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FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION 1903-1953
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I. THE HISTORICAL. SIGNIFICANCE OF TH E SECOND CONGRESS OF TH E R.S.D.L.P.
II. THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE STRUGGLE FOR THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
III. . THE COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE STRUGGLE TO BUILD SOCIALISM 23
IV. THE COMMUNIST PARTY-THE ORGANIZING AND INSPIRING FORCE OF SOVIET SOCIETY WHICH IS BUILDING COMMUNISMThe fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (R.S.D.L.P.) on July 30, 1903, is an outstanding date in the life of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of the peoples of our country, and in the history of the entire international revolutionary movement. At that congress the foundation was laid of a militant, revolutionary Marxist party of the working class, a party of a new type, differing fundamentally from the reformist parties of the Second International. "As a trend of political thought and as a political party," wrote V. I. Lenin, "Bolshevism has existed since 1903."
At the Second Congress the truly titanic struggle the great Lenin had waged for the creation of a revolutionary proletarian party in Russia was crowned with success. For many years, from the beginning of the 90's of the last century, V. I Lenin, faithful follower of the teachings of Marx and Engels, creatively developing Marxism in the new historical conditions, waged a ruthless struggle against the open and concealed enemies of Marxism, against all manifestations of opportunism in the working-class movement, and for the organization and consolidation of the forces of the proletariat under the banner of revolutionary Marxism.
Created and forged by that genius of revolution, Lenin, the Bolshevik Party led our people to the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution of I917, organized the dictatorship of the proletariat, roused the vast masses of the working people of our country for the conscious making of history, ensured the building of socialist society, and is now confidently leading the Soviet people forward to communism. The name of Lenin, the great founder and wise leader of the Communist Party, is inseparably linked with the entire history of our Party, with the rise and development of the first socialist state in the world-the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The name of Lenin became the banner of the working people all over the world in the struggle for peace, democracy and socialism, for the bright future of the nations.
By its self-sacrificing struggle for the cause of the workers and peasants, for socialism, by its tireless activities in the revolutionary transformation of society, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has earned the boundless love and confidence of the entire Soviet people. The working people of the U.S.S.R. have been convinced by many years of historical experience that of all the political parties that existed in our country, only the Communist Party has proved to be a genuinely people's party, which expresses the vital interests of the working people.
During the past half-century, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union travelled a glorious road of heroic struggle, severe trials, and epoch-making victories. Steeled in battle under the leadership of the great genius Lenin, of the great Stalin, Lenin 's pupil and the continuer of his cause, and of their comrades-in-arms, our Communist Party is today the leading, guiding and directing force of Soviet society which is building communism.
The entire history of the Communist Party marks the triumph of the great, all-conquering teachings of Marx ism-Leninism. The immensely rich historical experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is an inspiring example for the Communist and Workers' Parties of all countries in their consistent struggle for the revolutionary transformation of society.
I. THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.
I. The Marxist party in Russia was created at the turning point in the history of the international working class movement, when capitalism entered its highest and last phase, the imperialist phase of development, when it began to be transformed into parasitic, decaying and moribund capitalism, when the proletarian revolution be came a question of immediate practice. In that period Russia was the nodal point of all the contradictions of imperialism. The interests of Russian tsarism and Western imperialism were very closely interwoven. On the eve of the Second Congress of the Party, V. I. Lenin wrote: "History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the im mediate tasks that confront the proletariat of any country. The fulfillment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark not only of European, but also (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat." That determined the character, the peculiar features and the international significance of the great people's revolution that was maturing in Russia.The Marxist movement in Russia began in the 80's of the last century, when the Marxist "Emancipation of Labour" group, headed by Plekhanov, was formed in 1883. But the "Emancipation of Labour" group-"only laid the theoretical foundations for Social-Democracy and took the first step towards the working-class movement." The embryo of the revolutionary proletarian party in Russia was Lenin's St. Petersburg "League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class" (1895), the activities of which were directed towards extensively combining Marxism with the working-class movement.
In March 1898 the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was held , at which the formation of a Marxist party in Russia was proclaimed. After the First Congress, however, the Marxist movement in Russia remained at the stage of separate, scattered Social-Democratic circles and groups, not united by a single militant Marxist programme or centralized organization. Moreover, a considerable number of the Social-Democratic circles were corroded by the rust of " Economism" (opportunism, which repudiated the political struggle of the working class and its leading role) .In the period of the Second Party Congress a question of immense political importance was being settled, namely: what path would the young Russian working class movement take- would it, inspired by the socialist ideology, boldly take the path of consistent revolutionary struggle against tsarism and capitalism, the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the path along which it was being urged to go by Lenin, the "I skra-ists," the Bolsheviks, or would it slip on to the path of subordination to bourgeois ideology, reformism, adaptation to tsar. ism and capitalism, the path along which the Mensheviks and their predecessors the "Economists" tried to drag the working-class movement? The victory of the ideolog ical principles of Lenin and of Lenin's Iskra at the Second Party Congress was of immense importance for the development of our Party and the revolution, for the en tire international revolutionary movement.
2. The decade preceding the Second Party Congress was marked in the history of the working-class move ment in Russia by the uncompromising struggle Lenin waged against liberal Narodism and "legal Marxism," against amateurish methods and the study-circle system, against the opportunism of the "Economists," who op posed the formation of a revolutionary proletarian party and the infusion of socialist consciousness into the spon taneous working-class movement.A decisive role in the struggle for a Marxist party, in the defeat of the "Economists," in uniting the scattered Social-Democratic circles and in the preparation of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was played by the all-Russian Marxist political newspaper Iskra, found ed by Lenin. In conformity with Lenin's plan, that news paper became the centre for uniting the Party forces, for rallying and educating the Party cadres, for welding them into an all-Russian, militant, centralized proletarian party with a clear Marxist programme, revolutionary tac tics, a single will and iron discipline. Lenin's plan for the creation of a party was based on the urgent tasks of the revolutionary struggle and in a masterly manner generalized the organizational experience of the Marxists. The victory of that plan laid the foundation of the strongly welded, militant, steeled Communist Party, which became the model for the international revolutionary working-class movement.
The tasks of the growing working-class movement in Russia imperatively called for the creative development of Marxist theory, for a firm combination of the working class movement with socialism. Lenin, the great continuer of Marx's cause, worked out the ideological principles of the Marxist party and raised the significance of revolutionary theory. Lenin proved that only a party that is guided by the most advanced theory can play the role of vanguard fighter and of genuine leader of the working people, and he emphasized with all his conviction the importance of combining the mass working-class move ment with scientific socialism.
3. The historical significance of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. lies in that it created in Russia a genuinely Marxist party based on the ideological and organizational principles which had been advanced and elaborated by Lenin's Iskra. For the first time in the history of the international working-class movement alter the death of Marx and Engels, that congress adopted a revolutionary programme, which advanced as the main task-the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the congress Lenin and his like-minded comrades,the consistent Iskraists, conducted an uncompromising struggle against the opportunist elements who tried to prevent the inclusion in the programme of the vital thesis of Marxism - the dictatorship of the proletariat. With all his indomitable resolution Lenin upheld that thesis. The inclusion in the programme of the point about the dictatorship of the proletariat by the congress was a historic victory for Lenin's adherents.
In advancing the task of fighting for the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin emphasized the enormous importance of the revolutionary struggle of the peasantry as the ally of the working class and secured the inclusion in the party programme of the revolutionary-democratic demands on the peasant question. Lenin gave a decisive rebuff to the Bundists and Polish Social-Democrats, who objected to the inclusion in the programme of the point about the right of nations to self-determination, and he upheld the principles of proletarian internationalism.
The Second Party Congress witnessed the triumph of the great ideas of the revolutionary struggle which Lenin had championed from the very first days of his political activities. Criticizing as unacceptable the draft programme drawn up by Plekhanov, from which the thesis about the dictatorship of the proletariat was omitted, Lenin emphasized that the party of the Russian proletariat must have a programme for a "practically fighting party" and not an academic textbook. Therefore, said Lenin, the party "in its programme must in the most un ambiguous manner formulate Us indictment of Russian capitalism, proclaim war on Russian capitalism." The Communist Party took that path, the Leninist path.
The revolutionary programme of the working-class party adopted at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. reflected both the proletariat's immediate tasks-at the stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution (minimum programme), and its basic tasks aiming at the victory of the socialist revolution (maximum programme). That programme was our Party's militant guiding document up to the Eighth Party Congress (1919).
4. At the Second Congress a fierce struggle was con ducted around the organizational principles upon which the Party was to be built. Lenin and his like-minded comrades upheld the fundamental Marxist theses concerning the role of the party as the advanced, class-conscious, organized detachment of the working class, armed with a revolutionary theory, with a knowledge of the laws governing the development of society and the class struggle, with the experience of the revolutionary movement. Only such a highly conscious, organized, strongly welded and centralized party, possessing a single will, was capable of leading the working class to victory and of success fully guiding its struggle for the conquest of power.The Mensheviks, however, were opposed to the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat and, therefore, they did not need a militant party of social revolution. The Mensheviks were satisfied with a mere reformist, organizationally amorphous, compromising organization of the type of the opportunist parties of the Second Inter national. Programmatic opportunism (repudiation of the dictatorship of the proletariat) engendered organizational opportunism (repudiation of a centralized, disciplined, militant, revolutionary party of the proletariat).Lenin taught that, in order to maintain unity in the Party, it was necessary to have iron proletarian discipline, strict norms of Party life, regulated by the Rules obligatory for all the members of the Party, both leaders and rank and file. Of enormous importance was the thesis which Lenin advanced at the Second Congress concerning the lofty title of P arty member, the thesis that every member of the Party is responsible for the Party and that the Party is responsible for every one of its members. Lenin pointed out that the Party 's task was " to safeguard the firmness, fortitude and purity of our Party. We must endeavour to elevate the importance of the title of Party member and his significance ever higher and higher. "
The strict norms of Party life, the principles of leadership worked out by Lenin provided for stringent observance of the demands of the Party Rules, consistent application of the principles of democratic centralism, the utmost stimulation of the activity of the rank-and-file Party members, and the collective discussion of major questions of Party life. Lenin taught that the normal activity of the Party organizations and of the Party as a whole is possible only by strict observance of the principle of collective leadership, which safeguards the Party against elements of fortuity and one-sidedness in decisions adopted. The Party is a living, self-acting and continuously developing organism.
For the first time in the history of Marxism, V. I. Lenin worked out the theory of the Party as the leading organization of the proletariat, as the principal weapon in its hands, without which it is impossible to win the dictatorship of the proletariat, impossible to build socialism and communism.Lenin's struggle against the opportunist elements at the congress on programmatic and organizational questions drew the dividing line between the revolutionary section of the R.S.D.L.P.-the Bolsheviks, and the opportunist section-the Mensheviks.The victory of Lenin's masterly plan for the creation of a revolutionary Marxist party--the party of social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat-showed that in Lenin the Russian and the international proletariat had a great Marxist theoretician, the continuer of the cause and teachings of Marx and Engels, an out standing strategist of revolution who clearly visualized the prospects of development of the working-class movement, a mountain eagle who knew no fear in the struggle.5. The uncompromising struggle Lenin waged at the Second Congress, and in the subsequent period, against the opportunists and in defence of the ideological and organizational principles of Bolshevism was of great international importance. Lenin's implacable exposure of the anti-Marxist ideological and organizational views of the Mensheviks struck a powerful blow at the revisionists, at the deserters from Marxism, and at the whole of international opportunism; it was of enormous importance for the development of the revolutionary movement in all countries. The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. marked a turning point in the world working-class movement.