Practice Marxism; Advance Revolution
May 5 is the Birthday of Karl Heinrich Marx who along with his illustrious friend, Fredrick Engels founded scientific socialism. Communists and workingclass world over observe the day to renew their resolve to advance on the path of elimination of exploitation of man by man i.e. class oppression. Marx and Engels’ doctrine laid the basis of advancing towards communism, class less and stateless society. Totality of their views, i.e. Marxism, provides the basis of theory and programme of the communist parties all over the world. They formulated the basic principles of dialectical materialism and its application to historical analysis i.e. historical materialism. Marx contributed to the study of political economy showing the basic inherent characteristics of capitalism and the historical place that it has in transition to classless society. He advanced Political economy beyond Ricardo and made it a powerful tool in the armory of working class in its struggle against capitalism and reaction. Marx and Engels developed the doctrine of socialism, laid bare the fallacies of utopian socialism of Nineteenth Century and identified working class as the grave diggers of capitalism. They laid the theoretical basis for the working class movement to march towards its goal of ending exploitation and oppression, gave a definite programme and shape to the spectre that was haunting Europe, the spectre of communism. Marxism i.e. totality of the views of Marx and Engels, is well known to the revolutionary ranks.
This May 5 has come nearly 172 years after the publication of Communist Manifesto and 153 years after the publication of the First Volume of the principal work of Karl Marx, Capital. Analysis of the basic tendencies of capitalism and its contradictions has stood the test of time. Every time the capitalist crisis deepens, people look upto Marx and his Capital to understand it. This abiding interest testifies to the correctness of the analysis of Marx.
But Marx was not merely an analyst, he was basically a revolutionary. His whole work was dedicated to overthrowing capitalism and building socialism and communism. This entailed overthrow of the capitalism by working class and establishing dictatorship of proletariat as a transition between capitalism and communism. This revolution involved a basic rupture of the property relations, no wonder his work invited and continues to invite hostility of the propertied classes of society. They resorted to all sorts of tricks – form killing through silence to open hostility to Marx’s work.
The last nearly century and a half of the experience of Marx’s teachings guiding the revolutionary movement of working class, is full of attacks against Marxism both from without and as well as from within. Bourgeoisie and its representatives attacked Marx. They repeatedly claimed to have negated Marx and annihilated his system. And yet Marxism continued its spread among the working class of Europe becoming a dominant force in the working class movement by the turn of Nineteenth century. Since then the attempt to refute Marxism through open attacks were supplemented by attacks from within the working class movement. Knowing the hold Marxism had come to acquire on the working class, representatives of the bourgeoisie started their attack from the general ground of Marxism, undermining its revolutionary essence, make it adapted to capitalism, acceptable to the bourgeoisie. This trend was called revisionism as it sought to revise the revolutionary essence of Marx’s views. Lenin had opened his famous book The State and Revolution with these remarks, “What is now happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation. …. Today, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the labour movement concur in the doctoring of Marxism. They omit, obscure, or distort the revolutionary side of this theory, its revolutionary soul. They bring to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie. All the social chauvinists are now “Marxists” (don’t laugh!).” Their attempts to be seen Marxists may be laughable but the damage done by them to Marxism and the working class movement has been immense and continues to be so. Revisionism has undermined the socialist states of erstwhile Soviet Union and later China which is being daily used to attack Marxism, socialism and working class movement and has been the fodder of the anti-communism of the imperialists and reactionaries the world over. Red forts were taken over from within. It was the capture by the revisionists of the leadership of the Communist Parties in these countries which changed the colour of these countries from socialism to capitalism. They withstood encirclements, subversions and even military attacks but fell to the Trojan horses from within, these Trojan horses aided by reactionaries world over, are bred and nurtured in the class struggle which continues in socialist society.
However, their work is not over and cannot be over in a class society. Revisionists continue to attack and undermine revolutionary side of Marx theory and make it adapted to the reactionary state. This is doubly harmful to the revolutionary movement. On the one hand, revisionists continue to mislead and divert the struggle of the working people away from the revolutionary overthrow of the reactionary system, trying to channelize the anger of the people particularly of the working class, into parliamentary channels, and attempt to isolate revolutionaries among the toiling people. This is besides the open and ruthless suppression of communist revolutionaries by them when they are in power. On the other hand, their betrayal of working class and progressive movement is used to attack the working class movement as a whole. Marxism is attacked with revolutionary Marxism as the real target, using the deeds of these formal Marxists. These trends are well established in our country. Thus ruling classes employ their revisionist servitors both as their agents in the working class movement as well as the ostensible targets to attack Marxism. This to revisionists is after all is a small price for the privileges they are proffered while trying to enjoy prestige of the Left.
Revisionist caricature of Marxism has been a most serious attack on revolutionary Marxism after it had gripped the working classes i.e. become a material force. It continues to be so as the contradictions of the system gets aggravated to an unprecedented degree and decadence of the system is on open display. Deteriorating conditions of working masses and lengthening lines of unemployed, increasing hunger, illnesses and destitution and ever deepening crisis is leading to ever rising attacks against the working people, attacks on the rights won through brave struggles call for with increasing urgency the need for revolutionary reordering of the society. Sensing this danger and in face of rising disaffection of the people, ruling classes are attacking the existing rights including the democratic rights of the people. The hitherto existing democratic framework is under attack and fascist forces are on the rise. The present situation with all its challenges continues to underscore the need to fight against revisionist distortion of Marxism.
Marx and Engels always called their teachings as guide to action. They were revolutionaries and directed all their energies towards that end. Marxism is not a mantra to be chanted as many times a day as one’s faith would summon. It is a science to be applied to correctly understand the present day society and to understand how to change them. Further Marxism enjoins not to stop there but moves ahead to change it; after all the “whole point is to change it.” It is this practice of changing the society that tests our analysis to it, the practice providing the test of theory and furthering enriching it in the process. Class struggle is the arena of test for the science of Marxism. As Engels would often say Truth of the pudding is in eating. It was in the course of the practice of revolution, trying to understand the contemporary reality and changing it through revolution that Marxism developed to the stage of Marxism-Leninism. Basing himself on teachings of Marx and applying them to analyze the imperialism, the moribund stage of capitalism, then taking hold, Lenin developed Marxism to a higher stage which was called Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. It was further developed in the course of revolution in China and particularly in struggle against attempts at capitalist restoration by revisionists, to the stage of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. These developments defended and developed Marxism, defended its revolutionary essence and developed in all round way. Teachings of Marx are no dogma nor Marx solved nor claimed to solve all the problems facing society for all time. He along with Engels laid the basic framework of revolutionary doctrine which can guide revolutionaries to action. Marxism is no finished product having solved all the problems facing humanity for all times, it is science of proletarian revolution and through this of building socialism and communism.
Marxism is science and science fears no debate. This was asserted by the Communist Party of China during Great Debate. We should take this as our guide. Through victories and defeats, ups and downs of the revolutionary movement various tasks emerge, some becoming as more pressing at different times but the nature of science does not change. In the present situation of all round attacks against Marxism by reactionaries and revisionists, it is all the more necessary to uphold and defend revolutionary Marxism. One can defend Marxism while only practicing it. There can be no idle defense.
Marx 202th Birth Anniversary is coming at a time when the whole world is facing Corona pandemic, when this pandemic is being used by big bourgeoisie and reactionaries to further their reactionary agenda and to launch further attacks on the working class and other sections of toiling masses. However, this present situation is also witnessing further sharpening of contradictions of the present imperialist system. While working people are facing sharp attacks this situation has also demonstrated: firstly, the inability of the present system to even meet the minimum health needs of the people and secondly it has shown the utter bankruptcy of the neo-liberal prescriptions of the present drive of capital. This will also affect and condition the contours of imperialist globalization. These cannot but have profound effect on the situation and struggles of the people. People are openly criticizing capitalist production for profit. People are also seeing the abysmal state of health care in the developed capitalist countries and how these have further suffered under neo-liberalism. The present crisis has also refuted the claims that ‘scientific and technological revolution’ has helped imperialism ward off its crisis and has reaffirmed Marx analysis of the crisis-ridden nature of capitalism.
The world is today facing a crisis which is apparently rooted in a health issue. While capitalist imperialism was dangerous to the health of the world people, it has openly and shamelessly demonstrated its ugly nature. And none too soon! Teachings of Marx have illuminated the path of those struggling against capitalism, imperialism and other reactionary classes, continue to do so. Those who claimed to know everything and claimed to have sorted out everything are begging before science to save society, obviously they want science hoping to save their system. But Marxism is a science of changing society, of overthrowing the reactionary rule, through class struggle. This obviously affects interests of classes. Hence, we see and continue to see attempts to refute it.
On Marx’s Birth Anniversary we reiterate our resolve to be steadfast in advancing the revolutionary movement; to uphold the ideological purity and revolutionary essence of teachings of Marx; to unswervingly practice Marxism and repel all attacks against Marxism. History is on our side. The notion that capitalism can be reformed and made pro-people has been once again dispelled. Decadence of the system and its utter bankruptcy is on open display. Grave diggers of the system have to sharpen their resolve and the tools.
May 4, 2020