The centrality to the revolutionary process is the fight of the only revolutionary class, the working class, to topple the whole machinery of the state.
After the Paris Commune, Marx specifically said that there is no other way to achieve prosperity for all but having a world socialist revolution and that the world was ready for this. This can only come about through the seizure of state power by the working class, to smash all elements of the bourgeois state. These ideas were developed after Marx. The Russian Revolution was based on the theories of Marx and developed under the Comintern. Trotsky developed this further, in particular in the Transitional Programme, explaining the objective readiness of the world for revolution but that it’s prevention was due to the subjective factor. When we talk about revolution we are talking about the fight for state power by the working class in to order to begin developing the productive forces for the benefit of all of society.
More specifically, an upsurge or revolt, a movement for democracy, is not necessarily a revolution. We need to analyse all the elements, the objective situation and the subjective factor. Are the conditions present for a revolutionary situation? Are the rulers able to rule in the old way? Do the ‘ruled’ accept the rulers? Is there a deep economic crisis in the society? Most importantly, is the working class ready to take power? When we talk about revolution we mean socialist revolution. Are the conditions ripe for a socialist revolution? Revolutionary situations – when the conditions are ripe- arise often, particularly in the underdeveloped world, where the bourgeoisie is incapable of developing society, carrying out the minimum bourgeois-democratic tasks.
Ernest Mandel, in “The Marxist Case for Revolution Today” published 1989, explains the concept and necessity of revolution. We are republishing this article to initiate a debate on this subject. Re-publication of the article does not necessarily indicate the agreement of the entirety of the line put forward by him.
1 October 2011
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