In Defense of the Dictatorship
I. The dictatorship of the proletariat is not a political orphan. It does not arise from facts not now in existence in the class struggle.
“What I did that was new was to prove: (1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production, (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society” (Marx, Letter to Weydemeyer, March 5, 1852)
II. The necessary result of machine-breaking was the People’s Charter. From machine-breaking to demands for higher wages, shorter hours and improved working conditions to strikes to trade unionism to the People’s Charter to the Newport Rising; the development of the English working-class is what instructed Marx of the inevitability of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This theory was validated when the newborn German proletariat repeated the developmental path of the English proletariat (Vorwarts!, No.64, August 10 1844, “Critical Notes on the Article:
‘The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian'”)
III. Organization is the (accumulated) result of labor’s experience of the class struggle. Proletarian dictatorship is merely another form of labor organization derived from the same process of labor’s class struggles under the capitalist social relation, taken to its most acute-extreme manifestations in all spheres (on all fronts).
IV. No labor organization is purely economic, purely political or purely social. There is an intuitive, organic, innate, instinctive tidal pull of labor’s class struggles onto all terrains. The International Workingmen’s Association was formed to prevent strikebreaking and fight for higher wages; it became the tangible specter of communism, organ of the revolutionary proletariat.
V. Organized force (class violence) in labor’s class struggles originates from the same process as that concentrated class violence found in the dictatorship of the proletariat; the latter merely deepens and generalizes organized force (class violence), exponentially increasing its depth and extent.
VI. We see the promise of the proletarian dictatorship whenever, wherever, however, workers in struggle seize Control of geographic territory, the means of production, private property and exercise workers’ Power : organized force (class violence). It is the export of the methods of labor’s class struggles onto the terrain of state power, something that the Bolsheviks clearly understood*
VII. To turn the world into Homestead is to travel the path and pay the toll for the emancipation of labor, for communism.
VIII. Intoxicated by a desire, a need, for another way, for a more palatable path, for ideology under the guise of anti-ideology — the society of the spectacle, the illegitimacy of the wage demand, the immediate production of communism, the death of programmatism — the foreign influence of the petit-bourgeoisie is tattoo’d upon them all with its frenzied, desperate rejection of the proletariat and the class struggle: a rejection of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
“All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice” (Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, #8)
IX. There is no new epoch. There is only capitalism. There is no ‘new method’ to the struggle. Higher wages, shorter hours, improved working conditions (resistance to lower wages, longer hours, inferior working conditions), organization, solidarity, insurrection, proletarian revolution, proletarian dictatorship, communism.
X. Our programme is the abolition of wage labor; which necessarily means the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
“And with all that, Nicolas,
The Commune is not dead” — Eugene Pottier
“We thank you for your message of greeting and in turn we heartily salute the Soviet Republic of Bavaria. We would immediately like you to inform us more often and more concretely about the measures you have taken in your struggle against the bourgeois executioners, Scheidemann and Co; if you have created soviets of workers and household servants in the districts of the town; if you have armed the workers and disarmed the bourgeoisie; if you have made use of the warehouses of clothes and other articles as widely and as immediately as possible, to help the workers and above all the day-laborers and small peasants; if you have expropriated the factories and goods of the Munich capitalists as well as the capitalist agricultural enterprises in the surrounding area; if you have abolished the mortgages and rent of small peasants; if you have tripled the wages of day-laborers and workmen; if you have confiscated all the paper and printworks in order to publish leaflets and newspapers for the masses; if you have instituted the six-hour day with two or three hours dedicated to the study of the art of state administration; if you have crowded the bourgeoisie together in order to immediately install workers in the rich apartments; if you have taken over all the banks; if you have chosen hostages from among the bourgeoisie; if you have established a food ration which gives more to workers than to members of the bourgeoisie; if you have mobilized all the workers at once for defense and for ideological propaganda in the surrounding villages. The most rapid and widespread application of these measures as well as other similar measures, carried out on the initiative of the soviets of workers and day-laborers and, separately, of small peasants, must reinforce your position. It is vital to hit the bourgeoisie with an extortionate tax and to ameliorate practically, immediately, and at all costs the situation of the workers, day-laborers and small peasants. Best wishes and hopes for your success, Lenin”