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The missing party

DONNY GLUCKSTEIN

The capitalist system has never been more at risk than in the years
following the First World War. In 1917 the Bolshevik revolution
i n s pi red a wave of intense class struggle which swept Europe.
D uring the early months of 1919 workers' councils held effective
power into a band which stret ched from Hungary and Russia to
Austri a and Germany. Italy entered 'two red years' which cul
minated in the massive oc cupatio n of the factories. Even Britain
was for a time on the brink of revolution with the 40-hours' move
ment, police strikes in Liverpool and London, and army mutinies in
Calais and Rhyl.
Despite the unprecedented level of mass struggle the workers
movements were defeated one by one and the rule of capital re
imposed. By 1924 only the Soviet state in Russia survived. Trotsky
explained the failure of the international revolution in this way: 'It is
all too obv ious just what was lackin g in 19 19 and 1920: a revolu
tionary party was lacking. Not until the powerful postwar mass
ferment has already begun to ebb did young Communists Parties
begin to take shape, and even then only in rough outline. '1
His statement was no exaggeration. When the Russian revolution
peaked in October 1917 the Bolsheviks had an organisation of
200,000 workers with many years of political struggle behind them.
They published 17 daily papers which had a joint circulation of
320,000 copies. No comparable revolutionary party existed else
where. The Hungarian Communists were prisoners of war in Russia
when they established their organisation. Just four months later
they were propelled into power in an atempt to resolve the chaotic
situation in which Hungary found itself. The Communist govern-

International Socialism 2:22


mcnt here lasted just 133 d ays
In B r i t a in the revolutionary cu rre n t around John Maclean con
sisted of a tiny handful of militants who managed to publish only
three issues of a monthly pa per which sold j ust 3,000 copies.
Gramsci's group in Italy was h ardly bigger and claimed a circulation
for its fortnightly journal of 5,000. By far the most promising
.

rc\'olutionary organisation o u tsid e Russia was the Spartakist


League. Yet this entered the re vo l u t io n with fewer t ha n 3,000
members and only established a cent ra l committee to provide effec
ti\'c leadership two days a ft e r th e revolution had begun.
Why were there no revolutionary parties ca pab le of leading the
po s t war moveme n t s to vi cto ry ? The standard reformist explanation
was d e v e lop ed by K auts ky . It s t a te d that in Russia the repressive
conditions of Tsa ri s m forced workers to take an openly revolutionary
road. while de mocra cy in the We st meant t h en and means now
that parliamentary pol i t i cs are sufficient to tran sfo rm society.
\Vatcred down versions of this argument are still current today To
combat such reasoning it is n e cessa ry to demonstrate: (i) that the
Jack of re volut i on a ry parties outside R uss ia was n ot because democ
racy made them i m possib l e but beca u se Marxists either did not see
the need for such parties or went about building them wrongly; and
(ii) that the fu n d am en t a l lessons of Bolshevism. though coloured by
the special co nditions of Russia . are still a guide to building rev
olutionary pa rties East and West.
'

'

PART ONE: REVOLUTIONARY MARXISM IN THE WEST


A co mple te e x pl a n a t i on of the abse n ce of revolutionary parties in
Europe must a pproac h the question on two levels - looking at the
objective c on d iti on s in which Marxists o perated and the way they
respoded to th ese conditio ns in practice. This a rticle will concen
trate on the last ele ment for one m ajor reason. For much of the time
t h e revolutionary party must be built agai n st and in s pite of pre
vailing co n d i tio ns . This is not to say t h at by a sheer effort of will a
mass party can be built during a d o w nt urn in class strugg le but that
an o rgan isa t i o n large e n o ug h to be cap a ble of independent initiative
must be bui lt under the unfavourable conditions of entrenched
capitalism. Inevitably the membership of such an organisation will
be quite restri c te d ; but unless the party is built on some scale it will
n e ver be able to p l ay a le ad e rship role when the crisis ripens. Thus
w h il e mass suppo rt for revolutionary ideas will only come about
during widescale class st ruggle a coherent revolutionary party must
be created beforehand. Therefore the conscious acti v ity of rev
olutionaries. w ha t e v e r the objective conditions in which they find
themselves. is of t h e utmost importance.
.

THE MISSING PARTY

In pre-war Europe there was a conscious revolutionary current.


and yet it failed to establish any serious parties of its own. A cornmon
explanation for this has been that Rosa Luxemburg. the forcmo't
r evolutionary outside Russia. had the wrong line and failed to
recognise Lenin'soriginal contribution to the theory of the party. Put
in these in dividual terms. Lenin is cast in the role of hero and genius
while at best Luxemburg is damned with faint praise or is seen as the
one who. through her failings was personally resp onsible for world
history sin c e 1919. Lindsay German's excellent introduction to
Cliffs Rosa Luxemburg sometimes slips into this 'sin of omission
approac h. By 1919 her failure to build a revolutionary socialist party
earlier. meant that she lacked this solid base on which to stand .. . In a
short space of years. the lack of a party in Germany led to the defeat of
the German Revolution. followed by the defeat of socialist hopes on
a world scale. the growth of fascism on Germany and Stalinism in
Russia. 2 It is not surprising that SWP members sometimes ask
themselves, why b other with Luxemburg at all if she was totally
w ron g about the main task of a revolutionary-the building of a party.
The explanation of the missing party cannot be approached on a
personal level alone. The answer is wider than a comparison of
Luxemburg with Lenin for it mustshow whyneithershenoranyother
Western revolutionary came to the idea of a revolution ary vanguard
party. If Luxemburg was wrong, why did no one repla ce her at the
head of the German revolutionary movement just as Lenin and his
party replaced the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutiona ries during
1917? I believe Marxists like Luxemburg did not build their own
parties in opposition to the mass reformist parties of the day because
no-one saw workers' power growing out of politics in the workplace.
In other words they has no concept of a party which grew by relating
to the class via intervention in workplace struggle. Without such a
con crete orientation for day-to-day activity there was no means of
relating general Marxist theory about the revolutionaryoverthrowof
capitalism with the practical means of achieving it. The importance of
workplace politics. both in the creation of a revolutionary socialist
party and in t he eventual seizure of power thr ough assemblies of
shopftoor delegates (Soviets), was only understood in Western
Europe after the Russian revolution in 1917. But in the pre-war
years t he Marxism of Luxemburg and her fellow revolutionaries in
the West was formed by a quite different historical development.

(i) The Paris Commune and the rise ofthe Second International partis

Mass political parties have not always existed. They are esentially
voluntary organisations of people who share a common attitude
towards society and the various classes within it. In Europe such

International Socialism 2:22

panics only became possible in the era of 'political freedom' com


bined with economic wage slave ry initiated by capitalism. Western
bourgeois pa r t i es are structured by this framework. They accept the
formal separation of politics and economics, and structure them
selves to run bourgeois democracy within the co nfi ne s of the nation
state. Here the geograph ical ballot, which e nsh rines the co ncept of

political equality as distinct from economic equality. is the guiding


organisational pri n ci p le In con trast to capitalist politicians, ge nuine
farxists had to draw up the model for their parties on the basis of
workers' needs in struggle . The only guides at the beginning of the
century were the high poi n ts of struggle in 1848, and abo ve all the
Paris Comm u n e of 1871.
The Co mm une was for Marx an invaluable insi g ht into the process
of s oc i al i s t transformation. It was 'the po liti c al form at last dis
covered under wh ich to work out the economical emancipation of
labo ur. 1 In The Civil War in France he considerably deve loped his
ideas about t h e capitalist state and t he form needed to replace it. In
relat ion to the fo rmer. he argued: 'The wo rki n g class cannot simply
lay hold of th e re ady made m ach ine ry , and wield it for its own
purposes. 4 As the a l tern a t ive to the bourg e ois state. the Paris
Commune had many features of a p role t a ri an dictatorship: 'Its
members were nat u r a l l y working men . or acknowledged represent
atives of the working class . Th e Commune w as to be a working. not
a parlia mentary body executive and l eg islativ e at the same time
the police was at once stripped of its politi cal attributes. and turned
into t h e responsible and at all ti m e revocable agent of the Commune.
So were the officials of all oth e r branchs of the adiministration.
Fro m t he members of the Commune downwards, the public service
had to be done at workmen's wages. '5
Marxs judgement was remarkable given the fact that the uprising
las ted barely more than two months. He pinpointed features that
were h ar d ly noticeable before the Commune was swept away, and
yet which have proved to be essential in subsequent revolutions.
such as militias and instant recall methods. Nevertheless. The Civil
War in Fran ce could not fail to be constrained by the limits of the
Commune i tself and in particular the structure of industrial pro
du cti on in Paris. In 1848. of the 65.000firms operating in the capital.
only 7 . 000 employed more than 10 workers. 6 Twenty years later the
average size o f indu st ria l enterprise in Paris was still 7. 7 workers.'
This meant that independent workplace organisation could not be a
means of uniting workers. Class solidarity had to be forged on
purely geographical lines through arrondissements (municipal
boroughs) and the National Guard (a defensive militia system in
herited from the Second Empire).
This affected all aspects of the Commune's short existence. It was
.

THE MISSING PARTY

universal male suffrage according to the law of

1849- a
law enacted in the years of reaction that followed the massacre of
Pa ri si an workers in June 1848. 8 Of its 80 or so me m b e rs on l y 2-t were
actually workers. The proletariat was the d y n a m ic force inspiring
and leading the mo vemen t but the Commune's first social decrees
showed that its immediate concern lay outsi de production. They
consisted of control of house rents and the p ost po nin g of overdue
bills.10 The chief working class measures which Marx listed were
abolition of night work for j o u r n ey men bake rs. abo l i t io n of punitive
fines at work and the sale o f p a wn ed a rticles 11
Marx cri ticised the actions of the Co mmunard s for want of
audacity failure to marc h on Versa i lles or to seize the Bank of
France etc
but g ive n the time he was wr iting he could not see the
limitations of u niversal male su ffrag e as oppo sed to workplace
organi sat ion of power. If the deve l o p m e n t of indus try had been
more advanced and the C o mm u ne had made a radical break with
geographical suffrage, then both he and Engels would have had a
much clearer view of the alternative structure of workers' power
under deve l oped Western capitalism. U ni v ersa l suffrage soon be
came a central feature of the modern bou rgeo is states t h at emerged
at the time. The sp read of th e franchise was very rapi d in the later
years of the century: USA universal white su ffra ge i n t ro duced 1870;
Germany un i v ersa l male suffrage introduced 1871; Britain. most
m ale workers get the vote in 1884; Spain 1890; Belgium 1893 and so
on.
elected by

.).

Marx had no truck with wo rs h i p of the pr i nci pl e of democratic


el ec t ion which he dismissed as 'twaddle' a n d po li tica l drivel'. 'The
char acte r of the election does not depend on this name. but on t h e
economic found ati o n. the eco nomic situation of the voters.'12
Nevertheless th e re was a wea k ness in his pos ition In the case of
workers' revolution. un l i ke any other, the
of seizure of power
- workers' councils or Soviets formed by delegates democratically
elected at the po i nt of production
is at the same time a direct
m eas u re of t h e deve lopment of the product ive forces in society. As
Marx puts it himself the developm e n t of capi t alis m leads to 'the
re volt of the w o r kin g class. a c l ass always increasing in numbers.
and disci p lin ed united o rg anized by the ve ry mechanism of the
process of ca pi tal ist prod uct ion itself. '13 W orkpl a ce election is

form

therefore an indicatio n o f the division of labour into large collective


units and the readiness of the p r o du ctive forces to break t hrough the
social re l a t ions of production. It is a sign of e cono mic and political
maturity. Here the electoral form is very important.
This close relation of p o litical forms and economic development
is unique to th e workers' m o ve ment
of the bourgeoisie
within l a te feudalism was quite different. It dev el o ped its econ o m ic

. The rise

8
power through the

International Socialism 2:22


market. tradin g and low level commodity pro

duction. in the cracks and crevices of feudal society. During this


period (which in countries like B ri t ain and France lasted several
centuries) its growing economic power was not matched by an
equivalent political influence. Indeed political domination as im
posed by Cromwell, Robespierre and the like was only the final act
in the long evo luti on of the capi tali s t system to m at urity
The working c1ass cannot secure power in the same roundabout
way. Economic control can only be won by political means. the
seizure of state power. But the chief power of the working class is its
c oll e ct i ve strength at the point of prod ucti on This me ans that the
struggle in the workplace must be part and parcel of the struggle for
state power. Both find a concrete expression in a single form- the
workers' council or Soviet which is based on e l ecti ons at shopftoor
I eve I but fights to overthrow the bourgeois state and replace it with a
permanent system of Soviet democracy.
For all its daring innovations. the Paris Commune did not, and
c oul d not have demonstrated this aspec t of workers' revolution. So
the difference between geographical and work place election was
never revealed. Three years after the demise of the Commune Marx
c ould write: 'the proletariat still acts, durin g the period of struggle
for the overthrow of the old society. on the basis of that old society.
and hence also still moves within political forms which more or less
belong to it. it has not yet. during this period of struggle. attained its
final constitution, and em ploys means for its liberation which after
this liberation fall aside.14 Reformists were to exploit this lack of
clarity to deny the revol ut ionary foundations of Marxism. One
notorious example of this was the much-distorted Preface Engels
wrot e for Marx's Class Struggles in France. The 1895 Preface was
known in the Second International as Engels' Testamenf. One
passage stated: 'There had long been universal s uffrage in France.
but it had fallen into disrepute through the misuse to which the
.

Bo n a pa rt is t government had put it. After the Commune there was


no workers' party to make use of it .
It was ot he rwise in Germany.
(There] the f r an chise has been, in the words of the Fren ch Marxist
programme. transforme, demoyen deduperiequ'ilaetejusqu'ici, en
instrument d'emancipation transformed by them from a me ans of
deception, which it was before. into an instrument of emanci
pation.15 The words in French were writt en by Marx himself.
Of course in c ont e xt these statements by Marx and Engels are no
more than a partial confusion which runs counter to the spirit of
t h eir whole lifes work. E v e n Kautsky felt moved to defend Engels'
revolutionary intentions in the Preface from distortion.16 Elsewhere
Engels re m a rke d that universal suffrage 'is the gauge of the maturity
of the working class. It canno t and ne ver will be anything more . .11
.

THE MISSING PARTY

C)

Nevertheless the absence of a clear differentiation between political


struggle through workplace or constituency rem a i ned an area of
confusion inherited by even Marx's best followers.
The period after the Paris Commune was one of political stability
and economic growth in Western Europe. In these years. mass
collective production spread outside the shores of Britain and ex
tended beyond the original core of textiles to e m b ra c e mining. iron
and steel manufacture, engineering and c hemical s . For the first time
there was an objective basis for building parties orientated on the
workplace. But unfortunately the very d yn amic of capitalist growth
wekened the roots of working class militancy and led to a relatively
low level of workplace struggle. This meant that socialists were
rarely to glimpse the potential of collective shopfloor action. and so
were not forced to reconsider their political methods in the light of
the current phase of capitalist development. Nevertheless the rise of
a massive working class presence in sev era l European countries
provided the basis for new political parties, the first and most
important of which was the German Social Democratic Party
founded in 1875. Though most claimed to be Marxist and joined the
Second International. they were all firmly committeed to building
their organisation on a national, geographical basis. and often
patterned themselves accor ding to parliamentary constituencies as
the Labour Party does today. Without a theoretical understanding
of the importance of politics in the workplace it was exceedingly
difficult for revolutionaries to propose a pr ac t ical alternative to the
organisational methods of these Second International parties. Even
the brilliant Rosa Luxemburg could not free herself fron1 the con
straints of this situation.

(ii) Luxemburg's dilemma


While Luxemburg is righ tly recognised to be in the 'real Marxist
tradition'18 there is no doubt that till her brutal murder in January
1919 she remained far removed from the Leninist conception of the
party. She distrusted the leadership of the German Social
Democratic Party (SPD) from 1905 onwards but it took the party"s
collapse into chauvinism in 1914 to force her into org ani sing an
independent revolutionary faction. And this remained wedded to
the social democratic movement until 1918. It took two months of
revolution. the open counter-revolutionary preparati ons of the SPD
and the paralysis of the centri st Independent Social Democrats to
lead to the founding of a separate party- the Germ an Communist
Party.
.

How can one explain Luxemburg's refusal to break with the


Social Democrats. whose fau l t s she under sto od better than anyone?
-

International Socialism 2:22

JO

Most explanations have concentrated on two areas. The fi rst stresses


her reaction to the conservative methods of German soc ial democ
racy. In connect i on with this Cliff says: The main reason for Rosa

Luxcmburgs underestimation of the factor of organisation probably


lies in the need. in the immediate stru g g le against reformism. for
emphasis on spontaneity as the.first step in all revolutions. From this
one stage in the struggle o f the proletariat she generali sed too
widely to embrace the struggle as a whole. 19 This is quite c o rrec t.
but it does not explain why he r response to the problem of mass
reformism should be to overestimate s p ontaneity rather t h an build
ing an alternative party. The second important re ason advanced for
Luxemburg's mistaken position co nce nt rates on the contrast be
tween Lenin"s view of the vanguard and her own. Paraphrasing the

latter. Cliff has written that: 'the need for a revolutionary party
is a reflection of the unevenness of consciousness in the working
class. 20 So one explanation for L u x e mb u rg s failure to build a
vanguard party has been that she. with all other social democrats in
Western Europe was blind to the d i ffe rent leve ls of consciousness i n
the working class: 'It was not that she overestimated the heights to
which workers would spontaneously r i s e but that she overestimated
the evenness with w h ic h this process cou l d occu r. 21
But Luxemburg was acutely aware of t h e differe nt levels of con
sciousness i n the working class and the un e ve n n ess of its develop
ment. She wrote that in an even t u al f u tu re p eriod of pol itical mass
action the most backward layers of the Ge rman proletariat the
land workers. the railwaymen. and t h e postal slaves-will first of all
win the right of combination. and t ha t t h e worst excrescences of
exploitation m u st first be removed. and on the o the r hand. the
politi c a l task of th i s period is said to be t h e conquest of power by the
proletariat! On t h e one hand. econom ic. t rade-unio n struggles for
the most imm ed i a t e interests. for the material elevation of the
working class- on the other hand the ult i mate goal of soc i al democ
racy! Certainly these are g re a t contradictioti's. but they are not
contradictions due to o u r reas on i n g but cont radict ions due to
capita l i st de ve l o pme n t It does not procee d in a beautiful straight
line but in a ligh tn i ng-like zigzag. Just as t he various capitalist
co un t r ies represent t h e most v a ried stages of d e velo p m ent so within
e ach c ountry the d iffe rent layers o f the same working class are
represented. But history doe s not wait pa t ien tly til l the backward
co u n tri es. a n d the most advanced layers have joined together so
t h a t the whole mass can move symetrica l ly forward l ike a compact
col u m n . It b r i n gs the best p r e pa r ed parts to explosion as soon as
22
cond i tions there a re r ipe for i t
Even Karl Kautsky. the m an who defined social democrati c or
thodoxy. d isti n guished betwee n different sections. writing in The
.

'

THE MISSING PAR1Y

II

Road

to Power: However l arge prole tarian organisation may hc


come, in normal non-revolutio nary perio ds it can never include the
whole working class of the S t a te b ut always merely an elite. This has
.

specific, local or individual characteristics which raise it above the


level of the population. '23
It was obvious that even the SPD, with one million members. was
a minority in comparison with the German working class of 15

million. The question of building a revolutionary party did not


depend on recognising the fact of unevenness. but the political
conclusions that might be drawn from it. Luxemburgs conclusions
were radically different from Lenin's for, while recognising uneven
ness in the proletariat. she chose to remain in a party broad enough

to i n clude the arch-reformist Bernstein. How can this be explained?


Luxemburg's politics were based on two fundamental beliefs.
The first was that through its own mass struggle the working class
changes itself and changes s ocie ty : 'In t h e revolution when the
masses themselves appear on the battlefield ... class consciousness
bcomes practical and ac i v e A year of revolution has therefore

given the Russian pro let aria t that 'training' which thirty years of
parliamentary and tra de u nion struggle cannot artificially give the
German proletariat. 24 This is the first and absolutely correct promise
that she starts from.
The other key plank in her thought was defence of the rev
o lutionary heritage of Marxism and its application to current issues.
She made her debut on the German scene with precisely that issue.
the pamphlet
Revolution. In it Luxemburg reasserts the
Marxist theory of the state, which is 'first of all. an organisation of
the ruling class' .25 As capitalism developed, the state as a set of
political and juridical relations, established between capitalist and
socialist society a steadily rising wall. This wall is not ov erthrown.
but is on the contrary strengthened and consolidated by the dev
elopment of social reforms and the course of democracy. Only the
hammer blow of revolution. that is to say, the conquest
power by
'26
the
can
down this wall.
The role of socialist leadership in this struggle was spelled out
clearly in this passage: our program would be a miserable scrap of
paper if it could not serve us in
eventualities. at all moments of
the struggle. and if it did not serve us by its application and not by its
non-application. If our program contained the formula of the
historic development of society from capitalism to socialism. it must
also formulate. in all its characteristic fundamentals. all the transi
tory phases of this development. and it should consequently. be
able to indicate to the proletariat what ought to be its corresponding
action at every moment on the road toward socialism.21
It follows from this that she saw a specifically revolutionary party
-

proletariat,

Reform or

of

break

all

International Socialism 2:22

12

'It is not true that socialism will arise auto1na1ical/y from the daily struggle of the working class. Socialism will
bt the consequence of ( 1) the gro wing contradictions of capitalist
eco1101ny and (2) the comprehension by the working class of the
111unoidability of the suppression of these contradictions through a
social trans/ormation. '28
She saw its general role as an active in terven tionist fo rce : The
as

ahsolutcly

necessary:

social democrats are the most enlight e n e d , most class conscious


vanguard of the proletariat. They cannot and dare n ot wait, in a

fatalist fashion with folded arms for the advent of the revolutionary
situation ... On the contrary., they must now, as always, hasten the

development of things and endeavor to accelerate eve nts. '29


So we have at the roots of her thinking, at the centre of why we
still regard Luxemburg as an inspiration today, two e nti re l y correct
and important ideas: (i) The need for revolu ti ona ry theo ry and its
practical application through a party, (ii) The fact t hat t hrough the
mass struggle the working class can changes itself and the world.
Her organisational conclusions flow from this evaluation of the

situation and quite correctly so. Only bureaucrats start with an


organisation and then trim their politics to suit its needs. Luxemburg
believed the revolutionary party 'must logically grope on its road of
develop m e nt between the following two rocks: abandoning the
mass character of the party or a band oning its final aim, falling into

b o u r ge o is reformism or into sectarianism. anarchism or oppor


tunism. '30 Th i s idea was expounded in 1900 and was repeated in a
different form in her controversy with Le n in : 'On t he one hand we
have the mass; on the other, i ts historic g oal . located outside of
existing society. On one hand we ha ve day-to-day struggle; on the
other. social revolution. Such are the t e rm s of the dialectical contra
diction through which the socialist movemen t makes its way. It
follows that this movement can be s t advance by t ackin g betwixt and
betwe en the two dangers by which it is c o n st ant l y being threatened.

One is the loss of its mass character; the o th er the abandonment of


its goal. O n e is the danger of sinking back to the condition of a sect;
the other. the danger o f becom i ng a moveme nt of bou rgeo i s social
reform. 31

Here again the starting point was fu ndame ntally correct. To talk
o n l y of final aims and disregard the me a n s of achieving them - the
mass transformation of con sciousness through class struggle - leads
to a se ctarian dead end. To im m er s e the party in curren t concerns
wi t h o u t a v i e w to the final aim of socialist revolution . leads to an
equally disastrous reformist dead-end.
Luxemburg saw t h e traps but/ell into both of them. As a member
oft he Polish revolutionary grou p. the SD KPiL she was part of a tiny
organisation which. apart from a brie f growth in 1905 was little

THE MISSING PARTY

13

more than a c i rcle of talented intellectuals on the margins of the

Polish working class. Its chief (and typically sectarian) distinguishing

feature was an o bsession with the national question based on Lux


em burg's erroneous position. As a member of the SPD in Germany.
however, she was tied to a mass re f o r mist party which eventually
smashed the German revolution and engi nee red her murder.
What Luxemburg arg u ed i n 1900 re mai ned her guiding organ
isational principles until he r death. Though co r rec t in the abstract.
their application i nvolved gro wing

problems. At the turn of the


century the G e rma n SPD. under Behel and Kautsky's leadership.
seemed to the u n t r a in e d eye to be p u rsui n g p recisely the course she
herself sugg e st ed - building a mass party which rejec t ed the re

visionism of Bernstein and a ccl ai med revolutionary Marxism. But


as time went on. the weaknesses in the party became ever more
apparent. By 1905 Luxemburg was fighting for the revolut ionary
i d ea against the mainstream of the SPD. Her pamphlet on The
Mass Strike was directed aga in st two targets; firstly the trade unio n
leaders who rej ect ed strike action because of its disruption of
'normal' bargaining methods; and se con d l y against the mechanistic
conceptions of t h e SPD leaders who saw the mass strike as a party
controlled p ro t est of purely demonstrative chara cter Already the
gap between what L u xe m b urg thought the SPD shou ld be and what
it w as was growing.
Steering b et ween the rocks of sec tar i a n i s m and r e fo rm ism became
harder and ha rd e r. In 1905 sh e wrote: 'Bebel's resolution gives a
very one-sided and flat interpretat ion of the mass-strike question.
When we learnt about it in Jena. so me of us decided to put up a fight
against it during the discussions so tha t we could champi on the mass
str ik e ... [ But] as on several pre vio us occasions, we e x tre me leftists'
found o u rselve s being forced to fight, not agai n st Behel. but together
with him ag a i nst the o pport u n ists. 32
By 1913 t h e situation had worsened considerably. Now her friend
Karski wrote: 'we three (Luxemburg, Mehring. Karski) ... are of
the o pinion that the party is undergoing an internal crisis much
more serious than the one when revisionism first arose . These words
may seem h a rsh but it is my conviction that the party is threatening
to waste away if matters go on like this. At such a time t he re is only
one hope of red e mpt i o n for a r e v o lu tion a ry party: the sharpest and
most ruthless self-criticism conceivable. 33 But the sort of theoretical
ca mpaign Karski and Luxemburg proposed did not lead to an
organisational brea k The s i tua t ion would have been quite different
had it come to pract ic a l issues, for as Lukacs explains: 'On the Je\'e l
of pure theory the most disparate views and tendencies are able to
co-exist pe acefully ; antagonisms are only expressed in the form of
discussions which can be contained wit hin the framework of one
.

'

14
and

International Socialism 2:22


the s a m e o rganisat ion without disrupting it . B ut no sooner are

sa me q u es tion s give n organ isational form . th an they turn out


to be sharply op posed and even i nco mpatible . 34
B y 1 9 1 7 Luxembu rg's position had become impossibly con t ra
d i ctory . Stil l a r guing against a split from social de mocracy s he
w ro t e : ' H owever com mendable and co mpre h e nsible the im patie nce
and b it t e rness w hich leads so m any of t h e best elem e nts to le ave t h e
p a rty today a fl ight remains a flight. It is a b e t rayal of the masses.
T h ey a re le ft chok i n g and str u ggling in the iron grip of Sch eidem ann
a n d L c gien35 .. people who have unconditionally su rre ndered to the
bougcoisie. O ne may withdraw from s m all sects when the y do n o t
s u i t o n e any longer in orde r to found new sects . . The dis cardi ng of
m e mbe rship c ards as an illusion of liberation is nothing but the
t h ese

..

..

il lusion . stood on its head . that power is inherent in a mem bersh ip


ca rd . Both are d i ffe rent pol es of o rgan isatio nal cretin ism . the
c onsti tu t ional sic k ness of old German Social- D emocracy. 3 6
\V as Luxe m b u rg's abolute refusal to b reak from the SPD an
e x a m ple o f h er own organisational cretinism ? I think no t . De spite

her

above state ment it is no con t radiction to s tate that in Western


Europe she was the almost undisputed cha m pi on of rev ol uti o nary
t arxism becau se . better t h a n anyone e lse she unde rstood the
d y n a m i c of revo lut ionary change . D e spite t h e fact that she a lmo st
al one pen etrated the verbal radica l ism o f Kauts ky and j u dge d t he
we a k nesses of the SPD . she had no practical means of b uil di ng the
very pa rty she re ally believed in
a pa rty which was ne i th e r a se ct
n o r re formist . H e r opposition to t h e S P D leadership the re fo re
-

re m ained abstract and never concrete.


This has b e e n explained by a characte r trait . a certain d is t a st e for
h u m d ru m o rganisat ional detail and s o on. B ut w h i le t his m igh t be
true . i t does not tel l us why she was ne ither pushed aside by a
German Lenin. or why h e r close friend Jogiches. a man ob sesse d
with the i n t ricacie s of revol utionary organisat ion . co uld not ha ve

fi l led

the ga p . It wo uld be wrong to explain Luxemb urg's hesitancy


by an obsession with m e mbe rs h i p figures. otherwise she woul d not
have associ ated with both the huge S P D and the t i n y S D KPiL. Her
rea l concern was that revo lutionaries should main tain links with the
mass movement . A s a consistent political th i n ker she discounted the
tra d e u n i o n s as the channel t h rough wh i ch this cou ld be achieved . In
this she was more far-s ighted t h an the s ynd i cal ists . I n deed she
e arned the h a t red o f the un i o n bureaucrats by her brilliant chara c
t e r i s a t i o n o f union work as a labour o f S isyphus'
a perpetual
st ruggle to l i ft work ing class l iving standards. w h ich though it builds
co n fidence. on its own can n ever ove rturn t h e syste m . B u t if the
u n i o n s cou l d not re pl ace the work of the party. ou tside of the S PD
s h e fe It there was no mechan ism . no practice a ro u n d which a genuine
-

THE MISSING PA R IT

15

revolutionary party rather than a sect could coalesce .


The proble m she could not solve was how to translate her fu n d a
mentally correct theo ry o f socialist change into reality. O f co u rse .
the co nnection between theory and practice is d ialectical - what you
think affects what you do and vice-versa. So Luxem burgs theory .
de prived of a practical outlet became tied up in its own con tra
di ctions and confused . The clearest example of t h is was t he prob l e m
o f l e ade rshi p . W h i le she saw this as crucially importan t . she was
dri ven to separate political and technical direction .
In
'Organ isatio nal Questions o f Russian Social Democracy she saw
the po litical tasks of Russi a's leading revo lutionaries in this way : ' a
proletarian vanguard. conscious of its class interests and capable o f
se lf-directing i s o n ly now emerging i n Russia . A l l efforts of socialist
agitation and organ isation should aim to hasten the f ormation of
such a vanguard ' . 37 Yet once the vanguard was organised i n to the
very democratic ce ntralist party she has j ust propose d . it wou ld
become an obstacle : 'The tendency is for the directing organs of the
socialis t party to play a conse rvat ive role . . . which holds up advance
on a wid er scale. '38
The same contradiction is resent in 'The Mass Strike' where she
says: 'the social dem ocrats . as the organised nucleus of the working
c lass . are the most important vanguard of the entire body of the
workers . . . the political clarity. the strength . and the unity of t he
labour movement flow from this organisation . 39 This is immed iate ly
negated w hen she discusses the way such clarity. strengt h and unity
ope rates on the ground : 'There are quite definite limits set to
initiative and conscious direction . During the revolution it is e x
tre mely difficult for any directing organ of the prolet arian movement
to foresee and to calculate which occasions and fa ctors can lead t o
exp losion and wh ich cannot . '40 The distinctio n she was m aking was
summ ed u p in this formulation : 'the task of socia l d e m ocracy d oes
not consist in the technical preparation and direction of mass strikes .
but . first and foremost . in the political leadersh ip o f the whole
movem ent. 4 1 It is obviously nonsense to se parate political and
tech ni cal leadership in this mechanical way, and most uncha racter
i stic of Luxemburgs dialectical metho d . Any pol i tical lead
a
slogan . a demand - automatically implies technical tasks. To argue .
for examp le . that a strike must be spread . means sending out fl y i ng
pickets . arran ging transport and so on. Even basic solidari ty req uire s

t h e printing of collection sheets or the organ isation o f blacking and


delegations. The agile mind of Luxemburg seems to have stum b l e d
over t h i s most evident of points .
To sum up . the strength o f Luxemburg's position was a n unde r
standing of the need for. a p rincipled revolutionary party which also
related to i m medi ate struggle . he SPD and unions made a s h a rp

?;'

16

International Socialism 2:22

d i \' i s i n n be t w e e n po l i t ics a n d eco n o m ics . t h e ' m ax i m u m programme


o f rc \'o l u t i o n and t he ' m i n i m u m programme of i m m e d iate reform.
B u t L u xemburg a lways re fuse d to separate the m . o r to al low a split
b e t we e n e n d s and m e a ns . Fo r a l l t h a t . the e n d ( re volutio n ) con
d i t i o n s t h e m e an s . U n t i l t h e e nd . worke rs powe r based on councils
o f s h o pfloor de l e gates . was c l e a r . the means - the re volutionary
pa rty co uld not be found .
-

(iii) A lternatives lo Luxemburgism


L u x e m b u rg h as b ee n crit icised fo r fa i l i n g to split fro m the mass
re fo r m i s t S P D in t he p rewar ye a rs . B u t in the absence of an alter
n a t i \'c re vo l u t i o n a ry practice base d o n po l i t ics in the wo rkplace . he r
po s i t i o n re t a i ned a c e rtain va l id i ty . Th i s i s clear if we compare the
fa t e of h e r po litical cu rre n t w h i c h led t o the most successful postwar
Co m m u n ist P a rt y . w it h those of revo l u t i o n a ries who did break from
t h e re fo rm ist pa rt ie s but had no fi rm polit ica l practice through
w h i c h t h e y co u ld operate .
Th e re we re i ndee d m a n y who a t t e m pt e d to b uild indepe ndent
re vo l u t i o n a ry organ isations. b u t none of t h e m came to the idea of
wo r k p l a ce pol i t ica l act i v i t y . Most re mained i mpotent sects or
a c t u a l ly beca m e obstacles to t h e b u i ld i n g of revo l u t ionary parties in
t h e post war pe riod . The idea t h a t ' i f on ly Luxemburg had broken
fro m t h e S P D befo re t h e war everyt h i n g would have turned out
a l r i g h t " . is pu t into question by t hese examples .
I n d e pe ndent re vo l u tio n a ry opposi t i o n to re form ism was divided
i n t o two cam ps : o n e e nded in n a rrow ' po l i t i ca l " sectaria nism : the
o t h e r l e d to ' a n t i-po l itica l ' syndica l is m . The revolutionaries who
s p l i t o n po l i t ical grounds t e n d e d to emph asise the final aims of
soci a l ism at t h e co st of cu tting t h e mse lves o ff from th e workers'
m o \' e m e n t . The syndicalists stre ssed t h e i m mediat e t rade union
s t r u gg l e b u t e ffe ct i ve ly d i sca rd e d p o l i t ics and the winning of sta t e
po we r o n t h e way .

Britain

The B ri t ish left p rod uced e x t re m e ve rsions of bot h types


o f m o ve m e n t . On the o n e h a n d t h e re was the Socia list Party of
G re a t B ri t a i n ( S PGB ) which split from t h e m ain M arxist party at
t h e t u rn of t h e cen t u ry to campaign for t h e ' m axim um programme
a bo l i t io n o f money and so o n . S lightly less l u natic was the B ritish
Soc i a l ist Part y ( B S P ) which propagand ised for soci a l ism but con
si d e re d workp lace st ruggle to be 'a fi e ld w i t h w h ich they had nothing
to d o . 4 2 Fo r t h e m 'The Socia l ist Pa rt y was not ou t for the petti
fo gg i n g re fo rms wh ich the t rade u n io n s w e re striving for . 0
The m o re d i ffuse synd ica l ist c u rre n t was re pres e n ted by Tom
M a n n 's I n d u strial Syndica l ist E d ucat ion League . f\1 a n n w a nted a

THE MISSING PAR 1Y

17

debate . I t
had to be ' Revo lutionary in aim . because it will be o u t fo r the
abolition of t h e wages system . . . .44 D iscussing t h e m e a n s o f
achieving this revolution M a n n wrote : 'The e n g ines of w a r to fight
the workers' batt l e to ove rt h row the c a p i tal i s t class . and to ra ise t he

movement for 'dire ct actio n as opposed to parl iame n t a ry

ge n eral standard of life while so doing - must be o f t h e worke rs own


making . The Unions are the workers' own . ' 4 5
B etween political sectarianism and syndicalism was t h e Socia l ist
Labo ur Party (SLP ) . a party wh ich squabbled wit h eve ryone e lse
but be lieved in re volutionary trade un ions . Its atte mpt to b u i ld
them failed dism ally .

For all the ir ve rbal radicalism . without an orie ntation o n wo rk


place politics the political and syndicalist curre nts rare ly we nt further

t h a n Su nday morning soap-box oratory on t h e o n e h a n d and t rade


union militan cy o n the othe r .

Irelan d

He re t h e two altern atives were summed up b y the wo r k of


one man - James Connolly . He unde rstood that : 'The po l i t ical
inst itut ions of t od a y are simply the coercive forces of capi tal ist
societ y . ' 4 6 Fro m this he concluded that th e fight for the conquest of
the politica l state is not the battle . it is only t h e ech o of the bat t le .
The real b a t t l e is the battle be ing fought out every d ay for the power
to contro l i n dustry and the gauge of the progress of that b attle is not
to be foun d in t he numbe r of votes ma k i ng a cross be neath t h e
symb ol o f a political party , b u t in the n umber of these worke rs who
e n rol t hemse l ves i n an industrial o rg a n i s a t io n ( ie the trade u n i on s r . 7
Con nollf s syndicalist o p po s ition to the state b e c a m e simply the
buildin g of the Transp o rt U n io n .
'

W he n the outbreak of the World War revealed the inadequacy o f


trade union action , Connolly m ov e d from adaptation to t he im
mediate conce rns of the class to substituting for t h e m ass movement
by military means : 'We believe that in times of peace we should
work along t he lines of peace . . . in times o f war we should act as i n
war
. ' . The Citizen's Army did not base its s t ra t e g y on t h e tempo
of the class struggle but on m ilitary conside rations : t h e "far- fl u n g
b a t t l e l i n e " of E n g l an d i s w e ake s t at t h e point nearest its h e a rt , t h a t
Irelan d i s in that position of tactical a d v a n t a ge . . . ( So ] t h e time fo r
Ireland's b a t t l e is NOW . the place for Ireland's battle is H E R E . ''1
Con nolly's search for a revo l ut io n a ry alternative to the st a l e
politics of the Second I n te rn a t i o n a l p rov e d fruitless i n the e n d . His
fi rst approach concentrated o n the shopfloo r, but politics were p u t
aside . When he d i d come to a dd r e ss the con q uest of s t at e power. the
earlier workplace orientation was jettisoned and m i l i tarism substi
tuted for m a ss action .
.

International Socialism 2:22

18
/lo/land

A cco rd i ng to one h istory of the D utch labour movement

H o l l a n d was the fi rst cou n t ry in which d i ffe rences of opinion be


t ween revo l u t ionaries and revisionists led to a com plete split . some
t h ing w h ich o n ly h a ppened e lsewhe re during the war. '49 The formal
s p l i t fro m t he Second I n te rnational took place fully three years
h e fo re t h e fi n a l se para t io n o f Bo lsheviks and M e nsheviks in Russia
d u r i n g 1 9 12 . I n spired by A n to n Pa nnekoe k . who waged an open
st rugg l c aga inst Kautsky from 1 9 1 O. a new party grew up around the
De Tribune j o u rn a l .

I t i s i n t e re s t i n g t o note t h a t Pan ne koe k came close r than a nyone

e l se o u t si d e Russi a to posing the idea of independent workplace


po l i t i ca l o rga n isation . This fact was late r recognised by Lenin in The
State and Revolution . Pan n e koek's argume n ts helped define the
g ro u n d u po n which t he spl i t took place . but there we re problems
w i t h t he m . H is idea of workplace o rg anisation was not based on any
co ncre te examples but rather o n inspired guesswork . Th e new
l a bo u r i n stitutio n of which he spo ke was posed i n se mi-m y stica l
t e r m s a s a 'spiritua l organisat io n of t he proletariat' . 50 B e ca u se of
t h i s vagu eness . the re lationship betwee n the new party and the cl ass
re m a i n e d i n an abstract spiritual form which could not se rve as the
b a s i s fo r building an effective party . Thus it was that the Dutch
revo l u t ion ary group was n o more successfu l t h a n the o t he r split.
B y t he end of the war it was j ust a noth e r vehemently anti
p a r l i a m e n tary sect which became a t h o rn in the side of the
Co m m u n i st Internation a l .

Italy
W i t h in t h e I ta l i a n Soci alist Party A madeo Bordi ga built a
t i g h t l y organised rev olut ionary faction from 1 9 1 2 on wa rds Later h
cl a i med t h at its principles we re the same as t h ose o f Len in in Wha t is
to be Don e?" Howe ver the idea of workpl ace poli tics was enti re ly
a b e s e n t and o n ly the idea of rigourous ce n t ral ism was adopted. So
w h i le B o l sh evism showed great tactica l fl ex i b i l ity and skill in ada pt
i n g to t he r a pi d shifts in the m ass m o v e m e n t B o rdigis m fe ll i mm edi
a t e l y i n to m o u ld of sectarian p o l i t ics The revo lutionary co nqu est of
s t a t e powe r became everyt h i n g wh i l e t he immediate struggle of t he
c l ass w a s see n as a dive rsion . Eve n t u ally its mai n pol i cy was red uced
to a b st e n t ion fro m votin g in e l e c t io n s It be came a c l a ss ic sect which
.

d i s m issed a l l struggle fo r reform as an irre l evant palliative .


A l t hough B ord iga s group p rovided the o rgan isational basis for
t h e I t a l i an Co m m u n ist Party in 1 92 1 . i t s sect a ri a n attitude cost the
n e w p a rty m uch v i t a l su pport . fo r it a l i e n at e d the pro-Bolshevik
m aj o rity i n the Social ist Party . many o f w h o m p re fe rred to remain
w i t h t h e o l d pa rty . despite its open ce n t rism and re fo rmism . rather
t h a n t h row in t h e i r lot with B o rd i ga . It took all the po l i t i cal skill of
G ra m sc i . who d e ve lope d an u n d e rs t a n d i n g o f wo rkplace po l i t ics in

THE MISSING PA R TY

19

the years after the Russian revolution . t o w i n back some o f t h e


ground the Comm unist Party h ad lost .

Germany

This grand tour of Europe e nds with Luxe m b u rg's home


territory of Germ any. Here was the best testing gro u nd for t h e
the sis that a l l t h e left h a d t o do w a s formally break w i t h K a u tskyism
in orde r to create a healthy revolutionary party . The re we re i n fact
two groups of soci alists who split from the SPD early in the wa r.
On e grew up in Berlin around Julian Borchardt ' s n ewsp ape r. Lich t
strahlen . Borc hardt attended the Zimmerwa ld intern a t i o n a l soci a l ist
con feren ce during the war and supported Le n i n ' s re vo l u t io n a ry
defea tist line against the cen trist maj ority . Ye t b y the e nd of t h e wa r
he had re treat ed into pure anarch ism .
A more imp ortant group was based i n B reme n . Outside of
Scan dina via it maintain ed close r contact with the Bo l s heviks t h a n
p ractic ally any other section in Europe . These ' Left Radicals' p ro
du c ed the
newspaper and as e arly as March 1 9 1 6
de c i d e d to est ablish an independent revolutionary party . Th is was
ach ie ved in 19 1 7 and took the name of Ge rman I n t e rn a t ion a l
So cialist P arty (ISPD) . The I SP D w a s scathing in its criticism of
Luxe mbur g's re fusal to leave t he mass reformist parties . I ts leaders .
Johan n Knief an d Paul Fro lich we re proba bly the people against
w hom Luxemburg was pole micising in the 1 9 1 7 quote above .
Yet a split w as no guarantee of the correct line . A lthough the
I S PD had re gular contact with Bo lsheviks such as Rade k . and
carri ed up-to-date articles by B ukharin and Lenin on the ripe n i ng
Russian rev olution , Knief s m ai n explanatio n for the coll apse of the
Se co nd Inte rn ational was that it laid too much stress on stro n g
organ isation : ' Generally workers realise tha t t h e state is reaction
ary . . . B u t at the same time not so many understand that the Party
bureaucra cy constitutes a much more dangerous re actionary force .
As long as worke rs stick with the prese nt organisations with t h e i r
gre at bure aucratic machines they wil l b e d rawn eve n further into
the bourgeois camp . ' 5 2 The alternative fo rm proposed by A rbeiter
po/itik was neither a party nor a union but a unity o rganisation
(E inheitsorgan isation) - a hybrid combination of both . 53
In 1 9 1 8 Luxembu rg's Spartakist League and the I S PD merged to
fo und the Communist Party . At the Congress Frolich argued fo r a
policy of 'wo rkers out of the unions' ,54 and the ultra-le ft a lso out
voted the Spartak ist leaders on the question of participation in
parliamentary e l e ctions even for pure ly propagan dist purposes .
I ndeed the early years o f the Communist Party we re marred by
constant in-figh ting between Paul Levi (who bore the m an t le of
Luxemburgism after the murder of Luxemburg) and gro ups sup
porting the_ ?Id ' Le ft Rac:li cl' positions . The latter e ve n t u a l ly split

Arb eiterpolitik

'

'

International Socialism 2:22

20

o ff t o form t he C o mmu n is t Workers' Party of Germany ( KAPD) . a


g ro u p w hi ch fought Leninist le ad e rs h ip of the Co m m u nis t Intern a t io n a l . W i t hout t h e gu iding light of a workplace po litical orien
t a t i o n . t h ese German re vo lutionaries s oo n fo undered on the rocks
of sect a ri a n impotence .

The se

n u m e ro u s examples underline the point that the problem of

t h e m issi n g party could not be s o l ve d by a simple rejection of


re form ism . coupled with the will to b ui l d a new revolutionary
orga n isation . The q ue s t i o n of how to build a new party was still to
be a n swered .
The chief d i fficulty w a s how could an i n de pe n d e n t revolutionary
o rga n isat ion re lated to the wo rking c l as s without sacrificing political
pri nciples in the i m m e di a t e struggles . The answer l a y in a recog
n i t i o n o f the pos s i b il it i e s offe red by t h e curre nt phase of capitalist
d e ve lo pm e n t wit h its cre ation o f l a rge factories and a new potential
fo r col lective p o l i t i cal power founded on t h e point of production .
H e re was fe r ti le ground for b u i l d i n g a revolutionary party. But as
l o n g as t h e stable growth of c a p it a li s m sapped the roots of mass
m i l ita n cy in W e s t e rn Europe . it w a s exceedingly difficult for
re vol u tionaries to d e v e l o p the ir theory to cope with t hi s ne w
si t u a t i o n .
The i m p etu s for p ro g r e s s had t o come from ou tside . and there
was o n e country which . though partak ing of the la t e s t developments
i n c a p i ta l i st i n dustry , escaped the d a m p e n in g of cl a s s struggle . That
co u n try was Russia .

(iv) The Russian revolutions as the solution to the problems of


Luxemburgism
A s we h ave see n . the M a rx is t understanding of the revolutionary
process a t the turn of the ce n t u ry came from the Paris Commune.
w h i ch p u t no e mp h a s is on w o r kpla ce o rganisatio n . The advent of
t h e Russian So v i e t might h ave changed t h i s . Although it began as a
s t ri ke co m m itt e e with the aim of winn ing immediate economic
de m a nds the Tsarist state soon re cognised it to be a d i rect political
c h a l le n ge to it s survival and a c t ed to smash it . The best Western
a n a l ys i s of t he 1 905 Russian revo lution came from the pe n of Rosa
Luxemburg. Howeve r for re a sons which we s h a l l co nsider later.
Luxemburg's Mass Strike pam phlet c o mp l e te ly ignore d the Soviet.
N e vert h e l e s s her bri lliant account of the revol ution and its relevance
to s o ci a l i s t s in the re s t of E u ro pe was a tremendous advance in
M a rx i s m . It began t h e u rge n t t ask of demolishing the many obstacles
w h i ch t he obj ective co nditions of Western capita l ism and the
g rowing re fo rm ist b u rea ucracy of t h e SPD had placed in the way of
..

THE MISSING PA R TY

21

revolutionary prac ti c e
In particu lar it in s i s t e d on the re l at i on s h i p be twe e n pol i t i cs and
economics . betwee n a c t i o n as a class and se ctional struggle . H e re .
w a s the connection o f t h e max i m um programme o f t he re vo l u t i o n a ry
ov e rt hro w o f the state and the m inimum pro g r a mm e o f immediate
struggle . But t h e re was a basic w e a k n e s s i n h e r a ppr o a c h She sti ll
viewed t h e revolution from an abstract v i e w poi nt which ove rlooked
the p r a c t ic a l activity of h uman beings wh i c h shapes any great
historical eve nt . This is clear in the following description of a m a s s
strike : ' Every great politica l mass a c t i o n afte r it has a t t a i n e d i ts
pol i t i c a l h igh e s t p o in t breaks up into a mass of eco n o m i c strikes .
And that a p p lies not only to e ach of the gre a t m ass s t rikes . but a lso
to the revolution a s a whole . With the spreading . clarifying a nd
inv olutio n of the poli t i c al struggle . the economic s t rugg l e not o n ly
does n o t re cede . but e xte nds , o rg a ni se s and becom es in volved in
equ al m e a s u re . Between the two the re is t h e most co mplete recip
ro c al a c t i o n '55 Thi s is p e rfe c t l y correct on p ap e r but it does not
e xpl ain how e c o n o m i cs and po l i t i cs re late on the g rou nd . The same
p ro b l e m ap p e a re d when Luxemburg talked about reform ism in t he
Mass Strike pamphle t : "whe ther t h e y stand aside o r e ndea vour to
r e si s t th e move men t . the result of their attitude will onl y be that the
tr ade-un ion leade rs . like the p a rt y leaders in th e analogous ca se .
will si m ply be sw e p t aside by the rush of e ven t s and t h e eco nom ic
and the po liti c a l s t rugg l e s of t he masses will be fo u gh t out without
the m . '5 6
In the ' M ass Strike' Luxemburg showed the heig hts to which the
work e rs m o v em e n t could climb . and challenged the inc reasingly
passiv e lea dership of t he SPD to rise to the occasion . Th o u gh it took
Marxis t theory m a n y steps forward the pamph l e t 's abstrac tness
meant that it s formulations could not serve as a guide to action. Still
the key concept was missing - the point o f production as the place
whe re t h e e conomic powe r of the mobilised working class can be
tran sform ed into a political stru ggl e And as lon g as this was so .
L u x em b urg could not co n ce i v e of a party separating from the S P D .
re t a i n i n g its links with the workers' movement. but without de
generating into a sect .
Observing w o r ke rs struggle from the outside is not at all t h e
same as ac ti v e l y participating in it. Although Luxe mburg went to
Poland to see e v e n t s at first hand she never confronted t he sort of
i mmed i ate problems t h a t the Bo l s hevi ks i n 1 905 had to solve o n a
day to day leve l . L u x e m b u rg always talked in terms of the masses on
the one hand and the role of v ang u a r d leadership on the other. But
i n a real con flict t h e relationship between the vanguard a n d the m a ss
is extre m e l y complex . The vanguard may be one or two soci a l ists i n
an o ffi c e o r o r factory . and the mass . t h e 1 0 workmates they see
.

22

International Socialism 2:22

e ve ry d a y . I n such a wo rkplace . leadershi p i n struggle is an art in


w h i c h t a ct ics and strategy . the deve lopme n t of a cad re .

j udgement

of t h e we a k po i n t s i n the e nemy camp and so on . are immediat e


p ract i ca l concern s .
\V i t ho u t a work p l ace orie n tat ion . Luxe mburg's po l i t ical practice
d i d not t a k e her be oynd the framework of t h e SPD . Her politi ca l
l e a d e rs h i p co nsisted of b ri l l iant articles publ ished alongside
m o u n t a i n s of re form ist d ross in S P D con t ro l led newspapers . At
s u c h a l e ve l . h e r u n d e rstand i n g of t he uneven ness o f the class was
n o t a g u i d e to act ion . She neve r fe l t the need to identify the minori ty
o f wo r k p l a ce activists who p l aye d a lead i n g role in the minor da ily
s t ru g gle o f t h e class .
The 1 905 revo l u t i o n . t h rough the wo rk o f Luxembu rg . blew l i k e a
fre s h w i n d t h rough the stale co rridors of G e rm a n Social Democracy
B u t st i l l criticism o f the S PD was a t the leve l o f p ropaganda. Only
a ft e r 1 9 1 7 . when the historical tasks begu n i n 1 905 were finally
co m p l e te d . was the problem of pa rty/class re lations fi n ally sol\'ed.
Th e Sovie t . as the h i gest fo rm of po l i t ics i n t h e workplace . was the
co n c re t e so lution to all t h e proble ms t h at Luxe m burg had o nl y bee n
a b l e to so lve i n theory.
W h e re she h ad crit icised parl i a m e n t arism in word s . the Soviet
i t s e l f e s t a b l ished an a l t e rn a t i ve so u rce o f a u t h o ri ty w h i ch ch al lenge d
a n d u l t i m a t e ly overt h rew its e ne m y . W h e re Luxem burg predicte d
t h a t re form ist leaders wou l d simply be passed o ve r . t h e Sovie t . as an
i n d e pe n d e n t ran k and file o rga n isa t ion . o ffe re d a po p u l a r leadership
w h i ch overcam e the restra i n i n g i n fl u e n ce of t h e bu re a ucrats . \Vhere
s h e ve rbally attacked the fo rm a l sepa rat ion of p o l i tics and econ
o m i cs . t h e Sovi e t . as a m ass strike co m m i t t t e . ra ised the economic
st ruggles o f sections o f worke rs i n to t h e conce rn of t h e whole class.
H o we v e r t h e Sov iet state i s me re ly t h e end poi n t o f the re\'olu
t i o n a ry p roce ss . Long befo re t h e se izu re o f powe r beco m e s an issue .
q u e st i o ns a ri se as to who is going to p ropose t h e estab lishment of
i n d e pe nde n t ran k and file organisation i n the fi rst place ; and who is
go i n g to deno unce re f<?nn ist burea ucra t s a n d argu e for workers
se I f-activity in oppos ition to p a rl i a m e n t a ry met hods? I n this way the
S o v i e t poses the need fo r the part y . j ust as the party cannot
u l t i m a t e ly succe e d without mass ra n k and fi le o rgan isat ion of the
so rt re prese nted by Soviets .
The way i n wh ich t h e two a re co n nected can be demonstrated in
e ve ry ge n u i n e wo rkplace st ruggle . The fi rst argu m e n t i n any d i s pute
m u s t b e t h a t workers w i l l win no t h i ng by w a i t i n g fo r re formists
e i t h e r i n parl i a m e n t or u n i o n HQ to a ct fo r t h e m b u t m ust fight on
t h e basis of t h e i r own s t re ngth a n d the s o l idarity of o t h e r sect ions.
Eve n a s m a l l strike ca n pose t he q uestion o f state powe r i n a much
m o re rad i ca l way t h a n e ve n t h e best wri t t e n a r t ic l e . A picket l i ne

THE MISSING PA R TY

23

m ay be b roken by the co u rts a n d po l ice o r m a i n t a i n e d by m a ss


mobilisation - h e re is
society.

m icrocosm o f t h e st ruggle fo r powe r i n

All these poi n ts we re de monst rated with t h e gre a t est clarity


by the Russian revolution o f 1 9 1 7 . Tho ugh t h e y had been ob
scured in Weste rn E urope during the re l a t ive ly q u i e t yea rs be fo re
the First World W ar. e vents in Russi a and wit h i n G e rm a ny i t se l f
soon helped to clear the path to a n e w u n d e rs t a nd i ng o f class
str uggle an d the means by w h i ch a revo l u t i o n a ry party co uld be
built . I t was a mark of Luxe m b u rgs inte l lect u a l h o n e sty and
thorough ness t h a t i n 1 9 1 8 she b roke free fro m her pre v i o us
posit io n . Until then she believed that revo l u t io n a ries had no choice
but to re late to the masses t h rough the Social De mocra t ic parties

because they must have l i n ks with t h e masses at a l l costs . As soon as


a n alte rnative me ans of re lating to the c lass was d i scove red i n t he
Russian Soviet and their G e rm a n e q uivale n t - t h e Work e rs a n d
Sold i e rs' Counci ls . Luxemburg b roke t o fo rm h e r own i ndepe n d e n t
pa rty .
G ra nted that t h i s was fa r too late . but st i l l the theore t ica l ly
lib e r ating effect of the d iscove ry of workplace po l itics shone out of
he r spe ech to the fo unding con gress of the G e rman Co m m u n ist
Party : ' We have to se ize powe r . and the problem of the seizu re of
pow e r a ssumes this aspect ; what . throughout G e rmany ca n each
wo r kers' and soldiers' council achieve ? . . . the me mbe rs o f our own
party a n d the proletari ans in ge neral m ust be schooled and d is
cipli ned . Even where workers' and so ldiers' cou nci ls a l re ady ex ist .
t hese councils ar e as yet far from understandi ng the p u rposes fo r
which they exist . . . We h ave . happily , advanced s i nce the days
whe n it wa s propose d to ' educate' the proletariat soci a l ist ica l l y .
M a rx ists of Kautsky's schoo l a re . it would see m . s t i l l livi ng in those
van ished days . To ed ucate the proletarian m asses social istica l ly
mea n t to d e l iver lectures to the m . B ut it is not by such means t hat
t he p ro l etari ans will be schoo le d . The worke rs . today w i l l learn i n
the schoo l of action . '57
PAR T TWO: REVOLUTIONARY MARXISM IN RUSSIA

The E u ropean left was b rought to a realisation of the i m port a n ce of


workplace polit ics t h rough the m ass struggles they witnessed during
the war. bu t above a l l by the e xperience of the Russian re vo l u t ion
a n d i n particu l a r t he close i n t e raction be twee n the B olshe v i k pa rty
and the Sovie ts . Howe ye r the particular course t h a t eve n t s took in
1 9 1 7 h ad been_ predicted by no-o n e . A l t hough t h e B o l s hevi k pa rty
had been built upon a tradi t i o n o f workp lace act i vity t h a t m a d e it
u n i que . even Le n i n was unaware of this fact . for t h e deve lopm e n t of

24

International Socialism 2:22

t h e n e w orie n t a t ion had been a v i rtu a l l y unconscio us p roce s s . In


1 9 1 3 Le n i n . t h ough cri t ica l o f ce rtain i n d ividuals i n the German
l a bo u r m o v e m e n t co u l d s t i l l write : G erm a n Soci a l- D e mocracy has
v e ry gre a t me r i t s . It has a theo ry . strict ly worked out o w i n g to the
fi g h t waged by M a rx . . . It has a m ass organisatio n . newspapers.
t rade u n io n s . po lit ical unions - that sam e mass orga n isation which is
beco m i ng so clea rly crystallised i n our co untry in the form of the
v ic t o ry w h i ch t he M arxist-Pra vda-ists ( ie B o lsheviks ] are gaining
e v e ryw here . . . 58 Strange ly e n o ugh . the conscious realisation that
B o l s h e v i s m was a rad ically new type of pol i t ical party with i t s own

p ra c t ice ce n t red on workplace po litics . came to Russia's revolution


a r i e s by t he sa me path t h rough which it ca me to t he West Europeans.
by a d i scovery of the Soviet as t h e highest form of workplace
po l i t ica l o rga n isatio n .

(i) Bolsh evism and the peculiarities of Russian historical development


B e cau s e Le n i n a n d Luxe mb u rg d isagreed m any times. so me peo ple
h a ve se e n t h e d i ffe re nce s b e tween t h e m as fu ndame n tal . The best
k n o w n e x a m p le of this was B e rt ram Wolfe's renam ing of
L u x e m b u rg's ' O rgan isational Questio ns of Russian Soc ial
D e m ocracy as ' Le n i n i sm or M a rxism ' . W h a t such peo ple o verl ook
i s t h a t t h ese d e b a t e s took p lace w i t h i n a broad fra m e w ork of agree
m e n t . O n basic quest ions Le n i n a n d Luxe m b urg sh ared si m ilar
.
pos i t i o n s ( a l tho u g h i n Le n i n 's case they we re usually ex p re s s e d m a
m o re e x t re m e pole m ical form ) . I n What is to be Do ne? he cam
p a i g n e d fo r a st rong revolutionary party u n ited by M arxist theory.
Ye t Le n i n a lso had an u n de rst a n d i n g of the ability o f m ass struggle
to t ra n sform history : we a re ab le to appreciate t h e impo rtance of
t he slow . steady a n d ofte n i m pe rceptible work of polit ical education
w h i c h Soci a l D e m ocrats h ave always co n d ucted and always will
co n duct . B ut we m ust n o t a l low what in the present circumstances
wo u l d be sti l l more dange ro u s - a lack o f fai t h i n the p o we rs of the
p e o p l e . We m ust re member what a tre m e ndous education and
o rg a n isatio n a l powe r t h e re vo l ution h as . w hen m ighty historical
e ve n t s force t h e m a n in the street out of his re mote garret or
b a se m e n t corn e r . and make a citize n of h i m . Months of revolution
so m e t i mes e d u c ate citize ns more q u ickly a nd ful ly than decades of
po l i tica l stagnat ion . 59
Ye t i n h i s case t hese ideas did not lead to the mass of contra
d i ctio n s t h a t l e ft Luxemb urg isolated and h e l pless at the outb reak of
w a r . By t h a t t i m e he had a vanguard revo l u tionary party temp e red
b y t h e e xpe rie nce o f 1 1 ye a rs o f re volution a n d o rgan ised retreat.
g ro w t h a n d conso l i datio n . To unde rsta nd the d i fference between
L u x e m b u rg a n d Le n i n o ne m ust look at more than contrasting

THE MISSING PA R TY

25

temperaments and co nsider t h e pecu l i arit i e s o f Russ i a n h isto ric I


developmen t . 60
Russia in the 1 900s was a re m arkable m ixture o f socia l fo rm a t i o n s .
Peasants made u p 80% o f the populatio n . Ruling ove r them w a s a n
autocrati c mon archy little changed since t he M iddle A ge s . A t t h e
same time t h e country had a capitalist class wh ich was n u me r ica l l y
tiny and po l i t ical ly dependent on Tsarism fo r i t s s u rv ival . B u t t he
most re marka ble feature of Russia was its work i n g class . Tho u gh

only 3 million strong. many wo rkers were e m p lo y e d in la rge -sca le


mode rn indust ry . This put them more in tune w i t h deve loped
Western conditions than the w orke rs of Pa r is in 1 87 1 d u ring t h e
Co mmune . Thus in 1902 39% of Russian worke rs we re i n factorie s
o ver 1 ,000 strong. 6 1 The c o m p a r able figur e for B ritain t o d ay is
34% . 6 2 W hi l e R ussi a n workers were co m parable to t h o se in pre war
Europe o n one le ve l . the unusual social conditions p re v ai li n g u n d e r
Tsa ris m enco urage d a leve l of m i l i ta n cy not see n e lsewhe re . I n the
10 years prec eding the 1905 revolution . fo r e x a m p l e . an a v e rage of
493,000 wo rkers struck e ach year. The equival e nt figures fo r
Ge rm an y an d B ritain we re 84 .000 and 1 36.000 respective l y . Ye t t h e
wor ki ng classe s of these two countries we re over three a n d 4 t i m e s
larg er than the Russ ian .
This unusual comb ination of fa c t o rs led Trotsky to a rgue that ; so
far as its direct and indirect tasks a re conce rne d . the Russian re v
olutio n is a 'bo urgeois' revo lution because it sets out to libera te
bo urge ois socie ty from the cha ins a n d fetters of a b s ol u ti s m and
fe u dal owne rship . B u t the principal d r i v in g fo rce of the Russi an
rev olution is the prole tariat . a nd that is why . so fa r as i t s met hod is
concer ned . it is a proletarian revolutio n . '63 Trot sky's theory o f
perm anen t re v o l u t i on was dramatically confirmed in 1 9 1 7 . In Russi a
the work ing c lass w a s affected by the political i m p ot e n c e of t he
bourg eois ie an d the fact that the fi n a l enemy in every se rious
conflict was t h e r e fo r e an autocratic, rather than b o u rge o i s st a te .
Th is had a n u m b e r of implicatio n s .
Firstly , the parliament (Duma) o n l y came into existence in 1 906.
It clear l y had very little i n fl u e nce over Tsarism and was itse l f the
produc t of a r e vo l u t i o n rather than ( a s in the West) an alternative t o
revolution. Although the demand for a genuine parliament - t he
Constituent Asse mbly - w as pop u l ar right up until 1 9 1 7. it was
always an abstract sl o g a n rather than a living institution . The re a l
im portance of the demand for a Constituent Assembly was . in the
eyes of the proletariat . that it was the only a lte rnative co nsciously
posed to the Tsarist state .
It is no co n t ra d icti on to affirm that the de mand fo r the Assembly
led dire ct l y away . from parliamentarism . On 9 Ja n u a ry 1 905
thousa nds marched to present a petition to the Ts a r . 'At the head o f
....

'

. <

.,

J.

'

..

26

International Socialism 2:22

e very t h i n g . i t p l ace d the co nvening of a Constituent Assembly by


un iversal a n d equal suffrage . '64 The murde rous repression which
m e t t he m a rchers b e g a n a re vo l uti o n from which the S o v i et was
bo rn . W h e n t h e Soviet appeared for a seco nd t i m e in 1 9 1 7, the
B o l s h e viks h a d little difficulty in convincing the m a j ori t y of wo rke rs
t ha t i t was a much better syste m than the Assembly . Parliamentarism
s h o w n to have ve ry we a k roots indeed .
S e co nd l y t h e d i v i si o n betwe e n the sectional stru ggle and class
st r uggle was m u c h less wide t h a n i n Western E u ro p e . This too was
roo t ed i n ec on o m i c deve lopme n t . In B rita i n , indust rial te ch n ology
d e ve loped gradu a l ly ove r a l o ng pe ri o d This meant that in the
1 8 5 0s ce r t ai n groups suc h as e ngin eering worke rs we re ab l e to fo rm
m ode l u n i o n s base d on e x c l usi v e co n t rol of craft knowledge . B y
ca re fu l ly re stri ct ing e nt ry i n to the trade they k ep t the i r s k i lls at a
p r e m i u m and so extracted con ce s sions fro m employe rs . Sectio nal
o rga n i sat ion was thus of imme diate a d v a n t a g e to those wo rkers
E n ge l s ca l led the labou r a ristocracy' . The same patte rn app lied
e l s e w h e re i n Europe . I n G e rmany . for re asons simil ar to B ri tain.
5 00 .000 e nginee rs had u n ion re cogn i t i o n by 1 9 1 2 . Despi te i ts s ize,
co a l m i n i n g which had free e n t ry i n to the trade , had only 77 m ine rs
w h o had w o n re cognit ion . T h e extra bargaining po w er d e ri ve d fro m
t h e sca rcity of skill was an impo rt a n t lever w h ich so me G e rma n
w o rke rs u se d to raise o rganisation in the face of stiff em ploye r
re s is t a n ce . B u t t he result was often a sec ti o n a l a ttitude an d co n
s e rva t i sm . T his was mu ch less t he c a s e in Rus s ia w h ere mod e m
was

'

i n d u st ry re quired less specia l ist s k i l ls and where . to all in ten ts and


p u rpose s . all worke rs we re b a rred fro m e ffec t i ve se ctional
o rga n isat i on .
The co n t rast was greatest i n prin ting. B eca use of its histo ry . th is
i n d u st ry has tradi tionally been o ne o f t h e most sectio nal ist and
l abo u r a ristocrat ic trades in W e s te rn E u ro pe . Ye t the M oscow
p ri n te rs stri k e of 1 905 s h o w e d how things worked in Ru ss ia: 'Th e
t yp e s e t t e rs at S ytin s print-works i n Moscow struck on 1 9 Se pte mbe r.
They de ma n d e d a s h o rt e r wo rk ing d a y and h ighe r piece work r ate
pe r 1 . 000 l e t t e rs se t , not excluding punctuation m a r k s This s ma ll
e v e n t s e t o ff n o t h i n g more nor l e ss than the all-Russian poli tical
s t ri k e
t h e st ri ke which started o ve r punctuation marks and ende d
.

by fe l l i n g ab s o l u tis m . '65
I n ge n e ral . howeve r . the co n n ection betwe e n t h e sect i on and the
c l a s s . e co n o m i cs and politics . is ra re l y a utomatic. The t wo are
j o i n e d by t h e com b i n a t i o n o f obj ective factors such as st ate inter
v e n t i o n . a n d t he subj ective re spon se of t h e class . I n t he West trade
union a n d re fo rm i st party lead e rs make a sharp d i vision between
po l i t i ca l a n d e co no m i c issue s . see k i n g to put a bra ke on t he de\'
e l o p m e n t o f so l i d a rity w h e n e ver i t t h re a t e n s to bu rst out o f estab-

THE MISSING PA R TY

27

Jished cha n nels In Russia economic re fo rmism through t rade u n ions


faced the same difficu lt ies as parliame ntary re formism i n ga i n i ng a
foot h o ld W i t hout the possib i li ty of t rade u n i o ns there co u l d be no
union b u re auc r acy 66
FinaJly these political and econom ic conditions obviousl y had a n
organisational effect weeding out many fo rm s that too k root i n t h e
W e s t . This was clea rly revealed b y t h e fate of the Eco n o m ists . This
group rejected the po litical struggle and party o rgan isa tion to con
ce ntrate so l e ly on economic grieva nce s . It came into e x i s t e n ce
around 1897 and had died out by 1 903 . Economism re fl e cted the
first p h ase of working class development which grew fro m iso l ated
.

sectional s t ru g gles . B ut ve ry soon Tsarist re p ression fo rce d wo r k e rs


to go b eyond this to take on b road . and there fore . po l i t ical s t ruggle .
Elsewhere in Europe the Economists would have be e n assured
pl aces in the trade unio n bureaucracy , while the most rad ical m ight
have become p rom inent synd icalists . As it was . econom ism was
merely an in fantile disorde r of the Russian labour move me n t w h ich
it soon o u tgre w . he lped not a little by a barrage of po l e mics from
Lenin .
These factors meant that a party orie ntated on struggle in the
wo r kplace could arise without needing the Soviet to show t he poi n t
of p roduction a s t h e basis of a worke rs' state . This m uch was borne
out in the earl iest stages of B o lshevism . From the fi rst t h is p a rt y was
unique in the Second I n t e rnatio n a l though it was quite u n co nscious
of t his fact . Take fo r example the co ncept o f the revolutio n a ry party
as t h e orga n isation of the vanguard . This was t a l k e d about in
Germany, but was neve r used as a guide to action . Those re v
olutionaries who did try to separate the most advanced elements
from the rest ended in sectari a n ism . This was not the case i n Russ i a .
H e r e t he i d e a o f a vanguard party provided the basis for a split
b etween B olsheviks and Mensheviks in 1 903 but the result was not
an impot e n t sect as e lsewhere . The reason fo r t h i s was the daily
practice of the Bolsheviks , a practice which guaranteed that though
the p a rt y maintained the highest leve l of principled po litics it was
always in contact with the masse s.
In Western Europe party life was structured aro u n d the parlia
mentary constituency . he nce i t was ge ographica l . For much of t h e i r
history , the B o lsheviks neve r h a d to work for elections . a n d when
they di d the Duma voting syste m was on an i ndustrial b asis . Quot ing
an old Bolshevik John Molyneux h as shown that duri n g a l l pe riods
the low e r party o rgan isation of the B o lsheviks existed at t h e place of
wo rk r ath e r than at the place of reside nce . '67 Th is gave re volutionary
work a basis. for i t meant that the final goal of the revolution co u ld
be re l a te d to t he immediate struggle in a rea l way . B o lshe vi k factory
ce lls ' u tili se d al l the grievances i n the factories ; t h e gruffness o f t h e

28

International Socialism 2:22

fo re m e n . d e d uctions from wages . fi n e s . t h e


m e d ica l a i d in accide nts . etc for ora l agi t a t ion at

fa i l u re to p rovide
the be nch . t h rough
l e a fl e t s . m e e t i n gs at t h e fa c t o ry gates or i n t he factory yard s . and
s e p a rate m e e t i ngs of t h e more class-con scious a n d revo lut ionary
wo r k e rs . The Bolsheviks always showed the connection between the
1naltreatment offactories, and the rule of the autocracy. ,68
Th i s st ruct u re was not adopted beca use Len i n saw t h a t the genn
o f t h e Soviet state was found at t h e po i n t o f p rod u c t i o n ( h is theory
of t h e d e ve lopm e n t of the revolution put him far from this view) ;
b u t t h e e x t re m e co ndit ions o f st ruggle u n d e r t h e au tocracy forced
revo l u t i o n a ries to b u i ld where t h e cl ass fe l t its greatest strength:
N ow a bo u t the fact o ry circles . These a re p a r t ic u la r ly important to
u s : t he m a i n st re ngt h o f t he move me n t lies in the o rganisation of the
w o r k e rs at the large factori e s . fo r t he l a rge facto ries ( and mills)
co n t a i n not on ly the p re do m i n a n t part of the working class as
re ga rds n u m be rs . but even m o re as regards i nfl u e nce . deve lopment.
a n d figh t i ng capaci ty. Eve ry factory must be our fort ress . "69
Th is co n ce n t ration on the factory was not a sign of economism .
fo r t h e B o lshevi k s indust ri a l base was i n d issolubly t i e d to political
s t r uggle aga inst t h e state . Co mpare Len i n 's words on party factory
ce l l s w i t h a s i m i l a rly e x p re ssed idea of Connolly " s : i n t h e l ight of . . .
i n d u s t ri a l u n i o n i s m every fresh shop o r factory organ ised under its
b a n n e r is a fort w re n c h e d from the co n t ro l of the cap ita l is t class and
m a n n e d w i t h the so ldie rs of the re volution . '70 Bolshevik factory
ce l l s gave c o n tac t with the m asse s . b u t t h is was combined with a
revo l u t i o n a ry political progra m m e t h a t led away from trade union
sec t i o n a l ism towards class act ion against the state . The Bolshevik
pa rty . u n l i ke a union exercise d "t he greatest possible central
isation . . . with regard to the ideo logica l and p ractica l leadership of
t h e move me n t , . Thus Bo lshevism kept a n a l l- i m portant contact
with t h e m asses without adapting to t h e class as i t existed in its
o p p re ssed st ate . The party struct u re was t h e re sult of Lenin s organ
i s a t i o n a l s k i l l s and the pol i t ical conditions of Russia. It had to be a
m o v e m e n t based on t h e powe r i n h e rent i n the modem industrial
p rocess w h e re co l lect ive prod uction is para moun t . A ny other fonn
w o u l d have been ineffectua l agai nst the Tsarist enemy . a force so
r e p re ssive t h a t even t he re fo rm ist i l lusions o f parl i a m e n t arism were
excluded .
I n such conditions leade rs h ip was only pos s i b l e i f combined with
so l i d o rg a n isatio n . The n e ce ssary l i n k of po l i t i ca l a n d technical
d i rect ion. wh ich Luxe mburg avoided fo r fe ar of delivering the
masses i n to t h e h ands of re fo rm ist bureaucra t s . was also encouraged
by conditions in Russia . Th i s was shown in striking fonn w h en
B o l she viks a n d M e nshevik s spl i t at the 1 903 Co ngress . The dif
fe re n ce betwe e n Le n i n s de fi n i t ion of m e m b e rship as pe rso nal
.

THE MISSING PA R TY

29

participation in party organ isation or Martovs loose r pe rso n a l


association under the direction of a party organisat ion m a y se e m
small . But for someone building a new party from scratch i n terribly
difficult conditions .. it was e normous . As Le nin said . whe n d i scuss i n g
the split: "Unity on questions of programme and tactics is an essen:
tial but by no means sufficient condition fo r Party unity. for the
centralisation of Party work . . . (it] requires in add i t io n . unity o f
organisation . . . The fact that the organ isation of our work lags
behind its content is our weak point . . . The lame and u n d e r
deve lo p ed character of the form makes any serious step i n the
fu rther de velopment of the content impossible . 7 2
What in Lu x emburg had been abstract and gene ral - the link
between politi ca l leadership and mass action . becomes in Lenin
co n crete and precise the indissoluble p r actical lin k s betwee n a
revolution a ry political organisation based around st rugg l e at the
point of production and the working class . In Russia a revolut i onary
party built on workplace i ntervention was possible without an u n
de rst anding of the workers s ta te to which it was lead in g . The
wo rk place fou ndations of Bolshevism co m b i n ed w it h a princip l ed
re volutio nary leadership meant the party could be wrong about
Kautsk yis m . the nature of the parliamentary state and the trajectory
of the co ming revolution. without being ship w recked by sectarian
isol ation or refo rm ist compromise .
However Bolshevik re volution a ry practice was never easy to
maintain . Quite apart from the threat of the secret police . it meant a
struggle aga inst the prevaling ideology. To achieve a method which
made no co ncession to workers prevailing ideas and yet was tied
indissolubly to the working class required a strict democratic ce n
tralism . Lenin's party had roots in the masses. but also a ce ntre
rem oved (both by its centralism and its physical exile) from the
pre ssu res to adapt to society's ideas. Democratic cen tralist organ
isation allowed for extremely sharp tactical turns that compensated
for any mistaken theoretical positions. The personal importance of
Lenin in 1 9 17 derives from the need for brilliant leade rship to
ove rcome the gaping holes in the party's theory and the fact that he
alone was able to provide that . This was clearest i n the period of
March to April 1 9 1 7 when the Bolsheviks entire ly revised their
programme to campaign for an power to the Soviets' .
The development of Bolshevism was no simple progression from
point A to point B . For much of the time Lenin was groping in the
dark . elaborating methods whose true purposes were only u n d e r
stood much later. The party was built in struggle against what was
regarded as the chief and only possible political adversary in Russian
conditions - the Tsarist autocracy. It could grow with a constituent
assembly as its chief de_m and and w i t h confusion over the precise
-

30

International Socialism 2:22

of a worke rs stat e . No western revolutionary pa rty could


ha \'c bee n b u i l t with such a l ack of cl arity . B ut because the party
n a t u re

re ady it co u l d be manoeuvred from struggling for a


p a r l i a m e n t t o a ca m p a ign for p roletarian power which u ne xpectedly
b e c a m e poss ible d u ring t h e months after F e b r u a ry 1 9 1 7 . Trotsky's
he l i c f t h a t Russia"s exceptional de ve lopme n t m ade it possible for
h i s cou n t ry to be the fi rst rather t h a n the last to ac h ie v e proletarian
d i c t a t o rs h i p proved j ust as t rue of t h e re volutionary party. which
w a s t h e fi rs t ra t h e r t h a n t h e last .
i nstrument

was

(ii) lenin and Trotsky on the 1905 So viets


Le sso n s d ra wn from Russia we re t h e only solution to t he pro blem of
t h e m is s i n g p a rty in the West . where low levels of m ilita ncy le ft the
po t e n t i a l of wo rkplace politics h idde n . B ut t h ere were obsta cl es in
t h e w a y of a n yon e re alisi n g t h i s fact . The grea test prob le m w as that
t h e B o l shev i ks we re unaware that t h e i r stress on workpla c e po litics
w a s a u n i q u e co n t ri b ution to M arxism .
Co nsci ou sness of t he speci a l sig nificance of t h e i r m etho d w a s
b ro u g h t a bo u t o n l y grad u a l ly a n d t h ro ug h t h e deve lop ment of the
So \' i e t . T h i s body came to s h ow t h at the po i n t o f pro d u c t i o n was the
so u rce o f powe r in a wo rke rs s t a te . A s e a r l y as 1 9 05 Le nin w ro te : 'I
b e l i e \'e . . . t h at pol i tica l ly the Sovi e t of Workers Depu ties sho uJd
b e rega rded as t he e m b ryo o f a p ro visional revolution ary go vem 1nent. " 7 3 C l iff se e s in t h is e vide nce that for Le n i n the So viet was not
o n l y a n e w form of orga n isa tio n o f t h e pro letaria t in s tru ggle ; it was

t h e fo rm o f fut u re worke rs powe r . 7 4


This j udge m e n t needs so m e q u a l ification . W h i le Le nin ce rtainly
re cog n ised t h e new insti t u t ion was i m porta n t . his insight was a
p a rt i a l o n e w h ich o n ly de ve loped fu lly i n 1 9 1 7 . I n 1 905 Le nin used
t he te rm p rovision a l re vo l ut iona ry gove rnmen t ' in a ve ry sp eci fic
co n t e x t . It was part of h i s form ula fo r Russi a's rev o l u t i o n ary dev
e l o p m e n t w h i c h he saw as passi n g t h rough a d e mo c rat ic di ctatorship
of p role t aria t a n d peasan t ry . Le n i n s view e x c l u d e d both Trotsky's
a rgu m e n ts about pe rmanent re vo lution and t h e Mensheviks' th e ory.
Le n i n c h a ra ct e rised t h e form e r a s t h e absurd . se mi-anarchist idea
t h a t the maximum p rogra m m e . the conq uest o f power fo r a social i st
r e v o l u t i o n c a n be immed iate ly achieve d . "75 Howe ve r he took a
m u c h h a rd er l i n e t h a n t h e M e nsheviks who bel ieved : the
b o u rge o i s i e m ust co me to powe r. establish a bou rgeo is-democratic
re p u b l i c w h i ch w i l l sweep away the rem n a n ts of p re-cap italist social
re l a t i o n s . . . The po l i t ica l ro l e o f t h e wo r k i n g class . is t h e refore . to
p u s h t h e b ou rg e o i s i e fo rwa rd against Tsari s m . ' 7 6
L e n i n sa id that the bo u rgeoisie suffe red from such ' i n stability.
h a l f- h e a rt e d n ess a n d t re achery"" that it co u l d not se riously chal'

THE MISSING PAR TY

31

lenge the autocracy : 'No . o nl y the people . can constitute a fo rce


capable of gaining "a decisive victory over tsarism " . in o t h e r words .

the proletariat and peas ant ry . . . . . A decisive v icto ry of the rev


olution over tsarism is the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of
the proletariat and peasantry . . . B u t of co urs e it will be a de m ocr at i c
not a social ist dictatorship . . . At best it may bri n g about a rad ica l

redistribution of the land to the a d va n t a g e of the p e a sa n t s . establ ish


consistent and full democracy . including the re p u bl i c . . . and l as t
but not least - carry the re v o l u ti o n a ry con fl a gra ti o n i n t o E urope . ' 711
In this schem e the p ro v i si o na l re volutionary go v e rn m e n t had a
de finite but limited role . First of all it was provisional . Co unterin g
any idea that it m i g h t be a p e rm a n en t wo r k e rs ' i n s ti t u t i o n re pl aci n g
parli ament Lenin said : 'This cannot be. if we are to s pea k not o f
accid ental transien t e pi s o d e s . b u t o f a re v o l utio n a ry dictatorshi p
that will be at a l l du rable and c a pable of lea ving so m e trace in
hi sto ry . ' 7 9 The p ro vis i on a l re v ol u t ion a ry governme nt was me r e ly a
ne cess ary stage towa rd s p a r l i am e n t . i t s t a s k b e i ng to sec ure com
pl e te fre ed om fo r e le ctoral a gi t a t i o n and of c onven i ng . on t he basis
of unive rsal . equal . direct suffrage and se c r e t ballot a cons t i tuent
assem b ly that will really express the will of the p e o pl e . '80 So Lenin
saw the S ovi e t 's role confined to the s t rug g l e for po w e r and a short
t ransi tio nal period before the constituent asse mbly . He wrote at
o n e poi nt : 'The Soviet o f Wo r ke rs ' D e p ut ie s is not a p a r l i a m e n t of
labo ur and not a n organ of p rol e t a r i a n self-go ve rnm ent . It is not an
organ of gov e rnment at all . b u t a fig h t i ng o rg a ni s a tion for t he
ac hievement of defin ite ai m s . '8 1
H is positi o n i n 1 905 ce rt a i n ly cleared the w ay for a new under
standing of the Soviet and the workers' s t at e in 1 9 1 7 , but it we nt no
further than that. Le n i n s t i l l did not differe ntiate h i m s e l f from
Kautsky's belie f in p a r l ia m e n t . nor did he fee l the n e e d to . I f the
i m med iate task is to w in parliamentary ru l e in the first p lac e . there is
no nee d to worry u n du l y abou t the workers' state or pro le t ar ian
dictatorsh i p which is to follow . Le n i n felt that un ive rs al suffrage was
an ad equate m e th o d . if not for the p rovi s iona l re vo l u tion ary gov
e rn ment . but at l e a s t fo r the constituen t asse m bly .
It was not that Le n i n was a par l ia m e nt a ry cretinist as Kautsky
proved to be . but s i m p l y that i n Russia. unlike the West . a revolu
tio nary was not m easure d by t h e degree t o which he o r s h e fought
for workers s e l f-activity in conscious opposi tion to the pa r l ia
mentary st ra i t j ac ke t . Sti l l . as long as the Bolshevi k party co nce ived
its task as ac h i e v i n g a de mo cra t i c dictatorship o f pro letariat and
peasantry t h rough a geographically e lected pa rl i a m e n t . its use of
workp lace pol i t i cs was see n as a p u re ly local d e v i a ti o n fro m t h e
n o r m o f M a rx i sm a s d e fi n e d b y Karl Kautsk y a n d t h e Seco nd
I n t e rnational .

32

International Socialism 2:22

B e fo re pass i n g to Tro t sky . i t should be noted that Luxemburg's


\' i c w of R uss i a n deve l o p m e n t was so mewhere betwe e n the idea of
pe r m a ne n t revo l u t i o n a n d Le n i n s democratic-d ictatorship.82 She
i g n o re d t he Sov i e t fo r two re asons ; fi rst ly because like everyone else
( w i t h t h e part i a l exce p t io n o f Trotsky) she saw i t not as a form of the

wo r k e rs s t a t e but a means of st ruggle ; and seco n dly because she


rega rd e d t h e te c h n ical d i re ction fu rnished by the Soviet as unimpor
t a n t i n com p a riso n to ' po l i tics' .
A s Preside n t of the 1 905 Pe tersburg Soviet . Trotsky might have
bee n e x pecte d to recogn i se t h e signi fi cance of the Sovie t and the
ro le o f po l i t ics in the workp lace in building a revolution ary party.
B u t if a nyt h ing the Soviet led h i m away from building a serious
orga n isation . and confirmed him i n his ro le as a go-be tween for
B o l s h e v i k and M e nshevik factions. H is book ' 1 905 ' overflows with
p r a i se fo r t h e new i n stitut ion : 'The Sov i e t was t he axis of all events ,
e ve ry t h re a d ran towards i t . eve ry call to action emanated from
i t . . . " 8 3 H oweve r i t was not s e e n in re lation to the revol u tionary
p a rt y but
substitute
it: 'The social-democratic organisation
w h i c h we l d e d toge t h e r a few h u n d re d Pe t e rsburg workers , and to
w h i c h several thousand more we re ideologically attached . was able
t o speak fo r the m asses by i l l u m i n at i ng t h e i r i m m e diate expe rience
w i t h t h e l ightning of politica l t hough t ; but it was not able to create a
o rganisational link with t hese masse s . if o n ly because it had
a l w a ys do n e the pri ncipal part of its work in clandest i n ity. concealed
fro m t h e eyes of t h e m asse s . . . I n t e rn a l fri ction b e tween two equally
powe rfu l fact ions of the socia l democ r ats . . . re n d e red the creation
of a
orga n isation abso l u t e ly e sse n t i a l . 34 Thus the Soviet
was seen as a means of re - u n i t i n g t h e B o lsheviks and Mensheviks at
ra n k a n d fi l e leve l .
Trotsky at times portrayed t he Soviet a s a form o f future state on
t h e l i nes of the Paris Co m m u n e : 'With the Soviet we have the first
a p p e a ra n ce o f de mocratic power in mod e m Russian history . . . It
co n st i t u t es aut h e n tic dem ocracy . without a lower a nd an upper
c h a m be r . without a professional bure aucracy . but with the voters'
ri g h t to re c a l l the i r deputies at any moment . as B u t t h e re were areas
of con fusion in Trotsky's account . H is theory of pe rmanent revolu
t i o n was not wedded to a M arxist unde rstanding of the state . but
acce p t e d the Kautskyite perversion of i t . A lthough his t heory led
h i m to say t h a t in revo lution ' victory . must trans er power. to
tlzose who have led it, that is to s ay, to the social-democratic prof
etaria( 8 6 ra t he r t h an p i n poin t i ng t h e Sovie t as the fo rm this m ust
t a k e . he wrote : re vo l u t ion is fi rst and fo remost a pro ble m of power
not o f the po litical o rm ( Const i t u e n t A sse m b ly . re pu blic.
E u ropean fe d e ration ) . b u t of t h e social conten t of pow e r . n
This abstract approach to the s t ru c ture o f wo rke rs pow er led

as a

for

liiing

non-party

THE MISSING PA R TY

33

Trotsky to overlook the Sovie t as its form . I n fact he acce pted the
Second Internation al vi e w that the state ' is only a m ach ine in the
h a nds of the do m i n ating soci al fo rces . . . It can be a powe rfu l leve l
for re volution o r a tool for organisationa l s t ag nati o n . depending on
the hands that c o n trol it. Eve ry political party worthy of the n ame
strives to capture p o l itica l powe r and thus p lace the State at t h e
servi ce o f the class whose inte rests i t expresses . '88 If this were t ru e .
then p arl ia m e n t could be as much a n instrument of revolution as
a ny o t h er . That is why in his m a or d iscussion of pe rmanent re v

oluti on in 'Results and P ro s pe cts ' of 1906 , Trotsky bare ly mentions


the Sovie t .
I n h i s case , therefore , a n appreciation of t h e So viet's infl ue nce
did not lead towards an understanding of workplace politics or the
revolutionary party . The same was true in the case of many ultra
lefts such as P a n n ekoek an d Gorter in the postwar period . To
appr eci ate t he po tential of bo t h party and So viet , the interact ion of
both t hrou gh po litics in the workplace had to be understood . Th is
w as on e o f th e achieveme nt s of the 19 1 7 revolution . for it showed
how the B o l s h e v i k s worked through the Soviet . and how the Soviets
w ere only able to succeed under Bolshevik leade rship .
Befo re 1 9 1 7 the significance of the Leninist party and the Soviets
was obs cured by two factors - the special nature of Russian develop
men t and confusio n over t he Marxist a t t i t ude to the p a rliamentary
state . The e xpe r i en ce of war and revolution began to break down
these th eore tical barriers . The three years . 1 9 1 4 to 1 9 1 7 we re a
pe rio d of feve rish preparation . both the oretical and pr actical . for
the inte rnati onalising of Russia's 'proletarian m etho ds' wh ich alone
cou ld lay the basis for the mass revolutionary p a rti e s that we re
mis sing else whe re .

(iii) Lenin,

war and the

state, 1914-191 7

The outbreak of hostilities on 4th August 1 9 1 4 was a turning po int in


the development of Marxism . On that day the major p arties of the
Second I nt e rn ationa l renounce d socialism in favour o f supporting a
capitalist war. As B u kharin put it: 'The first period of the war has
brought a bout . not a crisis of capitalism . . . but a co l la p se of the
' So cialist International' . 89 The death of this orga ni sation re vealed
the internal de cay of its ideology , wh o se arch-priest w as Karl
Kautsky.
Q uickly ove rcoming his e arly disbelief i n Kautsky's tre ache ry .
Lenin broke with him over the immediate quest i on o f m a k i ng
concessions to imperialism . B ut the demise of the I n t e rn a t ional
forced Le nin to propose a Third International and po nder on what
basis it s h o u l d be create d . The new organ isation would need a ve ry
11 84-C

In ternational Socialism 2:22

34

d i ffe re n t a r m o u ry o f w e a p o n s fro m t h a t of t h e pre vious I nter


n a t i o n a l . C l e a rl y its po l i t ica l base wo u ld h a ve to b eg i n with the
B o l s h e v i ks . t h e o n ly m a j o r p a rty to res ist t he p ressure of war in a
rc \' o l u t i o n a ry wa y . O n e p r e s s i ng t heo re t ica l re quire m e n t was an
u n d e rs t a n d i ng o f t he c u r re n t war and its re l at i on to the capitalist
syst e m as a w ho l e . Th is was p rov id e d by B u k h a ri n s Imperialism
cuul World Economy a n d Le n i n "s short pam phlet Imperialism; the

highest stage of cap italism .


A re e va l u a t i o n o f t h e M a rx is t attitude to the state was also an
u rge n t n e cessit y . U n t i l 1 9 1 4 . R uss ias revolutiona ries had not
wo rried v e ry much abo u t t h e state in general. beca use it was thought

t h a t R u ssi a s s i t uation was so u n i q u e as to m a k e its po l i tical proble ms


o f ma i n ly i n te rna l re leva n ce . The war p roved t h a t the Russian state
co u l d no lo n g e r be see n in i s ol a t io n but was fu l ly i n tegrated into a
w o r l d i m pe ri a l ist s y s t e m In t h e war eac h state had to m irro r t he
po l i c i e s of t he o t he r to survive . Th e total po litical and eco n om ic
m o b i l i s a t i o n e m p l o y e d in G e rm a n y . B ri t a i n or R u ssi a d i ffe re d o nly
i n t h e i r e ffectiv e n ess . I n esse n ce t hey we re t h e sa me . There fo re
w h e n Le n i n posed t h e q u e s t i o n of state h i s concl usions we re sign ifi
ca n t fo r Russi a and t h e West . Th e re s u l t was p ro ba b l y his bes t wo rk
.

The Sta te and Revolution .

The h i s tory o f t h i s pamp h l e t i s i n t e resti n g . I t was wri tt en in


A u g u st 1 9 1 7 . in t he t h i c k o f t h e Russ i an re vo l u t i o n Ho we ver the
b a s i c rese a rch m a t e ri a l had b e e n co l l ected i n t o a noteboo k d urin g
1 9 1 6 . B e twee n t he two form ats lay t h e outbre a k o f t h e Fe bru a ry
r e v o l u t i o n a n d t h e d r a m a t i c re -eme rge n ce o f t h e Sovie t . Th is time it
w a s n o t a C o u n ci l o f Wo rke rs D e p u t ies but a cou ncil of \Vo rke rs
a n d So ldiers ' D e p u ties . A s s u c h i t w a s e vi d e n t ly more t han a n
o rg a n o f s t r u ggl e . I n t h e s i t u a t ion o f d u a l po w e r p rev a ili n g afte r
Fe b ru a ry . i t w as a n a l t e r na t ive s t a t e fo rm .
A com p a rison of Le n i n s t h i n k i n g o n t h e st a te in l a t e 19 1 6 . e a rly
1 9 1 7 a n d The Sta te and Revolution (wri t e n A u gust to Septe m ber
1 9 1 7) reve a l s a s u b t l e b u t i m p o r t an t s h i ft . I n Dece m be r 1 9 1 6 he
p rese n t e d t h e fo l lo wi ng two possible d e fini t i o n s : 'Two t re nds in
politics ( p o l i t i c s is participat ion in the a ffa i rs o f the state . d irect ing
t h e s t a t e . d e te r m i n i ng t he fo rm s tasks a n d co n t e n t of the state' s
a c t i v i t i e s ) opportun ist and re vo l u t i o n a ry o r two t re nds in the atti
t u d e t o s t a t e organis ationr9o
H e was o n t h e b rink of a b re a k t h rough . Th e essence of Le n in's
q u e s t i o n was
do M a rx is ts a rgue abo u t how to w i n sta te power
t h ro u g h t h e e x isting m a c h i ne ry o r figh t to c re a t e a n e n ti re ly new
o n e ? The same fu n d a m e n t a l q ue s t i o n was con t a i ned in his next
n o t e : ' D e m ocracy of re fo rm ists and de m o c r a cy of re \'o l u t i o n . Two
d i ffe re n t c o n t e n t s : the m i n o r i ty and t he m ass . Pacification of the
m a ss? assist i ng t h e struggle of t h e m ass? S ubordin ation of the mass
.

'

'

THE MISSING PA R TY

35

to the authori ty of the leaders? revo l t agai nst leade rs? . . Bo i l s


down t o revo l u t io n ve rsus opport u n ism . '9 1
H e re he distingu i shed betwe e n the con t e n t o f re vol ut io n a ry
d e mocracy assisting mass struggle , d e fe at i n g o pport u n ist lead e rs .
a n d re formist methods - pacification a n d subord i n a t i o n of the mass
to the reformi st bu reaucracy . From dist in gu ishing the co ntent it is a

short step to d iscove ring the organ ised form of the re vo l u t ion a ry
altern a tive .

Just a yea r a fter m a king these notes Le n i n began to give de fi n ite


answe rs to what till then h a d bee n q u e stions . I n Ja nuary 1 9 1 7 he
wrot e that M a rx 's state m e n t that worke rs cannot " s im p ly lay hold'
of the state mach i n e had se e m e d uncle a r . Now he saw that i t m ust
b e u n de rstood as fo l lows: "the revolution m ust SMASH IT. t h is
m ach i n e ry , and re p lace i t w i t h a ne w o n e . 92 1 0 pages
l ate r he answ ers the question of how the new state is to be he ld
toge ther : "By an a l l i a nce . an o rganisat ion of the a rmed worke rs
'Soviets
Deputies' ! ) . 91 I t is not certain whe ther this
pass age was added befo re o r aft e r t h e Fe b ruary revolution . but it is
t h e vit al l i n k b etwe e n the questions of 1 9 1 6 and the answers give n in
Th e
and Revolution .
B y A ugust 1 9 1 7 Le n i n i s a b l e to show that : " t he characte ristic
th ing about th e process of t h e grad ual growth of o pportu n ism t hat
led to the col lapse of t he Seco n d I n t e rnatio nal i n 1 9 1 4 is . evasive
n ess o v e r t he question of the re lation of the proletari a n revo l ut i on
t o t he state . 94 I n co n t rast . revolutionaries are quite clear: we .
h oweve r . sh all b reak with the o pport u n ists . . . not to 'shift the
b a l a nce of forces' . but to o verth ro w the bourgeoisie , to destroy
bo urg eois parliame ntarism . for a de mocratic republi c a fter the type
of th e C ommune . o r a re public of Soviets f Worke rs' and So ldie rs'
D e p u ties . . '95 A final chapter on the Russian experi e n ce of Soviets
w as pl a n ne d for The State and Revolution96 but as Le nin put it :
' A p art from the title . howeve r . I had no t ime to write a single li ne of
th e chap ter . . . It is more p leasant and useful to go through the
1 "e
x pe ri e nce of t h e revolutio n " than to wri te about it . '97
Afte r 1 9 1 7 the " two t re nds in po litics' of wh ich Le nin spo ke
e a rli er could now be fu l ly defi ned . One was ce n t red on winning over
parl ia me nt through geographical ly based e l e ctions . This fo rm of
po J i tics accepted the conve n tional division of politics and eco nom ics
i n which the app are n t free choice of parliamentary re presentative is
totally underm ined and de prived of significance by ca pital ist control
of the me ans of production (economic powe r) . The othe r trend i n
p oliti cs also a i m s a t stat e power but in t his case the a i m is to re place
t he old p o we r with a n ew o n e based on worke rs' se l f-activity.
The r efore a ny workers' se lf-acti vity . however sm a ll the m inority
re ady to move . beco m es the focus for th e pa rty's political wo rk .

ready-made
(

of Workers'

State

. .

36

International Socialism 2:22

1\ n d e v e ry s t e p which raises sectional struggle to the level of broader


cl ass a c t i o n becomes a pol i t ica l act . Po l i tics here is conce n t rated
e co n o m i cs' .
Le n i n n e ve r m ade a fe tish of the Sovie ts' form as such . When they
see med to be fa l l i ng i n to a state of prostitut ion . . . by the S Rs and
l\-1 e n s h e v i ks'98 aft e r July 1 9 1 7. he had no hesit at ion in turning to the
factory co u ncils as an a l te rn at ive organ of powe r . But the Soviets
a n d fa ctory cou nci ls shared a common b asis in work place election
a n d w i e lded the co llect ive power of the proletariat . At no time did
Le n i n e n visage the B o l sheviks wai ting to be e lected i nto office at the
co n s t i t u e n t asse mbly ( t he re fo rm ist road ) ; nor did he try to seize
powe r w i t h ou t re fe ren ce to the wi l l of the mass of workers (the
se c t a ria n road ) .
A s Trotsky put i t : The question . what m ass organisations were to
se rve t h e party fo r leade rs h i p in t he insurrection , d id not permit an
a - p ri o ri m uch less a categorical answe r. The i nstruments of the
i n s u rre c t i o n m ight have bee n the factory co m mi tees and trade
u n i o n s . a l re ady u n d e r the leade rs h i p of t h e Bo lsheviks
Just here
lay t he e ve rlasting preoccu p a t io n of L en i n : to express with the
u t n1ost s i m p l icity that which on t h e o n e hand flowed from t h e
o bj e c t i ve con d i t i o n s . a n d o n the othe r fo rm u l a t e the s u bj ect i ve
e x pe ri e n ce of t h e masse s . 99 As i t turned o u t the Sovie ts did revive
a s o rg a ns o f m ass democra t i c powe r. The succe ssfu l October in
su rre c t i o n . i n which a B o lshevik maj ority in the Sovie ts served as
s p ri n g bo a rd to t h e world's fi rst wo rkers' state . p roved not only t he
n e ce s s i t y o f both pa rty and factory-based Sovi e t s . but t he i r necessary
i n t e r-con nect i o n .
I n a h i storica l se nse the party had to prece de the Soviets. for
t h o u g h both a re e sse n t ia l . Soviets only a rise at the peak of the
revo l u t io n a ry process . Part i e s . howeve r, must be buil t by patient
an d co nsist e n t wo rk in t h e q u i e t e r ye a rs t ha t com e before . The
p o t e n t i a l of t h e Sov i e ts was o n l y theore tica l l y grasped because by
1 9 1 7 t h e mass B o lshevi k party had already bee n created . It was one
of t h e d i a l ect ical con t rad i ct i o n s t h rough which h istory so often
m o ve s t h a t in Western E u ro pe the opposite process was observed.
The Sovi e ts . wo rkers' cou nci ls . came be fore the fo rmation of the
p a rt i e s on whose e xiste n ce t h e i r succe ss depende d .
\V h e n t h e Russia n Con s t i tue n t Asse m b l y . t h a t cherished goal of
soci a l dem ocracy righ t up u n t i l 1 9 1 7 . ca m e to mee t . the Bolsheviks
fi n a l l y m ad e t h e t h eore t ical b re a k w i t h the past w h ich t h e i r practice
a l re a dy sugge sted to them . A s Le n i n " s Th eses stated : For the
t ra n s i t ion from t he bo u rge ois to t h e soc i a l ist syste m . for the dic
t a to rship o f t h e p ro l e taria t . t he Re p u b l i c o f So viets . . . is not onlv a
highe r type of d e mocra ti c i n s t i t u t io n (as com pa re d with t h e
bo u rge o i s re pu b l i c crown ed by a Co nst i t u e n t A sse m b l y ) but is the
.

usal

THE MISSING PA R TY

37

only

form capable of securing the most painless transition to


socialism . ' 1 00
It was obvious to the Bolsheviks that victory in October 1 9 1 7 had
to b e t he prelude to a world revolution . The lessons o f Russia had to
guide socialists everywhere . and the party h ad to become the spear
head of a world party. The mechan ism for this was to be the Third
International. or Comintern .
(iv)

Comintern

The Co mm unist International was founded in 1 9 1 9 . Its first task was


to defi ne the ground on which it stood. Lenin proposed a resolution
aro u nd just three points: First: One of the most important tasks
con fron ting the W est European comrades is to explain to the people
the mea ning. importance and necessity of the Soviet system .
Secon d: Abou t the spread of the Soviet system . . . Third: We mu st
say t hat win ning a Co mmunist majority in the Soviets is the principal
task in all countries in which Soviet government is not yet vic
to rious' . 1 0 1 G D H Cole . a sympathetic observer of the rise of the
Int erna tional com mented on Trotskys Comintem manifesto: what
is likel y to stand out as most remarkable is t he absence of any
e xpli cit re ference to the role of the Communist Party. ' 1 0 2
The overwh elming stress on the Soviet was not a mental aberration
or the result of a momentary burst of enthusias m (alt hough the ease
with which the revolution would be carried throu gh outside Russia
was e x aggerated) . It held the key to a new type o f political activity
an d so was the divi ding line between the Secon d and Third (Com
mu nist) I ntern ationals. The concept of the party could not serve as a
mean s of breaking revolutionaries away from the grip of reformis m
in the same way. As Trotsky explained to the Second Con gress of
Comi ntern : 1t is self-evident that if we were dealing here with
Messrs. Scheid emann . Kautsky or their English co-t hinkers . it
wou ld . of cou rse . be unnecessary to convince these gentlemen that
a p a rt y is indispensa ble to the working class. They h ave crea ted a
p a rty of the working class and handed it over into the service of
bo urge ois and capitalist society . ' 1 03
It was not the issue of the party which formed the basis of
Comintern . but the question of revolution and its state form the
Soviet. Lenin put it succinctly: the entire socialist lite rature . not
only Germany. but also English and French . proves that the le ade rs
of the opportunist parties . . . are in favour of the conquest of
political power. They are all sincere socialists. joking apart . but
they are against the dictatorship of the proletariat ! ' 1 04 So Cominte rn
determined its attitude to people by their stand on the Soviet ra the r
than the party. This was clear from the Platform of the First
.

International Socialism 2:22

38

Co n g ress : " I t is v i t a l . . . to fo rm a b loc w i t h membe rs o f the revolu

l i o n a ry
a m ple

wo r k e rs move me n t - ce rt a i n sy nd ica l ist elements .

for ex

who . in s p i te of the fact t h a t t h e y d id not earlier belong to

l h c soc i a l ist p a rt y . have m o re or less accepted the pl a tfo rm of the


p ro l c l a rian d i c t a t o rs h i p t h rough S o v ie t 1 05
T h e i s s u e o f S o v i e t ve rsus parliam e n t . whet h e r you w a n t to
v e r b a l ly o ppose ca p i t a l ism o r " re a l ly wa n t to tear its he ad off . 1 06 was
t h e n e cessa ry start i n g po i n t fo r ove rco m i ng t he abse nc e o f a Leni nis t
pa rt y i n West e rn E u rope . I n p ractical terms that co u ld be me asure d
by o n e s a t t i t ude to pa r l i a m e n t and m a n i festations of work ers'

se l f a c t iv i t y .

B u t t he fo rm u l a Sov i e t o r pa r l i a me n t was a v e ry b l u n t instru ment .


O n ce t h e gro u nd upon wh ic h t h e new Com m u n ist part ies s tood had
be e n de fi n e d . a w ho l e n u m b e r of t a ct i c a l and stra tegic p roble m s
a rose . Ce n t rists w e re q u i te w i l l ing to a ccept t h e Soviet i n th eory . s
l o n g as t hey w e re free t o b e t ray i t i n p rac t i ce . Th u s 2 1 ve ry suff
co n d i t i o n s fo r adm ission to Com i n t e rn we re introdu ced . U ltra -le fts
a l so accepted t h e Soviet but den i ed t h e n e ce ssity of a Com mu nist

p a rt y to le a d t h e m . The re fo re t h e Seco nd Con gres s d e cl a re d : "The


ri se of t h e S ov i e ts as t h e m a i n h i sto r ic a l l y dete rm i ned form of t he
d i cta tors hip of the prole t a ri a t in no way d e t racts fro m t he le ad ing

t he Co m m u n i st Pa rty i n t h e p ro l e t a rian revol u t i o n .

s t r o ng C o m m u n is t P arty i s esse n t i a l i f the Sovie ts are to fulfi l th eI T


h isto rical m i ssio n A part y i s n e e ded t h a t does not ada pt ' i tse lf t
t he So vi e ts . but is a b le i n a decisive way to i n fl u en ce their
po l i ci e s . . . Th e strong e r the Co m m u n ist Part ies we b uild in ev e ry
co u n t ry . the s o o ne r t h e sovi e t idea w i l l t ri u m ph . 1 01
O n l y in t h e 1 920s was th e m issi ng pa rty so lved and m as s orga nis
.
a t i o ns o f hu n d red s of t housands of re vo l u t i o n a ri es c re a t ed in se ve ral
W e s t e rn cou n t ri e s . B ut the revo l u t i o n a ry postwa r wa v e w as re
ced i n g . a n d w i t h it came t he rise of S t a l i n i sm in Co m i ntem . Wh en
th!s 'as co m b i n e d w i t h t h e lack of deve loped a nd i n de pen den t
t h 1 n k 1 ng cad re i n t he new partie s . t h e i r d ege n e ratio n beca m e pre
i ct a b l e . E ve n t he n t h e i r re a l problem was not a b e l i e f or othe rwise
t n t h e party ( fo r Sta l i n ists t h e pa rty w a s eve rything). b ut of th e
re l a t i o n sh i p be tw e e n revo l utio n a ry l e ad ers h i p and t h e se lf.ac ti vity
of t he working class . O n ce Comm u n ist Pa rt ie s made party lead er
s h i p a question o f o b e d ie n c e to the d i rectives o f t h e Rus s ia n bu rea u
c racy . rat h e r t h a n t h e re l a t io n of t h e immediate s t rug g le to the fin al
c o n q u e s t o f po wer. t h e d isaste rs of Th ird Pe riod" u l t raleftism a nd
Pop u l a r Fro n t ' sw i ngs to th e right be came i nevitable .

ro l e o f

"

In

The State and

Revolution Le n i n a rgued t h at K a u tsky a n d othe rs

THE MISSING PA R TY

39

ha d de l i be rately d istorted . fo rgotten a nd ignored M a rx s te ach i n g\


on the st ate . O f co u rse t h i s was t rue ; b u t i t was also t h e fact t h a t
practica l ly no-o n e outside Russia h ad be e n able to res i st t h e

distortion . re me m ber the lesso ns a n d notice t h e i r m o s t sa l ie n t po i n t s .


I n Th e State and Revolu tion Pa n n e koek i s t he o n l y co nte m po ra ry

who Le n i n cites as so m e o n e who re me m be re d . i f ra t h e r vaguc


lv .
...
what Marx taugh t .
I t was no t t hat M a rxs te achi ngs we re insuffi cient ly e x p l i c i t abo u t
their revo lutionary a i m - far fro m i t . B u t i f a lesso n is not l e a rn t . one
must look not o n ly at the motives of the p u p i ls . but q uest ion t he
cl arity of t he teach i ngs . Th is i s not a pe rso n a l sl ight on M a rx o r
E ng els . but simply a re flect ion o f t h e fact that M arxism is a
-

summing up

of exp erience.

a os

I n re l a t i o n to t h e state . t h e l i m i ts o f
Marxism i n Marxs t i me we re se t by t h e Paris Commune a n d t he
co nclusions that co uld b e drawn from i t . Th ese l i m i t s a lso h ad an
effect on t h e building of the Second I n tern a t io n a l . Th i s o rga n isa t i o n
occasionally m e n t ioned t h e dictato rship of the pro l e t a ri a t " b u t
moved further a n d further from it in reality. The d ictato rsh ip
e ca me a principle q u i te se parate from daily practice w h ich was
mcr e asi ngly re form ist . I t took t h e outbre a k of war i n 1 9 1 4 to expose
t he ho l l own ess of t he I n t e rn a t i on a r s M arxism .
The t he ore tical and p ractica l achieve m e n t s o f t h e 1 9 1 7 re vo l u t io n
re pre s e n ted a quantum le ap i n wo rking c l ass experie nce . A cri t ical
re - e x a m inati on of the state and its n e gation i n t h e S ovie t we re v i t a l
ste ps in the e m e rge nce o f Bolshevi k orkplace politics as a met hod
of i n te r national validity fo r b u i ld i n g re voluti o n a ry parties . Tha t i t
to o so lo ng for t h is fact to be unde rstood w a s due to the pecu l i a r
co ndi tio ns i n Russia . w h ich a l lowed t he B o lshevi k party t o b e b u i lt
witho ut a fu l ly worked-out attitude to t h e bourge ois state . The
Ru ssia ns cou ld afford con fu sion i n this a re a . becau se t h e B o lshe vik
par ty co uld b e b u i l t i n spite of the theore t i cal gap . B u t no-one e lse .
not eve n revolutio naries as gifted as Luxe mbu rg . cou ld do the
sa m e .
Tod ay. whe n h isto ry has reve aled the process o f revo lut ion . t he
ce n tra lity of t h e party and its re lation to t h e Soviet . we can not m a ke
do wit h u n co n scious processes . I n B ritain today the fo rces of parlia
me n taris m . re fo rmism . Labour and u n ion b u re aucracies are i m
mea surab ly gre ater than was the case i n Russia . This m akes expl i cit
co ncentratio n o n the workplace e ssentia l . both i n t e rms of bui l d i ng
a re volutio n a ry party and raising the se l f-act ivity of the working
class .

A disregard for the_ po i n t

of product ion has led to the co l l a pse of


the e n t rists in t he Labour left and the disintegration o f the E u ropean
revolutionary left i n ge neral . M a ny of t hese gro u ps h ave claimed to
be in the Le n i n ist traditio n (whether transm itted t h rough on hodox

40

International Socialism 2:22

Tro t sk y i s m o r t he S t a l i n/Mao pe rve rsio n ) . but a l l of them h ave a


t e n de n cy to see change co m i ng about i n some a re a other than
t h rough ra n k and fi le i ndustri a l strugg le . I nstead of basing the
p ra c t i ce upo n t his fou n d a t ion t h ey tail m ass re form ist parties or
l :1 p sc i n t o move m e n t i sm . M any . like the Second I n te rnat ional
l e a d e rs . declare an a l most fan a t ica l devotion to some kind of party.
h u t fa i l to locate the b u i lding o f a re volutionary party through
re l a t i ng to wo rkers se l f-activity at wh atever leve l that is possible .
I be l i eve t h a t t h e st re ngt h of the SW P i n this difficult period lies in
t h e fa ct t h a t i n i ts p ractice it recogn ises the importance of the Soviet.
a n d a l l t he fo r m s of wo rke rs se l f-activity and o rganisat ion that lead
t owa rds it . This is not to make a fet ish of one p a rt i cu l ar form.
Tro t s k y i n Lessons o f October make the fol lowing point abou t
re vo l u t i o n a ry work place organ isation in the West : ' I t must not be
fo rgo t t e n t h a t i n o u r cou n t ry the Soviets grew up i n the democ
ra t i c stage o f the revolu tion . becoming lega l ise d . as it were . at that
st a g e . a n d su bseque ntly inherited and util ised by us . This will not be
re pe a t e d i n t he proletarian re vo l u t ions of the West . There . in most
case s . t he Sov i e ts wi l l be created i n re sponse to th e call of the
Co m m u n i sts . . . on ly in the ve ry last days . . . eithe r afte r the in
s u rrect ion has passed its crit ical st age . o r e ven in the closing
s t a g e s . . . A l l t h ese variants m ust be kept in m ind so as to safeguard
u s fro m fa l ling i n to o rgan isation fe tish ism ; and so as not to transform
t h e Soviets from what they ought to be a flexible and living form of
. 1
s t rugg I e . . . . 09
I n t he p re se n t pe riod of downturn . o u r wo rk m ust be confined to
t h e d i fficu l t but esse ntial task of reviving w o r k p l a c e organisation
a n d con fi d e n ce whe rever that is po s s i b le . This can o n ly come through
t h e se l f-act ivity of the rank and file . O n ly later will it be possible to
t a l k i n term s of indepe n d e n t ran k and file organisations and
e v e n t u a l ly Sovie t s . B ut though the co n ce p ts of the S ov i e t . party and
t h e i r i n t e rre l ation may not appear ve ry freq uent ly in the pa ges of
Socialist Worker. it guides the way we re l a te to any manifestation of
st ruggl e . w h e t h e r it be t h ro ugh m ass p icke ting. or j ust arguments
a n d co l lectio n s from wo rkmates . The B o lshevik party developed on
t h e basis of wo r k p la ce politics. a fo rm of politics totally different to
t h a t of t h e re fo rm ists who see parliament r a t h e r than the factory
floo r as t h e are n a for soci a l ist ch ange . However much in a minority
t h e active se ction might h ave bee n . the party a lways emphasised
wo rk e r s se lf-activit y and tried to deve lo p t h e class content of even
t he most s e c t i o n a l st ruggle . I t is only ou r ability to act on such
po l i t i cs t oday that will e n able us to sa y that the missing pany of
Luxe m b u rgs t i m e will tomo rrow be missing no longer.
..

..

THE MISSING PA R TY

41

Notes
l.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.
IO.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
1 6.
1 7.

18.
19.

20.
21.
22 .

L Trotsky . The First Five Years of the Communist International. Vol I . New
York . 1 945 . p l .
T Cliff. Rosa Luxemburg, I n t ro . by L G e rm a n . London 1 983 . p l 7 .
K Marx. The First International and After . H a rmondsworth 1 97 4 p2 1 2 .
Ibid . p206 .
Ibid. p209.
A Cobban . History ofModern France . Vol 2 . Ha rmondsw o rth 1 973 . pp l 1 8-9 .
Intro. t o L Trotsky. O n the Paris Commune . N e w York 1 972 . p6.
P Lissagray . History of the Paris Commune . London 1 976. p 1 3 1 .
Ibid . p l 27 .
Ibid . p 1 30.
.

Marx . op. cit . . p236.


I bid . p336.

K M arx . Marx on Economics ( e d . R Freedman ) . Harmon dswort h 1 973 . p l 70.


Marx. First International and After. p338 (my emphasis) .
F E nge ls . I n t ro . t o K Marx . The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850.

Moscow 1 975 . p p 1 6- 1 7.
K Kautsky . La via al potere . B a ri 1 974 . pp65 -70.
Quoted in V Le n i n . The State and Revolution . Moscow 1 975 . p l 7 .
S e e J M o l yn e ux . International Socialism 2 : 20.
T Cliff. Rosa Luxemburg . London 1 968 . p43 .
T Cl iff. Lenin . Vol I . London 1 975 . p 267 .
J Molyneux . Marxism and the Party . London 1 978 p l 1 3 .
R Luxem b u rg . Rosa Luxemb urg Speaks . (ed. M Waters ) . Ne w York 1 970.
.

p206.

23 .
24.
25 .
26.
2 7.

28.
2 9.

30 .

31.
32 .
33 .
34.

3 5.

36 .
37.
38 .
39.

40.
41.
42.
43 .
44.

45.

46.
47.

48.

Kau tsky . ibi d p 9 3 .


Luxemburg . ibid . p l 99 .
I bid . p53
I bi d . p 5 7 .
Ibid . pp8 1 -2 .
Ibid , p59.
Ibid . p200.
Ibid . pp88-9.
Ibid . p l 29.
P F rolich . Rosa Luxembu rg . London 1 972 . p 1 33 .
l bid . p l 75 .
9
G L uka cs . History an d Class Consciousness . London 1 83 . p299.
leader of the Germ an
tter
la
the
and
SPD
the
of
The forme r was deputy leader
equivalent of the TUC .
35
R Lux emburg. Gesammette Werke V o l I V . Berlin 1 9 74 . p2 .
.

I bid . p 1 1 9 .
Ibid . p l 2 1 .
Ibid . p l 08.
Ibid . p l 88 .
Ib i d p200.
M i nute s of Socia list Unity Con fe rence . Septe mbe r 30th
.

to

pl5.

I b id . p l 2 .
The Industrial Syndicalist . repri n ted Notti ngham 1 974.
Ibid . p45.
J Connolly . Selected Writings . New York 1 973 . p l 52 .
I bi d . p l 58 .
Ibid . pp220- 1 .

9.

Octo ber 1 st 1 9 1 1 .

-12

so .

53.
5-1 .
SS.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.

61 .
6:! .

63 .

fl.i .

65 .

M.

67 .
68 .
69 .
70.

71.
72 .
73 .
74 .
75 .
76.
77.
78.
79 .

80.

81.

82.
83 .

84 .
85 .

86 .
87.
88 .
89 .

90 .

91.

9:! .
93 .

9-1 .

95 .

96 .

International Socialism 2:22


J f I u i ge & S H uybregts . Kleine Geschiedenis van de Nedtrlandse A rbeidersbe
,,e1:ing . A mst erdam 1 978. p53.

A Pa n n c k oe k . ' M asse n A k t io n und R evolut ion ' . Die Neue Zeit. Jahrg. 30.
Vol :! . :! . p5 U .

Storia del/a sinistra comunista . M i l a n 1 972 . p63 .


Q u o ted i n H M Bock . Geschiclite des '/inken Radikalismus' in Deutsch/and .
F r a n k fu rt am M a in 1 976. p85 .

Sec i s s u e s from A u gus t 1 9 1 7 to M a y 1 9 1 8 .


A a n d D Pr u d hom m e aux (eds . ) . Spartacus et la Commune de Berlin . Paris nd .
p5:! .
L u x e m b u rg . op . ci t . . p l 85 .
I bid . p :!0 7 .
I bid .

pp-t.25-6.

Le n i n . Selected Works . Vo l4 . p33 7 .


Q uoted i n C H a nn a n . Party and Class . lntemational Socialism reprint No 4.
p9 .
Th is is t h e t i t le of the first chapter o f Trotsky's Results and Prospects of 1906.
L Trotsky. /905 . H armondsworth 1 973 . p3 9 .
G C A l le n . The Structure of Industry in Britain . London 1 972 . p252.

ibid . p66.
I bid . p90.

Tro t s k y .

I bid . p 10 2 .
See C l i ff. Lenin . Vol I . p33 1 .
Molyn e u x . Marxism and the Party . Lo n d o n 1 978 . p67.
I b id ( m y em phasis) .
C l i ff. Len in . Vol 1 . p33 l .
Co nnol l y . Selected Writings . p l 53 .
Cl i ff. Lenin . Vol I . p9 l .
V Le n i n . Two Steps Forward, One Step Back . Moscow 1 978 . pp l 83-6.
C l i ff. Lenin . Vol I . p l 64 .
I b id .
Le n i n . Selected Works . Vo l 3 . p52 .
D H a l la s . Trotsky 's Marxism . London 1 979 . p l l .
Le n i n . Selected Works . Vol 3 . (HO.

I bid . p82 .
I b id . p35 .

I b i d . p-tfi.
I b i d . p343 .
Fo r a fu l l d iscussion of t h is see N G e ras . The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg .
Lo ndon 1 976 . pp-t3- l l l .
Trotsky . / 905 . p l 22 .
I b i d . pp l l 2-3 .
I b i d . p.!68 .
I b id . p340 .
I b i d . p p3.+0- l .
L T r o t s k y . The Permanent Re1:0/ution and Results and Prospects . London

1 962 . p l 94 .

N B u k ha r i n Imperialism and World Economy . London 1 972 . p l 6 l .


V Le n i n . Marxism on the State . Moscow 1 976. p 1 09 .
.

Ibid .
I bid . p8 .
I b i d . p l 9.
Len i n . State and Revolution . p p 9 7 -8.
lhid. p l 12.
See out l i n e i n Marxism on the State . pp9+.5 .

THE MISSING PA R TY
97.

98 .
99 .

1 00 .

101 .

43

Le nin . State and Revolution p l l 4 .


Lenin . Marxism on the State, p94 .
L Trotsky. History of the Russian Revolution . London 1 977 . pp8 1 8-9 .
V Lenin . The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky . Mocow
1 976. p94 .

102.

Theses. Resolutions and Manifestos of the First Four Congresses of the Third
International. London 1 980 . pp 1 8- 1 9 .
G D H Cole. Communism and Social Democracy. 1 914- 1 931 . Londo n 1 958.

103 .

The Second Congress of the Communist International . Vol 1 . London 1 977 .

HJ.i.

105.
1 06.

107 .

1 08.

109.

p305 .

p72 .
Ibid . pp232-3 .

Theses. Resolutions and Manifestos . p45 .


Trots k y sp eaking at Second Congress of Communist International, Vol 1 . P 72
Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos . p72 .
Le n i n . State and Revolution . p30.
L Trots k y . Lessons of October . London 1 973 .

pp57-58 .

In ternatio nal Socialism 2 : 22


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