Minneapolis, MN – The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism, published by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, is a concise and fantastic book detailing the fundamentals of Marxism. Written by J. Sykes, the book is an excellent introduction for those looking to learn the science of revolution, the history, methods and outlook of scientific socialism. It breaks down complex questions of philosophy, organizing and others into easily understandable terms, making it good for beginners and an excellent primer for those who already have a grasp on Marxism-Leninism and are looking to sharpen their understanding. For those seeking to do away with capitalism and its system of corporate exploitation, class oppression and national oppression, this is the book for you.
After waging revolution from 1927 to 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed from Tiananmen Gate that “the Chinese people have stood up!” This marked the end of imperialist domination in China and the beginning of socialism in the newly founded People’s Republic of China, led by the Communist Party. The Chinese revolution has continued through socialist construction from then until today, and we would do well to sum up some of its many heroic achievements in order to better understand, from a Marxist-Leninist perspective, the process of socialist revolution and socialist construction.
How is it possible that the Soviet Union, bastion of socialism and proletarian internationalism, collapsed in 1991? What factors led to its collapse, and what were the results? We should look at both the material and ideological basis for the restoration of capitalism in the USSR. As Marxist-Leninists, what lessons can we draw from the experience of the fall of the Soviet Union?
As Marxist-Leninists in the United States, we can draw lessons from the experiences of others in carrying out revolution and building socialism. While every revolutionary struggle must be firmly based on the concrete analysis of its own conditions, we should still study closely both the successes and failures in the rich experience of the Soviet Union. From that experience we can draw both lessons from their struggle as well as inspiration from their heroic achievements. In the next article we will examine the causes of the collapse of the USSR and draw lessons from it, but here let’s look at all that it achieved.
The Russian Empire under the Tsar was rightly called a “prisonhouse of nations,” because it oppressed, within its borders, whole nations of people. The Bolsheviks saw that it was a principal task of the socialist revolution to dismantle national oppression and support self-determination for the oppressed nations.
The task of socialism is to transition from capitalist society to communist society, from a society ruled by and for the rich, based on exploitation and oppression, to a society without classes and without exploitation and oppression. When the working class takes power and expropriates the wealth and power of the capitalist class, the dictatorship of the proletariat will have to eliminate the contradictions carried over from capitalist society in a planned, thoroughgoing, and step-by-step way. One of the most important tasks of the socialist state is the elimination of what Marx called “bourgeois right.” We already touched on bourgeois right in our previous article, “What is Socialism?” but it is a very important subject and needs to be understood clearly.
In our previous article on the relationship between the superstructure and the economic base in historical materialism, we explained that the superstructure is basically the cultural, ideological, political and legal aspect of the mode of production, which arises from the economic base and, in turn, supports and helps reproduce the economic base. We also looked at how ideology arises from class struggle. Both bourgeois ideology and proletarian ideology arise from the class struggle in the capitalist mode of production, and, since the capitalist class is dominant and controls the superstructure under capitalism, their ideology is likewise dominant.
Marxism isn’t just a philosophical and analytical framework based on dialectical and historical materialism, or a critique of political economy. It is also a theory of revolutionizing society and building socialism. Based on the laws of motion of the capitalist societies that precede it, and the experiences of socialist construction from 1917 until today, Marxism-Leninism is able to give us a vision and roadmap for the socialist transformation of society. Of course, every country has its own concrete path to follow, based on its own time, place and conditions, but we can still draw some lessons from those experiences.
Communists have a proud history of fighting on the front lines of the resistance to fascism, from the International Brigades in Spain, to the Antifascist Resistance in occupied Europe, to the heroic struggle of the Soviet people to defend the USSR and defeat Nazi Germany. The Soviets liberated the survivors of the death camps and led the assault on Berlin. From that practice, theory has been developed to analyze what fascism is, how it develops, and how it should be fought.