Vladimir Ilych Lenin was the founder and, until his death in January 1924, the central leader of the Russian Bolshevik Party, the first party in history to lead a victorious socialist revolution. In doing so, the Bolsheviks proved for the first time in history that it was possible for the working class to forge out of its own ranks a revolutionary socialist party that was capable of organizing the workers and their allies to overthrow the political rule of the capitalist class, establish a working people’s government and to use this government to begin the construction of a socialist society.
Articles & Discussion
In M’s 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program he states that, “Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”
At the February 12 National Executive meeting I stated that while I agreed with the general political line of the report that was orally presented by Comrade Stuart Munckton, particularly as summarised in the “conclusion” section (and thus voted accordingly), I had reservations about some of the points made and formulations used in the report. Most of these reservations have been eliminated after reading the printed version of the report (Activist Vol. 17, No. 2). Nevertheless, there are a few passages in the report that I think need further clarification:
In his article on “Determining the class character of the state” (Activist Vol. 17, No. 2), Comrade Simon Butler argues that we should use a modified version of the method that Trotsky first proposed in 1937 for determining the class character of the state. In his November 1937 article “Not a Workers’ and Not a Bourgeois State?”, Trotsky argued that the class nature of the state is “determined not by its political forms but by its social content, i.e., by the character of the forms of property and productive relations which the given state guards and defends”.1 Comrade Butler modifies this by proposing to add to the criterion of the property forms the state “defends”, the property forms it “introduces”.
At its April 2003 plenum, the DSP national committee adopted a report on the international political situation which made the observation that “[t]throughout the 1990s one of the greatest factors bearing down on the morale of the Cuban revolutionaries was the Cuban Revolution’s isolation in Latin America – the fact that there was not a single other revolutionary government in the hemisphere. Today, however, the Cuban Revolution has an ally in Latin America – the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez, which has made significant progress in dismantling the institutions of capitalist power in an oil-rich, partially industrialised country with a population more than twice the size of Cuba’s”.
In Links No. 26, Murray Smith, a former leading member of the Scottish Socialist Party and now a leading member of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (the French section of the Trotskyist Fourth International), made extensive comments on my article “The Bolshevik Party and ‘Zinovievism’ Comments on a Caricature of Leninism printed in Links No. 24., focusing in particular on the issue of the public expression and debate of political differences within the Bolshevik Party.(1)
In his otherwise well-argued article “The Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat Peasantry: Permanent Revolution Vietnam” in Activist Vol. 14, No. 4, Comrade Mike Karadjis wrote: According to Siegelbaum (Soviet State and Society Between Revolutions, Cambridge Uni Press, 1992, pp. 43-44), the ‘poor peasant committees’ had been a failure; there had been no second stage of the revolution in the countryside. I think this is probably correct, judging both by what happened next and what has happened elsewhere in the world...
The disintegration of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union opened an important debate within the Marxist movement about how to evaluate the history of the socialist movement, and especially of the Bolshevik Party, the party that led the world’s first successful socialist revolution. One of the central aims of Links has been to provide a forum for such debate.
There were a considerable number of misrepresentations of our party’s positions in David Glanz’s article in the IST discussion bulletin. In this response we will take up only the most politically important of these.
Last year I wrote a letter to Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, responding to his request for our leadership’s disagreements with the Committee for a Workers’ International’s view of Cuba. The letter took the form of an extended polemic against Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) general secretary Peter Taaffe’s 1982 pamphlet Cuba: Analysis of the Revolution. The letter was subsequently printed in The Activist for the information of DSP members. In June this year  the CWI published a book by Peter Taaffe replying to my letter to Comrade Tariq entitled Cuba: Socialism and Democracy.