Letter to the Russian Maoism Party
[Written: Wednesday, March 7, 2007.]
It is interesting to see that the ideas of Marx and Lenin are still stirring some of the Russian people to thought and to action. The ideas of Communism have gone through so many transitions; they have been carried by the earliest Socialists with the simplest ideas of state welfare, and, in their more sophisticated form, they have advocated a social system free of economic exploitation. The ideas of Lenin, Mao, and Stalin, as far as government functioning, aren't exactly compatible, however. Consider the words of Friedrich Engels, the co-author of the Communist Manifesto...
Engels approached the question of Democracy much more openly and thoughtfully than Marx. Not only did he recognize as an instrumental advantage of the working class, but he declared that it was intrinsically attached to Communist revolution; Socialism cannot be achieved through anti-Libertarian methods. In few of his works does Marx ever actually approach the question of Anarchism or Democracy as a means for accomplishing Socialism. In "Conspectus on Bakunin," (1874-5) the Anarchist asked if all forty million Germans would count as part of the Communist state, should the German Communist Party succeed. Marx's response was, "Certainly! Since the whole thing begins with the self-government of the commune." How was Lenin interpreting this "self-government" when he abolished the right to vote, or when he formed secret police to investigate "dissents," or when the rights of the union were taken away, or when the policy of socialization was abolished? In any of the steps of forming the Soviet Union, Lenin's steps contradicted those suggested by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro have all taken paths that have violated the ideas of the authors of the Communist Manifesto, as far as the theory of Democracy and civil rights are concerned. While Leninists may accuse those succeeding Mao and Stalin as "revisionists," "counterrevolutionaries," "bourgeoisie infiltrators," and "western spies," it is clear that it was the Leninist philosophy that revised Marxian theory. And, if it was easy for many people around the globe to use the ideas of Marx to recreate these new slaveries, then maybe the theory's of Marx need to be re-evaluated or re-emphasized The governments erected in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, and then the Cuban Revolution were anti-Democratic, anti-Communist, and finally, anti-Marxist. In tallying up the votes for the political parties in post-revolutionary Russia, Lenin came to an amazingly brilliant idea: we should abolish voting. Why did this brilliant, uncompromisable idea birth itself not during the years that Lenin studied Marx, or during his years of cooperation with Anarchists and Left-Social Revolutionaries, but at the very second that Lenin realized that the vote did not support his party? On that day, an entire branch of Marxist theory was born. And this form of thought is not a tree that bears no fruit. We have the millions of dead in the wake of Stalin and Mao to loan support to Leninism. Again, another "slight deviation" from the methods suggested by Karl Marx.
Far from supporting these systems of authoritarianism and imposing government, the Russian Maoist Party has aligned itself with the ideas of self-government and libertarianism. As the website itself states, "The main consequence of this rule for the post-Soviet Russian proletariat is the fact that it has lost not only its traditions of mass revolutionary struggle, but even the elementary skills of self-organizing, its readiness to defend its rights, its libertarian values and aspirations towards self-government. The working class of contemporary Russia is divided, passive, indifferent towards politics. Overcoming this situation will take a long time." What was the justification of Lenin for abolishing the vote? It was very simple, actually...
Naturally, one can see further draw the conclusions that limitations on the rights to speech, association, and even property or life would also be an advantage to the functioning of the Soviet government. There are a great deal of things to consider with this. First, Lenin suggests that the Proletarian working class can constitute a minority, which is impossible according to Marxian economics. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx felt confident giving the average of nine tenths to the working class of any nation. To suggest that the masses somehow all become wealthy by their mutual, capitalist self-exploitation is ridiculous and counter to the premises of Dialectic Materialism -- the theory that society is shaped by economic interests clashing with each other. Marx even commented on revolutionaries who created dictatorships "on behalf of the Proletariat." In 1874, he wrote, "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 organized under the dictatorship of one or several individuals." Reading these words can make you almost believe that Karl Marx was standing before a monstrous obelisk of Lenin in Moscow.
Every government gives its people what they want. If you need to call it a Democracy, then it will fashion itself as a Democracy. If you need to call it Communist, then it will fashion itself as Communist. The problem of social change and the evolution of civilization cannot be solved by shifting of the figures of authority. The inclination of authority towards ego, possessiveness, and arrogance are omnipresent qualities of leaders. If the Proletariat are to achieve a true form of Socialism, it can only come from the capturing of the social and economic forces of society. The one-big-union, so to speak. The Capitalist class does not tremble before the ballot box, in fact, that has been its mode of success. Only by means of combining labor and organizing it into a revolutionary force will the Communist dream ever become realized. Thank you.