Charles Curtiss Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

C. Charles

On the 18th Anniversary
of Lenin’s Death

(17 January 1942)

From The Militant, Vol 6 No. 3, 17 January 1942, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

January 21, 1942 marks the 18th anniversary of the death of V.I. Lenin, who together with Leon Trotsky led the Russian workers and peasants in 1917 in the revolution which established the Soviet Union.

Lenin, the architect of the Soviet Union, built well. He laid the foundations of the Soviet Union deep and strong. Neither Hitler’s assaults nor the undermining effects of Stalinist rule have yet been able to destroy Lenin’s work.

Everywhere Hitler triumphed until he turned east against the Soviet Union. In Lenin’s Soviet Union, after months of bitter fighting and retreats, the morale and fighting capacity of the Soviet masses remain so high that Hitler’s troops were brought to a dead halt for the first time, and now are actually retreating.

Why Soviet Morale Is High

The capitalist journalists and statemen either do not see, or pretend they do not see, the real cause for the enthusiasm and morale of the Soviet masses which is:

In place of the ownership of the factories and land by a small minority of capitalists and landlords, the Russian Revolution under Lenin’s leadership established the national ownership by the workers and peasants of the means of production.

The Red Army and Soviet masses are fighting for their own revolution and not for a band of parasites. They are fighting for their socialist future.

In the Soviet Union alone Hitler has not found any Fifth Column to carry on his work behind the lines. The Fifth Column was destroyed – mark well the date, ex-Ambassador Davies and you Stalinist pen-prostitutes – in 1917, when under Lenin’s guidance, the government of the capitalists and landlords was replaced by the Soviet government of workers and peasants and when the factories and land were nationalized.

Everywhere else, Hitler’s Fifth Column has found a base among the large industrialists, bankers and land-owners, who prefer the foreign invader, Hitler, to revolution by their own workers.

Soviet Union Resists Stalinism

Stalinism reduced the Soviets and trade unions to fictions; established a bureaucratic dictatorship over the Soviet Union, employing a vast GPU terror to enforce it; purged the Red army of its most able officers; saddled the country with a privileged bureaucracy, and murdered the Bolshevik Old Guard, Lenin’s comrades-in-arms, on monstrous frame-up charges of being Hitler’s agents.

If Lenin were alive today, he would be accused by Stalin of being a Fifth Columnist and Trotskyist!

Stalinism has aided in the destruction of the international working class movement by its criminal policies and thus isolated the Soviet Union.

Yet, Stalin could not destroy the forces of the Russian revolution as long as the main work of Lenin, the abolition of capitalism and the nationalization of the means of production, persist.

Lenin Was a Marxist

Lenin could give leadership to the Russian revolution as well as the workers’ movement of the world, because he was above all a Marxist. He mastered the ideas of Karl Marx, the founder of scientific socialism. An important part of Lenin’s work was the defense of Marxism, not only against the capitalists, but also against such “socialists” as Bernstein and Kautsky who wanted to revise Marxism in line with their own opportunist ideas.

Lenin developed Marxism and applied it to the present period of capitalism. Modern capitalism, he showed, must conquer and exploit foreign territories so that the trusts and monopolies can continue to reap profits. Modern monopoly capitalism brings the millions of Asia, Africa and South and Central America within its arena of exploitation. Using Marxism, Lenin analyzed present day world economics in his book on Imperialism.

Lenin showed the need for close unity of the labor and socialist movement of the advanced countries with the masses of the colonies and semicolonies. Lenin was an internationalist in the true sense of the word.

Lenin During World War I

When the first world war broke out, Lenin was one of the few socialist leaders who did not betray international socialism. Other “socialist” leaders became cabinet members in capitalist governments; Lenin told the truth. He showed the aim of the war was to determine which group of capitalists would dominate the earth and reap profits from the labor of the toilers of the world. He was merciless in his exposure of those “socialists” who had sold themselves to the capitalists.

These were the most difficult years in Lenin’s life. To speak to five or six workers was a grand occasion for him. Yet Lenin remained confident that the workers would rally to international socialism.

Above all, Lenin emphasized the importance of the party to the toilers in their struggle for emancipation. The party is the vanguard, the most far-seeing and self-sacrificing section of the class, which organizes itself into a self-disciplined group to carry on Marxist education and organization for the transition to socialism. Lenin created the Bolshevik Party of Russia which led the Russian revolution in 1917; two years later, in 1919, he formed the world party of Bolshevism, the Third International.

Fourth International, SWP, Leninists of Today

The Trotskyists, the Fourth International abroad and the Socialist Workers Party in the United States, are the Leninists of today.

Just as Lenin struggled against those who would falsify and emasculate the ideas of Marx, so the Trotskyists battle against the Stalinists who falsify and emasculate the ideas of Lenin.

Just as Lenin struggled against the “socialpatriots” for working class internationalism during World War I, so the Trotskyists today struggle against the Stalinists for working class internationalism during World War II.

Just as Lenin struggled against the “yellow socialists” who betrayed the interests of the workers in the first World War, so the Trotskyists struggle against the Stalinists who betray the interests of the workers in the second World War.

As Lenin fought for socialism, so now the Trotskyists fight for a socialist world against the Stalinists and all who say that “socialism is not on the order of the day.”

The capitalist system had matured for a change to socialism in Lenin’s life time; it had reached and it now remains in a stage of decay and can produce only unemployment, crisis, fascism and war.

The way to honor Lenin’s memory today is to continue the struggle, against capitalism to which he devoted his entire life.

Stalinism and Leninism are worlds apart.

The spirit, ideas and work of Lenin live in the Trotskyist movement.

Curtiss Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 22 August 2021