MARXIST STUDY CIRCLES

Karl Carlile pad at iol.ie
Sat Dec 30 06:33:04 MST 1995


Dear Louis,

Thank you for your reply. Below I quote remarks from your reply and then
offer you some comments on them.

>What would you have done if you had been a member of the Bolshevik Party in
April 1917 and had >been witness to the spectacle of nearly every important
member of the Central Committee bitterly >opposing Lenin's call for
socialist revolution? Wasn't the Bolshevik party the most supreme
>expression of Marxism at that time? How does this square with the evidence
that only Lenin could >figure out the tasks of the day correctly? 

The problem with the Russian revolution was just that: The fact that Lenin
was in a minority on the issue of whether to seize state power or not. This
encapsulates the very problem of the European revolution. Its very weakness.
The Russian revolution was an expression of the very weakness of the
European revolution. The events that followed including the collapse of the
Soviet Union are testimony to this.

That Lenin was bitterly opposed on this issue by the Central Committee is
not so much a testimony to Lenin's greatness, as many in their desire to
promote the cult of the individual suggest, but to the very weakness and
ambiguity of the European and specifically the Russian Revolution. The very
fact that Lenin was so bitterly opposed indicated how ideologically and
politically unprepared the marxist movement in Russia was for social
revolution especially as leader not just of revolution in Russia but of
revolution in Europe. This ideological, political and organizational
weakness, in a sense,  reflected how unsuitable the character of the
objective conditions obtaining in Russia itself were for a proletarian
revolution. The Bolshevik revolution was an expression of both the success
and failure of the European revolution. 

This precisely supports my argument for the need to reconstruct marxism
drawing lessons from both the mistakes and achievements of the previous
marxist movement. The point is the working class  do not want another
Russian revolution which was an expression of the failure of the European
revolution. It is only by building a powerful and richly cultured  marxist
movement that we can prmote the conditions for an all-rounded social
revolution taking place in Europe. This is why we must revisit the past by
examining the texts of Marx which are a manifestation of the theory and
practice of the revolutionary movement obtaining then. This is why a marxist
study circle is so important. 

The significant  fact was not  Lenin's ability to recognize the need for the
Bolsheviks to seize  power and to persist with this demand despite
overwhelming opposition. The significant fact is that he was overwhelmingly
and bitterly opposed by most of the Central Committe. What was significant
is not that he won the leadership over to his way of thinking but that they
had to be won over.

Yourse etc.,
                   Karl Carlile



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