, which excludes the leadership of a single vanguard party of the working class based on the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism. But in these circumstances the existence of a genuine proletarian dictatorship is impossible, and this enters into the calculations of the Trotskyites. (p. 47, Ibid)

Again on this question, Stalin speaks over forty years ago in his famous polemic against CL’s foremost precursor – Leon Trotsky:

What is this special form of alliance (the dictatorship of the proletariat – BWC)? What does it consist of? Does not this alliance with the toiling masses of other non-proletarian classes generally contradict the idea of the dictatorship of one class? This special form of alliance lies in the leading force of this alliance is the proletariat, that the leader in the state, the leader within the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat is a SINGLE PARTY, THE PARTY OF THE PROLETARIAT, THE PARTY OF THE COMMUNISTS, WHICH DOES NOT AND CANNOT SHARE POWER WITH OTHER PARTIES. (“Leninism” p.271)

Secondly, the CL says this “was successfully done in China.” Comrades, are we to believe this? Did the Chinese Communist Party violate a fundamental thesis of Leninism by doing this? No comrades, this is not true – it is just more of the same trash that we have seen time and time again from the profound ”theoreticians” of the CL. What really happened in China?

China went through a two-stage revolution. A “New Democratic” stage and a socialist stage. It was in the “New Democratic” stage where several parties representing the interests of the various “patriotic” classes combined to establish “New Democracy.” But this was not the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the CL says. Mao is very explicit on this point:

Although the Chinese revolution in this first stage (with its many sub-stages) is a new type of bourgeois-democratic revolution and is not yet itself a proletarian-socialist revolution in its social character, it has long become part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution and is now even a very important part and a great ally of this world revolution. The first step or stage in our revolution is definitely not and cannot be, the establishment of a capitalist society under the dictatorship of the Chinese bourgeoisie, but will result in the establishment of a new democratic society under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes of China headed by the Chinese proletariat. The revolution will then be carried forward to the second stage, in which a socialist society will be established in China. (On New Democracy SW, Vol.II,p.347)

The CL in their usual way are confusing themselves and making two very serious errors. The first one is that “it is entirely possible to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat by combining several parties in the apparatus.” As we said before, this is a straight-up Trotskyite conception. Secondly, they distort the reality of the Chinese (and other two-stage revolutions) in two ways:

1) by saying that the Chinese established a dictatorship of the proletariat jointly between the Communist Party and ”several others” and;
2) they don’t even mention, in fact implicitly deny, the two-stage character of the Chinese revolution (and consequently all two-stage revolutions), the new democratic and the socialist stage.

* * *

What can we conclude and sum-up about CL’s position on the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”? It seems to us that essentially their position is Trotskyite and this Trotskyism is revealed all the way down the line.

1) It is Trotskyism as to the role of the Party in the dictatorship of the proletariat
2) It is Trotskyism as to the slogan – “dictatorship of the proletariat” and by hinting that proletarian revolution is simply a political revolution and not a social revolution
3) It is Trotskyism as to the content and character of the proletarian dictatorship by leaving room for ”several parties” in the apparatus
4) It is Trotskyism pure and simple as to the character of dictatorship in those areas of the world where two stage revolutions are necessary.

Hidden under CL’s adherence to formal logic rather than revolutionary Marxian dialectics is their attempt to use Marxism-Leninism as some sort of abstract schemata rather than as a guide to action. Once CL or anyone else correctly raises the Leninist teachings which state that “without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement”, only half the problem is solved. Because once we base ourselves on the Marxist-Leninist stand, viewpoint and method, we must then, as we have spoken of repeatedly throughout this document, make a concrete study of the new situations and problems in the light of the revolutionary experience of the world proletariat and the experiences of the revolutionary movement in our own country. Is it not clear that CL’s method of a ’lie, a falsehood, sprinkled with a quote’ come nowhere near this approach? Can it be said that they have used the Marxist-Leninist stand to make a concrete study of concrete conditions and applied this to solving the very real practical-theoretical-organizational task of building the party, a Bolshevik Party? If their line is any indication, then we must urge them to go back and learn the ABC’s of Marxism-Leninism as they un-learn the Trotskyism they seem to know so well.

Given the fact that CL has been one of the main initiators of the “National Continuations Committee to Call a Congress to Establish a New Marxist-Leninist, Multi-National Communist Party”, we would like now to examine and analyze this “Committee” to further show that CL has no conception of the Marxist-Leninist stand, viewpoint and method in Party building (or anything else, for that matter), and that they are wrong on this question too.