The Necessity of Marxists’ Convergence and the Marxist Revival Project

Posted: November 24, 2015 in Political Views

The following is Maziar Razi’s speech at the Marxist Revival seminar in Cologne, Germany, on November 22, 2013.

Maziar Razi

In the current situation the convergence of Marxists at the international level is on the agenda. The concept of convergence, from a Marxist perspective, is to break with the existing series of distorted views and traditions in the labour movement and, on that basis, to determine the components for Marxist convergence for the purpose of intervention in the Labour movement and preparation for the socialist revolution.

In order to determine the components of convergence, Marxists must return to Karl Marx’s own theories, analytical approach and method.

What is our motive?

Our motive is in fact the same as that of Marx during his period. Having broken away from the elitist socialists, Utopian socialists and the philosophers of his time, Marx was able to transform socialism into a science. We also agree with such a motive: i.e., to update or to clarify the science of the liberation of humanity in relation to the present situation of the living labour movement. In other words, our motive is to re-define Marxism for use in the twenty-first century. By breaking away from the distorted and non-socialist tendencies operating under the cover of “socialism” and “Marxism”, we, like Marx, can enable ourselves to achieve a true and scientific Marxism and realise the convergence of the Marxists quite successfully.

Obviously, in order to break away completely from these distorted views, we must have components with which we show our differences from these views.

Before explaining our components, it is necessary for us to use the Marxist method to review the task, method and significant points of the present situation of the international labour movement and to deduce from the current situation the necessity of the convergence of Marxists at the international level and the Marxist Revival project.

What is our objective?

Our final objective is the same as that which Marx himself sought: “formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.”[i]

One hundred and sixty-five years after the Communist Manifesto was first published this theory still holds true. Not only is there no doubt about its validity but in the present world situation, its necessity is felt even more than ever before. Other than a general outline, Karl Marx did not write much in relation to the specifics and the different aspects of socialist society, or the transition period to the socialist formation, which begins with the seizure of power by the proletariat, through which the socialist classless society is born. Limiting himself to the outlines and future perspectives was not because of any theoretical weakness, conversely it was Marx’s materialist conception of history and his scientific method that clearly separated him from the petty-bourgeois Utopian socialism who imagined the future with idealistically pre-determined plans and models.

Marx believed that the proletariat and all of its toiling allies, after overthrowing the supremacy of the bourgeoisie, will plan the new society carefully. However, what Marx was quite sure about was that capitalism was no longer able to satisfy the needs of the majority in society, and therefore must be overthrown by the proletariat, which itself is the product of the birth and growth of capitalist relations and becomes the “grave digger” of those relations.

Like Marx, we also believe that in the 21st century our task cannot be anything other than making preparations for the overthrow of capitalism by the proletariat and establishing the socialist order. This is because capitalism imposes wars and massive destruction, that is, with destruction of massive capacity of the productive forces, has propelled humanity into regression. Thus, the working class and the oppressed masses of the world have constantly been the main victims of these conflicts, and capitalism’s huge profits generated from war. All this not only proves the state of degradation and decay of world capitalism, but also demonstrates the dilemma facing humanity: “socialism or barbarism”. The working class, by eventually relying on its own power, as the main and genuine producer, by organising the social revolution, by enduring the defeats and the victories, will create a new order; a new order which will indeed serve the interests of humanity. This will be the communist system where eventually the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” will be put into effect.

What is our method?

Marxists’ convergence, according to Marx’s teachings, can only be realised through using the critical-revolutionary-practical method. Marx, in his critique of Feuerbach in Theses on Feuerbach, says that Feuerbach’s problem, like all the materialists prior to him, is the fact that he “does not grasp the significance of ‘revolutionary’, of ‘practical-critical’, activity” (first thesis).[ii] Here the adjective “critical” is used to mean the need to find the roots of the current situation of workers’ struggles; “revolutionary” means that the objective is to change and to transform the present situation; and “practical” means purposeful action or conscious activity. We also shall use the same method for Marxists’ convergence, in order to re-define Marxism as a science – the science of the conditions of the liberation of the working class.

What are the reasons for proposing the Marxist Revival project today?

What is the present world political situation? Today, in the current situation of the struggles of the working class, we are witnessing two phenomena side by side. To see and to have an understanding of these phenomena, one needs neither any special analysis nor exhausting discussions; anyone can see them.

The first phenomenon is the protests of the millions of people against the systematic threats and attacks of capitalism. Particularly in the past few years, through their routine struggles, the masses have been able to develop a better understanding of the true nature of capitalism and the states protecting it. Following the thirty years of Neoliberalism’s domination and the stagnation of class struggles throughout the world, in the past few years we have witnessed protests, risings and uprisings of millions around the world. The real nature of the banks, financial centres and the capitalist states as their protectors, has now unfolded in front of the eyes of the masses. The disclosure of countless documents and testaments has debunked the myth of the citizens’ “right to privacy”.

Not long ago, if we, the Marxists, were to claim that the banks and the financial institutions had been defrauding and taking advantage of people, nobody would have paid us any attention. If we had claimed that the capitalist states are the sponsors of the banks nobody would have paid any attention. But now, there is no need to bring these matters up. Today, millions around the world, from Greece to Spain and from Latin America to North Africa, who have taken to the streets and are protesting against the social programmes of austerity and restrictions have reached this level of consciousness.

The disclosures made by Julian Assange and Edward Snowden (and other whistle-blowers), have deepened this consciousness. At the international level the masses in huge numbers have reached anti-capitalist and even socialist consciousness. Holding a critical view, they demand a change in the present conditions; they are demanding a break with capitalism and want to go beyond this system.

The second phenomenon is that, despite the fact that these changes in the objective conditions and the consciousness of the masses in favour of revolution have taken place, we have not witnessed any socialist revolution. The Marxists, who for over three decades have prepared themselves in their own organisations for such a day, in order to lead the masses towards the socialist revolution, have either been completely absent or their presence in the calculations of the class struggles has been insignificant or slight. The Marxists are more than ever scattered and divided. The political and organisational crisis among a wide range of Marxists has actually become deeper than before. The theoretical crisis is palpable. Fundamental Marxist beliefs, and specifically Karl Marx himself, have been thrown aside and even buried under a pile of theoretical deviations, dogmatism and ideological concepts. In the conflicts and wars between the imperialist states and the reactionary capitalist states in the Middle East, some of the “Marxist” organisations, implicitly or explicitly, sided with imperialism; while others, implicitly or explicitly, sided with the reactionary regimes of the region. Bureaucracy, splits and differences are rife in the various Marxist groups. The reality is that Marxism, as the science of the working class liberation, has been distorted and forgotten. In addition, socialism’s crisis of credibility on the world level, caused by the deviations of the “Socialist Camps” such as the USSR, China and their dependent states, still remains. The deliberate and systematic distortions of the fundamental ideas of Marxism by the Moscow Academy of Sciences on one hand, and the practical co-operation of Moscow and Beijing with the bourgeoisie against the labour and communist movements around the world on the other hand, have inflicted massive and disastrous damage to the working class internationally. Consequentially, globally millions of the working class people are doubting socialism. In the eyes of millions of workers and toilers around the world the credibility of socialism has been undermined.

Putting these two inconsistent phenomena side by side helps us reach one conclusion: the masses are ready for the socialist revolution but the Marxists are in crisis and are not able to intervene and lead the masses in order to reach their objective, which is the total smashing of the capitalist states and establishment of socialism.

To surmount this appalling situation today, the Marxists need to seek a solution. The solution is the same as the one that worked during Marx’s time: to update and to evolve the science of the proletariat’s liberation (scientific socialism which is the same as Marxism) and to break away from all the elitist and utopian tendencies hindering Marxism, using the critical-revolutionary-practical method.

What are the pre-conditions for reviving Marxism?

For Marxists to align in Marxist Revival and re-define Marxism in the 21st Century, there are two pre-conditions that they need to consider and carry out collectively and generally:

First, to review and examine the roots of Marxism (avoiding biased and one-sided methods, or what Marx clearly called “ideological” analysis). To look into the opinions of the socialists before Marx and jointly to research and study, in order to define and clarify the reason why Marx had to break away from the socialists who came before him. Also to look into his break with the pre-existing philosophies and to discover his method of analysis of social issues. These pre-conditions are of course the minimum key points and obviously not enough. These measures must be taken collectively and generally among the Marxists tendencies.

Second, to review and to learn lessons from socialism in practice during the last century. This means to analyse Russian socialism and Chinese socialism (and Cuban, Venezuelan, guerrilla warfare, and so on). This review and process of learning lessons must also take place collectively and generally and without bias and taking sides.

It is with this background that Marxists hold the responsibility of their original duty which is to re-define Marxism for the 21st Century.

However, for the re-defining of Marxism, it is not enough to master and arm ourselves with the knowledge of the historical roots and to draw positive and negative lessons from the 20th century’s revolutionary experiences only. According to Marx, the Marxists must also be involved in the critical-revolutionary practices of today’s current working class struggles at the international level and intervene along the path of changing the present situation. The interventions of Marxists in the working class’s current movement can only take place if the critical-revolutionary-practical method (conscious activity) is applied. For this to be realised, it must rely on a socialist programme. A socialist programme not only includes the theory, the historical and international experiences of the communist movement, but also mainly conscious activity, which is the same as the conscious actions of the workers themselves in their class struggles today. It has been said that without revolutionary theory the revolution will not be victorious. Namely, revolutionary theory without a socialist programme cannot guarantee the revolution’s victory. However, this theory itself has two parts: first, a historical and international part and also, the practical substance of the proletariat’s conscious activity. These two parts of the theory which make up the socialist programme are absolutely vital, because the socialist programme cannot remain suspended, for it will not last without an organisational framework, and gradually under the ideology of the ruling class will be crushed. In fact, a socialist organisation is the highest expression of the transition of the socialist programme into the working class’s current struggles. What kind of organisational form can it be? Karl Marx explains in his Communist Manifesto:

“The communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.”

“The immediate aim of the communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.”[iii]

The organisational form that is meant here by Karl Marx, today cannot be anything other than the “workers’ vanguard party”.

Thus, the highest form of Marxists’ convergence is to organise themselves within a workers’ political party with a socialist programme stemming from the science of Marxism. It ought to be stressed here that in their routine struggles, the masses will reach socialist consciousness and will realise the necessity of the socialist revolution and the need to overthrow the capitalist state. According to Marx, the workers’ vanguard party is organised by “the most determined” (intellectual-workers and worker-intellectuals) who joined together around a socialist programme. The members of this party do not converge on the basis of “Marxism”, because Marxism is a science. Marxism is the theoretical foundation of the cognition and change of capitalist society. Marxism’s validity, as with any other science, is evaluated based on the data currently available. Marxism, as with any other science, is able to change and evolve based on new data. Therefore, Marxist activists will join a socialist and a practical programme.

However, the present conditions are not ready for establishing such an organisational body today. As a result of the crisis in the credibility of socialism, Marxism’s crisis and the labour movement’s lack of vanguard workers, today the conditions are not favourable for direct intervention in the workers’ movement towards the socialist revolution. But at the present time it is possible to create a bridge between the present situation and the ideal one. Marxist Revival is our proposal for creating the bridge that can take us from where we are to reach where we want to be. In order for all of us to co-operate in this project, we would need a series of components. Like Marx’s idea, these components must be based upon repudiating elitism on the one hand, and utopianism (that is socialism from above) on the other, in the socialist movement. The general outline of these components has been presented below. We believe, the acceptance of these components helps the start of the process of convergence among Marxists for the final objective, which is unity on the basis of a socialist programme.

On the one hand the four components are based on Karl Marx’s repudiation of the socialists of his own time, and on the other hand, they represent the practical experiences of the labour movement of his time. The first three components (socialism as a science, a socialism “from below” and a socialism that is democratic) exhibit his repudiation of the “top-down” socialists (such as Babeuf, Saint-Simon and the Utopian socialists), and the first component (to reject the concept of ideology) is mainly Marx’s conclusion in regard to his past and the young Hegelians (such as Bruno Bauer and Ludwig Feuerbach). The fourth component (socialism’s radicalism) consists of the experiences of workers’ struggles within the spontaneous labour organisations, such as the trade unions, and the role of the communists in organising the socialist revolution and the battle against the capitalist state, specifically regarding the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871.

I shall try to present the historical roots of these components, before coming to the conclusion.

What were the historical roots of Marx’s repudiation of elitism and utopianism?

The workers’ political movement has on one hand emerged from petty-bourgeois radicalism and on the other hand from unionised spontaneous organisations. If we suppose that the mother of this infant is the trade union, the father is petty-bourgeois radicalism. The child, however, on the day of its birth separated itself from both its mother and father.

The reason for this is the fact that although the spontaneous movement of the working class in the 18th and 19th centuries had a decisive role in the advancement of labour struggles, they limited the workers’ resistance merely to economist consciousness. The unionised and economic struggles of the working class never resulted in their class liberation, but eventually suffered under the influence of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie. As a result, the political movement of the working class was compelled to split completely and firmly from this mother forever.

The political movement of the working class, on the other hand, has been the historical product of petty-bourgeois democracy. Amongst the left-wing of the Jacobins, there emerged a group which stood against the supporters of the bourgeois revolution, and disclosed the bourgeois deception of the masses by “equality” and “fraternity”. The very first political ideas of the working class were formed by Babeuf and his followers in the Great French Revolution. In the beginning Marx and Engels themselves co-operated with the press, and appeared in the movement, of the ultra-left democratic petty-bourgeoisie. Splitting from the radical democratic forces of “populism”, Lassalle and Wilhelm Liebknecht established the first social democratic organisations in Germany. Plekhanov, the father of “Russian Marxism” and the founder of the Russian workers’ political movement, in the beginning was a member of the populist Land and Freedom organisation. In England, the founders of the workers’ political movement often came from within petty-bourgeois radicalism.

While syndicalism confined the labour movement, petty-bourgeois radicalism ultimately served the interests of the small independent producers. The radical petty-bourgeois ideas of the 19th century ultimately inhibited the continuous struggle of the working class for its own specific interests.

After rejecting the ideas of the reactionary, feudal, bourgeois and other socialists in the Communist Manifesto, Marx specifically had criticisms of the radical socialists, who were involved in workers’ struggles (Marx himself had earlier been influenced by some of the ideas of the radical socialists). Marx scrutinised the radical socialist ideas with a critical-revolutionary view. At first, he criticised the socialists who had a radical petty-bourgeois past, who were from those groups mainly involved in the Great French Revolution and had supported Babeuf (the left-wing of the Jacobins) and years later were followed by the Blanquists. These were radical socialists after the defeat of the French revolution, the Jacobin’s left-wing headed by Babeuf came to a series of ideas. They reasoned that basically the working class, in the general definition of the word, would not be capable of going through another revolution because it has actually been defeated during the French Revolution. The right-wing of the Jacobins used the working class, but could not bring the working class to victory, therefore a new method was needed. Thus, Babeuf believed that the solution for the communists is in the hands of a number of elitists and experts in socialist affairs. These socialist elitists in many different ways and with different means, such as using terrorist or radical methods would reach the capability of toppling the capitalist state and then only themselves (without the working class) would move on to building a “temporary dictatorship” or an “educational dictatorship”. In other words, these socialist elitists who are communist and socialist activists will then take over power.

One of Karl Marx’s first criticisms was directed at this theory. He criticised this tendency very harshly and ruthlessly and explained that through plotting coups and operations dependent on a number of elitists, we would not be able to realise a socialist revolution. This would in fact defeat the purpose. We communists basically rely on the mass of workers. If the workers do not join to carry out the revolution, then obviously an elitist cannot do that for them (as Marx put it: the liberation of the working class must take place by the workers themselves). Marx made a ruthless critique of these positions of elitism.

Thus, having repudiated the socialism of these elitists, Karl Marx took the first step towards forming Marxist socialism.

The next step was to deal with the Utopian socialists. These socialists, such as Saint-Simon, who unlike the petty-bourgeois socialists, believed that revolution is basically useless; that revolution only brings about chaos and bloodshed. He reasoned that there is no need for using such extreme methods and that we must find ways to avoid having revolutions. The ways that Saint-Simon had in mind were, for a number of people with goodwill, a number of well-to-do socialists make an ideal world (a utopia) and then through peaceful negotiations from above and through forming social welfare by the elites who run the country, socialism will be established step-by-step and stage-by-stage. In other words, through peaceful actions and modernism, the intellectuals gather together and reach socialism reasonably and without a revolution and chaos and massacre.

Marx opposed this idea too; he not only opposed this theory, but also all the other similar theories that were presented by Robert Owen from the Great Britain. These Utopian socialists perhaps did make some positive changes. For example, in Lanark, Scotland, Robert Owen who was a capitalist himself, had a factory in which the workers did not sell their labour power, but in exchange for their needs they voluntarily worked there. In other words, they were not exploited and had a relatively higher income, and the level of production was rather good too. However, in these communities there was no place for the individual creativity of the workers. Everybody had to wear a uniform and look the same way and accept the same culture. This was exactly the problem that Marx opposed and called this method reactionary. He basically stood against these Utopian socialists and rejected them.

All of the petty-bourgeois Utopian socialists also had one similarity, and that was the fact that they had a completely undemocratic approach to the building of their ideal socialism. In fact, they were elitists who wanted to assume power in place of the working class, or they did not in fact recognise the creativity of the working class. They presumed that the working class should fit in the specific moulds and patterns which these elites had in mind in order to reach socialism. Thus, they were named “Utopian socialists” by Marx.

Therefore, the history of Marxist socialism is synonymous with the repudiation of the petty-bourgeois ideas, elitist ideas, utopian ideas, and the modernist ideas of a number of intellectuals. Based on the components of socialism, Marx discussed and opposed this method of building of socialism with his revolutionary-critical method many times throughout his life.

Marx and Engels were among the first communists who separated their organisation from petty-bourgeois radicalism on the theoretical and political levels. They wrote the following on petty-bourgeois radicalism in 1850:

“At the moment, while the democratic petty bourgeois are everywhere oppressed, they preach to the proletariat general unity and reconciliation; they extend the hand of friendship, and seek to found a great opposition party which will embrace all shades of democratic opinion; that is, they seek to ensnare the workers in a party organisation in which general social-democratic phrases prevail while their particular interests are kept hidden behind, and in which, for the sake of preserving the peace, the specific demands of the proletariat may not be presented. Such a unity would be to their advantage alone and to the complete disadvantage of the proletariat.”[iv]

“While this utopian doctrinaire socialism, which subordinates the total movement to one of its stages, which puts in place of common social production the brainwork of individual pedants and, above all, in fantasy does away with the revolutionary struggle of the classes and its requirements by small conjurers’ tricks or great sentimentality, while this doctrinaire socialism, which at bottom only idealizes present society, takes a picture of it without shadows, and wants to achieve its ideal athwart the realities of present society; while the proletariat surrenders this socialism to the petty bourgeoisie; while the struggle of the different socialist leaders among themselves sets forth each of the so-called systems as a pretentious adherence to one of the transit points of the social revolution as against another – the proletariat rallies more and more around revolutionary socialism, around communism, for which the bourgeoisie has itself invented the name of Blanqui. This socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.”[v]

What are the components of Marxist Revival?

First component: Marxist socialism is a science. It is neither an aspiration, nor a social model, nor a fixed ideology, nor a predetermined design to be imposed from above. Marxist socialism, like any other science, is based on a specific analysis of exiting reality that is dynamic. Marxist socialism is based on a programme for the transformation of capitalist society. Marxist socialism starts from the living practice and the critical-revolutionary critique of the oppressed masses of their society, and codifies a programme for the transformation of the present society into a new society. Marxist socialism is in fact the science of the comprehension and transformation of capitalist society. It is the science for dismantling the capitalist mode of production and replacing it with the new socialist mode of production for the benefit and social welfare of all the people of the world (in a socialist formation, social classes and therefore the state, have disappeared and the law of value does not operate, commodities are replaced by use-values and the products of labour. The ownership of the means of production in society takes on a social and collective character, supervision over the society’s affairs is democratic and done by the people).

Scientific socialism is rational. It does not start from a utopia. It does not have a set formula for the liberation of humanity. Marx says: We are witnessing today that the workers’ struggle is ending in socialism because of the logic of the struggle. Socialism emerges from the heart of the labour movement. The proletariat transforms itself in the process of its continuous class battles. The proletariat that we see today, that in some of the elitists’ opinion is “uneducated” and “dispirited”, according to Marx, will “in its continuous class battles” reach consciousness and will become “fit for political domination”.

Marx explains how by starting with the present bitter realities in society, we must recognise what sorts of tendencies exist within it and what direction they are taking. The tendencies that goes further than the present situation should be reinforced by the intervention of the communists (the workers’ vanguard party). On the basis of which demands that were realised in today’s class life, can we support the working class in gaining the competence in class domination through the continuous battles. Marxist socialism is scientific because, we need to make these developments according to the present situation.

Second component: Marxist socialism is connected to the labour movement and forms itself from below, and it does not recognise the pretentious intellectual “elites” and “theoreticians” who have nothing to do with the labour movement. Marxist socialism condemns elitism. It rejects the intellectuals who suppose they can make decisions on behalf of the toiling masses and play the role of the educator, without even being taught themselves. Marxism in its origin, basically believes in the principle of the workers’ self-liberation. Marx is correct to say that “the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.” Marxism respects the individual creativity and innovation of the workers and everyone in society. Marxist socialism considers the class position as the only fundamental difference, and not differences in nationality, language, race, religion, and so on. Genuine Marxism does not believe that socialist consciousness is brought to the working class from the outside of this class, by some intellectuals. In direct opposition to the belief of the traditional left, Marxism believes that socialist consciousness emerges from within of the working class itself, and the practical leaders of the workers are their genuine leaders, not the pompous saviours, who have actually no contact with the labour movement but consider themselves the guardians of the working class.

Marxism is based on socialism from below and is not elitist. The revolutionary vanguard that Marx has in mind, absolutely did not mean that some individuals from outside the class, impose themselves on the labour movement and take political power.

Beginning with the critical-revolutionary practices of the toiling masses and everyone involved in social production, Marxism intended to advance society to socialism. The social engineering and model-building that some “scientists” and “professors” have put forward, are against this view. Marx states that we must build socialist society moving forward from the critical-revolutionary practice of the real human beings. Marxist socialism builds from below and has nothing to do with the dictatorship of charitable individuals from above. Marxism does not believe in a monolithic and ideological human being. Marx believed that the only way to reach socialism was for human beings to take control of their fate in all areas, including the economic sphere. Socialism covers all aspects of civil society. Certainly, it is the struggles of the working class that historically move this objective forward, but the picture of socialist society that it draws for us is: the withering away of all classes in society (including the proletariat itself). The proletariat’s revolutionary dictatorship is a means for the withering away of classes. That means all human beings reaching socialist society, and not just the working class. The working class is the only class with the revolutionary prognosis, simply because the working class reaches this conclusion through the logic of its struggles.

Third component: Marxist socialism is completely democratic. It believes in independent labour organisations and democratic rights for everyone. It stands for the right to organise factions and the right to expression opinions for everyone in society. Genuine Marxism believes that the process of transition from capitalism to socialism will not be possible without observing and applying a democracy that is very much superior to the superficial democracy of the bourgeoisie. It means that political democracy, merged with economic democracy (for everyone in society to have political and economic equality), exists. Freedom of speech, press and democratic rights will be for all the people, and not just for the party, a small number of individuals or a special class. Marxist socialism demands no kind of superiority and discrimination with recourse to force and “dictatorship” in the society. The concept of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” by Marx has been distorted by the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie, specifically by the Stalinists. What Marx meant by the “dictatorship of the proletariat” state was not for the proletarian state to enforce “dictatorship” (with today’s distorted concept of despotism by the bourgeoisie and Stalinism). He meant it to have the “right to veto” and not to impose despotism. In other words, this phrase is the highest form of democracy that ever existed in history. Unlike bourgeois democracy which is exactly dictatorship and imposition of the minority’s will upon the majority of the toiling people in society, reinforcing the workers’ democracy (revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat) is the only form of government that can respect the rights of all people, including those opposed to it. However, after the capitalist state has been toppled and the transition period from capitalism to socialism has begun, the new workers’ state (soviet government), will stand up against a small minority’s preparation for a comeback and its repressive apparatus (police and intelligence networks), and will resolutely defend the rights obtained by the majority in society and will not allow the return of capitalism and its repressive apparatus.

Marxist socialism is democratic. Socialism cannot be realised with bayonets. Marxist socialism believes in workers’ independent organisations. Marx was one of the first socialists to defend workers’ independent organisations, i.e., trade unions. Although they try to improve the present situation, these unions are the only organisations that allow the workers to take a step forward in their consciousness. Marxism believes in conscious interventions. The concept of “vanguard” from Marx’s point of view is not for some to take over the workers’ movement and call themselves “leaders”, “professors” and “elites” and try to educate everybody else, but to have a good understanding and assessment of the present situation and tendencies, meaning with a scientific analysis and understanding the communist vanguards work within the movement and take it step-by-step forward towards the socialist revolution. This is what Marx meant by “vanguard”: to intervene in the present situation and around workers’ demands and tries to help them in their next step. The vanguard communists stand in the front row of the anti-capitalism front and have the most resolute elements and their only advantage is the fact that they realise the perspective and the final objective. Marx stated that the communists do not build a separate movement from the working class. They intervene in that movement as they find it but with the right to have a tendency and a democratic transition.

In the First International, the right to tendency was accepted: the supporters of Proudhon, Bakunin and even the European socialists argued against Marx. Everyone’s rights were officially recognised.

All of humanity should have the right to intervene, not only the working class. While the political revolution means the conquest of political power by the proletariat and workers’ councils, but the social revolution on the path to socialism must be done by all the people; this is not possible unless everyone in society intervenes in making decisions and power is spread among all the various layers of toilers in society.

Fourth component: Marxist socialism is radical and revolutionary. It takes workers’ liberation beyond the legal framework. It stands for smashing the capitalist state apparatus. It looks for political struggles in the streets, in strikes and revolutions, and not behind the closed doors of the intellectuals’ gatherings who are totally out of touch with the current anti-capitalists movements. The Marxist socialists stand for the preparation of the working class for general strikes and arming the masses for the mass insurrection and overthrowing the capitalist state.

Revolutionary Marxism believes in mass movements. Revolution is nothing but having the masses come on to the streets. Marxism believes in going beyond the existing legal institutions and smashing the state apparatus. Marx drew the following lessons from the Paris Commune in 1871: using the existing state apparatus, the masses cannot reach socialism. The proletariat must smash the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie. Marxism believes that the legislative, judiciary and executive must become integrated. The legislators must implement the law, and not some bureaucrats, professors and intellectuals. In other words, the state bureaucracy must be abolished. Marx stated that the free assemblies of the masses of independent producing should organise society. The Russian revolution of 1917 formed this kind of government through organising the workers’ soviets.

Marxism also believes that economically socialism is not a national matter and it must be built on the international level. Marx claimed that if socialism is not built on the international level, then it will “return to the old filth”, because the bourgeoisie is an international phenomenon. If communism is not established on the international level, then it will mean the distribution of poverty. The workers’ socialist revolution can even occur in an underdeveloped country, but building socialism must be achieved on the international level.

 

[i] http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

[ii] http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

[iii] http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

[iv] https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/communist-league/1850-ad1.htm

[v] http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/class-struggles-france/ch03.htm

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