Daily LIFT #578
Vladimir Lenin in Smolny, painting Isaak Brodsky, USSR 1930 -- Daily LIFT #578
Of course, the proletarian revolution had to start from the fundamental relation between the contending classes, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The fundamental problem was to transfer power into the hands of the working class, to secure its dictatorship, to overthrow the bourgeoisie and deprive it of those sources of power, which undoubtedly are a hindrance in any work of Socialist reconstruction. Being familiar with Marxism, we never doubted the assertion that the decisive role in capitalist society must belong, according to the economic structure of society, either to the proletariat or to the bourgeoisie. But now we see many former Marxists, for instance from the camp of the Mensheviki, who claim that during the period of decisive struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie the regime of democracy can be maintained. So speak the .Mensheviki in complete unison with the Social-Revolutionaries. As if the bourgeoisie does not establish or abolish democracy according to its sweet will. And once that is so what sense is there in the talk of democracy at the time of the fiercest struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It is only too surprising how quickly these Marxist? or would-be Marxists, like the Mensheviki, display their true colors, how quickly their true nature is exposed, the nature of petit-bourgeois democrats.
All his life Marx chiefly fought against the illusions of petit-bourgeois democracy and bourgeois democratism. Marx constantly ridiculed the liberty of the worker under capitalism,—which means his liberty to die of hunger,—and that equality of per-sons to sell their labor and of the bourgeois who has an equal right to buy that labor freely, buy in a so-called free market, etc. In all of his economic writings 'Marx endeavored to clarify this point. It might be said that Marx's entire "Capital" is devoted to the exposition of the truth that 'the basic forces of capitalist society are embodied in the bourgeoisie and the proletariat,—the bourgeoisie as the builder of That capitalist society, and the proletariat as its grave-digger, as the only force capable of supplanting it. There can hardly be found a chapter in Marx not dealing with this question. - Lenin, excerpt from Phases of Communist Reconstruction, a speech that Lenin delivered at the 8th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (b), 1919. The speech was first published in English in the United States on November 15, 1919.