Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Bolshevik Putsch (2)

“From Blanqui's assumption, that any revolution may be made by the outbreak of a small revolutionary minority, follows of itself the necessity of a dictatorship after the success of the venture. This is, of course, a dictatorship, not of the entire revolutionary class, the proletariat, but of the small minority that has made the revolution, and who are themselves previously organised under the dictatorship of one or several individuals.” Engels, The Program of the Blanquist Fugitives from the Paris Commune, 1874.

If you don’t have majority support and understanding for socialism then there is no way on earth that you can possibly have a socialist revolution. None at all. Those who try, albeit with the best of intentions, to foment a socialist revolution by capturing political power first in advance of the majority becoming socialist will inevitably by default be left to administer capitalism since there is no way you can impose socialism on a population which does not want it and does not understand it.  What happens then? Well, capitalism can really only be run in the interests of capital. Therefore those administering capitalism by default and in the absence of a socialist majority - the vanguard - will bit by bit find themselves being drawn into siding with capital against the workers in the class struggle. This too is inevitable - the dictatorship of capital over the proletariat. This is precisely what happened in the case of the Soviet Union. A change in the socio-economic basis of society cannot happen without mass socialist consciousness. You cannot impose socialism on a population that does not understand it nor wants it; it presupposes that the population is essentially socialist in outlook. The process of revolution will bring a great many to socialist consciousness - that as more and more workers become socialists it becomes progressively easier for the rest of our class to become socialists too as the entire social environment becomes "revolutionised" so to speak.

Lenin advocated a minority takeover in advance of a socialist majority but a fact is a fact. That is exactly what he and the Bolsheviks both said and more importantly did. If you hold that mass socialist consciousness can only come after the capture of political then you have completely boxed yourself into a corner. The vanguard will be doomed to administer capitalism by default and therefore to side with capital in class struggle against wage labour and therefore eventually to abandon socialism altogether as a goal. That’s what happened to the vanguard in the Soviet Union. It was this vanguard, not the ordinary Russian workers generally, that ended up pushing for an end to the old command style economy (misnamed socialism) and the introduction of market reforms and economic liberalisation. Some members of the old Soviet Vanguard are today, billionaire oligarchs in what is modern Russia. This is where the logic of the vanguard theory of revolution inevitably leads to - a complete sellout. The vanguard will inevitably become nothing more than a capitalist vanguard since the very praxis of administering capitalism cannot produce any other outcome. Everything that happened in the Soviet Union completely bears out what we said about the vanguard theory of revolution yet you still have people here wanting to defend "vanguardism" in this sense without seemingly grasping that it has been completely and utterly discredited in practice.

This is completely at variance with the expressed by, for example, Engels in his introduction to Marx's Class Struggle in France:

"Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organization, the masses themselves must also be in it, must themselves already have grasped what is at stake, what they are going in for [with body and soul]. The history of the last fifty years has taught us that. But in order that the masses may understand what is to be done, long, persistent work is required, and it is just this work which we are now pursuing, and with a success which drives the enemy to despair"

So once more to repeat our case: A vanguard will be compelled to administer capitalism by default since you cannot impose socialism on a majority that is not socialist-minded and has no idea of what socialism is about. Since capitalism can only operate in the interests of capital and against wage labour, this minority must inevitably align itself with the interest of capital and thus oppose the interests of the workers. There is no road to socialism via state capitalism. From that point of view, state capitalism is a proven failure.

When the working class no longer falls for the nationalistic bait for waging war, then it will become clearly apparent that it is moving in the correct direction towards preparing for world socialism. The bitter failure of many workers happened when they embraced the fantasy of socialism in the Russian Revolution. Of course, that revolution was successful in sounding the death knell of feudalism, but, lacking the material basis for socialism, these workers could only succumb to the socialist fantasy that degraded into nationalism in the style of bureaucratic despotism; Stalinism.

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