Jubilee Report by Chairman of the CC CPRF Gennady Zyuganov at the 10th Plenary Session of the Party Central Committee.
The lifespan of great ideas is measured in centuries and millennia. Meeting the aspirations of the common people they abide among the masses and inspire them in the struggle for building a new and just world. That is why Lenin’s ideas continue to live and triumph.
It will soon be 150 years since the birth of Vladimir Lenin. It is incumbent upon us to remember his legacy, to study it deeply, and energetically and correctly apply it under modern conditions.
To move forward, to move with the time.
In the darkest pre-dawn hours of history Lenin’s genius shone brightly to illuminate mankind’s new path of development. It happened when capitalism expanded to cover the whole world. It divided continents into colonies and established a sophisticated system of exploiting people and resources. Zealous advocates of capitalism were already hailing it as the triumph of reason, proclaiming it to be the only possible path of development. But the blessings of that system were enjoyed only by a handful of capitalists. Seeking to enrich itself, it consigned the popular masses to poverty and disfranchisement, and used them as cannon fodder.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries capitalism was entering the stage of imperialism. Great powers started re-dividing the planet. They did not only kindle local conflicts. Millions of people died in the First World War, sacrificed to the Moloch of greed and lust for gain.
It was then that the world heard about Lenin. His immoral slogans – Peace to the Peoples! Bread to the Hungry! Land to the Peasants! Factories to the Workers! Power to the Soviets!—sounded like a clarion for the laborers sweating and straining in the field, in factories and mines. Leninism gave them hope for getting rid of suffering, for a decent and happy life.
Lenin’s genius was not an accident. The founder of Bolshevism was neither a lone philosopher, not a superman standing on a pedestal over the crowd. Quite the contrary, he devoted his life to serving the working people, liberating them from the shackles of oppression, ignorance, and lack of faith in their strength. As Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote,
He waxed tender toward comrades.
He was hard as nails toward enemies.
Being deeply convinced of the vast potential of the popular masses, Lenin never distanced himself from common laborers. He had close links with them, drawing inspiration for struggle and creative endeavor.
Lenin made a profound study of and developed the great theoretical legacy of Marx and Engels. At the same time he was a talented organizer, revolutionary and founder of a new type of state, the world’s first socialist state. As the outstanding Chinese revolutionary Sun Yatsen wrote, ”over the centuries of world history there were thousands of leaders and scholars with fine words on their lips, words that were never put into practice. You, Lenin, are an exception. You did not only talk and teach, but you implemented your words in reality.You created a new country. You showed us the way.”
These words have a particularly important kernel. Marxism-Leninism is not a body of dogmas and prescriptions for every life situation. To think that way is to make a mistake, to turn a genius teaching into a kind of religious cult. Lenin himself stressed that the communist doctrine is not so much a set of provisions as a method of analyzing reality. Marxism is a coherent scientific system. It combines philosophical, economic, socio-political views which serve as instruments of cognizing and transforming the world. “Applying materialist dialectics to rework entire political economy, from its foundation to history, natural science, to philosophy, to politics and the tactics of the working class – this is what interests Marx and Engels most of all, this is their most essential and newest contribution, this is their genius step forward in the history of revolutionary thought.” This is how Lenin defined the essence of Marxism. He was guided by this all his life. During the struggle with Legal Marxism , Economism and Menshevism. When creating the party of the working class, the RSDLP. When exposing the Second International revisionists. In April 1917 when he raised the question of socialist revolution in Russia.
Understanding Marxism as a guide to action is what made Lenin a great thinker and a popular leader. The result of his creative approach was Bolshevism. “We do not by any means look at Marx’s theory as something complete and untouchable, he pointed out, on the contrary, we are convinced that it only laid the cornerstones of the science which socialists must advance in all directions if they want to keep abreast of life.”
Lenin gives us an example of a thorough approach to every topic. In tackling any issue Lenin started with the study of all available sources. When writing his work The Development of Capitalism in Russia he made 583 references to various sources. The preparatory notes for Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism run to almost 800 pages.
Nadezhda Krupskaya recalled: ”When we lived in London in 1902–1903, Vladimir Ilyich (Lenin) spent half of his time in the British Museum which has a very large library.” In a 1916 letter to his mother Lenin wrote: “We currently live in Zurich. We came here to study at the local libraries.”
Lenin’s sphere of interest was not only social problems. Thus, discoveries in the field of physics prompted him to write his book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Lenin saw the achievements of natural sciences as the beginning of a grandiose scientific revolution. He provided a philosophical grounding for them and developed the doctrine of dialectical materialism, demolished bourgeois theories of Machism, pragmatism and set a brilliant example of creative development of Marx.
A communist must be a staunch adherent of dialectical and historical materialism. That is why the congresses of the CPRF and the plenary sessions of its Central Committee conduct a thorough analysis of modern trends, study their dynamics and the alignment of class forces. If we are to be successful and lead the masses we must exert painstaking effort. It is our immediate task to follow the dialectical method, to develop Marxism-Leninism and on that basis come up with practical conclusions. Without it we cannot ensure the victory of the working people.
Many in the left movement reject the theoretical and practical baggage of previous fighters for socialism. We hear all sorts of things from the adherents of various pseudo-socialisms. This is often the result of inability or reluctance to master our theory in all its depth. These were the people Lenin addressed back in 1920 at the Third All-Russia Congress of the Communist Youth League: “You can only become a Communist when you have enriched your memory with the knowledge of all the wealth worked out by mankind.” Today Lenin’s own ideas have become part of the intellectual treasure-trove of mankind. They occupy the key place in the political life of the modern world.
Globalism: modern form of imperialism
As we mark the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth we must highlight the most important elements of his great ideological legacy.
First, the teaching on imperialism. Joseph Stalin formulated it very precisely: ”Leninism is Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolution”. Analysing the trends in the development of capitalism Lenin came to the conclusion that it had entered its highest and last stage. He identified the main features of imperialism:
– the emergence of monopolies which play the key role in the economy;
– the emergence of financial capital and financial oligarchy;
– priority of export of capital over export of goods;
– formation of monopoly alliances of capitalists who divide up the world;
– final territorial division of the world among the biggest powers
As Lenin stressed, the concentration of social production in the hands of monopolies does not remove capitalist contradictions. Conflicts emerge within states and on the world arena. Economic crises grow ever more profound and destructive. Contradictions between labor and capital become more acute. Monopolies exploit and ruin not only workers, but also peasants and petty bourgeoisie.
Lenin’s thesis on growing reaction under imperialism is very relevant today. Monopoly capitalism establishes its dictatorship. It suppresses the workers’ and democratic movement and eliminates rights and freedoms. Monopoly bosses seek annexations and challenge national independence. Lenin called it a pivot “from democracy to political reaction” and stressed that both in foreign and domestic politics imperialism seeks to violate democracy and to promote reaction. In that sense it is indisputable that imperialism is a negation of democracy in general.”
Equally relevant are Lenin’s words to the effect that Imperialism brings to the working class unprecedented sharpening of the class struggle, poverty, unemployment, high prices, oppression by trusts, militarism, and political reaction which rears its head in all, even the freest of countries.
Under these conditions all talk about “freedom” and “democracy” serves one purpose: to distract and dupe the popular masses. In reality, as Lenin never tired of stressing, financial capital and monopolies “everywhere bring dominance and not freedom.”
The oligarchs’ pursuit of profit and deepening contradictions under imperialism lead to devastating military conflicts and world wars. Weakened and divided by reaction, democratic strata are often unable to stop the doings of criminal warmongers. Bringing about unity calls for a core proletarian force.
Lenin’s discovery has lost none of its relevance today.The features of imperialism have not gone away, and globalization has brought all the contradictions to a head. Thus, the concentration, in the hands of the monopolies, of the means of production, sources of raw materials, transport, communications, scientific and technical discoveries and skilled workers and engineers has reached an all-time high. Five hundred corporations dominate the US economy.Half of them have assets in five or more sectors. They employ 20% of the total workforce and account for 60% of profits.
In 2020 mergers and takeovers account for 4 trillion dollars. The American oil and gas corporation Chevron took over the company Anadarco to become the world’s second largest after ExxonMobil. The merger of the American conglomerate United Technologies with the company Raytheon created a military industrial giant controlling the production of aircraft engines, helicopters, cruise missiles, air defense systems and other weaponry.
In Russia, too, merger and takeover deals account for billions of dollars. Thus, VTB bank has acquired the Magnit chain of stores. Leonid Mikhelson’s gas company NOVATEK bought Severneft-Urengoy Geotransgas, Urengoy Gas Company and a number of others.
Global imperialism boosts the role of transnational corporations. A major company today is a complicated multi-sectoral complex of production, trade, financial and investment structures. Through a network of contractors and subcontractors it is linked with a multitude of small and medium-sized enterprises which can only be called independent by a stretch. By spreading production to various countries, the mother company sprouts a host of branches. But the decision-making center in this international conglomerate is still the main headquarters.
TNTs are far more effective than other companies. They are in a position to avoid customs barriers, accumulate capital in the most profitable areas and allocate massive resources for R/D.
Capitalization of the leading TNCs exceeds the GNPs of most countries. They control over half of world industrial production, more than 60% of global trade, more than 80% of the world body of patents and licenses for new technology.
As pointed out by Lenin, the dominance of the TNCs in the world is ensured by capital export. Foreign direct investments increased 20-fold between 1982 and 2006, with 90% of them coming from the TNCs. One percent of the biggest corporations control 50% of all foreign investments.
Only a small part of the world economy functions in a free-market environment. Internal transfer prices are set by the corporations. In general, TNCs operate strictly according to plan, which guarantees success. This is what offered competitive advantages to the Soviet Union. The founder of the Japanese company THK Hirosi Teramachi wrote: ”In 1939 you Russians were smart and we Japanese were foolish. In 1949 you became smarter while we were still fools. In 1955 we got smarter and you became five-year-old kids. Our whole economic system is a carbon copy of yours. All our firms display your Stalin-era slogans.”
Contrary to what the demagogues say, globalization has not changed the nature of capitalism. Lenin’s epoch-making work Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism is prophetic. It explains the modern world even more than it explains the world vintage 1916.
The best brains of our time are coming to the conclusion that economic and political colonialism has not gone away. It is more sophisticated and tough than in the 20th century. The onslaught on the sovereignty of states continues. The national liberation movement is suppressed. Cultural diversity is supplanted by the consumer ersatz culture. As William Robinson writes, globalization supplants the nation state as the main principle of social life under capitalism.
The world economy is becoming transnational economy. Liberal ideologists would have us believe that this process is not connected with capitalism and speak about a “post-capitalist” reality. But, as the British researcher Barry Jones notes, globalization is the highest stage of the capitalist integration of the world economy. And his colleagues add that capitalist relations are both expanding and deepening to embrace the ever multiplying areas of human activity.
Let us be clear: if globalization reflects objective processes of integration of countries and peoples globalism is the modern form of imperialism which smothers the world in its embrace.
Fraudsters and robbers
The ideological basis of globalism is neo-liberalism. During the 9th Plenary Session of the CC CPRF in October 2019 we recalled that its founding father is considered to be Friedrich Hayek, Austrian economist and philosopher and a fierce anti-Communist. His ideas are a cross between fascism, social racism and the colonialist theory of world-wide expansion of capital. Hayek’s pupil, Freedman, turned Chicago University into a factory of neo-liberals. Its graduates were co-workers and advisers of Indonesian strongman Suharto, Chilean general Pinochet, and Russia’s usurper Yeltsin.
The Chicago school gave final shape to the neo-liberal program. Its key principles are withdrawal of the state from the economy, total sweeping privatization, complete freedom of trade, a cut of social spending and the seizure of all the sectors by the private economy. In politics, neo-liberalism seeks to destroy national sovereignty and consolidate the power of global capital to sow “managed chaos” as a means of establishing a new world order, all under the guise of an “open society.” The state is assigned the role of a watchdog guarding the interests of capital against the people. As we have stressed in the materials of the last CC Plenum, “While formally inheriting the slogans of free speech and democratic elections, neo-liberalism rules out the expression of real popular will. It recognizes only total power of capital, the right of tightwads to grow richer and of all the others to grow poorer and eke out a meagre existence.”
The nature of neo-liberalism smashes to smithereens starry-eyed theories of “humanization of capitalism.” Impoverishment of the working people, growing inequalities and injustices, violence and reaction in every area – all this tallies with Lenin’s description of capitalism. The Western Marxist philosopher David Harvey notes such methods of capitalism as use of force, fraud, predatory practices and plunder.
There are examples galore that vindicate his assessment. The number of hungry people in the world is constantly growing. According to the July 2019 UN Report on Food Security, 821 million people suffer from hunger and the number of malnourished people has reached two billion. Poverty, hunger and lack of accessible healthcare are yielding their gruesome fruit. Five million children die every year before they reach the age of five. Two billion people have no access to clean drinking water. The UN admits that the target of eliminating extreme poverty will not be reached by 2030.
The World Inequality Report submitted by a team led by Thomas Picketty and Facundo Alvaredo states that in the last 30 years income inequality has increased in almost all countries. The fastest growth has been in Russia, the US and the Asian countries. The reason was the collapse of the USSR and the advent of neo-liberalism. Big business, of course, has taken advantage of it. Sweeping privatization, change of tax system, more difficult access to education and curtailment of social programs have done their job. Fifty percent of the world’s poor earn half the income of 1 percent of the world’s rich. And the gap is widening constantly.
The former socialist community is experiencing a dramatic cleavage. In Russia the share of incomes of the wealthiest ten percent has spiked from 20 to 55 percent, one of the highest indicators in the world.
Back in the 1990s, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stieglitz attested: “Shortly after I came to the World Bank I began looking into what was going on and into strategies. When I voiced my concern about the state of affairs, a World Bank economist who played a key role in privatization vehemently objected. He cited Mercedes cars stuck in traffic in Moscow and shops chock-full of luxury items. I conceded that many Russians had become so rich as to cause traffic jams and create demand for Gucci shoes. But traffic jams caused by Mercedes cars in a country where per capita income is 4730 dollars (1997) is a sign of malaise and not health. It clearly shows that wealth in society is being concentrated in the hands of a few and not distributed among the majority.
The picture is even more striking if one looks not at incomes, but at ownership of the national wealth. According to the Credit Suisse annual world wealth review, half of the planet’s wealth is owned by 1% super-rich.
This is not surprising considering that after 2010 the total wealth of billionaires has been growing at the rate of 13% a year, that is, six times faster than the incomes of wage and salary earners. After 1980 nearly all countries, whether wealthy or developing, saw a massive flow of property from the state to the private sector, the authors of the World Inequality Report explain. Thus neo-liberal practice makes big business the beneficiary.
In Russia 10% of well-off people have seized 83% of the total wealth of all households. During 2019 the number of dollar billionaires in the country rose from 74 to 110 and of millionaires, from 172,000 to 246,000. Twenty-three richest Russian oligarchs have grown 53 billion dollars richer.
In contrast to those on the Forbes list ordinary Russians continue to grow poorer. Their real incomes have been steadily going down. Today the deepening crisis of capitalism is aggravated by the plummeting oil prices, devaluation of the rouble and the coronavirus epidemic.
Opposition to capital is growing. Studies show that nearly 60% of the planet’s people think that the capitalist system does mankind more harm than good. In some countries three quarters of the population share that view. Mass disaffection with capitalism and the leftward shift of public sentiments are taking place on all the continents. In the US Bernie Sanders got unprecedented support at the primary elections of the presidential candidate. Mass rallies have in recent years swept France, India, Chile and Columbia. Millions of protester all over the world take to the streets to say “No!” to poverty and rightlessness. Capitalist governments have more than once used police and the army against the working people. However, class battles are set to intensify.
The coronavirus pandemic has aggravated the contradictions. The world is facing formidable challenges. Only socialism guarantees an answer to them. This was the case in the USSR which could solve the most acute issues. This has been demonstrated by China which has managed to stop the dangerous epidemic through mobilization and collective concerted actions.
The point is that the main threat to humankind is the virus of capitalism. Diverse manifestations of the global crisis are harbingers of the system’s collapse scientifically predicted by Lenin. The inevitable collapse is already manifesting itself in the consciousness of the people who rebel against the system of exploitation, injustice and wholesale lies.
Russia too is facing increased class confrontation. The struggle against the pension reform and in defense of People’s Enterprises demonstrates the unifying potential of the CPRF. Occasionally, the bourgeoisie makes concessions. But it will not voluntarily abandon neo-liberal policies. Capital would rather drown the world in blood than reign in its appetite. Fearing popular protest, it falls back on the most egregious ideas. It encourages fascism in Ukraine and in the Baltic countries. It foments religious extremism setting Sunnites against Shiites in the Middle East, Muslims and Hinduists in India. Its racism manifests itself in persecution of Indians in Brazil and Bolivia. An instance of cave-age anti-communism was the resolution of the European Parliament which equated communism and fascism and blamed the USSR for starting the Second World War. To help all those who are combating the cynical lies I have written an article “The Great Victory of the Soviet Civilization: Slanderous Myths and the Truth of History.” I encourage you to make active use of the facts and arguments set forth in it.
The eve of socialist revolution
Globalism has yet another characteristic of imperialism noted by Lenin. It is the re-division of markets by the “great” powers and the monopolies that stand behind them. The treacherous destruction of the Soviet Union eliminated a dangerous enemy and gave the transnational companies a huge market. For a short time this stabilized the capitalist system. But the appetites of the market predators demanded more victims. Their greedy bloody mouths tore up Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and tried to devour Syria.
The world financial crisis of 2008 was the most serious crisis since the Great Depression. It exposed the flaws of the very foundations of global capitalism. Shrinking profit margins exacerbate the rivalry over resources and markets. In the USA it became particularly evident after Donald Trump came to power. To secure the profits of American corporations he gave up the tactics of imperialist alliances and chose the path of protectionism and pressure on rivals. This increased tensions with the European Union, Turkey, Japan and provoked a trade war with China.
Economic blows are often followed by military strikes. Such is the logic of imperialism so brilliantly uncovered by Lenin. However, capitalism is not eternal. Having considered its contradictions, Lenin concluded that imperialism is the eve of socialist revolution.
As imperialism develops, financial capital is concentrated and the corporations merge with the state. The oligarchs resort extensively to the government aid mechanisms. This was highlighted in 2008 when governments used every lever to bail out the bankrupt makers of financial bubbles. The same scenario is being used in this year’s events.
Socialization of production in the framework of TNCs is in stark contradiction with the capitalist production relations. These relations, according to Lenin, are a shell which no longer corresponds to the content. It will inevitably rot if its elimination is artificially delayed.
The members of the financial oligarchy are increasingly aware of the winds of historical change. They are increasingly worried by the prospect of the collapse of capitalism. Financier Ray Dalio whose net worth, according to Forbes, stands at 17 billion dollars, recently said that growing inequality creates a revolutionary situation, so the system is in urgent need of reform.
However, it is impossible to heal the sores of capitalism. They can only be temporarily camouflaged. The real answer is to overthrow the inhuman system. The first strike was delivered by the Great October 1917 Revolution. The formation of the Soviet Union, the creation of the world socialist system and the collapse of colonialism shook but not destroyed the capitalist hegemony. The destruction of the USSR provided a respite and injected new blood in the aging body.
However, the course of history cannot be reversed. The systemic crisis worsened again. It is the task of all the oppressed and people of good will to unite in the struggle to destroy capitalism. This perspective alone guarantees a decent future and indeed the survival for humankind. Academic thought has been stressing this more and more. The message is voiced ever louder by such authorities as Nobel laureate Joseph Stieglitz and the most widely read economist, Thomas Picketty.
These are the main conclusions Stieglitz has arrived at: the situation is getting out of control, social injustice has become a threat for the whole world. Also consonant with Marxism are his words to the effect that the dominance of the financial-credit system over the real economy does not only increase inequality and poverty, but is a brake on the world economy as a whole.
Picketty goes even further. He calls for a massive redistribution of the world wealth. He advocates the introduction of legal limits on the amount of capital a person can own. Envisaging total elimination of the oligarchy as a class he proposes socially revolutionary measures.
It has to be stressed that these are not people whom the scientific community regards as oddballs and marginals. Their ideas are at the focus of attention of economists and sociologists. They are discussed in political circles. They are being studied at leading institutions in Europe and America. They are echoed even by those millionaires who understand that if mounting discontent develops into a social upheaval the wind of history will mercilessly sweep away them and their fortunes. It is not by chance that the billionaire Ray Dalio told a conference in Saudi Arabia that in the coming ten years the world economy will see processes that may lead to conflicts and revolutions. Internal clashes in the leading countries will change the entire world order in the coming years. This position was publicly shared by Goldman Sachs President John Waldron.
Total bankruptcy of capitalism is approaching. The processes under way in the world vindicate Lenin’s ideas and demonstrate the great power of his call for socialism. His appeal to humankind strengthens our faith in the victory of the ideas of equality and social justice.
The proletariat is the grave-digger of capitalism
Among Lenin’s most important ideas is the definition of the proletariat’s role in overthrowing the power of capitalism. Following Marx and Engels, he upheld the idea that the historic mission of the working class is to become the grave-digger of capitalism and create a communist society. He wrote that the very conditions of workers’ life make them capable of struggle and prompt them to struggle. Capital gathers workers in large masses in big cities, unites them and teaches them to act together. At every step the workers come face to face with their main enemy, the capitalist class. Fighting this enemy the worker becomes a socialist, realizes the need for total restructuring of the whole society, total destruction of all poverty and all oppression.
Today this argument is one of the main targets of bourgeois ideologists and opportunists of every stripe. They declare that the working class as such no longer exists and that it has been replaced by property owners, if small ones. They have something to lose and they do not want any upheavals. But one has to be realistic. Yes, liberal reforms and de-industrialization have dealt a powerful blow to the Russian working class. It has diminished numerically, has become fragmented and less skilled. However, it still forms the majority of the able-bodied population. According to, the Russian statistical agency Rosstat, there are 67 million hired workers per one million employers. The number of skilled workers in industry, construction, transport and related jobs is close to 19 million. They are the nucleus of the working class.
If one adds hired workers in retailing, fishing and specialists in various industries, described by Engels as proletarians of intellectual labor, it becomes clear that the working class is the biggest social force in Russia.
The same is true of most countries in the world. The total number of hired works on the planet is over 2 billion. Of whom 760 million are employed by industry, 200 million more than twenty years ago and times more than in the early 20th century.
However, it is not only about numbers. Lenin stressed that the strength of the proletariat in historical development is immeasurably greater than its share in the total population. But if the working class is to become the engine of revolutionary change it needs to be conscious of its class interests. The proletariat needs to fully and clearly understand that as long as the bourgeoisie exists it will inevitably be exploited, for the capitalist can gain profit only by exploiting hired labor.
As long as private property and the capitalist market hold sway the power of the bourgeoisie will endure. As long as the productive forces are in capital’s hands the proletarian will sell his labor to survive. There can be no question of justice in these conditions.
Marx and Engels in their time stressed that to liberate itself from exploitation the proletariat must become “a class for itself,” become aware of its special interests, create its own organization and put forward its program. “The proletariat must first and foremost gain political dominance, rise to the position of the national class, constitute itself as a nation, as they wrote in The Communist Manifesto.
It is only relentless struggle for its interests that makes the working class “a class for itself.” Politicization of the workers’ movement begins with economic struggle in the workplace. The struggle of the trade unions against employers is a necessary school for the proletariat. It helps to acquire the habits of organization, and to understand the link between economics and politics.
In his work What Is to Be DoneLenin stressed that the workers’ struggle against factory owners for their daily needs inevitably confronts works with state, political issues, issues of how the Russian state manages, how laws and rules are made and whose interests they serve. Lenin put forward the fundamental principle that socialist consciousness does not appear spontaneously. It is introduced into proletarian masses by the revolutionary party. Thereby he smashed the cerebral constructs of “|economism” which worshipped spontaneity in the workers’ movement and gave priority to the struggle for partial economic improvements.
Instead Lenin underscored the importance of a revolutionary theory. He showed the inseparable interconnection of all forms of the proletariat’s class struggle – political, economic and ideological. Only a Marxist party can be the guiding force of the mass workers’ movement. The party must be its organizer showing the path on the basis of a theory.
The new type of party
Lenin’s genius manifested itself in relation to the issues of party building. “There can be no revolutionary movement without a revolutionary theory,” he wrote. “The role of the advance fighter can only be played by a party guided by an advanced theory.” He did a brilliant job of creating such a party.
Efficient organization and strict discipline in the proletarian party implied a break with clannishness. Lenin pointed out that while “all the healthy and developing social strata of the whole people were in favor of democracy and socialism, in order to wage a systematic struggle against the government we must bring revolutionary organization, discipline and conspiratorial technique to the highest degree of perfection.”
The Marxist organization of the working people must be intolerant of opportunism, revisionism and appeasement. Lenin created just such a party, the party of Bolshesviks. He formulated the principle of democratic centralism which is obligatory for a genuinely communist party. Today it is a fundamental provision of the CPRF Charter.
The Bolshevik Party became a proletarian party of a new type. In terms of its principles, forms and methods of work it fully corresponded to the conditions of the epoch of imperialism and the socialist revolution. The RSDLP Charter developed by Lenin envisaged a party that was a revolutionary fighting unit in which everyone is a dedicated fighter. This was a fundamental difference from the West European parties of the Second International. Committed to legal parliamentary work, they lost their revolutionary character and slid to the path of appeasing the bourgeoisie. We have always kept this in mind, warning the party against being carried away by parliamentarism.
Lenin’s followers rejected the methods of revolutionary Narodniks (Populists) and Socialist Revolutionaries as leading into a dead end. The consequence of the tactics of conspiracies and terror is alienation from the masses. But the Marxist party cannot exist without a close link with the masses and constant work with the masses. Uniting the working class around a Marxist party is a key condition for bringing together all the working people and creating an alliance for a successful socialist revolution. This alliance, Lenin pointed out, is only possible in the form of proletarian dictatorship, that is, the power of the working majority.
Anti-communists use the term “proletarian dictatorship” as a bogey. However, Lenin constantly stressed that its main meaning is not violence but the unification of the majority of working people to destroy the dictatorship of capital. That is why proletarian dictatorship is “a million times more democratic than the most democratic of bourgeois republics.”
History has vindicated Lenin. Creative development of Marxism, the idea of the alliance between the proletariat and the working peasantry, the discovery of Soviets as the best form of the proletarian state made the Great October Socialist Revolution possible. The emergence of the Soviet State marked a major step forward. Humanity’s age-old dream of justice began to be put into practice. The collapse of the class system which divided people into masters and slaves released the forces dormant in the people. Bolshevik discipline was a pre-condition of the Great October Revolution and the victory over the Intervention and the White Guards.
Industrialization, the cultural revolution, the defeat of Fascism, the conquest of outer space were milestones of socialist society’s progress toward the future. The Great October Revolution gave a push to the awakening of the peoples in the colonies and dependencies. Lenin takes the credit for the idea of a united revolutionary-democratic front against imperialism. These tactics brought about the collapse of colonial empires and the victories of revolutionary forces in China, Vietnam, Korea, Laos and Cuba.
Neither the counter-revolution of the early 1990s, nor the collapse of the USSR, nor the ensuing complications in the world communist movement devalued Lenin’s legacy. The crisis of capitalism, impoverishment of the masses, the reluctance of the peoples to languish in a state of injustice make socialism more and more attractive. We have the right to say more: our ideas alone can keep humankind away from the abyss into which the insane policy of capitalism is pushing the world. Like in the years of the struggle against Fascism only the communists are capable of protecting civilization from the wildest reaction.
To achieve our goal we need a party that is strong ideologically, organizationally and morally. We need strict and conscious discipline of the proletariat’s class struggle for the power of the working people. Stalin called it “iron discipline.” The rules of the charter are binding on everyone. for all. The status of the CC member or secretary of the regional party committee is not a document that entitles one to privileges. One should earn the trust of comrades by working with redoubled energy. One should comply with the highest standards.
Lenin’s example of discipline
The party of a new type could not be formed without strict discipline. To appreciate its essence Lenin urged the need to look into the problem of antagonism between the intelligentsia and the proletariat. Like other Marxists, he described the philistine intelligentsia as “flabby” and noted its philosophy of the elect “standing above the masses.” The elect consider party discipline to be something that is obligatory for others, but not for them.
Granted, the antagonism between the intelligentsia and the proletariat is of a different kind that that between labor and capital. A member of the intelligentsia is not a capitalist. He has to sell the product of his labor and often his labor force. He often suffers the exploitation by the capitalist and social humiliation. The intellectual feels no economic hostility toward the proletariat. But his non-proletarian station in life and labor conditions dictate a different mentality. These features were noted by Karl Kautsky whom Lenin unconditionally supported on that point.
In his 1904 article One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward” Lenin, following Karl Kautsky who at the time was still a staunch Marxist, stressed that the proletarian derives all his strength from organization. He feels he is great when he is part of a strong organism. The proletarian conducts his struggle as part of a large mass of comrades-in-arms. He is not after personal benefits or glory, he voluntarily submits to discipline and fulfils his duty in any position.
Not so a member of the intelligentsia. His weapon is not the power of collective action, but personal qualities, knowledge and ability. He recognizes the need for discipline for the mass, but not for the “select few.” Such an attitude obviously is a hindrance in class struggle which demands that all the participants be dedicated to the common goal, the establishment of proletarian dictatorship.
Of course many Social Democrats and Bolsheviks came from intellectual backgrounds. But they became imbued with the proletarian mood and marched in lockstep with the others working in any capacity for the cause of the working class. The authors of The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, set an example of strict adherence to discipline. Life has always divided the intelligentsia into revolutionary, ready to accept rigorous discipline, and bourgeois, which eschewed class struggle. Lenin singled out the worker intelligentsia. Being the frontline unit of the revolution, it paved the way for the proletariat in the struggle against Tsarism and the bourgeoisie. The heroic barricades of the First Russian Revolution produced a galaxy of worker intellectuals: Ivan Babushkin, Kliment Voroshilov, Mikhail Kalinin, Alexander Shotman, Innokenty Dubrovsky, Grigory Petrovsky, Alexander Artyukhin, Anatoly Vanin, and Pyotr Zaporozhets.
Many worker intellectuals died in the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War. Before the war against Fascism they managed on a part-time basis to master sciences and form the core of the body of the builders of socialism.
The Motherland will not forget the outstanding representatives of pre-revolutionary intelligentsia, Academicians Pavlov, Fersman, Vernadsky, literary giants Gorky, Alexey Tolstoy and stage directors Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko.
The hall of fame of the multinational Soviet Union includes the foremost representatives of the working intelligentsia Kurchatov and Korolyov, Semyonov and Kapitsa, Khariton and Landau, Keldysh and Paton, Koptyug and Alfyorov. Theyset shining examples of exceptional discipline, and tireless creative endeavor, carrying on the tradition of the great intellectuals of the proletarian type, Lenin and Stalin.
History has given the CPRF a noble mission, to unite all the thinking and honest people. In the late 19th century Lenin noted that Russia had a “working intelligentsia” and insisted that “we should bend our efforts to constantly broaden its ranks, to meet their high intellectual ambitions so that its ranks should produce leaders of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party.”
To become a real worker- intellectual one has to overcome the bourgeois attitude to discipline. For the party it is not a formal bureaucratic matter divorced from lofty aspirations and moral feelings. The proletarian leader wrote in 1904: “Red-tapism can be translated into Russian as parochialism. Red-tapism means subjugating the interests of the cause to career interests, paying particular attention to localities and ignoring work…”
Lenin stressed that in politics the intellectual’s individualism led to opportunism. He worked unstintingly for party unity. Party discipline elevated the Bolsheviks to the historic role of the proletarian vanguard and its lack plunged the Menshseviks into the quagmire of opportunism.
Bolshevism was tempered in the struggle against Menshevism, which was prone to make concessions to capital, against petty bourgeois revolutionaries (the SRs), and against the intellectual nihilism of anarchists. It sharpened its class approach to the analysis of facts and phenomena avoiding the extremes of “leftie” revolutionism and appeasement of the bourgeoisie.
Bolshevism cultivated the discipline of mutual respect and trust, an exacting attitude to one another, openness and glasnost’. Its indispensable condition is collectivism in work and collegiate decision-making. This is the kind of discipline for which Lenin called the Mensheviks when the RSDLP was still united, until 1912. He called for open party criticism and thought it was inadmissible to “conceal from the party the emerging and growing reasons for a split.” However, according to Lenin, comradely criticism was possible “as long as the struggle does not lead to anarchy and division.”
In 1921 the party faced a crisis in connection with the debate about trade unions. Lenin proposed measures to stop the individualism of the intelligentsia and anarchism. He castigated the “one-sidedness, the tendency to be carried away, exaggeration and obduracy” of Trotsky and the group discipline of the “workers’ opposition as distinct from common discipline.
Lenin’s approach envisaged criticism of substance while not allowing factionalism. Such criticism is called upon to take into account the position of the party and avoid its forms that could help the class enemies of the proletariat. It is inadmissible to use criticism in a speculative way by supplanting it with carping criticism in order to further one’s career.
The twists and turs in the history of the CPSU administered important and tragic lessons to the communist movement. One thing that makes them relevant for us is that the majority of CPRF members are not members of the working class. They are working intellectuals, white-collar workers and members of petty bourgeoisie. Individual work and work in small work collectives makes such people amenable to the influence of individualism and group egoism. This is coupled with the change of generations within the CPRF in the context of anti-communism, which has become part of the state policy in present-day Russia.
The situation demands from us to be principled and strict in working toward common assessments and unity of actions. Paying more attention to the issues of ideology, theory and ideological growth of our comrades is critical. The tough confrontation between the party and the ruling regime once again dictates the cast iron requirement: to unstintingly comply with the norms of democratic centralism.
The generation that joins the party today does not always have firm world view attitudes. It has joined our ranks out of protest sentiments. These new members are not immune to sentiments of facile optimism, careerism and ideological fuzziness. Sometimes our young comrades are prone to petty-bourgeois fussiness and panic, mood swings, surges of activity and depression. The virtual world of social networks tends to obscure the real state of society and a sense of the balance of political forces. The theoretical baggage of many members is wanting.
The cause we serve is very much in need of Leninist ideological firmness. We understand that young communists need proper grounding. For this purpose the party has set up the Political Education Center which is doing an excellent job. We have every reason to thank its organizers and lecturers. Now we can and must go forward. We must do everything to strengthen and deploy party educational programs.
The great Lenin and the Great Victory
We celebrate two dates with a short interval between them: Lenin’s jubilee and 75 years since the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War.
Lenin’s bronze statue,
Ruins of a bombed-out train station.
The Germans entered the town in the evening.
And pulled down the statue from its pedestal…
The Nazi Oberst slept fast at night
And in the morning nearly went mad from fear:
The bronze Lenin was standing as before,
Raised from dust by an invisible force.
This poem by Stepan Schipachev was published in the early days of the Great Patriotic War. It reflected not only a great and moving episode of the clash with Nazism. Today the symbolic message of this poetic story has, if anything, grown stronger. It is a vivid reminder of the constant struggle between the proponents of Lenin’s truth and its enemies.
At the start of the fierce battle against Nazism the great writer, Sholokhov, sent a telegram to Moscow from the village of Veshenskaya: “Dear Comrade Timoshenko, Please accept the Stalin Prize First Class awarded to me for the USSR Defense Fund. I am ready, on your call, at any moment to join the ranks of the Red Army of Workers and Peasants. To defend the Socialist Motherland, the great cause of Lenin and Stalin until the last drop of my blood. Signed: (retired) regimental commissar of the RAWP, author Mikhail Sholokhov.” The signature is of fundamental importance.
In early June of 1941 the Wehrmacht command sent a special order to its troops. It prescribed that commissars and political workers should not be taken prisoner and should be shot on the spot. This was revenge for the principles, the ideas, the staunchness fostered by Lenin. His party, however, could not yield, could not but overpower the grisly Fascist beast.
Vladimir Mayakovsky, a poet of genius, came up with an important poetic formula: “We say the Party and we mean Lenin, we say Lenin, and we mean the Party.” By identifying these two images, Mayakovsky stressed the impeccable spiritual sources of party ideology. Lenin was not only a strategist and organizer, revolutionary and statesman. Lenin was the most enlightened political leader of his time.
His tastes and convictions were formed by Nekrasov, Herzen, Belinsky, Saltykiov-Schedrin and Chernyshevsky. In 1902 he spoke about “the worldwide significance” Russian literature was acquiring. Lenin was proud of Russian culture and called the work of Leo Tolstoy “the mirror of the Russian revolution.” In the difficult year 1918 he had a volume of Fyodor Tyutchev’s verse on his desk, and in 1919 in his article “On the Tasks of the Third International” he drew attention to the novel Fire by Henri Barbusse describing it as an artistically convincing novel exceedingly useful for the formation of an individual’s revolutionary consciousness.
The Russian Revolution gave birth to unique literary characters. Such as the portraits of commissars created by Furmanov in Chapayev, Vishnevsky in An Optimistic Tragedyand Sholokhov in Virgin Land Upturned.
Russian writers were sensitive to the triumphal march of socialism. Progressive writers outside Russia were keenly aware of this sincerity. They responded to the reverberating song of the Russian Revolution. They helped to color the 20th century with the echo of the breakthrough to socialism. This great breakthrough brought up generations of Soviet people who did not bow to the Nazi plague, stood their ground and won.
The personal example of Soviet political workers inspired mass heroism of Soviet soldiers. Inscribed in history are the names of regimental commissar Efim Fomin in the Brest Fortress, Political Instructor Alexander Pankratov who copied the heroic feat of Alexander Matrosov, Political Instructor of a machine-gun company Alexandra Nozadze who died rescuing soldiers under a hail of bullets. Senior Political Instructor of an air squadron Andrey Danilov who shot down and rammed three Messerschmitt planes in June 1941.
The German invaders saw Red Army political workers as the strike force of the Bolshevik Party. The Lenin Political Academy was marked as the prime target on the Moscow map found on a shot-down German airman.
One of the German historians who wrote about the war was Paul Karel, the pen name of SS Obersturmfuhrer Schmidt. He reflects on the role of Red commissars in his book The Eastern Front: ”Since the Battle of Kursk the Soviet commissar was increasingly seen as a helpmate in combating short-sighted commanders and stupid bureaucrats… In reality the commissars were politically active and reliable soldiers who were better educated than the majority of Soviet officers. They could be ruthless, but in most cases they did not spare themselves either.” Coming from the mouth of our enemy it is the highest praise of the strength of our ideology.
In the fight against Fascism the party relied heavily on the power of the word. Stalin’s appeal to “brothers and sisters”reached the depthof the people’s soul. It was stirred by the poignant verses of the Soviet poets. Hearts that have not grown callous are still moved to tears by Konstantin Simonov’s poem “You, Remember, Alyosha, the Roads of Smolensk Province.”“Arise, the Vast Country, ”that anthem of the Great Patriotic War, has a tremendous spirit-lifting appeal.
The word of the Leninist party fought together with the Red Army soldiers. After the war radios beamed across the whole Soviet Union Mikhail Matusovsky’s wonderful song “Commissars:”
You sent people into hand-to-hand battles,
You, political instructors,
Formerly called commisars
Struck at the enemy .
In a burnt-out hut,
After holding out for five days,
You left the last bullet for yourself
As a reward.
In the morning back into the fire.
And the endless road ahead.
Win or die,
This is your main political work.
The Great Patriotic War showed that the ideology of justice and education in the Soviet worldview enabled our fathers and grandfathers to endure under unbearable conditions. Under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party the Soviet people managed to rally for struggle and for victory. The socialist power founded by Lenin presented the world with incredible examples of heroism. Its Red Army commanded by Generalissimo Stalin brought freedom to the peoples of Europe and hoisted a Red Flag over Reichstag. We have protected the victory banner with a hammer and sickle from being barbarously recut by the ruling party. Today, it flies defiantly over the vast country and the Immortal Regiment columns.
The drug against plague
Thirty years of neo-liberalism assured Russia’s retreat on all fronts. The restoration of capitalist ways resulted in tragic regress, de-industrialization, a profound socio-economic and social crisis. In quest of profits the ruling class was unable to accept the grand picture of the future that propelled the Soviet people, inspired them for heroic deeds , discoveries and achievements.
The ruling regime has very different goals. They are thoroughly utilitarian and are geared to the interests of a handful of oligarchs. While their profits are growing, science wilts, high-tech production has been killed, education and healthcare are deteriorating and social inequality is beating all records. The Russian bourgeoisie is not above reaching into the pockets of old people. Disdain for the common people has translated itself into the pension reform and the refusal of the United Russia party to pass a federal law On War Children.
Twenty million of our fellow-citizens live in extreme poverty. But official figures are understated, as even Rosstat has admitted. According to its data, already half of the Russian families cannot afford to buy consumer durables. Only 2.7 percent of Russians can buy anything they like.
Decline of real incomes, miserly benefits, decline of accessibility and quality of health service and education have triggered a new wave of depopulation. Last year natural decline of the population hit a record high in the last 11 years. The inflow of migrants has not compensated for these losses. The population is shrinking again. The main cause of depopulation is the falling birthrate which has hit 80 out of the 85 regions. In Ivanov, Novgorod and some other regions birthrate plummeted by 18-23 percent. The catastrophic character of what is happening is obvious.
The authorities, however, stay the liberal course. Under the plan for privatization of state property for 2020-2022 the VTB bank, Sovkomflot, the Novorossiisk and Makhachkala sea ports and Almazyuvelireksport – hundreds of state assets in all –are to go under the hammer.
Russia’s survival as an independent state is in the balance. Global capital is itching to grab our country’s resources. Our home-grown bourgeoisie will sooner or later cave in to the onslaught of stronger predators. Only the power of working people can save Russia. This too vindicates Lenin’s behests. Pick up and reread the Bolshevik leader’s brilliant work The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It. You will see that every single word sounds like a tocsin and shows the way out of the impasse. Even today the system of measures he set forth is the only one that can save Russia.
The CPRF Program has assimilated Lenin’s behests. It has adapted them to the exigencies of the moment to become our Anti-Crisis Program. The party’s creative ideas have been bolstered by its law-making activities. The Second Oryol Economic Forum summed up our proposals as the starting point of meaningful struggle in parliament and in the street, in the work collectives and together with our allies.
The CPRF team is upholding the interests of the working people honestly, competently and energetically. I.I Melnikov, V.I.Kashin, Yu.C. Afonin, D.G.Novikov, N.C.Kolomeytsev, S.E.Savitskaya, N.M.Kharitonov, N.N.Ivanov, L.I.Kalashnikov, V.S.Shurchanov, K.K.Taysayev, V.V.Chikin, N.O.Komotskaya, O.N.Smolin, A.A.Kravets, N.I.Osadchiy, T.V.Pletneva, S.A.Gavrilov, A.C.Kurinniy, N.A.Octanina, A.A.Ponomaryov, S.I.Kazxaankov, L.G.Paranova, L.N.Shvets, L.N.Dobrokhotov and many others are working each in their area of responsibility.
The CPRF was the party that reacted immediately to the proposal to amend the constitution. The present Main Law is inherited from the Yeltsin era marked by drunkenness and, bloodshed. To cut a long story short, it has to be replaced in its entirety. The authorities, needless to say, stopped short of this. But having “opened” the text of the Constitution the ruling regime indirectly admitted that it does not meet the demands of society.
As a political force it is incumbent upon us to get maximum mileage out of the public debate that has begun. Yes, the authorities are at pains to “moderate” it. But we are used to clashes with the administrative-propaganda juggernaut.
The CPRF has a well-considered position to fall back on. It fully meets the interests of the working people. It needs to be vigorously promoted. Let me remind you of our fifteen main ideas for the reform of the Constitution.
1. The country’s natural resources belong to the Russian people.
2. The Russian people plays the state-forming role in the family of equal peoples.
3. The retirement age is to be 60 for men and 55 for women.
4. Annual indexation of pensions, social benefits and stipends in keeping with the growth of the consumer price index.
5. Minimum wages and pensions not below the living minimum.
6. Utilities rates not higher than 10% of the family income.
7. Control of the work of bureaucrats, fixing the concepts “parliamentary query,””parliamentary investigation.”
8. The right of the State Duma to decide on no-confidence in the government, its ministers, vice-premiers, and the heads of federal executive bodies
9. Election of the Federation Council, governors and mayors by the population by direct secret ballot without “filters.”
10. Election of justices of the peace, regional and city judges.
11. Severe punishment for vote-rigging as an encroachment on the foundations of the constitutional system.
12. Determining economic growth and the welfare of citizens as the tasks of the Bank of Russia.
13. The right of local self-government to a share of tax revenues that guarantees the exercise of its powers.
14. Profound reform of the Constitution in the interests of the people. The formation of a Constitutional Assembly.
15. Adoption of a new law on referendum. Approval of amendments proposed by the Constitutional Assembly in a referendum.
The task facing us today is to continue the agitation campaign and aggressively explain our position. If work is conducted competently our position enjoys the broadest support. For the party and its allies this is an important element of mobilization in the run-up to major election campaign. Preparation for them is already at the focus of attention of the whole Central Committee, especially the CPRF Election Headquarters headed by I.I.Melnikov.
On the whole “repair” of the Constitution meets society’s demand for change. But the ruling circles largely go through the motions and their “reform” has partly become a cover for “setting presidential terms to zero.” Only the CPRF voted against. This fact should be at the focus of the propaganda work of our branches. It is an important watershed in the principled assessment of the behavior of political parties, especially those represented in parliament.
Our party is called upon to unite all the healthy forces in the country in a genuine Popular Front of resistance and victory. We call to unity all those who link their future with Russia rather than preparing “safe landing fields” in the shape of foreign estates and offshore bank accounts.
Only the proletariat led by its party can be the core of victorious unity of the working people. The October 2014 Plenum of the CC was devoted to the position of the working class. Increasing the influence of the CPRF in the proletarian milieu is our key task. The Central Committee has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of attracting the masses of workers to join the ranks of the CPRF and safeguard its proletarian spirit. This is not a bow to tradition, but a pressing need. Only a strong proletarian nucleus can keep at bay petty bourgeois degeneration, opportunistic appeasement, parliamentary illusions and fear of working in the thick of the masses. Lenin warned about this threat saying that “the essence of opportunism is sacrificing the solid and lasting interests of the proletariat to its piddling passing interests.”
The proletarian character of the party implies its growing influence on the working people and on the trade unions. Granted, there are few active trade unions. All the more important is the task of increasing our presence in them. Lenin wrote that “nowhere in the world has the proletariat developed or could develop except through the trade unions, through their interaction with the party of the working people.”
It is only by becoming the vanguard of the workers’ movement and by introducing socialist consciousness in it that we can form a real fighting fist. This is particularly important for the broad popular front. The party can only avoid being diluted by fellow travelers and become the center of left-wing patriotic forces by securing its influence on the workers. Let us remember Lenin’s principle: “through all the compromises, inasmuch as they are inevitable, we have to remain faithful to our principles, our class and our revolutionary task.”
It is impossible to move forward without moving toward socialism. It is our main goal. Everything must be geared to this goal: alliances, compromises, agitation, work in the power bodies, taking part in elections and street activities. This is Lenin’s behest to us, communists in the 21st century: “In educating the workers’ party Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat capable of taking power and leading all people toward socialism, directing and organizing the new system, being a teacher and leader of all the working and exploited people in organizing their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie.”
To strengthen solidarity
In developing his teaching on imperialism, Lenin discovered the law of uneven economic and political development of capitalism. Under such conditions socialist revolutions mature at different times in different countries. From this follows an extremely important conclusion: “Socialism cannot triumph in all countries simultaneously. It will triumph first in one or several countries while the rest will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for a certain period of time.”
Lenin also pointed to the diversity of forms of the transition of nations to socialism. He stressed: “All nations will arrive at socialism, this is inevitable, but they will not do so in quite the same way, each will bring its features to this or that form of democracy, this or that variety of proletarian dictatorship, this or that pace of socialist transformations of various aspects of social life.”
Despite differences in the speed, driving forces and concrete forms of working people’s struggle for socialism their international solidarity is vital. Lenin paid particular attention to internationalism. The betrayal of the Second International leaders who supported the world slaughter confirmed the need for the workers of all lands to unite. One cannot help recalling the massive campaign of solidarity with Soviet Russia in the Western countries. It played a major role in bringing to an end the foreign intervention against the Land of the Soviets.
Lenin takes the credit for discovering solidarity of proletarian and national liberation movements as a form of internationalism. “We are now indeed not only representatives of the proletarians of all countries, but also representatives of the oppressed peoples,” Lenin said in 1920. The same idea would be articulated by Stalin at the 19th Congress of the CPSU.
The growing aggressiveness of globalists makes it necessary to strengthen the international front against the omnipotence of capital. International meetings of communist and workers’ parties are held regularly. The latest one, held in Turkey, was attended by delegations of 74 parties from 58 countries. Joint resolutions and statements help to determine common tactics of anti-capitalist struggle.
The Union of Communist Parties –Communist Party of the Soviet Union has 18 full members and three observer parties. We are currently preparing a congress of our Union which will synchronize watches and make plans for joint activity.
Together with our comrades from across the world we held large-scale events to mark the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. This year is devoted to the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and the 75th anniversary of the Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War. We are determined to hold the international forum, scientific-practical conferences and jubilee events.
Development of bilateral party relations is very important. The links between the CPRF and the Communist Party of China are growing stronger. From the results of our delegation’s trip to the PRC last December a Memorandum on Cooperation was signed. A sequel to the previous agreement, it will last until 2024.
Solidarity with the national liberation movements is exceedingly important. Communist and workers’ parties support the peoples of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East in their struggle against imperialism. We will continue to expose the intrigues of capital which puts on the garb of the champion of “human rights” and national minorities to hide its true nature of conqueror and plunderer.
In spite of the attempts of bourgeois propaganda to bury communism, to ridicule it and consign it to oblivion millions of people across the world refuse to accept the “capitalist paradise.” China and Vietnam are making spectacular progress. The DPRK and Laos are confidently following their courses. Without a doubt, in spite of the “trade wars,” the world economic crisis and the challenge of coronavirus the PRC will soon achieve its goal of putting an end to poverty and building a “medium-income society.”
Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are putting up a heroic fight against imperialism. In spite of heavy external pressure they are implementing major social programs to rescue people out of poverty and ensure accessible healthcare and education.
The communist parties of India, Brazil, the RSA, Japan, Portugal Greece and other countries enjoy great trust. In streets and squares, industrial neighborhoods and remote villages, in parliaments and in the pages of newspapers they uphold the interests of the working people, expose the evils of capitalism, neo-liberalism and work for a socialist future of the planet.
“Destruction of capitalism and its vestiges, the introduction of the communist order forms the substance of the new era in world history which has begun.” These words of Lenin have not been covered with the dust of the previous century. They are featured prominently on our red banner under which we are marching forward toward new victories of the socialist cause.
The mounting left-wing sentiments in Russian society logically enhance the authority of Lenin and Stalin. The reactionaries respond by stepping up anti-Soviet propaganda.
Lenin’s opponents would have us believe that Lenin was strictly a revolutionary which to them is a pejorative term. Well, good luck to them in trying to make a revolutionary breakthrough toward society’s life, in science and culture. It was Lenin’s revolutionary energy coupled with intellectual depth that enabled him to make a gigantic contribution to the development of the science of society, class contradictions, the nature of capitalist crises, the inevitability of the struggle of the oppressed for social justice. A scholar of genius, in his works he convincingly used the method of historical materialism. Proceeding from his scientific work, he accomplished the greatest socio-political revolution in human history.
There is yet another aspect to Lenin’s genius. The opponents of Bolshevism shed crocodile tears over the demise of the Russian Empire, but miraculously forget a simple fact: it had outlived itself, which is why.it came to the end of the road in early 1917. While the Tsarist government plunged the country into a horrible all-embracing crisis, the Provisional Government, within eight months, brought things to a territorial collapse of the country. Lenin received from the capitalist ministers a mercilessly devastated country.
In speaking pejoratively about Lenin the revolutionary his critics paint a portrait of a wrecker, very much in the Solzhenitsyn style. They deliberately keep silent about the colossal achievements of the first Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars in state-building. These gentlemen refuse to recognize Lenin as an outstanding state builder. However, the Nobel Prize winner and British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russel noted that statesmen of Lenin’s stature appear in the world not more frequently than once in a century and many of us are unlikely to live to see anyone equal to him. Our century will arguably go down in history as the age of Lenin and Einstein.
Today the world witnesses a resurgence of appalling ignorance. However, the dismantling of monuments to Lenin in Ukraine and other acts of vandalism merely confirm the grandeur of the genius and the relevance of his legacy. The large-scale struggle in the world is mounting and Lenin remains the right-flank man on the barricades of our time. The many volumes of his works, his ideological and theoretical legacy, and the practical successes of socialism in the 20th and 21st centuries continue to fight for a just life, for the interests of the working people and human dignity.
The spiritual heirs to Fascists are having a field day not only in Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries. In Russia too they promote anti-Sovietism and Russophobia, erect Yeltsin centers and call for disinterring the people buried in Red Square. Anti-communists of various degrees of aggressiveness persist. They praise Mannerheim, Kolchak and Krasnov. Yielding to their pressure the Lenin Mausoleum is hidden from view by plywood shields during Mayday parades. Their adepts try to erase Lenin’s all-embracing legacy : ideological, theoretical, revolutionary-transformative and Soviet creative.
The attempts of the anti-Sovieteers to belittle the stature of Lenin remind us of the age-old truth: those who try to falsify and devalue geniuses are typically those who are unable to create anything great themselves. Outstanding figures tell the truth articulately and convincingly. The outstanding scientist Albert Einstein made a profound assessment of Lenin. He said he respected Lenin who had committed all his strength with utter self-denial to implementing social justice. People like him are custodians and renewers of mankind’s conscience.
These are words to ponder. Today they help the communists to become aware of their responsibility to defend Lenin’s name and give us the strength to fight to put his ideals into practice.
We see anti-communism and Russophobia merging in their destructive fervor. Their joint opposition toLenin’s legacy is not accidental. By denigrating the great teaching, distorting history they seek to deprive the people from its will for freedom and justice, to rob it of the qualities instilled in it by the mission of being pioneers of a new society. Their cherished dream is to do away with Lenin’s legacy. But theirs is a losing battle. Those who drag the world backward are doomed.
Even among Lenin’s ideological enemies there were many who had the courage to recognize his historical justice and grandeur. The Russian religious philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev, after rethinking in emigration the experience of the October Revolution, wrote this about Lenin: “His character epitomized the traits of the Russian people: simplicity, integrity, dislike of embellishments and rhetoric, practical sense. Personally, he was not cruel. Russia was threatened by anarchy, disintegration, which was stopped by the communist dictatorship that found the slogans to which the people agreed to submit.”
Lenin’s puny detractors used every trick in the book to decry him. Digging into his background some “patriots” failed to understand that Lenin epitomized the best features of the Russian soul. That was what made him universal. He is just as broad and boundless as the boundless spaces developed by the Russian people. Only such a soul could love everyman irrespective of color of the skin and eye shape. That is why he was heeded, understood and praised in various parts of our planet.
Lenin was on the lips of Ernst Thalmann who died in Hitler’s prison, Lenin inspired Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh who wrested their peoples from the colonial inferno. Lenin called Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara to carry out a heroic revolution in Cuba. Lenin gave strength to Nelson Mandela in the struggle against apartheid. Lenin helped Hugo Chavez to revive hope for the victory of socialism in the 21st century.
Lenin became the symbol of resolute struggle and grandiose creative endeavor. His name was on the lips of Korolyov and Gagarin who ushered in the space era. The people who accomplished a flight into the future” stood on the shoulders” of Lenin’s GOELRO plan. For the Soviet power it was more than just a great economic project. “The lamp of Ilyich” illumined the path for centuries ahead. It made universal education possible. It flung the doors open for creative fulfilment of millions.
“Man sounds proud”
Stalin picked up Lenin’s line not only by the grandiose pace of the Five-Year Plans and by building a powerful industry. He did everything for the cultural revolution to transform the country to enable his people to say, “Man sounds proud.”
“I am just a humble pupil of Lenin,” Joseph Stalin used to say. He was loyal to his teacher when he showed concern for steady intellectual, spiritual and cultural growth of the popular masses. He glorified the great deeds of forebears. He reminded people of the great achievements in national history. He spoke loudly about the world significance of the Russian literature by celebrating the centenary of Pushkin’s birth in 1937.
The present authorities cast aside the revolutionary-democratic trend of Russian classics. This made the teaching of literature in high school and university unhistorical. More than that. Such an education process crudely distorts the consciousness of the young generation in the formative period.Leo Tolstoy is now merely a religious philosopher and moralist and not “the mirror of the Russian Revolution.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky is no longer a realist who exposed social ills, but only a searcher for God. Sergey Yesenin is just a lyrical poet and not a man who eulogized Lenin in Anna Snegina.
And what of Mayakovsky? What of Sholokhov? They cannot be separated from communism. Anti-Soviet bureaucrats have found a way out. “So much the worse for them, they decided and threw their names out of the school curricula.
As a result a Unified State Exam generation grew up. They are not only innocent of Nikolay Ostrovsky. They cannot even recognize Pushkin and Lermontov. This is not only a subject of caustic jokes. It is a national tragedy. The tragedy has its cause, its source. It is struggle against the communist ideology. Absolutely logically it was crowned with the triumph of the neo-liberal ideology. Attempts to hide the facts and gloss over the situation, to clothe liberal dogmas in the garb of drum-beating “patriotism” have failed. Their destructive essence is doing its job.
But the wind of history can blow away the litter of falsification. Today 46% of young people aged between 18 and 25 choose socialism and 81% have a positive attitude to socialist ideas. These figures open up enormous opportunities for us. We have yet to make full use of them.
Joseph Stalin said: “The youth is our future, our hope… it must carry our banner to a victorious end.” But if the young are to confidently carry on our cause they must go through a school of communist education. The task of a communist and a young communist is to study Marxism, to understand the laws of social development, to learn the facts and phenomena of our time and gain an insight into present-day reality and the trends of its development. One must be able to select from the body of knowledge what is necessary for victory.
Lenin called on young people to imbibe the knowledge acquired by humankind. He thought it was important to supplement it by education: “Our school must equip youth with the fundamentals of knowledge, the ability to work out communist view themselves, turn them into educated people, … participants in the struggle for liberation from the exploiters.”
Yeltsin’s reformers made a concerted effort to squeeze character education out of university and school. They said it was necessary to cleanse education of features that are not inherent in it. This was done in order to burn out the Soviet spirit, its values of honor, truth, justice, respect for the military and labor feat of the popular heroes. Soviet education was permeated with lofty civic and patriotic feelings. This was a great hindrance for destructive reforms, for grabbing national property and for declaring that “Patriotism is the refuge of scoundrels.”
Lenin stressed that the Young Communist League must combine its education and upbringing with “the labor of workers and peasants.”“Everyone must see, he insisted, that each member of the Young Communist League is literate and at the same time is able to work…The Young Communist League must bring up all its members through conscientious and disciplined work…” “Not to wait for young people to come to you, but go out and work with them where the youth is.” These are the words of Molotov addressing youth on the 15th anniversary of the Young Communist League. They are still a guide to action for today’s YCLers.
In the year that sees the jubilees of Lenin’s birth and the Great Victory every communist and our youth have every opportunity to prove themselves. The special call-up to the party and the YCL should reinforce our ranks. We must ramp up this work.
As part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany we expect an energetic response to the Garden of Memory – Garden of Life action, support for the social-patriotic relay march Our Great Victory, and participation in the Party’s massive work in the support of the anti-Fascist forces which are crucial for the emergence of statehood of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
The Stalin Regiment has become a significant part of the Immortal Regiment action. Our activists will carry portraits of Generalissimo Stalin, the Victory marshals and anti-Fascist heroes. It is becoming a good tradition that needs to be consolidated.
The CPRF in the State Duma has raised the issue of systematic financing of the search units, the movement which seeks to recover the names of the heroes who died in the Great Patriotic War. Our young comrades and their instructors are actively conducting this work in Sebastopol and Belgorod. Moscow and the Moscow Region.
The cause of enlightening youth was served by the Banner of Our Victory action. The teach-ins The Nation’s Young Heroes, We Were the First, Victory Commanders, Lessons in Courage acquitted themselves well. As part of the Land of Talents project the YCL members of Crimea, the Astrakhan, Belgorod, Samara and Sverdlovskregions were the most active.
We pay great attention to the health of our nation.. We give priority to the most popular sports. The CPRF Sports Club is going from strength to strength. We look forward to a tough mini-football match against Barcelona team in the UEFA champions’ semi-final. We organize childrens’ and youth tournaments in various sports in the capital and the provinces.
The Red Scarf Young Pioneers movement has more than 200,000 members. These boys and girls have taken an oath to serve their Motherland and the ideals of justice and have given a pledge to help veterans. The Moscow, Irkutsk, Oryol, Volgograd Regions and the Republic of Altai have accumulated useful experience in developing the Young Pioneers movement. Thousands of young boys and girls took part in the ceremony of joining the Young Pioneers in Red Square.
One frontline initiative is aimed at involving young people in the struggle for socio-economic and political rights. After Anti-Capitalism actions and the formation of the Discourse student trade union further steps are needed to strengthen our influence on young people in Russian society.
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Ideological struggle continues day and day out. A lot of lies are flying about in the world about Lenin, Stalin and Soviet power. However, surprisingly, they had all been exposed as lies even before they appeared. They had been exposed by a whole galaxy of politicians, scientists and cultural figures of world stature. They have attested in a vivid and convincing way to Lenin’s greatness, the scale of his personality, the influence of his genius, his impact on contemporaries and descendants, and his colossal world historic role.
The French Nobel Prize-winning author Romain Rolland thus responded to Lenin’s death: “I do not know of a more powerful individuality in modern Europe. His will has so deeply furrowed the chaotic ocean of flabby humankind that his trace remains in the water for a long time and from now on his ship, braving the storms, is moving in full sail toward a new world.
The space exploration pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky wrote: “Lenin initiated the cause which over time will embrace the whole Earth, all its population. As time goes on Lenin’s stature will grow. No one had so much faith in the creative power of the masses, and no one has expressed the cherished thoughts and aspirations of the people so accurately and completely. He is pure of heart, deep of reason, infinitely just and clairvoyant. Lenin is the greatest genius that ever lived and I call him great without reservations.”
Lenin’s heart, which responded so readily to the suffering of the oppressed masses, stopped beating almost a century ago. But his great ideas live on. As does his example of dedicated, selfless service to the cause of liberating mankind. This great example inspires us for new battles. It leads us to the victory of honest work, rule of the people and social justice.
It is the duty of communists in the 21st century to make it a century of the triumph of socialism. May Lenin’s example give us strength, confidence and the presence of victors.