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You are here: Home / 2017 / Seminar 100 years Octoberrevolution - Thematic Block 2 / Lenin's strategy of the international revolution. The international counterrevolution brings the international revolution which began with the October Revolution to a standstill, because the objective and subjective prerequisites for a successful proletar

Lenin's strategy of the international revolution. The international counterrevolution brings the international revolution which began with the October Revolution to a standstill, because the objective and subjective prerequisites for a successful proletar

Introductory speech for International Seminar 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, thematic block 2, Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan/Turkey) , October 27, 2017


For Lenin and the Bolsheviks it was already clear in the year 1915: The international revolution of the proletariat will not be taking place in the form of simultaneous insurrections in the developed capitalist countries. Instead, imperialism's chain will be tearing at its weakest link, the proletariat in this country will establish its dictatorship and begin with socialist construction. Lenin states accordingly:Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone.1

In his work “The Foundations of Leninism” Stalin summarizes the world-historical practice and the lessons of the October Revolution on the course of the proletarian world revolution:

The front of capital will be pierced where the chain of imperialism is weakest, for the proletarian revolution is the result of the breaking of the chain of the world imperialist front at its weakest link; and it may turn out that the country which has started the revolution, which has made a breach in the front of capital, is less developed in a capitalist sense than other, more developed, countries, which have, however, remained within the framework of capitalism.2

For Lenin and the Party of the Bolsheviks the October Revolution, in which the proletariat conquered power, was part of the proletarian world revolution and its prologue.

Lenin substantiated their path with the following: Russia has started to achieve socialism in the right way…. When people depict the difficulties of our task, when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and of its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth.”3

And Lenin concluded: 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. 4


Since the October Revolution the internationalization of capital and production have increased enormously and immense changes in the imperialist system have taken place. However, these do not affect the essence of imperialism. Today, 100 years after the October Revolution, the international revolution of the proletariat will not be proceeding in the form of a simultaneous revolution in the advanced countries of imperialist capitalism or even simultaneously in all countries. Instead the chain of imperialism will be tearing at its weakest link.



Lenin characterized the course of the international revolution, the world revolution, as follows:

The social revolution can come only in the form of an epoch in which are combined civil war by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie in the advanced countries and a whole series of democratic and revolutionary movements, including the national liberation movement, in the undeveloped, backward and oppressed nations.5


As its strategy of the world revolution the October Revolution has united two powerful revolutionary movements of the world in a single stream: the class movement of the proletariat for socialist revolution in the imperialist metropolises and the movement of the oppressed peoples for anti-imperialist, democratic revolutions. This strategy is bundled in the central slogans of the proletarian world revolution “Workers of the world, unite!” and “Workers of all countries and oppressed peoples, unite”.

All democratic movements, all struggles of the oppressed – struggles for the rights of workers, peasants, the toiling masses, for those of women and the youth, struggles of the LGBTI [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersexual], struggles of the indigenous peoples, struggles against war, against racism, fascism, against environmental destruction, against national oppression – can and must be lead today as a part of the socialist or anti-imperialist, democratic revolutions, against the imperialist world system.



Lenin's doctrine on the revolutionary situation was one of the decisive factors for the victory of the October Revolution. In his work “'Left-Wing' Communism – an Infantile Disorder” he formulated the strategy and tactics of the international communist world movement: The fundamental law of revolution, which has been confirmed by all revolutions and especially by all three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century, is as follows: for a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the ‘lower classes’ do not want to live in the old way and the ‘upper classes’ cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph.”6



The Leninist doctrine on the “revolutionary situation” demands of the communists in each and every country to conduct a concrete examination of the situation in the given country. Among parts of the Marxist-Leninist world movement which developed anew in the 1960s this requirement was forgotten when they took over the theory of Khrushchev's revisionists of a new “era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world-wide victory.7 A revolutionary situation was maintained to be existing in all countries on the entire globe. Today, too, among many revolutionaries the concrete analysis of each individual country is neglected with a false generalization about a “capitalism which is permanently in crisis”. This often results in a strategy of voluntaristic vanguard war without a people or in a strategy of reformism under the guise of revolutionary phrases. Also in this question communists must return to Lenin and Leninism and apply him in class struggle.



For the victory of the October Revolution the most decisive thing is the existence of a Bolshevik party which is built up and steeled in the struggle of the proletariat. Toward

the end of the 1st World War a revolutionary situation developed in many European countries aside from Russia. For example in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Austria. Revolutionary uprisings conducted by soldiers and workers returning home from the imperialist war (for example in Kiel and Berlin) were the order of the day, as well as the calling out of soviet powers which unfortunately lasted only for a short time (as in Munich, Berlin and Hungary). But none of these uprisings led to a longer-lasting dictatorship of the proletariat as in Russia. And so the help that the Bolsheviks justifiably awaited from the proletariat of the more developed capitalist countries failed to materialize. The main reason for this was that the break of the communists in these countries with the social-chauvinists and centrist forces took place too late. Consequently, Soviet Russia, later the Soviet Union, the only proletarian state power of the world, had to shoulder the gigantic task of building up socialism in a country alone.

How could this happen even though revolutionary situations broke out toward the end of the 1st World War in Germany, Hungary and Italy, i.e. the objective conditions of revolution existed and were very favorable? Why had the revolution only succeeded in Russia in the long run? What made the difference? The difference was the development and the construction of a party of a new type, the Leninist Bolshevik party in Russia.

Not without cause did Lenin state in his work “'Left-Wing' Communism”, that of primary importance was the Bolshevik Party as an essential condition of the Bolshevik's success.8

In his work “The Foundations of Leninism” Stalin summarized in a pathbreaking way what constitutes this party of a new type. In our opinion the most important feature of the Bolshevik party for today is its emergence in the struggle against all varieties of opportunism, nationally as well as internationally. The Communist Party of Russia9 was the first among the Marxist parties of that time that made no foul compromises with opportunism in the name of unity. From the very beginning it stood as an example for a principled, uncompromising and open ideological struggle. It broke very early with social-chauvinists and centrists, not only ideologically, but also organizationally. Only in this way could the Bolshevik party win over the confidence of the majority of the proletariat and lead the working people in the victorious revolution to conquer power and build up socialism.


To learn from the October Revolution today, 100 years later in the 21st century, means for the Marxist-Leninist world movement: Without a genuine Bolshevik party the victory of a proletarian revolution is impossible. It is impossible to create a Bolshevik party without an uncompromising, open, ideological struggle against all varieties of opportunism. These revolutionary insights from the October Revolution were unfortunately simply “forgotten” in the joint declarations of the communist and working-class parties in 1957 and 1960. The open ideological struggle against opportunism or opportunist mistakes was replaced with the following norm: “In the common interest of the unity for struggle against the enemy, we have always advocated solving problems through inter-Party consultations and opposed bringing differences into the open before the enemy.10 Lenin's practice was diametrically opposed to this. He ended his preface to his writing “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” with the call: One more word to the opponents of Social-Democracy. They gloat and grimace over our disputes; they will, of course, try to pick isolated passages from my pamphlet, which deals with the failings and shortcomings of our Party, and to use them for their own ends. The Russian Social-Democrats are already steeled enough in battle not to be perturbed by these pinpricks and to continue, in spite of them, their work of self-criticism and ruthless exposure of their own shortcomings, which will unquestionably and inevitably be overcome as the working-class movement grows.11

We have to return to Lenin and to Leninism in this point also and apply him in class struggles.

Learning from October means learning from Lenin, means learning to win!



1 Lenin, “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”, August 1915, Works Vol.21, p. 342

2 Stalin, “The Foundations of Lenin”, April/May 1924, Works Vol. 6, p.100


3 Lenin, “Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets”, January 1918, Works, Vol. 26, p.470

4 Lenin, “Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution”, October 1921, Works Vol. 33, p.57

5 Lenin, “A Caricature of Marxism”, August/October 1916, Works Vol.23, p.60

6 Lenin, “'Left-Wing' Communisman Infantile Disorder”, April/May 1919, Works Vol. 31, pp.84-85

7 Lin Piao, Forward to the Second Edition of Quotations from Chairman Mao-Tsetung , December 1966, p.1, Peking

8 Lenin “'Left-Wing' Communism”, April/May 1919, Works Vol. 31, p. 23

9 RSDLP (B) Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (Bolsheviks), later CPSU (B) Communist Party of the Soviet Union (B)

10 Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, Point 25

11 Lenin, “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”, May 1904, Works Vol. 7, p.206

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