Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Democratic Socialism is Capitalism Part 2

(This is the second part of Wu Bing's reply to Xie Tao on the question of democratic socialism. Earlier sections can be accessed by scrolling down)

2. Violent revolution is the only way to realise socialism

Opposing violent revolution and advocating “peaceful evolution” is one of the main fallacies of democratic socialism and revisionism. In the “Preface”, Mr Xie Tao takes great pains to play the same old tune again. He says: “The relationship between socialism and capitalism is a relationship of continuation and development, and is not a relationship of overthrow and elimination,” “this truth already proves the shining rise to prominence of Western European democratic socialism and the eclipse of the violent socialism of the former Soviet Union.” He believes that democratic socialism “turns the socialist movement into a peaceful, rational evolutionary process,” and lies that “Social Democrats have successfully created in the democratic framework of the developed capitalist countries a path for the peaceful transition to socialism”, thus, “the working class has no need to rise in revolution, and can be ‘liberated’ along with the development of the advanced productive forces.”

The replacement of capitalism by socialism is merely “a relationship of continuation and development” - but is it not “a relationship of overthrow and elimination”? Was socialism actually realised by way of “peaceful evolution” or by way of “violent revolution”? What is the law of human historical development? How should we look upon the differences between Marxism and democratic socialism on these major questions of principle? This author thought, there were two points like this – this is probably a platitude, but in order to clarify the rights and wrongs, there is still need for discussion.

Firstly, looking at it from the theoretical level. Marxism believes that the proletariat requires complete liberation to establish a socialist system without exploitation and oppression, and after that to realise the broad ideals of communism. The proletariat must first of all, by way of violent revolution and the armed seizure of power, replace capitalism with socialism, but it simply must not take the reformist path of “peaceful evolution to socialism”. On this question, the written works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong all contain brilliant expositions, which occupy an important place. So as to deepen my ideological knowledge there is no harm in taking several excerpts:

Marx said: “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.” (Marx, Capital, Vol 1 p. 828, 1963 Chinese ed.) “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” “The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.” (Marx, Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party.)

Engels said: “That force, however, plays yet another role in history, a revolutionary role; that, in the words of Marx, it is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one, that it is the instrument through the aid of which social movement forces its way through and shatters the dead, fossilized political forms…” (Engels, Anti-Duhring, 1957 Chinese ed., p 190). “Revolution is without doubt the most authoritative thing in the world. Revolution is one part of the people using the rifle, the bayonet and the cannon in an extremely authoritative way to force another part of the people to accept its will.” (Engels, On Authority, Marx, Engels Complete Works Vol 18 p. 344 Chinese ed.) “The working class deeply believes, on the basis of its own experience, that to arrive at any lasting improvement in their status, that they are unable to rely on others, but must strive for it themselves, and the first method they must adopt is the seizure of political power.” (Engels, The 10 Hour’s Question, Marx and Engels, Complete Works, Vol 7 p. 247).

Lenin said: “…to renounce the revolutionary seizure of power would be madness on the part of the proletariat, both from the theoretical and the practical-political points of view; it would mean nothing but a disgraceful retreat in the face of the bourgeoisie and all other propertied classes. It is very probable - even most probable – that the bourgeoisie will not make peaceful concessions to the proletariat and at the decisive moment will resort to violence for the defence of its privileges. In that case, no other way will be left to the proletariat for the achievement of its aims but that of revolution.” (Lenin, A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy, Collected Works Vol 4 p. 242 Chinese ed.) “Indeed, what is revolution from the Marxist point of view? The violent break-up of the obsolete political superstructure, the contradiction between which and the new relations of production caused its collapse at a certain moment.” (Lenin, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, The Lenin Anthology, Vol 1 p. 691, 1965 Chinese ed.)

Stalin said: “In order to overthrow capitalism it was not only necessary to remove the bourgeoisie from power, it was not only necessary to expropriate the capitalists, but also to smash entirely the bourgeois state machine and its old army, its bureaucratic officialdom and its police force, and substitute for it a new, proletarian form of state, a new, Socialist state.” (Stalin, Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Problems of Leninism, p. 752 Chinese cloth ed.)

Mao Zedong said: “The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.” (Mao Zedong, Problems of War and Strategy, Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol 2 p. 529 Chinese ed.) “Defending the path of Marxism-Leninism opened up by the October Revolution, under the present international circumstances is of especially great significance. Imperialism declares that it wants to “change the nature of world communism”, and what they must change is precisely this revolutionary path. For the past several decades, everything proposed by the revisionists or the anti-Marxist-Leninists, all the right opportunism that has been spread around is precisely to avoid this sole path for the liberation of the proletariat. All the tasks of the communists focus on uniting the proletariat, uniting the people, firmly repelling the fierce attacks by the imperialists on the socialist world, and firmly advancing along the path opened up by the October Revolution.” (Manuscripts of Mao Zedong Since the Founding of the Nation, Vol 6 p. 283-284, Chinese ed.)

This author believes that it is not necessary to further quote from the Marxist classics, that these passages of brilliant exposition can completely demolish the cliches of Mr Xie Tao.

As for all of Mr Xie Tao’s talk of “proof from historical and textual research that Marx and Engels in their later years were democratic socialists, that they were the first to advocate ‘peaceful evolution to socialism’, that democratic socialism is legitimate Marxism”, this is obviously a groundless fabrication.

Look at it again from the practical level. History has already confirmed the correctness of the Marxist theory about “violent revolution”. From the victory of the October Revolution led by Lenin in the early 20th Century to the success of the Cuban socialist revolution in the 70’s of the 20th Century, we can say that all countries practising socialism without exception have relied on the barrel of the gun and on the military for the seizure of political power, and that up until now, the world still does not have any country whatsoever that is socialist by “peaceful evolution”, nor will it have one in the future.

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