J. V. Stalin
Source: Works, Vol. 12, April 1929-June 1930, pp. 143-145
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
First Published: Pravda, No. 298, December 18, 1929
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
Pravda, in its issue of December 16 (No. 296), printed (in its “Party Affairs” section) an unsigned article entitled “Must There Be Confusion?” criticising one of the statements of an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda,1 “Introductory Essay on Leninism,” which discussed the question of the most favourable conditions for a revolutionary breach of the world imperialist front.
The author quotes the following passage from the criticised article: “Leninism teaches that the revolution begins where the imperialist chain has its weakest link.” He further equates this passage with the following passage from Bukharin’s Economics of the Transition Period: “The collapse of the capitalist world system began with the weakest national-economic systems.” The author then quotes Lenin’s critical observations directed against this passage from Bukharin’s book and draws the conclusion that the article “Introductory Essay on Leninism” in Komsomolskaya Pravda is guilty of an error similar to that of Bukharin’s.
It seems to me that the author of the article “Must There Be Confusion?” is mistaken. Under no circumstances can the thesis—“the imperialist chain breaks where it is weakest”—be equated with Bukharin’s thesis: “the imperialist chain breaks where the national-economic system is weakest.” Why? Because the former speaks of the weakness of the imperialist chain which has to be breached, that is, it speaks of the weakness of the imperialist forces, whereas Bukharin speaks of the weakness of the national-economic system of the country which (the country) has to breach the imperialist chain, that is, of the weakness of the anti-imperialist forces. That is by no means one and the same thing. More than that, these are two opposite theses.
According to Bukharin, the imperialist front breaks where the national-economic system is weakest. That, of course, is untrue. If it were true, the proletarian revolution would have begun not in Russia, but somewhere in Central Africa. The “Introductory Essay on Leninism,” however, says something that is the very opposite of Bukharin’s thesis, namely, that the imperialist chain breaks where it (the chain) is weakest. And that is quite true. The chain of world imperialism breaks in a particular country precisely because it is in that country that it (the chain) is weakest at the particular moment. Otherwise, it would not break. Otherwise, the Mensheviks would be right in their fight against Leninism.
And what determines the weakness of the imperialist chain in a particular country? The existence of a certain minimum of industrial development and cultural level in that country. The existence in that country of a certain minimum of an industrial proletariat. The revolutionary spirit of the proletariat and of the proletarian vanguard in that country. The existence in that country of a substantial ally of the proletariat (the peasantry, for example), an ally capable of following the proletariat in a determined struggle against imperialism. Hence, a combination of conditions which render the isolation and overthrow of imperialism in that country inevitable.
The author of the article “Must There Be Confusion?” has obviously confused two entirely different things.
Indeed—must there be confusion?
1. Komsomolskaya Pravda (Y.C.L. Truth)—a daily newspaper, organ of the Central Committee and Moscow Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, which began publication on May 24, 1925. The article, “Introductory Essay on Leninism,” was published in Komsomolskaya Pravda, No. 282, December 7, 1929