Editorial for Revolutionary Communism No. 5 (September 2012)


In this issue of the RCIT’s English-language journal Revolutionary Communism we deal with several important class struggle issues of the present period. We continue our reportage of the heroic miners’ strike in South Africa about we published several documents already in our last issue. In this issue we print several documents from the Workers International Vanguard Party, a Trotskyist organization on South Africa.

Recently the campaign of the imperialist powers – in particular the USA and Britain – against WikiLeaks and its spokesperson Julian Assange has dramatically accelerated. The British government even threatened to storm the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange received political asylum. We publish the statement of the International Secretariat of the RCIT on this issue.

Another important issue in this journal is the class struggle in Greece. We print an assessment of the outcome of the election in 17th June, which is written by our comrade Michael Pröbsting. We also publish a lengthy interview with comrade Sophia Theodoropoulou from the Trotskyist OKDE (Organization of Communist Internationalists of Greece). In this interview the comrade reports about the important experience in their trade union work in the telecommunication sector.

We also print an interview about the liberation struggle of the Kurdish people in Turkey. For this we spoke with Sedat Durel and Fuat Karan, two comrades from İşçi Cephesi (Workers Front), a Trotskyist organization in Turkey.

In addition we publish an article on the Bosnian national liberation war in 1992-95. The author, Nina Gunić, looks at the specifics of this struggle. In particular she focuses on the consequences of the lack of a revolutionary party which could have deepened the multi-national character of the struggle and combined it with the perspective for a socialist Balkan federation. She also emphasizes the reactionary role of NATO imperialism. She shows in particular the collaboration of the Dutch units with the Serbian General Mladić when the later organized the mass murder of 8.000 Bosnian men in Srebrenica in July 1995.

This combination of democratic or national liberation struggles with the task of socialist revolution becomes particularly difficult given the lack of a revolutionary workers party as part of a Fifth International. Due to this lack of a revolutionary leadership the imperialist powers find it easier to interfere and contain such democratic and national liberation struggles. In a longer article, Michael Pröbsting elaborates some fundamental considerations on different types of wars and which consequences should be drawn for military tactics from the Marxist point of view. He deals in particular with the positions of sectarian “anti-imperialists” in the West and discusses their arguments for siding with the Gaddafi regimes against the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011.

Lenin warned already about the danger of taking a sectarian position towards democratic and national liberation struggles because of a wrong leadership and the interference by imperialist powers. Thus he wrote in 1916:

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc. to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are   for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will he a social revolution! Only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a “putsch”.

Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. It consisted of a series of battles in which all the discontented classes, groups and elements of the population participated. Among these there were masses imbued with the crudest prejudices, with the vaguest slid most fantastic aims of struggle; there were small groups which accepted Japanese money, there were speculators and adventurers, etc. But objectively, the mass movement was breaking the hack of tsarism and paving the way for democracy; for this reason the class-conscious workers led it.

The socialist revolution in Europe cannot be anything other than an outburst of mass struggle on the part of all and sundry oppressed and discontented elements. Inevitably, sections of tile petty bourgeoisie and of the backward workers will participate in it—without such participation, mass struggle is impossible, without it no revolution is possible—and just as inevitably will they bring into the movement their prejudices, their reactionary fantasies, their weaknesses slid errors. But objectively they will attack capital, and the class-conscious vanguard of the revolution, the advanced proletariat, expressing this objective truth of a variegated and discordant, motley and outwardly fragmented, mass struggle, will he able to unite and direct it, capture power, seize the banks, expropriate the trusts which all hate (though for difficult reasons!), and introduce other dictatorial measures which in their totality will amount to the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the victory of socialism, which, however, will by no means immediately “purge” itself of petty-bourgeois slag.“ (V. I. Lenin: The Discussion on Self-Determination summed up (1916); in: CW Vol. 22, pp. 355-356, emphasis in the original)

In general these complex questions of liberation struggles under a (petty-)bourgeois leadership and mingled with imperialist interference demonstrate once more the burning necessity for revolutionaries to apply the materialist-dialectical method. For this reason we republish two articles in our section “From the Archives of Marxism”. The first is the article “Learn To Think. A Friendly Suggestion to Certain Ultra-Leftists”. It was written in 1938 by Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 and founder of the Fourth International. The second one is an article by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party, “On the Question of Dialectics”. It is a thoughtful summary of the essence of the materialist dialectic, written in 1915.

Finally we print “Theses on Maoism”, a document written by Michael Pröbsting as a summary of the political and class characteristics of Maoism. Given the important role Maoist organizations play in various semi-colonial countries, we consider this subject as a very significant question.


31. August 2012

Editorial Board of the Journal Revolutionary Communism