Thursday, July 17, 2008

What is Revisionism? A Falsification of Marxism-Leninism

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters,

"Revisionism is by no means novel to the history of the world working class movement. Marxism-Leninism has had to deal with numerous versions of revisionism and opportunism since the end of the 1890s." (Right-Wing Revisionism Today, 1976, Progress Publishers, Moscow)

What is revisionism?

Revisionism is not the old-style bourgeois anti-communism that slanders socialism. Nor are bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideologists who distort the principles of scientific socialism from outside of the Communist movement adequately defined as revisionists. No, REVISIONISTS CALL THEMSELVES MARXISTS, SOCIALISTS AND EVEN COMMUNISTS. "By revisionism, Lenin understood an opportunist trend alien to Marxism and socialism that existed within the revolutionary party of the working class and which, under the guise of Marxism, actually carried out a revision of the fundamental tenets of Marxist theory, replacing the basic principles of that theory by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideas." (Right-Wing Revisionism Today, 1976, Progress Publishers, Moscow)

V.I. Lenin said that revisionism is "one of the chief, if not the chief, manifestation of bourgeois influence on the proletariat and bourgeois corruption of the workers." (Lenin, Works, Vol. 20) And, while revisionism changes it's forms and accents, "it continues to be a revision of Marxist theory all along the line--i.e., it revises all the component parts of Marxism (philosophy, political economy and scientific communism)." (Right-Wing Revisionism Today, 1976, Progress Publishers, Moscow)

(Lenin noted that revisionism swims with the tide of bourgeois ideology)

"Revisionism is an opportunist trend in the worker's movement which is hostile to Marxism-Leninism, and the intent of which is to revise and reconsider the Marxist-Leninist theory. Revisionists reject the scientifically founded tenets on the inevitability of the class struggle in antagonistic society and question the significance of the socialist revolution and the role of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a form of rule by the working class in the transition period from capitalism to socialism." (What Are Classes and the Class Struggle, Progress Publishers, 1986)

Gus Hall, yesteryear's leader of the Communist Party U.S.A., taught that "the struggle for the purity of Marxism-Leninism" against opportunism is crucial. He wrote that: "a classical feature of revisionism is its rejection of the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The line runs as follows: 'We accept such fundamental Marxist-Leninist concepts as the class struggle, but we believe the idea of the proletarian dictatorship must be discarded as being no longer valid.'" (Gus Hall, 'World Workingclass Unity, ' 1969; reprinted in Gus Hall's book Working Class USA, 1987, International Publishers)

And the book, Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, authored primarily by Otto Kuusinen, shares these words: "Modern revisionism seeks to smear the great teaching of Marxism-Leninism, declared that it is 'outmoded' and alleges that it has lost its significance for social progress. The revisionists try to kill the revolutionary spirit of Marxism, to undermine faith in socialism among the working class and the working people in general. They deny the historical necessity for a proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat during the period from capitalism to socialism, deny the leading role of the Marxist-Leninist Party, reject the principles of proletarian internationalism and call for rejection of Leninist principles of Party organization and, above all, democratic centralism, for transforming the Communist Party from a militant revolutionary organization into some kind of debating society." ("Declaration, Meeting of Representatives of the Communist and Workers' Parties of the Socialist Countries held in Moscow," Nov. 14, 1957, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House)

(Gus Hall: "revisionism tries to sidestep the basic class issues and proletarian approach.")

Revisionism swims with the tide of bourgeois ideology. "In scientific communism and socio-political ideas, revisionism rejects the theory of the class struggle, the opposing nature of liberalism and socialism, and the dictatorship of the proletariat." The text Right-Wing Revisionism Today points out that "the revisionism of scientific communism lies in the renunciation of the leading role of the working class and its party in the fight for socialism, of the Leninist theory of socialist revolution, of the historical necessity of proletarian dictatorship, of the basic principles of socialist democracy and the Leninist theory of the working-class party." (Right-Wing Revisionism Today, 1976, Progress Publishers, Moscow)

Marxism-Leninism holds that a Communist Party must be the vanguard of the working class, i.e., its advanced, class-conscious part, capable of leading the masses in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism. V. I. Lenin put it squarely: "By educating the workers' party, Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat which is capable of assuming power and of leading the whole people to socialism, of directing and organizing the new order, of being the teacher, the guide, the leader of all the toilers and exploited in the task of building up their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie." (Lenin, State and Revolution, 1917)

But right revisionism attacks the concept of the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party. Otto Kuusinen, a co-worker of Lenin's, wrote in a text entitled Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism that revisionism aims to liquidate the Party or transform it into a reformist organization.

"The ideologists of revisionism endeavor to 'revise,' or, more exactly, to distort all the fundamental theses of Marxist-Leninist theory...But they have invariable chosen Lenin's teaching on the Party as one of their chief targets. The theoretical and practical efforts of the revisionists are in the final analysis always subordinated to their attempt to liquidate the Party or to transform it into a reformist organization. Under some historical conditions this intention is not even concealed, under others it is disguised." (Otto Kuusinen, et. al., Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow)

The revisionist falsification of Marxism-Leninism runs all along the line. "The focal point of revisionism of the economic theory of Marxism is the economic basis of socialism, including its major laws; socialization of the principle means of production (and) economic planning." And revisionists also distort Marxist-Leninist philosophy. (Right-Wing Revisionism Today, 1976, Progress Publishers, Moscow)

Read the selected pieces by Lenin in Against Revisionism, in Defence of Marxism.