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Declaration of the Central Committee of the KKE on the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
The Central Committee of the KKE honours the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. It honours the climactic world-historic event of the 20th century which demonstrated that capitalism is not invincible, that we can construct a superior organization of society, without the exploitation of man by man.
The October Revolution highlighted the strength of the revolutionary class struggle, the strength of the exploited and oppressed, when they take centre stage and turn the wheel of history forwards in the direction of social liberation. In historical terms, it was the continuation of the uprisings of the slaves, of the peasants in the Middle Ages, of the bourgeois revolutions, but it also constituted the climax of this process and went beyond it, as for the first time the goal of the revolution was the abolition of the exploitative class society. 46 years after the "storming of the heavens" by the heroic Paris Commune, the Russian working class through the October revolution came to incarnate the vision of the working class-popular masses, millions of people, for a better life.
The October Revolution demonstrated the correctness of the Leninist analysis that the victory of socialism is possible in one country or a group of countries, as a consequence of the uneven development of capitalism.
October 1917 was an event of global and lasting significance. It confirmed the potential of the working class (as a social force that can and must lead the revolutionary struggle, for a society without exploitation, insecurity, poverty, unemployment and wars) to fulfill its historic mission. It also confirmed that the realization of the historic mission of the working class is not determined by its percentage in the economically active population, but by the fact that it is the vehicle for the new socialist relations of production.
At the same time, October highlighted the irreplaceable role of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, as the leading factor not only in the socialist revolution, but also during the entire struggle for the formation, strengthening, and final victory of the new communist society.
The flame of October led to and accelerated the establishment of a number of communist parties, revolutionary workers' parties of a new type, in opposition to the social-democratic parties of this era, which had betrayed the working class and revolutionary politics, choosing the path of the co-option of the labour movement under the banner of the bourgeois class, as well as the support for the imperialist military assault against the young workers' state in Russia.
The victorious October Revolution was the continuation of all the previous workers' uprisings and paved the way for the historical passage of humanity "from the Kingdom of Necessity to the Kingdom of Freedom." Codifying its historic importance, Lenin wrote:
"We have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown."
The lessons of October are of particular importance today when the wheel of history seems to be moving backwards, today when the international communist movement is in conditions of crisis and retreat, today when the long-term consequences of the counterrevolution (since the beginning of the 1990s) are reinforcing the mistaken view held by many workers that there is no alternative solution to capitalism.
Historical development itself helps us expose the bourgeois propaganda that claims that the socialist-communist project had a utopian character. No socio-economic system in the history of humanity was established in one moment, once and for all, with a linear course of victories of those class forces that were the vehicles of social progress in each specific phase. After the great slave uprising, Spartacus was crucified, but slavery eventually passed into history. After the French bourgeois revolution of 1789, Robespierre was guillotined, but feudalism's days were numbered.
The bourgeois class deliberately conceals the fact that it took about 4 centuries to consolidate its power. It took several centuries, from the first attempts of the bourgeoisie in the trading cities of Northern Italy in the 14th century to the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, until capitalist relations had developed to a satisfactory level so that it could impose the complete abolition of feudal relations of production. The political defeats suffered by the bourgeois class in this period do not negate the fact that its was historically necessary for the outdated relations of production between the landowner and the serf to be replaced by bourgeois relations between the capitalist and the worker.
The political representatives of the bourgeois class vainly claim that capitalism is irreplaceable, eternal and that the revolutionary class struggle is no longer the instrument for historical development.
The decades-long existence and successes of the socialist society, which was inaugurated by the October Revolution, demonstrated that a society without bosses, without capitalists owning the means of production is possible. This conclusion is not negated by the fact that in this specific phase it was not able to defeat once and for all capitalist ownership and capitalist profit.
SOCIALISM REMAINS NECESSARY, TIMELY AND REALISTIC
The necessity and timeliness of socialism, the potential of abolishing private ownership over the concentrated means of production flow from the development of capitalism which leads to the concentration of production. Capitalist ownership puts a brake on the social character of production. Capitalist ownership cancels out the potential for all workers to live in better socially organized conditions that correspond to their increased human needs:so that all have work without the nightmare of unemployment, working for less hours, enjoying a better standard of living, with a high level of exclusively public and free education and similar services in health and welfare.
The working class creates these possibilities through its work inside capitalism, possibilities which are expanded by the development of science and technology. However, in a society where everything that is produced is determined on the basis of private, capitalist profit, the needs of the working class and the popular strata are crushed. The essence of the problem is that those who produce are not those who decide on the goals and organization of production. The cyclical economic crises are in the DNA of capitalism and are becoming increasingly deep and synchronized, resulting in the sharp increase of unemployment, the further expansion of badly paid work without social security cover, life with rights hat have been destroyed, with imperialist wars for the division of markets and territories.
The deterioration of the working and living conditions, despite the rise of labour productivity, concerns the entire capitalist world and indeed the most developed capitalist states. The capitalist states themselves, their research centres, admit that the workers' income is shrinking, while the wealth of the capitalists is increasing.
Just as in the previous periods of social revolutions, a decisive factor today for the corrosion of the strength of the old exploitative system is always its internal contradictions and their intensification.
This provides the potential for the development and escalation of the class struggle and its acquisition of a revolutionary character. Today, in the era of monopoly capitalism, the basic contradiction of the system is sharpening, while labour and production have been socialized to unprecedented levels, the largest part of their results are enjoyed by the shareholders of the business groups. These are the big shareholders-parasites of economic life, who despite being surplus to the organization and direction of production, exploit the working class. Shareholders who often do not know what the companies they have shares in and receive dividends from produce or where they are located.
At the same time as the dominance of the monopoly groups, there the trend to relative stagnancy is being reinforced, i.e stagnancy in relation to the potential and dynamism created by the current level of development of the productive forces, in relation to what could be produced quantitatively and qualitatively if society removed profit as the motor force of production. Features of parasitism and relative stagnancy are:the so-called in-built obsolescence of commodities (the use of scientific knowledge to limit the life-span of products), the restrictions on the spread of technology due to the patents owned by the business groups, the underdevelopment for various periods of time of sectors that are not profitable enough (e.g. anti-earthquake protection), the destruction of the environment due its irrational utilization for the maximization of capitalist profits, the enormous spending on scientific research for the production of weapons and means of repression etc.
Today, the negative correlation of forces for the working class reproduces the impression (due to the dominance of bourgeois ideology) that the power and aggression of capital are invincible. However, it cannot conceal the decay of capitalism and the objective potential for the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, for their socialization by workers' power and their utilization on the basis of central planning and the benefit of society.
The entire history of the October Revolution and what preceded it demonstrate that the negative correlation of forces is not eternal and unchanging.
THE APPEARANCE OF FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY UPHEAVAL
The fact that the preconditions have been formed for the construction of the socialist-communist society does not automatically entail its realization. An important reason for this is the fact that, in contrast with the laws of nature, social progress requires the relevant activity of humans, in this case the class struggle for the abolition of the old society and the construction of the new one.
The outbreak of the socialist revolution (just as every social revolution in human history) presupposes the emergence of a situation where the ability of the ruling class to co-opt, repress and subdue the people is weakened.
Lenin formulated the definition of the revolutionary situation and identified the main objective and subjective characteristics, which are are accumulated in society on the eve of the revolution.
-Those "above" (the ruling class of the capitalists) cannot govern and run the administration as they did in the past.
-Those "below" (the working class and the popular strata) do not want to live as they did in the past.
-An extraordinary rise in the activity of masses is observed.
Thus, the destitution of those "below" and their discontent increases their political activity, while confusion, weakness, contradictions, indecisiveness prevail amongst those "above".
The emergence of such a favourable situation for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalist society has an objective character; it flows from the sudden sharpening of its contradictions.
However, as Lenin aptly stressed, this does not means that every revolutionary situation is converted into a revolution. Neither the reaction of those below, nor the crisis of those above will trigger the overthrow, if there is not a planned revolutionary uprising of the working class, led by its conscious vanguard.
In other words, for a workers' revolution to break out there must be the presence of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, equipped with the theoretical elaborations and ability to predict the developments, based on the Marxist-Leninist world-view and capable of leading the revolutionary uprising of the working class.
Of course, it is not possible to predict all the factors that can lead to a revolutionary situation. Historical experience highlighted the manifestation of a deep and synchronized capitalist crisis, combined with the outbreak of an imperialist war as being important factors.
The first victorious workers' revolution in Russia was the result of the ability of the working class, guided by its party, to undertake this role in similar conditions. Lenin successfully predicted the potential for a revolutionary situation in Russia, the possibility of Russia emerging as the weak link in the imperialist chain in the conditions of the 1st World War.
THE COURSE OF THE BOLSHEVIKS TO THE VICTORY IN OCTOBER 1917
In Tsarist Russia before the First World War, there survived intense features of the old absolutist state, headed by the Tsar, even if capitalism was rapidly developing. There existed a vast mass of peasants/small producers in the countryside, who were tormented by the significant vestiges of feudal relations.
The revolution of 1905-1907 led to the formation of the State Duma, i.e. a form of legislative representative institution with very limited rights, which in no sense meant the transition to a formal bourgeois parliamentary system. The institution of the Duma expressed a compromise between sections of the bourgeois class and the Tsarist regime. In the countryside, despite the fact that serfdom in Russia formally had been abolished since 1861, large sections of the peasants suffered from the oppression of the big landowners, who forced them to do chores for them or to hand over half their crops.
In the period of the 1905 revolution, the Soviets were born as organs for the organization of the revolutionary activity of the working class inside the conditions of the intensifying strike struggles and class confrontations. They constituted a new form of organization of the working class with elected delegates and functioned as the seeds and forms of the future workers' power.
The creation of enormous factories in the key centres of the major Russian cities, like Moscow and Petrograd (later renamed Leningrad), led to a significant growth of wage labour, rendering the working class the basic social force in the country, despite the fact that it was not a majority of the total population of the Tsarist empire.
In these complex conditions, the Bolsheviks formed a strategic line that aimed, through the development of the class struggle, to safeguard two things: a) the political independence of the working class in the impending bourgeois-democratic revolution so that the proletariat would not be transformed into the tail of the bourgeoisie. b) the leadership of the entire people's movement by the working class (i.e. the social alliance of the proletariat with the small and medium peasants) so that the revolution could have a radical character in relation to the historical era and facilitate the transition to the socialist revolution. Consequently, in the struggle to win the peasantry over to the side of the working class, the strategy of the Bolsheviks was based on the line: together with all the peasants against the Middle Ages. And then later on, together with the poor peasants, together with the semi-proletarians against capitalism, and together against the rich in the villages.
This strategy was based on the assessment that the objective development of capitalism in Russia came into contradiction with the backward political superstructure of Tsarism and with the maintenance of the vestiges of serfdom in the countryside and also on the idea of a revolutionary process at a European level. At the same time, the bourgeois class of 1905 was no longer the progressive bourgeois class of the era of the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. In any case, capitalism had now passed at a global level into the reactionary era of imperialism. It was more afraid than desirous of a political revolution, as its rival class, the working class, had established itself as an independent political force.
Consequently, Lenin assessed that the revolution should establish a temporary revolutionary government, the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry", which would implement what was contained in the "minimum" programme of the Bolsheviks (constituent assembly, universal voting rights, agricultural reforms etc.)This power would eradicate the vestiges of Tsarism, while it would spark the proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist Western Europe, which would in turn support the proletarian revolution in Russia. The Bolsheviks in this period connected the bourgeois-democratic revolution with the socialist revolution and stressed the defense of the specific interests of the working class and the need to exert constant pressure on the revolutionary government to extend the gains of the revolution.
The "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry", as Lenin said, could have a unified outlook in terms of smashing absolutism, but not in terms of socialism. As the revolution would develop, Lenin predicted that struggle within the alliance and within the governance of the workers and peasants itself would sharpen and would lead finally to the full separation of the working class from the medium and rich peasants, aiming at the domination of the proletarian elements over the petty bourgeois ones and the transition to the "dictatorship of the proletariat".
This line of the Bolsheviks was formed in opposition to the right opportunists of the era, the Mensheviks, and also in opposition to Trotsky who underestimated the role and significance of the peasantry. Lenin assessed that Trotsky's position would have led to the "denial of the role of the peasantry" and the crippling of the revolution.
The entrance of Russia in the 1st World War sharpened the social contradictions. The repeated defeats of the Russian army at the front, the loss of territories (e.g. Poland, Baltic countries) caused significant discontent, not only amongst the workers and peasants who were suffering due to the destruction of war, but also amongst the bourgeois class of Russia. The fact the mechanisms of Tsarism started to orient towards Germany and the possibility of signing a separate peace with it triggered the reaction of the bourgeoisie, a reaction that was supported by Britain and France and led to the organization of plans to overthrow the Tsar. In 1916, simultaneous uprisings of various nationalities broke out in the Caucasus and Central Asia against the Tsarist empire.
The plans of the bourgeoisie to overthrow the Tsar were combined with major popular mobilizations and strikes, which were carried out in February 1917, as a result of the lack of food, mass unemployment and rapid intensification of the social problems. The formation of a revolutionary situation, the mass political activity of the workers and peasants organized in the Soviets, the disintegration of the army, led in the end to the revolutionary overthrow of the Tsar.
The revolutionary situation was created on the terrain of a complex process that contained a number of important factors: the sharpening of the inter-imperialist antagonisms, the problems that the imperialist war had created for the popular strata over the 3 previous years, the disturbance of Tsarism's alliance with the bourgeoisie, which no longer allowed those 'above" to govern as before, the political and organizational work of the Bolsheviks before and during the war in the ranks of the working class and the soldiers.
The sudden intensification of the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and Tsarism in the conditions of crisis and imperialist war, the inevitability of which had been underscored by the Bolsheviks, resulted in the bourgeoisie taking the upper hand in the February Revolution.
The Provisional Democratic Government was established by representatives of the bourgeois liberal parties of Russia and constituted an organ of bourgeois power. At the same time, the mass political struggle of the workers and peasants brought to the surface the organization of the armed masses that participated in the overthrow of the Tsar via the Soviets (councils of delegates).
The Mensheviks (opportunist current) and the SRs ("petty bourgeois socialist revolutionaries") dominated the Soviets in this period and posed the issue of supporting the Provisional Democratic Government. So, a situation emerged that Lenin characterized as "dual power", in order to describe a transitional moment in the revolutionary process, where the bourgeois class has the power, but is not so strong as to be able to disperse the organization of the people's masses that were armed (e.g. the Soviets had their own guards).
Lenin, understanding the compromise between the Provisional Democratic Government and the Soviets, considered that a specific political line should be implemented in order to convince the workers through their own experience for the need:
a) To not provide support to the Provisional Democratic Government, which was the government of the bourgeois class.
b) To understand that the war which was continuing was imperialist, predatory and unjust.
c) To abandon the Mensheviks and SRs in order to change the correlation of forces in favour of the Bolsheviks in the Soviets.
d) For the Soviets to take power as a precondition for the solution of all the pressing demands of the popular strata (peace, land, bread).
In the well-known "April Theses" and in his other works from this period, Lenin made a very clear assessment of the character of the February Revolution. He assessed that power changed hands, passed into the hands of the bourgeois class. He bore in mind that the basic issue in the strategy of the Bolsheviks' strategy until then, the issue of the social alliance of the workers and peasants, had already been realized in the form of the Soviets, irrespective of the fact that in their majority of the proletariat were disorientated and trusted the representatives of the petty bourgeois strata, who acted as the tail of the bourgeoisie.
Against the position of the "Old Bolsheviks" (Kamenev, Zinoviev etc.)that the bourgeois democratic revolution had not been completed and a number of goals had not been realized (e.g. Constituent Assembly, agricultural reforms), Lenin responded that the main issue in each revolution is the issue of power. In this sense, the bourgeois-democratic revolution had been completed.
So a change in the strategy of the Bolsheviks was required. From February onwards, the first and basic issue that had to be solved was the raising of the consciousness of the proletariat, the winning of its vanguard position inside the framework of the social alliance. This required struggle inside the revolutionary organs themselves (Soviets), the rallying with the semi-proletarians and poor peasantry in order to prepare the ground for the socialist revolution.
When the Provisional Democratic Government carried out harsh repressive measures against the Bolsheviks and the labour movement in July, the Bolsheviks withdrew the slogan "All power to the Soviets." Lenin in this crucial period and especially after the outbreak of the military coup d'etat of Kornilov predicted that the objective situation would lead either to the completion of the victory of the bourgeois military dictatorship or to the victory of the armed uprising of the workers. He intensified the ideological struggle against the illusions concerning a peaceful parliamentary transition to socialism and declared that the goal of the armed uprising could only be the conquest of power by the proletariat, with the support of the poor peasantry, for the realization of the programmatic goals of the party.
In September 1917, and after the Bolsheviks had won the majority in the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow, they returned to the slogan "All Power to the Soviets" with a new content. Not , as previously, as a slogan that would expose the compromise, the conciliation of the Mensheviks with the bourgeois government and would facilitate the change of the correlation of forces, but as a slogan for the overthrow of the Provisional Democratic Government, as a slogan for the revolutionary uprising. The Bolsheviks acted in this direction without waiting for the elections to the Constituent Assembly or the Congress of Soviets.
The decisiveness of Lenin and those from the leadership of the Bolsheviks who supported his positions led in the end to the victorious socialist revolution on October 25 (November 7, according to the new calendar) 1917.
The experience of the October Revolution highlighted that Soviet workers' power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, was what dealt with the pressing issues of the workers (land, bread, peace) and not bourgeois power or some "intermediate" form of power, which in reality cannot exist. Soviet Power paved the way for the abolition of the capitalist relations of production.
The Bolshevik party, with the decisive contribution of Lenin, in order to reach the victorious revolution made constant theoretical and political efforts to develop its strategic view, to deepen and predict the rapid changes in the correlation of forces between the rival classes, as well as to increase its political influence inside the working class itself. The changes in the revolutionary political line from 1905 to October 1917 reflect the maturing of its strategic elaboration.
It was not easy. Beginning with the separation from the Mensheviks in 1903 at the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social-democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) and the formation of a separate party in 1912, the Bolsheviks were steeled in conditions of struggle against and of ideological-political-organizational separation from the forces of opportunism.
The course to victory was the result of constant, persistent theoretical and political elaborations. A decisive contribution for the formation of the strategy of the socialist revolution was provided by the study of the characteristics of monopoly capitalism (in the work "Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism"), of the stance towards the bourgeois state and the character of workers' power, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat ("State and Revolution") and the more general deepening in the dialectical materialist thinking and analysis of the developments (with the work "Materialism and Empirio-criticism"), while the economic analysis of Tsarist Russia had already preceded (with the work "The development of capitalism in Russia").
These elaborations highlighted the potential for the socialization of the concentrated means of production in the era of monopoly capitalism and also the potential created by uneven economic-political development and the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions in order for the weakest link in the imperialist chain to break and for the efforts for socialist construction in one country or in a group of countries to begin.
Lenin, developing the strategy of the Bolsheviks, opposed in practice the positions of Plekhanov, Kautsky, Martov, as well as of cadres of the Bolsheviks who considered that Russia should compulsorily pass through a stage of the so-called maturation of capitalism.
These positions were widespread and influential in pre-revolutionary Russia. They were based on the particular weight of agricultural production in the Russian economy, on the lack of its mechanization, on the backwardness in terms of electrification, on the pre-capitalist remnants in a large part of the Tsarist empire. Lenin shed light on the development of capitalist relations, the creation of monopoly groups in the big cities and the potential for socialist relations of production to lend great impetus to the development of the productive forces.
As was natural, the maturation of the strategy of the Bolsheviks was not something that happened quickly and easily. The party of the Bolsheviks acquired the ability to draw conclusions from the revolutionary initiative developed by the masses in moments of the sharpening of the class struggle and to utilize the institutions created by them (the Soviets) to the benefit of the revolutionary uprising.
In each phase of the development of the class struggle, it demonstrated a characteristic ability to serve its strategy with the corresponding political line, with alliances, slogans, maneuvers and also with the astutely conducted confrontation against the Mensheviks and the rest of the opportunist forces. It utilized in the best way the combative experience acquired by its members in the harsh class battles over the entire 1905-1917 period. It worked stably and decisively to change the correlation of forces in the labour and trade union movement and was able to change the correlation of forces in the largest trade unions in Petrograd and Moscow during the First World War and chiefly it was able to gradually increase its influence in the organs of the rebellious workers and soldiers (the Soviets).This theoretical readiness and combative practical ability gave the party of the Bolsheviks the ability to forge revolutionary bonds with the workers'-people's forces and to avoid bowing to the practical difficulties that it faced in its activity, such as state and para-state violence.
In the difficult course from 1905 to 1917, the Bolsheviks faced in practice both the violence of the Tsarist state and the counterrevolutionary activity of petty bourgeois and backward popular strata. A characteristic example were the Black Hundreds in the 1905 revolution, when Lenin considered that dealing with them in a practical way would provide training for workers' combat groups. The Bolsheviks made titanic efforts to deepen the class consciousness of the workers in this period. It is enough to bear in mind that in one of the largest demonstrations in Petrograd in 1905, the crowd held icons of the saints and the Tsar himself and sang hymns, before being attacked by the Tsar's guard.
Particularly in the crucial period from February to October 1917, they faced very capable bourgeois politicians, like Kerensky, who had tremendous abilities in terms of misleading the masses. The Bolsheviks were successful because they worked patiently, daringly, with a plan of political, organizational and military preparation for the revolutionary uprising.
The victorious outcome of the October Revolution confirmed the strategy of the socialist revolution as well as a number of lessons that are connected to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism:the leading role of the revolutionary communist party, its functioning based on the principle of democratic centralism, which has as its fundamental features collectivity and the safeguarding of unified action. The need to rally the working class against the power of capital, the need to attract sections of the peasants and other middle strata to the revolution and also to render other sections neutral. The historically outdated and reactionary character of the bourgeois class, the necessity of not participating in or supporting a government in the framework of capitalism, the non-existence of transitional forms of power between capitalism and socialism, the need to smash the bourgeois state.
The study of the strategy of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution, as well as the development of its formation (from 1905 to 1917) leads to crucially important lessons. It provides valuable experience for the way communists approach the workers and popular strata with immature levels of class consciousness. The Bolsheviks were able to successfully combine the study of the domestic and international developments, the theoretical work as well as the study of the experience from the tough class struggle in Russia. This combination is today more necessary than ever for the communists to be able to work effectively in complex and difficult conditions, where the correlation of forces is negative.
ON THE STRATEGY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT IN THE 20TH CENTURY
The party of the Bolsheviks and the October Revolution were the historical continuation of the activity of the revolutionary wing of the Marxists in the framework of the 1st and 2nd International. They contributed to the outbreak of the workers' uprisings that came in the following years, in Berlin, Budapest, Turin, which were defeated. In general, the October Revolution accelerated the development of the international communist movement and led to the creation of the 3rd Communist International (1919-1943), which was established to counter the international strength of capital. The need for there to be a clear separation from the social-democratic parties that had betrayed the working class in the 1st World War, the need to intensify the struggle against them led to the formulation of the 21 conditions for the accession of a party to the 3rd International, at its 2nd congress in 1920, conditions related to safeguarding its revolutionary character.
However, later on the positive experience of the October Revolution was not taken on board and did not prevail over the duration of the history of the Communist International. On the contrary, the strategic view that, in general, posed the goal of an intermediate form of power or government between bourgeois and workers' power, as a transitional phase to socialist power, prevailed to a significant extent during its existence that was characterized by contradictions on this issue. Often, this choice was justified on the basis of the initial strategic elaboration of the Bolsheviks and indeed was applied in capitalist economies and established bourgeois states in countries that did not have conditions similar to those in Russia in 1905.
The reasons for this course clearly require deeper, detailed study, which our party is continuing. However, we can already note certain factors and difficulties that contributed to the prevalence of problematic strategic elaborations.
A few years after the victory of October, the revolutionary wave of the labour movement receded especially after the defeat of the revolution in Germany in 1918 and Hungary in 1919, while the creation of the preconditions for a revolutionary situation was not utilized by some communist parties. Later, after 1920, powerful capitalist countries temporarily overcame the economic crisis and were stabilized. The majority of the workers organized in trade unions remained trapped in social-democratic parties, in some of which there continued to be an intense inner-party conflict, as in Italy and Germany.
At the same time, the confrontation inside the All-Union Communist Party (B) intensified between forces that argued that socialist construction was impossible without the victory of the socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist West (Trotsky and others)and forces, headed by Stalin, that argued that Soviet power should prioritize the direction of socialist construction.
The increased threat of a new imperialist military offensive against the USSR in the 1930s was another factor in addition to the recession of the revolutionary wave, which was combined with the very sharp class struggle inside the Soviet Union and the obstacles that had be very rapidly overcome. The discussion about how to deal with this sharpened the contradictions and theoretical weaknesses in the elaboration of the suitable revolutionary strategy.
The complex efforts of the USSR's foreign policy to delay as far as possible the imperialist offensive and to utilize contradictions between the imperialist centres in this direction were related to significant alternations and changes in the line of the Communist International that played a negative role later in terms of the course of the international communist movement in the following decades. The changes were related to issues of how to confront the fascist current, the stance towards social-democracy, as well as towards bourgeois democracy itself. The approach of making a political separation of the imperialist alliances into aggressive ones, which included the fascist forces, and defensive ones, which included the bourgeois-democratic forces, emerged in this period.
More particularly, there was the mistaken assessment concerning the existence of a left and right wing in the social-democratic parties in the 1930s, which was the justification for an alliance with them, something that underestimated their complete transformation into parties of the bourgeois class by this point. This incorrect distinction was also maintained after the 2nd World War.
These changes, objectively, trapped the struggle of the labour movement under the banner of bourgeois democracy. Similarly, the separation of the imperialist centres into pro-peace and pro-war ones concealed the real cause of imperialist wars and the rise of fascism, i.e. monopoly capitalism. In other words, it did not shine a light on the urgent strategic tasks of the communist parties to combine the concentration of forces for the national liberation or anti-fascist struggle with the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power, utilizing the conditions of the revolutionary situation that were formed in a number of countries.
In general, the character of the era was underestimated in the strategic elaborations of the Communist International and the prevalent definition of the character of the revolution was based on the criterion of the position of a capitalist country in the international imperialist system. That is to say, the lower level of the development of a country in relation to the higher levels achieved by the leading powers in the international imperialist system, as well as the negative correlation of forces at the expense of the revolutionary labour movement were mistakenly adopted as criteria to define the character of the revolution.
This mistaken methodological approach underestimated the potential for socialist relations of production to lend great impetus to and liberate the development of the productive forces in a capitalist country. For example, the existing backwardness in terms of electrification that the USSR inherited was overcome very rapidly, as was illiteracy. Workers' power organized social services that were unprecedented for the era.
The uneven development of the capitalist economies and unequal relations between states cannot be eradicated in the framework of capitalism. In the final analysis, the character of the revolution in each capitalist country is objectively determined by the basic contradiction it is called on to resolve, regardless of the relative changes of the position of each country in the international imperialist system. The socialist character and tasks of the revolution arise from the sharpening of the basic contradiction between capital and labour in each capitalist country in the era of monopoly capitalism.
In many of the elaborations of the Communist Parties, the approach towards the goal of workers power was based on the criterion of the correlation of forces and not the objective definition of the historical era we find ourselves in, which is determined by the which class is at the head of social development, i.e. the motion towards social liberation.
Lenin in his work "Under a false flag" summarized the era of monopoly capitalism as follows: "The third epoch, which has just set in, places the bourgeoisie in the same "position" as that in which the feudal lords found themselves during the first epoch.(Lenin was referring to the era of the revolutionary rise of the bourgeoisie with the French bourgeois revolution of 1789).This is the epoch of imperialism and imperialist upheavals, as well as of upheavals stemming from the nature of imperialism."
The character of the era has a global dimension, regardless of the variations from country to country in terms of the extent and manner of the maturation of the material preconditions for the passage to socialism The centralization and expansion of wage labour, of the working class that undergoes capitalist exploitation is the main indicator of the maturation of capitalism.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIALISM IN THE USSR
The October Revolution brought to the fore a superior organization of society, which was radically different from all the systems that historically had preceded it and which had as their common feature the exploitation of man by man.
In the USSR no one could have another person under their employment. The abolition of the employment of alien labour consists the most significant social result of the October Revolution, the womb of all the various achievements for the life of the workers. With central planning as a social relation of production for the use of the socialized means of production, significant social achievements were implemented for several decades.
In the USSR, the right to work was safeguarded for first time in practice, by abolishing unemployment as a social phenomenon. The foundations for the abolition of the multifaceted economic, political-ideological and social discrimination against women were established, even in regions with immense backwardness in this field. Sciences and free Education and free high quality healthcare at all levels were rapidly developed, while the people's universal access and ability to contribute to Culture and Sports was ensured.
Also, for the first time in History, institutions which ensured the effective participation of the workers in the management of aspects their society were created, thus removing the masses from the margins of political and social life. For the first time, the right of the workers and the youth to elect and to be elected became substantial, in contrast with the purely formal content that these rights have in capitalism. These achievements constituted a reference point and contributed, along with other factors, to the winning of gains by the labour-people's movement in the capitalist states. It has been proved in practice that the more communist relations of production deepen, the more social relations themselves are also revolutionized, the relations of the individual with society. It has been proved that the socialist relations of production can secure collective social rights.
The significance of the above achievements is multiplied if we take into account the conditions under which they were achieved. The distance separating the pre-revolutionary Russia from the powerful capitalist states, such as the USA, Britain, Germany, France, was very large, as these states were significantly superior in the development of the productive forces and in the level of labour productivity.
The powerful capitalist states based their development on the exploitation of their own people, as well as of other peoples (employer intimidation, colonial system, violence against indigenous people, exploitation of child labour)In contrast to this, the young soviet power tried to create the economic foundations of socialism with its own forces, in conditions of the sharpening of the class struggle, that is to say in conditions of bourgeois reaction inside the country interconnected with the active attempt to overthrow workers power from abroad. The achievements of the USSR took place in conditions of the active undermining of production, the permanent threat of foreign armed intervention, assassinations of Bolsheviks and other leading workers and farmers.
Characteristic periods are:The invasion of the 14 states- with the participation of Greece during the E. Venizelos premiership- in Ukraine in 1919 for the suppression of the revolution. The counter-revolutionary atrocities, through which the bourgeois class responded inside Soviet Russia to the so-called "offensive of socialism against capitalism's forces" during the first five-year plan of 1929-1934 (which included the industrialization and collectivization of agricultural production) and later in the period before and during the Second Imperialist World War, when the stance of the capitalist states- alongside the particular aspirations of each one- also served the common goal of the overthrowing the USSR .
The consequences of the First and Second World Wars placed additional obstacles for socialist construction, taking into account that no other country faced such large-scale destruction, while the USSR's main adversary in the global competition between socialism-capitalism, the USA, did not experience war on its territory.
As we approach the above achievements, we must bear in mind that soviet society was not a mature, fully-formed and "flourishing" communist society. But a communist society at an early stage of development, a society under communist formation.
The birth and development of the communist society can carry, to a significant extent, the remnants from its capitalist past, but also the consequences of capitalism's domination at a global level. These consequences- which were met in all sectors of the USSR's social life- were remnants of the old society within the new one, remnants which had not been radically confronted yet and not all social relations had been fully transformed into communist ones.
The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois criticism of the History of the USSR consciously conceals that it is the history of the premature level of communist society. This criticism points out weaknesses and mistakes from the point of view of an ideal communist society in order to defame and discourage revolutionary workers activity. At the same time, the multi-faceted bourgeois propaganda invents crimes, as it labels the right of workers power to defend itself from external attempts to undermine it, while at the same time, it falsifies history by equating communism with fascism.
However, bourgeois propaganda cannot hide the superiority of the central scientific planning for the development of the productive forces, on the solid ground guaranteed by workers power and the social ownership of the means of production,factories domestic energy resources, mineral wealth, land, infrastructure. The History of the USSR proves what the workers can achieve when they become masters of the means of production and of the social wealth, when they acquire political power. The latter form of democracy puts the real producers of the wealth into the driving seat, and not the hypocritical bourgeois parliamentary democracy which is a weapon of capitalist dominance for the subjugation of the working class.
The results of the central scientific planning of workers' power, such as the elimination of unemployment, the rapid and effective specialization of the workforce, its proper distribution throughout the economy, the achievements in the exploration of space, the conversion of peace-time industry into war industry on the eve of the Second World War, are unprecedented, if we also take into account the pre-capitalist backwardness in many regions and the deep asymmetry of capitalist development that was dominant in Tsarist Russia. The distance covered by workers' power in the development of the productive forces, both domestically and internationally, was really enormous.
HOW AND WHY WE REACHED THE COUNTERREVOLUTION AND THE OVERTHROW OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION
The course of the socialist construction in the USSR did not move in a linear fashion , upwards and smoothly.
In order to critically evaluate the positive and negative experience of the History's first attempt at socialist construction, it is necessary to briefly distinguish its major historical periods.
After the disastrous for the country's productive base foreign intervention and the class-based civil war (1917-1922) and the New Economic Policy (1922-1929)- which followed as a temporary retreat in the given circumstances- the drawing up of the first five-year plan in 1929 meant the beginning of the offensive of socialism's forces. From this period and until the Second World War, in the USSR the struggle for the development of the communist relations of production, the abolition of wage labour and the dominance of the socialized sector of production on the basis of Central Planning was generally successful. This struggle was successful despite the fact that the conditions of imperialist encirclement and the threat of war- combined with the inheritance of great backwardness- required the acceleration of the process for the construction of new (productive) relations.
During that period, new institutions of workers participation were developed, the core of which was the workplace; this political relation was subsequently violated, retreating in the face of existing objective difficulties and also subjective pressures. Under the pressure of the preparation for the active contribution of all the people in the impending war, the 1936 Soviet Constitution generalized the electoral right through a universal secret ballot, based on the place of residence. The assemblies of each productive unit as the core of the organization of workers' power were downgraded. In practice, the difficulty of recalling delegates from the higher state institutions increased
After the Second World War, both the reconstruction as well as, subsequently, the further development of communist relations set new challenges and demands that required a relevant adaptation of the revolutionary strategy. In the first years after the war, the dominant direction within the CPSU was the anti-market one which- despite the theoretical weaknesses and shortcomings- remained firm in the goal of developing the communist relations, of the planned eradication of inequalities, of the commodity in agricultural production (combined with the goal of transforming the Kolkhozs-cooperatives into social ownership).
Despite the success of the first post-war economic plan, agricultural production experienced delays. Also, some problems were encountered in central planning, including in relation to the ratios between productive sectors.
Life showed that there was no collectively achieved theoretical dynamic which could adapt the communist strategy to the challenges posed by the new level of development in social production. The problems which emerged were not interpreted correctly and were not dealt with in a direction of strengthening and expanding communist relations.
They were interpreted as inevitable weaknesses existing in the nature of central planning and not as a result of the contradictions due to the survival of the old, as a result of the mistakes of the non-scientifically elaborated plan. Thus, instead of seeking a solution towards the invigoration and expansion of the communist relations of production and distribution, it was sought by looking to the past, i.e. in the exploitation of tools and production relations of capitalism. The solution was sought in the expansion of the market, in "market socialism".
The 20th CPSU Congress (1956) stands out as a turning point because in that congress, under the pretext of the so-called "personality cult" , a series of opportunist positions were adopted on the issues of the communist movement strategy, of international relations and partly of the economy. In general, the central administration of the plan weakened. Instead of planning the conversion of kolkhozs into sovkhozs and, above all, of beginning the passage of all cooperative-kolkhoz production to state control, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery became the property of the kolkhozs, a position which had previously been rejected.
A few years later, beginning with the so-called "Kosygin reforms" (1965), the bourgeois category of "business profit" of each individual production unit was adopted and the wages of managers and workers were linked to it. The assessment of the productivity of the socialist productive units on the basis of production volume was replaced by the value estimation of their products. The process of accumulation of each socialist unit was disconnected from central planning, resulting in the weakening of the social character of the means of production and product stocks. At the same time, by1975, all state farms, the Sovkhozs, had been under full self-management. All these measures led to the creation of the conditions for private embezzlement and ownership, relations which were legally prohibited.
The differences in labour income between workers and managers in each enterprise, as well as among workers in different enterprises, increased. The individual interest was strengthened at the expense of the social interest and the communist consciousness, the stance of defending and promoting of social ownership, was damaged.
The so-called "shadow capital" emerged as a result of enrichment from business profit but also from the "black" market, from criminal actions to usurp the social product, that sought its legal function as capital in production; in reality, the privatization of the means of production and hiring of alien labour, the restoration of capitalism. Its (shadow capital) owners constituted the driving force of the counter-revolution.
In about the same period, the Marxist-Leninist perception about the workers' state was also revised. The 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) described the USSR state as an "all-people's" state and the CPSU as an "all-people's party". These positions caused a rapid blunting- and consequently mutation- of the revolutionary characteristics and social composition of the party. The transformation of the CPSU's opportunist degeneration into an open counter-revolutionary force was manifested in 1987, with the passing of a law which institutionally established capitalist relations, under the pretext of the diversity of property relations, the notorious policy of "Perestroika" and "Glasnost". This fact also marks the formal beginning of the counter-revolutionary period.
As the leadership of the CPSU was adopting choices which weakened the social character of property and strengthened narrow individual and group interests, feelings of alienation from social ownership were created and the class consciousness of the workers eroded. The path to indifference and individualism was opening up, as long as practice was increasingly becoming distant from the proclamations. This course explains the passivity of a large part of the people during the period of the counter-revolutionary upheavals and, at the same time, it shows the degeneration that the ruling circles of the CPSU had reached.
THE CHARTING OF A MODERN REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY BY THE KKE
Following the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and the other socialist countries, as well as the outbreak of the internal party crisis of the KKE in July 1991 which led to the removal of the opportunist group that was operating in its ranks, the KKE began its revolutionary regroupment.
In difficult circumstances, due to the consequences of the counterrevolution in the international communist movement, the KKE tried all these years to study the contemporary developments, to draw conclusions from the historical experience of the class struggle in Greece and internationally and, at the same time, to deepen and expand its militant ties with the working class and the popular strata. The main conclusions of this course, after a first attempt to study it in the 1990s, were included in the Assessments on Socialism in the USSR (18th Congress, 2009) and in the Programme which was adopted at the 19th Congress in 2013. Of course, the relevant study continues. In general, the KKE constantly tries not to detach the daily economic and political struggle from the main revolutionary political task of overthrowing the power of capital.
The factors which will lead to the revolutionary situation cannot be predicted. However, the deepening of the economic crisis, the sharpening of the contradictions between the imperialist centres that even end up in armed conflicts, can create such conditions in Greece. In case of an imperialist military entanglement of Greece, either in a defensive or aggressive war, the working class, the people's movement must not find themselves under a false flag. The Party will lead the independent organization of the workers-peoples' struggle, in order to lead to the total defeat of the bourgeoisie that imposes the war or "peace" with the gun to the people's head.
The fact that the KKE has charted a modern revolutionary strategy increases its ability to organize leading sites of resistance and counterattack in every sector of the economy, every large workplace, in every region of the country.
The strengthening of the KKE at all levels, which was an important issue at the recent 20th Congress of the Party, constitutes a prerequisite for the promotion of its revolutionary policy.
Many workers wonder, in a well-intentioned way, if socialist construction can start in a country with the potential of contemporary Greece. The KKE replies:
-The needs of the people can be met, based on the productive potential and the wealth that is produced today in our country.
-Domestic production can reach great heights if it is freed from the chains of capitalist ownership and exploitation of the working class.
-Only workers' power can utilize, for the benefit of the people, the contradictions between the imperialist alliances which today are sharpening.
-We must not think statically about the correlation of forces in the wider region, since it will significantly change in revolutionary conditions, not only in our country, but more widely in the region as well.
At the same time, the KKE struggles for the regroupment of the international communist movement, according to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the internationalist solidarity of the people against capitalism and imperialist war, which is expressed in the slogan "Workers of all countries unite!".Already, some small steps towards the effort of the creation of a distinct pole based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism have been made, through the "International Communist Review" and the European Communist Initiative.
An integral part of the KKE's contemporary strategy is its programmatic perception of socialism. Socialist construction begins with the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class. The workers' state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is an instrument of the working class in the class struggle which continues in socialism with other forms and means. It is utilized for the planned development of the new social relations, which presupposes the suppression of the counter-revolutionary efforts, but also the development of the communist consciousness of the working class. The workers' state, as a mechanism of political domination, is necessary until the transformation of all social relations into communist ones, until the formation of communist consciousness in the overwhelming majority of the workers, but also until the victory of the revolution in the most powerful capitalist countries.
The qualitatively new element of workers' power is the transformation of the workplace (production unit, administrative unit, social service, agricultural cooperative) into the core of its organization.
Direct and indirect democracy is based on the workers' assembly of each production unit as well as the ability to control and revoke the elected delegates, that is to say substantial electoral rights in contrast to today's formal electoral rights of bourgeois democracy, of the dictatorship of the capital.
The primary task of this power is the formation of the new mode of production, the predominance of which basically presupposes the total abolition of the capitalist relations, of the relation between capital and wage labour. As the Programme of the KKE states:
The concentrated means of production are socialized, but initially there remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the basis for the existence of commodity-money relation. Forms of productive cooperatives are formed, where the level of the forces of production still does not allow for the socialization of the means of production. The forms of group ownership constitute a transitional form of ownership, between the private and the social one, and not an immature form of communist relations.
On the basis of social ownership of the centralized means of production, the central planning of the economy develops as a communist relation that connects all the producers. Central planning also incorporates, up to a point, agricultural cooperative production. Along with the expansion and deepening of the communist relations of production, the working class gradually acquires the ability to fully understand the different parts of the production process.
Simultaneously with the distribution of a part of the product on the basis of need(Education, Health, heating etc.), socialist production distributes the remaining part of its products on the basis of the individual labour contribution of each person in social labour as a whole, without separating labour into complex and simple, manual (practical) or intellectual.
The Communist Party is the guiding nucleus of revolutionary workers' power, since it is the only force which consciously acts on the basis of the laws of motion of the socialist-communist society.
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION SHOWS THE WAY
Today, the theories that characterized counterrevolution as a process for socialism's renewal, which would pave the way for friendship and peace among the peoples, have completely fallen part. Likewise, all the theories and policies for the capitalist system's "humanization" have also collapsed. At the same time, the contradictions between capitalist states, between monopoly groups of international scope, are creating more and more war flashpoints, with the existing risk of their generalization. The social cancer of capitalist ownership of the means of production "shows its bloody teeth".
All those who celebrated the counter-revolutionary overthrows of 1989-1991 have been completely exposed, they have contributed to the corrosion of the labour movement, to the prevailing attitude of fatalism and compromise. On the contrary, the KKE is proud that, at the crucial moment, the day when the red flag was lowered from the Kremlin,it had the strength to address, through "Rizospastis", the following call to the communists:"Comrades, raise the flag high".
Today, the KKE conducts a tough struggle to achieve those characteristics that will enable it to act as the "all-weather" revolutionary vanguard. In today's conditions, the struggle for the definitive abolition of the class – exploitative society and the construction of the socialist-communist one is the real way to honour the October Revolution and its goals.
Despite the domination of the counter-revolution, the words of Mayakovsky continue to show the way:
"Long live the Revolution, joyful and fast
This is the only great war of all that history has known."
The CC of the KKE