Lenin’s teachings on imperialism and the revolution retain their complete validity today
April 22 marks the 146th birth anniversary of VI Lenin. Lenin will always be remembered and honored for his invaluable contribution to the treasury of Marxism — the revolutionary doctrine of emancipation of the working class from the shackles of capitalist slavery. Lenin further developed the theory of Marxism, in the conditions wherein capitalism had reached the stage of imperialism, its final stage, at the end of the nineteenth century.
In 1914, the biggest imperialists of the world had unleashed a devastating world war to re-divide the world amongst themselves. Millions of people were slaughtered in this war for the sake of the profits of the biggest monopolies. In these conditions the Russian working class led by the Bolshevik party rose up in revolution, overthrew the rule of the Tsar, the capitalists and the landlords, and established in its place the rule of the working class in alliance with the toiling peasantry. Lenin will always be remembered as the architect of the Great October Socialist Revolution that shook the world in November 1917.
The triumph of the October Revolution and the subsequent successful construction of socialism in the Soviet Union took place in the course of waging stern struggle in defence of the revolutionary kernel of Marxism. Lenin exposed the theories spouted by the so-called theoreticians of the Second International such as Karl Kautsky as nothing but apologies for capitalism and imperialism. These distorters of Marxism promoted the theory that under conditions of imperialism, there was no need for the proletariat to carry out a revolution in order to replace capitalism with socialism. Instead, they declared that imperialism would itself peacefully transform into socialism, without the revolution. They lined up the working class of the leading imperialist countries behind the interests of the capitalist class in power.
Lenin analysed the abrupt changes that were taking place. He mercilessly criticized those who called themselves Marxists, but treated Marxism as a dogma, as debasing our science. Lenin defended the revolutionary kernel of Marxism, and contributed to its further development.
In his famous work, “Imperialism the highest stage of capitalism” written in 1916, Comrade Lenin clearly explained that imperialism can only mean war and conflict. There can be no peace in the world till the imperialist system is overthrown by the proletarian revolution.
Lenin pointed out the three major contradictions of the imperialist system - between exploiters and exploited within each country, between imperialism and the oppressed nations and peoples, and among the imperialist powers.
Lenin discovered the law of uneven economic and political development of capitalist states under imperialism. This law ensured that the struggle between imperialist powers for the redivision of the world was inevitable. The periods of relative “peace” between the major imperialist powers would be temporary, to be inevitably followed by wars amongst them to redivide the world.
Lenin showed that imperialism meant the domination over finance capital over every aspect of society. He pointed out that finance capital, increasingly concentrated in a few hands, was extracting tribute from the whole of society for the benefit of the monopolists. Not only the working class, but the peasantry and other sections of society too were being strangulated.
Lenin showed that the intensification of all the major contradictions inherent in capitalism in its highest stage of imperialism is bound to lead to an explosive revolutionary situation on multiple fronts. Lenin pointed out that imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to their last bounds, to the extreme limit; it is capitalism in decay. Lenin characterized imperialism as the eve of the proletarian revolution.
Lenin pointed out that under conditions of imperialism, the proletariat had allies in the peasantry, as well as the nations and peoples colonized or dominated by imperialism. All those who were suffering under the yoke of imperialism could be brought together in one revolutionary alliance against the chain of imperialism. He proposed that this chain of imperialism would break wherever it was weakest. The theoreticians of the Second International were completely wrong in looking upon the peasantry and the oppressed nations and peoples in general as reserves of imperialism, against the proletariat. On the contrary Lenin showed through his analysis of imperialism that the peasantry as well as the oppressed peoples and nations would be allies of the proletariat in the revolutionary struggle.
The successful construction of Socialism in the Soviet Union was a living proof of this. The working class established its rule in the Soviet Union in alliance with the toiling peasantry. The peoples and nations formerly oppressed in Tsarist Russia came together voluntarily to establish the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin’s time became an example of inspiration to the working class and all the peoples oppressed by imperialism to break out of the shackles of imperialism.
All the developments over the past century have confirmed and reconfirmed the validity of Lenin’s analysis of imperialism. Imperialism will keep hurling the world into new and more destructive wars, including world wars, until the working class and peoples of the world overthrow imperialism through the proletarian revolution and build the new socialist society.
To counteract the tendency of the falling rate of profit, finance capital has been pushing for a series of a measures in all capitalist countries. These include the removal of all national barriers to flow of capital and trade in goods and services, and facilitating the intensification of exploitation of labour. Massive attacks have been launched in all capitalist countries including India on the rights of workers.
Capitalism at its present stage is devastating economies across the world. Maximum profits is being made from the arms trade, from speculative activities on the stock markets, even while manufacturing activity stagnates, unemployment is soaring, and entire economies are being wrecked. There have been steep cutbacks in social programs while money is spent on militarization as well as in hand outs to the super-rich. On the one hand, a handful of monopoly corporations and their capitalist owners are enabled to exploit the material and human resources of the entire world. On the other hand, the claims of the majority on wealth produced by social labour is denied. Such is the parasitic nature of capitalism at this stage.
The imperialists are arming and rearming themselves with the most deadly weapons of mass destruction. Imperialism is inexorably driving the world towards a new world war.
US imperialism is trying to establish its unrivalled domination over the whole world, through wars and regime changes. It has unfurled its Pivot to Asia policy to achieve its aim of conquest of Asia. The US imperialists are systematically unleashing civil wars in various countries, redrawing the maps of entire regions. France, Britain and Japan are also pursuing an aggressive war mongering course. Russia, China and some other imperialist powers are trying to establish their own spheres of influence. The Indian bourgeoisie is desperate to sit on the high table with the US and other imperialist powers and participate in the wars that are being unleashed for the redivision of the world. The course pursued by the Indian ruling class holds the real danger of our people being hurled into a reactionary war.
The fundamental contradiction of this epoch, whose resolution will resolve all the other contradictions, remains between social production and private appropriation of its fruits. It is between the capitalist system and the socialist system.
The conclusion of Lenin that this system is ripe for its revolutionary overthrow, and for the building of socialism beckons the communists and workers of all lands. The victory of the October revolution clearly showed that the proletariat, led by its communist party, can not only overthrow the bourgeoisie, but also rule. For the first time, the political power of the exploiting class was eliminated and replaced, not by that of another exploiting class, but by the power of the toiling masses – the dictatorship of the proletariat. The successful construction of socialism under Lenin and Stalin’s leadership was a powerful vindication of Lenin’s teachings.
The bourgeoisie tries to discredit the teachings of Lenin by pointing to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1990-91. However, the truth is that it is precisely the abandonment of Lenin’s teachings that led to the degeneration of the Soviet Union and its final disintegration. The Khrushchevites, who seized power in the Bolshevik Party of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, revised the teachings of Lenin on the Party, on imperialism, on the proletarian revolution, on the dictatorship of the proletariat and on the construction of socialism. They restored capitalism.
Abrupt changes took place twenty five years ago. The period of flow of revolution turned into a period of retreat, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Our Party analysed that the revolution was temporarily in retreat. The situation demanded the defence and development of contemporary Marxist Leninist thought, based on firmly defending the fundamental principles and conclusions of Marxism-Leninism. This is what our party has been steadfastly doing.
On the occasion of the 146th birth anniversary of this great revolutionary leader and teacher of the international proletariat, the Communist Ghadar Party reaffirms its commitment to unite the working class and broad masses of people around the definite practical tasks of the epoch. These are an immediate end to the bourgeoisie's anti worker, and people and anti national program of privatization and liberalisation; democratic renewal and lifting of society out of the crisis; the overthrow of capitalism as the condition for the completion of the democratic, anti colonial, anti feudal and anti imperialist struggle; and the building of socialism by revolution.