Lenin and the Fight for Communism




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As we are preparing to go to print with the third issue of the Marxist Voice, the centenary of Vladimir Lenin’s death has just passed by. Lenin was one of the greatest revolutionaries of all time.

His name and ideas have inspired millions of revolutionaries, workers and oppressed people all around the world in the struggle against capitalism.

100 years on – in the midst of the deepest ever crisis of capitalism, the rising of imperialist tensions and conflicts, and the barbaric violence being unleashed against the Palestinian people by the imperialists – the ideas of Lenin remain as crucial for revolutionaries today as they have ever been. The only future for millions of workers and young people lies in Lenin’s revolutionary heritage: the fight for a communist revolution.

Imperialist horrors

In one of his many masterpieces, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin explains how imperialist wars are not just an unfortunate accident, but are in fact an inevitable product of capitalism. Imperialism is the death agony of capitalism – a system that has long outlived itself, but that would sooner drag the whole world into barbarism than die a quiet death.  

It’s impossible not to think about the current situation in Palestine when reading Lenin’s lines. Today, hardly a day goes by without the news of the slaughter of innocent men, women and children; the shelling of hospitals or schools; and the carpet bombing of the most oppressed and destitute people on this planet.

Having sacrificed the blood of tens of thousands of Ukrainians for their own cynical interests – allegedly in defence of western ‘civilisation’ – the imperialists had no qualms in supporting (and financing) the mass murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians. Nowadays, that same western ‘civilisation’ is used to justify the most brutal atrocities on a daily basis.

Recently, the USA and UK undertook the unilateral decision of bombing several military targets in Yemen. The imperialists are playing with fire. By their action, they have increased a thousand-fold the risk of escalating the conflict with Iran into a serious confrontation that would bring unprecedented horrors to the region.

Needless to say, it is going to be the masses in the Middle East (and ultimately of the entire world) that will pay the heaviest price for the criminal policies of US imperialism.

War or revolution?

But make no mistake, the horrors of war and its consequences – which have led millions of workers and youth to take to the streets – do not enter into the calculations of the imperialists in the slightest.

As Lenin once remarked, “War is terrible, yes, terribly profitable”. As long as capitalism remains, the imperialists will undertake wars to expand their spheres of influence and fight over markets and raw materials. War is in capitalism’s DNA.

That’s why – however good the intentions – peace appeals to the ruling class based on moral arguments, or on ‘pressure’ from below, cannot put an end to wars. No amount of moral pressure can turn a lion into a vegan – especially while it’s slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent people. 

This is unfortunately being demonstrated in front of our very own eyes today. Despite the fact that millions of workers and youth are taking to the streets every weekend across all the main capitals in the world, the reformist and pacifist leadership of the Palestine solidarity movement has led the movement into a blind alley. Not only has the war not stopped, but there is a very serious possibility of further escalation.

The only thing these bloodthirsty criminals in their nice warm offices in Washington, London and Brussels – not to mention their faithful lackeys in the Dáil – will understand is a militant movement of the working class that threatens the very foundations of capitalist rule.

To end imperialist wars – in Palestine, in the Middle East, in Ukraine and all around the world, once and for all – we have to overthrow imperialism. This can be done only through waging a class war, fighting for the socialist revolution. 

This was the position that Lenin defended over one hundred years ago – one he shared with the best leaders of the international working class, including James Connolly here in Ireland. It is the programme of revolutionary communism.

Revolutionary communism

Lenin dedicated his life to putting his programme into action. First he built the Bolshevik party in Russia as a vehicle for this programme, and later he founded and led the Communist International, which soon grew into a mass force able to lead tens of millions of workers in a revolutionary battle against imperialism.

But what Lenin painstakingly built was later destroyed by Stalinism. Eventually, the Communist International itself was dissolved by Stalin as a sign of good faith toward the imperialists, to convince them that he had abandoned the programme of world revolution. 

In the following decades, Stalinist communist parties around the world adapted themselves to life under capitalism, embracing the programme of nationalist reformism, the very antithesis of genuine, revolutionary communism. 

Their final betrayal – the destruction and pillaging of the Soviet Union by former so-called ‘communist’ bureaucrats in cahoots with western capitalism – led to a nightmare for workers.

After the fall of the USSR, the capitalist class crowed triumphantly, that communism and Marxism were finished. They hailed the final victory of the ‘free market’. But today their system is in an unprecedented crisis. Like the giant of Ancient Greek mythology, Antaeus, who was repeatedly thrown to the ground, only to take renewed strength from his mother, the Earth, the working class is today beginning to raise its head, stronger than ever before. The ruling class are once more haunted by the spectre of communism.

Today, the fight against imperialism and to put an end to the horrors of capitalism, is indissolubly linked with the fight to rediscover the genuine revolutionary heritage of Lenin, and rebuilding the party of Lenin. 

The International Marxist Tendency is tirelessly fighting toward this goal – in Ireland as in the other 60 countries where we currently operate. Join us now in this fight.  

A century since his death, Lenin lives on in our struggle against imperialism and to build a new communist international!