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Since Lenin Died

Max Eastman

Since Lenin Died


A GROUP of leaders against whose domination Lenin warned the party, having disguised their own thirst of power privately under the legend that Trotsky is a Bonaparte, and having disguised this private legend publicly under the legend that he is the leader of a “deviation to the Right,” and having thus built up an ideology exactly twice removed from the simple truth, have succeeded in deceiving, or bewildering, or bull dozing, or otherwise silencing, or scattering to the ends of the earth, all those strong Communists who might oppose them. They have established and solidified to an extremely dangerous degree a dictatorship of the officialdom within the Communist Party, entailing a separation of the party from the mass. They have taken backward steps in the political and economic development of the revolution, and instead of recognising them as backward steps, involving lost ground to be recovered, have put up a pretence that they belong to the true course of revolutionary development. They have initiated a way of talking about the peasants which, if carried to its logical conclusion, would involve a surrender of the essence of revolutionary Marxism. They are inculcating, in place of the flexible and concrete realistic thinking of Lenin, a bigoted religious devotion to a supposed abstract canon of Leninism. And they have thrown to the winds that intellectual honesty before the proletariat which was of the essence of Lenin’s character and teaching, and a main source of the unqualified authority of the Russian Communist Party in the international movement of labour.

That is what has happened in Russia since Lenin died. The Government remains in its ultimate source of power a government of the workers and peasants. And revolutionists in other countries ought to remember that it was to these workers and peasants, and not the “superlative spiritual qualities” of any particular leaders of them, that they pledged their loyalty. But they did not pledge themselves to ignorance of the real issues at stake and the real events that are happening in Russia. They did not pledge themselves to accept, in the name of “Leninism,” the international authority of a group against whom Lenin’s dying words were a warning, and who have preserved that authority by suppressing the essential texts of Lenin.

Since Lenin Died

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Last updated on: 12 October 2009