100th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Lessons (Part 5)


19.          The Socialism of the 21st century we are fighting for is one where the economy is in the hands of the working class and the oppressed and one which is democratically planned. Immediately after the successful socialist revolution, the working class will socialise the banks, key financial institutions, transport and utility companies and major industries. Family enterprises and the peasant economy will remain as private property and will be integrated in a plan for economic development. In the end, however, the economy will never achieve its optimal development as long as significant parts of it remain in private hands. Of course, with regard to small scale production and property, such as peasant farms, socialisation should proceed cautiously, on the basis of voluntary agreements, and not by force as was the case with the Stalinist bureaucracy. The Socialism of the 21st century we are fighting for is therefore a socialism where people own the economy together and work together. We reject the vision of a Socialism based on autonomous cooperatives. Of course, for a transitional period after the revolution, there may well be cooperatives. But we have to be aware of their inherent dangers; competition between the cooperatives would inevitably lead towards the redevelopment of a market economy and, in the end, capital accumulation and concentration and the re-emergence of classes. When there is no private ownership of the economy, "ownership" will be vested in those who produce, and those they produce for, at the appropriate level; local, regional, national, international. Anything that can be decided locally will be. Broader allocations of resources and exchanges of products will be done on a national, regional or global level. Since there will be no competitive struggle for profits, no hidden privileges for bureaucrats or experts, there will be no need for secrecy. Information about resources and decisions will be available to all. We would not have a single, monstrous, bureaucratic central plan, such as existed under Stalinism, where everything was decided in one place by a caste of privileged bureaucrats. Under real socialism, what will exist will be an ascending series of plans at all appropriate levels, each decided on after debate in a workers' and consumers' democracy. Such a democratically planned economy is not a dream as the bourgeois propagandists claim. Via modern technologies it is possible to communicate needs and necessities and to coordinate production and transport across the globe in seconds. Indeed, every modern multinational corporation works this way. But, in contrast to the capitalist corporations, we will utilise the achievements of modern technologies not for the profit of a few but for the wealth of humanity as a whole.


20.          The final, and probably most important, lesson of the October Revolution is that the working class insurrection cannot succeed without the leadership of a revolutionary party. The October revolution could only take place because the Bolshevik party had prepared for it for one and half decades by constructing a militant, combative party. Such a party can only exist on the basis of a solid and scientific Marxist program derived from theory. It can only operate successfully if it is based on iron discipline and democratic centralism (democracy in internal debates, unity in action). Its cadre can only be steeled by regularly intervening in the class struggle and by rooting the party in the working class. It can only exist as a workers’ party with a special focus on organizing of women, minorities, youth, etc. The revisionist thesis that Lenin would have thought that the reformists could lead a socialist revolution is a falsification of history. Lenin thought that, under pressure, the reformists could go further than they wanted initially. However, he understood that such forces could never lead a proletarian revolution. In fact, the failure of later revolutions has to be explained by the absence of such a Bolshevik party. Building anew such parties constitutes the chief task of revolutionaries today.


21.          The October Revolution also demonstrated once more the important role of personality in history. Without Lenin and Trotsky, the revolution would not have taken place. Most of the Bolsheviks’ Central Committee gave critical support to the popular front before Lenin arrival to Russia. In autumn many members of the Central Committee opposed Lenin demand for armed insurrection. Zinoviev and Kamenev even betrayed the party and informed Gorky that Lenin was preparing an insurrection.


22.          Lenin and Trotsky always insisted that such a revolutionary party must not exist in national isolation but can only exist as a world party. Capitalism exists, and can only exist, on an international plane. Hence, the working class must also organize its struggle against the exploiters internationally. This is why Marx and Engels always strived for the creation of international workers’ parties. This is why the Bolsheviks called for the creation of the Third International from the autumn of 1914 onwards and finally founded it in March 1919. This is why Trotsky saw the construction of the Fourth International – after the Stalinist degeneration of the Third – as the chief task of the 1930s. This is why the RCIT identifies the building of the Fifth revolutionary International as our central task today! We call upon all revolutionary workers and youth to join us in this struggle!




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We encourage organizations and activists who share the general outlook of this document to contact us so that we can discuss working jointly for the liberation of the workers and oppressed:


The RCIT is an international revolutionary organization which unites sections and activists in 14 countries on the basis of a joint program and the organizational principles of democratic centralism (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Tunisia, Israel/Occupied Palestine, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and Austria).


For a more extensive overview of the RCIT’s viewpoints we refer those who are interested to our website www.thecommunists.net. We want to draw particular attention to our programmatic documents:


RCIT: Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation. The Tasks of the Liberation Struggle against Decaying Capitalism (adopted by the 1st Congress of the RCIT in October 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-program-2016/)


RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, April 2012, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-manifesto/