DOCUMENT **** Franz J. T. Lee: Marxism ...
Concerning modern theory and praxis of global socialist revolution
Home More than four decades ago, in his Message
to the Peoples of the World,
Fidel Castro pointed out the core of Marxist revolutionary praxis and
theory; today it is more than ever valid for the Americas and
elsewhere: "... It is the duty of the revolutionaries to make the
We have to remember that Karl Marx
evolved his theory of revolution in the years 1840-1844, when he
himself was developing towards scientific and philosophic socialism. It
was intended to be a program for the bourgeois-democratic capitalist
revolution, then overdue in Germany. Germany's historical time lag as compared with her
Western-bourgeois neighbors (England and France) offered the possible
German revolution a unique historical chance not only to make up for
the "political revolution" that had been brought about by the Jacobine
revolution in France, but even to surpass it in "human emancipation"
(Marx) which would go so far as to overcome the contradiction between
citoyen and bourgeois, slave and master.
Already in 2005, in my book dedicated
to President Hugo Chavez Frias, and titled "Venezuela: De la Revolución
Bolivariana a la Emancipación Humana", I indicated this emancipatory
possibility of departure from the "democratic revolution" towards
socialist emancipation in Venezuela.
In clarifying the question of the
subject of such a revolution Marx not only crossed the line from a
radical bourgeois-ideologist to theoretician of the socialist
revolution but also from mere normative, moral, utopian to scientific
and philosophic socialism. Certainly, as proved by historic events, the
latter alone is susceptible of designing the bridge of praxis that must
of necessity link the criticism of the present with the concrete,
proletarian utopia of the future, and of actuating the "alliance of
thinking and suffering men" (Marx) that will liberate human society
from the shackles of the mortal bourgeois mode of production, and hence
by means of class struggle from the class system on a world scale. Now,
in December 2008, President Chavez of Venezuela also has become
conscious of this historical process. Venezuela is again under attack,
the immediate future is lit up with severe class striggles.
With reference to a short class
alliance at the beginning of the epoch of social revolution, according
to Marx, in general, but not necessarily as a rule, at least two
parties are bound to find themselves in a temporary alliance prompted
by the revolution, although they differ in their basic attitude towards
that revolution: a petty-bourgeois one that aims at getting it done and
ever with, and a proletarian one that keeps pushing it forward "until
all more or less propertied classes have been squeezed out of
authority, executive power has been wrested from them by the
proletariat, and the associations of proletarians not only in one
country but in all leading countries of the world are so far advanced )
that at least the decisive forces of production will be concentrated in
the hands of the proletariat" (Marx/Engels, "Address of the Central
Authority to the League", March 1850).
This is more easily said than done.
Chavez' political addresses all go in
this direction, in the formulation of Bolivarian praxis and theory; he
talks about "the class struggle", about how the exploiting "propertied
classes" have to be "squeezed out of authority", and to give executive
power to the people. Precisely this was in Germany the common political
platform of the then League of Communists and the Blanquists, who had
then around 1850 formulated the following criteria of a socialist
a) Achievement of the hegemony of the
proletariat, by means of its party or parties, in the historically
retarded bourgeois revolution in Germany;
b) Establishment of a proletarian
dictatorship, i.e. seizing control of executive power with a view to
the expropriation and reorganization of the means of production;
c) Internationalization of the
revolution to bring about co-operation among the proletarian dominated,
most highly developed ("dominant") societies in order to prevent
"communism" from merely becoming a generalized form of indigence and
want which would invariably entail new types of inequality, the
formation of classes, and the setting up of a machinery of repression
vis-á-vis the majority of the people.
Concerning the point (a), this is the
current task of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
Concerning (b) and (c), if we want to
deepen the revolution, want to accelerate the class struggle, then it
is valid to acknowledge: so much to do, so little done!
Apart from the discussions and
conflicts in the First and Second Internationals, especially between
reformists and revolutionaries, essentially towards the end of the 19th
century, Marxist revolutionary theory did not undergo radical revision
and dialectical enrichment.
As we know, at the beginning of the
20th century Bolsheviks and left-wing German Social Democrats, like
today, discovered once more the topicality of the "socialist
revolution" that filled the Marxian writings of around 1848. Suddenly,
comrades remembered the first theory of globalization (Manifesto), of
the transhistoric "democratic" (French) Revolution which inexorably,
according to the tendential economic laws as explained in "Das
Kapital", was realizing itself in our modern critical and depressive
times of global recession.
The Russian revolution of 1905 raised
the problem of the character of this revolution not only for the
Russian Social Democrats but also for the Second International in its
Three options were developed:
a) the Menshevik one,
b) the Bolshevik one,
c) that of the inspirer of the first
Petersburg council of workers' deputies, Lev Trotsky.
According to Menshevik pro-capitalist
ideology, the task of the "revolution" was restricted to toppling the
tsarist regime and establishing a bourgeois-democratic republic, in the
framework of which Russian capitalism would then expand freely, while
Russian social democracy would by means of its opposition and powerful
organization protect the Russian workers from the worst forms of
Well, here in Venezuela about this
kind of Menshevik counter-revolutionary, pro-capitalist reformism we
have seen a lot over the last decade.
In the opinion of the then Russian
lackeys of European imperialism, applying Marxism willy-nilly, a
socialist revolution would not have been feasible in Russia, given its
uneven development, since a highly developed capitalism would be the
necessary pre-condition for any socialist revolution.
Lenin's theory for the Russian
revolution up to World War I was that of the "democratic dictatorship
of the workers and peasants". By the latter was meant the negation of
the bourgeois dictatorship of the few over the many, and to replace it
with the rule and power of the many in defense of real popular
democracy, in defense of the socialist revolution, that is, to prevent
that the capitalists would never ever return.
Originally Lenin's interest was mainly
directed to the classes known to be incubating the revolution, hence
its most likely protagonists. 100 million landless peasants would break
out of their semi-serfdom and fight for the distribution of land; less
than 10 million urban workers would support the peasant war by using
the strike weapon in the cities, with the socialist objectives in mind.
The result would be a revolutionary
coalition between workers' and peasants' parties since the Russian
bourgeoisie, in consequence of the special characteristics of Russian
development, would be unable to play an independent political role. The
bourgeois revolution, being consummated by peasants and workers would
henceforth take on a proletarian character, at least in the cities, by
virtue of the forms of struggle adopted. Besides, the Russian
revolution would be the signal for the "purely" proletarian revolution
in Western Europe to erupt.
However, Leon Trotsky, seeing the
social pot-holes of class alliances, went a step further, he predicting
already in 1905/1906 that the coalition assumed by Lenin would of
necessity quickly be followed by the hegemony of the urban proletariat
since in view of the inherent weakness of the Russian bourgeoisie, the
petty-bourgeoisie class, many peasants, scattered and traditionally
incapable of organization as it was, would be bound to come under the
leadership of the urban proletariat.
He argued further, that, on the other
hand, once they had seized control, the urban workers, mindful of where
their class interests lay, would have no option but to crack open the
horizon of bourgeois-capitalist institutions, economic as well as
political, and "to put collectivism on the agenda".
This would bring them into conflict
with the interests of the petty-bourgeois oriented class of peasants.
However, then already Trotsky warned that without the social support
from the proletarian revolution in the "most highly developed"
countries, the proletarian revolution would not be able to hold its own
in backward Russia. The fate of the Russian workers' revolution would
be decided by social struggles on an international scale.
Precisely this is relevant for the
Bolivarian Revolution. We are not living in the epoch of religious
crusades or Christian "socialist" revolution, we live in imperialist
globalization, in the era of final permanent world revolution.
Finally, during the time of World War
I Lenin drew closer to Trotsky's position and upon his return from
exile propagated the second, proletarian-socialist revolution ("April
theses The events of 1917 in Russia fully confirmed Trotsky's prognosis
made in 1905. The Bolshevik seizure of power in October/November was
doubtlessly informed by the expectation that the socialist revolution
would not fail to spread internationally within a short time, as
evidenced by the manifestos and debates of both the first Comintern
congresses and the party congresses of the Russian Communist Party
(RCP) as well as the writings of revolutionary leaders.
Already before the political victory
of the October Revolution, both Lenin and Trotsky knew that the
socialist revolution, the negation of world capitalism, has to be a
permanent global revolution. Hence, comrades, stop the political
factional vendettas, instead of eternal critique of the Bolivarian
Revolution, as Fidel said long ago, please make it your duty everywhere
to make the world socialist revolution.
Precisely, the factional struggles
within the Russian Communist Party (RCP) and the Third International
from 1923 to 1929 basically centered upon the question as to how the
first isolated workers' state should "correctly" conduct its internal
and external policies in the interest of both the Russian and the
This is another urgent task for the
PSUV. In what was a clear breach of the Bolshevik tradition of
1917-1923 Stalin in 1924 inaugurated a new version of a nationally
Beware, there is no such thing like
real scientific socialism on an island, in one country, in a bloc. Like
world capitalism, socialism is its global negation.
Thus, the Third International had been
created as an instrument for spreading the socialist revolution. The
question open for debate among the factions was that of the policy of
alliances in highly as well as underdeveloped countries. It would seem
that Stalin comparatively early considered the chance of spreading the
international revolution quite minimal (cf. his letter of August 1923
to Zinoviev on the chances of the Communist revolution in Germany, in
which he counsels "soft-pedalling
Later Stalin elevated the old formula
of the "democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants", to which
he had subscribed as editor of Pravda as late as in spring 1917, to the
status of a program for the Communist International. This resulted in
defeats for the revolutionary classes and the parties representing
them. Lenin's reproach of "Menshevism" here applies, at least with
regard to the concept that a revolution in backward countries has to be
conducted "in stages".
Just at the beginning of the 20th
century Bolshevism and Menshevism had confronted each other, so later
Stalinism and Trotskyism emerged as the enemy brothers of the late
"Twenties and 'Thirties". In total opposition to the whole Marxist
tradition Stalin, in defending his internal policy in autumn 1924,
proclaimed the thesis of the possibility of achieving Socialism in a
single Country (Russia). By postulating that even if no further
revolution were forthcoming Russia would be able to achieve
Socialism/Communism under its own steam, Stalin thus made a national
communist virtue out of an imposed autarchic necessity. As early as
1928 Trotsky called this a "theory of empty promises", an "opiate for
History verified that Lenin and
Trotsky correctly have criticized all the revisionist, reformist and
counter-revolutionary ideologies and practices. We surely have to learn
a lot from Marxist praxis and theory, and we could enrich it with our
own peculiar emancipatory endeavors. Within the framework of Marxist
theory Socialism in fact means surplus production (creation and
creativity) and overcoming the scarcity of foodstuffs by international
co-operation among the planned economies of all countries. Only in such
a context is there any sense in speaking of the "withering away" of the
State, the abolition of inequality, and the disappearance of social
There is no recipe, map or blue print
for socialist praxis and theory, for the Bolivarian Revolution.
The counter-revolution is in full
force to topple President Chavez in 2009. With the praxical and
theoretical historical aid of living Marxism, with the authentic new,
with genuine socialism we have to pave our serpentine road towards
Marxism has the current gigantic task
of transcending the globalized capitalist democratic French Revolution
and to usher in the era of global, creating, creative Human
Franz J.T. Lee firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pr-inside.com/franz-j-t-lee-marxism-concerning-