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The Role of Lenin and Leninism in the October Revolution

by Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan/Turkey) BP (NK/T), Contribution No. A01 to the „International Internet discussion on the significance of 100 years October Revolution“, 7 April 2017

Contribution to the International Internet Discussion, Importance of the October Revolution in its 100th anniversary


The Role of Lenin and Leninism in the October Revolution

The October Revolution is the first and victorious socialist revolution. Millions of laborer achieved dictatorship of the proletariat through struggle in a huge country. Under the political rule of workers and peasants, unfinished tasks of democratic revolution in Russia were accomplished in a radical way which had never been seen before. At the same time, based on its own power and in solidarity with the class struggle of the international working class and liberation struggle of the oppressed people, an unprecedented effort was embarked on: Building of socialism on the way to communism.

Literally it was set foot on a new and untouched field and an enormous set of tasks was worked through practically. In order to carry out today’s tasks, we, revolutionaries and communists, have to learn from painful defeats as well as great achievements of this important revolution.

This epoch-making revolution cannot be considered apart from the theoretically rich preliminary studies of Lenin. What did Lenin do? Based on Marxist theory, he thoroughly examined and analyzed developments in the last decades of 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” is the short version of his analyses. Based upon facts, Lenin scientifically proved that during this period free competitive capitalism was replaced by monopoly capitalism which represented the highest stage of capitalism: “if it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism.” (Lenin, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, Fehler! Hyperlink-Referenz ungültig.). He also added that:

Thus, the twentieth century marks the turning-point from the old capitalism to the new, from the domination of capital in general to the domination of finance capital.” (Ibid)

Without forgetting the conditional and relative value of all definitions in general, which can never embrace all the concatenations of a phenomenon in its full development”, Lenin defines the features of this new capitalism:

(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.” (Ibid)

Based on this analysis above and an ideological struggle in his mind, Lenin developed ‘Theory of Proletarian Revolution’ that challenged Orthodox Marxists who became daydreamers imagining a peaceful ultra-imperialist era like Kautsky and open reformists of the period.

This theory is derived from the three fundamental theses:

  • Domination of the finance capital in the advanced capitalist countries. This sharpens contradiction between labor and capital. This contradiction can only be solved through proletarian-socialist revolution.
  • Increase in capital outflow towards colonized and depended countries, transformation of capitalism into a world system, division of world population into two camps: a couple of ‘advanced capitalist’ countries on the one hand, and the majority that consists of colonized and depended countries exploited by them on the other. Contradiction that grows among the oppressed people can only be resolved through anti-imperialist-democratic revolutions.
  • Wild conflicts that are carried out for redivision of the world based on uneven development of the capitalist countries. Imperialist wars as the only means to refix the broken ‘balance’. These contradictions among imperialists, this ‘‘third front’’ weakens imperialism

Based on these analyses, Lenin arrives at the conclusion: “that under imperialism wars cannot be averted, and that a coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe [Today: proletarian socialist revolutions in the imperialist countries] and the colonial revolution in the East [Today: anti-imperialist-democratic revolutions in countries that are depended on imperialism and half-colonized countries, national liberation revolutions in occupied countries] in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable” (Stalin, “The Foundations of Leninism”, and adds that “Imperialism is the eve of the Socialist Revolution.

Lenin introduced the theory that the revolution should be approached within the framework of the World System of Imperialism and imperialist chain can be broken in the weakest link. Based on facts, he showed that Russia was the weakest link of imperialism in that period.

During World War, Lenin truly identified the character of the war: “The European and world war has the clearly defined character of a bourgeois, imperialist and dynastic war. A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries, a striving to suppress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries.” (Lenin, “The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War”, Fehler! Hyperlink-Referenz ungültig.). And Lenin condemns the embarrassing failure of the Second International. In an attempt to carry out an ideological struggle against Revisionists and Centralists, he supports the right attitude of the Second International on “the decisions of the Stuttgart, Copenhagen and Basle congresses, which made it binding on socialists of all countries to combat chauvinism in all and any conditions, made it binding on socialists to reply to any war begun by the bourgeoisie and governments, with intensified propaganda of civil war and social revolution.” (Lenin, “The War and Russian Social Democracy”, Fehler! Hyperlink-Referenz ungültig.). He demands an organizational severance from the opportunists for a victory of the revolution. He remarks on the International: “It would be a harmful illusion to hope that a genuinely socialist International can be restored without a full organizational severance from the opportunists.” (Lenin, “The Conference of the R.S.D.L.P Groups Abroad”, Fehler! Hyperlink-Referenz ungültig.). Bolshevik party which was directed by Lenin’s theory was the governing force of the October Revolution. The October Revolution practically showed the only way out of the imperialist war: Bolshevik Revolution.

Lenin’s theory is the qualitative development of Marxism under the conditions of qualitative modifications that refer to a transition from free competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism.

Leninism is Marxism of a new age in capitalism. Leninism is Marxism of the age of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.

A century passed since the October Revolution. Humanity has witnessed millions of deaths caused by the Second World War initiated by Nazi-Germany and imperialist and counter revolutionary wars. However, both the first and second World Wars paved the way for new revolutions.

So many things have changed since the last century. The domination of the imperialist monopolies and finance capital is stronger and more visible than ever. Parasitism of the imperialist capitalism has become more visible. Yet, the essence of imperialism has not changed: “Monopolies, oligarchy, tendency towards domination rather than freedom. Exploitation of a growing number of small or weak nations by a couple of rich or strong nations… parasitic, decaying capitalism.” (Lenin, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”) We are still living in the age of imperialism. Contemporary developments in imperialism are not related to the essence of imperialism. Indeed, it is parasitic and decaying capitalism, yet it is still alive. Its end will not come automatically. Its end can only be achieved through Proletarian World Revolution that will appear as a result of various revolutions under the unique leadership of the proletariat. For that reason, we need Lenin’s theory of imperialism and proletarian revolution. We can only win based on him.

Learning from the October, Learning from Lenin,

Learning from Lenin is to learn how to win

April 7 2017

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