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Excerpts from
Marxism and Bolshevism -
Democracy and Dictatorship
by Karl Kautsky


 
in:
Socialism, Fascism, Communism,
ed. Joseph Shaplen and David Shub.
Published: American League
for Democratic Socialism, 1934

abreviation of the online version at URL:
ttp://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/index.htm

 

I. THE BEGINNINGS OF MARXISM

 

On March 14, 1933, we marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Karl Marx. Simultaneously with this anniversary we might also have commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Marxism, if it were practicable to assign an exact date to the founding of a school of thinkers and fighters.

... In 1881 Eduard Bernstein took over the editorship of the "Sozialdemokrat" in Zurich in order to fashion it into a Marxist fighting organ. Together we had struggled our way through to Marxism…. In 1883 there appeared in Stuttgart the first issue of the "Neue Zeit," founded by me, the first scientific organ of Marxism, excepting those, of course, published by Marx himself.

 

The shift from Bakuninism and revolutionary Popularism to Marxism in Russia began at the same time. Plekhanov, Axelrod and Vera Zasulitch were then the first to attain to the Marxist conception. At about the same time, in France, Jules Guesde, an erstwhile Bakuninist, became the leader of Marxist thought, along with Paul Lafargue, who even before Guesde had found his way to Marxism from Proudhonism. In England Marxism, too, dates from the early eighties. There the first to take up the Marxist ideas and present them before the public were H. M. Hyndman and E. Belfort Bax.

…In our efforts to expound and apply the Marxist ideas we I often encounter the reproach that we are fanatics of a dogma, incapable of anything but swearing by the words of their teacher. The reproach is invalidated by the fact that the Marxists are not a uniform school, but are divided into different groups and varieties with individual and national distinctions. Not only are there German Marxists with a separate Austrian Marxism, but there is also a French Marxism, a British Marxism and a Russian Marxism, in its turn divided into a Menshevik and a Bolshevik Marxism.

 

Every form of doctrinaire fanaticism, every attempt to turn Marxism into an unalterable dogma is contrary to Marxist thought, which recognizes no absolute truth but only relative truth. …There was nothing that Marx feared so much as the degeneration of his school into a rigid sect. The same fear was entertained by Engels, ….

The worst reproach that Engels could make against the first English Marxists was that they were applying Marxism in a sectarian spirit. What would he have said, had he lived to see it, about a school of Marxists who after succeeding in capturing the state power proceeded to make a state religion of Marxism, a religion whose articles of faith and their interpretation are watched over by the government, a religion, the criticism of which, nay, the slightest deviation from which, is sternly punished by the State; a Marxism ruling by the methods of the Spanish Inquisition, propagated with fire and sword, practicing a theatrical ritual, as illustrated by the embalmed body of Lenin: a Marxism reduced to the status not only of a state religion but of a medieval or oriental faith? Such a Marxism may indeed be called a doctrinaire fanaticism.

 

To Marx there was no ultimate knowledge, only an infinite process of learning. Therefore, his own theory is not to be conceived as a collection of tenets which we must accept on faith. Marxism itself is nothing but a definite process of learning, …

The existence of a strong social ethos is no doubt the pre-requisite for any kind of Socialism. But that is something quite self-evident about which Marx later did not think it even necessary to speak. But with ethos alone, without a deeper economic and historical perception, one can not get very far.

The evolution not only of its philosophy of history and its theory of capitalist production but also of the political principles of the proletarian class struggle was furthered thereby. This came about principally through the progress of democracy. We shall now examine this more closely.

 

II. MARX AND REVOLUTION

 

Quite early in his career Marx realized, and in this he proved superior to the other Socialists of his day, that the liberation of the working class could be achieved only by the working class itself, that no paternalistic friend from the bourgeoisie, nor a select proletarian vanguard could accomplish this task for the masses. But like other Socialists he had to admit that the masses were not yet ripe for the struggle. How was this ripeness to be achieved? Through well meaning tutors from above? Grown-up people will not submit to the guardianship of tutors. Where this attempt is made either by Christians or by atheists it usually degenerates into a loathsome, priestly presumptuousness on the part of the tutor and a hypocritical submission of the tutored.

Grown-ups can be taught by life alone. Marx expected the education of the proletariat to come from life, that is to say, he expected it to come from capitalist development and its effect upon the proletariat. Marx pointed this out already in the "Communist Manifesto." …Under such conditions, whence could come that moral and intellectual advancement which alone could make possible the self-liberation of the proletariat?

 

Marx expected it to come as a result of revolution, the advent of which he correctly foresaw. …Nevertheless, the proof was furnished that under conditions of adequate freedom the workers could by their own efforts lift themselves to a high enough level to be able finally to achieve political power not through "civil strife and foreign wars" but through the class struggle waged by their political and economic mass organizations. The condition prerequisite for such a struggle is an adequate measure of political freedom. Where this is lacking, where it has yet to be won, "civil strife and foreign wars" may be necessary to achieve democracy as essential to the rise of the working class. Where democracy exists, it is not necessary for the working class to resort to armed force as a means of attaining power.

Here is what Marx said in 1872 at a public meeting in Amsterdam following the Congress of the International at The Hague (as reported by the Leipziger "Volkstat" of October 2, 1872): "The worker must some day achieve political power, ... he must overthrow the old political machine upon which the old institutions are based,  ... But we do not maintain that the means of attaining this objective are everywhere the same. ... we do not deny that there are countries like America, England ...where the workers can attain their objective by peaceful means. But such is not the case in all other countries."

 

Marx thus had little opportunity to observe the effects of democracy on the development of the proletariat in the military-bureaucratic countries of continental Europe. Engels survived his great friend. He lived to witness the abolition of the exception laws in Austria, the rescinding of the Anti-Socialist law in Germany, the beginning of the rapid growth of the labor movement all over Europe.

The conflict between ...the proletarians and the profit makers...became ever sharper. It was bound to culminate in a violent clash. But Social-Democracy had no reason to hasten a violent collision. Under the conditions prevailing it was growing in power from year to year. The number of proletarians grew faster than that of any other part of the population. And the influence of Social-Democracy on the proletariat was increasing in the same measure.

It was vitally important for Social-Democracy not to disturb this state of affairs by a premature, violent collision with the government. It had to strive to postpone this collision as long as possible. Our opponents thought quite differently. The unscrupulous element among them endeavored to hasten the clash by provoking the masses into premature action.

 

Thus the revolutionary tactics of the Socialists as pursued hitherto were reversed. Engels pointed out: "We the 'revolutionaries' the 'overthrowers' thrive better by the use of legitimate methods than by using illegitimate ones and revolution." ... Engels, too, saw the coming of the revolution, but he hoped it might be postponed. And he feared new wars. They might bring on the revolution but they threatened to ruin the proletariat,…..

Marx in 1872 divided the countries of Europe into two groups. In one—essentially Anglo Saxon—it seemed possible that the proletariat would attain power without violence. In the other group Marx included most of the countries of the continent where the gaining of power without a revolution appeared impossible.

 

III. MARXISM SINCE THE WAR

 

 In Russia it was a Marxist sect that dedicated itself resolutely to the cult of brutal force, ... The Bolsheviki, ..   succeeded in setting up throughout the immense Russian state ... an autocracy of their own. They succeeded perfectly, if the purpose of a socialist party is to be regarded as making its own leaders the rulers of the State. They failed dismally if the purpose of a socialist party is to be the use of its power for the realization of the party's program. This program demands the freedom and welfare of the entire people. The Bolsheviki erased freedom from their program the minute they seized power. ... First the interests of the proletarians and the peasants were to be satisfied by robbing the capitalists and the big landowners. This did not accomplish much. Then it was sought to improve the condition of the industrial manual workers at the expense of the peasants and the intellectuals. Soon Soviet economy declined to such an extent that the despoilment of the cities, too, became necessary in order to maintain the instruments of power of the ruling Communist party. Ultimately this party itself may make robbery one of its articles of official belief.

 

 In Soviet Russia it is not capitalistically trained leaders but economic leaders who came from the ranks of Social-Democracy that are ... ruining the economic administration of their state, which they call Socialist merely because instead of private ownership of the means of production they have established government ownership of these means. But they have at the same time transformed the State into the property of the ruling dictators and instead of democratically socializing production they have autocratically militarized it. As a result we have the same dreadful conditions existing in both cases: the same degradation and slavery, although for different reasons and in different form.

But let us assume that capitalism is about to break down. Will it not mean the same thing as the victory of Socialism? Unfortunately, not. When the capitalistically managed factories are stopped it will mean, first of all, only the stoppage of production; it will not mean the carrying on of production under Socialist forms.

 

Marx expected the victory of Socialism to come not from the collapse of capitalism; ... Marx expected it to come as a result of the growing power and maturity of the proletariat, .. The cult of violence, the contempt for all economic law is intensified by economic crisis no less than by war. The one as well as the other has a tendency to demoralize not alone the profit-making classes but the working classes as well. This demoralization is primarily responsible for the ascendancy of Hitlerism in Germany. The terrible aggravation of the crisis within the last few years drove millions of proletarians into the arms of the champions of shortsighted brutal force, into the arms of the Communists and National Socialists.

 

IV. DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP

 

... one speaker said: "Democracy may be a means (toward an end) but we must not forget that democracy can never be an end in itself. The goal must be Socialism, to which we may come by following the road of democracy."   Fortunately this point of view is utterly false. Democracy is not merely a pathway to the Socialist goal. It is an integral part of that goal, which is not only economic welfare but also freedom and equality for all. At any rate, this integral part can be achieved much earlier than can the economic aspect of Socialist construction, i. e. its social economy.

...another viewpoint ... that true democracy is possible only in a Socialist society and that what we have now as democracy is an illusion and has only a formal character. I maintain quite to the contrary that not only is Socialism impossible without democracy but that there is no other way to Socialism except through democracy, which must be attained, in some degree at least, before Socialism can be attempted.

 

The results of class conflicts will be all the greater the more democracy there is in the state, the greater the benefits derived from it by the working class, and the more numerous the gains in democratic rights which ordinarily the working class achieves by allying itself with other laboring elements, the lower middle class, the farmers and intellectuals.

The masses of the workers can not be organized in secret, conspiratory organizations. They can be organized only in free and open associations.

 

Freedom of association, the right to vote on the basis of universal, secret and direct balloting are the necessary means of educating and developing the proletariat and hastening its maturity. Every extension of freedom for the laboring classes in the state has not only a formal but a real value of the highest degree. Democracy is indissolubly bound up with Socialism both a means to an end and as integral part of the final goal. The Socialist who underestimates democracy, however provisionally, cuts the very branch on which he sits and whence he aims to climb higher.

Where democracy is being destroyed by violence we have the moral right, despite our democratic principles, to fight violence with violence. But we are not bound to do so by immediately resorting to arms. Hence we do not in any way regard ourselves as driven to the necessity of answering the destruction of democracy by an armed insurrection.

 

There is yet another circumstance that must be taken into consideration while appealing to force. The only weapon that gives the laboring masses an advantage over their exploiters is their numerical superiority. When it comes to decisive social clashes we have a chance to win only where that numerical superiority is on our side. This is true not only in cases where the fight is conducted by methods of democracy but also in a larger measure in conflicts where violence is employed. We should not think that the use of force will exempt us from the difficult duty of attracting to our side the majority of the population. On the contrary, we shall perish if we are going to be opposed not only by the machine guns and cannons of the army and the police but also by the majority of the people.

Whatever be the methods which we choose in defending ourselves against force, our aim must be always the same: the restoration of democracy, and not the substitution of a new regime of force for the one demolished by us. We shall attract the broad masses more easily for the purpose of reestablishing democracy than for the purpose of replacing one form of dictatorship with another. Besides, dictatorship can never be our road to Socialism.

 

We have all heard of the Utopians who in the first half of the last century tried to make Socialism an immediate reality through the establishment of Communist colonies. With a backward proletariat, it was inevitable that these efforts should assume the character of a ready-made community plan, brought from above and carried out under the guidance of a dictatorship. … But since the time of Marx and Engels we have learned that these efforts were doomed to failure because of an undeveloped proletariat.

…. the Russian Social-Democrats split into two approximately equal factions. One consisted of Mensheviki, who were organizing the party by democratic methods, as was always insisted upon by Marx. Against them appeared the Bolsheviki led by Lenin, who strove to establish in the party the dictatorial power of the leaders.

Then came the World War; the collapse of the Russian armies, … The Bolsheviki under Lenin's leadership, … succeeded in capturing control … and thus laid the foundation for a new dictatorship in place of the old Czarist dictatorship.

 

Having seized control, Lenin at once conceived himself powerful enough to undertake from above and by utopian methods the carrying out of a task which until then he himself as a disciplined Marxist had regarded as unrealizable, namely, the immediate establishment of the Socialist order of production with the aid of an immature proletariat..

…Wherein do the Russian people differ from other peoples of our capitalist civilization? First of all, of course, in their economic and political backwardness. As a result of this backwardness any Socialist party in present-day Russia would be unavoidably driven to the methods of utopianism and dictatorship if it were placed in power by the force of extraordinary circumstances, without support of the majority of the population, and if its own illusions impelled it to undertake the immediate task of building Socialism.

 

When the civil war in Russia subsided and all the hopes for a world revolution vanished, doubts began to arise in the minds of the Bolshevist rulers as to whether "military communism" would last long. Lacking a basis in the initiative and discipline of the working class, this new regime could be maintained only with the aid of a bureaucratic apparatus, as unwieldy as it was inefficient, and by means of military discipline in the factories and brutal terrorism practiced by an all-powerful political police throughout the state. "Military communism" resulted in a constant fall of production and brought the country to an ever growing economic decline.

This was soon recognized by the majority of the Bolsheviki themselves. Lenin created a breach in this Communism by making some concessions to private economy (NEP, 1921), and that gave the country a short breathing spell. Lenin himself called it a respite. And, in fact, Russia under "military Communism" was gasping for breath. We do not know whether Lenin would have continued the NEP. He died in 1924. After his death differences arose among the Bolsheviki on the question of the NEP. And indeed the development of the NEP demanded the adoption of a definite policy. It was necessary either to extend the system, which promised an economic upturn but threatened the existence of the dictatorship, or to abolish the NEP and return to integral communism. It was the latter that was decided upon by Stalin, who had gained unlimited authority among Lenin's followers.

 

State industry, however, was in a precarious condition and facing imminent ruin. … It was decided therefore to create this industry at express train speed with the aid of a Five-Year Plan. Within five years, beginning with 1928, it was planned to build an industrial organization that was to eclipse that of the United States. The plan was immediately put into execution with all the zeal and energy available. During the "Piatiletka" there were accomplished indeed colossal things that aroused the admiration and amazement of the capitalist world and of many Socialists who previously had maintained a sceptical attitude toward the Bolshevist experiment. Now some of them take the view which they themselves had previously rejected. They say, "Well, it is true that the Bolshevik methods are not suitable for us, nevertheless they seem to lead to Socialist construction in Russia."

… what characterizes modern production is not only a highly developed technique but also highly qualified workers who know how to operate the latest machinery and who are to be found in sufficient numbers only in a democracy. These workers even to a larger extent than the machines are the prerequisites for a true Socialist society that guarantees welfare and freedom to all. In Russia, however, under the Czar as well as under the Bolsheviki, all efforts have always been directed toward importing the modern technique of capitalist countries, but not the freedom which creates modern men.

 

In the sixties of the past century, under the influence of the defeats suffered in the Crimean war, a liberal movement sprang up among a section of the Russian nobility. This faction, after abolishing serfdom, wanted to emulate the English aristocracy in conducting a modern economy. The abolition of serfdom brought to some of the landowners large indemnities which they used in the purchase of agricultural machinery in England. But they could not import English workers along with the machinery, or if they could it was only in small numbers. The peasants, who by law had just been freed from serfdom but who in reality continued to be the slaves of the landowners and of absolutism, showed little capacity for handling modern machinery. The machines soon fell into disrepair and became junk.

The promoters of the "Piatiletka" disregarded these early experiences. They too believed that all that was necessary was to import from the industrial countries as many new machines as possible. They forgot that it was necessary also to create the political and social conditions that further the development of modern men. Still less did they think of the fact that such men cannot be developed as fast as new machines are created, and that for this purpose a Five-Year plan is not enough. But to create new machines in the face of a lack of qualified workmen means not to increase the productive forces of the country but to waste its resources.

Furthermore, Stalin and his men during the "Piatiletka" were wasting national wealth in a manner quite different from the method employed in the sixties by the liberal landowners. These last spent for the purchase of machinery only such funds as would have been wasted anyway in gambling, in trips to Paris, etc. The condition of their peasants did not grow worse on account of it. Quite different is the case with Stalin. All the wealth of Russia which her exploiters had been able to garner before the World War by accumulating the surplus value that flowed into their pockets had been spent or destroyed first in the war, then in the civil war and finally in consequence of the establishment of a bureaucratic state economy by the Bolsheviki. The large sums of money needed for the creation of the new industrial apparatus could be raised only by extracting as much as possible of the newly-created surplus value from the laboring masses. But the productiveness of these masses is quite low. Under Czarism the wages and standard of living of the workers were pitifully low. They declined further during the World War and civil war. During the NEP period they rose somewhat. Now they have been greatly reduced again in order to obtain money for the purchase of numerous machines.

 

Foreign tourists in Russia stand in silent amazement before the gigantic enterprises created there, just as they stand before the pyramids, for example. Only seldom does the thought occur to them what enslavement, what lowering of human self-esteem was connected with the construction of those gigantic establishments.

The Russian landowners imported machinery without improving the condition of the peasants or adding to their freedom. This was the cause of the failure of their technical reform plan. The Bolsheviki, on the other hand, import machinery by rendering the condition of the workers immeasurably worse and curtailing their freedom. They extract the means for the creation of material productive forces by destroying the most essential productive force of all the laboring man. In the terrible conditions created by the "Piatiletka" people rapidly perish. Soviet films, of course, do not show this. But to convince oneself one only has to inquire of Western European and American workers who went to work in Russia, wishing to escape the capitalist hell and find happiness in the Soviet paradise. After a short stay these workers hurry back to their former hell where conditions now, of course, are bad enough but yet more bearable than is the condition of the workers or even of privileged persons on the other side of the Soviet border.

 

The results of the "Piatiletka" have turned out to be terrible largely because the Bolsheviki, not content with setting up a large number of gigantic industrial establishments, undertook to transform the individual peasant economy forthwith into a gigantic collective economy, doing precisely that which Lenin had prudently abstained from. …

 

But Stalin needed money for a program of rapid industrialization on a gigantic scale. Those enterprises which already existed were working on a deficit, therefore the expedient of extracting more from the peasants seemed all the more necessary. This method of procedure encountered many difficulties when applied to the individual, free peasant who had enough resistance power. Hence the idea of combining the individual peasant holdings into gigantic collectives, the so-called kolkhozy, ruled by the state. From such enterprises the State thought to collect a much larger share of their production than from individual peasants. But the peasants would not join the kolkhozy. Therefore they must be compelled to enter them by force. Thus the diligent and willing toil of free peasants is replaced with the compulsory labor of unwilling serfs. And the yield of such labor is always poor in quality and quantity. It can be managed only with the aid of the most primitive and simple tools of production. A man working under compulsion will quickly damage any kind of complicated tool. And yet the kolkhozy were supposed to be the last word of modernity and efficiency in agricultural economy. They are supplied with the best American implements. With the change to the new methods of production cattle were to a large extent slaughtered. The member of the kolkhoz is compelled to work with the new implements of production which are not suited to him, for they demand free, highly skilled workers. The old implements to which he has become accustomed are gone. It is easy to imagine the results accomplished by a man working against his will and interests. And in fact the productivity of Russian agriculture since the introduction of "Socialist construction" has been falling appreciably. At present there is real famine in that agricultural country. In the days of the Czar we were perfectly justified in denouncing famine in Russia as evidence of the rottenness of the political order. But the famine in Russia this year exceeds anything known before. It rages practically all over the Ukraine, in Northern Caucasus and the Lower Volga region—the most fertile sections of the country—the very ones in which the collectivization of agriculture has been most extensive. Must we therefore welcome famine as the inevitable attendant of Socialist construction?

 

Gigantic enterprises have been created in agriculture and industry. But they owe their existence to the use of methods which compel the broad masses of the people to starve, to live in rags and filth. This is not the road that will lead us to Socialism, but one that will lead farther away from it, for it increasingly deprives the workers of their capacity to work successfully. It also degrades them in a spiritual sense. For along with want grows dissatisfaction, and to combat this dissatisfaction all sorts of deceptions are employed, and oppression, enhancing the fear that holds the people in subjection, is increased. Resort to capital punishment increases.

... a backward agricultural country cannot show the way to Socialism to other countries. Its failure in this respect is foreordained. It is merely a question of when and how this failure will finally manifest itself. ..., contrary to all promises, things under the Bolshevist state economy have been getting worse every year, (excepting the short period of the NEP), and the day is not far distant when even the most credulous will become convinced that the Bolshevist way leads not upward, toward Socialism, but downward, to open ruin or slow disintegration.

 

... what is going on in Russia is not the bankruptcy of the Socialist methods of Marxism, but evidence of the failure of the methods of utopianism. It is also evidence of the bankruptcy of dictatorship, which we reject under all circumstances in times of peace as a means of political ascendancy and Socialist construction. Only in a democracy is Socialism possible.

The failure of the Communist experiment in Russia, however, does not mean the downfall of the Bolshevik regime. .... The same backwardness that makes Socialism in Russia at the present time impossible favors the strengthening of despotism once it has taken root.

The Soviet dictatorship may continue long after the world has recognized the fact that Socialism is no longer the essential purpose of that dictatorship but is only a delusion by means of which it strives to prolong its life and which is uses to deceive itself and others. The Bolsheviki may continue in power for a more or less extended period of time but their power will become increasingly incapable of withstanding serious trials. One such trial may overthrow it over night. We should always be prepared for the unexpected in Russia.

 

Like every absolutism in history, Bolshevist absolutism will be compelled to grant freedom to the Russian masses only under the pressure of an irresistible movement of the people. To avoid all misunderstanding, I want first of all to remark that I am not at all advocating the organization of open rebellion against the rulers residing in the Kremlin, and that I am still less in favor of any kind of foreign intervention. .... If this apparatus is not wrecked as a result of dissension within the ruling group itself then there is no other way of shortening its tenure except through an elemental upsurge of the people whose pressure will prove irresistible.

So that the question before us is not whether we should encourage the Russian Socialists to organize an insurrection. The question is altogether different, namely, how are we to act when, without our help but solely under pressure of the desperate condition of the state and its economic life, there will break out a mass movement of such power as to threaten the domination of the Communist party? Will such an insurrection lead inevitably to the establishment of the dictatorship of the Whites, so that in order to fight it the Socialist International will have to mobilize all the forces at its command?

 

Just what form the workers' and peasants' movement may take in present-day Russia is hard to say. We are dealing with an utterly abnormal state organism. The Communist Party may split, units of the Red Army may refuse to obey their officers, hunger may lead to an explosion of despair, the bureaucratic apparatus may stop working, the dictatorship itself may become more moderate and make some concessions, breaches may appear in the dike of terror and cause the whole structure eventually to be swept away. Many other things may happen. But what ground have we for thinking that in that case the representatives of Czarism, large industry and capital will gain such mastery as to be able to put the laboring masses under the harness of a new dictatorship? Against whom will the peasants and workers rise up if Bolshevism should collapse? Against the state economy? The workers will prefer private enterprise only in cases where they are assured better living and working conditions than they can get from the government-owned economy.

What the peasants and workers will destroy first of all, for it oppresses them both economically and politically more than anything else, is the whole machinery of government dictatorship. .... If in addition there is discord and indecision among the dictators themselves, then that will mean the end of the dictatorship.  The disbanding of the political police, the bureaucracy and the army will be the first result of the overthrow of the Red dictatorship. Where, then, are the elements that will make a White dictatorship not only possible but inevitable ?

 

. Sixteen years of steady and growing misery and oppression can not help but kindle the fire of hate in the hearts of the people, and we are able to judge of the intensity of this hatred from the unceasing killings of Bolshevik agents in the villages. To this must be added the utter lack of experience and traditions associated with free organization and self-rule among the people.....  in the present condition of Russia everything is abnormal, therefore the overcoming of it may assume abnormal forms. But where the peasants and the workers are given an opportunity for free self-determination, they always tend toward democratic forms of organization. 

In my opinion the Socialist International has not the slightest reason or right to brand in advance as a reactionary movement every rebellion of the Russian people against the prevailing dictatorship. The democratic movement among the peasants and workers must count upon our fullest sympathy. Every attempt on the part of the White Guard elements to gain ascendancy in Russia will meet the unanimous resistance of all Socialists without distinction.

 

The old idealists among the dictators in the Kremlin have either died out or been removed from office. The men who are at the helm now have derived from the class struggle of the proletariat, in which they formerly participated as part of the Social-Democratic movement, only the desire to utilize the working class for their own ends, which in practice are no longer the liberation of the laboring masses but the strengthening of their own absolutism. .... In the eyes of the Kremlin rulers the proletarians of all countries must play the part of wooden soldiers marching to their command. This is really the task of the Comintern. This is what all the illusions about a world revolution have come to. ....

In this effort to establish their dictatorship over the proletariat of the world and to drag it into adventures regardless of consequences, the Moscow dictators encounter the determined resistance of Social-Democracy. Therefore they regard the Social Democracy as their most dangerous enemy. The rage of the Communists is directed principally not against foreign capitalists but against the workers organized into Social-Democratic parties and free trade unions.

The fundamental aim of the Communists of every country is not the destruction of capitalism but the destruction of democracy and of the political and economic organizations of the workers. By their policies they always pave the way for reaction. The capitalists no longer fear Soviet Russia, they help her. ... And the capitalists fear Soviet Russia just as little politically as they do economically. Mussolini owes his success in no small measure to the Communists. They made possible the triumph of Hitler in Germany. In France and other countries the reactionaries owe a number of their seats in Parliament to the Communists. Everywhere from the moment the war ended the Communists have been doing the greatest harm to the cause of the working class by bringing discord into its ranks.

 

Not the collapse of the dictatorship in Russia but its further continuance in power constitutes the gravest menace and causes the greatest damage to the liberation struggle of the modern working class.

 

 

 

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