Opportunism – this is loss of all principles, is stepping back from difficulties, is cowardice, is lack of character. In the labour movement one understands by it the giving up of the class interests of the proletariat and the subordination under the interests of the bourgeoisie. The following text of the Russian communist Lyubov Pribytkova is a translation from Russian. He is intended to our comrades in the communist parties all over the world who do not understand Russian. Appended you can find a pdf-file. We beg your pardon for possible mistakes. You can find a German translation here. We are very interested to spread this text and ask you for a short feedback (we don’t publish your address!). For the working class!
Eurocommunism Has Put Its Roots Down Deep into Russia
The bourgeois counter-revolution taken place in the USSR at the end of the 20th century, the World socialist system collapse had resulted to the International communist movement crisis. Anti-communism and „eurocommunism“ in the European countries became more active. The so-called „perestroika“ in the USSR was accompanied with vociferous anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. Anti-communist hysteria has taken over all the mass media. Lie, slander, misinformation have got the green light. Bourgeois theories, Western pseudo-culture, false memoires, provocative rumour, political anecdotes – all the mud of the bourgeois propaganda machine has floated into the country.
And the key point. Under good-looking slogans, the CPSU General Secretary and the Government of the USSR had one by one taken decisions breaking socialist foundations of the Soviet state politics and economy. The Committee of State Security of the USSR has given over guarding the country’s safety and defending the Soviet power. The bourgeois counter-revolution has emerged.
The counter-revolution in the USSR is the greatest tragedy of the humankind in the 20th century. The analysis of what happened has proved that revision of Marxism-Leninism, of the theoretical basis of socialist construction, and opportunistic mistakes of the CPSU leadership have become the internal reasons of socialism dismantlement. The CPSU has rejected the proletariat dictatorship principles, it has declared the country the „all-people’s state“. It has given over its guidance by objective politico-economical laws of socialism. The principle of centralized planned administration of national economy was no longer the basic one, the orientation was made at enterprises‘ self-sufficiency. Capitalist economic mechanisms – profit and selfaccounting, co-operation and share sales – were introduced into the economy. Socialism collapsed. It is already a quarter of a century that Russia and all former Soviet republics have turned to the capitalist way. Thus, opportunist mistakes turned to treasure.
A crisis arose in the International communist movement. Disorder and confusion took over almost all the European communist parties, up to splits. E.g., as the famous Greek communist Aleka Papariga puts it, a large part of the Central Committee members led by the General Secretary had left the Communist Party of Greece, and that was a logical end of long-term communists‘ struggle against opportunists in the party who had chosen the way of conforming to the system and playing by bourgeois rules.
Eurocommunism has lifted its head. The ideological struggle against eurocommunism is now actual as never, as long as it is, like any other opportunism, more dangerous than bourgeois anticommunism which is open and clear. Bourgeoisie always defends its power and interests by all means, up to military force. It turns openly from the regime of bourgeois democracy to the extreme form of reaction – fascism. Such change of imperialist policy is natural. Thus, it is not by chance that neo-fascism lifts its head at periods of crises. E.g., in modern Baltic states the public officials often speak in defense of German neo-Nazis. And in Ukraine neo-fascism has seized power in the end of 2014.
But opportunism is more dangerous because it seems to take care of people, it is generally covered with communist phraseology but in fact has a few communist besides it. It operates with the seemingly natural demand not to stop at Marxism of the 19th century but to develop it in the view of new reality; but herewith it rejects principal theses of Marxism based on objective scientific laws.
Opportunism is also more dangerous because it uses semi-truth, it wrenches facts, operates with fine abstract words – freedom, democracy, human rights, civil society, social state, although all these words make sense only when they express concrete class interests. Indeed, the modern capitalist society has the class structure. Bourgeoisie and working class are its main structural elements with contrary antagonistic interests. Opportunists gain success in manipulating social conscience, speculating at people’s political ignorance. They draw workers away from understanding of their vital interests and their revolutionary mission under capitalist conditions.
Eurocommunism, being one of the forms of opportunism, makes revision of Marxism by joining of communist ideas with bourgeois theories, and implements right-wing opportunist policy directed at class over-compromising and co-operation of proletariat with bourgeoisie. The essence of eurocommunism is its orientation at capitalism reforming, at its gradual „transformation“ to socialism, its rejection of socialist revolution and of gaining the political power by working class.
The first breakouts of eurocommunism have appeared in the 19th century yet, grown by Bernstein, Bauer brothers and Karl Kautsky who were engaged in the ideological struggle against the creators of scientific communism Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Stephen Gowans was right pointing in his article „Socialism of the 21st or of the 19th century?“ that it were they who laid the basis of the „21st Century Socialism“ conception, popular among opportunists now. Not only the U.S. Communist party Chairman Sam Webb called for it – it is propagated by progressive leaders of Latin America and, in peculiar, actively by Gennadiy Zuganov and his associates, although this conception has no concern with communism. It is not by chance that the 18th Congress of the Communist party of Greece has denounced it as „extremely reactionary opportunism, as a version of eurocommunism“.
After the World War II, in the view of the Victory of the USSR over fascism in 1945 and formation of the World socialist system, the imperialism has unleashed the „Cold War“. Dozens of anti-communist „Think tanks“, information agencies were created in the USA and in the West. The ideological struggle of imperialism against spreading of communist „infection“ over the planet enhanced. Bets were placed and ideological diversions and psychological war which provoked anti-communist actions in the socialist camp countries.
In 1956 the counter-revolutionary coup attempt in Hungary was accompanied with bloody prescription – to massacre communists. They were being hung at Budapest trees, small children were being thrown from high buildings roofs. Anti-communism had a savage look, like Hitlerites‘. But in 1968 there was a „quiet“ counter-revolution attempt in Czechoslovakia. Dozens of Western radio stations poured a lot of malicious anti-Soviet slander onto the heads of the youth, they introduced bourgeois anti-communist ideals. Bourgeoisie was moving from the maximal brutality policy to the maximal flexibility one.
As at that time as now in peculiar, the life confirms that the Soviet troops bringing into Hungary and Czechoslovakia was the CPSU’s wise decision for defense of socialism. Now, the DPRK’s nuclear test is a similar wise decision. The global imperialism leader, the pro-fascist state USA speaks with the world only by language of force. There are hundreds of American military bases at all the continents all over the planet. But material force should be countered with material force, too. There is no other way! That’s why the question on legal, peaceful and illegal, violent methods of resistance against capitalism should be one of the dominate ones for communists. The situation formed after the war resulted to discontent in the communist parties of Europe. Under conditions of violent bourgeois anti-communism pressure, rejection of Marxism revolutionary spirit began, reformist moods and orientation at parliamentary methods of work enhanced. Ideological struggle inside communist parties became more active.
Unfortunately, many famous communists of the planet began to give away Marxist ground. The Italian communist leader Palmiro Togliatti, infected by the CPSU General Secretary Nikita Khruschev’s treacherous outbreak at the 20th Congress of the party in the USSR in 1956 against the great leader of Soviet people J.Stalin, has offered the „Italian way to socialism“ which meant peaceful replacement of revolutionary way of social transformation with improvement of bourgeois democracy. He put forth the „polycentrism“ conception calling upon the European parties to become independent from Moscow control.
It was Togliatti who had founded the ideological trend of „non-orthodox“ Marxism which was later named „eurocommunism“. Under Enrico Berlinguer who had succeeded him the party has given over class struggle at all, in fact rejecting the essentials of Marxism. The party leader convinced that at the nuclear epoch struggle against imperialism was not superior but alliance of workers‘ and bourgeois parties was to become the communists‘ strategy. It was necessary to struggle for deputy seats.
In 1977 the Spanish Communist party leader Santiago Carrillo has published his book „Eurocommunism and state“ and introduced the term „eurocommunism“ into use, while anticommunist sense was hidden under its communist cover. After the youth activist Santiago Carrilo had muscled the Communist (with a capital C) Dolores Ibárruri out from the position of the Communist party of Spain General Secretary, the party has been slowly but steadily going downhill. The Spanish were right saying that Carrillo had done to party what the fascist Franco had failed to do during 40 years.
On May, 17, 1990 Carrillo’s interview for „Komsomolskaya Pravda“ [„Komsomol Truth“] newspaper was published in the USSR. He told the reporter: „Foundational Lenin’s ideas have been behind the times and may prove to be erroneous under modern conditions. We have erased the word „Lenin’s“ from our party’s name… We have rejected the idea of proletariat dictatorship“, etc. The reporter was happy to hear it – at this time all the Russian mass media were in anti-communist hands.
The French communists‘ leader Georges Marchais has made his contribution to the communist movement split, too. Step by step, the French Communist party has completely given over its communist position, turned towards bourgeois social democracy. Recently its Congress has decided to expel the Sickle and Hammer from the party symbols. Now the FCP is a part of European Left party [ELP] which has gone to service for the world capital.
All the three communist parties stood for some intermediate „third way“ of development under which one would eat a cake and have it. They dreamt of a „democratic regime of a new type“ under which everybody would be happy, both bourgeoisie and proletarians. Anti-Sovietism was growing among them during last decades. They began to name genuine communists scornfully „pro-Soviet orthodox“. The communist parties‘ names were still communist but their essence was already social-democratic.
Now several communist parties exist in almost all European countries. There’s no reason to weep. Dissociation between communists is inevitable. Unity with opportunists is quite impossible as long as they lead the working class away from class struggle. They have rejected the need of revolution. They avoid the Marxist idea of the necessity of proletariat dictatorship like the plague. Vladimir Ilyich [Lenin] was right saying that it was necessary to dissociate before uniting. Uniting is possible only on the basis of Marxist science applicability of which has only grown in the 21st century. That’s why in 2013 in Brussels the Communist party of Greece have organized the foundation meeting of 30 communist parties for creating the „Initiative“ of communist and workers‘ parties of Europe in order to find common strategic aims and coordination of tactical actions.
In the communist movement, many parties are communist only by their names, like the Communist party of Russian Federation (CPRF). Gennadiy Zuganov’s books, his articles and speeches, his and the CPRF State Duma faction’s activity gives every reason to believe that the CPRF is a petty-bourgeois social-democratic party.
„Social democracy“ is a reformist political trend in the international workers‘ movement. It acknowledges only the peaceful way of the capitalist society development, the need for its improvement by the way of reforms, compromises and „social partnership“ of employers and employed labour force. Social-democrats stand demagogically for plurality of ways to socialism and for plurality of its models. Socialism is a token for them, a way to attract the voters at the period of parliamentary games.
Now, at communist forums, voices rise to a crescendo that it is revision of science about communism that results to opportunism (over-compromising), to treason of the working class cause at its struggle for its liberation. The dialectical logic has led to the truth: under the CPSU leadership the first workers‘ and peasants‘ powerful state in the world was created where social equality and social justice triumphed. But it was the same CPSU who became its grave-digger. Revision of Marxism-Leninism and the CPSU opportunistic policy were costly for the Soviet people.
Nowadays there are two dozens or even more parties calling themselves communist at the territory of the former Soviet Union. They emerge like mushrooms after the rain. When a press organ of some „Marxist workers‘ party“ comes to hands, and all its four pages assert that „Marxism having become an ideological tool of Stalinist policy is a perverse ideology“, that Stalinism doesn’t differ from fascism – it becomes clear that even a little politically aware worker would never approach to such a party.
Or, e.g., there appear small groups of activists who assert vehemently at their web sites that there was no socialism in the USSR, and there was „no socialist property in the USSR“ but there was common state capitalism; that now workers should dream of a state not with public property but with „public personalized property“. So, the information cheers that the Moscow Union of Workers resolutely expels such „new communists“, fighters for so-called „grass-roots democracy“.
One may read in a newspaper of a tiny communist party, remote from reality, that there is no capitalism in Russia, that the country is simply occupied by Western capital, and there lives the Soviet people and it should tell the Russian authorities – we don’t want to live under occupation… Would this party „ideologists“ read Lenin’s work „Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism“, it would become clear that there are all attributes peculiar for imperialism present in modern Russia.
In another communist party, they understand that Russia is an imperialist country, but consider as the main enemy of proletariat – not bourgeoisie having concentrated all national wealth of the country created by working class in its hands, but some Zionist fascism.
Sometimes, literally anti-communist nonsense is published at the pages of seemingly communist newspapers. In the article „About the Surrounding Us World Again“ I read: „Marxism has died long ago as a science. When Marx worked, there were the class of capitalists and the class of proletarians… Now, there is no class of capitalists for a long time, and the class approach is inapplicable… There is no proletariat now. There are workers, but the working class is absent! And there can be no class struggle as a mass process“…
Do the editors understand that the ideological struggle is the most important form of the class struggle? Where and whom protesting and fighting masses would go after, what they would strive to and what they would achieve, depends on what mindset they would have. Thus, the Maidan neo-Nazis managed to lead short-witted protesting youngsters who did not become fighters for people’s interests but common fascist henchmen.
Now, while working people acquire the most information from bourgeois sources – newspapers and magazines, radio and TV, Internet, it is unacceptable to pass pages of our press to anticommunists, for they could work against us. One should remember Lenin’s wise answer to Myasnikov who had offered to introduce press freedom in the country in 1921:
„All over the world, wherever there are capitalists, freedom of the press means freedom to buy up newspapers, to buy writers, to bribe, buy and fake “public opinion” for the benefit of the bourgeoisie… The bourgeoisie (all over the world) is still very much stronger than we are. To place in its hands yet another weapon like… freedom of the press… means facilitating the enemy’s task, means helping the class enemy. We have no wish to commit suicide, and therefore, we will not do this“. (The Complete Works, vol.44, p.79).
Now more than ever, the most important task of struggle for Marxism-Leninism purity against its perversions, hostile imputations faces communists, as long as „there is no revolutionary practice, no revolutionary movement without a revolutionary theory“.
The CPRF stands at right opportunism positions in Russia. The party chairman Gennadiy Zuganov is a talented revisionist. For 20 years he has been leading the party by the way of rejection of scientific communism. In his numerous books and articles he does not even mention about working class; he speaks of an ethnic group, of a nation. Everywhere he takes care of Russian nation, of Russian people, of Russian voters. The „national question“ is the main one for Zuganov. The CPRF has even created the movement „Russian Concord“ where it advocates for civil accord, for peace and friendship between hungry and sated, between oppressed and oppressors, between exploited and exploiters.
Zuganovists never give over persuading commoners: „Russian socialism is the answer to Russian question“. Thanks to their good graces, many communists have recoiled to nationalism. They declare „Russian Power to Russia!“ There is no slogan „Proletarian of All Countries, Unite!“ in the CPRF press for a long time. However, isn’t deviation from internationalism, the most essential Marxist principle, an opportunistic treason against working class in its struggle?
Communists have no right to forget that the main thing in Marxism is the question of working class – the main creative power of human society, of its revolutionary mission of proletarian dictatorship establishment for liberation of all the labour people from capitalist oppression and exploitation. Haven’t Lenin’s words been behind the times:
„Either the dictatorship (i.e., the iron rule) of the landowners and capitalists, or the dictatorship of the working class. There is no middle course. The scions of the aristocracy, intellectualists and petty gentry, badly educated on bad books, dream of a middle course. There is no middle course anywhere in the world, nor can there be. Either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (masked by ornate Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik phraseology about a people’s government, a constituent assembly, liberties, and the like), or the dictatorship of the proletariat. He who has not learned this from the whole history of the nineteenth century is a hopeless idiot“? And he added: „Only scoundrels or simpletons can think that the proletariat must first win a majority in elections carried out under the yoke of the bourgeoisie, under the yoke of wage-slavery, and must then win power. This is the height of stupidity or hypocrisy; it is substituting elections, under the old system and with the old power, for class struggle and revolution“. (The Complete Works, vol.39, p.219)
Proletariat dictatorship is not even mentioned in CPRF. There is no word of class struggle. All their thoughts are connected with parliamentary activity. The CPRF has got a chronic disease – parliamentary cretinism. At the Duma sessions it strives to introduce good amendments into bourgeois laws by means of which the faction hopes to improve Russian bourgeois state, to make it „social“. They consider extremely important to achieve „honest elections“ in the next year, „good budget“, etc. They have sunk in small bourgeois affairs… But what else did you expect? There are only children in kindergarten who might have not been aware of Zuganov’s famous phrase that the „limit for revolutions has been exhausted“.
The CPRF leadership has completely rejected Marxist science. Dialectical and historical materialism, the philosophic basis of Marxism, is replaced with objective idealism. They have preferred bourgeois political economy to Marxist one. The doctor of philosophy Zuganov does not refer to Marx, Engels, Lenin in his speeches but to Russian philosophers of the 19th century Berdyaev and Danilevsky. He speaks with peculiar respect about the religious philosopher Ivan Ilyin, the Russian White movement ideologist who had approved Nazism and the fascist policy during the World War II.
The CPRF does not call people to struggle but to church. All Zuganov’s expectations are for the spiritual values of Orthodox Christianity. He considers the Church as the „warrantor of national unity, defender of people’s relics and traditions“. He sees the „reason of the USSR destruction and all our today’s troubles“ in atheism. He has declared the religious moral a source of communist ethics.
The CPRF continues to promote the „21st century socialism“ which is nothing else but pettybourgeois socialism which Marx and Engels told about in the „Communist Manifesto“ yet. They go to this so-called socialism by the way of capitalist improvement. The „Communist Manifesto“ principal idea: „In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property“ – is alien to Zuganovists. They state openly that under the „21st century socialism“ there would exist mixed economy and equality of all property forms including the private one. That’s why before the New Year Zuganov while met with V.Putin has friendlily recommended the President to make a „left-hand turn“. So, the answer to the question what Zuganovism is, communism or anti-communism, is evident.
January, 16, 2016