The Hyphen War



“Marxism-Leninism” is neither Marxist nor Leninist

The recent split of the PCB was a surprise, with the formation of the Brazilian Communist Party – Revolutionary Reconstruction (PCB-RR) and, even more, the dispute over the terms “Marxist” and “Leninist” or “Marxist-Leninist”, which the latter has long been in semi-disuse. As in the USSR, the category “Marxist-Leninist” is even proposed as a touchstone capable of detecting all impurities and ideological deviations.

On January 16, 2023, Gabriel L. Fazzio, today a prominent member of the PCB-RR, published a long article, with a neo-Stalinist bias, defending the pro-hyphen position – “The Leninist development of Marxism”. That is, proposing that “Leninism” constituted a work that “synthesizes contemporary revolutionary theory”, in such a finished sense that, outside of it, there would be “no” “true Marxism”. [FAZZIO, 2023.] Unless I'm mistaken, we still don't have an equally detailed article in defense of the opposite proposal.

sting fall

A union, with a hyphen, of the production of “Marxism”, of the XNUMXth century, presented as a non-revolutionary era, with “Leninism”, which would absorb the previous production and synthesize all the revolutionary theory corresponding to the XNUMXth century, the era of imperialism , monopoly capitalism and the proletarian revolution. In “Marxism-Leninism”, therefore, would be found the basis for the solution of all current dilemmas of the revolution.

The bibliography on the birth of the concept “Marxism-Leninism” is rich, with a synthetic, excluding and conclusive content, and not just as a synonym of revolutionary Marxism. Category never sanctioned by Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin, since after their deaths. [MARIE, 2009; CARR, 1968.]

The literature on the decline in the use and abuse of the concept “Marxism-Leninism” is poorer, when those who can among its defenders are saved, due to the dissolution of the political-state apparatuses that supported it, with emphasis on the USSR , in 1991, when the world victory of the counter-revolutionary tide. [FITZPATRICK, 2023; MAESTRI, 2021 [A].]

Russia's invasion of Italy

It is little studied Revival neo-Stalinism of recent years. A phenomenon fueled by the weakening of the world of work, especially after the “Fall of the Berlin Wall”, and by the dynamism of capitalist restoration in China and the Russian Federation, presented as the new Damascus Road of the left, which would require, however, to endure, for up to a century, the capitalist heel, before reaching socialism.

In Brazil, the great prophet of “market socialism” was the Italian neo-Stalinist and faker Domenico Losurdo (1931-2018). At the end of the 1970s, this card-carrying “Marxist-Leninist” proposed the union of the Italian Maoists, among whom he was active, to the neo-fascists, to imperialism, to the Italian army, to NATO. All to face an upcoming invasion of Italy by the USSR, supported by the Italian Communist Party. [MAESTRI, 2021. [A].]

Equally important in the spread of neo-Stalinism, especially among young militants, was the inability of organizations claiming to be Trotskyism in responding to the crisis of the 1980s. in the 1930s, with no ties to the world of work, often plunging into enormous confusion.

Birth of “Marxism-Leninism”

The apology of “Marxism-Leninism” never dwells on the emergence of the category, in the 1930s, as a State ideology and restrictive meaning, anathematizing everything and everyone that was not within that enclosure. And, above all, as political-ideological support for the growing criminal repression that liquidated tens of thousands of Bolsheviks and dissidents, under the accusation of deviation or betrayal of “Marxism-Leninism”, very soon renamed “Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism”. [SERGE, 1987; CILIGA, 1938.] The permanence of that carnage in the DNA of “Marxism-Leninism” is one of the reasons for the effort to recover J. Stalin and Stalinism by its defenders. [MARTENS, 2003; LOSURDO, 2019.]

From 1956, the “Stalinist” extension of “Marxism-Leninism” was abandoned, without further reflection, in the USSR and in the parties of Moscow discipline, due to the denunciation of the crimes of Stalinism, by Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), as exclusive product of your former maximum boss. O Koba served as a “piranha bull” for the liberating passage of the endless herd of bureaucrats committed to the repressive hecatomb.

In Brazil, the Stalinist PCB transformed itself, without major bumps, always under the direction of Luís Carlos Prestes (1898-1990), into a post-Stalinist one. The discordant note was the birth of the PCdoB, which continued to worship the “Father of the Peoples” and, later, embraced “Marxism-Leninism” in the Chinese flavor. [CHILCOTE, 1982.] In China, in the meantime, “Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-President Mao-Ze-Tung Thought” had emerged. And, in continuation, the “Marxism-Leninism” of Enver Hoxha (1908-1985), in tiny Albania, when China embraced Yankee imperialism in an anti-USSR bias. All proposing legitimate “Marxism-Leninism”. [GUILLERMAZ, 1973; MAESTRI, 2021 [B].]

Origin of “Marxism-Leninism”

The construction and dominance of “Marxism-Leninism” was born out of the clash between the left and right policies of the Bolshevik Party, with the oscillation of a centrist bureaucracy concerned only with the maintenance and expansion of its privileges. The left defended the need to accelerate industrialization, from the gradual collectivization of agriculture, to the restoration of the working class and the economy decimated by the World War [1914-1918] and the Civil War [1918-1923].

In 1923, León Trotsky kicked off the campaign against bureaucracy and the creation of the “Left Opposition” with the publication of articles, gathered in the booklet New course. In it, he pointed out the serious process of bureaucratization of the Bolshevik Party and the State, which were confused, and the fragility of the Soviet proletariat. He recalled that the USSR lived under dictatorship in the “name of the proletariat” and not the dictatorship of a semi-non-existent proletariat. [TROTSKY, 2023.]

The right-wing bloc defended the permanent maintenance of the New Economic Policy [NEP], voted, in 1921, as a transitory measure, to relieve a drained country, liberalizing mercantile-capitalist production. On January 21, 1924, Lenin's death exacerbated that dispute, with the union against the left and L. Trotsky of the main leaders of the party who disputed the leadership of the USSR.

The Left Opposition was born weakened due to the strength of the New Political Economy [NEP]; the fragility of the industrial proletariat; to the consolidation of the bureaucratic apparatus. She placed her hopes, in reversing the course of the CPSU's orientation, in the advance of the world revolution that ebbed, with emphasis on Germany, in 1924. In 1927, the Chinese Revolution was defeated. The ebb of the world revolution paved the way for the consolidation of the bureaucracy in the USSR. [BROUÉ, 1964; SERGE, 1971.]

capitalist restoration

León Trotsky was, after Lenin, the most prominent and recognized Bolshevik leader in the USSR. He had been the last president of the Petrograd soviet in 1905, he had directed the building of the Red Army, he had won the Civil War. [TROTSKY, 1968.] The main leaders of the old guard and the bureaucratic caste feared that Lenin's position would put an end to the NEP, advance the accelerated reindustrialization of the country. Trotsky had, however, a strongly exposed “Achilles heel”. He had lately joined the Bolshevik Party and had for years engaged in a strong debate with V. Lenin. [CARR, 1964.]

Lenin's death was followed by a campaign, by no means innocent, to build his cult and consecrate the terms “Leninism” and “Marxism-Leninism”, even without the subsequent content. In Red Square, his embalmed body was preserved in a mausoleum. He came to be presented as the theoretical-spiritual embodiment of the Revolution. There was an attempt to increase the weakened support for the new order, especially among the multitudes of peasants of orthodox Christian beliefs.

In 1924, in the rehearsal October's Lessons, L. Trotsky questioned Kamenev and Zinoviev for opposing Lenin's proposed insurrection. [TROTSKY, 1979.] However, they had defended the bourgeois-democratic policy built under the direction of Lenin, who had proposed the urgent need to overcome it with the April Theses of 1917. Both centered their responses, not on the proposals of the Left Opposition, but in the publication of past political disagreements between L. Trotsky and V. Lenin.

After the beginning of World War I, especially Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg formed the left platoon of European Marxism, arguing as equals, when they disagreed. In the years prior to 1917, polemicizing, harsh epithets had flown between Lenin and Trotsky, as usual at the time. Kamenev and Zinoviev constructed and spread the term “Trotskyism” with the meaning of “anti-Leninism”.

revolution in danger

The decontextualized Lenin-Trotsky disputes armed the fight against the main critic of the bureaucracy and, afterwards, contributed to the decimation of the Bolshevik left, during the blood tide of the mid-1930s. [BROUÉ, 1966.] Anti-Trotskyism became one starts from the constitutive nucleus of “Marxism-Leninism”.

In fighting bureaucratization and defending industrialization, L. Trotsky was obliged to emphasize his essential agreements with Lenin and downplay past disagreements, even when he, not Lenin, had been right. N. Bukharin emerged as the main advocate of the continuation ad eternum of the NEP, supported by the party and the state, represented by J. Stalin. [COHEN, 1990.]

J. Stalin, a militant without brilliance and prestige, had progressed through the apparatus as a protégé of V. Lenin, who supported his nomination as General Secretary of the Party. Moments before his death, Lenin recommended in his “political testament”, never disclosed to the Party, the replacement of his former protégé, for brutality. J. Stalin did not give birth, but was given birth by the bureaucracy, cohered by small, medium and large privileges, in a country and time where, what was not lacking, it was rationed. Stalin's fingerprints were indelibly imprinted on the crimes of the bureaucracy. [MARIE, 2011.]

The bureaucracy is scared

At the end of the 1920s, the formation of the Bolshevik Party had changed in relation to 1917. Especially during the Civil War [1918-1923], in a situation of growing weakness of the proletariat, the party was infiltrated by careerists and technicians, officials, administrators , etc. from the pre-revolutionary era, with capabilities still rare in the USSR and without commitment to the revolution or sympathy for Bolshevism. [BROUÉ, 1969.]

In those years, industrial workers experienced very harsh living conditions, while the entrepreneurs that emerged with the NEP prospered in the cities and the rich peasants in the fields. State and Party bureaucrats, clinging to their privileges, often associated with private companies. Restaurants, hotels, cabarets, luxury brothels proliferated, while many workers went to work barefoot. [CILIGA, 1938.]

In November 1927, L. Trotsky was expelled from the USSR while the Left Opposition was severely repressed. He had previously warned about the “Scissors Crisis” – the gap between the high prices of industrial products and the low prices of rural products, due to fragile industrial production. With support from the Bolshevik Party, the peasants pressed for increases in agricultural prices and greater political power. The “grain strike” threatened the cities with famine and the return of the confiscation of peasant production and depressed the limited investments in industrialization.

The bureaucracy understood that the continuation of the NEP and the alliance with N. Bukharin and the Bolshevik right would lead to counter-revolution, as the Left Opposition had denounced. The counter-revolution in the USSR would put an end to Soviet society, and with it, the privileges of bureaucrats, threatening their very lives. [CARR & DAVUEM, 1968.]

Authoritarianism and incompetence

At the end of 1928, radically reorienting itself in its positions, J. Stalin, his team and the parasitic bureaucracy broke with N. Bukharin, put an end to the NEP, appropriated the program of the Left Opposition, without any attention to the methods of implementation proposed by her and presented by the economist E. Preobrazensky. [PREOBRAJENSKY, 1979; BUKHARIN and PREOBRAZENSKIJ, 1973.]

The Left Opposition had defended the financing of industrialization with part of rural income, appropriated through fiscal mechanisms; unequal exchanges between urban and rural products; collectivization of the best lands, made profitable by exploration with advanced instruments and techniques, giving prestige to the collectivization of the countryside. It was a question of accelerating industrialization without putting the cart before the horse or moving the cart without horse, as ended up being done.

The rustic bureaucracy, distrusting and fearing the workers, imposed industrialization and general collectivization of the land, forced, authoritarian, voluntary, without effective planning. They caused immeasurable damage, for decades, to the Soviet economy, especially agriculture and means of transport.

Peasants were forced to hand over their land, animals, tools and work the collectivized land with tools suitable for family exploitation, which determined a sharp drop in rural production. What would be repeated, in different situations, by Mao Zedong, when he made the so-called Great Leap Forward, in 1958-60, with similar disastrous results. [GUILLERMAZ, 1973, 1959; MAESTRI, 2021.]

The Holodomar, in Poland, with millions of starving peasants in 1931-1933, at the beginning of forced collectivization, was not an invention or an event due to the Machiavellian malice of J. Stalin, as proposed by the Ukrainian right. It was the product of the enormous incompetence, sufficiency and brutality of the Stalinist team. A less obtuse bureaucratic secretary general would certainly not have changed the course of events, but it might have lessened the hecatombs produced by J. Stalin's enormous incompetence.

revolt of the fields

There was enormous opposition and general resistance from the peasants who slaughtered their animals, by the millions, to eat them, produce clothes, not deliver them to the State. Party members appeared with their throats cut on country lanes, and small upheavals broke out across Russia. Opposition was mainly rural, but it also reached the city, with workers subjected to increasing work rates and decreasing wages.

The general economic disaster was explained by the bureaucracy as exclusively due to counter-revolutionary sabotage. Repression spread across the country, with the imprisonment, deportation and exploitation of millions of peasants. [CARR & DAVUESM, 1968.]

The repression hit the Bolshevik militancy that had participated in the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War, with real paroxysm during the Moscow trials, with the execution of some of Lenin's closest companions. [BROUÉ, 1966.] It was about rewriting history and building a new party, with no roots in the past. What has been achieved. [MAESTRI [A].]

final solution

Concomitant with the Moscow Trials, the “final solution” was imposed on what was left of the Left Opposition militants and other imprisoned dissidents, shooting without trial, by the thousands. [BROUÉ, SD; CANARY, 21/11/2019.] One hand can count the imprisoned Trotskyist militants who escaped the massacre, such as Victor Serge and Ante Ciliga, who wrote heartbreaking pages about Stalinist hell. [SERGE, 1987; CILIGA, 1938; JOFFE, 1978.]

The bureaucratic dictatorship kept intellectual production under strict control. Stalinist-era ideologues walked a razor's edge interpreting the uncertain winds coming from the Kremlin. The centerpiece of the control of consciences was the imposition of “Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist” scholasticism, with which the action, memory and production of Russian and European revolutionary Marxists were excommunicated.

 With the consolidation of the bureaucracy in the USSR, the so-called “Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism” and, later, “Marxism-Leninism”, spread throughout the world, as an instrument of submission of the parties of the Third International. An expansion that was based on the prestige of the Bolshevik Party and the USSR, born of the conquest of power in 1917 and the victory over Nazi Germany.

The burden of bureaucracy

Victories presented as the works of the “great leader of the peoples”, under the guidance of “Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism”, and not as a product of the titanic effort of the workers of the Soviet Union, carrying the heavy bureaucratic burden on their shoulders. A burden that would lead to the destruction of the USSR, in 1991, without resistance on the part of a population politically castrated by decades of “Marxist-Leninist” bureaucratic dictatorship. As L. Trotsky warned that it would happen if the workers did not resume the leadership of the USSR.

Neo-Stalinists fly like flies around a honeypot trying to define when “Marxism-Leninism” would have been betrayed, enabling the end of the USSR. In general, they point to the death of J. Stalin and the advent of N. Khrushchev as the great turning point. A declaration by a PCB cell, of adherence to the Revolutionary Reconstruction, registers how deep this conspiratorial vision of history prospered among an unformed youth. “Have we not learned from the experience of the USSR that Khrushchev's criticism of 'Stalinism' […] was the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism and the vacillation towards revisionism that led to the dissolution of the USSR? To deny the Marxism-Leninism of our tradition is to set the same precedent [...].” “As Stalin argues: “Leninism is the Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolution […].” [Adherence manifesto.]

The weakening of the referential character of the world of work allows the resumption of views opposed to it, defended in its name. The phantasmagorias about the progressive character of the construction of a communist movement are strengthened in the image of the times when a party apparatus “enlightened” by “Marxism-Leninism” kept society and workers in authoritarian discipline, with known results.

coercive methods

In his article, in the same sense, Gabriel Fazzio proposes as a primordial task in our country the agitation of coercive methods among workers. “Now, at a time when reformist and gradualist conceptions of the class struggle prevail over the workers' movement, one of the main tasks of revolutionary propaganda consists in legitimizing the coercive methods that the proletariat must necessarily employ in its struggle for the socialist reorganization of society. society."

Brazil has a robust working class that has never substantially completed its transition from class for itself to class for itself. [MAESTRI, 2019] To qualify for the assault on power, it has a lot to advance in organization, ideology, conscience, through full and broad workers' democracy, and never through coercive methods and coup d'états.

 After World War II, “Marxism-Leninism” was the official ideology of the so-called Popular Democracies, born in the areas of influence of the USSR, defined autocratically, at the end of 1943, by the new masters of the world. After the liberal counter-revolution of 1991, in none of these countries, which lived for a long time under the hegemony of “Marxism-Leninism”, was there a communist party with a minimal significant expression.

The political-ideological core of “Marxism-Leninism”

The “Marxist-Leninist” vulgate codified a series of essential ruptures with revolutionary Marxism, born out of the needs of the USSR bureaucracy. Many of them are still integral parts of 21st century “Marxism-Leninism”, embraced by neo-Stalinism. It was organized around the renunciation of world revolution, proletarian democracy, Soviet power.

From its origins, the main axioms of “Marxist-Leninist” scholasticism were the “construction of socialism in one country”, against the principle of the union of European and world socialist states. The rupture with internationalism, consecrated in the liquidation of the Third International, by Stalin, in 1943, as a “pleasure” to the imperialist allies. Even today, even left-wing “Marxism-Leninism” has difficulty understanding internationalism as a “world party of revolution”, beyond association between similar organizations, an equally common slip in current Trotskyism. [CARR, 1968; FRANK, 1979.]

In the “Marxist-Leninist” doctrine, the proposal of a “revolution by stages” stood out, in alliance with the progressive bourgeoisies, in opposition to the conception, proposed by Trotsky, after 1905, and reaffirmed by Lenin, in 1917, of the realization, in the colonial and semi-colonial nations, of democratic tasks in association with socialist tasks. [MAESTRI, 2021.]

In the “Marxist-Leninist” program, the defense of the economic overcoming of capitalism by the USSR also assumed prominence, breaking with V. Lenin's own memory of the need to end the capitalist order through its destruction. Postulate that conditioned world revolutionary action to the needs of the USSR, since its advance would materialize the success of the world revolution. He defended the “inevitability of the victory of socialism”, in a theological vision foreign to Marxism.

peaceful coexistence

It was a referential policy of “Marxism-Leninism” the defense of “popular interclass fronts”, not only against fascism, in contradiction with the essential opposition of Marxism to class collaboration. Guidance that led to huge defeats across the world. Another of its cornerstones was the defense of the “single party”, before and after the revolution, understood as a substitute demiurge for workers in the struggle for social emancipation.

The common denominator of “Marxism-Leninism” was the collaboration and pacification of the world class struggle, in an attempt to build an unrealizable coexistence between the capitalist and socialist world, which would allow the USSR bureaucracy to live in peace its privileges, without the upheavals and the uncertainties of revolutionary confrontations.

Moscow obedience parties and multitudes of honest revolutionaries were brought up in liturgical obedience and voluntary servitude to the “Marxist-Leninist creed”, like most communist parties that did not disappear or metamorphose into social-liberal organizations after the destruction of the USSR in 1991. Even following disparate guidelines, they continued to propose themselves as “Marxist-Leninists”, as if that designation linked them to a past of glory and was not responsible for the international debacle in the world of work.

Even after 1991, the inability to carry out self-criticism of the past of class collaboration was general. Even the organizations that rejected some of the constitutive proposals of “Marxism-Leninism”, embracing, for example, the socialist program, continued to reaffirm an increasingly confused belonging to “Marxism-Leninism”, which commonly facilitated the emergence of neo-Stalinism that had never been seen before. digested.

Leninism as transcendence

Dogmatic “Marxism-Leninism” was born from the proposal of “Leninism” as a synthesis of the theoretical production of Marx and Engels, produced in a “non-revolutionary era”, completed in conclusive form by the production of Lenin, proper to the era of imperialism and revolution. . “Leninism” and “Marxism-Leninism” proposed to have a transcendental character that would tend to make any other Marxist production unnecessary.

This movement began, in 1924, with the death of Lenin, and became radicalized with the consolidation of the bureaucracy. “Marxism-Leninism” became a state ideology in the USSR and China and was hit hard with the capitalist restoration in the “Middle Kingdom”, and, later, with the destruction of the USSR. Currently, he knows a Revival neo-Stalinist, due to the fragility of the world of work, the dynamism of capitalist production in Russia and China, the absence of a credible revolutionary Marxist proposal, as proposed.

The liturgical sacralization of “Leninism” prevents understanding of the enormous value of V. Lenin's work, in the context of its inevitable limitations. In Western and Eastern Europe, after the opportunist and nationalist debacle of World War I, a group of revolutionary leaders was consolidated, with emphasis on Vladimir Lenin, León Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburgo. They not only produced a very rich reflection on the revolution, but also participated in the assault on power, with successes and failures. Rosa Luxemburg died in 1919, Lenin in 1924, and Trotsky in 1940.

exceptional life

Vladimir Lenin, a brilliant thinker, systematic and disciplined scholar, formed in the tradition of Western Marxism, dedicated his life to the Russian and world revolution, unevenly addressing political, economic, philosophical, etc., always from the perspective of the emancipation of workers. He always superimposed his life as a revolutionary on his private life, dying early at the age of 54.

Lenin, an orator and writer without exceptional resources, stood out for the content of his proposals. Its main instruments of struggle were journalism and the party. Strongly committed to building the Bolshevik Party, he mainly published two major theoretical works. The development of capitalism in Russia, from 1899, and Materialism and empiricism, of 1909.

His referential works are, above all, booklets destined to the solution of burning political conjunctural problems. What to do? [1902] Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism [1917] The State and the Revolution [1918] Leftism, the Childhood Disease of Communism [1920], among many others. In the presentation of the second edition of the Development of capitalism in Russia, of 1907, therefore, two years after the Revolution of 1905, reaffirmed that, in an “absolutely irrefutable way”, the “revolution in Russia” would be “a bourgeois revolution”.

Incorrect proposal, although embraced by the entirety of the Russian Social Democratic Party. Lenin also proposed a “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants”, always within the framework of a bourgeois-democratic revolution. In Balance and Prospects, of 1906, supported by the teachings of the Revolution of 1905, in which he had participated with prominence, Leon Trotsky had correctly solved the riddle of the Russian revolution. He argued that democratic tasks would be completed in the wake of the socialist revolution. The Russian revolution should not and could not be a “bourgeois revolution”. [TROTSky. 1906.]

breaking the consensus

In 1917, Lenin overcame the Russian Marxist proposal of a bourgeois-democratic revolution with his famous April theses, of 1917, when proposing the urgent need for workers to take power. The big difference between Trotsky's precocious proposal, in 1906, and Lenin's late one, in 1917, is that the latter presented it to a fierce and disciplined party, with thousands of militants, who recognized him as the ultimate reference.

As proposed, V. Lenin participated, with prominence, in the minority European revolutionary Marxist tendency, which would grow, after 1917, giving rise to the Third International. She opposed opportunism, collaborationism, nationalism, etc. V. Lenin's great innovative contribution was the theory of a proletarian combat party, formed by professional revolutionaries, coming out of the ranks of the proletarian vanguard, governed by democratic centralism.

Cellular organization, especially in workplaces, would inform, feed, and control management. But in addition to expressing the world of work, according to Lenin, it was essential to produce a revolutionary worldview, in the context of a broad and free debate, generally presented in workers' newspapers, in pamphlets, in books, in conferences.

The Party and the Workers

The Leninist proposal, proved successful in 1917, had previously been harshly criticized for many years by Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky and other revolutionary Marxists. They defended the spontaneity of the masses, which proved insufficient, and feared the replacement of the world of work by the party, which took place when the world revolution ebbed and the Bolshevik Party was interrupted as a communicating vessel for a semi-non-existent proletariat.

History has taught that when a revolutionary party does not exist or recedes from the roots of the working classes, the multiple possibilities of degeneration become a serious danger – opportunism, bureaucratism, sectarianism, leftism, etc.

The need for the Leninist party was never specific to Russia or to social spaces of underdeveloped “civil society”, as proposed. [MAESTRI 2021] In the West and East, countless revolutions have failed because they did not have a party in the Leninist mold adapted to their reality. As in the cases of Bolivia, in the 1950s; from Brazil, in 1964; from Chile, in 1973, to stay in South America. And, in all these countries, there were “Marxist-Leninist” organizations that hindered and did not impel the revolution.

Marx and Lenin

Lenin's output is colossal in value and scope and was enhanced by the victory of the Russian revolution. Lenin expanded and refined issues outlined by Marx, Engels and other revolutionary Marxists who preceded him. But Leninism was never the proposed conclusive extension of Marxism in the age of monopoly capital.

It also makes no sense to approximate Lenin's work to the dimension of Karl Marx's founding of scientific socialism and his dissection of the capitalist mode of production. A work that, certainly, has not been exhausted and never intended to exhaust the object of its analysis and its subsequent developments. Marx's production was valued due to its content, even without the workers' referential victory during his lifetime.

It is always risky to propose developments of facts that never occurred. However, it seems clear that the defeat of the 1917 Revolution would have resized Lenin as a theoretician of the revolution, without impugning its value. What happened, partially, after the destruction of the USSR, a disaster that, paradoxically, allows, with the loss of strength of the state cult to Lenin, a better and more precise evaluation of “Leninism”.

immanent work

And if Lenin clarified questions that had not arisen during the lifetimes of Marx and Engels, or that had not been matured by them, he cannot do the same with essential successes of the class struggle of the last hundred years, which demand investigation. empirical and correct methodological treatment. The concrete analysis of a concrete situation. Lenin's production presents, at most, guidance on complex phenomena that followed his death, about which he could not reflect and discuss with his peers.

Among the important phenomena that Lenin could not dwell on are the ebb of revolution in Europe; the consolidation of fascism and the rise of Nazism; the Chinese revolution in a peasant nation; the construction of socialism in isolated nations and its consequent disasters; the destruction of the Third International, etc. [FRANK, 1979.] And, with emphasis, the genesis and consolidation of the bureaucratic and Stalinist phenomena that led to the destruction of the USSR. A question addressed in detail by León Trotsky, which explains the attacks he suffers, even today, from the neo-Stalinists. [TROTSKY, 1974.]

Lenin's evaluations of phenomena he analyzed that were perpetuated due to the non-overcoming of the capitalist mode of production must be contextualized and know the necessary mediations when used in the criticism of current facts. There have been enormous changes in capitalist society and production over the last hundred years. [MANDEL, 1976.]

Right and finished solutions

What demands from us, in the analysis of current phenomena, detained and in-depth studies about them, always interpreted according to the materialist-historical method, serving the referential texts of Marxism only as support, since they are incapable of giving us right and finished solutions. Recently, the Communist Party of Greece, “Marxist-Leninist” in an interesting process of self-criticism, recalled that: “[…] when U.S we refer to quotations to be able to understand their meaning, there is a need to know cuando se dijeron, dwhere and whyé reason. This does not mean that we are obliged to agree with everything I wrote.ó I said a revolutionary figure.” [KKE, 4/11/22, MAESTRI, 11.03.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX.]

Revolutionary Marxism is essentially an open method, directed towards a praxis committed to social emancipation, mainly through the struggle of the oppressed, on which, more and more, humanity depends, in order not to sink once and for all in a neo-fascist order with a profile that is already beginning to take shape. Today we are experiencing a growing world health, environmental, ecological crisis, etc. which, for the first time in history, threatens the very survival of mankind.

The world of work is the only one capable of directing the effective overcoming of the pathological contradictions of the increasingly senile capitalist mode of production. However, it is currently severely weakened in terms of consciousness and organization, without even having a significant revolutionary political nucleus strongly rooted in the world of work.

Advancing towards the unification of revolutionary communists of all stripes does not guarantee a solution to the historical impasse we are experiencing. But it is a step forward in supporting the resumption of the centrality of workers, in Brazil and in the world. This is not the time, therefore, to build and rebuild areas of comfort, of all flavors, around playpen that gather the faithful of our creed in eternal self-contemplation.[1]

* Mario Maestri is a historian. Author, among other books, of Awakening the Dragon: The Birth and Consolidation of Chinese Imperialism (1949-2021) (FCM Editora).


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[1] We would like to thank linguist Florente Carboni and historian Nara Machado for reading.

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