First, we would like to thank the Technical Secretariat of the ECI for organising this online event dedicated to the work of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, which unfortunately had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Today, we honour Lenin as the theorist, who further developed Marxism in philosophy, political economy and scientific communism; as the fiercest opponent of opportunism, revisionism and any deviation from revolutionary theory and practice; as the leader of the Bolsheviki and founder of the party of new type, the Communist Party; as the leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the first socialist state on earth, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; as the leader of the International Communist movement, the architect of the Communist International.
Lenin’s theoretical work, together with that of Marx and Engels, forms the basis of the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism, the theory and worldview of the revolutionary working-class movement. His contribution has been essential for the further development of all three component parts of Marxism. His studies on philosophy, his analysis of monopoly capitalism, the state and revolutionary strategy, have not only enriched Marxist theory, but adapted it to the development of scientific knowledge, the economic and political structure and the international system in the 20th century. At the same time, Lenin’s work is timeless, because it is based on the scientific knowledge and dialectical approach of objective material reality. It is Lenin’s work that equips us to confront our own theoretical and practical duties. Lenin has provided us the basis to evaluate the experience from socialist construction in the 20th century, to analyse the development of productive forces and the imperialist system in the 21st century and to formulate a contemporary revolutionary strategy.
The current situation characterised by the pandemic, capitalist crisis and intensifying imperialist competition has brought to light all the important issues Lenin elaborated in his struggle against opportunism and his effort to organise and lead the struggle of the Russian proletariat. We may highlight the following:
-the continuation of class struggle under circumstances of crisis, emergency and war against the calls for ‘national unity’ and the ‘Burgfrieden’, the ‘class truce’ promoted by opportunism,
-the bourgeois state’s role in supporting the profitability and reproduction of capital, in oppressing and integrating the labour movement,
-the formation and role of monopoly capital and the sharpening of imperialist competition at the expense of the working class and the peoples,
-the essentially reactionary, imperialist character of all alliances between capitalist countries in the age of monopoly capitalism,
-the necessity of an alliance of the working class and the popular social strata, in contrast to the alliances with bourgeois forces promoted by opportunist forces,
-the establishment of working-class power and the construction of socialism as the only way to meet the social needs, to guarantee work, health, education, recreation, culture etc,
-the need for a revolutionary avantgarde, a working-class party with strong ties with the class and the people,
-and last but not least, the fact that prolonged struggle and the weakening of bourgeois institutions are necessary before the balance of power shifts in favour of the working class and its allies.
Today in most countries and in those of Europe in particular, we are once again confronted with conditions that have a disastrous impact on the living conditions of the working class and the popular social strata. Capitalist states, either considered successful in managing the pandemic or not, and their governments, irrespective of their supposed ‘left’ or ‘right’ character, are shifting the burdens of the capitalist crisis on the shoulders of the working class. They impose measures restricting its democratic rights, the activity of its unions to limit resistance. They do not proceed to the necessary measures to protect their health and secure their livelihoods but pass new anti-workers legislation instead. They sacrifice the education of children and students, endanger the health and lives of millions of people working and commuting without the necessary protective measures.
At the same time, the bourgeois state has rushed to capital’s support with massive financial instruments. Once again, the state serves the profitability of capital and the stability of capitalist reproduction. The current revival of a kind of ‘Keynesian consensus’ regarding fiscal policy shows that economic policy is not dictated by ideologies but by the needs of capital accumulation. Bourgeois and opportunist forces are only quarrelling about the mix of policies and not about its character, which is capitalist through and through.
Under such circumstances, it is the duty of Communist and Worker’s Parties to put forward the necessity of changing course, highlighting that there is no middle way. The measures necessary for battling the pandemic and satisfying the social needs are more than obvious. But they mean confronting the power of capital and the bourgeois state. Following Lenin’s example means formulating the right demands, pointing at the limitations of capitalist management, organising the social alliance of the working class with the other popular strata, the self-employed in the city and the countryside, the students and pupils, the women’s movement, the artists and scientists.
By honouring Lenin, we honour the Bolshevik revolutionaries and the millions of workers and peasants, who overthrew tsarism and capitalism in Russia; we honour the achievements of socialism in the 20th century and the struggles of the peoples against imperialism and colonialism, fascism and capitalism. Finally, we honour the struggles and sacrifices of communists in all countries, who under the most difficult circumstances kept fighting for socialism-communism under the banner of Marxism-Leninism. The best way, in fact, the only way, to honour Lenin’s legacy is to do the same.
Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Long live Lenin!